Is Pope Francis Duping Liberals on Marriage?

It’s no secret that liberals adore Pope Francis. The more secular the “progressive,” the greater the reverence for the new man in the Vatican. Liberals—which includes liberal Catholics and Protestants as well as secularists—see the pontiff as the long-awaited liberator of the reactionary Roman Catholic Church.

And yet, if you think about it, there aren’t many things they actually want from Francis. What kind of wish-list do they have in mind as they celebrate his arrival? Francis is not calling for women priests, for abortion-on-demand, or for clowns dancing at the altar during consecration of the Eucharist. Sure, they relish his comments on the environment, on the poor, on “trickle-down” policies, and other things reported or misreported or questionably translated or not articulated by Francis with great exactness. What they most love about Pope Francis is gay stuff. Specifically, it’s their overwhelming conviction that the new pope is not just pro-gay but soon will be recognizing gay marriage and (who knows) maybe even gay priests. For the modern liberal, with gaze fixed below the waist, there is literally nothing of higher importance for Francis and the life of the planet. Other than perhaps race, nothing transfixes the modern progressive mind quite like gay sex; it’s the new alpha and omega.

In turn, Francis’ stance on gay matters greatly concerns many conservatives (Catholic and non-Catholic). It worries many faithful, orthodox Roman Catholics, especially after the blow-up at the recent Vatican synod on the family, where a sloppily crafted and released interim “relatio” (report) created confusion and consternation over the Church’s position on homosexuality.

But should conservatives and orthodox Roman Catholics be alarmed? Is Francis poised to change the Church’s ancient position not just on homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage but on the very essence of natural-Biblical-traditional sexuality and marriage? No, he’s not, and for a number of reasons.

First of all, Pope Francis can’t do that. The Catholic Church’s understanding of sexuality and marriage is based not only on longtime immutable and undeniable truths but is embedded and integrated within the very fiber and fabric of its understanding of human relations and spiritual relations. That understanding has not only been consistent for 2,000 years but was advanced even further and deeper in recent decades by Pope John Paul II’s profound theology of the body. There’s not only a deeper biology undergirding the Church’s position on marriage but an extraordinarily rich theology that those ignorant of Church teaching could scarcely begin to imagine. If they could find a moment to look farther than the waist, beyond the emotional and physical gratification of the moment, they might be shocked by what they discover in the Church’s teachings; what they will find is far more thoughtful and systematic than current cultural whims and fancies.

To borrow from G.K. Chesterton, the Catholic Church is the one thing that stops a man from being a child of his age. The Church does not suddenly change a two-millennial-old position merely because Obama and the Democrats have.

And indeed, Francis sees his role as a shepherd who serves the Church, not as a dictator or fundamental transformer. In his excellent closing statement at the same synod that issued the sloppy relatio, he said that the role of the pope “is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant… the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim.” Here he was citing Canon law.

But more to the point of Francis and the issue of marriage: if one actually pauses and does a little careful research, examining each and every one of Pope Francis’ comments on marriage, one finds an obvious consistency that has never wavered from Church teaching. Yes, his choice of language and rhetoric opposing same-sex marriage isn’t as strong or (if you will) incendiary as it was when he was a cardinal in Argentina, where he declared same-sex marriage a diabolical effort of “the Father of Lies” to “destroy God’s plan… and deceive the children of God.” He said then—only four years ago—that gay marriage discriminates against children “in advance,” depriving them of “their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God.”

What prompted the cardinal was a 2010 bill in Argentina that proposed giving same-sex couples the opportunity to marry and adopt children. Jorge Mario Bergoglio saw this as outrageous. At stake, said the cardinal, was “the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts” and the very survival of the human family, with Satan at work.

And what about that devil?

Since becoming pope, Francis’ statements on the devil have been even more pronounced. He talks about the Devil constantly, more than any figure other than Christ. He has blessed and welcomed exorcists unlike any pope. If he suddenly now accepts the anti-God “plan” of “the Father of Lies” for marriage, and pushes it through Christ’s Church, then Francis, by his own formulation, would be literally doing the work of Satan. If he does that, then he and the Church have some far graver concerns on their hands than gay marriage. There would be—by Francis’ own reckoning—hell to pay.

Does Pope Francis suddenly think that God now agrees with the Father of Lies on same-sex marriage? Does he now conclude that the two—God and Satan—are working in tandem to advance this new form of marriage, with Francis as their earthly handmaiden in the chair of Saint Peter leading the cause?

Since taking the helm at the Vatican, Francis has defended the family and marriage and decried how it is under unprecedented assault. I could give several examples, but very recently, in widely unreported remarks just after the synod, Francis remonstrated “that the family is hit, that the family is knocked and that the family is debased.[…] Can everything be called a family? How many families are divided, how many marriages are broken, how much relativism there is in the concept of the Sacrament of Marriage! At present, from a sociological point of view and from the point of view of human values, as well as, in fact, of the Catholic Sacrament, of the Christian Sacrament, there is a crisis of the family, a crisis because it is hit from all sides and left very wounded!”

He complained that the “Sacrament of Marriage” is “devalued,” turned into instead “a social event.” “What they are proposing is not marriage, it is an association, but it is not marriage! It is necessary to say things very clearly and we must say this!” The Holy Father condemned the “new forms, totally destructive” of marriage.

Needless to say, this is passionate language. Note that he did not specifically use the words “gay marriage.” But only a fool would think he wasn’t including same-sex marriage among the new, destructive, relativistic, non-sacramental, non-Christian forms now threatening to hit, knock, devalue, debase, and wound marriage and family. If not same-sex marriage, then what in the world was he referring to? The widespread matrimony between people and giraffes suddenly engulfing the Western world?

And now again, in an address to the recent “Humanum” conference, an ecumenical-interfaith colloquium held at the Vatican, Francis was equally adamant. In a short address, he several times emphasized the “complementarity between man and woman in marriage” and “the union of man and woman in marriage” as “natural” and “fundamental” and “beautiful.” He affirmed that “family is a family,” and that such is an “anthropological fact” that “can’t be qualified by ideological notions.” He lamented that the “culture of the temporary” and “revolution in manners and morals,” which flies “the flag of freedom,” has “brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings” and has put marriage and the family in a state of “crisis.”

Francis urged all Christians everywhere to commit themselves to the world’s youth, so that millennials “do not give themselves over to the poisonous environment of the temporary, but rather be revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the common pattern. Do not fall into the trap of being swayed by political notions.” He closed by urging prayer for those “who seek to support and strengthen the union of man and woman in marriage as a unique, natural, fundamental and beautiful good for persons, communities, and whole societies.”

This has been and remains Pope Francis’ position on marriage and the family. So, why would the liberal world conclude anything else?

The answer is, in part, the result of Francis’ public tone on homosexuality, which has been very welcoming and merciful. He has never been condemnatory. Moreover, he doesn’t speak with the intellectual gravitas and precision of Pope Benedict XVI, leading many in the secular world to misunderstand his positions and intentions and to exploit his often imprecise statements to their own purposes. And yet, nonetheless, he has not changed the Church’s teaching on marriage. He will not change it. He won’t because he can’t and because—from all indications I can discern—he doesn’t want to change it. He doesn’t want to do what is (again, by his own definition) the work of the devil.

The new tone is intended to reach out not only to gays but to the far larger numbers of people who call for tolerance of gays and for acceptance of gay marriage. Francis apparently wants these folks in the Church, where they can at least come closer to God and ultimately (his intention, I assume) perhaps come closer to accepting the totality of the Church’s teachings, including on sex, gender, marriage, family, and morality. Francis apparently thinks those people are better within the Church than without, and why feel otherwise? It’s a risk and a major assumption, but is there any better option?

All of which prompts this thought, which, admittedly, should make many of these liberals-progressives (religious or not) quite uncomfortable and even troubled and possibly embarrassed, namely: Are they being duped by Pope Francis? Has this new pope that they love duped them?

I could choose any number of gazillions of examples, but I’ll give you the case of Elton John. At a recent AIDS event, John, a gay man “married” to his gay lover, called Pope Francis his “hero.” To rare raucous applause for a pope from a group of New York liberals, Elton John asserted: “Make this man a saint now, okay?” He said of Francis: “He is a compassionate, loving man who wants everybody to be included in the love of God. It is formidable what he is trying to do against many, many people in the Church.”

Well, I’m pleased that Elton John likes the new pope. But why does he truly like him? Does he really know?

Sure, this is a mere singer-celebrity I’m quoting. It isn’t Socrates. Elton John probably couldn’t spell “Magisterium” let alone know what it teaches on sexuality. I could cite a more intellectual source. But there are millions of modern minds appraising Pope Francis just as Elton John is. Far more modern Westerners listen to the words of Elton John than the Bishop of Rome. And the reality is, many to most of these people like Pope Francis because they think that he’s carefully bringing around the entire Church to a position of pro-gay and pro-gay marriage. They’re taken entirely by his tone. They’re not looking to have their minds changed; they’re looking to change the mind of the Church, and they believe Francis is the vehicle to make that happen. His new tone is misleading them into expecting a new position on sexuality and marriage. And yet, if they’d look very carefully—which they’re obviously not—nothing that Pope Francis or Cardinal Bergoglio has said consistently over time should lead them to that quixotic conclusion.

And so, I again posit an unsettling question: Are they being duped by Pope Francis? Misled? Suckered? Fooled? And, if so, is that a charitable way for a pope to proceed? Is this Argentinian hoodwinking a large element of people in the modern culture?

I’m sorry to be so blunt, but I know this process quite well. I wrote a lengthy book called Dupes. I hold the rather odd distinction of being an expert on the mechanics of being duped. I’ve studied how this is done. Oddly, it’s usually done by the far (communist) left toward the softer progressive-liberal left. I’ve typically chronicled how the atheist-Marxist left has duped the Religious Left and progressive-liberal left generally.

Is it now being done yet again to the progressive-liberal left, but this time by the leader of the Roman Catholic Church?

Conservatives, ironically, fear that Pope Francis is misleading the Catholic Church in the wrong direction on sacred-sacramental issues such as marriage. Some of them fear they may have been duped. In truth, however, it may be the liberals-progressives who are being misled—a word that I’d prefer never to use in reference to a pope.

Indeed, then, perhaps it’s not that Francis is misleading liberals, even as he’s not as forcefully clarifying things for them as he probably should. He hasn’t changed any doctrine or teaching, only tone. What’s really happening is that liberals-progressives are misleading themselves, deluding themselves, naively setting up themselves for a big and severely disappointing surprise and sense of grave betrayal. And when it becomes painfully clear to them that Francis isn’t what they expect, he shouldn’t expect much charity from them. He should not expect the folks at Time and the Advocate, who christened him their man of the year, to be so merciful.

All hell could be about to break loose.

Liberals are dictated by emotion and the way they want things to be. It’s endemic to their psyche and what makes them liberals. Despite their prideful claims of high-mindedness and intellectual sophistication, in truth they don’t do much nuance. Their mental make-up can’t even allow for one to be tolerant of homosexuals on one hand and at the same time not endorse gay marriage. For the liberal, A must lead to B. And one who doesn’t go all the way to B without having accepted A is an incomprehensible and irredeemable bigot. So, when they see that Francis is at point A—and that’s all they really hear and see from their media—then they’re certain he must be with them on B and (by further extension) pretty much the whole gay-left agenda. Thus, Francis is a product of their own making and faulty manipulation and thinking.

And so, if they’re dupes—even, if you will, dupes to Pope Francis—then they’re dupes of their own doing. To be duped is to be fooled. Francis isn’t duping or fooling people on gay marriage in so much as he’s dealing with people easily prone to being duping and fooled.

Editor’s note: This essay first appeared November 21, 2014 in the American Spectator and is reprinted with permission of the author. (Photo credit: Wikimedia)

Paul Kengor


Paul Kengor is Professor of Political Science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author of many books including The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor and Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage (2015). His new books are A Pope and a President and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism (2017).

  • Daniel P

    This is a brilliant essay, although I would caution against uncharitable overstatements like “Liberals are dictated by emotion and the way they want things to be.”

    • Desert Sun Art

      Au contraire, this is a statement of fact. Liberals do indeed allow themselves to be led by their emotions and they are so sure that how they see things is the right way and that everyone should conform to their ideals. It is not an overstatement. How is it uncharitable?

      • Daniel P

        Some liberals do. Many liberals do. Some, perhaps many, conservatives do.

        But the statement “Liberals are dictated by emotion and the way they want things to be” is an overstatement, because some liberals aren’t dictated by emotion.

        • K.C.Thomas

          Then are liberals dictated by Bible,Jesus,the Tradition carried down faithfully by the faithful ? Church rules are rules to be followed Relaxation and exception is not the norm ….unlike civil rules.

        • My singular barometer of who or who is not a liberal (by which I mean statist, collectivist, relativist and often atheist) is the their own personal declaration.

          If the individual expresses a religious, philosophical, social or political positions with the phrase “I feel [insert position here]” then he or she is a liberal.

          On the contrary, no non-liberal would ever resort to feelings as a moral compass. You would hear “I think” , “I reason” (or “I suspect” if there iis some uncertainty).

          It’s no accident that the left coined the phrase “if it feels good, do it”, or believed that narcotic exaggerations or distortions of feeling represented some sort of stratoplanar enlightenment – or today believes dysphoric feelings about one’s identity override the fact of one’s sex, so much so that they resport to physical and chemical butchery in order to produce the a counterfeit with the exterior APPEARANCE of transformation.

          The only liberals that aren’t dictated by emotion, are the “leaders”. History is filled with calculating liberals, who recognize that they can assume command by simply affirming feelings. Craven, cold annd calculating, the moral cretins who never let a good crisis go to waste, and don’t mind manufacturing one if none is available.

          Whether the name was Shickelgruber in the past or today, just Gruber, these people are afflicted by that peculiar madness that wasn’ the the absence of reason, but the absence of everything but reason. Even there, feelings are supreme. They feel they have the knowledge, the right and the capacity to subordinate others to their vision.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            Edmund Clerihew Bentley thought otherwise

            John Stuart Mill,
            By a mighty effort of will,
            Overcame his natural bonhomie
            And wrote “Principles of Political Economy.”

          • R. K. Ich

            DE-173, you are my RC twin. This will sound ingratiating, but your militant anti-progressivism is proof-positive the Church is not sinking. A crusader at heart you are.

            • I don’t believe in worshipping golden calves, even if the temple artists are politicians, judges, lawyers and bureaucrats telling us here is your god- now pay and obey.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    This article is astoundingly naive and contains many statements that border on outright “howlers.” My reaction to just a couple of them: “Francis is not calling for women priests, for abortion-on-demand, or for clowns dancing at the altar during consecration of the Eucharist.” Well, Francis has publicly and formally sought the blessing of “bishops” who ordain women “priests,” has publicly and repeatedly told Catholics not to “obsess” over moral issues (like the murder of children) and publicly embraced politicians who promote abortion, and has personally celebrated liturgies with clown characters running all over the altar. “Francis sees his role as a shepherd who serves the Church, not as a dictator or fundamental transformer.” Tell that to the priests of the FFI, or to Cardinal Burke! Their treatment at the hands of Francis is scandalous. This pope is widely viewed as the most autocratic, even dictatorial, in modern history. I can only repeat that my alarm over the man is nothing compared to that of many well-connected people who spend a lot of time in Rome, speaking with Cardinals and what not, and who describe the man to me as a wolf in shepherd’s garb. Maybe the author is correct, and we are all alarmed over nothing. In that case, I would only say that it is truly pathetic that we have reached the point where we must speculate about who a pontiff is duping, the Faithful or the faithless.

    • Rock St. Elvis

      Citations please.

    • Jay

      The investigation into what happened with the FFI began under Pope Benedict, I believe. Also, I do agree with your statement on Burke. Seems unfair and odd.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        And under Benedict, the “investigation” led nowhere. And under Benedict, attachment to the Traditional Latin Mass was not a fad, an indication of mental illness, or an offense against the Holy Spirit, or indication of any of the puerile names that Francis has thrown at Traditionalist Catholics.

    • Matt

      Personally celebrated liturgies with “clown characters”? Be serious, sir.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        Are you able to use Youtube? Bergoglio’s infamous “misa de ninos” performances have been posted many times, some of them celebrated with costumed Disney characters and other bizarre carnival-like figures. To say nothing of the ghastly “Youth Day” liturgies he has continued from his predecessors. That we have become immune to some horrors does not excuse Francis.

        • Guest

          These innovations of the Mass are beyond ghastly. Again, people keep telling me the Mass is the same from place to place…but these innovations prove that is not true. If the Mass which is the absolute center of our Faith changes from Church to Church, how can we know what we are to believe.
          Thank you Dr. Williams; you are always right on point!

        • Guest

          I did not watch long enough earlier to see the guys in front “warming up” or “leading” them in song and dance. This reminds me of the Teen Mass that my church keeps trying to involve my son, who wants nothing to do with this style (thankfully). It is hard to believe that the most beautiful expression of our faith has been reduced to a stage show. Just disgusting!

        • Maggie Sullivan

          What the hell is this????????

        • R. K. Ich

          Evangelical mega-churches have had this crap down to a science for over a century, beginning with Charles Finney (calling it an art would be insulting to art). Catholics do such a terrible job imitating them, and they manage to make it look even worse.

          I grew up around the dog-and-pony shows, rock concerts, hokey praise-and-worship teams and all at church as a kid. The folks involved are zealous and well-meaning but usually biblically illiterate and vastly under-educated. This is an outgrowth of a lack of confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit moving through the preached Gospel to turn hearts and minds.

          The golden rule of church growth is this: the thing you catch them with is what you have to keep them with. You want mature and sober-minded converts and Christians, a steady diet of serious Bible studies, Word and Sacrament, regular confession and a palpably masculine leadership guarding the communion rail against openly sinful communicants. Where the fear of the Lord and awe for His holiness are, with love and learning of Sacred Scripture, and homilies that are saturated with deep preparation and preached with unction, and reverence for Holy Tradition are all cultivated, *that’s* where you will see a mature, vibrant, growing congregation.

          This, this refuse we see above: that’s the stuff that’ll churn out more atheists and apostates than you can ever imagine.

          What’s worse is this is being done to the converted, those who are already Catholic. My 8 year old has been reading Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Fathers, and what not for the past 5 years. He’s never been to a gimmicky service in his short life. And he LOVES church. I would never send my kid to a “youth day” or “young life” nonsense gathering for reasons like this. That this is the Pope encouraging this garbage is deeply disturbing.

        • Marcelus

          do you have any idea what that is?

          • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

            It is supposed to be a “young person’s Mass.” As to what it actually is…

        • Marcelus

          This is a show held at a stadium for Catholic school kids back in 2011. That’s all. Mass took place after that. Characters are used to illustrate the meaning of a story. This is the event where Pinocchio wanted to say his lines in Latin and was forbidden by the evil cardinal.

          • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

            Oh, well… that’s very reassuring!

            • MarcAlcan

              It’s not reassuring. It was a Mass.

              • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                (I was being facetious. Marcelus is a long-time defender of Pope Francis.)

          • MarcAlcan

            That’s not quite correct. If you watch the clip, they sang the Alleluia, read the Word and Bergoglio gave a homily. This is definitely a Mass.

            • Marcelus

              You are sharp but nobody said it was not Mass. It is an event for kids at Velez Sarsfield stadium if I’m not mistaken, where afterwords Mass for kids was said. In any case it is not a standard thing
              I knew of it only one.

              • MarcAlcan

                You are sharp but nobody said it was not Mass.

                Now you are fibbing.

                You said: “This is a show held at a stadium for Catholic school kids back in 2011. That’s all. Mass took place after that.

                Well clearly, the Mass did NOT take place after that , because what was going on was the Mass which the garish show was all part of.

                • Marcelus

                  Well my friend I’m in Argentina and I do recall that event vaguely though. It as not only a mass. It was an event for kids , mass included before or after. In that you may be right.

        • musicacre

          So tragic to see the Mass so grossly trivialized!

    • GG

      Very good comment as usual. This essay is like a magician’s trick. The magician only wants you to look where he desires. If you look too closely then you see things are not as they appear.

      How many different arguments have been made that attempt to prove the confusion are fear are unwarranted. It seems dishonest.

    • “fundamental transformer.”

      That phrase sounds so, so familiar. I just can’t seem to place it…

  • publiusnj

    The author writes: “Conservatives…fear they may have been duped. In truth, however, it may be the liberals-progressives who are being misled….” Then again, maybe NOT.

    Evangelization by Trickery? Passing on of the Tradition by sleight of hand is hardly the way the Pope should “tend his lambs or feed his sheep.” And maybe that is not what he is trying to do. “Who am I to judge?”

    One thing is clear, he is not preaching the Apostolic Faith when he is speaking favorably of the Kasper Proposal which clearly contravenes the express, detailed and clarion prohibition on Communion for the Remarried found in Section 1650 of the Catechism of the Catholic Faith which was expressly approved by Francis’s Sainted rpredecessor, St. John Paul II. The same JP2 who made Jose Bergoglio a bishop, archbishop and cardinal.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      He is also not being Catholic when he marries co-habitating couples in Rome, without any suggestion that one must return to the Catholic Faith FIRST before entering into a valid marriage.

      • Bill

        “…without any suggestion that one must return to the Catholic faith FIRST…” You, not I, know that they did not return to the faith with confession. Further, why must a notice or a remark about their return to the faith have been made? I seriously, very seriously, the Pope wold have officiated at these marriages without the assurance that the couples did return to faith through a good confession.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          The fact that they were co-habitating was PUBLISHED in the wedding bans, which would seem at least to require a clarification of the Church’s teaching in connection with this very public wedding of 20 couple simultaneously.. But there was not the slightest hint of this, which was a grievous injustice to those Catholic families who are dealing with this problem.

          • elarga

            “banns” not “bans”

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              Yes, thank you.

            • zoltan

              Banns is correct.

              • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                (elarga was kindly correcting my error, which I later edited.)

          • Bill Guentner

            Good point. However, I cannot believe the Pope would sacramentally marry co-habitating couples without first having them make a good confession. For him not to demand that is inconceivable to me.

    • Murray

      Even if it were true that Francis is duping liberals (or allowing them to dupe themselves, as this Hail Mary pass of an article rather desperately claims), it would still be gravely scandalous to do so.

      Think of all the pastors who have been browbeaten by parishioners wielding the pope’s words in defence of their new “right” to remain in an objectively sinful situation. Think of all who have been dissuaded from entering or returning to the one true Church of Christ by the pope’s indifferentist overtures to protestants and non-Christians. Think of all the souls who may be lost to eternal damnation because the current pope has decided to play cute games with public perception.

      Look, I understand that it’s not pleasant to contemplate, but the Holy Father could not be clearer about his support for Cardinal Kasper’s proposal. He lauded it at the consistory, gave Kasper alone permission to publish his intervention, appointed Kasper’s cohorts to run the Synod, and allowed them to set rules which were clearly designed to favor Kasper’s outcomes. And that otherwise inexplicable interim relatio, produced out of the blue in several languages, and bearing little resemblance to the first week’s discussions? Well, I observe that some sections are curiously … Bergoglian in structure. (Section 5 could have been written by Pope Francis himself! Except that’s … impossible, right?)

      As the disasters accumulated in George W. Bush’s second term, several conservative pundits conjured up elaborate “rope-a-dope” scenarios just like Dr Kengor’s above, in which the President just appeared to be lurching from crisis to crisis, but in reality had a super-smart, super-secret, highly complicated plan which he would unveil at exactly the right moment, leaving his enemies with egg all over their faces. And how did that all work out?

      Most often, it turns out in hindsight that things were pretty much as they appeared all along. If the pope consistently appears to be signalling, six ways to Sunday, in all manner of fashions in a variety of media, that he really isn’t about all those stuffy, confining rules, then that’s most likely how it is.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        “Hail Mary pass of an article” Wish I had thought of that. Perfect!

  • K.C.Thomas

    I appreciate the courage,confidence and loyalty of the author in his statement ” Elton John probably could not spell “Magisterium” ,let alone know what it teaches on sexuality.” As said by author,Elton is just a singer and not a philosopher like Socretis or a thinker. He believes that there is nothing beyond freedom of sex and eating and mating. He never csres to learn more about religion or humanity or sexual ethics of Christanity.

    • St JD George

      Mating, I’m not so sure.

      • Daniel P

        “Mating” is now being used as a synonym for “having sex”, which is being used as a synonym for any sort of pseudo-intercourse. The creation of children apparently has nothing to do with it.

  • FrankW

    My fear is that the Vatican will continue to allow itself to be misinterpreted by the secular press. This is a serious problem that is leading many marginal Catholics astray, and sending to wrong message to many non-Catholic Christians. Allowing this to continue (without a strong response from the Pope) could result in many clergy (who are already willing to bend over backwards to be seen as welcoming to the so-called “gay” community) ignoring Church teaching on marriage and homosexuality the same way many clergy have ignored Humane Vitae for decades now.

    When Paul VI published Humane Vitae, the backlash was so great against the Church when the media pummeled it that many clergy were intimidated into simply ignoring the Church’s ban on artificial contraception, and claiming that Vatican II allowed the laity to ignore that teaching if they wished.

    I do not want to see a repeat of that when it comes to gay marriage or divorce and remarriage in the Church (without an annulment). If the Vatican isn’t careful, their lackadaisical attitude towards the secular media’s misrepresentation of Church teaching will bring about a similar result. It’s bad enough now that so many priests and bishops are afraid to speak out against artificial contraception. The secular media would love to see that same fear applied to gay marriage.

    • Vinny

      I agree. In addition to faith our priests need courage and fortitude.

    • Steve Frank

      The one big difference between contraception and gay marriage is that the former is a private not a public matter. A Catholic can practice birth control and still present themselves for Communion without scandal because no one knows who is and who is not practicing contraception. Marriage on the other hand, is by nature a public institution so an openly gay married couple can not present for Communion without causing scandal to the faithful. Ultimately, I believe Francis’s agenda IS for homosexuality to be treated the same way as birth control in the church, where it remains a mortal sin on paper but for all practical purposes it is ignored by the church heirarchy. But it’s not going to work due to the public nature of marriage. It’s impossible to “look the other way” on an issue like homosexuality because there is no middle ground on it. All Christian churches need to face the reality that unless and until they are marrying gays in their churches, the forces of “progressivism” will not relent on their attacks against them for their supposed “homophobia”. Yes, Elton John is quite happy with Francis now because he believes what Francis is doing is a first step toward FULL “marriage equality”. But once it becomes clear that the church will not make gay marriage a sacrament, the left will turn on him. It may take a few years but it will happen as soon as the left determines that the Church has stopped “evolving” on homosexuality. That’s why Francis’ “middle ground” approach of trying to make sexually active gays feel included in the church but stopping short of recognizing gay marriage WILL NOT WORK. God either meant for people of the same gender to engage in sex acts with each other or He did not. If He did not, then homosexual acts are an abomination. If he meant for men to have sex with men, then the Church is doing a grave injustice to gays by excluding them from the sacrament of marriage. From a moral standpoint, there is no middle position and that is what Francis seems to be seeking. He knows he can’t change church teaching, but he’s not going to get away with a “don’t ask don’t tell” like solution where church dogma stays the same but the heirarchy just stops talking about homosexuality. The left won’t stand for it. At some point either he or some subsequent Pope will be forced to come down on one side or the other because the issue will NOT go away as long as the Catholic church refuses to marry gays.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        Excellent comment, that requires no clarification or addendum. And it demonstrates that every critique of Francis’ commentaries is far more lucid than the Pope’s commentaries.

      • FrankW

        You make good points. I would only add this: Why wait for the Pope to “come down on one side or the other”? The Vatican seems to be content with allowing secularists like Elton John to be misled as long as the secular media lavishes praise on Pope Francis.

        I disagree with you one on point. Contraception may be a private matter, but one only needs to look in pews at Sunday morning Mass to realize it’s long term effects on the Church in both America and Europe.

        Not every couple at Mass with less than three children can be assumed to be practicing contraception against Church teachings. However, fewer children means fewer adults for the next generation, fewer vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and fewer families. That makes this a very public matter that more clergy need to have the courage to address.

        It is a sad state of affairs when Vladimir Putin seems more willing to publicly promote the concept of having more children in Russia than the USCCB has is willing to do in the United States.

      • clintoncps

        Excellent observations. It is a great weakness in all mankind that we have the tendency to seek a “truce with evil”. But no such truce is possible. Satan wants us all, including the children, whom he is psycho-sexually molesting with LGBTQ sex mythology being taught to school children from kindergarten. The only hope in exorcising such a demon is complete rejection of the homosexual ethos and repentance to God for our complicity in allowing it to reach this level in the Church’s hierarchy.

  • Vinny

    “…leading many in the secular world to misunderstand his positions and intentions and to exploit his often imprecise statements to their own purposes. The press is just doing with the Pope what they do with Obama. If you don’t get Catholic news from a Catholic source, which is the case with secular liberals and uniformed Catholics, you only get the media’s agenda.

  • St JD George

    I love that word duped, recently read it in the NAB and it struck me. I think the real issue is that we all long for Jesus Christ to return who is not afraid to speak the plane truth, or at least in parables, and does not cower to the derision of PC. Well, he hasn’t returned yet and we are still a part of his church, in this world, and in a barque with fellow imperfect people including our Pope. I want to believe that he is following Christ even if I don’t always understand his methods.

    • Daniel P

      If liberals are being duped into thinking Francis will welcome women priests and gay marriage, they are surely “letting themselves be duped” (cf. Jeremiah). Francis has not done anything to encourage them to believe these things.

      • St JD George

        I know, but he does speak as clearly and forcefully the truth to evil as Kesus does either. I guess he has his own style of shepperding.

  • Michael B Rooke

    During the press conference when Pope Francis flew back from Turkey the question was asked
    Patricia Thomas of the Associated Press: During the Synod there was a bit of a controversy about language, regarding how the Church should regard homosexuals. The first document spoke about welcoming gays and spoke in a very positive light about them. Do you agree with this language?

    Pope Francis: First, I would like to say one thing: I would like the main subject of your news reports to be about this visit. But I will answer, I will answer, be assured. But let this not be perhaps the most éclatant: people need to be informed about this visit. But I will respond to you. First, the Synod is a journey, it is a path. Second: the Synod is not a parliament. It is a protected space so that the Holy Spirit may speak. Every day there was a briefing with Fr Lombardi and the other Synod Fathers, who related what had been said that day. There were some conflicting things. Then at the end of these interventions, that draft was written, which was the first relatio. Then that became the working-document for the language groups which discussed it. They then made their suggestions, which were made public. It was in the hands of all the journalists. That is, just as the language groups – English, Spanish, French, Italian – it became common knowledge [the first relatio], including the part you are referring to. Then everything went back to the editing commission and that commission tried to insert all of the amendments. The substantial part remains, but everything has to summarized, everything. And that substantial part is in the final relatio. It doesn’t finish there. Even that is a provisional draft because it has become the Lineamenta for the next Synod. This document was sent to the bishops’ conferences to discuss and offer their amendments. Then, another “Instrumentum laboris” will be made and then another Synod will make it its own. It is a journey. For this reason, you cannot form an opinion from one person or one draft. We must see the Synod in its totality. I do not agree – and this is my opinion, I don’t want to impose it – I do not agree when it is reported: “Today this Father said this, and today that Father said that”. What was said should be reported, but not who said what. Because, and I repeat, the Synod is not a parliament; it is an ecclesial, protected space and this protection is so that the Holy Spirit may work. That is my response.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Now THERE’S a teaching that will help Christians bravely endure martyrdom! If only Peter and Paul had spoken this way, Christianity might have had a chance of overcoming the Roman Empire, a hope of changing the world by changing the hearts of men. As it is, Christianity disappeared forever after 33 A.D. If only Bergoglio had been among the Twelve…

      • Michael B Rooke

        The Holy Father teaches in the tradition of Apostles
        That God loves us first so that we can choose to follow him is Prevenient grace. Perhaps most clearly expressed in 1 John 4:19: “We love him, because he first loved us.”
        It can also be found in the motto of Pope Francis “Miserando atque eligendo -With mercy and choosing ” taken from a quote from St Bede’s homily on Matthew 9:9-13. “Jesus looked at the publican, and because he looked with mercy and choosing, said to him, ‘Follow me’.”
        The Catechism of the Catholic Church

        “Come, Holy Spirit”
        2670 “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.”21 Every time we begin to pray to Jesus it is the Holy Spirit who draws us on the way of prayer by his prevenient grace. Since he teaches us to pray by recalling Christ, how could we not pray to the Spirit too? That is why the Church invites us to call upon the Holy Spirit every day, especially at the beginning and the end of every important action.
        If the Spirit should not be worshiped, how can he divinize me through Baptism? If he should be worshiped, should he not be the object of adoration?22

    • GG

      If Cardinal Burke was left in his position could the Holy Spirit work?

    • Francis is misrepresenting what occurred. His appointees forbid amendments to the relatio and the redactors took it to themselves to write the preliminary and final one. It was only after faithful bishops defended the deposit of faith against such manipulations on behalf of Francis, who pulled the old marxist trick of controlling the decision process in order to achieve predetermined results. Too bad for Francis that the Ho;y Spirit will not let him.

      • Michael B Rooke

        Were you there? Please quote primary sources.
        The is always an attempt by the secular press to misrepresent or invent conflict with the Holy Father.

        • If you failed to follow the sequence of events of the synod, which Francis merged as if nothing had happened, the burden of proof is on you. Let me give you a hint: look up the interview given by Card. Burke after the synod; he was there.

      • Michael B Rooke

        Frequently atheists and those who oppose the Church seem to use or have apostolic names, perhaps as noms de plume, as though a reverse Nominative determinism* was being used as a weapon against Christians.

        • An ad hominem attack is a not only intellectually dishonest, but also the sin of calumny. I hope that you remember this one in your next confession.

          • Michael B Rooke

            Thank you for your comment.
            Your persistent attacks on Pope Francis are noted.
            “It’s unquestionable that Francis is duping the faithful on marriage.”
            “Surely, Francis will continue scheming until the next synod, likely by silencing the opposing voices to his plans”

            The Encyclical of Pope St Pius X on Modernism.
            5. .. Modernist sustains and comprises within himself many personalities; he is a philosopher, a believer, a theologian, an historian, a critic, an apologist, a reformer. These roles must be clearly distinguished from one another by all who would accurately know their system and thoroughly comprehend the principles and the consequences of their doctrines.

            43. And here we have already some of the artifices employed by Modernists to exploit their wares. What efforts they make to win new recruits! They seize upon chairs in the seminaries and universities, and gradually make of them chairs of pestilence. From these sacred chairs they scatter, though not always openly, the seeds of their doctrines; they proclaim their teachings without disguise in congresses; they introduce them and make them the vogue in social institutions. Under their own names and under pseudonyms they publish numbers of books, newspapers, reviews, and sometimes one and the same writer adopts a variety of pseudonyms to trap the incautious reader into believing in a whole multitude of Modernist writers – in short they leave nothing untried, in action, discourses, writings, as though there were a frenzy of propaganda upon them. And the results of all this? We have to lament at the sight of many young men once full of promise and capable of rendering great services to the Church, now gone astray..


            • Marcelus

              My friend, you are waistimng your time here withh the papabili at crisismag. The worst kind of blind man is thw one who refuses to see unfortunately. Pope bashing here is sort of like a sport orcompetition among a small number of people.days ago someone mentioned that Crisis posters were looking more and more like the SSPS in terms of pope bashing. The SSPX are milk babies compared. God bless you.

              • Michael B Rooke

                Thank you for the comment.
                Yes many may be trolls with a script hiding under the cover of SSPX or sedervacantalism.

                • Marcelus

                  Well I must say in all justice , I’ve also run into delighfully learned and humble people here from whom a lot can be learned. But bashing for some seems to be a competition.

  • Vinny

    “Francis apparently wants these folks in the Church, where they can at least come closer to God and ultimately (his intention, I assume) perhaps come closer to accepting the totality of the Church’s teachings, including on sex, gender, marriage, family, and morality.” Personally I push against this, while at the same time I fully agree with it. It’s more along the lines of what Jesus did. What I (we?) lack here is faith. How far out on a limb do you go with faith? We know that there are people who will use any opening to get into the Church to try to destroy it. But that has been going on since creation. In spite of the destruction of society which we see all around us, we still have to go out into the deep with faith. Faith stinks! Doesn’t it? It’s too hard. (I think many followers said it’s too hard when Christ said they had to eat his body and drink his blood)

  • Vinny

    “…recognizing gay marriage and (who knows) maybe even gay priests.” Been there, done that with homosexual priests. Didn’t work too well for the Church.

  • JERD2

    Undergirding the media’s reporting of Pope Francis is its modern tendency to selectively report “news” so it fits a precast narrative.

    The narrative goes like this, “Using the Synod, Pope Francis is pushing the church toward an acceptance of the gay agenda.” What the Pope or participants of the Synod say that tends to even remotely follow that narrative is news. (Often the comments are taken out of context to make them seem like they support the narrative.) The Pope’s comments on the Devil are not news — they don’t fit the narrative.

    The fault is not with the Pope or the Synod, the fault is with the media.

    • GG

      It most certainly is not the media. That is the standard spin. The mass confusion today can be cleared up quickly. This article is one more example, in a very long line of examples, that seeks to explain why so many are confused.

      I suggest you and the author ask Cardinal George why he has questions about this papacy. Perhaps the Cardinal is a victim of the media too?

      • Vinny

        “Mass confusion.” I wonder who could be behind that?

    • publiusnj

      The Media didn’t say what Francis approvingly said about the Kasper Proposal, Francis did. The Media did not put the words “who am I to judge?” in Francis’s mouth; Francis did. He is on notice that he must be clear when dealing with the media; yet, he has chosen to give repeatedly press interviews in the wake of which his handlers have to clear up the mess he made.

      Brother Paul gave Timothy some timeless advice: any bishop (and certainly the Pope of Rome) must be “self-controlled…able to teach [and] not quarrelsome….He must ….see that his children obey him with proper respect. ” In other words, he ought not be a gadfly who scolds the faithful for not really being christians while giving people like Elton John hope and faithful Catholics concern that there is a different answer to the question: “is the Pope Catholic?” than the historic “Of course.”

    • Dick Prudlo

      Oh, please.

  • Michael L Hays

    Actually, Pope Frances is duping everyone that he is different from previous modern popes in his progressiveness when, in his own words, he is reverting to traditional anti-Semitism. The adoration of Pope Francis has swept all before it. The man inspiring people in the Catholic Church and appealing to people outside it, he has earned a reputation as a leader who appears liberal in outlook and kindly in approach to divisive issues, mostly concerned with marriage, divorce, and abortion.

    While the synod was debating a statement initially favorable to gays, lesbians, and divorced individuals, Pope Francis was delivering a 13 October homily delivered at Santa Marta and published by Vatican Radio regressive in its views of Judaism. He reverted to a traditional view that Judaism is merely a consistent and self-contained code of rigid laws which constitutes an incomplete, thus an imperfect, faith because, he claims, it did not, and does not, recognize the full trajectory of its prophetic teachings fulfilled by Jesus the Messiah. He declared that “‘If the law does not lead to Jesus Christ’ – he said – ‘if it does not bring us closer to Jesus Christ, it is dead….’”

    Pope Francis thus repudiated the Catholic Church’s official post-Vatican II position on a dual covenantal view of the relationship between Jews and God, and Christians and God. The short form of the justification for this view is, “God did not, and does not, make mistakes”—or, I might add, renege on his promises. In essence, Vatican II tacitly acknowledged that Judaism is a complete, coherent, cogent, and, for its believers, compelling faith independent of any other faith.

    Nothing can save Pope Francis from the implications of his words. His homily echoes centuries of anti-Judaic preachings in its pejorative depiction of Judaism as a faith of the “dead” under the “law.” The characterization of Judaism as a faith defined by laws is false to, and disrespectful of, Judaism. The representation of Judaism as a dead legalism and the disregard of its moral merits and religious integrity because it does not accept Jesus as the Messiah condemns Jesus’ faith only because it is different from Christianity. Bad enough is his re-assertion of anti-Judaic views which repudiate the best thinking of religious thinkers, many of them Catholic, since the Second World War. Worse is his revival of the old canards about Jewish believers as something rather like religious zombies, living dead, untouched, and untouchable, by Christian truth or stubborn in its denial—and what all else?

    For many Church leaders, his liberal views on same-sex marriage, divorce, and abortion may be anathema, but his conservative views restating old canards on Judaism and Jews reveal prevalent Catholic attitudes and beliefs hidden by a half century of hypocrisy.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      I think you are going off the deep end here. The idea that Catholic popes have historically been antisemitic has no factual basis whatsoever. Rabbi David G. Dalin gives an excellent overview of the reality of papal-Jewish relations throughout history in his irrefutable defense of Pius XII:

      • Michael L Hays

        Since you have written so many comments on this column, let me say that I respect this forum for publishing my obviously dissenting views. That said, let me make two points:

        One, you speak of popes categorically, thus, all popes. Historically–we are talking nearly two millennia–most popes have promoted anti-Semitic beliefs and practices. One example is Innocent III; read his writings for a stunning statement of the Church’s anti-Semitic positions.

        Two, you need to pay attention to the words which Pope Frances spoke and which the Vatican Radio reported. I shall not repeat myself, but a pope who speaks in this way about Judaism articulates traditional anti-Semitic views.

        So there is abundant “factual basis” for my comments, unhappy as they must make a Defender of the Faith like you.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          “Historically–we are talking nearly two millennia–most popes have promoted anti-Semitic beliefs and practices.” This is simply untrue. There has been SOME antisemitism in the papacy (and any is too much) but the popes have, in general, shown a remarkable ability to see outside of and beyond the confines of their culture. The Vatican itself has generally been marked by a profoundly philo-semitic culture. And I think you are seriously misconstruing the teachings of Vatican II and the popes since the council. Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment of the Jewish scriptures, and ALL popes have taught this. Thus, Judaism today is incomplete. If individual Jews are unable to see this (and the sinfulness of we Christians is a major contributing factor to occulting the Light of Christ) then we do not believe that they cease being the chosen people, or are rejected by God. Nor do we believe that members of any other faith, or no faith, are AUTOMATICALLY exscluded from the love of God. But all who end up in the love of God must go to the Father through the Son, eventually, somehow someway.

          • Michael L Hays

            My last address to you. As a matter of definition, anti-Semitism assumes the superiority of Christianity to Christianity, however that assumption is articulated, the most common being its imperfection or incompleteness. Christians are free to think that Judaism is such, though it disrespects this faith and its adherents; Jews are free to think otherwise.

            The claim that Jesus is the messiah in fulfillment of Jewish prophecy reflects the Christian re-interpretation of Jewish Holy Scriptures. The Jewish interpretation of Holy Scriptures defines the messiah differently and, in its terms, believes that this prophecy has not been fulfilled. Indeed, the New Testament makes redefines terms and misrepresentis the nature of Judaism to advance its commitments. Many, if not most, Christians do not understand (or accept) the many differences between the Holy Scriptures (Jewish) and the Old Testament (Christian). On that basis, Christianity disrespects Judaism and Jews–that is, is anti-Semitic–and, for that matter all other religions and their adherents. Christianity maintains that the only path to salvation is through Jesus Christ; Judaism is not similarly arrogant or exclusionary in its belief that salvation is available to any, regardless of belief, who live according to the Noachic Law.

            • GG

              The fact that Jesus died and rose from the dead pretty much makes your claims absurd.

              • Michael L Hays

                Proof? The Apostles, suffering from PTSD at the horrors of the Crucifixion, are hardly good witnesses. Besides, what you accept on faith is not knowledge, and, if you think it knowledge, then it is not faith. You need to do some work in this area.

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              I am sorry, but the Jews do not have ANY definition of the Messiah, as most Jews no longer even believe in God, let alone a messiah. You say that Christianity misrepresents the Old Testament, when in fact it explains it, and the Old Testament itself remains incomprehensible to the Jews. And your statement that Jews make no claim to exclusivity is absurd. “Chosen people” doesn’t exactly mean Jahweh’s “BFFs” you know!

          • R. K. Ich

            Thank you, Dr. Timothy. Clearly the scandal of the Cross and the unique and exclusive nature of the New Covenant continues to scandalize. The Romans hated when Christians made exclusive claims about Christ back in the 1st century, why should it be any different today?

            What Paul and the book of Hebrews are EXCEEDINGLY clear on: the old covenant could ever save anyone — only Christ has and does. Those things were shadows and figures. It’s not hard to understand, just hard for liberals to swallow.

        • Shall we discuss the Talmud?

    • R. K. Ich

      Sir, Paul said as much: the Law can only kill us, we are under its curse, it is a death sentence for those who live apart from faith. If the Jewish Law does not propel one to Jesus, then it remains a veil of darkness. That is New Testament teaching. Good for Pope Francis if he said this.

      • Michael L Hays

        This statement will do as a restatement of the pope’s anti-Semitic views. I particularly appreciate its strident, though implied, repudiation of Vatican II. But, as I comment above, Vatican II appears to have been either fraudulent or ineffectual; it certainly was not a redefinition of the Church’s dealings with Jews and Judaism which the ecclesia or the laity have accepted ever since.

        • R. K. Ich

          Then blame the Jews for the New Testament’s teaching in this regard. The whole “anti-semitic” canard thrown at this lynchpin doctrine of Christianity is rooted in no love for the Jews, but a deep hatred for the Incarnate Word who fulfilled the Law and Prophets and undid the burden of that yoke that no Jew could bear. The shoulders of the Son of God did bear it, and died under its curse.

          My Jewish wife, who was baptized into the Holy Trinity on Easter 2008, is a true and complete Jew as St Paul describes in Romans.

          No, friend, the Jew haters are those who reject the True and Final Jew — Jesus of Nazareth. You reject the New Israel you hate the type and shadow too.

          “Anti-semite” indeed! Farcical and simply ignorant through and through.

          • Michael L Hays

            I discuss issues, and you discuss me. I know something about the issues, and you know nothing about me. You do not even know what my religion is (or even iif I have one), and, if you think that only Jews care about anti-Semitism. Perhaps you should read William Nichols’s “Christian Anti-Semitism.” You might learn something and express something beside vitriol.

            • R. K. Ich

              You lie, sir. My post was about the issue of anti-Semitism. I remarked at the end it’s an ignorant charge against Pope Francis based on the words you maintain he used.

              Furthermore, you did not address the biblical data on this. And you don’t know what I’ve read on this either. What is evident to me is you could care less what the New Testament says about the Jews. I don’t care what religion you think you are, I would say this to my own Bishop if he pulled the same ignorance.

              • Michael L Hays

                My last reply to you. Your irresponsibility is evident in your not confirming what I claimed the Pope said. I gave a specific source, and you chose to ignore it. Point, set, match–mine. Now try to love someone beside yourself; it would be the Christian thing to do.

                • R. K. Ich

                  I confirm the Pope’s words as you presented them. Internet discourse is apparently difficult for you — please try reading what I said.

                  My only point is that “anti-semitism” is a ludicrous, fatuous, vacuous, inane, and most of all, untrue charge of the Pope or his words.

                  If you don’t like NT witness, tough. Go make a religion to your liking, but don’t confuse facts with fantasy.

                  • Michael L Hays

                    I have always distinguished facts from Christian belief.

                    And I understand the anit-Semitic meaning of words characterizing Judaism as a “dead” to spiritual life.

                    As I noted below, the Apostles, suffering from PTSD, make poor witnesses to the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Their fictions may be worthy of your belief, but they are not in any historical sense true to life (or death).

                    • R. K. Ich

                      So much for your “final reply” — but you could at least have manned up from the get go and stated your disbelief.

                      For the life of me, I can’t understand why an orthodox Catholic site would attract you. We’re a bunch of fools, clearly. Why dignify our nonsense with yours?

                    • Michael B Rooke

                      Well spoken.

                      The attacks on Pope Francis are so formulated that it is difficult not to see them in the tradition of the carbonari and the alta vendita. The carbonari being a C19th secret society dedicated to the destruction of the Catholic Church

                      “From Naples the Carbonari spread into the neighbouring territories of the States of the Church, and here also the society sought to overthrow the absolute dominion of the papacy. The Carbonari even promulgated a forged papal Brief which contained an apparent confirmation of the association.


    • Murray

      “In essence, Vatican II tacitly acknowledged that Judaism is a complete, coherent, [etc.]”

      Leaving aside your specific claims about Vatican II for the moment, something can hardly be both a tacit acknowledgment and an official position, as you claim. If the Church officially and explicitly endorses Dual Covenant theory, cite chapter and verse instead of making gnostic claims about tacit acknowledgment.

      Now, if Vatican II did endorse dual-covenant theology–and I don’t believe it did any such thing–then so much the worse for Vatican II. As some of us are weary of pointing out, no less than three Conciliar and post-Conciliar popes have acknowledged that the Second Vatican Council defined no new dogma and made no binding declarations. The conciliar statements that I can recall on Judaism are all kind of vague and smothered in that familiar dollop of Vatican II let’s-all-hold-hands-and-get-along treacle. There’s certainly nothing along the lines of “Hey, we proclaim that were dead wrong for over 1,900 years! It turns out the New Testament authors goofed, and the Law is salvific after all!” If there is, prove it.

      It seems to me that Scripture leaves no wiggle room for Dual Covenant theology. You may find that uncongenial, but that’s frankly a problem for you to solve.

      • Michael L Hays

        I have no problem with those who reject the Dual Covenant. I have always suspected that its adumbration at Vatican II, clearly not doctrinal, was a can’t-we-all-be-friends-though-we-think-you-defective-and-damned-if-you-do-not-believe-as-we-do statement to deflect post-Holocaustal criticism of the Church and its role in it. Many would join me in preferring the honest expression of disrespect toward Judaism and Jews to treacle about tolerance hypocritically concealing anti-Semitism. A little honesty by Christian anti-Semites is a good thing, not a bad thing. Everyone knows where everyone else is.

        • Murray

          Ah, thanks for the clarification.

          I don’t think we disagree as much as I first thought, though I do part ways with you on whether historical Catholicism is intrinsically disrespectful or anti-Semitic. Put simply, if Catholicism is true, then Judaism is (partly) false, and it’s no more disrespectful to point that out than it would be for a Jew to make the converse argument (as they do).

          • Michael L Hays

            OK, OK, I told a little white lie above. May I suggest that you read William Nichols’s “Christian Anti-Semitism.” He was a retired Episcopal priest, and this book is well regarded by scholars in the field. As for what Jews say about Christianity, Catholicism in particular, they say very little, except that it has been the prompt justifying prejudice, persecution, expulsion, or extermination.

            • Murray

              Well, thanks for the recommendation, and I take no offense at your parting shot. But I’ll stick with St Paul and the Magisterium all the same.

            • I’m sorry but we can’t really account for the statements of Episcopal clergy.

              • Michael L Hays

                No wonder this site is called “The Crisis.” Such is loneliness on an intellectual island.

                • History lesson. The Episcopal “Church” is independent. It spent most of its first two centuries attempting to eradicate or suppress Catholicism.
                  If you are here to have a discussion, then offer something other than that. I

                  • Michael L Hays

                    Apparently, you do not think of Catholicism as a type of Christianity. Otherwise, the history of Christian anti-Semitism would include Catholicism at least until 1517 in Wittenberg or perhaps 1632 in London, if I remember correctly. If you believe that being an Episcopalian rules out the possibility of truth-telling, others can reverse your prejudice and deny truth-telling to Catholics. So far, my experience on this site is that Catholics believe that only they possess Truth and disbelievers are liars. Such love.

                    • On the contrary, I consider Catholicism genuine. The novelties spawned and accepted by the Episcopal Church make it more of a cultural inclination than a religion.

                      No, I don’t believe being an Episcopalian rules out truth telling, but being as there’s some historical “antipathy”, I don’t automatically accept is the truth, either.

                      Quite frankly, I think you had a fixed (hostile) opinion about Catholics, long before you ever set eyes on this site. Your indictment is palpably false, but if you want to see someplace where a religion believes it is the sole possessor of truth and thinks everybody else is liar, try Saudi Arabia, and when you get there, tell them you are Jewish.

    • Michael B Rooke

      The morning meditation on 13 Oct 2014 by Pope Francis was an exegesis of Luke (11:29-32).
      In that exegesis The Holy Father said that God was a God of surprises in that the
      then generation “seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah”: that is to say, the Pope clarified, “the sign of the Resurrection, of glory, of that eschatology we are journeying toward”. However, many of his contemporaries “were closed within themselves, not open to the God of surprises”;
      The sign of Jonah was being three days and night in the belly of a whale and the sign to the generation then and to us was death and resurrection of Jesus.

      “The Pope then moved on to his final instruction, to reflect on this theme, to ask oneself about these aspects: “Am I attached to my things, to my ideas, closed? Or am I open to the God of surprises?”. And also: “Am I a stationary person or a person on a journey?”. And finally, he concluded, “do I believe in Jesus Christ and in what he has done?”, that is, “he died, rose again… do I believe that the journey goes forth toward maturity, toward the manifestation of the glory of the Lord? Am I capable of understanding the signs of the times and of being faithful to the voice of the Lord that is manifest in them?”.”

      Here is the link to meditation of Pope Francis
      Here is Luke 11

      In no way was the Pope anti-Semitic ( Jesus was after all a Jew) and it is to misrepresent what he said to say so.

      • Michael L Hays

        Selective choice of texts to avoid my point. You omit the following: “Pope Francis added, ‘they failed to understand that the law they
        guarded and loved’ was a pedagogy towards Jesus Christ. ‘If the law does not lead to Jesus Christ’ – he said – ‘if it does not bring us closer to
        Jesus Christ, it is dead’.

        The idea that Jews do not understand their own law because they do not understand it as Christians do is the beginning of anti-Semitism. The idea that their law is “dead” is mainstream anti-Semitism. The idea that the pope is not anti-Semitic because Jesus was a Jew is an absurdity; it implies that there can be no Christian anti-Semitism for that reason.

        BTW, both the Nicene and the Apostle’s Creed are sandwiches without meat: all birth on one side, all death and resurrection on the other, and nothing about Jesus (the Jew) or anything ethical in the middle. To my way of thinking, Christianity is a neo-Hellenic mystery religion promulgated by Paul and the Gospel writers who were born, raised, and educated outside of Palestine where Jewish influence was weaker than Hellenic influence.

        • Michael B Rooke

          The exegesis is of Luke. The message to us is to come closer to Christ.

          The Catechism of the Catholic Church states

          84 The apostles entrusted the “Sacred deposit” of the faith (the depositum fidei),45 contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. “By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practising and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful.”46

          The Magisterium of the Church

          85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.”47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

          285 Since the beginning the Christian faith has been challenged by responses to the question of origins that differ from its own. Ancient religions and cultures produced many myths concerning origins…..

          889 In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility. By a “supernatural sense of faith” the People of God, under the guidance of the Church’s living Magisterium, “unfailingly adheres to this faith.”417

          890 The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium’s task to preserve God’s people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church’s shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. the exercise of this charism takes several forms:

          891 “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals…. the infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council.418 When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine “for belief as being divinely revealed,”419 and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions “must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.”420 This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.421

          • Michael L Hays

            I was asked why I came to this site if I am not in accord with its implied perspective and positions. The answer is that I like to learn and to debate. What I find is selective and dogmatic assertions, aside from vitriol, which do not satisfy either desire. This kind of preaching by prooftext does less than nothing for me. You believe or know what you believe or know, so the ability to interrogate those matters with another is beyond your capability. I have no problem with you on this point, only that engagement with you is not possible.

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    Homosexuality in the priesthood and the College of Cardinals (let alonel the “cultural” of Vatican City) – both in numbers and its penumbra of taint and influence – was the Big Issue which instigated a famous papal resignation and now the media absorbing papacy of Francis.

    Pope Francis has only muddled those waters even more. The notion that welcoming “gays” – and its corollary, the acceptance of Queerness as a proper source of self-understanding – has only gained ground under his shepherding watch. The idea that he is confronting it by “duping” it is utter poppycock.

    Is there less Queerness within the priesthood now that Francis has taken Peter’s Chair? Or is Queerness settling in more comfortably knowing that it will be forced upon the field for a final battle?

    These liberals – within and without the Church – are not *that(* stupid! They know well enough whose coming along to wash their sheets – or not.

    As for me, and my house, we will not be duped.

  • Dick Prudlo

    What ever Bishop Francis does absolutely no one knows for sure. I don’t think he feels obligated by half what he is permitted based on Tradition to do or not to do. He will do as he wishes, just as he did with the synod. Anyone who tries to understand this man will be let down likely sooner than later and will likely, if a neoCatholic, then defend his right to do so. This is the sad state of the Catholic faithful.

  • Michael B Rooke

    The liberal premise of à la cart Catholicism is illustrated in the pre-reformation mediaeval stained glass in St. Mary’s Church in Fairford, Gloucestershire England.
    It shows an image of a woman representing Eve holding the snake of Genesis being carried off to hell in a hand cart or wheelbarrow pushed by a blue devil. The stained glass windows were made between 1500-17.
    The stained glass scene represents, or is the origin of the English expression ‘ going to hell in a hand cart’.

  • So what about the doctrine of “Papal Infallibility”? I assume Francis is Pope because God WANTED him to be Pope.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      No, that isn’t what Papal Infallibility means. But you aren’t interested in the issue anyway, so why are you here?

      • I am here seeking wisdom. Please explain the doctrine of Papal Infallibility to me. Thanks in advance.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          To the future first Pope, Christ said: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church” (Mt 16: 18) knowing full well that this very person would betray him. But Jesus also said: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22: 31-32). Catholics believe that the Pope is shielded by the Holy Spirit from formally teaching error in doctrine or morals, nothing more. He can make ill-advised, even quite erroneous off-the-cuff remarks that contradict (or would at least seem to contradict) Catholic teaching. He can perform scandalous acts that confuse the Faithful and encourage unbelievers (as a few recent Popes have done, in my opinion). He can be corrupt and immoral himself (as a few Popes unquestionably were in past centuries). He can be a complete fool, and have all kinds of silly opinions on things about which he has no expertise (as a few Popes have had). And he can be a downright TERRIBLE choice for Pope for any number of reasons (even if the reasons are merely practical ones). The Cardinals meeting in conclave pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, just as any Christian does in daily life. It does not mean that they (or we) listen to the Spirit, or understand what they should do, or even care what they should do. Having said all that, however, I hasten to add that the overwhelming majority of Popes have been excellent shepherds, and a very large number of them have been saints. What is essential to realize is simply that no pope has ever formally proclaimed any moral or dogmatic truth that a succeeding pope has had to abrogate.

          • I see. Thank you for that. It was fascinating. There have indeed been some … ahem, COLORFUL Popes in ages past.

          • Less than a third of the popes are canonized saints, most by martyrdom. In the last millennium, mere seven popes have been canonized. The norm is mediocre and scheming popes. Francis is just a return to the norm.

        • Michael B Rooke

          Catholics readily see the Divine requirement of protecting the deposit of Faith given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.
          Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (1808–1892) wrote extensively on infallibility.
          Among his writings are two books written on the Holy Spirit from which arises infallibility.
          The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost written in 1865 before the First Vatican Council of 1868. The Internal Mission of the Holy Ghost was written in 1875. Both books are available on line in pdf format links are provided in references at the end.
          On infallibility he wrote
          “The indissoluble union, of the Holy Ghost with the Church carries these two truths as immediate consequences : first, that the unity of the Church is absolute, numerical, and indivisible, like the unity of nature in God, and of the personality in Jesus Christ: and secondly, that its infallibility is perpetual.”
          [1] Page 87
          “I do not know in what words the infallibility of the Church and the immutability of its doctrines can be more amply affirmed. For they declare (1.) that by virtue of the perpetual presence of this unction which is the Holy Ghost, the Church possesses the whole revelation of God ; (2.) that it is preserved by Divine assistance, unmixed, and in all its purity ; and, (3.) that it is enunciated perpetually through the same guidance by a voice which cannot lie. Now let us draw out the consequences of this truth. 1. The first is that all the doctrines of the Church to this day are incorrupt. I mean that they are as pure to-day as on the day of Pentecost ; and that, because they are the perpetual utterances of the Spirit of Truth, by whom the Church both in teaching and believing is preserved from error. Individuals may err, but the Church is not an individual. It is the body of a Divine head united indissolubly to Him. It is the temple’ of the Holy Ghost united inseparably to His presence.”
          [1] Page 219 seq.
          “The presence of the Holy Ghost in the Church is the source of its infallibility; the presence of the Holy Ghost in the soul is the source of its sanctification. These two operations of the same Spirit are in perfect harmony. The test of the spiritual man is his conformity to the mind of the Church.”
          [2] Page vi
          “The definitions of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, of the Infallibility of the Vicar of Christ, bring out into distinct relief the twofold office of the Holy Ghost, of which one part is His perpetual assistance in the Church, the other His sanctification of the soul, of which the Immaculate Conception is the first fruits and the perfect exemplar.”
          [2] Page vii
          3. Now there are two things necessary to a doctrine of faith or to an act of Catholic faith. One is, that God shall have revealed unto His Apostles the truth that we believe; and the other is, that His Church should teach it. This, shortly, is the reason why we believe. Every Catholic child is taught to say day by day an act of faith such as this : ” O my God, I believe all that Thou hast revealed,” for these two reasons, ” because Thou art the truth, and canst neither deceive nor be deceived ;” or, as Saint Augustine says, ” We believe because God is the truth Deus est veritas et verax He is the true God, truth Himself, and- He is veracious and He cannot deceive us. It is therefore necessary that our faith should terminate upon the authority of God, and if our faith terminates upon the authority of God, it is impossible that we can err. We have an infallible reason for believing, because it is the authority of God Himself Who teaches us what to believe.
          [2] Page 66
          “But faith needs a divine authority, and a divine authority must be infallible. It is only playing with terms and using words of no meaning if we speak of a divine authority which is not infallible. Any teacher, be it a man or corporate body, which disclaims infallibility cannot be a divine teacher.”
          [2] Page 70
          ” Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” And the word of Christ is the voice of the living Church of God in every age, spreading from the sunrise to the sunset, speaking not only as a human and historical witness which has filled the world for eighteen centuries, but speaking as a supernatural and divine witness, because the Head of it is the Incarnate Truth Himself at the right hand of His Father ; and the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ, dwells in it and guides it, and speaks by it as the organ of His Voice.”
          [2 ]Page 73
          “God sustains and preserves His Church by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the Fountain of all illumination and of all grace, in its conformity with His own divine intelligence. He guides the Catholic Church in the path of His eternal truth. That which we call infallibility is nothing but this : the Church cannot err from the path of revealed truth. And they who are faithful to the Church are illuminated and sanctified, even in the midst of the darkness and the distortion of this nineteenth century.”
          [2] Page 229

          [1] The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost

          [2] The Internal Mission of the Holy Ghost

        • Marcelus

          good luck with CM

    • GG


  • elarga

    Even the most charitable and generous evaluation of Pope Francis so far would still have to acknowledge his consistent failure to balance so many of his public statements; he prefers to state only the “merciful” side and totally exclude the “hard” side of every issue — both together make up the truth, but he so often excludes the latter that it is fair to ask: Is he just forgetting to mention it? Or is he trying to erase it?

    • Francis reserves the hard side to the faithful Catholics.

      • Marcelus

        like yourself?

  • clintoncps

    One of the greatest dupings of western civilization in modern times has been the de-listing of homosexuality from the catalog of psychological disorders. Thanks to swallowing this false and irresponsible ‘A’, we are now having the inevitable ‘B’ of homosexual marriage, adoption and LGBTQ mythology being taught to very young children in schools, being shoved down our throats. A rotten tree does not bear good fruit. Disgorge ‘A’, and the insanity and wickedness of ‘B’ will be exorcised, too.

  • Siwash

    I’m hoping very much that the Pope reins in his tendency for off-the-cuff remarks and irony. I can’t help but think that much of his communications difficulty has to do with inexperience, as well as being South American and perhaps not quite in synch with European and American sensitivities.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Oh, please … Argentina is the most “European” of any country in South America, and a Cardinal Bishop of the Catholic Church has one of the most cosmopolitan formations of anyone on the planet. Francis knows EXACTLY what he is doing and saying, even if we have to guess at what he means.

  • Jay

    geessh…what a miserable time to come into the Church.

    • It’s a miserable time to be alive, but it always is a miserable time. You are only passing through here.

      You are sick, we are all sick. You have only one hope, to enter the hospital. The hospital will have patients with all sorts of maladies, from gaping wounds with festering pus, the deaf, the lame, the deformed and amputated, as well as those who are troubled in the mind and spirit.

      It’s still better to be inside, where you might get some treatment and encouragement, rather than being to tend to your wounds, whatever they may be, with no so distant sounds of a wolf’s howl.

    • WSquared

      The Church exists at all. Every time is a great time to come into the Body of Christ.

  • JohnE_o

    Question for all you guys who seem to know the Right Way to Be Catholic…

    Let’s say I was inclined to look into becoming Catholic, but was a liberal sort of guy who would most likely be of the à la cart Catholicism persuasion and not hard core “more Catholic than the Pope” like most of you here seem to be.

    Would you prefer that I not become Catholic because I’d be yet another of ‘those types’ who aren’t doing it like you – or would you be glad to see me join the Church?

    Thanks, looking forward to your responses…

    • Murray

      We’d be ecstatic for you to come home. But it must be said that an “a la carte” Catholic is in the awkard position of trying to join in the celebrations while remaining halfway out the door.

      After all, each time you say “Amen” to the priest when he says “The Body of Christ” at Communion, you are saying “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.” That’s ALL that the Holy Catholic Church teaches. Not some of it, not “this and that”, not “All of it except this one bit.” A.L.L.

      That doesn’t mean we can’t have difficulties with some teachings, but it must be a *difficulty*, in the sense of “I really don’t get this particular teaching, but I will obey and pray for understanding”. It absolutely cannot be an obstinate refusal to obey or believe, and if you find yourself in this position, you should refrain from receiving Communion, for your own sake.

      Does that help?

      • JohnE_o

        Yes it does. I think the Catholic Church is a bit wacky about birth control, but given my current life circumstances, I’m not likely to ever be in the position of disobeying those rules.

        • WSquared

          Well, you might want to understand why the Church teaches what she teaches. Because the encyclical that deals with birth control, Humanae Vitae is about much more than just birth control. The Church’s teaching on birth control fits into the larger context of the respect and dignity due human life.

          It’s okay to struggle, and Murray has laid things out really well: it’s okay to ask the Lord to help you understand.

      • R. K. Ich

        And that’s why it is taking me so bloody long to get myself through the doors. I understand that altar fellowship necessarily means I’ve signed on the line for EVERYTHING that comes out of the Magisterium. I wish so-called “Roman Catholics” who oppose official dogma would just leave your ranks, or a bishop who has the guts to excommunicate those in open rebellion do so post haste.

        • WSquared

          So does that mean that you are making your decision to swim the Tiber contingent upon the behavior of others?

          I can understand your anxieties as you discern, but if waiting for others to be holy before you decide to join the Church is what you’re doing, I’m afraid you’ll be in for a bit of a long wait. If you do believe that everything that the Magisterium teaches is true, then you already have both necessary and sufficient reason to become Catholic. The only true reason to be Catholic is that you believe in the Real Presence; you believe and know that Catholicism is about living in Christ and Christ living in us, and you believe and know that the Catholic Church is the Body of Christ. This isn’t about other people, even the higher-ups, who are sinners like you and I, and therefore carry the gift of the priesthood in earthen vessels. You should also know, therefore, that Christ is capable of working through imperfect people, and that the Communion of Saints is proof of His work.

          Please come home.

          • Oh, true and very true. Crappy prelates and popes aren’t what’s keeping me at arm’s length. Miserable sinners crowd the most august and pristine cathedrals and liturgies, that’s not my issue. Give me the hypocrites any day. I can stomach a lech, a liar, and a lunatic. What I can’t abide is institutionally sanctioned apostasy.

            Good news is, I am far closer today than two months ago. Keep praying, your prayers are helping.

    • GG

      Well, you are not join a private club. What attracts you to the Church?

      • JohnE_o

        Well, when I attend Mass, I’m overcome with a sense of joyous longing and involuntary tears that I’ve never encountered anywhere else before and I figure I should probably look into what that’s all about. Thanks for asking.

        • This is a sufficient, and perhaps the best, reason to join the Church!

          We are moved to worship God after being blessed with the grace of faith. Methinks that your finding out that your worshiping Him in Mass is fuller than elsewhere obliges you to become Catholic.

          Honestly, much bickering will still take place. Don’t delude yourself about the sinfulness of Catholics. Though we have many saints who shaped their lives the closest to Our Lord’s, very few of us manage to do the same.

          As frustrated as I get about all kinds of Catholics, from lapsed to sedevacantists, I know that there is nowhere else to go. Our Lord can only be fully found in the Church and He is the reason why I can’t leave, not my fellow coreligionists.

          Come home, come to the Catholic Church.

          • JohnE_o

            Thanks Augustine, I think it likely that I will…

        • WSquared

          The Novus Ordo is still a valid Mass. So Christ is still Truly Present in Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

          …but perhaps one of these days, you may just find that the Latin Mass helps you appreciate the Novus Ordo in a way you wouldn’t expect. It’s not good to pit the one against the other. I would actually recommend that it helps all Catholics to be well acquainted with both.

          Augustine has put it really, really well. And yes, do please come home to the Catholic Church.

    • Scott W.

      Well, charity in all things. That would mean refraining from characterizations such as “you guys who seem to know the Right Way to Be Catholic…”, and, “‘more Catholic than the Pope’ like most of you here seem to be.” I’ll graciously assume you are not intending to be deliberately inflammatory with those comments, but they are inflammatory and gratuitously so.

      Murray below answered well. The teachings of Our Lord through His Church come as a living, functioning whole, and to pull pieces out of it is like pulling vital organs out of a human body.

      • JohnE_o

        Sorry to cause offense, but I’ve been reading the articles and comments on this site for a while and I do get a sense that ‘Liberal’ and ‘Faithful’ are incompatible in the eyes of some here.

        • Scott W.

          Liberalism is a broad term. The following is a good description of the kind of Liberalism that is incompatible with Catholicism:

          “Liberalism is a more obscure doctrine to define. Its grounding, we believe, lies in the assertion of Man’s sovereignty over his own nature and destiny, his brazen defiance of God. In political philosophy its mark is the reduction of all things to some strictly materialist standard, whether openly atheistic or more subtly economic. It collapses the mystery of Man’s dualistic nature. Christianity has taught us, in the common maxim, that man is in the world but not of it. Liberalism posits that he is emphatically of it; and by its logic even the worth of human life is made subject to the whims and calculations of worldly interest. The reductionism also issues in a deep antipathy for natural distinctions of any kind; Liberalism in the end renders men incapable of judgment.”

          • JohnE_o

            Well, I’ll grant you that this is certainly and obscure definition.

            Out where I am, a liberal is someone who thinks background checks before buying a gun is a good idea and open carry isn’t.

            • Scott W.

              One couldcould be a perfectly orthodox Catholic and be in favor of strict gun laws because policies like that fall under what we call prudential judgement, but that would include the understanding that a Catholic’s position in favor of relaxed gun laws isn’t in any way inferior or wrong. The Church teaches that people have a right to self-defense (even if lethal in effect), but doesn’t bind the faithful to any particular details about laws regarding it.

              • Murray

                Scott replied very well whole I was composing my reply, but here it is anyway:

                It depends on what you mean by “liberal”. If by it, you mean that on balance, you favour government action to help the less fortunate, such as a substantial welfare state or publicly funded health care, then there’s no fundamental issue there. We could debate the prudence, effectiveness, or likely spiritual consequences of certain policies, but the Church is the biggest of all tents.

                If, however, “liberal” means that you are (like most people) an adherent of the modern cult of the absolutely autonomous, self-determining individual, for whom self-fulfilment or “choice” (however defined) is the highest good, that can’t be reconciled with Catholicism. All mainstream Western political parties are branches of this kind of liberalism, differing only on how best to achieve autonomy, which is one reason why Catholics are called to be in the world, but not of it.

                One reason you might tend to perceive forums like this one as “conservative” is that secular political beliefs tend to cluster, so that a supporter of a large welfare state is statistically more likely (in 2014) to support the killing of unborn children, or take other positions that conflict with Church teaching, while a so-called “conservative” is statistically more likely (in 2014) to have less dissonance with Church teaching. Since humans are tribal and heuristically inclined animals, they tend to recognize these patterns and adopt labels as a kind of shorthand.

                • “If by it, you mean that on balance, you favour government action to help the less fortunate, such as a substantial welfare state or publicly funded health care, then there’s no fundamental issue there. ”

                  Correction: you favour government action to that PURPORTS to help the less fortunate, such as a substantial welfare state that is never required to show that it’s actions are effective or efficient or that is never called to account for the iatrogenic social pathologies it is induces (immorality,dependency,criminality) or publicly RATIONED (through deceptive,complicated and restrictive funding schemes) that often result in calling medical interventions such as contraception or euthanasia “health care”…, then there’s a fundamental issue there, the issue of idolatry, specifically cryptostatism.

                  • Murray

                    I agree with you, but the fact remains that the Church doesn’t bind Catholics to any particular political program. We rightly get irritated when the USCCB tries to equate CST with open borders, so we shouldn’t fall into the same trap ourselves.

                    In other ages, in societies operating under very different metaphysical principles to those of modern liberalism (i.e. almost every civilization in history), it’s *conceivable* that Catholics would find themselves aligned with a big-government faction. Not guaranteed, conceivable.

                    But since metaphysical liberalism is inimical to Catholicism, it stands to reason that the marginally less liberal faction (so-called “conservatives”) is more congenial to Catholics living in those contingent historical circumstances.

                • JohnE_o

                  Well that’s the thing – I’m more interested in the Church to find out what’s up with this experience I have at Mass – the folks at RCIA say it is the Holy Spirit – but I’m not particularly interested in adopting a conservative tribal identity of the sort I often see here.

                  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                    Well, I hope the folks at your RCIA class will explain that our emotional reactions to Mass, and our personal ideas about it, count for very little. What the Church teaches about the Mass matters.

                    • JohnE_o

                      Eh, maybe – I’m more looking for the experience of Holy Presence than I am for claims about a Holy Presence.

                  • Murray

                    Then don’t. Simple!

                    Sorry if I sound glib, but it’s really the only answer. If you go to Britain, I’ve heard that you’ll find that orthodox and traditional Catholics are somewhat more left-leaning than in the US or Canada, for a variety of historically contingent reasons. (I guess conservatives were more likely to be Anglican.)

                    For my part, I’m a hardly a tribal conservative: I’m a throne-and-altar reactionary who (along with the vast majority of our forefathers) views universal-suffrage democracy with enormous suspicion verging on open hostility. Don’t worry, I don’t vote!

                    • JohnE_o

                      What, like a monarchist? That’s different, I guess.

                    • Murray

                      Sure, though the ideal governmental system will vary for different cultures at different stages of development. True diversity!

                      But my point is, I’m at least as far from tribal conservatives as you are–just on the other side!–and I’m quite welcome in the Church. Politics shouldn’t hold you back.

                    • JohnE_o

                      That’s good to know, thanks!

              • JohnE_o

                Don’t get me wrong – I own guns, I just think open carry is a bad idea. From a tactical standpoint if for no other reason.

                • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                  So do I, but it isn’t a good Catholic/bad Catholic issue. Birth control certainly is.

                  • JohnE_o

                    Well, as mentioned below, that’s not really an issue for me.

                    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                      Or me either, sadly. Wish it were. I would love nothing more than having a few more little ones around the house.

                    • JohnE_o

                      My wife and I foster for the State CPS. It’s been very rewarding.

                      That’s sort of what got me into this position – got a little two month old to foster and my wife’s Cradle Catholic genes kicked in and off we went to Mass. Quite an experience…

                    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                      God bless you both!

            • That doesn’t make you a liberal, it makes you a knee-jerk liberal fixated on guns.

              If you don’t like open carry, don’t.

              • JohnE_o

                Not really helpful there…

                • Accuracy is always helpful.

    • FrankW

      It’s not about how things are done, it’s about truth. If your desire to join the Church is driven by a desire to seek the truth of the Gospel, regardless of whether that truth led you to where you anticipated, then yes, I would love to see you become Catholic.

      If however, your desire to join the Church is driven by other motives, I’d be left with questions. I’ve known my share of Catholics over the years who go to Church every Sunday, but openly scoff at Catholic doctrines which are in conflict with modern society. I’m not saying that’s who you would be (you’d have to answer that), but I often wonder why such people still attend the Catholic Church.

      There are plenty of good and well-meaning Christian Churches which disagree with the Catholic Church – they’re called Protestant. Many of those Churches / denominations would be perfectly happy to tell you exactly what you want to hear.

      • JohnE_o

        Nah, I grew up in Protestant churches. Never once had an experience like I’ve been having while attending Mass.

        • WSquared

          Then that’s a good sign. I’d encourage you to explore further, because I do think that this is Jesus Christ calling you, asking you if you will take up His invitation to receive Him.

          Again, put Christ in the Eucharist at the center, and everything that confounds you about the Catholic faith will start to fall into place.

          Good luck, and God bless. Hope to see you become Catholic. 🙂

    • WSquared

      Let’s say I was inclined to look into becoming Catholic, but was a
      liberal sort of guy who would most likely be of the à la cart
      Catholicism persuasion and not hard core “more Catholic than the Pope”
      like most of you here seem to be.

      Not everyone who is orthodox is “more Catholic than the Pope” or self-righteous or thinking that Only Their Way Of Being Catholic Is Right (even though such Catholics do exist; they exist on the left, too, by the way, just as easily as they do on the right). Orthodoxy is about Jesus Christ– it is indeed about right belief and right worship, because it would be an injustice to both God and Man to not allow Jesus Christ to be truly Himself, whereby we ourselves would not be truly ourselves, either. What seems like “rules” to those who aren’t Catholic are not there to Tell People What To Do, but to tell us Who Jesus Christ is. The doctrine and dogma of the Church do not change, because God does not change. Start thinking about orthodoxy that way, and you’ll come to see that those of us who hope we choose it out of love do so because it’s just bigger– because the fullness of the Truth is just bigger.

      If you are concerned about Catholics who lean too, too strict, there’s good reason. But by the same token, one does not mistake libertinism for liberty, either. Two ways of doing the Devil’s bidding and therefore doing harm to the Truth, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, is to lean either too strict or too lax. Orthodoxy does not mistake mere strictness for rigor, just as it does not mistake laxness for love.

      It might be more helpful to you to ditch the “liberal” and “conservative” labels. Catholicism doesn’t do ’em, even if individual Catholics might try. In addition, put Christ and the Eucharist at the center, and everything that seems difficult to understand about Catholicism will fall into place more readily.

  • Michael L Hays

    What impresses me about those who have engaged me directly is how little they know about either religion. I have rarely encountered so much determined ignorance and deliberate misrepresentation. If such discourse is the best that those who think themselves believing and practicing Catholics can do, it is understandable why so many prefer at least the kinder, gentler manner of Pope Frances. But the sugar coating of his bitter pill of resurrected anti-Semitism will make itself known eventually, and Catholics of a better kind will be ashamed of my interlocutors. I shall not return to address their comments, which, with increasing vitriol, malign both Christianity and Judaism.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      What in the heck are you talking about? The more you post, the less sense you make.

  • It’s unquestionable that Francis is duping the faithful on marriage. He stacked the deck to the side that he favored all along: promoted Kasper, overrode the choice of redactors by the bishops, appointed the synod secretary, all favoring a change in doctrine. Yes, change in doctrine, though it was pitched as a change in practice, as if one and the other were completely separated. Francis pulled the old trick of controlling the decision process to achieve a desired result. If it weren’t for a de facto rebellion against him by faithful bishops, Francis would lead the Church into apostasy. Of course, he’ll never be able to, because the Holy Spirit will not allow it. The pope is not protected from holding heretical opinions, as Francis does, but of making them part of the Magisterium. The protection of the pope from teaching error was evident in the defense of orthodoxy by some bishops, whose small number was strengthened from above. Surely, Francis will continue scheming until the next synod, likely by silencing the opposing voices to his heresies. Card. Burke has already been removed and Francis is manning the stations with his ilk, changing the make up of the coming college of bishops.

    • Marcelus

      do you know who is organizingthe Synod next year? Napier.

  • BXVI

    I think Pope Francis has essentially said “Yes, the doctrine remains unchanged but we must stop trying to control peoples’ faith and allow them to follow their conscience.” But if he welcomes the unrepentant and dissenters into full communion with the Church, without any requirement that they change their behavior and/or assent to the truths of the faith, then what’s the difference? The doctrine “remains” but it becomes meaningless. That’s the nub of the issue. So we’ll have gay “married” couples attending Mass and partaking in the Eucharist we’ll keep hoping their conscience leads them to the truth and in most cases it never will because no one insists on it. I suppose that’s happening already because almost no one goes to confession even after adultery, fornication, abortion, or whatever. And they walk right up and take the Eucharist.

  • BXVI

    Does chapter 5 of 1 Corinthians still apply?

    St. Paul told the Church at Corinth exactly what to do with those who persist in unrepentant public sexual sin. It could not be clearer. “Cast out the wicked man from among you.” St. Paul knew that the Church could not survive unless it insisted on internal integrity and conformity to the laws of God. Yes, this incident involved a case of incest (a man living with his father’s wife) but it is hard to imagine St. Paul viewing an open and public homosexual relationship any differently. That sounds harsh to modern ears but it is the biblcal response.

    Yes, the Church is made up of sinners. We all fail to live up to the high standards demanded of us by God. We repent, go to confession, emerge with absolution and start over. But the obstinantly unrepentant must be cast out for the good of the community. The Church is weak because she is infested with non-believers, dissenters, and flagrant, unrepentant sinners. She will remain so until that is fixed.

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    The comment thread here – is he, or is he not (Pope Francis, that is) with the Church’s settled doctrine, or not – reminds me of my disturbed thoughts after I read Frederick Brown’s “For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus”.

    Very pleased I entered the Church, yet quite satisfied, in doing so, that I opted our of the “tribalism”. Catholicism in 19th Century France would not have been my domicile. Would have chosen to have stayed on the margins. .In French Catholicism the content (the propositions) of the Faith were not the thing. It was the culture of the Catholic tribe.

    Under Pope Francis (Rio: both the beach Mass thing & the plane comment thing) I am sensing the ascendancy of Catholic Tribalism *sans* doctrinal bones and muscle. Think a prior commenter nailed it with the observation that Francis will stay with the settled doctrine but leave it one for the books, unenforced, unattended by attachment or even martyrdom.

    Catholic identity will simply become the infusion of prior, constructed self-understandings (such as that cultivated by Queer Theory) into an ever expanding, malleable Catholic Tribalism.

    Whatever happened to P{ope Benedict’s (prophetic) thought of a Church put through the wringer, tested & tried, hulled & culled, even being reduced for all that pressure & tension? Whatever happened to the future of that Church.

    Whoever said that the Church of Copacabana Beach is what the world needs? How did that undressed event enter into the stream of Salvation History? It didn’t, no more than Queer Theory (on a plane ride back to Rome) can be dressed up for a journey to meet Jesus.

  • John Byde

    The only person being duped is you, Paul. You make the mistake of thinking that changes will happen only if the pope actually makes them or at least talks about them. That’s not how it works in these dark times. All the pope (or any other authority figure) has to do is NOT forcefully say what he means on the subject in question and the media jumps on his words and does the rest. If he is merely being misunderstood, why did he choose Kasper to lead off the synod? Why did he not immediately contradict the interim statement that came out? As Doc Williams says below, he can be forthright to the point of dictatorial when he wants to be, so why wasn’t he here?

    • R. K. Ich

      Our Lord said it this way: “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no: anything more than this comes of evil.” The devil loves it when God’s prophets hem and haw — they’re speaking his language. The moment we qualify the truth we are become prophets of Baal. When we speak the truth in love, we are become messengers of God.

      • Daniel P

        And yet, when Jesus was asked whether to pay taxes to Caesar, he did not simply say “Yes” or “No”.

        • R. K. Ich

          Did His answer confuse, or clarify?

          • Daniel P

            If your question was whether to support the Roman empire financially, his answer did not clarify. His answer clarified spiritual realities, not political ones.

            • R. K. Ich

              Clearly, without a doubt.

  • accelerator

    This piece is more embarrassing papal cheerleading. Francis on gay marriage has never been the problem, but Francis on gays. Much like all of the clerics. For a *Pope* to make a comment like the following borders on lulling people into mortal sin: “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy.”

    Blah blah blah. This sort of crap is what has plagued the Church since Vatican II. And now we have it in stereo, with the added bonus of some Latin American mystique. Heaven help us. It is like Liberation Theology foolishness all over again injected into Moral Theology. Yes: Francis is fooling those liberals like Sir Elton John! For sure! Is Kengor really that insistent that the Vatican MUST be right, and every pope must have a brilliant secret strategy? Then why is the Church in perpetual disarray and decline? Some strategy! Easy to pretend from the comfy precincts of the very conservative and very Protestant Grove City College, I say. Very disheartening. Pope Francis is exhausting for the faithful. That’s about the most accurate thing I can say.

    • Michael

      Pope Francis, I believe, has more trust in God, and thus more patience, than most of us are comfortable with. He is simply following the teachings of Christ on respect for the person and allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work. It’s when men and women lose their supernatural outlook and insist that they can discern every move of God that they become impatient with people like Francis who are constantly discerning and seconding God’s actions rather than presuming and insisting on theirs. Since this Francis is Pope, and thus anointed by God, who are we to judge his motives? Do we really have a better option than simply praying that he be faithful and perhaps correcting him – if needed – as we would our own parents, because he is our Father in Christ? Meanwhile, might it not be better, instead of putting all his actions into liberal and progressive frames (as if we could be so sure), to think that he is the successor of Peter, faithful to his ministry, and always obeying the Holy Spirit to whom he prays and listens every moment?

  • Phoenix_Lion

    Pope Francis is not doing the duping. It is that people birh on the left and right side of the isle want him to think like they do. He looks at the world spiritually not politically. All one has to do is look at his Satan references to know this.

    Here is a pretty good article about him and a new book about him. It will help those who look at Francis with policical eyes.
    Solving the ‘enigma’ of Pope Francis

    • GG

      Nope. There is a reason liberals support this Pope. The constant need to find
      The right answer to understand him is an indictment itself.

      Do you think Cardonal George is political?

    • Peronism advocates “a third way based on social justice, nationalism and state involvement in the economy.” Indeed, this old third way is known in the textbooks as Fascism. Nothing new here; move along.

      • Marcelus

        really?mixing a lot of stuff there .

  • pdxcatholic

    “Francis apparently wants these folks in the Church, where they can at
    least come closer to God and ultimately (his intention, I assume)
    perhaps come closer to accepting the totality of the Church’s teachings,
    including on sex, gender, marriage, family, and morality.”
    Haven’t we already figured out that a great many Catholics have come to Mass for years without coming any closer to “accepting the totality of the Church’s teachings”? They’ve been practicing artificial birth control and advocating for abortion rights, women priests and gay “marriage” while receiving holy communion. How will increasing their numbers make for a stronger Church?

  • Marcelus

    I will leave you now with a scoop for all to feast on and find bashing material for the following month. An interview, yes another one, from PF. This is the latest from La Nacion (newspaper in Argentina, )

    He talks about everything, Synod, gays Burke, rudder, etc.

    On Burke:

    A conservative sector in the US thinks that you removed the North American cardinal Raymond Leo Burke from the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura because he was the leader of a group that resisted changes of any type in the synod of bishops.. Is it true?

    – One day Cardinal Burke asked me what he would be doing as he had still not been confirmed in his position, in the legal sector, but rather had been confirmed “donec alitur provideatur”. And I answered “Give me some time because we are thinking of a legal restructuring of the G9”. I told him nothing had been done about it yet and that it was being considered. After that the issue of the Order of Malta cropped up and we needed a smart American who would know how to get around and I thought of him for that position. I suggested this to him long before the synod. I said to him “This will take place after the synod because I want you to participate in the synod as Dicastery Head”. As the chaplain of Malta he wouldn´t have been able to be present. He thanked me in very good terms and accepted my offer, I even think he liked it. Because he is a man that gets around a lot, he does a lot of travelling and would surely be busy there. It is therefore not true that I removed him because of how he had behaved in the synod.

    His Election:

    – And about being Pope, what do you like the most and what least of all?

    – You know. and this is the absolute truth, this is something I actually want to say. Before I came over here I was in the process of retiring. That is to say, I had agreed with the nuncio that when I got back to Buenos Aires we would be putting together a short list of three candidates so that by last year end the new archbishop might take over. That is to say, my mind was focused on the confessionals of the churches where I would be hearing confession. I even had the project of spending two or three days in Luján and the rest of my time in Buenos Aires, because Luján means so much to me and the confessions there are a grace. When I came here I had to start all over again, all this was new. From the start I said to myself: “Jorge, don´t change, just keep on being yourself, because to change at your age would be to make a fool of yourself”. That´s why I´ve always kept on doing what I used to do in Buenos Aires. Perhaps even making my old mistakes. But I prefer it like this, to be myself. That evidently caused some changes in the protocols, not in the official protocols because I´m very careful about abiding by them. The thing is that I am who I am even where protocols are concerned, just as I was myself in Buenos Aires. You can see why “not changing” suited me so well

    Enjoy it

    • GG

      I am sure many here read it at Rorate. The piece you quoted will not quell concern especially as you read the rest of it. So much vagueness.

      • Marcelus

        Rorate? Excellent.

        • GG

          Why does it matter? Either the piece is true or not. BTW, Burke’s former jobs both still exist with different cardinals in place. Why appt new people if the job is being abolished? Also, Burke stated publicly he was not told about his replacement just a few weeks ago.

          So, the interview settles nothing.

          • Marcelus

            Well, nothing to you I suppose, in light of the comment. But it does state changes are under study, not made. As for the interview I do not expect nor I believe it was intended to settle anything.

            • GG

              Well you now have conflicting reports. To you it is helpful?

        • GG

          Well, pretty much every site is biased. I suggest reading all you can. At least Rorate is open and honest about their positions unlike many faux Catholic sites.

          I do not believe everything I read or here.

    • MarcAlcan

      That is the most inane statement regarding why he moved Burke. Can anyone actually believe that?

      • Marcelus

        Not you I guess. So the popes’s a liar then.

        • MarcAlcan

          Or giving spin. Read Augustine’s comments.

        • MarcAlcan

          Just re-read this part of the response re: Burke and the Order of Malta.

          After that the issue of the Order of Malta cropped up and we needed a smart American who would know how to get around and I thought of him for that position….I even think he liked it. Because he is a man that gets around a lot, he does a lot of travelling and would surely be busy there.
          If that is not the lamest excuse for getting rid of someone, I don’t know what is.
          To even say that Burke liked it!!! What a laugh.

          • Marcelus

            Maybe yes maybe no. That’s how it is anyway, one commands and one obeys

            • GG

              Commanding and obeying are not the issues.

            • MarcAlcan

              Which in fact speaks very well of Cardinal Burke and his fidelity.

              • Marcelus

                Well the Pope then must be lying on everything else except for the Burke part according to your reading. Who knows maybe you are right. ..

                • MarcAlcan

                  Not lying exactly but evasive and vague. One thing that stands out in this whole shemozzle is that Burke is obedient and faithful to the teachings of the Church and that he is courageous as well and this was very clear during the Synod.

                  • Not lying, just being deceptive. Some call it jesuitic.

      • GG

        Soft ball questions with soft ball answers.

    • So, Francis doesn’t think that he was the issue in the synod? He promotes Kasper, then appoints the synod secretary, overrides the choice by the bishops of the report redactors, overrides the bishops on what went in the final report. Yet, he has the gall to say that he was not the problem? This flies in the face as utter dishonesty. Of course, not the first dishonest and cunning pope. One of them, John XXII even held heretical views. Yet, the Church is greater than the pope and protected by the Holy Spirit from his errors. Deo gratias.