Conservatives continue defending Church from Pope

A couple of years ago, George Weigel had the chutzpah to try to chop up Caritas in Veritate into the bits he liked (and we should all listen to) and the bits he disliked (and were therefore disposable).

In a burst of hyper-efficiency, John Zmirak now does Weigel one better by leading the charge to protect the Church from the Pope (like you do when you are a Faithful Conservative Catholic[TM] these days) by pre-emptively dissenting from whatever encyclical it is Pope Francis may or may not be working on.

The stunning hubris of the Catholic rightwingosphere is beginning to astound me.  The other day I was seriously involved in a discussion where somebody was demanding that I show the pope was *not* guilty of the charge of relativism when Ann Coulter had declared him to be so.

Ann Coulter or Pope Francis?  Pope Francis or Ann Coulter?  Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!

It’s the unreasoning fear and complete lack of trust in the Holy Spirit that amazes me.  “He’s the Pope” should be sufficient for any Catholic. But since so many bishops have done such a bang up job of instilling trust in their office, I can see cutting some slack to laity for their jitters.  However, the repeated fact Francis keeps saying “I am a faithful son of the Church”, and pointing to the Catechism, and well, saying nothing whatsoever that is contrary to the Church’s teaching should be good enough for any Catholic of good will.  Why on earth would anybody assume Francis *is* endorsing relativism.  Particularly on the word of an unscrupulous bomb thrower like Coulter?  Why borrow trouble by assuming Francis has to prove himself innocent instead of sanely assuming that the burden of proof is on Coulter?  And a heavy burden it is, so why engage such silliness?

And when you say this obvious truth aloud, what you then hear is that you are being mean and judgmental against the person assuming that Francis must prove his innocence against a stupid charge by a reckless bomb throwing demagogue like Coulter.  People are so *judgmental* about Coulter baselessly attacking the Pope!  Why can’t people just make cheap shots and low blows assuming his guilt in peace without mean Catholics asserting that somebody is innocent till proven guilty!  Stop being so judgmental against bomb throwing demagogues and let them bash an innocent man in peace, you mean, mean ultramontanists!  Why do you keep throwing hissy fits on behalf of an innocent man’s innocence?

Um, because he hasn’t done anything wrong and is not a relativist?

At which point the standard reply is, “You are saying it is impossible for him to be wrong about anything!”

No, I’m saying he’s not wrong about the thing you are falsely accusing him of.  Nor has he been wrong about swarming cloud of other things the Rightwingosphere keeps panicking about.  Just offering a different take from Rightwingosphere talking  points and shibboleths.

“But he condemns proselytizing!”

Right.  Like Benedict did.

“But that means he opposes evangelization.”

No.  It means you don’t know the difference between proselytism and evangelization. Since Benedict has also spoken against proselytism and both he and Francis urge evangelism, my suggestion would be to ask yourself, “Could it be that there is some difference between evangelism and proselytism I am unaware of?” instead of setting yourself up to judge the pope with “Could it be that the Pope is a moral relativist?” It’s failure to attempt these elementary acts of charity and humility that keep making the Francis panickers sound so much like they think God died and left them to protect the Church from the pope.  Hubris.

“But he keeps saying things that somebody somewhere misunderstands!  Therefore the people who misunderstand him are right about whatever cockamamie thing they read him to mean and we have a duty to panic and correct, not the people who misunderstand him, but the pope, who is a garrulous old fool and a danger to the Church. Nobody in the whole history of the Church ever said tons of stuff that the world misunderstood before.  Never before has the Church had to expend so much energy explaining what a Church leader really means!”

Certainly not Jesus, who constantly said crystal clear things like, “Why do you call me good?  There is none good but God” or “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” or “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees” or the Parable of the Dishonest Steward or “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” or calling the Holy Spirit “it” in Greek or, pretty much everything else Jesus ever said.  Heck.  Jesus even allowed himself to be quoted from memory by people without tape recorders who took no notes and who report different quotations like “Blessed are the poor” and “Blessed are the poor in spirit”.  And it’s not like he left behind a Church whose entire theological project is to explain and clarify the often extremely difficult meanings of his words, starting with an apostle of whom the first pope said, “So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures ” (2 Peter 3:15-16). Clearly, Peter’s failure here is that he does not rebuke the Apostle to the Gentiles for his failure to speak in super-clear and easy-to-understand language.  And indeed, history shows that Paul’s words are so full of opportunity for misunderstanding that entire schisms like the Reformation can be based on them.

Here’s the deal: our task as Catholics is to learn from the Pope as he teaches and articulates the tradition, not defend the Church from him and sure as hell notto  declare our pre-emptive dissent from whatever he may say in the future.  Insane.

Fellow Conservatives: Relax and try listening to the pope instead of trying to fix, pre-empt, and (yes, it has happened–repeatedly, and not just with super-fringe figures) condemn him.  It can be done.

  • BillyT92679

    Amen

    There’s some big offenders in the blogosphere (and they aren’t rad Trad SSPXers either, but your standard blocking and tackling Ordinary Form orthodox types, or slight traditionalists) who say the same things over and over and over.

    They might not think Francis is an anti-pope, but they have a similar mindset as some of the sedes in the sense that they appoint themselves judge, jury, and executioner. Francis is a challenge for them. They want a Church that lines up exactly with their wants and desires. Orthodox liturgy. Poltical Conservatism. (which means small government economic libertarianism, not just pro-life, pro-traditional marriage). Francis wants a church that reeks of the dirty, to smell like sheep. So they reduce Francis to a political entity. A Democrat Pope.

    I lived in a very liberal diocese. I hated it. I wanted tradition, orthodoxy, an emphasis on non-negotiables. You know what? It made me a STRONGER Catholic. A more learned Catholic. And it made me appreciate St. Matthew 25 all the more. The Corporal Works of Mercy aren’t to be disregarded.

    • BillyT92679

      I looked at it in the sense that, if I hated the Bishop for his liberalism, maybe I should look at the mirror and see where I was deficient myself.

    • Illinidiva

      I appreciate the fact that Francis makes me confront my own life in comparison to others. One thing that really stuck with me was Francis talking about waste at the end of May. I attended a function a few days later where there was too much food and felt incredibly guilty about it. Ever since, I’ve been careful about asking myself whether I need something or not wasting things.

    • Dale Price

      Just because you came out of an abusive relationship stronger does nothing to commend abusive relationships.

      After all, I can think of someone offhand who lost his faith entirely because of life under a very liberal bishop.

      • BillyT92679

        Well, honestly, though I can empathize, I don’t see how one can just jettison what one believes to be true, because there is a bad bishop.
        I probably sound like a dick for saying this. I don’t mean to. It’s hard, sure, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater on a BISHOP means if we were around back then, we’d have quit when Judas betrayed and Peter denied. The faith has to be stronger than that.

      • Illinidiva

        Perhaps the main poster learned something from his time in a liberal dioceses and that made him stronger.

      • Dan C

        Bad popes exist. Absolutely. You have no evidence that this current pope is different than Benedict. His liberal economics views, however, will not be dismissed as easily as Benedict’s.

    • linda daily

      Billy, I agree and believe we are given a gift when we spend time on the margins, whether by invitation or circumstance, regardless of our perspective. That’s where we grow in compassion, humility, and experience first hand the wideness of God’s mercy. We all should be gifted by God to be forced out into the wilderness at least once in our lifetime.

  • JasperBuck

    As a conservative, right-wing, liturgical-dance averse, whack-job, traditional-type, orthodox (in the Roman sense) Catholic– let me state this clearly: I love Pope Francis. If anyone wants proof that the Advocate is with us; he’s it. Dare I suggest that he may be exactly what we need at this time in the Church’s history? Benedict reached out to the conservative Anglicans and the SSPX’ers and we loved it. Francis is reaching out to sinners, the marginalized and the lonely. What’s the big deal? Francis is trying to tell us (and show us) that “…Christianity seeks after God with the most elementary passion it can find—the craving for a father, the hunger that is as old as the hills. It turns the whole cry of a lost universe into the cry of a lost child.”

    • BillyT92679

      wonderful post

    • Dale Price

      “Benedict reached out to the conservative Anglicans and the SSPX’ers and we loved it. Francis is reaching out to sinners, the marginalized and the lonely.”

      The archiving of Benedict continues. Not as bad as Elizabeth Scalia’s “thank the Holy Spirit for telling him to resign,” but in the same ballpark.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        I didn’t get the impression that JB was speaking of Benedict in a negative way by saying that.

        • Dale Price

          Mileagevaries. But the clear implication is that Benedict didn’t reach out to sinners,etc. Which is, as they say delicately, “contrafactual.”

          • linda daily

            The other implication is that conservative Anglicans and SSPXers aren’t also sinners, as are we all.

          • orual’s kindred

            Well, it didn’t seem clear to me. What was clear to me was kind of the opposite, actually :-)

          • chezami

            I’m certainly aware that Benedict reached out to sinners. However, the Reactionary subculture that despises Francis managed to convince itself that all the other stuff Benedict had to say beyond the motu proprio didn’t count. The only comments that made it past the filter were distorted versions of the “small purer Church”, which they took as a mandate and a vindication for purging the Church of the riff raff. Now they are confronted with a Pope who says… pretty much what Benedict said, but who doesn’t share their liturgical obsessions and who is bound and determined to bring in the riff raff. And it horrifies them.

            • Stu

              And you are working to change minds in that regard? What is your hope for all of these “effing reactionary bedwetter reactionaries” and how are you working towards it?

              • Marthe Lépine

                Well, I do think Mark is working to change minds… Funny how the same people who are complaining that a “pastoral” approach, with a compassionate or gentle attitude, and does not clearly castigates sinners from the pulpit is so ineffectual as t sounds like it is encouraging sinners to continue in their ways, are now complaining that strong language used by Mark to castigate them is not compassionate or gentle enough towards them…

                • Stu

                  Funny how those who advocate a pastoral approach don’t use it themselves.

            • Stu

              Wow. That would be like someone who is Catholic and maybe even enjoying it.

  • contrarian

    Those who are concerned about the pope aren’t putting the burden of proof on him or those who defend him. The proof is in the pudding. His own words speak for themselves.

    I can certainly spin everything he says to be totally in line with orthodoxy, with a bit of work.

    But I can also re-edit a trailer for the Shining to make it look like a romantic comedy.

    But at a certain point, we should let the words stand for what they are. And it ain’t pretty. We shouldn’t need so much damage control.

    He’s not Jesus, and he’s not Paul. We shouldn’t leave his off-the-cuff interviews or sermons with the thought, ‘What the heck did he mean by that?’ The guy’s wordage is maddening.

    The fact that ‘What Francis Really Meant’ is turning into a full-time gig for certain well-meaning, faithful folks, is a sign that things are not on the up and up.

    • BillyT92679

      As a Catholic, we are supposed to give assent of the will to the Pope. Now sure, there are different gradations of assent, but Pastor Aeternus and the Introductory Explanatory Note to the DOGMATIC Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, are laws of the land here. We can debate the merits of ultramontanism, sure (Francis himself certainly is as it appears we are heading toward a more Synodal form of ecclesiology), but we are bound.

      The burden of proof is always on those criticizing the pope.

      • Stu

        Anytime someone criticizes another, then the onus is on them to justify that critique. And indeed, as Catholics we surely are obligated to take heed carefully of what the Holy Father says. But even still, that doesn’t put the Pope above criticism.

        On one hand, we have one groups who panic and seemingly think the sky is falling because because of some things the Pope says. At the other extreme, we have another group who panic at any sign of criticism of the Pope actions no matter how slight and seem to think that every word, deed, magazine interview, etc is somehow an infallible pronouncement. Its as if both camps agree that the fate of the Church rests upon the man occupying the Office of the Pope.

        • BillyT92679

          I don’t think anyone says the Pope is above criticism. All popes tick someone off once in a while. Pius XII is beloved by the traditional wing, but he had pretty radical for their time works (Mystici Corporis Christi, Humani Generis, Mediator Dei, Divino Afflante Spiritu) that ALL led to V 2 docs, to say nothing of the revision of the 1955 Holy Week that definitely concerned folks back then

          There’s a huge difference between criticism and, fear-mongering and/or disdain.

          • Stu

            There is a huge difference but you wouldn’t know it from some of the reactions by some bloggers who lump anyone who would dare criticize the actions of the Pope into one “them” to act as foil for “us”.

            • Dan C

              I agree. I think that he needs to lay out it clearly like Benedict did. Atheists can go to heaven. So that folks like Jimmy Akin don’t need to explain otherwise to his audience.

          • capaxdei

            “I don’t think anyone says the Pope is above criticism.”

            I’m afraid a lot of people do say the Pope is above criticism, in effect if not explicitly. That gets a lot of conversations wrapped around the axle, especially when mixed with arguments that the Pope is wrong not to be above criticism.

            • chezami

              I agree that the pope is not above criticism. It’s just that, so far, the criticisms of the pope have been, I think, unjust and often amazingly unjust. I’m arguing, not for his being above criticism, but for not assuming his guilt merely because he does not speak in conservative code words and shibboleths.

              • contrarian

                I’d rather that he didn’t speak in code at all.

                • chezami

                  He doesn’t. Nor did his predecessors. But the rightwingosphere has become adept at looking for code language anyway.

                  • Stu

                    Code? No.

                    But I do believe he could tighten up his language a bit for all involved and still stay on message.

          • Dave P.

            Some of the RadTrads don’t like Pius XII for the liturgical reforms, or for his support of the “rhythm method”, or for the positions which led up to V2.

            As far as Ms. Coulter goes, she is a fallen-away Catholic who now attends a conservative Presbyterian church. It is likely that she found Catholicism too liberal for her taste.

    • vox borealis

      Fr. Lombardi comments in the wake of the Scalfari interview point to your conclusion as well. I mean, here we have the Vatican press secretary alternately reminding us that “conversational” statements carry relatively little weight while at the same time calling Francis’ interviews a new genre of magisterial teaching that will require all to get accustomed to. “”Let’s take it for what it is, seeking to interpret it correctly,” says Lombardi. Huh?

      • contrarian

        Ugh. Glad you brought that up.
        So frustrating.

        And anyway, who is performing the Parse-a-la-Weigel here? It’s hardly the ‘conservative’ camp.

      • Apotheoun

        I was surprised when the Scalfari interview with Pope Francis was posted on the Vatican’s website under “papal speeches.”

        • chezami

          The Vatican web crew is on the cutting edge of the 1990s.

          • Apotheoun

            Yes, the web-design is awful, but the Scalfari interview should not have been posted at all, let alone as a “speech” of the Pope. Interestingly, it was originally posted only in Italian, but now the Vatican has seen fit to translate it into English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Since we know that Scalfari did not record the interview, and that he did not even take notes during the conversation, I suppose this can be thought of as a speech by Pope Scalfari.

            • chezami

              Meh. I don’t think the interview is a big deal. Just gives a snapshot of how the pope talks to old Euro atheists. Helps me grok how his mind works a bit. That’s about it.

              • Apotheoun

                I found the interview to be rather boring, but I was pleased when I found out later that there really are no verbatim quotes from Pope Francis, because the theology in the interview was very weak. The fact that Scalfari was the author explains that weakness.

                • Dan C

                  Yes. Boring. And the Jesuit periodical interview too. What incenses some and excites others leaves me dry.

                  That says something about me, I know. I am trying not to examine that.

            • HornOrSilk

              So, you will call the Acts of the Apostles and the speeches in it, speeches by the Apostle Luke?

              And what do you think of the dialogues of Pope St Gregory the Great?

              • Apotheoun

                Are you trying to say that Scalfari, like St. Luke, was inspired by the Holy Spirit while writing the interview? Good Lord I did not know that catechesis had fallen to such a low level in the Roman Church. Good thing I am an Eastern Catholic.

                • HornOrSilk

                  What’s bad is your lack of logical reasoning ability. First, your argument is that if someone else writes it, from memory and not from recording device, they should be the ones who are said to be the writers of the speech. Luke wasn’t there for the speeches he puts in the Acts of the Apostles. It is also quite well known that Luke follows the norm of his day, to basically give summary speeches based upon what he knew was said, instead of a word-for-word presentation of what was said. We are not to think of the Bible as scientific history: it’s not. The Holy Spirit makes the teachings authentic, but doesn’t do with anything about what you said.

                  Oh, and I’m Byzantine Catholic. And probably FAR more educated than you are in theological matters. The fact of the matter is, your catechesis is troubling, if you didn’t know this basic fact about St Luke. And your logical skills are extremely lacking. So many people make blanket statements, but never consider the implications of them. All I did was take your implied thesis and show how foolish it is. If you really studied history, especially classical history (as found in patristics), you would not make so foolish a comment as you did.

            • Marthe Lépine

              Funny how you and many other conservatives consider yourselves competent to be the Vatican’s webmasters…

          • Stu

            A thousand times, “yes.”

            I’m quite confident that they don’t understand the implication of how they post things an what it implies.

            • contrarian

              Stu,
              On certain days, I think you’re right that the folks over there are just morons–they just don’t understand the implications here. On other days, though, I have my doubts. Somehow I think the same people who were quick to post a translation into English of this idiotic interview were the same folks who waited 7 years to post an English translation of Benedict’s Motu. There’s certainly an MO that can be discerned there.
              Again: it’s only some days that I think that way. Not every day. The better angles of my nature incline me (I think?) to agree that they are just morons over there.

              • Stu

                Well, let’s go 20% agendas and 80% morons.

              • Dan C

                Never ascribe to evil intelligence those acts that can just as easily be explained by plain incompetence.

          • Illinidiva

            Didn’t they have SP posted only in Latin for six years? (Although it is ironic that people who wanted the Mass in Latin were upset that the decree for it was only in Latin.)

    • Illinidiva

      Umm.. Francis meant to say what you thought he said the first time around. The people confused about what he is saying are conservatives twisting his words to their liking so they don’t have to confront the fact that Francis is a liberal.

      • Stu

        Well, there you have it.

      • contrarian

        But that’s just it: I have no idea what he said the first time around.

        I only know what he supposed ‘actually said’ or ‘really meant’, once I turn to some blogger who is no doubt losing sleep explaining what the pope really means.

        Whether I believe the blogger’s take is a different question. But for the moment, we should simply point out that there are lots of well-meaning folks out in blog who are working overtime of late.

        • Illinidiva

          Please provide me with specific examples.. I think that what Francis is saying is crystal clear.

          • chezami

            Agreed. That’s what puzzles me. I don’t think Francis is at all difficult to understand and it amazes me when Catholics manage to miss his obvious meaning and assume the NY Times has captured what he “really” means. Meanwhile, as Sherry Weddell puts it, “the lapsed are listening” and we have a golden opportunity for evangelism–being blown by reactionaries who are worried the the Wrong People are attracted to him. Folly.

            • Illinidiva

              And even the New York Times will point out that Francis is changing the tone and emphasizing the social Bible over sexual morality and this doesn’t mean he endorses womenpriests and gay marriage.
              And many disaffected Catholics get that this is just a change in tone. But I have gay friends, for instance, who appreciate the fact that the Vatican isn’t speaking of gay marriage 24/7.

              • Stu

                Was the Vatican speaking of “gay marriage” 24/7?

                • Illinidiva

                  It certainly seemed like Benedict was a bit obsessed with sexual morality issues. At least those seemed to be the ones that got the most focus.

                  • Beefy Levinson

                    It’s less that Benedict was obsessed with sexual morality issues than he was calling out the world on its favorite sins. When Leo XIII wrote “Rerum Novarum” I’m sure some folks thought he was obsessed with economics. When the world accuses us of being obsessed with anything, it’s basically another way of taunting us with “Stop hitting yourself!”

                    • Illinidiva

                      I think that the world’s favorite sin is being self-centered and that sex is just a small part of that.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      That’s the best definition of the word “sin” that I have seen for quite some time. Too bad you’ll never get your gay friends to admit it, any more than I can get my libertarian friends to admit that capitalism without regulation destroys more human relationships than it creates.

                    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

                      The problem is that your (and my) capitalist friends are seen as being very much in the heart of the church here in the US, whereas homosexuals know very well they’re perceived as being “naughty”.

                      As a result, our capitalist friends get to ignore what Benedict and Francis (and pretty much every other pope) says about their chosen economic system yet still get to regard themselves with the satisfaction that comes of thinking themselves the orthodox.

                    • Dan C

                      I am not sure I like the term “capitalist” without qualification. I think the Church has shut the door on libertarianism as strongly as Marxism. I think “unfettered capitalism” and “classical liberalism” are both out of bounds according to most encyclicals on economic matters.

                      I do think that “private property” is asserted as a “good” but not an absolute “good” but for the most part, it is left to the owner of the private property to determine how that “good” will be achieved. Etc.

                      Regulated capitalism (and in Benedict’s worldview, highly regulated capitalism) can serve and allow man to flourish.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      In my parish it is quite the opposite- it’s a social justice parish, and as a KofC I’ve had men tell me to my face that the reason they won’t become Knights are the gay marriage and abortion issues.

                  • Stu

                    Really?
                    Maybe the people who think that are so obsessed with those issues that such is all they focus on and don’t want to confront the fact that living such a lifestyle is not in keeping with what God wants for us.

              • contrarian

                “I have gay friends, for instance, who appreciate the fact that the Vatican isn’t speaking of gay marriage 24/7.”

                I worry that your friends were getting their information on the Catholic Church from the New York Times long before Francis came on the scene.

                • Illinidiva

                  I’m just speaking of the perceptions that people had rightly or wrongly. Many people don’t realize that the Catholic Church has a whole other social Gospel concerning poverty, peace, etc. And gay Catholics didn’t realize there is a whole paragraph in the Catechism saying that marginalizing gay people is bad. In fact, I don’t think some opponents of gay marriage have read that part of the Catechism either.

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    Opposing gay marriage isn’t marginalizing gay people.

                    • Illinidiva

                      Calling them intrinsically disordered, barring them from full participation in the Church through religious vocations, and suggesting that gay people are pedophiles is most definitely marginalizing them. Not to mention the fact that prominent conservative Catholics, like Alan Keyes, have basically thrown their gay children onto the streets. It seems to me that gay Catholics have a lot to point to in terms of the Church treating them poorly.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      By what definition is a person who refuses to accept their physical gender not intrinsically disordered? And it isn’t that gay people are pedophiles, it is that pedophiles are gay people, your math is wrong. And what else can you do with a rebellious child who insists that their delusion is reality and you are the one who is insane, other than to love them enough to let them go?

                    • Illinidiva

                      “By what definition is a person who refuses to accept their physical gender not intrinsically disordered?”
                      Most people see being gay as the same as having red hair. No one says gingers are intrinsically disordered. If you see it as a disease similar to a birth defect or mental disorder, then at least the Church should be advocating for a “cure.”

                      ” And it isn’t that gay people are pedophiles, it is that pedophiles are gay people, your math is wrong. ”
                      There are plenty of men (even priests) who prey on little girls. And a large majority of gay people are attracted to those their own age.

                      “And what else can you do with a rebellious child who insists that their delusion is reality and you are the one who is insane, other than to love them enough to let them go?”
                      I’d recommend that you’d read the literature of the USCCB on parents with gay children, they’d disagree with this action.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      “Most people see being gay as the same as having red hair. ”

                      A person who has red hair accepts that he has red hair. A homosexual person refuses to accept the gender God gave them. There is a significant difference.

                      “No one says gingers are intrinsically disordered.”

                      I do. The Church does. But then again, as an autistic, I’m intrinsically disordered. There’s no crime in being intrinsically disordered, it just means you have a mental illness, that your worldview doesn’t match reality.

                      ” If you see it as a disease similar to a birth defect or mental disorder, then at least the Church should be advocating for a “cure.””

                      They have been advocating for a cure. But of course, gays see that as a threat as well, because the gay agenda insists that even the insinuation that their delusion is delusional is hatred.

                      “There are plenty of men (even priests) who prey on little girls.”

                      81% of pedophile priests prey only on males.

                      ” And a large majority of gay people are attracted to those their own age.”

                      Then why are so many gay relationships between people born more than 20 years apart?

                    • Illinidiva

                      “A person who has red hair accepts that he has red hair. A homosexual person refuses to accept the gender God gave them. There is a significant difference.”
                      They accept their gender; they just aren’t biologically attracted to people of the opposite gender.

                      “I do. The Church does. But then again, as an autistic, I’m intrinsically disordered. There’s no crime in being intrinsically disordered, it just means you have a mental illness, that your worldview doesn’t match reality.”
                      The Church says that people who have red hair (i.e. gingers) are intrinsically disordered?

                      “They have been advocating for a cure. But of course, gays see that as a threat as well, because the gay agenda insists that even the insinuation that their delusion is delusional is hatred.”
                      One – I’ve never heard of anyone in the Church advocating that you could “pray away the gay.” Even traditionalists like Burke don’t have that view. Two – There is a difference between being gay and something like autism, depression, or another mental disorder. The latter makes it difficult for one to function in society while the former just means that one likes people of the same sex.

                      “81% of pedophile priests prey only on males.”
                      Because Church rules and attitudes attract closeted gay predators.

                      “Then why are so many gay relationships between people born more than 20 years apart?”
                      All gay people I know go out with people the same age as they are (or in the same range.)

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      “They accept their gender; they just aren’t biologically attracted to people of the opposite gender.”

                      The two are not compatible.

                      “The Church says that people who have red hair (i.e. gingers) are intrinsically disordered?”

                      The Church, and every psychologist until the APA was bribed in 1974, said that homosexual are intrinsically disordered. But hey, just try to change the subject for no apparent reason.

                      “One – I’ve never heard of anyone in the Church advocating that you could “pray away the gay.” Even traditionalists like Burke don’t have that view. Two – There is a difference between being gay and something like autism, depression, or another mental disorder. The latter makes it difficult for one to function in society while the former just means that one likes people of the same sex.”

                      Thus making it impossible to function in society by getting married to somebody of the opposite gender and having children, like normal people should.

                      “Because Church rules and attitudes attract closeted gay predators.”

                      Or at least, they used to. Except funny thing. Pedophile cases dropped off sharply after 1986, without a change in church rules. Why is that?

                      “All gay people I know go out with people the same age as they are (or in the same range.)”

                      Yeah, people like Kaitlyn Hunt, I suppose, who claim that their victims are not as young as they are.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      If loving somebody enough to tell them the truth is “marginalizing” them, then I for one refuse to hate a human being so much as to tell them that they’re gay.

                    • Illinidiva

                      Gay people are marginalized in the sense that they cannot even become priests or religious brothers or sisters.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      Neither can I. So what?

            • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

              Me too. Maybe I’m a bleeding-heart liberal, maybe I’m some sort of theological savant, maybe I’m an idiot, but I have not been confused by what the Pope says.

            • Marthe Lépine

              Well, Mark, I think I see something similar to the times when you were arguing that something such as torture was evil and someone replied that the Catechism did not give a clear enough definition of torture to be sure that waterboarding was actually torture… Sometimes, when the obvious meaning of some statement is displeasing to someone, that person will claim that the statement is “unclear”. I think that it is one of the games you were discussing in your blogs about discussion techniques, but I cannot remember the name you gave to that game.

          • contrarian

            Crystal clear?

            Then I admire your reading skills. To cite the examples of confusing passages from the Scalfari interview alone would result in a blog post longer than WordPress would allow, let alone the America interview, let alone his daily off-the-cuff homilies.

            So is your thesis that the plethora of blog posts on ‘what Francis is really saying’ by copious bloggers and Catholic faithful entirely the result of ubiquitous idiocy and unwarranted confusion by the faithful? Is the entire MO of, say, Father Z of late, entirely the result of correcting a dim readership, duped by an unscrupulous MSM, and bamboozled by their own idiocy?

            Crystal clear?

            • Illinidiva

              Well give me one example of what “confuses” you. The fact that you cannot give me one is proves my point. Second, I don’t take anything that “Father” Z says seriously. He is so upset by Pope Francis’ statements that he is currently in Italy (on the dime of his readers) stuffing his face with pasta. It is in his interest to be the chief interpreter of Pope Francis and to get him to squeeze into the conservative worldview that Father Z and his readers share. If he actually said the truth – Pope Francis is more moderate than Benedict and is more concerned with social justice than sexual morality and liturgical vestments. Oh and BTW, Catholic economic teaching is to the left of even the Democratic party-, then the donations might start drying up and he would have to work as a priest.

              • contrarian

                “Well give me one example of what “confuses” you. The fact that you cannot give me one is proves my point.”

                Ha ha. How long of a post do you want here, my friend?

                What does he mean:
                –by saying that ‘religion has the right to give its opinion but cannot interfere spiritually in the life of the person’…
                –by saying that people search for exaggerated doctrinal certainty…
                –by saying that people need to follow their own consciences, and their own ideas of good and evil?
                –by saying that we should quit seeing the Church as a bedrock of certainty?
                –in speaking of Pelagians? Legalists? Restorationists? Legalists?
                What are the small minded rules we have ‘locked ourselves up in’?

                Look. I could go on. And on and on. And if I stopped and did a google search, I could probably write a book. I’m not referencing anything that hasn’t been talked about ad infinitum.

                If he’s crystal clear, then there’s simply nothing to notice about these quotes. Moreover, your explanation for Stupids like me should match up with other ‘faithful sons of church’ who also see this all as crystal clear.

                Is there a way to spin all of his zingers in an orthodox way? Sure is! But can we really say that the media is being intentionally stupid by seeing something other than orthodox in these interviews?

                Well, the thesis of this blog’s host is apparently ‘yes’.

                (Though I can’t quite tell: after all, if he’s crystal clear, then he’s quite different than Jesus or Paul.)

                I respectfully disagree. He’s clear as mud.

                The question is: is he purposefully clear as mud (a la the Vatican II documents), or is his just choosing his words poorly?

                I mention Father Z not because I’m his number 1 fan (I hardly check his blog), but simply because he’s been working on overdrive trying to explain this pope of ours, and spin him in a properly orthodox way. He’s far clearer than Francis himself, I’ll say that.

                And I agree with you on the economics stuff. Good to mention!! If Francis was as clear on moral doctrine as he was on speaking out against laissez faire capitalism, he might actually be unambiguously….well, Catholic!
                Why can’t he be as concerned with liturgy and moral doctrine as he is with that other stuff? Why an either/or?

                • Illinidiva

                  Really.. Those are all very clear.
                  - “by saying that ‘religion has the right to give its opinion but cannot interfere spiritually in the life of the person’..” We live in a secular society. The Church shouldn’t force its morality on others.
                  - “by saying that people search for exaggerated doctrinal certainty…”
                  The Rorate Caeli, Father Z, Michael Voris set certainly do seek it.
                  -”by saying that people need to follow their own consciences, and their own ideas of good and evil?”
                  Natural Law
                  -”by saying that we should quit seeing the Church as a bedrock of certainty?”
                  There are lots of gray areas and we cannot fully understand the will of God. Life is full of uncertainies and exceptions and the Church must minister in that world.
                  -”in speaking of Pelagians? Legalists? Restorationists? Legalists?”
                  Same set as those who want doctrinal certainty.
                  -”What are the small minded rules we have ‘locked ourselves up in’?”
                  Spending time arguing for 50 years about the proper way to administer Communion, altar girls, the proper Mass translation.. Again the Michael Voris set. However, even non Latin Mass Catholics can seem obsessed with these things. Ever been to Catholic Answers – every other thread is about a small liturgical detail or minutia about the sacrements.
                  “But can we really say that the media is being intentionally stupid by seeing something other than orthodox in these interviews?”
                  Oh, I agree with you that Francis is more liberal than Benedict and JPII and is a fan of Vatican II.
                  “I mention Father Z not because I’m his number 1 fan (I hardly check his blog), but simply because he’s been working on overdrive trying to explain this pope of ours, and spin him in a properly orthodox way.”
                  Father Z missed his calling to become a used car salesman. He is trying to put it into the worldview of the extremely conservative Ted Cruz fans who read his blog. If he just admitted that Francis is a liberal, he would lose readers and have to work as an actual priest. It is in his economic interest to be in overdrive spinning Pope Francis.
                  (My favorite explanation from Father Z is that Francis is some country bumpkin who just wandered into the Vatican and needs time to learn to be pope.)
                  “Why can’t he be as concerned with liturgy and moral doctrine as he is with that other stuff? Why an either/or?”
                  Last time I checked Francis hasn’t drastically altered the form of the Mass. He has a more populist style than Benedict, which is typical of Latin Americans. And he wears less sparkly vestments in keeping with his desire to have a poor Church for the poor.
                  And he is emphasizing Divine Mercy on moral issues as well as different types of sins.

                  • contrarian

                    Thanks for these answers! Really great response!
                    I must say, though, that your explanations are not entirely consistent with other bloggers who also consider themselves faithful sons of the church, and mean to explain him faithfully. You might cross-reference your explanations with other bloggers who also see crystal clarity emanating from the Chair of Peter, to make sure that you are all on the same page here. :)

                    • Illinidiva

                      I don’t care how Father Z tries to make Francis fit into his narrow worldview and I’m a liberal Catholic with a love-hate relationship with the Church, so I wouldn’t consider myself at all faithful.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        What Francis said the first time around was that gay marriage was a diabolical attempt by the actual Devil to subvert the culture of Argentina. Was that the comment you are referring to?

        • Illinidiva

          That is really out of line with the rest of then Cardinal Bergoglio’s rhetoric on the issue, so that does confuse me. His main biographer and aides have said that the letter in question was a political manuever that backfired on him. It was to a group of cloistered nuns, so it was never supposed to be released. However, when his conservative enemies in Argentina, namely Hector Aguer, tattled on him to the Vatican and said that he wasn’t strident enough in attacking gay marriage, he could produce that letter.

          Saying that gay people were Satanic is incredibly out of line with the rhetoric that Pope Francis has used now. Have yet to hear him make a comment about it – other than to suggest that the Church is obsessed with sexual morality and some veiled references to gay marriage debates in France and the UK.

          • Rosemarie

            +J.M.J+

            Did he really say that gay people are satanic, or just that the push for “gay marriage” originates from Satan? It’s not the same thing.

            • Illinidiva

              Umm.. So you are a gay person in a long term relationship and you would like to legalize that relationship. Your archbishop tells you that this legal push is Satanic, essentially that your long term relationship with your significant other is born out of evil. Is that going to lead to fruitful dialogue or want you to listen to the Church? Is that sort of language out of character for Francis? Yes, it definitely is especially considering that Bergoglio was basically championing a civil union bill at the same time.

              • Marthe Lépine

                Again, context! If the letter was written to some nuns, I do not see anything wrong with saying that this legal push is Satanic, because it could, you know, be actually originating from the evil one. On the other hand, the pastoral approach towards a same-sex couple does not need to use that same argument, because the needs of the people involved are clearly different. This well illustrates the danger of quoting things out of context.

                • Illinidiva

                  If the letter leaks out to the press, then there is a huge issue, which is why it blew up in his face. Why would a same sex couple seek advice from the archbishop of Buenos Aires if he condemned their relationship as Satanic?

                  Of course, it was never meant to be public and was meant to cover Bergoglio’s right flank as I mentioned. It is boiler plate and of much harsher language than the language he generally used. So either his current stance is either one of the most elaborate acts of all time or the letter was, as I mentioned a white lie meant to be used for political cover. Since the whole scheme blew up in his face and he lost to Kirchner, I’m assuming that Bergoglio decided it was God’s way of telling him he shouldn’t do something like that again.

              • Rosemarie

                +J.M.J+

                Above you said:

                >Saying that gay people were Satanic is incredibly out of line with the rhetoric that Pope Francis has used now.

                So I asked whether the pope had really said that gay people are “satanic.” Rather than answer that, you jumped down my throat. I’d like to see the full context of his words before judging what he said, but it does seem as though he did not call gays “satanic” as such, just the campaign for “gay marriage.”

                Jesus Himself taught that marriage was ordained by God in the beginning: “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’…” (St. Matthew 19:4). It was ordained for the purpose of starting a family, not to “legalize a relationship.” The legal stuff is the state’s imposition onto marriage, for good or for ill.

                If the state wishes to extend the privileges it gives married couples to other couples, such as with “civil unions,” the state is free to do that. Yet it cannot legitimately redefine marriage to mean something that the Creator never intended. Marriage is what it is by divine decree and we don’t have the authority to change that. I don’t say this out of any hatred towards gays or lesbians; it’s just that our Faith tells us that it just isn’t possible.

                • Illinidiva

                  And objection to gay marriage, civil unions, and gay behavior could be discussed in polite, rational terms without using the word Satanic. Why would the gay couple want to listen to what the Archbishop has to say on the subject if the first words they hear out of his mouth invoke the devil? It seems like this would drive gay Catholics further away from the Church.

                  This is all, as I mentioned in my scenario, about appropriateness of specific rhetoric in public dialogue and the letter and phrasing that then Cardinal Bergoglio used was inappropriate and probably drove the people he wanted to reach farther away. A rule of thumb that I have is if websites that uses the f* word to describe gays think that your letter is peachy, then the rhetoric should have been toned down. It is my understanding from reading the new Pope Francis biography by Paul Vallely that the letter was a political manuever to cover his right flank and was never supposed to be released to the public. Whatever the reasoning, it blew up in Bergoglio’s face and caused him to lose the vote anyway. It also allowed Cristina Kirchner to lump him in with the fundamentalists and whitewash her conflicts with Bergoglio as being solely about sexual morality (rather than the fact that they were really about poverty and corruption.)

                  His regular language seems much, much different from the letter, so I’m assuming that he learned lessons about over-the-top rhetoric. Perhaps, he received the letters he mentioned in the America interview in response to his own public utterings and that helped him reflect on his own rhetoric. However, I think that the rhetoric Bergoglio used is something that Catholics should crticize rather than celebrate and it is inconsistent as to where he wants to take the Church.

                  • Rosemarie

                    +J.M.J+

                    Again, I’d have to read his words in context before I could comment on it, since I’m getting this information secondhand. At any rate, I like the stuff he’s been saying lately about gays being our brothers. Many Christians need to hear that and take it to heart.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            He wasn’t saying “gay people were Satanic” he was saying “politicians who have come up with this diabolical notion of gay marriage are Satanic”. The Church already has a path for gay people to be integrated in the people of God.

            He’s excommunicated a priest for being for gay marriage:
            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/24/pope-francis-excommunicates-priest-greg-reynolds_n_3983059.html

            • Illinidiva

              Umm.. So you are a gay man (or a lesbian) in a committed relationship for decades, all you would like to do is be able to have the same civil benefits as other couples in Argentina. The first thing you hear from the Archbishop of Buenos Aires is how your long-term relationship is “Satanic.” Think that fosters understanding and dialogue? This is quite different from emphasizing the mercy and love provided all God’s children.

              And yes. But that priest started his own church. If Francis had to excommunicate all priests who disagreed with the Chruch, then he’d have to excommunicate most of his own order.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                “So you are a gay man (or a lesbian) in a committed relationship for decades, all you would like to do is be able to have the same civil benefits as other couples in Argentina.”

                That’s not gay marriage. That’s civil unions.

                “The first thing you hear from the Archbishop of Buenos Aires is how your long-term relationship is “Satanic.””

                That long term relationship is not a marriage. Marriage requires the ability to procreate. That long term relationship doesn’t have that ability, therefore it isn’t marriage and isn’t what the Pope was talking about.

                ” Think that fosters understanding and dialogue?”

                For understanding and dialogue, you can’t change the language. The gay marriage movement doesn’t want understanding and dialogue, they want destruction.

                “This is quite different from emphasizing the mercy and love provided all God’s children.”

                It isn’t love to lie to people. It is not merciful to lie to people. Gay marriage is a lie.

                “And yes. But that priest started his own church. If Francis had to excommunicate all priests who disagreed with the Chruch, then he’d have to excommunicate most of his own order.”

                I sometimes wish he would.

                • Illinidiva

                  Civil marriage = civil unions. No one is redefining the sacramental role of marriage or advocating that. Which is why Bergoglio’s statement only makes sense if he was talking to two different audience and didn’t expect the letter to be released. I couldn’t see someone with Francis’ pastoral sense purposefully using the words “Satanic” to describe something in public. For instance, heterosexual couples who are unmarried but living together are also living outside the Church and this is something that Francis is concerned about but he hasn’t called these arrangements “Satanic.” I haven’t heard him use the words “Satanic” to describe divorce and remarriage.

                  • chezami

                    Yes they are. In Britain there is already suit being brought to force churches to perform gay “weddings”. This is *all* about finding a legal basis to harrass the Church.

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    Civil marriage is an aberration of English Common Law that shouldn’t exist. Obama is definitely attempting to redefine the sacramental role of marriage, and the predatory lawsuits from the gay agenda prove to me that homosexuals are joining the rest of the left wing attempt to exterminate unpopular people.

                    Francis has used the term diabolical (Satanic is an English term and he does not speak English) to refer to everything from divorce to gossiping to abortion to usury and the imperial exploitation of the third world. The Devil figures prominently in everything he says.

    • capaxdei

      “We shouldn’t need so much damage control.”

      “We”?

      My personal take is that people who think “we” need damage control need something other than damage control — viz, a fuller and more profound vision of the Catholic Church.

      • contrarian

        If by ‘profound’, do you mean ‘murky’ or ‘vague’?

        Hey, I’m not the one providing the damage control. I’m just commenting on the fact that there’s a lot of it. And it’s no doubt provided by people who think more like you than me re the ‘vision of the Church’.

        • chezami

          Meaning, you’re one of the people who assumes the Pope is somehow guilty of something, but you’re happy to sit back and gloat rather than try to “fix” it. Meanwhile, I still for the life of me can’t see what the problem is other than “He scares and confuses Reactionaries who think themselves the gold standard of Purely Pure Truly True Catholic faith”.

        • capaxdei

          “If by ‘profound’, do you mean ‘murky’ or ‘vague’?”

          I mean “profound.”
          And the damage people who think like me are trying to control is being caused, not by the Pope, but by people who think like you.

          • contrarian

            Ah. So the thesis here is that if folks like NARAL wasn’t thanking the pope and saying silly things, and if the MSM wasn’t saying silly things, and if folks at, say, the Remnant weren’t criticizing the pope the way that they are, then people like Father Z wouldn’t be writing post after post on the ‘real meaning’ of Francis’ words?

            Without untruthful spin by the secular MSM and the Truly True like Matt, Ferrara, or Steve Skojec, there simply would be no need for any further commentary or explanation of the pope’s words? That in this utopian counterfactual world, we would all just bask in the profundity of the crystal clear message of the pope?

            • capaxdei

              No, we’d still have to explain things to stupid people. They just wouldn’t be so panicked.

              • Stu

                “stupid people”

                Is that necessary?

                • capaxdei

                  Don’t you think stupid people deserve to have things explained to them?

                  And since that wasn’t your point either, yes, I do think a lot of the hand-wringing I’ve read has been stupid.

                  • contrarian

                    Well, as I’m one of the stupids, I’ll continue to check the faithful sons of the church who are doing their damnedest to spin the pope in a positive light. As a stupid person, I’m grateful for the smart people and their ability to clear things up for folks like me.

                    :)

                  • Stu

                    Well, I think some may characterize your take on this as stupid as well. But I don’t believe that sort of talk helps things. I wonder of Pope Francis would call people stupid.

                    Here is what I think. Some people are really concerned and some are very genuine based upon their own experience in their own diocese with less than stellar bishops, a media and countless celebrities talking about what a great guy Pope Frank is and how he is going to change the Church, some perhaps poor phrases on his part and just the plain old angst that comes with a change in leadership.

                    Now since we on the blog of a Catholic Apologist, perhaps that is the strategy we should employ in reaching out to our fellow brothers in making the case that many of their concerns are not warranted. I’m not completely sure why calling the “stupid” is going to be anymore effective than calling a protestant “stupid” because he is concerned that Catholics “worship Mary.”

                    • JayAnderson

                      Now, see, calls for civilly discussing these issues and understanding that the concerns some folks have are genuine and not based on ill intent or disregard for the riff-raff and hatred of the poor is just crazy talk.

                      I mean, suggesting that sort of thing is likely to get your comment completely deleted without so much as a kiss my foot or have an apple.

                  • Marthe Lépine

                    Maybe not so stupid as too hastily said without enough taught other than reacting to what seemed evidently different from their usual way of thinking.

            • Dan C

              Benedict, who made profoundly more progressive statements in his three encyclicals is basically ignored. His precise words are dismissed by those now defending his precise wording.

            • Marthe Lépine

              On the other hand, the fact that NARAL has been thanking the Pope might mean that way further down the road they might be open to actually listening to something else he has been or will be saying, and learning something… It is certainly not impossible. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways!

  • She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

    Here’s the bottom line in my not-so-humble opinion: Pope Francis is my earthly spiritual father and he was chosen to be that for me by the Holy Spirit. Period. The end. Is he perfect? No, of course not BUT he is protected by the Holy Spirit (the same one who chose him) from teaching anything that contradicts the Gospel message as it has been revealed to the Church. That is Basic Catholicism 101. Those who are so intent on finding fault with what Pope Francis says (or indeed what he has yet to say) need to understand that the burden of proof is indeed on them. They might also benefit from removing the plank out of their own eyes too, but that’s another discussion altogether.

    • vox borealis

      No, of course not BUT he is protected by the Holy Spirit (the same one who chose him…

      No. The. Holy. Spirit. Does. Not. Choose. The. Pope. Just ask a certain Cardinal Ratzinger, who became Pope. We can, of course, expect the Holy Spirit to help guide the electors, and we can hope they allow themselves to be guided.

      • Dan C

        Agreed. The Holy Spirit guards the Church, though.

        I would like to suggest that the Holy Spirit is at minimum not displeased with this pope though. I would like to begin these discussions discounting the Holy Spirit’s role in choosing the pope with this opinion from now on with this assertion. The Pope is not displeasing the Holy Spirit. Or don’t you agree?

  • linda daily

    We have a generation of Catholics who seem unable to discern and develop spiritually beyond the most rudimentary statements of faith, despite endless philosophizing. Truth doesn’t change, but we hope that our way of relating to it changes as we mature. We tell our five year old not to touch the stove because it’s hot – this is a right relationship to truth for a young child. But if a thirty year old still will not touch the stove because it’s hot, this is a stunted and incomplete relationship to truth that prevents her from feeding herself and others. Francis is encouraging us to grow beyond a mere understanding of and adherence to the rules and rubrics, which are important first steps, into a more fruitful adult discipleship that requires a transformed relationship to eternal truth.

    • Kay

      Amen. It is called “meat” rather than the milk that so many Catholics (a.k.a. bottle-suckers) are perfectly satisfied with.

  • Illinidiva

    I think that there are a few things going on here. I think that some of the criticism is about defending Benedict. I think that people who liked Benedict are still upset with the resignation and that Francis is Benedict’s polar opposite – incredibly different stylistically and much more liberal – has complicated things further. I also think that conservative Catholics are as cafeteria as their liberal counterparts. The Catholic Church has very liberal social teachings on economics, immigration, etc. and a pope from the Global South was always going to be more concerned about issues of poverty and injustice than the liturgical and culture wars.
    This will end up being good for all involved in the end. As Ross Douhat and other commentators have mentioned, it is good for conservative Catholics to realize that they aren’t extra special snowflakes that should be catered to all the time and divorcing the cult of the papacy from Catholicism.

    • Dan C

      “Francis is Benedict’s polar opposite – incredibly different stylistically and much more liberal…”

      Unsubstantiated. One can map Francis’s words to Benedict’s. those claiming special adherence to the last pope do so because they consider his only authoritative works to be Dominus Iesus and the Regensburg Address (in which the Muslim put-down becomes lionized). Missing from consideration are any of his encyclicals. Francis is just making sure the truth that Benedict said is being heard. That is what upsets most.

      • Illinidiva

        You will admit that they have much different styles and much different views of the job. And that Francis probably has a much different view of Vatican II than Benedict. Francis reminds me of Chicago Cardinal Bernadin, who was an orthodox Catholic, but he annoyed conservatives. And JPII made sure to appoint Cardinal George, who was perceived as more conservative.

        • Dan C

          They do have different styles and it is unclear how differently they viewed the role of a “strong” papacy vs. collegiality. Benedict behaved collegially-answering a letter to German bishops struggling with the “for the many” vs. “for all” translation in the new Mass very generously and persuasively. Not anything remotely Inquisitional.

          One thing to know about Jesuits, is while they value collegiality, they are still the Company of Jesus, not the Society. They have a military order in place. Its just how often they select to assert “obedience.” This pope may talk the big game about collegiality, but I do not doubt one will know that he will assert his authority. It is built into the Jesuit order. He has asserted his own will already and shut out the handlers. He is all about authority and Benedict was an academic and collegial (with one of his first big papal moves to go see Hnas Kung for dinner).

          I think style is being mistaken for substance. Francis is unavoidable. He is likely to be de facto less collegial and more authoritative than Benedict.

          As far as appointees who are liberal vs. conservative, Bergoglio rose in the ranks of the Church under JP2 and Benedict. We have Sean O’Malley’s and Francis George’s as our cardinals. Benedict’s choice of Mueller as leader of the CDF is very striking. The leader of the CDF had not negative things to say and sprinkled positive things into an interview question about liberation theology.

          The JP2 + Benedict16 = conservative Church and Francis1=liberal Church is an equation that makes sense only to American culture warriors. It makes less sense outside the US, especially if one is in Africa and South America (or the Phillipines- Jamie Sin and Tagle would also fail to self-identify as right wing.

          American imperial battles are attempting to imprint themselves on the Church. Most of the planet is annoyed.

          • Marthe Lépine

            Dan, I like that last sentence in your comment. Particularly since I am a citizen of another part of the planet than the US. Actually, I have been tempted to say something similar, many times and not only about the Church, but was not brave enough…

          • Illinidiva

            1. I think that style matters quite a bit. Catholicism is a religious institution so it is infused with symbolism. Benedict and Francis have quite different visions of the symbolism associated with the papacy. Benedict had an almost medieval monarchical view of the office while Francis sees himself as a pastor. Benedict was probably going for an emphasis on Christ’s kingship, but to the rest of the world it looked like the Borgias. Francis understands how the media and the world perceives things. It is difficult to dismiss his condemnation of poverty while it was easy to forget Benedict’s condemnation of poverty.

            2. The tone on moral issues is different and an important distinction. Even veteran Vatican watchers who are quick to say that distinctions between the two are overblown say that the tone represents a shift. Here is a piece by John Thavis (one of the few Vaticanistas that picked up on Bergoglio’s momentum. http://www.johnthavis.com/who-am-i-to-judge-marks-new-tone-on-homosexuality#.UlyhXr4o7IV I don’t think that Benedict would view civil unions as a valid compromise position in a gay marriage debate.

            3. I actually wish that Benedict hadn’t gotten cold feet so often and had asserted his will more often. It seems like he tended to get cold feet or get bullied into doing things. And yes, Francis isn’t a democratic. He will consult with the bishops and get them to endorse his decisions.

            4. There is a difference of focus between Benedict and Francis which comes from the shift to the Global South. An archbishop confronted with the real poverty isn’t going to be heavily invested in “first world problems” like the debate over whether the correct Latin translation is for all or for many.

            5. In recent years, the bishops appointed to the U.S. have been arch-conservatives. This is because the odious Cardinal Burke slimed his way into the selection process and began placing his traddie friends in archdioceses across the country. Cardinal O’Malley was appointed in 2003. I highly doubt that someone that reasonable and pastoral would have been appointed during the last years of Benedict.

            6. The difference on substance between Benedict and Francis has to do with Vatican II. Benedict had a very narrow view of the Council while Francis is a “spirit of Vatican II” guy and speaks favorable of the Council. I don’t think that Cardinal Bergoglio was big on the “reform of the reform.” This of course doesn’t mean that Francis is going to hold gay marriages in St. Peter’s. However, Cardinal Bernadin had the same views on social issues as JPII/ Benedict did and he is considered to the left of them.

            • Dan C

              I cannot argue that their style is remotely similar. That is beyond debate.

              I do think that both celebrated Vatican 2, particularly since Benedict was no small architect.

              Benedict is non-confrontational, an ascetic academic.

              As far as the role of the pope in the appointment of bishops-there has always been local “kingmakers”- hence the choice of Romero or Finn of KC.

              For Benedict, and his Jesus of Nazareth books reflect this, he loves Christ in the Church. The Mystical Body of Christ, and as such, respects the forms of the roles in the Church. He loves the Church. Wonderful!

              He had less experience with poverty than Francis, and less tempestuous relaitionships with violent oppressive governments. That last bit is going to be key in understanding Francis.

              • Illinidiva

                Two points:
                For Vatican II, it does seem like Benedict dismissed the Council or deemphasize the parts that he didn’t like, especially the new liturgy. Hence the “reform of the reform..” Francis is confused about what needs to be reformed and thinks that the problem is there needs to be more Vatican II. As someone who attends Mass, this is important to me. But for people outside the Church it is internal politics.

                Second point – Yeah, but Benedict failed to realize how slimy Burke is and how he is without any pastoral qualities. Benedict seemed to equate people who agreed with him on liturgical matters as being good pastors. I’m sure that there are many priests who enjoy Latin Masses who also spend hours tending to their flocks but traditionalist bishops tend to reflect clericalism at its finest, especially the Americans but also Bishop Bling in Germany.

                As for Finn, the man was convicted of covering up for a predator priest. He should be fired. Considering that the Germans raised their voice until Bishop Bling got called to account, perhaps American Catholics should do something similar. Bishop Bling is just accused of building himself a palace, not anything seriously criminal or remotely related to the abuse scandals.

                (Of course in contrast, the Romero appointment delightfully blew up in the faces of the Salvadorian elites.)

                • chezami

                  Rubbish. He did nothing of the sort.

                  • Illinidiva

                    Benedict’s traditionalists fan seemed to think he was and I thought that was what the whole “Reform of the Reform” was about.

                    • chezami

                      Benedict’s Traditionalist fans understood Benedict about as well as the NY Times understand Francis. They strip-mined him for whatever they could find to support their preconceived ideas of that the Church should do and teach and ignored what they didn’t understand, could not tolerate, or could not be bothered with. Read Benedict, not what his partisans and enemies say about him.

                    • Illinidiva

                      But wasn’t that what the “Reform of the Reform” was about and the awful English translation. I don’t think that he was going to get rid of most parts of Vatican II (but I do question the amount of time that he spent playing footsie with SSPX); however, he did seem to prefer pre-Vatican II liturgical practices or had a very narrow view of the reforms. It doesn’t affect outsiders, but it does affect me.

                      No doubt Benedict had some complicated theological reasoning for his decisions, which were different than his SuperFans, who just wanted the world to turn back into Leave It to Beaver, except the Beavers would have at least ten kids. And the New York Times and other liberal journalists haven’t really distorted Pope Francis’ message. No doubt some low information types have, but I haven’t seen anywhere in the liberal press the assumption that Francis will be holding gay weddings in St. Peter’s.

                    • chezami

                      The notion that he had the slightest intention of “getting rid” of any part of Vatican II is complete fiction. The purpose of the new translation was that it actually translate what the text of the Mass actually say. When you get closer to the language of what the liturgy promulgated after the Council says, that’s not “getting rid of the Council”. Stop buying the culture war banana oil and actually learn about Benedict. He was a thoroughly conciliar pope.

                    • Illinidiva

                      And to hurt the ears of Mass goers with run-on English sentences and awkward phrasing. Not to mention that I am still baffled about who was not redeemed by Jesus’ sacrifice. And this seems to be only an issue in English. I generally attend a Latino parish because it is much livelier than most American parishes and the Spanish Mass translation is less stilted.

                      Benedict was just not my cup of tea. I have a “bad boyfriend” relationship with the Catholic Church based on my time in Catholic school and he reminded me of the stuffier, more conservative Catholic types that led to my issues with the Church growing up. This was in the 1990s, so post-Vatican II, but there is a difference between Cardinal Bernadin, who was my Archbishop growing up, and Benedict, JPII, and some of the bishops they appointed (namely Cardinal Burke and his buddies.)

                    • chezami

                      He doesn’t have to be your cup of tea. Just don’t say stupid crap about him trying to “get rid” of Council. It’s as stupid as the stupid crap reactionaries are saying about Francis.

                    • Illinidiva

                      I never said he wanted to get rid of the Council. How about this.. There are two interpretations of the Council, Benedict’s and someone like Cardinal Martini’s. And Benedict had a much narrower vision of the Council than more liberal bishops.

                    • Bill

                      Benedict, and Francis, have the authentic interpretation of the Council.

                    • BillyT92679

                      Frankly, the advice holds true for you as it does the reactionaries and as it did for me.
                      If you have the “bad boyfriend” relationship with the Church, look at the mirror yourself.
                      We’re called to submit to the Church, not the other way around.

                    • Illinidiva

                      Oh.. As a cradle Catholic, I had awful personal experiences with the Church. I met lots of really mean priests and religious in schools; I have yet to meet any really nice or pastoral ones. The priests seemed to exist to yell at you when you did something bad or got a C on your report card. The priests and nuns were dismissive of students whose parents didn’t come from the more conservative Catholic families. They got the extra attention, enrichment activitives, etc. When my parents were concerned about different situations at school, the principal, etc. were too busy to see them. The apex was when a group of popular girls (all from proper Catholic families) bullied me in sixth grade. Of course, the school insisted that this had to be my fault rather than dealing with the bullies. I had a nervous breakdown and developed an eating disorder. I spent the rest of junior high at a public school, but did attend a Catholic high school because the public high school in our district was not good academically.

                      Over the years, I’ve tried to get more involved in the Church. I do appreciate Catholic teachings, and I love the saints. And I liked the very thorough education on Scripture and theology that I was given in high school. However, then I encountered Catholics who deterred me from fully committing to the Church. I can give you a gazillion examples of this. I’m currently attending the a Latino parish and found that this helps me avoid getting involved in politics. I’ve found that I can just sit in the back and slip out. I do appreciate and am very heartened by Francis because he is modeling behavior that I rarely saw growing up in parish priests, let alone in bishops. (Although I did like Cardinal Bernadin growing up.)

                      I’m not sure why I should be called to “submit” to the Church or belong to something that causes me to be feel mentally unhealthy. And there are lots of people in the world who have similar attitudes. The Church has done a good job of turning people away from the Church. I read somewhere that the best indication of whether a cradle Catholic is still religious as an adult is if they join a Protestant sect. This is something that the Church should really ponder. I can tell you from my experience that my issues with the Church have little to do with doctrine and everything ot do with personality.

                    • linda daily

                      I’m guessing that you will get a lot of comments questioning your faith, etc. I don’t think this forum is the best place to admit that you are a life-long Catholic with doubts and bad experiences. If you ‘d like, I’d invite you to check out Ignatianspirituality.org, a forum for those whose faith is enriched by the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. Balanced, charitable, with lots of good articles on ways to find God in daily living. Blessings.

                    • BillyT92679

                      I’m sorry that happened, but life can suck sometimes. Many people are douchebags. It doesn’t follow that all priests, or the institutional church are like that, or that they are wrong for some enabling that.
                      I was bullied too. I am sure most of us here were too. It sucks. But we have to compartmentalize. Just as we cannot eliminate charity for truth, we can’t eliminate truth for charity. It’s the whole clashing cymbals part of Scripture.

                    • linda daily

                      I agree that we are challenged to love beyond our experiences. But we are also called to bear one another’s burdens and listen to their discouragements as Christ did with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. It’s not enough to simply say “man up.” I think we are here to help one another rediscover that hidden in our discouragement, our hearts still burn for God.

                    • BillyT92679

                      And sometimes it is enough to simply say “man up.” Because otherwise, sentiments merely become pious platitudes that move no needles at all. There’s a place for empathy, a place for compassion, and a place for honest criticism.

                    • linda daily

                      Listening is not the same as offering platitudes. It allows space to let the person discover God within the disappointment. But I do find value in telling myself to “man up” from time to time.

                    • BillyT92679

                      Honestly, I think none of us tell ourselves to man up enough.

                    • Illinidiva

                      Most priests I have met in my life have been like that. I can provide more examples off the top of my head – the priest at the Newman Center in college who liked yelling at people in the Confessional and convincing people they were going to Hell (along with giving anti-war sermons and saying that U.S. soldiers deserved to die.), the pastor at my parents’ parish who was too busy to speak with my father about his mother’s death, the priests that counselled the parents’ of some of my gay friends and led to their estrangements, the nun who said that my high test scores were obviously a fluke. I spent lots of years in therapy discussing this and I actually was told by a therapist to not associate with the Church because of my unhealthy experiences with it. And my case of bullying was mild when compared to some people’s experiences. If my bad Catholic school experiences landed me in therapy, imagine what happened to the sex abuse victims.

                      The Church has alot of repair work to do and it isn’t time to blame the victims or tell people if they have a bad experience to just “suck it up” and accept martyrdom. There are still the vestiges of feudal Europe in the Church, where priests think that the “peasants” should bow and scrape to them. In fact, this seems to be on the increase with priests in my generation. The fact that the Pope has to discuss that priests need to smell like their sheep and discuss their car choices suggests this is a widespreadh problem.

                    • chezami

                      “And the New York Times and other liberal journalists haven’t really distorted Pope Francis’ message.” They have most certainly distorted it. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2013/09/francis-interview-and-the-unexpected-unity-of-the-ny-times-and-the-francis-haters.html

                    • linda daily

                      No one can read Benedict’s writing and doubt that this man knows God. However some very unhealthy ideologies were allowed to surface and fester during his papacy. All things work together for God’s purposes. I’ve come to believe that the grace of Benedict’s papacy was to let these movements rise to the surface like a boil to be lanced and healed (brought back into communion) under Francis’ care.

  • orual’s kindred

    I remember a time when Pope JP2 was called choice words for upholding Catholic teaching on contraception, abortion, women’s ordination–the usual :-) And I remember how he suddenly became everyone’s best friend when BXVI (Nazi! RATzinger! Pope Palpatine!) became our Pope. I also remember Pope Benedict being called choice words when he upheld Catholic teachings about rational thought/discussions, care for the poor, and proper stewardship of God’s creation.

    And now this.

    I wonder how fun things were during St. Peter’s time :-)

    • chezami

      Fantastic. No predecessors to compare him to!

      Actually, things were just as factional and stupid then. “I am of Peter! I am of Paul! I am of Apollos!” is an impulse as old as the Church.

      • Stu

        Well…
        Wouldn’t Saint Peter have to literally live up to, WWJD? :)

        • orual’s kindred

          Yep! Poor guy! X-D

      • orual’s kindred

        I kind of thought :-D But I was also thinking that he may not exactly have had predecessors, but then there was this Jesus guy, who kind of had to do this Asenscion thing, and, well, people may have wondered what He was thinking, leaving this Peter in charge of stuff :-D

        • orual’s kindred

          And I can’t edit wrong spelling, can I?

          I’m sorry, what was that? Why yes, it took me almost ten minutes to notice.

          Gah X-D

    • capaxdei

      As I recall, in some fairly large circles Bl. John Paul II became “John Paul the Okay, On the Whole, All Things Considered” within a month of Benedict’s election, due I think to a combination of it being allowable to criticize a man who was no longer pope and exuberance over the great changes the new pope would bring.

  • HornOrSilk

    If anyone wants to see the fall-out of Pope Benedict, and have time on their hands, go to pal talk. You might find a room called, “Catholic Answers Live from Real Catholics.” Run by a person known as “Silk.” Very politically conservative, very Michael Voris territory (though Silk did think Voris was promoting grave error in his discussion on the Apocalypse).

    Initially they were favorable of Pope Francis. He was speaking pro-Catholic statements which they liked. But now, they are going all crazy with him. Silk has been reported to say future generations might declare Francis a heretical Pope (of course saying it that way for obvious reasons). Many of them are showing outright disdain for the Pope, not realizing things they criticize were found in Benedict whom they all think they loved. The fall out really is with those who are Voris-like conservative Catholics who thought they controlled the definition of orthodoxy. Pope Francis has hit them hard, not because he isn’t orthodox, but because their very narrow presentation of Catholicism is being shown for what it is: a soul destroying denigration of the truth. It’s not because people can’t hold to the kinds of opinions they have, even; it’s holding it as the exclusive and only possible vision of Catholicism which makes for this.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      The sad part is now even Michael Voris is trying to make the point that Pope Francis is orthodox.

      • Stu

        When wasn’t he?

        • TheodoreSeeber

          How about the recent video about “run away from the Church of Nice”? Didn’t mention the Pope directly, but was certainly against the pastoral approach. But then he followed it up with the video on Pope Francis’s America interview- where he put doctrinal and pastoral approaches in their proper balance (and even praised the Pope for the pro-life positions he has taken).

          There is a balance. But I was surprised to see such a strong doctrinal advocate admit that the pastoral approach is sometimes necessary.

          • Beefy Levinson

            Voris has been barking about the Church of Nice long before Pope Francis was elected. He doesn’t oppose the proper use of the pastoral approach, but he is vehemently against the common abuses of the word “pastoral” which is often taken to mean “permissive.”

            • TheodoreSeeber

              True enough- it’s far older than Francis- I was kicked off his page when I objected to one of his rants against soup kitchens. But my point is that I’d *expect* Voris to come down against this Pope, and he hasn’t.

              • Stu

                Well, that’s certainly a different take and understandable. I’m sure some others thought the same. But I would say that Voris is also a “son of the Church”.

              • chezami

                To his credit, Voris has said nothing critical of this Pope that I am aware of.

          • Stu

            I don’t think you made the case there.

  • FrBill Peckman

    I think it maddening that we have brought the worst of politics into the Church. WE have fractioned the Mystical Body of Christ into factions of ideologues wanting their own form of purity (whatever it is that they consider Catholicism) to be the dominant. We apply terms like conservative and liberal to what the Church is supposed to be. STOP IT!!!!!!!! Was this not the nonsense that St Paul chastised the Church of Corinth for doing? Did not Pope St. Clement have to also write Corinth for the same thing? Is is now somehow permissible to believe that I as an individual have to have the Church conform to whatever me and my ilk believe it should be and deal only with whatever topics I deem important? We are called to defer in obedience to the Magesterium of the Church. I have seen absolutely nothing that places the Pope outside of the Traditio of the Church; not even the off the cuff remarks that do not even in the slightest or most remote attempt to change our teachings on faith and morals. I am astounded that so many armchair theologians who believe they have complete understanding of the totality of Church teaching have garnered for themselves a level of competency in theology and thereby can stand in judgment of the Pope. I have studied and continue to study the teachings of the Church for well over 22 years; their sheer scope is astounding and all I know is the tip of the iceberg.

    • Justin

      Why doesn’t he simply acknowledge that gay sex is immoral? He has certainly allowed the media to utterly dominate the narrative by declining to emphasize this as every other pope that has addressed the issue has.

      • Stu

        Has he denied it? Come on. The Pope is Catholic.

        I think he could do better for himself by tightening his words a bit but there is no reason to think that he isn’t orthodox.

      • FrBill Peckman

        I wasn’t aware he had declared it otherwise. If so, where? Are we not to reach out in charity to the ill? When a person is ill, do we first chastise them for the illness? We know that homosexual activity is disordered in Church teaching. Where does it say that this where we start in ministry to those with Same gender orientations? Where has church teaching ever stated such?

      • FrBill Peckman

        Or is this more of our being comfortable with the condemnation of sinfulness…just as long as it not my sinfulness being condemned?

        • Illinidiva

          I think this is a bit of older brother syndrome. It is hard to watch the Pope reach out to the disaffected when one feels that he or she has been faithful. It is going to get even more upsetting for some if there is a decision on something like Communion for remarried Catholics. I think that this is only natural but it is something that we could all work on.

          • Stu

            I really believe that we need to stop comparing everyone we don’t agree with as the “lesson learner” in the Bible. I don’t think it ultimately is effective. In fact, to the contrary.

            And FWIW, you won’t see Communion for remarried Catholics without an annulment because it would require that adultery is overlooked.

            Instead, you will see the annulment process more streamlines. The Pope is, after all, “a son of the Church.”

            • Illinidiva

              It’s not me. I’ve seen it pop up on different conservative websites.

              And I think that a likely solution for divorcees is that a couple might be required to go to counselling with a priest who would ascertain if the marriage was “dead” and then forward the recommendation onto the bishop. If the sessions cannot happen because the issue is physical and emotional abuse or spousal abandonment, the marriage is automatically deemed dead. My issue with the current annulment process is that victims of physical/ emotional abuse aren’t granted annulments and even if they are they must go through what is supposedly a long, emotionally draining, and expensive process.

              • Stu

                What do you mean by a marriage being “dead”?

                • Illinidiva

                  As in the priest deems that for all involved it would be best for the divorce to proceed.

                  • Stu

                    That’s not going to happen.

                    The Church teaches that a valid marriage cannot be dissolved by man. This is based on the words of Christ in Holy Scripture. Catholics who divorce from a valid marriage and remarry are committing adultery. For something like that to change it would require some manner of revelation from God.

                    Annulments are findings that the marriage, from the start, was never valid due to some impediment. They generally take long because it needs to be thoroughly vetted. That’s where you are going to see emphasis in expediting that where able and doing a better job of supporting people in such a situation to better discern the right path. It would also be smart to focus on better forming couples for marriage so that such impediments are not in place to begin with as they are often the cause of such strife.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      It’s more complicated than that. There can be a valid secular marriage (which explains why children are not bastards, so to speak) while it is not a sacramental marriage. Annulments are about a lack of sacramental marriage, not necessarily a lack of marriage.

                    • Stu

                      Indeed it is. I provided the quick and dirty for combox purposes to illustrate why Church “divorce” won’t happen.. But you are free to write a tome on it if you will.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      And yet, with the Orthodox, church “divorce” does happen. And for all Catholics who get annulments, they do have to be divorced first. And if you look in medieval times, divorces happened quite frequently. It’s not so simple. Really, it isn’t.

                    • Stu

                      I’m not talking about the Orthodox. They are not in communion with Rome. And the Church requiring a civil divorce before an annulment is for practical reason.

                      And as for medieval divorces, if you can find where the Church itself had a different teaching that allowed for Church “divorce” then by all means lay it out. I’m confident you can find abuses and with them corrections.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      The Orthodox are in imperfect communion with Rome, which is why they can partake of Catholic communion (and some do). The Orthodox are Church, and so when talking about the Church, ignoring them is ignoring a key point. Their considerations on divorce and remarriage ARE discussed in Eastern Catholic AND traditional Western circles. The Pope himself is doing so. So it is very important here. He’s given the nod to the Orthodox on marriage issues. It’s interesting.

                    • Stu

                      Pointing out that their practice is “their’s” isn’t ignoring them. We can discuss their approach all we want. We can discuss the approach of the Anglicans too or any other Christian community. But at the end of day, this is the Catholic Church.

                      You aren’t going to see a Catholic Pope strengthen marriage and family by allowing divorce.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Eastern Catholics ARE Catholic. Medieval Catholics ARE Catholic. The Reformation-centered focus on how marriages work, due in part to the disaster of Henry VIII, has hurt the Church’s dealing with this, one of the most confused sacraments she has (the closest one after is confirmation/chrismation). And the fact that the Orthodox, who include divorcees, can take our communion should go back to you and make you ponder… is it so simple to ignore them?

                    • Stu

                      Rather, is it so simple to ignore Christ and the teaching of the Church?

                      I’m not a member of any of the Orthodox Churches for a reason nor do I concern myself with practices by Medieval Catholics who were subsequently corrected.

                      Divorce doesn’t strengthen families and accordingly you won’t see the Church suddenly go against Catholic teaching and allow it.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Who is ignoring the teaching of Christ and the Church, when both are far more complex. The history of the Church’s understanding of the sacrament of marriage is indicative of this, if you ever take the time to study it.

                      And you have yet to explain why the CHURCH allows Orthodox, among who are divorcees, take communion? In this instance, the CHURCH allows for divorcees taking communion. And the Orthodox have a significant theology of the sacrament of marriage which is quite sacramental, and I think higher in many ways, than the West, despite what some in the West might think of their discussion of divorce. And you are not Orthodox, but the CHURCH looks to the Orthodox and the EASTERN LUNG to grasp the full Spirit.

                    • Stu

                      “if you ever take the time to study it.”
                      ————
                      This is a common theme of yours. You know, “i”m smart and have studied these things and you clearly haven’t.” By all means, write a tome here if you want on this topic. Start your own blog. Author a book. Demonstrate your prowess in all such matters. But for the sake of us all (including you), give up on the “Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius” shtick.

                      Just because the Church allows for Orthodox to receive communion doesn’t mean that everything about how the Orthodox see things is legit. It just means that is the current practice. But if you prefer how they do things, by all means follow your conscience and join them.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      You still do not get the point. Orthodox who are DIVORCED and REMARRIED can take Catholic communion. We ALREADY allow REMARRIED to take communion. That is the issue. You keep ignoring it (let alone the history).

                    • Stu

                      You miss the obvious. The Church actually has a low bar for anyone approaching the altar for Communion. People in all manner of conditions RECEIVE Communion. The Orthodox situation is already what it is, no need to put that asterisk next to the policy. Further, the individual who is in such a situation (which would be rare that they are actually receiving in the Catholic Church) would be operating under the assumption that they are in a legitimate situation. So again the Church wouldn’t penalize that.

                      You are essentially looking at an extreme loophole as if it is some sort of policy or doctrinal shift.

                      It isn’t.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      While you might think this is “an extreme” loophole, the point is that the Church does allow communion within its structure such divorcees who have remarried. This means attempted universal rules which do not take this into consideration ignores the Church (in the name of the Church!)

                      The Orthodox view of remarriage is that second/third marriages are valid marriages, for the sake of social conventions and morality of engaging marital acts, but it is not sacramental. The Orthodox tend to think that the sacramental marriage suffers as if by death in divorce, so that what happens at death, allowing the survivor to remarry, happens here, with even widows/widowers not getting a sacramental marriage but a penitential marriage ceremony if they remarry. Of course, many first marriages are non-sacramental too, being secular (the Eastern view requires a priest to give the sacrament to make it clear it is sacramental).

                      And again the POPE himself has pointed to the Orthodox on this issue. So to put your head in the sand and ignore it ignores what is happening within the Church.

                    • Stu

                      He brought up the issue, but a made a point of digressing from it and actually focusing on marriage preparation. He is focused on the root cause and not some bandaid approach to marriage which embraces divorce as the answer.

                      Maybe you should put your head in the sand some. Helps free you from distractions.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Digressing from it doesn’t mean he didn’t open it up as a point of discussion. You are acting like there is an only one way kind of thing for discussing marriage: marriage preparation. Good luck with that.

                    • Stu

                      Mentioning, didn’t mean he was considering it. If you read his actual comments it’s clear the direction he is looking to move and it has nothing to do with promoting divorce as strengthening families.

                      This reminds me of the hype when everyone thought the Church was going to embrace contraception.

                    • Illinidiva

                      “That’s not going to happen.”
                      So you are the Pope now? Something is going to happen or the Pope wouldn’t have called a special Synod of the Family.
                      “The Church teaches that a valid marriage cannot be dissolved by man.”
                      However, God can dissolve a valid marriage with the help of His Church.
                      “They generally take long because it needs to be thoroughly vetted.”
                      Abuse victims shouldn’t have to go through a long process. It is very simple; if your spouse is abusing you, then that thing should fly through the system.

                    • Stu

                      Something is going to happen but not a change in the teaching of marriage. And no, you will not see the Church, absent revelation, start breaking up marriage (families) especially after Christ was so adamant in the Bible to tell the Israelites that while Moses allowed it because of the harness of their hearts, that is not what God wants. It’s simply not going to happen.

                      As to abuse victims, nothing about the Church teaching on marriage requires anyone to live with an abusive spouse.

                    • Illinidiva

                      Okay, this is where context is our friend. It was an awful crime for a man to divorce his wife in ancient Israel. A woman couldn’t open a business or have a profession; she relied on her husband and sons for support. If her husband died, a wealthy widow might be able to continue the business or her grown sons would care for her. (Which is why Mary was travelling with Jesus.) In the case of a divorce, the husband would get the children, property, etc. and the wife would be thrown on the streets. Since most divorces were probably because of infertility, the women couldn’t get remarried and would probably end up as a prostitute or a beggar.
                      And just because the Church might be open to a wider definition of marriage doesn’t mean that they are rooting for broken marriages. It is about recognizing that people sometimes sin and ministering to those sinners. And not making divorcees wear a scarlet A.
                      As for abuse victims, they just have to be lonely because they had the audacity to have a spouse who liked to slap them around.

                    • Stu

                      Your “context” is yours. But it is not in any way in keeping with the theology of marriage.

                      As to abuse victims, no one is calling them to be lonely an sure the Church could probably do more for such individuals. But I get the sense that you are defining “being lonely” as not being able to have sex.

                      But if you think the Pope is going to call a Synod on the FAMILY to make divorce acceptable, then I believe your are really setting yourself up for disappointment.

                    • Illinidiva

                      Marriage is about more than just sex. It is about someone being there for you always. I’m currently single, but when I have been in serious relationships in the past, I valued the companionship more than the sex. It was nice to have someone to rely on more completely than friends. And a Catholic parish that closes at 6 with priests to busy is even less reliable a friend.
                      Basically, we’re currently telling divorcees including abuse victims have fun being the lonely elderly person who dies alone in their apartment and their decomposing body is found a week later.

                    • Stu

                      I don’t think abandoning the teachings of the Church are a cure for loneliness. And I also don’t believe that needing such companionship is worth falling into mortal sin either.

                      It’s a challenging problem and a painful one for many people but it will be solved in the context of the Faith and a reliance on Christ being the One you can rely upon.

                    • Dan C

                      The challenge exists when family structures are already formed. What if the now divorced man is living with and supporting his wife and children in a routine fashion? I have seen pastors insist on all kinds of disruptive solutions on the way to baptism, to normalizing the marriage in terms of the Church, etc.

                    • Stu

                      Of course it is a challenge. Divorce is very messy practically and spiritually. While some advice given by priests may be “off” in this regard, I don’t think it realistic to think that the path out of broken marriage, especially when a remarriage outside of the Church is involved, is going to be easy.

                    • Illinidiva

                      I don’t think that God wants his people to be lonely, so I think he accepts when a battered woman begins a new, health relationship or even a couple that agreed to a mutual divorce.

                    • Stu

                      I don’t think He wants anyone lonely either. I also don’t think in response to loneliness He wants us to enter into mortal sin. Not everything we want on our terms is good for us.

                    • Illinidiva

                      Umm.. basically, that is the logical consequence of what you are arguing.

                    • Stu

                      Umm…no it’s not.

                    • said she

                      I’m a childless widow, and I agree 100% with you, Stu.

            • Dan C

              Annulments more streamlined… I am ambivalent how I feel about that. I do know that there is, intrinsic to the system, a bias against those with little education and resources who do not know enough to enter the process with the proper posture (that of penitent).

              It was also a one-time dividing point between American liberals (annulment-enablers according to JP2 in the late 70′s and early 80′s) and conservatives. Now, I see less a divide.

              One thing which is useless: marriage preparation classes. This goes back to basic systems engineering matters in which one knows that education is the weakest and possibly useless intervention to assure “change.” I could stomach a whole lot more, “just get them married” than this big process and education period. I also feel that way about baptism, though. We could convert like Francis Xavier, if an afternoon of preaching was all it took. Is this taking the Sacraments less seriously? Or does it call into question the value of a preparation process?

              In terms of annulment then, maybe that should be granted as a judicial process with a court?

              This was one of a series of questions that Benedict considered openly too at the initiation of his papacy? It was a “how can we get these divorced and remarried Catholics back to the Sacraments?” He let the question drop with a “no change for now.”

              • Stu

                Probably because it is a tough question and I share all of your concerns for the most part. Any streamlining would only be going after redundancies or simply steps in the process that have no value added. But even still, it needs to be done properly and thoroughly and that will take time.

                And while I also don’t care for over-education, I think better education is needed for marriage prep. It’s the lack of knowledge about what makes a marriage valid and healthy that is causing the uptick in annulments. Catholics are entering into marriage completely uniformed.

        • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

          Funny how other peoples’ sins are so much worse than our own.

    • Lorraine

      I agree with you completely, Father, but, tell me – how does a thread like this help heal the fractured Church?

      • chezami

        By helping people who are willing to actually listen to the pope avoid the pitfall of thinking that they are bad Catholics if they don’t knuckle under to reactionaries who insist we should pre-emptively ignore him and all future teaching. In other words, by teaching people to trust the pope over the word of arrogant reactionaries who think God died and left them to defend the Church from the Pope.

        • AnsonEddy

          Seriously? The strategy is to convince some unknown group of Catholics out there of the badness of another group of Catholics so that they themselves won’t be made to feel bad?

          • orual’s kindred

            Setting aside this rather convenient grouping of Catholics into one and the other, out there isn’t really very far :-) Also, surely people who are willing to listen to the Pope are not unknown? :-)

            And, happily, nothing was mentioned about being ‘made to feel bad’. What was said is to help people with regards to understanding what the Pope has said or will say.

            • AnsonEddy

              Yes, because it was me who designated a group of catholics “reactionaries” and thereby completely imagined that Mark was “otherizing” a group of catholics. And somehow I interpreted “pitfall of thinking they are bad catholics if they…” as tantamount to “made to feel bad” when they are so completely different. How could I have so obviously miscontrued things?

              • orual’s kindred

                Well I obviously don’t know; but then I don’t know much, and stranger things have happened :-)

        • Marthe Lépine

          Thanks, Mark. I agree. Because when I began reading Catholic blogs on the Internet, and most of them seem to originate in the US, I have been troubled by some of the things I read, wondering where I had been while the Church had been evolving in a way that I did not recognize. Typically for me (if you knew my personal history), I began to doubt, not what I was reading, but myself. It took a while to recover and recognize that since I come from a different culture, what I read sounded very different, but fundamentally I had been trained and educated in a sound way as concerned my faith. And Mark’s respect of the Magisiterium, and common sense approach, has reassured me greatly. I am sure that I am not the only one, and Mark is doing a real service here

  • Beefy Levinson

    “But since so many bishops have done such a bang up job of instilling trust in their office, I can see cutting some slack to laity for their jitters.”

    Just so. We are in accord sir. Many lay people have had to live with less than stellar bishops for many years. So when they start hearing rumors on the internets that the pope is going off the reservation, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that they can’t even count on the Holy Father anymore. I too find many of the criticisms of Pope Francis to be unjust, but I understand all too well why people are jumping to conclusions. I’m seeing it on the opposite side of the spectrum as well. It won’t be pretty when Andrew Sullivan realizes that Pope Francis is not about to usher in a new age of married lesbian priests blessing the abortions of transgendered single mothers.

    I’ll admit that I wish the pope was more precise in his language. For example, I thought his description of the Church as putting too much emphasis on abortion and other moral issues as being a bit… uninformed (where are these priests and bishops who are obsessed with preaching on moral issues and why don’t they ever come to my diocese?) But otherwise I don’t see anything to really disagree with when all of his public remarks are read in charity. He’s a different man with different priorities than Pope Benedict XVI, but I will survive. As long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive.

    • http://hjg.com.ar/ Hernán J. González

      “his description of the Church as putting too much emphasis on abortion and other moral issues as being a bit… uninformed (where are these priests and bishops who are obsessed with preaching on moral issues and why don’t they ever come to my diocese?”

      I hope you know that the equation “catholic Church=bishops+priests” is a bit inexact.
      The emphasis can be measured on what worries (and pains) more the majority of catholics, where do they spend more energy, and what are the most distinctive points that emerge from their discurse – as seen from the outside (not merely “the media”). I’d say that, from particular to general, they are: abortion, sexuality, moral. And I’d say that that’s a disaster.

      • Stu

        I disagree with your conclusion.

        I’d say the world is obsessed with abortion and sexuality (which is a disaster) and accordingly like to focus Church teaching in that regard because we simply don’t want anyone or anything telling us that we aren’t living properly.

        • Pofarmer

          “I’d say the world is obsessed with abortion and sexuality (which is a disaster)”

          How is the world view on sexuality a disaster? Heck, pick a pretty liberal country like Norway.

      • Beefy Levinson

        “I hope you know that the equation ‘catholic Church=bishops+priests’ is a bit inexact.”

        Sure. But Catholics who are involved in pro-life work of any kind or who argue for the Church’s teachings on sexual morality in the public square are a minority of all Catholics.

        Even if we were to grant that the Church comes across to outsiders as being preoccupied with certain moral issues, I’d argue that it’s more a matter of calling out the world on its favorite sins. As I said below, when Leo XIII wrote “Rerum Novarum” and Chesterton and Belloc were writing about Distributism, they were no doubt taunted for being obsessed with economics.

    • FrBill Peckman

      To say that the last two popes have different priorities is an insult to both. In their public statements and writings both have made clear the Gospel of Jesus Christ is their first emphasis and only priority. Both men have had the salvation of souls as the underpinning of their ministries.

      • Stu

        Father,
        Certainly Popes can have the same overarching priority while at the same time have differing tactical priorities.

        • FrBill Peckman

          Yes, but at the end of the day, they all flow from the same source. This overplaying of the differences between the last two popes is nothing short of diabolical.

          • Stu

            We agree.

            But even down here in the “cheap seats”, I think it natural and okay that we have beliefs on how the Pope might better achieve those ends and even think that his chosen tactic might not be the wisest course of action. I think that is what Beefy was getting at.

            • Marthe Lépine

              However, after reading many many posts and comments over the last few months, it seems to me that much too much time is being wasted discussing “beliefs on how the Pope might better achieve those ends” and his chosen tactics as not necessarily being “the wisest course of action” instead of just listening to him. Could it be possible that the “courses of action” and “wisdom” we are invoking are only our own “human” courses of action and wisdom? If I recall correctly, someone has said, a long time before we were born into this world, that the ways of God can look like folly for us humans, and the apparent “foolishness” of God’s ways can be considerably wiser than men’s ways.

              • Stu

                We are talking about the Pope’s choices unless you are suggesting everything he does is an action inspired by God. I don’t see any evidence of such happening in Scripture nor do I see it as a matter of course for any of the Popes in the past. Good men (this Pope Included) but not perfect by any means.

                So in your personal opinion, with your “wisdom”, everything Pope Francis has done is perfect and beyond andy question. I find such a view just a extreme as those who thing he does everything wrong.

                • Marthe Lépine

                  Actually, my opinion is: Who are we to criticize the Pope as if he was an employee and we were his supervisors? Maybe we do not have the required qualifications to judge his performance. Especially since what the Pope does that is “correct” or “wrong” appears to change according to his critics’ position on the criticized actions…

                  • Stu

                    Well, I think such an attitude can go too far. The Office of the Pope is infallible. The occupant is neither infallible on his own nor impeccable.

                    • Tantem Ergo

                      Agree with you Stu 100%. Thanks for sticking with your points!

  • An Aaron, not The Aaron

    To me, the fascinating thing about the urge some have to (as Mark characterizes) protect the Church from the Pope, is how unbelievably unnecessary it is. God has already taken care of the possibility that a human with all the authority of the Chief Steward of the Church may try to drag the Church in the wrong direction. Why, we even have a phrase for it – “Papal Infallibility.” In a nutshell, God (yes God, not you) protects the Church from the Pope, if necessary. But even God has the sense not to tie Himself in knots every time the Pope opens his mouth.

    Did Jesus, with powerful rhetoric, denounce Peter when Peter ran away from Him after denying Him three times? No. Did the Holy Spirit immediately descend upon Peter in fiery retribution when he shied away from uncircumcised Gentiles in moments of weakness? No.

    But, did Jesus say, “Get behind me Satan!” when Peter tried to assert his new authority to prevent Jesus’ death? Yes. Did the Holy Spirit come to Peter in a dream to prepare him to rule correctly at the Council of Jerusalem? Yes. See, those are the times when the fate of the Church is actually in jeopardy. And guess what? God (not, you’ll notice, self-appointed Guardians of the Faith) steps in and keeps the Church on the right path.

    Were people scandalized to see Peter run away or avoid Gentiles? Probably. But God, unlike the self-appointed Guardians of the Faith, recognizes that we have free will and that we may use it to come to Him even in spite of various PR disasters the actual appointed guardians of the Faith get themselves into from time to time.

    When the Mystical Body of Christ has real problems, God steps in. We have that assurance. So, should we take time to explain Catholic teaching when people ask, “Did the Pope really say that?” Sure, why not? Any chance to evangelize people with the beauty of the Catholic Faith is a gift. Should we wonder aloud, “Who will rid us of this turbulent Pope?” Uh, no. Not. Our. Deal.

    God will take care of any high-level actual threats to the Bride of Christ. Personally, I’m content with the fact that people are talking about, and listening to, the Pope, and hopeful that some of what he says gets through their filters.

    • Marthe Lépine

      I like your comment and would say it is very good. As well, your bringing up the notion of “Papal Infallibility” brings up to my mind something I have just read elsewhere, from Mr. Zmirak (following the link offered above by Mark): “Papal statements about concrete economic policies pretty much DEFINE fallibility. Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio was so cringeworthily WRONG about foreign aid that commentators today try to gloss over it.” From that I got the impression that the Pope is considered infallible when he says things one agrees about, and fallible when one does feel uncomfortable about something the Pope said. Of course this is just my own opinion…

  • johnnyc

    Haven’t heard much from the libs and modernists about this recent message from our Holy Father…..

    http://en.radiovaticana.va/m_articolo.asp?c=736378

    But as the Pope alluded to…..some don’t want to hear that particular
    message or simply ignore it much like ignoring the fact that Jesus spoke
    much about the devil, sin and hell. I find interesting that
    the liberal media and liberal Catholic bloggers who were so quick to
    mold whatever the Pope said into their vision of what the liberal modern
    Church should be had nothing to say about this message.

    • chezami

      I thought it was great. But then I love pretty much everything he’s had to say.

    • Stu

      That’s enough to scare the Hell out of you.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Wow, thanks for that link. Love it!

    • Marthe Lépine

      Do you mean to say that only the “libs and modernists” should be paying attention to this? Maybe so-called “conservatives” who might believe what you are saying might also have to worry about a certain plank in their eyes…

  • PETRVS

    Mark Shea – before you get snarky about Catholics not knowing the meaning of “proselytism,” check the definitions they might make reference to (in case they are too ignorant to have any idea from their own education about what it means): for example, on Wikipedia [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proselytism ] “Proselytism /ˈprɒsɨlaɪtɨzəm/ is the act of attempting to convert people to another religion or opinion.” or at Dictionary.com [ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/proselytism ]
    “pros·e·lyt·ism [pros-uh-li-tiz-uhm, -lahy-] Show IPA, noun;
    1. the act or fact of becoming a proselyte; conversion.
    2. the state or condition of a proselyte.
    3. the practice of making proselytes.”
    or Merriam-Webster online [ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proselytism ], “1 : the act of becoming or condition of being a proselyte : conversion
    2 : the act or process of proselytizing”,
    or even an old dictionary like the 1913 Webster’s [online at http://machaut.uchicago.edu/?resource=Webster%27s&word=proselytism&use1913=on&use1828=on ], which gives,
    “Pros”e*ly*tism (?), n. [Cf. F. prosélytisme.]
    1. The act or practice of proselyting; the making of converts to a religion or
    a religious sect, or to any opinion, system, or party.
    ‘They were possessed of a spirit of proselytism in the most fanatical degree.’ – Burke.
    2. Conversion to a religion, system, or party.”

    If these common definitions are not what the clergy means by the term, isn’t there a certain clericalism involved in not explaining this for the listeners among the flock? Isn’t it a sort of “lay clericalism” to presume that every Catholic should, as a matter of duty, know not just the common definition but the current connotation of the term in clerical circles?

    Francis confuses. What he says on Monday seems to be contradicted on Thursday. So many Catholics look to the blogosphere to help them understand what is being taught, and find confusion there, too. They don’t have time to make a scholarly research project of it, and they are getting discouraged. For the first time in centuries (possibly ever), we have two Popes, both of whom have declared (for differing reasons) that they do not want to be our Pope. The secular media twist everything they can get hold of, and Francis’ manner of speaking lends them a steady flow of ammunition. Increasingly there are, in the confusion, among the flock of Christ, those who feel “like sheep without a shepherd.” Some of them have already, despairing of making any sense out of what he says, given up listening to Francis at all.

    St Paul said, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”
    [Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/ewtn/bible/search_bible.asp#ixzz2hjM0IzMG ]

    This confusion is not good for the Church.

    • chezami

      Rubbish. Francis says the same thing Benedict and JPII say. And people whose intellect goes deeper than dictionary quotations manage to figure out that there’s a difference between proselytism and evangelism and to realize that all three popes discourage the former and encourage the latter. Stop with the dumb accusations and learn to listen to what they are saying.

      • HornOrSilk

        I would add polemics goes with proselytism, and people should read VII on polemics. It might help.

    • Dan C

      Francis is confusing largely conservatives. I claim that MSM mistakes are closer to the truth than conservatives even when they are trying to explain what Francis is saying. .

      For example, we have Mr. Jimmy Akin struggling mightily to say that Francis didn’t say that atheists could be saved without coming to the faith here:

      http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/did-pope-francis-say-atheists-dont-need-to-believe-in-god-to-be-saved-9-thi

      Let’s review some old Ratzinger:

      “That’s a different question altogether. It is definitely possible for someone to receive from his religion directives that help him become a pure person, which also, if we want to use the word, help him to please God and reach salvation. This is not at all excluded by what I said; on the contrary, this undoubtedly happens on a large scale. It is just that it would be misguided to deduce from this fact that the religions themselves all stand in simple equality to one another, as in one big concert, one big symphony in which ultimately all mean the same thing.

      Religions can also make it harder for man to be good. This can happen even in Christianity because of false ways of living the Christian reality, sectarian deformations, and so forth. In this sense, in the history and universe of religions, there is always a great necessity to purify religion so that it does not become an obstacle to the right relation to God but in fact puts man on the right path.

      I would say that if Christianity, appealing to the figure of Christ, has claimed to be the true religion among the religions of history, this means [in connection with what I have just said] that in the figure of Christ the truly purifying power has appeared out of the Word of God. Christians do not always live this power well and as they should, but it furnishes the criterion and the orientation for the purifications that are indispensable for keeping religion from becoming a system of oppression and alienation, so that it may really become a way for man to God and to himself.”

      So much can be misread into this statement: relativism, or a hierarchy of truth identification. Also, is he appealing for the social utilization of religion as a cultural modifying force like those near-atheist American Founders who also bought into religion as a way to control the social order (I particularly think of Jefferson on this point.)

      Ratzinger/Benedict is not going to be read like this, but if I labeled this as from Francis, he would be.

    • capaxdei

      I think people would be less confused if, instead of getting bent out of shape when he doesn’t do what they think he should do (“isn’t there a certain clericalism involved in not explaining this for the listeners among the flock”), they spent some time thinking about what he *is* doing.

      If you are confused, it’s because you are trying to fit Pope Francis into an existing pattern of thought. Your existing patterns of thought (for any value of “your”) do not fully prescribe the Catholic faith. The sooner you understand that, the sooner you understand Pope Francis.

  • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

    Today Francis said that the point of evangelization was to “go against the tide and convert from idolatry to the One True God.”
    What a freakin modernist.

  • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

    I’m in the odd position. From day one, I’ve liked most of what he has had to say. The interviews weren’t scandalous, once I realized they were a club directed at my own imperfections just as much as statements of his. I found some of the ideas a powerful reformulation of Catholic Social Teaching that we don’t hear much of. So I like a lot of what he has to say.

    It’s what he has to DO that I wonder about. I don’t know the facts on the ground, but I don’t think the Fransiscans needed to have their rights to say the Latin Mass curtailed, and the majority of the priests certainly don’t. (Though their holy obedience is an example we should all follow if we ever find ourselves in such.) Given the emphasis on local control, I’m questioning how much good that will actually do in places like St. Paul.

    I also don’t think the magic solution is “implement Vatican II…. for realz this time.”
    Yet the big thing about all of this? None of it has actually played out yet. There isn’t really anything to object to yet. The majority of people who criticize those interviews went into them LOOKING TO BE PISSED OFF. Not surprising that they found it.

    • Dan C

      Maureen Dowd approached Benedict’s ascension similarly. She was the one who noted “the cafeteria is closed.” This brought cheers to one pole of the culture wars. Benedict turned out quite different, though. Francis says little different than Benedict.

  • CS

    My theory is that a giant swath of traditional Catholics are sick of liberal/dissenters having all the Fun with Modern Gnosticism. They want to be in the special club of KnowItAlls for once, and Pope Francis’ bare-laid Gospel has provided them with a chance!

  • Y. A. Warren

    Great diatribe! And so needed. Thanks. i LOVED reading it. Throw those heretics out of the temple!

  • Pofarmer

    “There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and
    unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other
    scriptures ” (2 Peter 3:15-16). Clearly, Peter’s failure here is that he
    does not rebuke the Apostle”

    FWIW, 2 Peter is widely considered a second century forgery, was certainly not written by Peter the apostle, and is pretty much full of common apologetics.

    • chezami

      Yeah, I know. The point stands. Anybody who thinks Paul is an easy read has not idea what they are talking about.

      • Pofarmer

        Well, you also have to consider that all of what has generally been considered from Paul, is probably not.

        • HornOrSilk

          Point is here: (point).

          Pofarmer is here: ——————————–> (way out in left field, having missed the point).

          • Pofarmer

            I get the point. Do you get my point?

            • HornOrSilk

              Conventions for discussing Scriptural authors remains, and so even if 2 Peter is not by the first Pope, it is still seen as Petrine, in the Spirit of Peter, and capable of being said to be by “Peter.” Being pedantic about Scriptural authorship when most on here understand the complexity of authorship ignores the issue: Paul’s writings can be misinterpreted and need to be read in the context of the Church, not apart from it.

              • Pofarmer

                Yes, reality is hard, much better to stick to dogma.

              • Pofarmer

                Thinking on this a little further, what you posit here is simply nonsense. What you are saying is “We know the book isn’t by Peter, but we are going to interpret it as if it were.” The same for the letters of Paul. “We know that Paul didn’t write about half of these, but, we are going to interpret them as if he did.” Thus “In the context of the Church” can mean basically anything that the Church wants it to. This presents a problem, as the Church is now not searching for truth, the Church is searching for Authority.

                • Tom

                  So you’re sort of leaping from “some scholars argue that not every letter attributed to Paul can be doubtlessly said to be Paul’s work” to “We know that Paul didn’t write about half of these.” We don’t; but we do know the Bible is full of difficult language that is subject to misinterpretation, which was the point of the passage.

                  • Pofarmer

                    Sorry, I was paraphrasing an attitude there. What I said was, “It is widely thought that about half of the letters attributed to Paul were not written by him.” O.K. The bible contains difficult language. So what? If we don’t know who wrote it, why does this “difficult” language, really matter in the first place? Maybe it’s difficult, for instance, because it’s nonsense? Or, Maybe it’s difficult because it contradicts some other passages because it’s written by a different author? Maybe it’s not “difficult” because it has some super duper awesomely complicated theological meaning. Maybe it’s difficult because different authors really were saying different things? The point is, the Church is more than willing, as was demonstrated, to just jump over any and all considerations and go straight to doctrine, regardless of what the scriptural justification behind it is.

        • chezami

          No. I don’t. :)

          • Pofarmer

            Don’t know if you are serious or not. The problem is, 2 Peter is a very different book from 1st Peter, and seems to be answering questions that were coming up sometime in the 2nd century, so, it couldn’t have been written by the apostle. About half the books originally considered written by Paul(I can’t remember exactly which ones off the top of my head) are widely considered to have not been. This is why say, 2 Corinthians in some points contradicts 1st Corinthians. It’s not that they are hard to read, it’s that they are contradictory and by different authors. You are trying to square a circle.

  • Ezza

    Coulter talks about the sin of Pride with such authority. Oh the irony is lost on her- a woman who thinks she is above organised religion, only adhering to her own version of Christianity. Another log in her eye…

  • anula

    HEH, there’s huge load of fundie comments under every news about pope’s sermons, yesterday I read how liberal media who were “destroying” previous popes are now loving the new one because they only want to destroy church, and since Francis is destroying it, they cheer him up! Srs, fundies are going apeshit these days.

    • Christiane Smith

      There is an alignment among some Catholics with the Republican Party, which has economic views that the Church cannot fully support. So there was already tension (remember ‘Nuns On The Bus’ and Paul Ryan?)

      Pope Francis is being himself. I don’t see him trying to play politics or even trying to offend political people. He is very genuine in his interactions with people and is not ‘formal’ and does not keep himself away from people. That is his way. It was his way when he was in Argentina.

      If they are uncomfortable with someone like Francis, perhaps the extreme right wing Catholics should think about leaving the Church and joining a fundamentalist-evangelical Church that outwardly supports the Republican Party? It is evident they would be more ‘at home’ among their own kind.


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