The Heretic Pope: Traitor to the Prolife Movement!!!!

Boy, it’s just so confusing where he stands!  I think he only says this stuff to throw us off the scent of his obvious heresy in saying the gospel is primarily about the encounter with Jesus Christ and not primarily about a set of abstract moral platitudes and red meat culture war slogans.  “Encounter with Jesus”?  What’s that?  Some kind of Protestant thing?

  • Cypressclimber

    Straw man. For a lot of us prolifers, we never doubted the pope was prolife. But it’s not fun to have the pope’s own words deployed as a weapon against us: I mean his comment about not being “obsessed.” Whaddya think, Mark? Maybe when all those prolifers gather in DC in a couple of weeks, the pope’s comments about not being “obsessed” could be read to them?

    I have no doubt that somewhere there are self-described prolifers who actually cast doubt on whether the pope is prolife. So lash away. But I’m betting there aren’t very many.

    • chezami

      So you go and learn what the pope actually said and then educate the ignorant. It’s not that hard. Here, let me help you:

      • Stu

        I don’t think he is against that.

        I think he is simply pointing out that the words used by the Holy Father may not have been the best way to express them given the society we live in. Fact remains, no matter how much you educate the ignorant, those quotes, admittedly taken out of context, are going to be thrown around as much as the charge by fundamentalists that “Catholics worship Mary.” Like it or not, if you have to expend your time trying to correct the misconception on that, you risk using up resources that could have been spend actually forwarding the cause.

        The Pope himself speaks about how we need to rethink how we approach people in terms of spreading the Gospel and that is a fair point. But if that is the case, then that also applies to how he may discuss things in the media and I am absolutely confident that he would be open to such a critique. It’s clear the Pope like to speak off the cuff and “think out loud” but such a style can bring with it some unintended consequences and I would submit the number of clarifications on his remarks in the last few months is evidence of that.

        Your defense of the Pope is admirable. Indeed, he has been subject to some attack by people who really should have more faith in protection that God promised for the Church as well as the decency to give the Pope the benefit of the doubt when they don’t necessarily understand what he is getting at. But likewise, I think we can also be open to pointing out areas that we genuinely see as not ideal. After all, the Legionaries are still around aren’t they?

        • chezami

          Meh. The Catholic faith is chockablock with language Late Moderns misunderstand. Catholics should be used to that. That Francis and he alone is singled out by some conservative Catholics for blame says more about what makes those Catholics nervous than anything about Francis.

          • Stu

            I don’t see it as an either/or. Sure, there are some so-called conservative Catholics who are dealing with some introspection given his remarks. In fact, if anyone isn’t feeling the need for some introspection from his remarks, then they need to look closer.

            But that doesn’t mean that all of his remarks have been optimal and given the many clarifications from the press office (not the mention the whole debacle with the Scalfari interview) it’s clear the he and the Vatican know it as well. There is no harm in pointing this out.

            • chezami

              It is not “dealing with introspection” to blame the pope for saying things we don’t want to have to bother explaining. It is not self-examination to accuse the pope of siding with enemies of the Faith against Me, the Obviously Superior Christian. It is enmity to the pope and I’ve seen tons of it from people who have decided that they are the Church’s Last Line of Defense against Pope Francis. I have no sympathy for these people. None.

              • Stu


                You are conflating two things here that need to be separated.

                I’m not one of those people, unless you want to claim otherwise. So my criticisms have nothing to do with calling him an enemy of the Faith or other such things. So we can take that off the table right now. Again, unless you are putting me in that camp.

                The very fact that the Vatican has had to clarify his remarks, again to include the Scalfari interview in its entirety, demonstrates that there have been some communication issues.

                Instead of dwelling on the extremists, lets’ talk about the more thoughtful concerns like Cypress brought up.

                • Cypressclimber

                  Stu–it appears our genial host would rather write me off.

              • Steve Skojec

                The pope has arguably the largest and most influential pulpit in the world. The world – and many Catholics – think that everything he says is either completely infallible, or that we at least believe as much. When he says things that are so easily construed to be contradictions of what the Church has said in the past, how does that responsibility not lie, at least in part, with him?

                Further, I’m not sure who you’re referring to when you cast aspersions on his critics as self-described “Obviously Superior Christians,” but the folks I’m hearing from who feel bothered by the doctrinal confusion and division that this papacy is stirring up are absolutely not people who feel that way. In fact, most of us are very much self-admitted sinners. And we find the problematic things the pope is doing particularly frustrating BECAUSE we’re nobody to tell him what to do, and don’t see ourselves as superior. We’re trying to figure out where he’s coming from and why, and what the effects of what he’s saying and doing will have on the Church and her efforts.

                Nothing that all of the critics of Francis could say, even if it were said in unison, would be so much as a drop in the bucket against the influence he wields. But inasmuch as we, too, consider ourselves faithful sons of the Church, and our concern is based on a perceived deviation from Church teaching (and not simply from the way we like things being done) your lack of sympathy is…telling.

                If we’re wrong, the way to show us is not by ramming your irritation down our throats – particularly in the passive aggressive way that posting it here, where most of us aren’t reading, represents. I keep thinking that since your job is Catholic apologetics that maybe you know something about it, but the basic tact that is part of any effective evangelization is utterly lacking with any fellow Catholic you brand as an enemy.

          • Cypressclimber

            Dude–there’s only one pope. Only the pope’s words can be quoted as, “The pope today said about prolifers…”

            So it’s not singling him out.

      • Cypressclimber

        There are good people who are discouraged. Your responses seem to break out as:

        a) They really aren’t good people, because no good person could find fault with anything the pope says

        b) It’s their own fault, because the pope couldn’t be wrong.

        c) “Meh.”

        My point isn’t that complicated: I wish the pope well, but I wish he’d have a care to how his words are being used against his friends. The “obsessed” item is exhibit A. It’s really not that hard to recast what he said in a way that doesn’t sacrifice the valid point he made, while keeping it from being a weapon.

        I fail to see why this is asking too much.

        And since you’ve pigeonholed prolifers like me who raise questions as hating the pope and calling him “heretic” (see your own headline), I’ll go out of my way to defend myself on that point. I haven’t said a single thing here that is disrespectful of the pope. I am furious at anyone who calls him a heretic. I am not one of them.

      • wlinden

        But their minds are already made up, and they get upset if we try to confuse them with facts.

  • Francisco J Castellanos

    God Bless our Pope. In the latest issue of Columbia Magazine there is an article with several quotes from him, as Pope and as Archbishop,reaffirming our duty to defend Life.

    And a happy and blessed New Year to Mr. Shea and everbody who posts and lurks in this neighborhood!

  • kmk

    I lurk a lot, don’t comment much. What a lovely photo, and such an encouraging quote! Thanks for posting it. I might print it out to bring with us to DC on the 22nd for the March if I remember to.

    Mark, your sarcasm at the end seems to be directed to other postings or specific people–maybe it could be posted as a reply, rather than a beginning which really reads as a cut-short nasty end. Some of us lurkers are struggling with non- and lapsed- Catholics flinging out of context quotes and/or the failings of popes, bishops, random priests and nuns at every opportunity–yikes. Could you help those of us who are not as well-written or articulate as you to encourage and explain rather than tear down? I know you do on a regular basis, that is why I have stuck with your blog for lo these many years.

    I can’t even articulate why your paragraph bothers me deeply, but it does, and I am not trying to be antagonistic, I am just sad.

  • Dave G.

    You know would be jiffy? Posts that say ‘here’s what the Pope says, here’s what it means, here’s why it is something we all need to hear.’ Instead of the ‘here’s what the Pope says, now to bludgeon those other Catholics.’ Fact is, there have been critics of every pope I’ve known of since I began paying attention. From all sides. Not all critics of JPII or Benedict were liberals. Most were. Some seemed pretty strong in their traditional ways. Others just noted things they thought could have been better and pointed it out. That seems to be continuing here, except that more on the traditional side are the ones complaining, while those deemed liberal seem happier and, as of now, more supportive. So we can keep focusing on what has always been. Or we can say ‘how does what the Pope has said impact *me*’ I vote for the second.

    • chezami

      That’s true. There have been critics of every Pope. But the critics of the most recent one habitually speak of themselves as the True Measure of Catholic Faith and are ready to kick out of the Church anybody who questions their cramped little model of the Faith. At least the previous critics made it frankly clear that they had no interest in orthodoxy. The current crop tend to tell everybody else that they are heterodox.

      • James Scott

        Rather with the current crowd of Francis haters & leftover Radtrads recycling their “I hate JP2 meme” for a new generation there is this premptive tendency to boggart those who would insist the Pope be treated fairly, justly and respectfully with complaints of “ultramontism” and “making excuses”. Not to mention this weird novel idea the Pope must be perspicuous 24/7 otherwise there is a crisis.

        Francis hasn’t even been Pope for a year and jerks like Chris Ferrera have declared him a disaster.

        Ironically some of these morons are conveniently forgetting all the Trash they talked about JP2 & B16 and acting like we where in some golden age till the Babylonian Captivity of Francis the heretical liberal.

        Oy Vey! We need a new Lidless Eye Inquisition!

      • Dave G.

        Actually, if you think about it, the old progressive critics were perhaps worse. Because it was those critics willing to say that the Church’s history was one long, sad tale of bigotry, hate, inquisitions, sexism, corruption, racism and any other ism you could imagine. Which naturally was what the current bumper crop of progressive Catholics were desperately trying to save the Church from. We used to say if you want a reason not to be Catholic, talk to a Catholic. And we usually meant those of a more progressive bent. Or perhaps it’s just as bad or no worse. In any event, it’s what it always has been, and I can’t help but think it would be more interesting to unpack the teachings, rather than continue with this line that does seem to be taking on the feeling of an obsession.

    • Beadgirl

      “You know would be jiffy? Posts that say ‘here’s what the Pope says,
      here’s what it means, here’s why it is something we all need to hear.’”

      Jimmy Akin has been doing exactly that, and the comments from some supposedly faithful Catholics are absolutely horrid.

      • Rosemarie


        Unfortunately, that last part is all too true. The vitriol is unbelievable; makes me not even want to read the comments box.

      • Dave G.

        You can’t control what others do. The vitriol can be a factor of internet debate, though I remember some pretty raw things said about Benedict and JPII back in the day in the early days of blogs (and even before). Nonetheless, I remember most things about written about what they were saying. Oh, sometimes if the criticisms were particularly nasty, someone might step aside and take it to task. But usually, the posts were ‘here’s what Benedict/JPII said, here’s why it’s awesome.’ Yes, critics would be noted. Alternate views would be dealt with. But the whole thread wasn’t ‘here’s what Benedict said, let’s see how those Catholics over there will react’ as if that’s all that’s worth saying.

      • chezami

        No. Those people don’t exist. Anson Eddy says so. I’m making it all up.

        • AnsonEddy

          Way to keep your eye on the ball. Catholic apologetics should never be about grappling with ideas, but rather about excoriating various people. That’s why Saint Paul was so careful to remind us that our struggle IS against flesh and blood.

    • wlinden

      I am more concerned over “news” stories telling us “This Pope agrees with the editorial board of the New York Times about everything! That will show those awful CONSERVATIVES!”

  • AnsonEddy

    This post exemplifies the following (choose all that apply):
    a) Love b) Joy c) Peace d) Patience e) Kindness f) Goodness g) Faithfulness h) Gentleness I) self-control
    Posts like this put people in danger of the fires of hell because:
    a) Anyone who contradicts Fox News is already in dangers of the fires of hell. B) It puts someone on the wrong side of the “I like Pope Francis”/”I don’t like Pope Francis” culture divide. C) Sometimes one’s desire for justice can turn into a burning hatred of what one considers to be people guilty of injustice and the Church considers this the deadly sin of Wrath.

    • chezami

      O the humanity. Somebody was critical of people who slander the pope! Those poor poor victims!

      • AnsonEddy

        I’m down. Let’s all cut loose and get our RAGE on!!! It’s fun and consequence free!

        • chezami

          Yes. Making fun of hysterics who charge the pope with betraying the prolife movement on the basis of nothing is rage. And you’re not being hysterical or anything.

          • AnsonEddy

            You know what, I just typed out something snarky as a response, but I’m deleting it. I will pray for you instead. If you wouldn’t mind, please pray for me as well.

    • jaybird1951

      That gratuitous snarky remark about Fox News is plain dumb. I watch O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly during the evening broadcast and do not see them setting themselves up as a substitute magisterium contradicting the pope.

      • AnsonEddy

        I don’t think so either, but this seems to be a theme with Mark to impute that notion to others, so I put it in there.

        • AnsonEddy

          Although I should note that I don’t have firsthand data on the whole Fox News things and am relying on word of mouth that they aren’t setting themselves against the Pope. I generally watch CNN for my cable news.

          • Rosemarie


            Well, Bill O’Reilly for one spoke well of Pope Francis last week, saying that people have misrepresented the pontiff’s statements. Not a negative word about him. The O’Reilly Factor is Fox News’s flagship program with the highest viewership of any program on that network. This doesn’t exactly jibe with the notion that FNC has declared “war” on Pope Francis. Yeah, some people associated with the network have talked trash about him but some have also had positive things to say.

  • ivan_the_mad

    Well, he’s demonstrated quite the ability with exhortation in recent days. May he be well heeded.

  • Finchster

    Love the quote, but he said that when he was still a cardinal. I would have liked to have heard him say that on, say, the Feast of the Holy Innocents or the Feast of the Holy Family.

  • HBoitel

    The New York Times posted a good OPED this afternoon, entitled “Republicans Respond to the Pope”

    The article already has over 180 reader comments, many of which are worth reading.