Wow! If this happens, it will be the hugesest thing in the Church since the Great Schism

Wow! If this happens, it will be the hugesest thing in the Church since the Great Schism May 30, 2014

Pope, Orthodox Patriarch look to new council at Nicea

There are certain kerfuffles going on in the reactionary fever swamps to the effect that I “apologize” for this pope. The subtext is that I shift in my seat uncomfortably, knowing down deep what a horrible disaster he is, but like a good trooper for evil “novusordoism” (meaning “the Holy Catholic Church and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that the Greatest Catholics of All Time routinely blaspheme”), I soldier on making excuse after excuse for him while knowing in my heart that the shrieking people who gazed into his “cold dead eyes” a year ago totally called it and recognized him for what he was: History’s Greatest Monster/a Damn Librul/Etc./Ad Nauseam.

It’s far far worse than that, O Panickers and Haters of Francis. People who think I am “apologizing” for Francis need to deeply internalize the following: I don’t think he’s a bad and embarrassing pope I must perpetually labor to excuse. I think he’s a *fantastic* pope and I love him to bits. This story is one more reason why. Like the Catholic faith itself, he challenges, teaches, confounds, comforts, and astounds. But most of all, he preaches, lives and celebrates Jesus Christ according to the Tradition and I’ve never seen him say or do *anything* that was not easily understandable in light of it and often profoundly illumining of it. He’s the real deal. He gets it. And if you hate and fear him, you don’t get it and your judgments against him will, in the end, only be judgments against yourselves.

Seriously, O Panickers and Haters of Francis. I’m not “making excuses” for the guy because I’m not, like you, embarrassed and ashamed of him or the gospel of Christ he lives so beautifully. So unlike some prominent voices among the Greatest Catholics of All Time, I do not pray for his death and liken him to Judas Iscariot in that not-at-all-crazy-and-unstable way they have. I’m thrilled and moved by the guy and pray God grant him many many more years. I’m sorry the Francis Haters are choosing to make themselves crazy, bitter, and miserable in such a splendid time in the Church’s history, but that’s up to them, not me. Meanwhile, face reality and, for the love of St. Pete, get it through your heads that I’m saying what I say about how much I love him because I mean it, and not because I’m trying to tow some imaginary “Church of Nice Party Line”. Do me the honor, if you hate Francis that much, of hating me as well and not merely pitying me.

"Hey Mark! You got $250 mil laying around?"

The Feast of the Holy Child ..."
"I have had a question for quite a while, and since your comment is quite ..."

Where Peter Is has a nice ..."
"Mark, in charity, perhaps you should try. It's clear how frustrated you are. And it ..."

Where Peter Is has a nice ..."
"The whole course of Christianity from the first ... is but one series of troubles ..."

Where Peter Is has a nice ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • jcb

    The title notwithstanding, the impression I get from the story itself is more of a meeting than big-c Council.

  • Mike

    Thank you a million times over.

  • AquinasMan

    Yeah, imagine that wouldn’t be much of a council.

    To wit:

    Pope Whoever to Orthodox: “Yeah, I’m still Peter”;

    Orthodox to Pope: “Pack it up! Thanks for the Danish.”

    On the bright side, even an ecumenical meeting is a big deal. It seems like there are pockets of Orthodox who are overtly hostile to Rome, and some that are much more conciliatory. Since things move at a snail’s pace on the timeline of history, a step forward like this may one day lead to actual reunification — if not in whole — at least in steps.

    • Mike

      I think Bartholomew himself is ready. It’s his flock and the entire Russian church that make unity challenging.

      • bob

        What people should realize is Bartholomew has really very little flock of his own. He presides over a couple thousand elderly Greeks in Istanbul and whoever else in the Orthodox world he can sweep up. What has to be repeated again and again is he *is not the Orthodox pope*. We don’t have one. He is one bishop, and if there were a real council he would have *one * vote just like every other bishop. That’s a snag for Catholic folks because for them there’s exactly one vote by the one and only voting member. Bartholomew doesn’t count for nearly as much as he likes to think he does. A council is still a nice idea.

        • Jared Clark

          Bob, you know we have more than one bishop, right? The Pope’s job isn’t to summon the bishops so they can watch his one “vote”, but to work with the other bishops

          • bob

            Yes, and if the final is 1000 Catholic bishops say aye and the Bishop of Rome says nay, the nays have it. They can work with it or not. That is one of the issues if not *the* elephant in the ecumenical room. And a meeting is nevertheless a great idea. Nicea is mentioned. Look at the mostly day to day business nature of most of the canons. Among them you won’t find this mentioned. It didn’t come up on the agenda.

            • if the final is 1000 Catholic bishops say aye and the Bishop of Rome says nay, the nays have it.

              Yup. But that doesn’t mean that the “nay” is always exercised justly nor that we can’t come to a more full understanding of what that justice does and does not look like.

      • Alexander S Anderson

        We don’t need Bartholomew or the Greeks nearly as much as we need the Moscow Patriarchate to change its tone.

    • Adolfo

      Petrine supremacy is not really the issue. Most Orthodox scholars grant the “first among equals” idea. The real issue is collegiality, something Pope Francis seems open to discussing.

  • Dave G.

    Why not focus on the actual meeting. That’s what I thought the post was going to do.

  • Andy, Bad Person

    I agree that this sounds more like a celebration than a council, but the full article (linked in the article linked here) mentions that:

    “The dialogue for unity between Catholics and Orthodox – Bartholomew tells
    AsiaNews – will start again from
    Jerusalem. In this city, in the autumn , a meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox
    Joint Commission will be held hosted by
    the Greek -Orthodox patriarch Theophilos III . It is a long journey in which we
    all must be committed without hypocrisy”.

    “Jerusalem – continues Bartholomew – is the place, the land of the
    dialogue between God and man, the place where the Logos of God was incarnated. Our
    predecessors Paul VI and Athenagoras have chosen this place to break a silence
    that lasted centuries between the two sister Churches”.,-we-invite-all-Christians-to-celebrate-the-first-synod-of-Nicaea-in-2025-31213.html


  • Guest

    I just want to wait for the terrible pill George Weigel is going to have to swallow when he sees De Lubac’s eccelsiology and Rahner’s theology as pivitol to the unification of the Church. Time to transcend beyond Romanization.

  • Sergio Guzman

    Sergio Guzman•a few seconds ago
    I just want to wait for the terrible pill George Weigel is going to have to swallow when he sees De Lubac’s eccelsiology and Rahner’s theology as pivotal to the unification of the Church. Time to transcend beyond Romanization.

  • I’m seeing a lot of different language in various stories — “meeting,” “gathering,” “synod,” “council” — so I’m taking a definite wait-and-see approach regarding what this will really be.

    That having been said, any step toward unity is awesome in my book.

  • Dan13

    That was the worst sort of clickbait headline on that Catholic Culture website. A “council” is a big, big deal. An ecumenical synod is good but is simply a small step.

  • Mark, thank you for this.

  • Dan C

    Council of Nicea sounds so much like “Council of Nice.” Where is that “my Blessed Mother wears combat boots” joylessness going to go? To some novoordish parish community to celebrate?

    • bob

      If it helps, remember the Greek name is “Nikea”.

  • Dan C

    Novoordish- I am sure there is a description in some D and D Monster Manual of such a beast.

    • Neihan
      • Rebecca Fuentes

        At least it’s Lawful Good.

      • sez

        Why does it look like a flying spaghetti monster?

        • Neihan

          Because humor is best when it’s like an onion.

          Actually, the artwork for the flumph is from 1981 or 82, I think, so the real question is: why does the Flying Spaghetti Monster look like it? I think WotC should engage a party of high level lawyers to embark on a quest to protect their IP.

  • Mark68

    This is getting tiresome. Their are people who like to bitch about the Holy Father, and their are people who like to bitch about the people who bitch about the Holy Father. At the end of the day, the two pretty much come off as the same. Just give it a rest already, and try to follow Pope Francis’ example – ignore them.

    • Mark68

      Ugh, “there”. It’s late.

  • I am a 60 year old lady who remembers the Church of all time before Vatican II apparently changed her beyond all recognition. I have sadly come to the conclusion that many of the converts since then were impressed by our truly wonderful Faith, and sought eagerly her beauty and truth. But tragically, you and many others, and many of the young people have been given a doppelganger, who at first glance seems like her original. But the heart has been gutted and torn out. Much of Vatican II, the new code of canon law, the new catechism, and the “mass” of Pope Paul VI does not adhere to the Faith once given, to a truth which can never change. It is simply irreconcilable. Consequently, such new “catholics” simply can not see nor comprehend that Pope Francis does not conform to what is required, much less hoped for, in a pope. His concern on some issues would be laudable, were he not also in conflict with the teachings of nearly 2,000 years, and some of behavior that of a material heretic. No unity with false religions is possible, not should we join is pseudo-worship with them. We do not worship the same “god” together with Jews whose Talmud vilifies our Lord and Savior, placing him in boiling excrement for eternity and names our precious Mother Mary a whore. Nor do I worship together with Muslims who also denigrate the Trinity and a Koran which advocates the killing of non-Muslims, or a prophet who molested 8 year old girls. We have been robbed of a genuine Mass that proclaimed its nature as a sacrifice throughout and promoted reverence for God as the center of all. We have instead a forgery that promotes man and terms the Eucharist a “meal”, rather than a sacrifice, the crucuifixion brought to us as a gift for all time.

    • Joe Blough

      I am a 65 year old man who was an altar boy before you started school. The Church you think you remember never existed: it is a figment of your imagination. Give up your heresies and blasphemies and return to Holy Mother Church.

      • James H, London


      • It is heretical to believe what was taught by the popes and the Church for 2000 years? Then the Church has changed and truth can change.

        • HornOrSilk

          Again, the things that trads talk about were not done the same for 2000 years. That’s one of the lies. If you studied the history of the Popes, you would find out about Popes doing real evil things. The funny thing is the trads won’t act like those evil actions somehow were against Catholic teaching, but will admit evil Popes were Popes. But when Francis does something (which is not novel, if you know the history of Catholicism) because it goes against their AMERICAN politics (and yes, that is a big part of it) they will go “church of 2000 years” showing they don’t know the church of 2000 years. Augustine had to defend Popes making deals with pagans, for example, allowing pagans to swear to their gods in the contracts. Yes. St. Augustine. Defending SAINTED Popes. Which the “attack Francis” crew would have attacked.

    • sez

      Did Jesus reneg on His promise to be with His Church until the end of the age? Did the Holy Spirit step back out of the world, leaving us with a man-made church and no hope of ever being in the true Body of Christ ever again? Or is the “real” church hiding somewhere now? (And if so, why would the Holy Spirit do that? And how can we find it?) Is the Eucharist no longer valid?

      FYI: I attended the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this morning – the priest clearly said “sacrifice” several times, and no one said anything about a “meal”. There was great reverence for God, Who was clearly at the center of it all. And we received Our Lord, really present in the Eucharist.
      All of this was at a Novus Ordo Mass.

      A few miles away, there’s a schismatic group that says stuff like you wrote here. I wouldn’t go there, despite all the beauty of their chapel, the great music, the traditional vestments and rites and “Holy Ghost” in their prayers, etc. None of that has any value, because “Where Peter is, there is the Catholic Church.”

      If you protest against the Pope, you are – by definition! – a protestant. If you truly believe that you are smarter/holier/more-filled-with-Truth than the Pope and all the Bishops, and that the Holy Spirit is guiding YOU to all truth while the Church that Jesus founded has gone off the rails, then: have a nice trip, see ya next fall (inevitable due to pride).

      As for me and my house, we will worship the Lord in His one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. And when we find that we don’t agree with the Pope, we will carefully review what he has said, always knowing that it is impossible for us to be right when we are on the opposite side of the Holy Mother Church’s teachings.

      • gratiaplena

        @sez: Re: your response to Maria Angela: She is right. I am a 64 year-old pre-Vatican II Catholic, and I can assure you: the post-Vatican II Church bears very little resemblance to the Church prior to “bringing the Church into modernity”.

        I am NOT a sedevacantist. I believe that the Catholic Church is still here, guided by the Holy Spirit. However, there are those inside the Church determined to remake the Church in their image.

        Before there was such an animal as “Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist” (erroneously called “Eucharistic ministers”), the only person who could EVER touch Jesus in the Sacred Host was the ORDAINED PRIEST! Now you’ve got lay men and women, in street clothes, and, disgustingly, as I’ve witnessed way too many times, in shorts and sandals, on the altar, (the altar of sacrifice, on which ONLY the ordained celebrant and the altar BOYS, were allowed access). They spill the Precious Blood constantly on the floor, where Jesus is trampled underfoot by the “faithful”.

        The Second Vatican Council reiterated that Gregorian Chant must have “primacy of place” in the music of the sacred liturgy. Where I live, there is ONLY ONE church in the entire city whose choir sings traditional Latin and Gregorian hymns every Sunday. All the other churches use drums, tambourines, pianos, etc, and screech out heretical, new-age, liberal-indoctrinated songs for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

        “Saint” Pope John II, recipient of the cult of personality, hosted a so-called “peace” prayer service at St. Francis of Assisi Basilica in Assisi several years ago. He actually allowed Hindus, Buddhists, and other pagan “religious” leaders to pray from the altar! A Buddhist guru (or whatever you call them) placed a statue of Buddha ON THE ALTAR OF CHRIST’S SACRIFICE and burned incense to his FALSE GOD!!! St. Francis Xavier, while he was converting the pagans in Asia, proclaimed: “THE GODS OF THE PAGANS ARE DEVILS”! And here’s the POPE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH with a devilish god’s incense desecrating the SACRED CATHOLIC ALTAR!!!

        Two weeks later, a major earthquake hit Assisi, Italy, and nearly destroyed the entire Basilica!

        Not to mention Pope JPII, inside a mosque, KISSING THE KORAN, the pagan “religious” book of those who have slaughtered millions of Catholics throughout history!

        Oh, yes, Angela is dead-on. That Church she talked about DID exist, but doesn’t anymore. Yes, the Catholic Church is limping along, but has lost so much of its beauty and tradition–not to mention, its members!

        Look up the article “In With The Old”, written by an African priest who can’t stand facing the people for the Sacrifice of the Mass.

        • Willard

          Were sins against the 8th commandment OK in the pre-Vatican II Church? In just a quick perusal of your comments, I see you’ve lied about the president being born in Hawaii. You’ve lied about the president’s religion(ridiculously claiming that the pro-abortion Obama is a muslim) and you’ve insinuated the president is a homosexual by using the vulgar term “bathhouse barry”. If you are at all representative of pre-VII “Catholics”, no wonder the vast majority of Catholics THANK GOD for Pope Francis every day.

          • Joe Blough

            Straight up. Maria Angela needs to Grow and gratiaplena is certainly not what her moniker claims. Comboxers like these two radtrad cafeterialists make me want to puke.

        • The meeting at Assisi you refer to took place in 1986 (which is certainly a great deal more than “several” years ago). The incidents you mentioned took place without the Pope’s knowledge or permission. You should not talk ask if they received his approval. Plus, the earthquake that caved in the roof of the basilica took place over a decade later, in 1997! This is just ONE of the many distortions, half truths and absurd errors even in regard to fact in your recital.

          • Not that I want to carry water for reactionaries, but whether they were done with JPII’s knowledge or not, some things went on at Assisi that were not cool – Ratzinger was apparently upset by the first Assisi meeting – and the earthquake gives it all a certain … symmetry. 😉

            • How does an earthquake that took place over a decade after the event offer anything to the interpretation of the event? And Ratzinger being “upset” didn’t in the least prevent him from going to Assisi as Pope, and holding a similar event, now did it? Indeed, reactionaries overreacted in the same hysterical fashion on that occasion as well. I vividly remember the cry in the comboxes for the Basilica of St. Francis to be re-consecrated and reparations made because PAGANS HAD PRAYED IN IT!! So that objection hardly carries any weight either.

              I see what happened in the church in 1986 as irregular and certainly unfortunate, but not as a scandal. Yes, the altar was used for prayer by non-Christians, but as far as I can tell, it didn’t cause the world to come to an end. For the life of me, I can’t see why it is such a huge deal.

        • HornOrSilk

          Others have pointed some things out; but I will point out something else — the buddha isn’t a “false god” because he never was a “god.” Second, Catholics have long venerated him, from pre-VII days: (you know, the old CE makes reference to the cult of the buddha known as St Josaphat).

      • So St Catherine of Siena was a protestant. You learn something new every day. So will she fit in nicely when they canonize Luther?

        • Joe Blough

          The truth just doesn’t resonate with you, does it? You believe in your imaginary Catholic Church in which St Peter wore a fiddleback chasuble at the Last Supper and Mary wore a mantilla in the Upper Room. You live in a fairy tale and hate the ontology of the real Catholic Church. You are Luther, not Catherine of Siena, and you besmirch Catherine’s name by having the effrontery to compare yourself to her.

          • HornOrSilk

            That is the norm of US “trads.” They usually read 1950s Catholicism as “how it was for 2000 years” (which is was not), and combine it with their political ideology (usually ultra-right wing American viewpoints) using the two to create a false Catholicism which would make the Novatians blush.

            They are also inconsistent. If they took their ways and used it to read renaissance Popes, they would basically have to say the Church was destroyed then. Which is why you are right in saying their reading of ecclesiology is Lutheran.

            • Joe Blough


  • Mark R

    There is really not much for the Orthodox Church to gain from healing the schism, but would have lots to offer the Latin Church: theologically rich liturgical prayer and a great spirit of repentance. A Latin Catholic would have to read volumes of books to glean what one would from a year at Eastern Liturgy. The Latin Church is good at operating on a practical level…thank God not as practical as the secular sphere and that is something too. Orthodoxy should not be judged by the antics of some of her converts, neither should the Latin Church be judged by some of hers…each has a tendency to present tabloid versions of their respective churches

    • Mariana Baca

      “There is really not much for the Orthodox Church to gain from healing the schism” Other than following Christ’s commands that we should all be one…

      Anyway, I disagree. We both have lots to gain from unity. We have already gained great things from Eastern Catholic Churches.

    • jaybird1951

      What you write about the Eastern Liturgy applies as well to the Roman Liturgy with the addition of even more Scripture read in the revised Roman Rite. I think that the Latin Church would bring many practical benefits for the eastern churches, as you point out, not the least the far more extensive educational structure at the highest levels. I understand that the current Ecumenical Patriarch received an advanced degree from a pontifical university in Rome. The papacy also has the attention and focusing capability on a worldwide basis that a communion of national churches cannot attain. There is also the far greater international outreach of the Roman Church. One concern I have is that Latin Catholics are in general far more open to the idea of a future union of the churches than much of the Orthodox world is, especially in places like Greece and Russia. .

  • To clarify, I am not a sedevacantist. There have been popes whose behavior was less than holy in the past. And I have no right to pronounce about the status of any pope. But I can measure teaching by the popes against the teaching the Church always held. By the way, I love many things about the Orthodox. That is verifiable. If you look at my youtube playlists you will find a couple E Orthodox playlists. I would be ecstatic were the Orthodox to come back to Holy Mother Church. But only if there is no doctrinal compromise. By the way, I still have my missals from childhood, my Baltimore catechism, some of my religion textbooks. I have my grandmother’s prayer books. I am not mi-remembering what they say, and they can not have been altered, as a new printing. Whether any particular priest said Mass in a particular way, an altar server would be in a better position to know. However, what the Church taught and the actual rubrics can be known to anyone.

    • HornOrSilk

      Baltimore Catechism didn’t represent the universal Church — Rome knew nothing of it, for example. It was a local catechism, and very simplistic, not the height of Catholic thought. And just like any elementary textbook (such as how they teach math), when you get more advanced, you find the simple texts really were not exactly the case (just look up the use of imaginary numbers, and how their use contradicts what people learn when first dealing with negative numbers).

      So, instead of trying to limit the Catholic Church to a 3rd grade caricature of Catholicism from America, follow the Universal Church of Adults.

      • Gary Keith Chesterton

        Be gentle with her. She’s an older woman, trying as she can. Don’t be too rough.

        • Joe Blough

          I think it’s appropriate to use the same degree of “rough”, as you put it, as she has offered. From that perspective, Horn has been quite gentle. Worth noting, too, is her posting on her blog of material by a schismatic (SSPX) priest; so all her blah blah blah about the True Church are the words of a hypocrite. “Trying,” indeed.

          • Gary Keith Chesterton

            I suppose. But are you really gonna talk her out of her crazy?

            • Joe Blough

              Point taken.