Pope Francis Shows His Cards

I. The Crises in the Synod

Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah,
one of the leading opponents of Cardinal Kasper’s proposals

The Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which began on October 5, ended yesterday. The Synod was, to put it mildly, a bumpy ride. A group of bishops, lead by the German Cardinal Walter Kasper, vocally pushed for some revolutionary changes to the Church’s teachings on marriage, divorce, and homosexuality. These “doctrinal backflips” (to use Australian Cardinal Pell’s phrase) were quickly, and rightly, opposed by the other bishops.

When those seeking to change the Church’s teachings failed in open debate, they shifted to different tactics. When the African bishops stood up for the Church’s teachings, Kasper pushed for their views to be discarded, suggesting that they “should not tell us too much what we have to do.”

The other approach was to simply play to the press, instead. In the relatio post disceptationem (which are essentially the “minutes” of the Synod, summarizing the discussion up to that point), they included misleading and inaccurate language that suggested that the bishops wanted the Church to change her position on these issues. This relatio was then released to the press before the bishops had a chance to read it. This, quite predictably, turned into a media firestorm about all the doctrinal changes just around the corner! Turns out, the bishops didn’t actually hold to these positions, and they quickly denounced the relatio.

The pope, meanwhile, stayed silent throughout. Cardinal Kasper used this silence to claim the pope’s tacit support, and without the pope speaking up to contradict this assessment, many Catholics (on both sides) assumed that Pope Francis was in Kasper’s revolutionary camp. This led to heterodox rejoicing and orthodox despair.

Of course, there was always an alternative explanation: that the pope wasn’t speaking because he was listening. During the Synod, in response to a commenter who claimed the pope’s silence signified his approval of a heretical agenda, I suggested:

It seems to me that Pope Francis is surveying the available options, trying to figure out what in the world we can do for the messy pastoral situations that we find ourselves in with millions of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. His role even during the Synod itself, has been primarily one of quietly listening to the bishops speaking. If he were trying to push some sort of heretical agenda, I would expect him to take a more dominant role (at least behind closed doors at the Synod itself).

After all, the purpose of synods is to give the bishops a chance to assist the Holy Father in an advisory capacity:

Can. 342 The synod of Bishops is a group of Bishops selected from different parts of the world, who meet together at specified times to promote the close relationship between the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops. These Bishops, by their counsel, assist the Roman Pontiff in the defence and development of faith and morals and in the preservation and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline. They also consider questions concerning the mission of the Church in the world.

Can. 343 The function of the synod of Bishops is to discuss the matters proposed to it and set forth recommendations. It is not its function to settle matters or to draw up decrees, unless the Roman Pontiff has given it deliberative power in certain cases; in this event, it rests with the Roman Pontiff to ratify the decisions of the synod.

In other words, Pope Francis sat quietly while he let the Synod do its job: the bishops offered their counsel (both good and ill) for the problems facing the Church.

II. Peter Speaks Through Francis

But this still left the question open: what did the pope think of all this? At the close of the Synod, Pope Francis finally ended his silence, quickly dispelling all that premature jubilation and despair. The pope, it turns out, is Catholic.

After the perfunctory thank yous, Francis described how the Synod had been a journey, full of consolations, but “also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations.” He then listed five particular “temptations” to be avoided:

Félix Joseph Barrias, The Temptation of Christ by the Devil (1860)

– One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals. 

– The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.” 
– The temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46). 
The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God. 
The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things… 
Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted – and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) – His disciples should not expect better treatment.

In other words, we must reject two extremes. One approach would be to simply recite the Catechism answer in a merciless and detached way, that risks reducing the faith to something merely academic, truth without charity. The other extreme is to reject the truth in favor of what people want to hear on these “hard teachings” (cf. John 6:60), which Pope Francis calls a deceptive mercy (ahem). It tries to have charity without truth, but ends up with neither.

This second extreme is the Kasper camp, and Francis is presenting his positions as temptations that the Church must avoid. That’s not quite the papal support Kasper was claiming. But Francis doesn’t just tell us what to reject. He also reminds us what to affirm, including “the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage: the indissolubility, the unity, the faithfulness, the fruitfulness, that openness to life (cf. Cann. 1055, 1056; and Gaudium et spes, 48).

Having clarified his views on the hot-button issues facing the Synod, Francis then outlines his vision of the Church and of the papacy. In my view, his description of the Church is one of the highlights of his papacy to date:

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. 
This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem
The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.

It’s with that vision of the Church that we can see why we should reject the two extremes earlier: the view that sort of pushes the broken sinner out the way, and the view that condones and confirms the broken sinner in his sinning. Both of those positions are betrayals of the Church’s true call.

When Christ encounters the adulterous woman, He saves her from being stoned, and tells her (John 8:11), “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” The perennial temptation is to cut off half of that radical message: either to condemn the woman, or to stay silent, instead of loving her and calling her to sin no more.

And what’s the Holy Father’s own role in all this?

Lorenzo Lotto, Christ and the Adulteress (1528)

So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them. 

His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God’s People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, [….]
So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).
You can read the whole thing here. If only all Christians had such an understanding of the Church, and of the pope’s place in it. It’s a beautiful call to evangelization: to not only welcome the sinner, but to go and seek out the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7).

Post-Script: Tu es Petrus

I can’t resist adding a post-script, of sorts. This morning, at the beatification of Blessed Paul VI, Pope Francis passed right in front of me, and I got the chance to shout out Tu es Petrus (you are Peter, the words Jesus spoke to Simon Peter in Matthew 16:18 in establishing the Church). It’s a phrase used often in the history of the Church, both to remind us of the Apostolic succession running from St. Peter to Pope Francis through the end of time, and to remind the pope of his calling and mission:

19 Comments

  1. Delusional. What will it take for you to see what’s right in front of your nose? Of course Pope Francis favors Kasper position: in his homilies, his interviews, his promotion of Kasper’s address to the consistory, his permission for Kasper alone to publish his address, his selection of synod fathers and facilitators, his stacking the committees when the wrong cardinals were chosen for the language groups, his silence over the several times over the past months that Kasper claimed his support, the unmistakably Bergoglian language of the relatio … My goodness Joe, what will it take?

    Interesting that you blithely accept the Holy Father’s resort to the argumentum ad temperantiam. You’re too good a logician for that.

    1. Let’s look at Francis’s strategy from another direction: triangulation.

      Liberals and modernists know that the Holy Father is on side. He appoints Martini proteges to high positions and has them run the Synod with an iron fist; he persecutes traditional orders and exiles one of their betes noire from major curial positions; he drops thudding hints in homily after homily opposing the law to mercy; he only ever gives interviews to liberal outlets who won’t press him for clarification on some of his stranger utterances; he talks about the primacy of conscience in such a way as to make orthodoxy entirely optional, and perhaps even undesirable (neo-Pelagians, bat Christians and the like). As a result, he’s free to call them out in a speech like yesterday’s and they’re cool with it, because they know he’s onside.

      Traditional-minded Catholics interpret the signs in the very same way. They know that Francis is hostile, and so they’re not particularly bothered by him calling them out yet again for being closed-minded, unmerciful Pharisees.

      But after his devastating defeat this week, the Holy Father needs to shore up support from the great Mottramist middle–and how better to do that than by playing to their self-conceit as the nice, moderate ones? In order to have a chance to carry through his desired changes, he needs them to go back to sleep, reassured once again that Pope Francis is as orthodox as can be, and that all his problems are due to events beyond his control like bad translators, secular journalists with an agenda, and a frequently knavish curia who prey on this nice man’s naivete.

    2. I do not like to get involved in (possibly) fruitless discussions on the internet. But the things you have said demand a response.

      First, you paint the Pope as a two-faced, underhanded manipulator. This is utterly ridiculous. Nothing in the man’s public acts–which are always simple, heartfelt, and humble–point to such a thing. It is not credible that someone could have a personality so bifurcated that he could behave the way Pope Francis does in public yet behave the way you say he does in private. No one could carry on that kind of Machiavellian masquerade short of demonic possession. (Which, I think we will both agree, would be silly to suggest in this case.)

      Second, you accuse Pope Francis of several sins (lying and heterodoxy, chiefly). No matter what you think of the man, he is the pope, the Lord’s anointed. I’m not saying, “Don’t criticize bishops”; rather, criticism of bishops must be measured, credible, couched in moderate language, and confined to appropriate places. I thank you (truly) for keeping to moderate language–the amount of vitriol directed against the Pope in some quarters is shocking. And I will not attempt to decide whether a blog is the proper place to criticize the Pope or the bishops: I myself think it is not, but there can be legitimate differences of opinion there. But–your list of the Pope’s misdemeanors surely is neither measured nor credible; it is more the result of certain way of “reading” the Pope’s actions than of disinterestedly evaluating his actions. “Pope Francis agrees, in no uncertain terms, with Abp. Marchetto’s work on Vatican II? Must be a shameless political maneuver. Pope Francis imposes disciplinary action on the Franciscans of the Immaculate? He must hate traditionalism.” That is not neutral interpretation. And it hardly seems fruitful to bring up this litany of misdemeanors here, even if it were true.

      Third, you (more or less) say that everyone who doesn’t see the Pope as a scheming heretic is gullible and not interested in truth (when you refer to the “great Mottramist middle”). This is insulting and wholly non-credible. Even though I think events have proven him unimpeachably orthodox (and even holy), I, too, have unanswered questions about some of Pope Francis’ actions. But I have those about St. John Paul II, too. And, let us be honest, I have them about Our Lord. It is not my place to judge Pope Francis. My place is to pray for him, and to live in the Spirit as best I can see how. I confess I do both things less than I ought. I hope (truly!) that you do them better than me. Let us, please, try to live in truth and in charity in all things.

      I hope you will receive these words in the brotherly spirit in which they were meant–(I suspect my words did not always accurately convey my intentions)–as a appeal for examination. Perhaps it might be good in the future, before writing or saying things critical of the pope or bishops, to ask, “Will saying these things to these people help them in any way toward holiness and heaven?” In my own experience, I find these kinds of discussions often distract me from the truly important business of my life. And if I have said anything unhelpful to you, please, ignore it and concentrate on the things that do!

      Reuben

    3. Hello Reuben,

      Contrary to your assertion, I have never accused Pope Francis of lying, and I cannot think of an occasion in his papacy when he has done so. In fact, he has been so transparently honest about his intentions that it requires an almost wilful level of blindness not to perceive it. It’s a bit like Groundhog Day for the Holy Father’s defenders: every day they wake up in April 2013, without a gigantic pile of homilies, speeches, apostolic exhortations, meetings, gestures, interviews, appointments, dismissals, phone calls, synods–all of them constituting an intellectually consistent (if occasionally opaque) body of thought. If it’s April 2013, there are no dots to connect. But 18 months later, we are buried in dots.

      Nor did I call Pope Francis heterodox. That’s not my call to make. Does he support Kasper? Yes. Does he intend to change Church doctrine on admitting the civilly remarried to Communion? No. Rather, as far as I can tell, he intends to allow a limited number of “pastoral exceptions”, that will quickly balloon into general practice at the diocesan level. The doctrines will remain on the books, but lose all force. Priests already report being told by remarried parishioners that they intend to receive Communion because “The pope wants me to.” The Holy Father could clear all this up with a 30-second statement. The fact that he chooses not to do so speaks volumes.

      Nor did I call Pope Francis a scheming heretic. If you re-read my comments, you will see that I confine myself strictly to what the Holy Father says and does. Nowhere do I make any comments as to his character.

      As for Mottramism, it is a positive danger to souls. Look: Francis may or may not be a bad pope, but the fact is we’ve had them before, and we’ll probably have them again. If your faith is strongly linked to the orthodoxy and personal probity of the current occupant of the Petrine Office, you’re going to completely freak out and maybe even apostatize when faced with a bad one. Better to remember that the Church has seen off some pretty terrible popes in the past, and just batten down the hatches to wait out the storm.

      Finally, I wish to return to your first point, in which you accuse me of painting the Holy Father as two-faced and manipulative. I don’t think he’s two-faced; in fact, he’s as clear as he can be about his intentions, as I said before. But it’s true that he does not state his intentions openly: if he were to do so, the revolt in the Church would make this week’s pushback at the synod look like a little girl’s tea party. He needs to rely on the mind-boggling amounts of goodwill ordinary Catholics have for the pope–and calling them all Mottramists, as I did in my previous comment, was a step too far and I retract it. So sure, I think Pope Francis retains plausible deniability, and yesterday’s speech was a perfect example.

      For instance, did he lie about liberals? Nope. Most of us could think of a long list of names who fit the description. Did he lie about traditionalists? No. Here, once more, he conjures up a cartoon of a frowny, legalistic “traditionalist” bearing little resemblance to anyone in the real world, but I believe he’s genuinely mistaken on this point. Even Joe implicitly concedes this point: he can point to Kasper as an example of the “deceptive mercy” camp, but who, in the real world of today, fits the description of “simply recit[ing] the Catechism answer in a merciless and detached way, that risks reducing the faith to something merely academic, truth without charity.” No-one, that’s who.

      So I plead guilty to exactly one of your charges: I do think the Holy Father is manipulating perceptions in such a way as to further the Kasperite agenda. I think the evidence bears me out most abundantly, and I think it is far healthier to encourage Catholics to confront this evidence than to risk despair.

    4. I must thank you for the measured tone of your reply. (It wasn’t at all what I was expecting!)

      I must admit, too, that you are probably correct that some of criticism were too strongly worded. You certainly did not explicitly say most of the things I said you said, and I apologize. Yet–re-reading the last sentence of your original comment, I think it is understandable how I arrived at the words “scheming heretic.” And considering that the Pope Francis is on the record with comments such as “The teaching of the Church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the Church” it was not too unreasonable for me to arrive at “lying”–but that was my interpretation of your comments, not your comments themselves. So I do apologize.

      For my own part, my faith would not be shaken (I pray!) by a bad pope. But I simply do not think we have one. I think we have a Pope who speaks simply, who deeply cares for the marginalized, who strongly favors mercy over rigorism, and who values synodality over papal control. I see him as very concerned that we take every avenue to open ourselves ever more fully to the will of God, by discerning the full range of possibilities in each situation. This is very Jesuitical, and it can be very messy, especially since some elements of it are not what we are used to current popes doing. I think most of the items of behavior you bring up can be easily understood in line with orthodoxy and good intentions–and the others I do not have enough information to evaluate (such as Card. Burke’s reappointment). His statements on conscience, for example, are no stranger than statements you’ll find in St. John Paul’s Person & Act. His interviewing habits can be explained by his desire to have the Church be heard in areas it usually is not (although I do think some of his interviewing choice seem unwise). I could go on.

      As far as who in the Church today is tempted to cite the Catechism without personal mercy, I can name at least one: myself. It is one of my struggles. (And as an intellectual, I must say he’s absolutely right about it being one of our temptations.) If I had been at the Synod, perhaps I would’ve seen others his words could describe. But it’s worth noting that he had one point against “conservatives” and four against “liberals.”

      Essentially, I would strongly challenge your contention that Pope Francis has been “transparently honest about his intentions” of undermining morals. Most of his acts can be easily understood in an orthodox, non-manipulative way; and those that are harder to understand can be covered by charity, especially considering the gap between my knowledge of events and the Pope’s knowledge. And even good popes make unwise decisions. Yet, of course, a wide difference in the interpretation of all available facts is not a simple thing to resolve. If we were in a cafe somewhere, it would probably be good to have a discussion. Online–that’s not so easy. So, I thank you for the civil discussion so far; and, if you think it would be productive, we can continue it. (Although I’m heading for an academic conference soon and will be swamped through the rest of the week.)

      And, if you’re interested, I think the best explanation of (some of) the synodal proceedings can be found in this article: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=1242

  2. I somewhat agree with Murray. Francis has tipped his hand and he sees Kasper as the middle way.

    He definitely doesn’t stand by the African bishops who are all too pleased with homosexuality carrying a 3 to 14 year prison term in their respective countries and a million Franc fine.

    1. 1. Kasper’s gambit is hardly a “middle way”. His proposals are an outright rejection of Catholic doctrine. Despite his claims that there was/is no attempt to change Church teaching, his actions consistently paint a very different picture, a picture of obfuscation, manipulation and pandering to the media. Cardinal Kasper’s true sentiments were caught in the Edward Pentin interview.

      2. In aid of clarity, and charity, let’s distinguish between homosexuality and homosexual acts. There has yet to be a report that any African bishop condones brutality toward homosexuals. Homosexual behaviour has been challenged, and rightly so. Unfortunately, to state that the African bishops are “all too pleased with homosexuality carrying a 3 to 14 year prison term” completely misses what Ugandan, Nigerian and other African bishops’ conferences have said and done to protect the inalienable dignity of people who suffer from same-sex attraction from unjust discrimination, in the words of the Catechism. Catholic Herald and CNS reports (Jan/2014), for starters, have stated that the Ugandan bishops, for example, have undertaken a very careful review of the laws targeting homosexuals. I’d dare say that the Africans know their Catechism much better than Cardinal Kasper and other liberal religionists who would so carelessly discard the teaching of the Church.

      It would seem that Cardinal Kasper is not the only one who has a misguided thing or two to say about the African bishops.

    2. “His proposals are an outright rejection of Catholic doctrine.”

      Eyeroll.

      What Trent meant in Session 24 isn’t entirely clear. If it wasn’t for the kerfluffle over the Eastern praxis in Venice, then I would agree that the canons are clear. But history didn’t happen that way and it’s therefore not clear.

      Burke and his ilk are in full meltdown. Kasper is “racist” ? Really?

      Kasper thinks the Africans should accept decriminalization of homosexuality. Kasper’s detractors bizarrely think locking gays up in prison is compatible with Church teaching on civil rights and the dignity of persons.

    3. I also think a real transcript is in order:

      Kasper: Africa is totally different from the West. Also Asian and Muslim countries, they’re very different, especially about gays. You can’t speak about this with Africans and Muslim….Muslims… people of Muslim countries. It’s not possible. It’s taboo. For us, we say we ought not to discriminate, [inaudible] we don’t want to discriminate in certain respects.

      Pentin: But are African participants listened to in this regard?

      Kasper: No, the majority of them.

      Pentin: They’re not listened to?

      Kasper: In Africa of course; it’s a taboo.

      [A french journalist asks in broken English about the methodology of the Synod]

      Kasper: I think in the end there must be a general line in the Church, general criteria, but then the questions of Africa we cannot solve. There must be space also for the local bishops’ conferences to solve their problems but I’d say with Africa it’s impossible. But they should not tell too much what we have to do.

      And for that Burke ranted:

      CWR: There has been quite a commotion over remarks by Cardinal Kasper about African bishops that he then denied—but were then substantiated by an audio recording. Do you have any remarks on that situation?

      Cardinal Burke: It is profoundly sad and scandalous that such remarks were made by a Cardinal of the Church. They are a further indication of the determination to manipulate the process of the Synod to advance Cardinal Kasper’s false positions, even by means of racist remarks about a significant and highly respected part of the Synod membership. That this incident has taken place, especially in the context of such an important event in the life of the Church, has deeply saddened me.

      Oh please.

    4. Nah, Kasper’s not racist. The problem with the African bishops from his point of view is that they’re Catholic, not that they’re black.

      As for laws against homosexuality, they’re a wonderful idea, mostly for homosexuals themselves. Homosexuality is a truly weird condition, associated with more pathologies and mental illnesses than you can easily count, and one of the characteristics of the (male) homosexual condition is a compulsion to transgress whatever boundaries exist. When there are anti-sodomy laws in force, the desire to transgress can be pretty easily satisfied by breaking those laws: say, by attending an underground gay bar, or by having private liaisons with other men. Once you sweep away the laws and social taboos against homosexual behaviour, they need to go to ever greater extremes in order to transgress. So now we have men committing sex acts in public in front of children at Pride parades, or truly stomach-churning activities at “Black Balls”, which end up being positive dangers to public health. Needless to say, this doesn’t do anyone any good.

    5. …one of the characteristics of the (male) homosexual condition is a compulsion to transgress whatever boundaries exist.

      The sodomite is naturally subversive and any organisation that admits him as an authentic member and let’s him rise to the level of authority/control will face a constant striving to eliminate laws/customs/disciplines/doctrines which identifies the sodomite as a sinner in need of metanoia and a rejection of acting on his lust.

      Holy Mother Church has undergone its own sodomisation – the scandalous relation confesses such – and the sodomites within the Hierarchy must be forcibly be removed if an authentic restoration of the Church is to occur.

      Succoring sodomites guarantees continuity for the revolution

    1. It’s very difficult to respond to this without being tempted to go too far. What I tried to say in the post above, which I just deleted, is that I cannot take comfort from this speech which points to “two extremes”. In this council we did not see two extremes. What we saw was one radical faction going on the offensive and being repudiated by the meek majority. A speech that says “both groups did the same kind of thing” is a political cop-out, not an assertive defense of the faith. It seems that the Holy Father wants to keep his cards hidden for a little while longer. I wished he had taken a side, and am disappointed by what he’s chosen to do with this speech, but I will “pray, hope, and don’t worry”.

  3. Of course, there was always an alternative explanation: that the pope wasn’t speaking because he was listening. During the Synod, in response to a commenter who claimed the pope’s silence signified his approval of a heretical agenda, I suggested:
    It seems to me that Pope Francis is surveying the available options, trying to figure out what in the world we can do for the messy pastoral situations that we find ourselves in with millions of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. His role even during the Synod itself, has been primarily one of quietly listening to the bishops speaking. If he were trying to push some sort of heretical agenda, I would expect him to take a more dominant role (at least behind closed doors at the Synod itself).

    M.J. was the one you were responding to Joe but it is quite clear that Kapser was doing the Popes bidding all along for if he were not, why then Francis’ florid praise of his infamous speech and his silence those many times Kasper said the Pope agreed with him…etc etc

    It was also the Pope who chose Cardinal Baldiserri and the other leaders of the Synod which was an attempted coup.

    The revolt against the Pope’s agenda was an astonishing event to behold and it signaled to the world that the revolution within the form of Catholicism is now an open war between the heterodox and the orthodox and M.J does not see the revolutionaries going quietly into the outer darkness.

  4. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.

    – The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”

    …And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people.

    Well, one can’t say the Pope does not have an ironic sense of humor 🙂

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