Why Non-Christians Should Read Lumen Fidei

On Friday, Pope Francis released his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, which means “The Light of Faith.” Even though the encyclical is addressed to “the bishops, priests, and deacons, consecrated persons, and the lay faithful,” I hope that non-Christians will read it as well. Why? Because Francis explains in stark terms the differences in how “faith” is understood by believers and non-believers.

He begins by explaining that to Christians, faith is illuminating, and is described by Christ as a light:

Oskar Nylander, The Christ Glory (1849)
1. The light of Faith: this is how the Church’s tradition speaks of the great gift brought by Jesus. In John’s Gospel, Christ says of himself: “I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (Jn 12:46). Saint Paul uses the same image: “God who said ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts” (2 Cor 4:6). The pagan world, which hungered for light, had seen the growth of the cult of the sun god, Sol Invictus, invoked each day at sunrise. Yet though the sun was born anew each morning, it was clearly incapable of casting its light on all of human existence. The sun does not illumine all reality; its rays cannot penetrate to the shadow of death, the place where men’s eyes are closed to its light. “No one — Saint Justin Martyr writes — has ever been ready to die for his faith in the sun”.[1] Conscious of the immense horizon which their faith opened before them, Christians invoked Jesus as the true sun “whose rays bestow life”.[2] To Martha, weeping for the death of her brother Lazarus, Jesus said: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (Jn 11:40). Those who believe, see; they see with a light that illumines their entire journey, for it comes from the risen Christ, the morning star which never sets.
In stark contrast, non-believers tend to envision faith as a “blind leap,” or as a turning-away from the light of reason:
2. Yet in speaking of the light of faith, we can almost hear the objections of many of our contemporaries. In modernity, that light might have been considered sufficient for societies of old, but was felt to be of no use for new times, for a humanity come of age, proud of its rationality and anxious to explore the future in novel ways. Faith thus appeared to some as an illusory light, preventing mankind from boldly setting out in quest of knowledge. The young Nietzsche encouraged his sister Elisabeth to take risks, to tread “new paths… with all the uncertainty of one who must find his own way”, adding that “this is where humanity’s paths part: if you want peace of soul and happiness, then believe, but if you want to be a follower of truth, then seek”.[3] Belief would be incompatible with seeking. From this starting point Nietzsche was to develop his critique of Christianity for diminishing the full meaning of human existence and stripping life of novelty and adventure. Faith would thus be the illusion of light, an illusion which blocks the path of a liberated humanity to its future.

3. In the process, faith came to be associated with darkness. There were those who tried to save faith by making room for it alongside the light of reason. Such room would open up wherever the light of reason could not penetrate, wherever certainty was no longer possible. Faith was thus understood either as a leap in the dark, to be taken in the absence of light, driven by blind emotion, or as a subjective light, capable perhaps of warming the heart and bringing personal consolation, but not something which could be proposed to others as an objective and shared light which points the way. Slowly but surely, however, it would become evident that the light of autonomous reason is not enough to illumine the future; ultimately the future remains shadowy and fraught with fear of the unknown. As a result, humanity renounced the search for a great light, Truth itself, in order to be content with smaller lights which illumine the fleeting moment yet prove incapable of showing the way. Yet in the absence of light everything becomes confused; it is impossible to tell good from evil, or the road to our destination from other roads which take us in endless circles, going nowhere.

What I’ve observed is that many of the people who understand faith in this way seem genuinely unaware that this isn’t how believers view faith. If that describes you, or those you know, it behooves you to read this encyclical. It’s relatively short (only four chapters), well written, and thorough, quoting from Nietzsche, Dante, Martin Buber, the Church Fathers, Rousseau, Dostoevsky, Guardini, Wittgenstein, Aquinas, Bonaventure, John Paul II, and T.S. Eliot, amongst others. Who knows? It just might change the way you approach the topic of religion.


    1. Steve,

      I appreciate your humility in proactively admitting your false prediction without me (or anyone else) even raising the issue. That’s admirable.

      I also admire your desire to be a “Traditionalist.” Tradition is worth defending heartily. But Tradition is something much larger than litanies and Liturgy; if this were not the case, we would recognize “high church” Anglicans as full members of the Catholic Church. Disobedience, detraction, and disrespect to the pope aren’t an authentic part of Tradition (or tradition).

      If you don’t believe me, look back to Catholic history. How much time do you see the great Saints spending deriding the pope behind his back? Certainly, there are times that the bishops and even the pope can stand to be corrected, and there are times when the popes have not been exemplars of Christian virtue. But compare how the Saints confronted these challenges with how modern “Traditionalists” do.

      One of the reasons that folks like St. Bonaventure or St. Thomas Aquinas didn’t spend their days gossiping about the pope and their bishops on “Traditionalist” websites (or the 13th century version thereof) is that they were building up the Church. If you ignore the genuine threats to Mother Church — militant New Atheists, totalitarian governments, the restriction of the liberty of the Church even in this country, rising secularism, abortion, same-sex “marriage,” etc. — and spend your time making claims like “The real problem is with the Pope,” don’t imagine for a moment that you’re a son of Aquinas, or Augustine, or Abraham. And you can hardly complain about being “lumped in” with “nutjobs,” because you’re talking like one. The Holy Spirit chose Francis, not you: so if there’s a problem between you two, my money is on the problem lying on your side.

      Much of what passes itself off for Catholic “Traditionalism” has an anti-papal bent that much more resembles the perennial rigorist heretics. Worse, both the fringe “Traditionalist’ and the Modernist share a common reductionist view of the teaching authority of the Church, virtually disregarding every non-infallible statement of the living Magisterium.

      Look, I realize that this is all pretty general, and I’m not claiming to have painted an accurate picture of every Catholic Traditionalist. Some Traditionalists are holy and upright, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their influence on my life. Indeed, I hope someday, as a priest, to help share the great patrimony of the Church with Her sons and daughters. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t pained by self-styled Traditionalists poisoning the well, and treating the rest of the Church with suspicion, contempt and derision. That sort of uncharitable behavior has no right to be called Traditional, and it only alienates people to authentic Catholic Tradition. And it’s of no difference to me whether the disobedience is from Bishop Bernard Fellay or Fr. Helmut Schüller: it’s a disgrace to the Church either way.

      Back in February, when I asked you to recant you esoteric views if your prediction didn’t come true, you said “One step at a time, Joe.” I respect that, and I’m not asking to push you further than you’re ready to be pushed. But I am inviting you to lay down your arms against Holy Mother Church, who isn’t an artifact of history, but is alive, and guided by the Holy Spirit today as surely as She was in 70 A.D.



  1. Joe, you said:

    I hope that non-Christians will read it as well. Why? Because Francis explains in stark terms the differences in how “faith” is understood by believers and non-believers.

    I think Pope Francis acted wisely in addressing his encyclical to believers.

    Speaking as a former atheist, I think we, Christians, need to be more precise in explaining what we mean by “faith” when we speak to nonbelievers. Part of the problem, I think, is that we, as believers, do not speak of faith in a manner which can be understood by those who do not have “faith in God.”

    I think, what gets conflated in most discussions of “faith” with unbelievers is:
    a. faith in God which means “trusting” in God’s goodness.
    b. Faith as in the rubrics of religion.
    c. faith as some sort of magical, close your eyes and jump in, thing.

    When Christians would say to me, “it is understood in the light of faith”. As an atheist, I understood that to mean, “I must believe something that is not true.” “Or, I must believe something without explanation.”

    I, for one, could not accept b or c, before I did a.

    In other words, the reason why I practice my Christian Faith, is because I have faith in God’s goodness and mercy. The one comes first, then the other. At least for me. Scripture says:
    Hebrews 11:6
    But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    This speaks of faith as trust. We turn to God because we believe that He is good. In fact, believing that He is good was the second step. First I had to be convinced that He existed.

    And then we have the term, the “light of faith”. What does that mean? Is this the idea that we must accept everything which God has revealed? But if a person does not believe that God exists, how do you convince them to believe something which that non-existent God, in their view, purportedly revealed?

    So, I think we need to be more precise in what faith means when we speak to those who don’t have it.

    Unfortunately, we also tend to sound elitist when we do so. I remember people telling me that I wouldn’t understand unless I believed and saying to myself, “O really? Isn’t it rather that you are speaking nonsense which no rational person can believe?”

    However, now that I believe, I realize that it is true. Faith is prerequisite to understanding the Word of God. It is plainly explained in the Scripture:
    1 Corinthians 2:14
    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    I’m not saying it is impossible to be purveyors of that grace that will be the seed of faith, Scripture also says:
    Romans 10:14
    How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

    But when we preach, we should make an earnest effort to distinguish between the various uses of the word, “faith”. Because frequently, the main problem is not that we, atheists and believers, understand the word, “faith” differently. It is that those believers who explain faith will conflate all the uses of the term and leave the unbeliever confused as to what the message was supposed to convey.

    And, I think that is why Pope Francis addressed his encyclical to believers. Because he assumed faith (i.e belief that He exists and trust in God’s goodness) in the reader.


    De Maria

    1. De Maria,

      I take your point on the multiple senses of the word “faith,” and the fact that non-believers tend to misunderstand what we mean by faith. But look at how easy it was for you to clarify what you meant (and didn’t mean). So I don’t think ambiguities in the word “faith” make it impossible to talk to non-believers about faith. And in fact, I think that this encyclical (although addressed to believers) is a good place for non-believers to turn.



  2. The $64K answer is: New Encyclical on faith, signed by Francis, but mostly the work of Pope Benedict XVI. It’s pretty much the same old same old. It states nothing controversial, in and of itself, is mostly just a restating of pious platitudes from the perspective of the theology of encounter (a Neo-Modernist construct), and no application to current issues, understandings, cultural currents, errors, or confusions. Most troubling is the section that restates an old Neo-Modernist falsehood, namely that reason ought to “dialogue” with the faith, as though the two were equal. Rather, it has always been Catholic teaching that human reason must SUBMIT to the faith. Like all of Benedict’s other encyclicals, it’s a complete waste of time. On a positive note, the mainstream “conservatives” will have more to hermeneutic their time away, and maybe they will leave us traditionalists alone for a week or two. -David Werling, Ars Orandi Blog

    1. The rad-trads are closet sedevacante-ists. Compare their reaction (grumble grumble frowny face) of Francis’s election to the reaction of the Eastern Orthodox (jubilant ecstatic reactions).Surely in memorizing the Baltimore Catechism in latin or whatever the hell it is they do for fun, they would learn that there’s a *type* of cynicism that’s not only unhealthy but sinful as well, especially when directed at the Holy Father when he is doing good and doing it well.

  3. Daniel: The period of Church history from 1965 to present, is in your Bible. Turn to (Vatican) 2 Thess 2. Standing fast and holding to tradition is something Catholics have always done. There is nothing radical about it.

    What is radical is a Pope like Francis who has a problem with people who count rosaries.

    A group of faithful offers him more than 3,500 rosaries prayed for him. Think how beautiful and moving this is! Would you not be moved at knowing someone prayed one Hail Mary for you? When the Pope receives not 3,500 Hail Mary, but 3,500 rosaries he is not at all overwhelmed by the stunning beauty of this gift; instead, he takes it “with respect”, but he is also “concerned” at the practice.

    The Rosary? Seriously? Do you think you live in the Forties? And come on, are you even counting?

    Please visit Rorate and read there the entire text of the transcription; it transpire an atmosphere of mockery among the present, to which the Holy Father reacts by saying to them not to laugh, but clearly showing with his “concern” he thinks the same as they do, without the mockery.

    For a Pope who goes around saying he is particularly devout to the Blessed Virgin, this is seriously beyond the pale. Actually, this is beyond the pale for anyone wearing a habit.

    What is radical is a Pope like Francis having a problem with people who count rosaries and offer them to him as a spiritual bouquet. Pope Francis says, “Don’t laugh, but…” A tragedy for all of us!

    1. Well, Steve, I doubt that the Pope said that.

      First of all, the Pope, and I mean Pope Francis. He prays the Rosary. That’s a fact.

      Second, all the sources of this quote cite an “exclusive” revelation. In other words, there is no public documentation of the words. Only an exclusive purported quote provided by anti-Catholic Traditionalists who call the Pope, “Mr.” Bergoglio.

      Third, the statement which is attributed to the Pope and partially quoted actually makes some sense and I can see where there might be a seed of truth in it. What exactly does it mean to offer someone 3500 rosaries? Why just 3500? Why not pray Rosaries for the Pope everyday until the day you die? And does that mean 3500 a day, a year, every 10 years or every 100?

      So, although you want to paint the Pope as being anti-Catholic. It is you who are the true anti-Catholic and anti-Traditionalist. Because in your claim to defend Tradition, you are pitting yourself against the Church which was appointed to teach the Traditions of Jesus Christ.


      De Maria

    2. Steve,

      Back when you made your initial predictions, it was clear from your comments that they were from your private interpretation of some sketchy stuff you’d heard about Fatima online. Now, your criticisms of Pope Francis are based on your private interpretation of some sketchy stuff you’d heard about him online. In both cases, you’re building a whole lot off of rumors and gossip.

      So that’s as good a place to start as anywhere: all of this is based on an unconfirmed transcript of an off-the-record meeting. It’s alleged to be one nun’s recollection of the pope’s apparently off-the-cuff remark made during the meeting. To condemn your pope on such unsubstantiated hearsay is beneath your own dignity as a Catholic. The Summa has plenty to say on calumny, detraction, gossip, and slander: that might be a good place to start.

      But let’s turn to the content. Assuming that this rumor is correct, what to make of it? Well, put the statement in its proper context: he was warning against a Pelagianism current in the Church. Do you agree or disagree that Pelagianism is heretical? Do you agree or disagree that there is a current within the Church that resembles Pelagianism? Do you agree or disagree that the pope should speak out against heresies in the Church, wherever they may be found?

      I’ll that the example provided in the transcript wasn’t the best illustration of this point, but operating on the principle of charity, understand the point that he was trying to make (and may well have made more clearly than it is being present). He’s not saying that it’s wrong to make spiritual bouquets: he’s saying that it’s wrong to think that saying a certain number of prayers will gain you access to Heaven (cf. Matthew 6:7).

      There are Catholics who act in a sinful way (for example, being prideful or gossipy), but think that they will be saved because they say x number of rosaries or litanies. It sounds like Pope Francis is pointing out that this idea is false and heretical. Amen! In doing so, he’s doing nothing more than Christ did in condemning the Pharisees’ legalism, or Samuel’s proclamation that “obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).

      None of this is saying that sacrifices, obedience to the Law, or rosaries are evil. They’re not: they’re great. But they’re no replacement for a contrite heart (Psalm 51:16-17). You won’t be saved because you prayed the right number of Rosaries.



    3. How “sketchy” is the following exchange:

      “Will Francisco go to Heaven?” -Ten year old Lucia

      “Yes, but he will have to say many rosaries.” -Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima

    4. Steve,

      Where are you getting that exchange from? And do you think that Our Lady is saying that rosaries will save him (that is, apart from faith)? Because if so, then yes, you’re a Pelagian.



    5. Remarkably, something from this week’s Catholic news came extremely close to this explanation of novus ordo Catholicism. The Holy Father, the acting one, that is, during a private audience with a third party insulted a traditional Catholic group who offered him a spiritual bouquet of Rosaries. He called them “Pelagians” for counting Rosaries. Of course, the choir of Francis’ “conservative” novus ordo defenders pointed out something that Pope Benedict XVI said about “pious Pelagians”. The quote from Benedict goes like this:

      [These pious Pelagians] want security, not hope. By means of a tough and rigorous system of religious practices, by means of prayers and actions, they want to create for themselves a right to blessedness. What they lack is the humility essential to any love – the humility to be able to receive what we are given over and above what we have deserved and achieved. The denial of hope in favor of security that we are faced with here rests on the inability to bear the tension of waiting for what is to come and to abandon oneself to God’s goodness.

      Obviously, the novus ordo Catholics are wrong to accuse traditionalists of being Pelagians. After all, we cling stubbornly to a Mass that insists on the absolute sovereignty of God, and the total inability of man to raise himself to God without God’s gracious provocation. On the other hand, the novus ordo Mass is replete with prayers that, while perhaps not being outright Semi-Pelagian, are definitely easily mistaken, or can be effortlessly interpreted, as such. Given this fact alone, it’s rather hard to fathom a novus ordo Catholic accusing a traditionalist of Pelagainism, but common sense seems to escape them.

      The quote from Ratzinger can be read, and I’m sure it often is read, as condemning those who do nothing more than practice the good habit of religion, accusing them of not having “hope” but rather seeking only security in external acts. Such an observation goes against all common sense in regards to those who are rigorous in their practice of religion. Someone who prays her morning and evening prayers and multiple Rosaries daily, does her best to attend Mass as often as possible and to hear it with as much spiritual fruits as possible, and fasts and abstains often is not some Pelagian looking for security in religion; but, rather, is a woman practicing the good habit of daily pondering God. She’s practicing her religion, which is something good!

      While I suppose that it is possible any given individual who practices rigorous external acts of religion may not be subordinating his external acts to his internal acts, how or why should that be assumed? Wouldn’t the more practical and charitable assumption be that that person is, simply, further advanced than the rest of us in the virtue of religion? What obvious evidence is there to the outside observer that such a person isn’t subordinating his external acts to his internal acts?

      However, to the novus ordo establishment, this has been turned upside down in regards to traditionalists. Instead of assuming something good about traditionalists who are more rigorous than novus ordo Catholics in the external practices of the Catholic religion, we are judged as heretics, as pious Pelagians, without any proof of the crime beyond the fact that we exert more effort than the average, two-fast-a-year, novus ordo Catholic. -David Werling, Ars Orandi Blog

    6. Steve,

      You didn’t actually answer my question: you just accused me of name-calling. I’m asking you if you think merely praying a certain number of prayers is sufficient to be saved, apart from faith and works.

      As for the article you copy-pasted, Werling acknowledges, ” I suppose that it is possible any given individual who practices rigorous external acts of religion may not be subordinating his external acts to his internal acts.” That’s exactly what was being criticized by both Francis and Benedict. In other words, he’s conceding the point. He then acts as if they were attacking all Traditionalists, but they weren’t (and he provides absolutely no evidence to support that reading, except that “The quote from Ratzinger can be read, and I’m sure it often is read” in such a broad and unnuanced way). Such a reading is unsupportable. They were criticizing the very people he just acknowledged might not be “subordinating his external acts to his internal acts.” Again, this is literally exactly what Christ did with the Pharisees. Or do you think that Our Lord was too unfair to the “Traditionalists” of His day?

  4. Nobody is painting the Pope anti-Catholic. I know your job is to lump me in with a few nutjobs, label me, smear me and tell me what I’m really doing and saying. No thanks. The real problem is with the Pope. The real problem is with the Pope whether he says the rosary or not. Because time and again over the centuries the solution to the gravest problems confronting the Church has been the Pope getting his sheep to pray the rosary. Not World Youth Day, not a speech at the UN, not jet setting around the globe, not visits to a Synagogue. Nothing works except the Pope, any Pope, getting his sheep to pray the rosary.

    Devotion to Our Lady as a top priority doesn’t work now because the Pope is all about ecumenism and not hurting anyone’s feelings. Got it?

    1. Devotion to Our Lady as a top priority doesn’t work now because the Pope is all about ecumenism and not hurting anyone’s feelings. Got it?

      Have you actually read any of the pope’s writings, or do you stick exclusively to reading unfounded gossip about him? I ask, because what you wrote there shows an embarrassing level of ignorance. Lumen Fidei, as with a great many of his other public proclamations, closes with prayers to the Virgin. Check it out for yourself. This is a great example of how uninformed your criticisms of our pope are: you’re condemning him on absurd rumors, and it’s inexcusable.

      From Lumen Fidei, the encyclical you’re criticizing, but apparently haven’t read:

      “Blessed is she who believed (Lk 1:45)

      58. In the parable of the sower, Saint Luke has left us these words of the Lord about the “good soil”: “These are the ones who when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance” (Lk 8:15). In the context of Luke’s Gospel, this mention of an honest and good heart which hears and keeps the word is an implicit portrayal of the faith of the Virgin Mary. The evangelist himself speaks of Mary’s memory, how she treasured in her heart all that she had heard and seen, so that the word could bear fruit in her life. The Mother of the Lord is the perfect icon of faith; as Saint Elizabeth would say: “Blessed is she who believed” (Lk 1:45).

      In Mary, the Daughter of Zion, is fulfilled the long history of faith of the Old Testament, with its account of so many faithful women, beginning with Sarah: women who, alongside the patriarchs, were those in whom God’s promise was fulfilled and new life flowered. In the fullness of time, God’s word was spoken to Mary and she received that word into her heart, her entire being, so that in her womb it could take flesh and be born as light for humanity. Saint Justin Martyr, in his dialogue with Trypho, uses a striking expression; he tells us that Mary, receiving the message of the angel, conceived “faith and joy”.[49] In the Mother of Jesus, faith demonstrated its fruitfulness; when our own spiritual lives bear fruit we become filled with joy, which is the clearest sign of faith’s grandeur. In her own life Mary completed the pilgrimage of faith, following in the footsteps of her Son.[50] In her the faith journey of the Old Testament was thus taken up into the following of Christ, transformed by him and entering into the gaze of the incarnate Son of God.”


    2. “59. We can say that in the Blessed Virgin Mary we find something I mentioned earlier, namely that the believer is completely taken up into his or her confession of faith. Because of her close bond with Jesus, Mary is strictly connected to what we believe. As Virgin and Mother, Mary offers us a clear sign of Christ’s divine sonship. The eternal origin of Christ is in the Father. He is the Son in a total and unique sense, and so he is born in time without the intervention of a man. As the Son, Jesus brings to the world a new beginning and a new light, the fullness of God’s faithful love bestowed on humanity. But Mary’s true motherhood also ensured for the Son of God an authentic human history, true flesh in which he would die on the cross and rise from the dead. Mary would accompany Jesus to the cross (cf. Jn 19:25), whence her motherhood would extend to each of his disciples (cf. Jn 19:26-27). She will also be present in the upper room after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, joining the apostles in imploring the gift of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14). The movement of love between Father, Son and Spirit runs through our history, and Christ draws us to himself in order to save us (cf. Jn 12:32). At the centre of our faith is the confession of Jesus, the Son of God, born of a woman, who brings us, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, to adoption as sons and daughters (cf. Gal 4:4).

      60. Let us turn in prayer to Mary, Mother of the Church and Mother of our faith.

      Mother, help our faith!
      Open our ears to hear God’s word and to recognize his voice and call.
      Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps, to go forth from our own land and to receive his promise.
      Help us to be touched by his love, that we may touch him in faith.
      Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love, especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross, when our faith is called to mature.
      Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One.
      Remind us that those who believe are never alone.
      Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, that he may be light for our path. And may this light of faith always increase in us, until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ himself, your Son, our Lord!”



    3. I ‘m confused but i thought worshipping God was a higher priority. I love BVM but she doesnt have the power that God does. Devotions or rosaries dont save a person’s soul as Joe pointed out. And imo the salvation of souls should be the top priority of the Papacy. Doesnt matter if its done through outreach to brothers and sisters in Christ or prayer.

      Steve your devotion to BVM seems to be boarding on blasphemy against Christ. It is Christ who saves not BVM. The rosary is a beautiful devotion but makes no difference if you have an empty relationship with Christ.

  5. On airplanes or on ships the pilots or captains are investigated as to their part in crashes and ship wrecks. And if they were negligent in anyway that are held responsible for their part.

    As we look to the ship wreck of our Beloved Catholic Church, we also need to get answers from our captains for their responsibility for all the casualties, human and financial. First for the spiritual casualties caused by cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns and school teachers teaching dissenting heresies. Everywhere I hear of RCIA programs, Catechism programs and catholic schools that teach the opposite of what the catholic church has taught for 1980 years. There are faithful RCIA programs and Catechism programs too.

    We also need to be transparent about the billions of dollars spent in payments for sex abuse by bishops and priests. We also need to take responsibility for the lives destroyed and the faith lost by these abuses. The bishops need to be transparent about all the property they have sold off that was to be used for new churches, schools and seminaries.

    Everywhere you still hear about sex abuse by priest. It is almost assumed that every priest is a sex offender now. Each one of us catholics needs to keep reminding the bishops and liberal media that the sex abuse was mostly homosexual abuse between a priests and young men. The liberals are all for homosexuality, but damn the church for priests who act out in a homosexual way. Many liberals catholics are pro gay lifestyle. We love homosexuals but do not accept immoral sexual activity as with heterosexual too. Many priests who were acting out were liberals saying that my homosexual life style is not sinful.

    We traditional catholics will continue to raise the warning signal that something is going very wrong in the church. ”There are a lot of problems”, “there are a lot of problems”. Then we help them see that the cause of the problem was letting go of traditional practices and beliefs. But we also will continue to ask questions as to why the catholic church is in such shambles. And we ask God to bring those liberals responsible for it, to admit it and stop it.

    As we speak out, pray, work and wait, we practice blind faith in that the All powerful God is working with us. We are not discourage or baffled by the constant persecution of us traditional catholics. It is to be expected. But our prayers are being heard as more and more good bishops are being appointed to important places, like Archbishop Cordileone in San Francisco and Archbishop Sample in Portland.

    We also are joyful about the constant growth of the Tridentine Mass all over the world. Yes it is slow, but it is happening. And as you already know, it the youth that are behind it. They will not go away. They are well educated and holy youth that are sacrificing so much for the good of Holy Mother the Church. Thank you all you young people who read this. You are so appreciated by us traditional priests. Thank you to all of you who pray and suffer for the restoration of the church. ”We will over come some day” with God, Mary, St. Joseph, and all the angels and saints on our side. St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle. -Father Peter Carota

    1. Steve,

      Three things:

      1) If I wanted to read these blogs, I would. No need to bring them to me. If you have an argument, make it, but don’t just copy-paste article after unsourced article.

      2) Fr. Carota’s argument in a nutshell: bad things happened after the Council, therefore, the Council was to blame. There’s a term for that fallacy: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc.

      3) This line of argumentation is also built on the implicit assumption that these bad things weren’t at work in the Church before the Council. The Council exposed (rather than caused) a lot of rot in the Church. Certainly, many people took the Council as a call to abandon Catholic devotions (and wrongly so), but many of these same people had simply been going through the motions previously– or else, abandoning the Rosary, etc., would have been unthinkable.



  6. I, for one, am all about tradition. But not to the point of putting the relatively new liturgy of the Tridentine Mass above all others.

    What’s all this insane day of darkness bs anyway?

    What an ackward sunrise. One would find no one living but the closeted sedevacantists and some pius Muslims out in the Maghreb who have never heard of Christ.

    Or perhaps the Muslims are slaughtered too and Lumen Gentium is incorrect (“The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims…”)and Rome has already fallen, to make such a false statement.

    Which is it Steven? Take as much time as you like; I understand Sylvia Browne makes for dense reading if you need to check your sources.

    1. The “relatively new Tridentine Mass” is simply a standardization of all the Masses present across the Western dioceses. Indeed the TLM at its core is mostly traced to Pope St. Gregory the Great; we have many manuscripts of prayers in the TLM (not in the NO) from 700s and before.

  7. As someone who has been using his blogger-handle long before reading the comments here, I would like to chime in.

    I do not know what set Mr Heschmeyer off on Mr Calovich, nor do I care, but I find his characterization of traditionalists as people concerned “litanies and Liturgy” to be a poor attempt at condescension—the importance of Liturgy cannot be under-estimated, nor can the damage done to the Roman rite throughout the 20th century. The pastoral results and doctrinal downturn among the faithful have been astounding and not in the least bit uncorrelated with the Liturgical disaster. Whatever your cavil with Mr Calovich, dismissing concern over Liturgy as frivolous is off the mark.

    Also, Daniel’s comment that most “rad trads” are closet sedevacantists is absurd: sedevacantism requires an impossibly gilded , ultramontanist 19th century view of the Papacy that does not stand up to the historical reality. The Orthodox are ecstatic because Francis eschews any significant display of Papal authority, the primacy of the Roman Church, or the dignity of his office (though I certainly understand his desire to avoid the bureaucrats of the Apostolic Palace by living in the Vatican hotel). And the Eastern Catholics are, somewhat, happy because the Orthodox are happy and many of them wish for some level of convergence between the Church and the Orthodox. Lost in all this is Rome’s significance….

    Lastly, someone called Benedict/Francis’ encyclical a “neo-Modernist” fluff piece. The term “neo-Modernist” denotes a specific school of thought popular in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s that ran rampant under the reign of Pius XII, John XXIII, and Paul VI. Writers like Rahner and Kung, and even Ratzinger, were certainly considered unorthodox by the Holy Office under Ottaviani, but that does not mean they specifically were neo-Modernists. I do not know must about neo-Modernistic thought, but the term is often used in a blanket fashion by some traddies to denote anyone who isn’t a neo-Thomist. Use terms and definitions with precision so people do not think you’re animadverting high churchmen. Really, there hasn’t been a true Papal encyclical since Paul VI published Humanae Vitae. Papa Montini was so shocked by the horrific reaction of people to a re-iteration of the Church’s teaching on life and sexuality that he never wrote another. When John Paul II started publishing encyclicals again they took on the length and character of small books or large pamphlets, rather than the concise and instructional nature of the writings of Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII, and Paul VI. It should not be surprising that this latest encyclical reads more like a protracted reflection.

    Peace to all,
    The [not so] Rad Trad

    1. Rad Trad,

      I’m baffled by the way you’ve interpreted my response to Calovich. You seem to be suggesting that I am against Traditionalists, and think of them as people concerned only with “litanies and Liturgy.”

      I’m suggesting the exact opposite: I praised Traditionalism (“I also admire your desire to be a “Traditionalist.” Tradition is worth defending heartily”) but pointed out that people who concern themselves with “litanies and Liturgy” without concerning themselves with the rest of Tradition (like due respect for one’s spiritual fathers, especially the pope; humility; avoiding detraction, gossip, and the like) are not really Traditionalists in the proper sense of the term – just as high-church Anglicans aren’t Traditional Catholics. If it helps, re-read the paragraph beginning “Look, I realize that this is all pretty general,” to understand what I am (and am not) saying.

      I love the Latin Mass, and a number of the traditional devotions. I share his concern for litanies and Liturgy, and hate seeing the way that the Liturgy has been abused. I just also believe in honoring one’s spiritual fathers, not slandering and gossiping them, etc. What I have a problem with is the conspiracy-theorizing, the over-reliance on Internet gossip, the lack of respect for the Vicar of Christ, and what appears to be generally bad ecclesiology. So I’m not sure what you’re viewing as “a poor attempt at condescension” at all.

      I don’t deny the importance of Liturgy at all. Of course, I will suggest that loving the Liturgy won’t cover for sins against charity, but I doubt you’d disagree. As for the rest of, from your illusion to my “cavils” to my being “set off,” I’m not sure what you’re basing this characterization upon. Where am I raising cavils? It’s true, I strongly disagree with his characterization of a papal encyclical as “Neo-Modernist,” as I think all Catholics should. But is protesting the condemnation of a papal encyclical really a cavil?

      I also agree that Calovich is not, as far as I know, an actual sedevacantist. He has paid lip service to the fact that Francis is the pope, even while suggesting Benedict XVI is a Modernist heretic responsible for the damnation of millions (a claim based on what proved to be a false claim made by Tradition in Action), and suggesting that God will punish the pope for moving for the canonization of John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II by plunging the world into three days of darkness on July 11, 2013. It was when this second claim was proven false that the present discussion began. Anyone who loves the Holy Catholic Church should step up to the defense of the Holy Father when he is besmirched so unjustly. And that is all that I have done here, as far as I can tell.

      All of this is part of an apparent pattern of taking (a) private Marian revelations and (b) unreliable information he gleaned from the Internet to condemn the last several Vicars of Christ. Mark Shea worded it well: “the reality, when you finally get past the irrational terror of Mary and enter the Church is that nobody thinks she’s another God, as you feared. Instead, you find that a small minority of Catholics think she’s another Pope.” That’s the problem, as I see it: Calovich seems to want Marian apparitions to serve as some sort of super-papacy that the pope needs to defer to. But you won’t find the papacy acting in that manner at any point in history. So his arguments reflect a bad (and un-Traditional) ecclesiology, and deserve to be rebutted.

      All that said, what did I say that you actually disagree with? Because you appear to be answering things I don’t believe I said (and positions that I don’t hold).



    2. Mr (Br?) Heschmyer,

      Only some of the first paragraph of that little effulgence of words was directed towards you! Forgive me, but I was unaware of Mr Calovich’s eccentric ideas about impending punishment. Your defense of H.H. Benedict XVI is admirable, but I meant that your reaction might be a “cavil” in that his “condemnation” of the encyclical was so petty that I would not take it too seriously.

      I do not think Benedict XVI is neo-Modernist hell-bent on sending people to damnation, but—and I say this out of academic and historical interest rather than immediately practical interest—we should not be so narrow as to think that the Pope cannot in principle be guilty of un-orthodoxy. Honorius I was a heretic, as was Vigilius when the monophysite position suited him prior to his election; John XII invoked pagan gods while playing dice and John XXII gave sermons to the Curia containing very dubious content on the beatific vision; Innocent III even wondered how a bad pope ought to be deposed. I hope those days are well behind us!

    3. “Eccentric ideas about impending punishment?” Ever read anything in the Holy Bible about Sodom and Gomorrah, RT? Do you really think we are somehow immune from Divine Justice? Immune especially since we have long surpassed the evils done in previous times? Really?

    4. Rad Trad,

      It’s true that nothing principally guarantees a pope will be personally orthodox, although I would challenge your list somewhat (Honorius was condemned for tolerating heresy, not teaching it; John XXII was guilty of material heresy (at worst – probably not even that) since the doctrine hadn’t been defined; and as far as I recall, the horrible stories about John XII come to us from his enemies (who weren’t necessarily honest or impartial sources, themselves).

      But it’s a very different thing to think that the pope can teach formal heresy magisterially. That notion strikes me as inconsistent with Catholic ecclesiology, and the duty we owe even to the fallible teachings of the ordinary Magisterium. One of my concerns is that some of the “Traditionalists” who are hostile to the post-conciliar popes are advancing a series of ecclesiological principles indistinguishable from Luther’s early days as a “Reformer”: namely, the pope is authoritative when he agrees with me.



      P.S. It’s Mr. Heschmeyer, thanks for asking.

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