Monday, May 11, 2015


Maybe Pope Francis has finally realized he's the pope and not just the Bishop of Buenos Aires. Maybe he realizes that as the Bishop of Rome, His Holiness is the head not of just one diocese in the world but the head of the universal Church. Maybe His Holiness realizes that there is a media depiction of him that is making life for normal, orthodox Catholic more difficult. Who knows?

But there is certainly a shift in His Holiness papacy and maybe His Holiness is coming to understand what it means to be the Supreme Pontiff.

Sandro Magister of his wonderful blog, Chiesa details this shift in the Supreme Pontiff. But I must tell you that often, even in the early days of this pontificate, I have felt that Pope Francis has acted as a kind of Trojan Horse to bring into the light those who want the Catholic Church to become a Post Catholic institution, such as the German bishops who are notorious about this and going back to the papacy of St. Pope John Paul II. They also gave Pope Benedict heartburn! In particular Cardinal Kasper gave Pope Benedict heartburn.

It seems now that Pope Francis is distancing himself from the 1970's clique of bishops, not all of them old enough to be 1970's and trying to bring the Church forward to Orthodoxy rather than backwards to the 1970's heterodox period that only leads forward to post-Catholicism.

Here is Sandro Magister's excellent commentary at Chiesa:

The Closed Door of Pope Francis

Since the end of the 2014 synod, he has spoken dozens of times on abortion, divorce, and homosexuality. But he hasn't said a single word more in support of the “openness” demanded by the innovators

by Sandro Magister

ROME, May 11, 2015 – The second and last session of the synod on the family is approaching, and the temperature of the discussion keeps going up.

The latest uproar is over an onslaught of the German bishops, who now take as a given, in the “cultural context” of their local Church, substantial changes of doctrine and pastoral practice in matters of divorce and homosexuality:

> Synod. The German Bishops Are Putting the Cart Before the Horse (6.5.2015)

Nothing new, in this. Most of the bishops of Germany have for some time been entrenched in positions of this kind, even before Cardinal Walter Kasper opened fire with the memorable introductory talk at the February 2014 consistory of cardinals, in support of communion for the divorced and remarried:

> The True Story of This Synod. Director, Performers, Assistants (17.10.2014)

The new development is another. And it has as its protagonist Pope Francis.

Until the synod of October 2014, Jorge Mario Bergoglio had repeatedly and in various ways shown encouragement for “openness” in matters of homosexuality and second marriages, each time with great fanfare in the media. Cardinal Kasper explicitly said that he had “agreed” with the pope on his explosive talk at the consistory.

But during that synod the resistance to the new paradigms showed itself to be much more strong and widespread than expected, and determined the defeat of the innovators. The reckless “relatio post disceptationem” halfway through the assembly was demolished by the criticism and gave way to a much more traditional final report.

In accompanying this unfolding of the synod Pope Francis also contributed to the turning point himself, among other ways by rounding out the commission charged with writing the final report - until then under the brazen dominion of the innovators - by adding personalities of opposing viewpoints.

But it is above all from the end of the synod on that Francis has taken a new course with respect to the one that he initially traveled.

From the end of 2014 until today, there has not been even one more occasion on which he has given the slightest support to the paradigms of the innovators.

On the contrary. He has intensified his remarks on all the most controversial questions connected to the synodal theme of the family: contraception, abortion, divorce, second marriages, homosexual marriage, “gender” ideology. And every time he has spoken of them as a “son of the Church” - as he loves to call himself - with ironclad fidelity to tradition and without swerving by a millimeter from what was said before him by Paul VI, John Paul II, or Benedict XVI.

This website has already published an anthology of all the statements of Pope Francis on the questions cited, from the end of October 2014 to the beginning of March 2015:

> Vatican Diary / The two-step of the Argentine pope (17.3.2015)

And below is the follow-up to the anthology, with all the further statements of the pope from the middle of March until now: eighteen in less than two months, added to the twenty-one of the previous block.

In the media circuit the innovators continue to enjoy great visibility and applause, and Francis continues to be depicted as one of them.

This presumed support of his continues to be taken for granted even by Bergoglio’s most fervent admirers, as for example that “Cenacle of friends of Pope Francis” that meets each month behind the Vatican walls, with mentors Cardinals Kasper and Francesco Coccopalmerio.

But the reality is entirely different. As a perfect Jesuit, Bergoglio is a great realist and has already understood - even just from scanning the names of the delegates elected by the various national episcopates - that the next session of the synod will be even more unfavorable for the innovators than the previous one.

He knows that the final decisions will be up to him and to him alone. But he also knows that it will be impossible for him to impose on the whole Catholic world innovations that are far from having gained the prior collegial consent of the bishops.

Who live not only in the decadent German Church, but in Africa, Asia, and all those living “peripheries” of the world that are so dear to him.



All of his statements from the middle of March until now

1. From the general audience of Wednesday, March 18, 2015:

Today I will focus on the great gift that children are for humanity — it is true they are a great gift for humanity, but also really excluded because they are not even allowed to be born. […] We are all sons and daughters. And this always brings us back to the fact that we did not give ourselves life but that we received it. The great gift of life is the first gift that we received. Sometimes in life we risk forgetting about this, as if we were the masters of our existence. […]

Children also bring worries and sometimes many problems; but better a society with these worries and these problems, than a sad, grey society because it is without children! When we see that the birth rate of a society is barely one percent, we can say that this society is sad, it is grey because it has no children.

> Complete text


2. From the March 20, 2015 letter to the international commission against the death penalty:

The magisterium of the Church, beginning from Sacred Scripture and from the experience of the People of God for millennia, defends life from conception to natural death, and supports full human dignity as in the image of God. Human life is sacred because from its beginning, from the first moment of conception, it is the fruit of the creative action of God. […] Life, human life above all, belongs to God alone.

> Complete text


3. From the March 21, 2015 meeting with the young people of Naples:

The crisis of the family is a societal fact. There are also ideological colonializations of the family, different paths and proposals in Europe and also coming from overseas. Then, there is the mistake of the human mind – gender theory – creating so much confusion.

So, the family really is under attack. What can we do in this active secularization? What can we do with ideological colonialization? How can we go on in a culture that doesn’t care about the family, where marriage is not preferred? I do not have the recipe, the Church understands this and the Lord inspired the convocation of the Synod on the Family, with its many problems, for example, marriage preparation in the church.

> Complete text


4. From the general audience of Wednesday, March 25, 2015:

On 25 March, the solemnity of the Annunciation, in many countries the Day for Life is celebrated. That is why, 20 years ago, St John Paul II on this day signed the encyclical "Evangelium vitae". In order to commemorate this anniversary there are many followers of the Pro-Life Movement present in the square today.

In "Evangelium vitae",  the family occupies a central place, as it is the womb of human life. The word of my venerable Predecessor reminds us that a human couple was blessed from the beginning to form a community of love and life, entrusted with the mission to generate life. Christian spouses, celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage, make themselves open to honour this blessing, with the grace of Christ, for their whole lives.

The Church, for her part, is solemnly committed to care for the family that is born, as a gift of God for her life, in good times and in bad: the bond between the Church and the family is sacred and inviolable. The Church, as a mother, never abandons the family, even when it is downhearted, wounded and humiliated in so many ways. Neither when it falls into sin nor moves away from the Church; she will always do everything to try to care for and heal it, to call it to conversion and to reconcile it to the Lord. […]

Everyone – the pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, men and women religious, lay faithful – we are all called to pray for the Synod. This is what is needed, not gossip! […] May the approaching synod of bishops make us more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.

> Complete text


5. From the general audience of Wednesday, April 8, 2015:

From the first moments of their lives, many children are rejected, abandoned, and robbed of their childhood and future. There are those who dare to say, as if to justify themselves, that it was a mistake to bring these children into the world. This is shameful! Let’s not unload our faults onto the children, please! Children are never a “mistake”. Their hunger is not a mistake, nor is their poverty, their vulnerability, their abandonment – so many children abandoned on the streets – and neither is their ignorance or their helplessness... so many children don’t even know what a school is. If anything, these should be reasons to love them all the more, with greater generosity. How can we make such solemn declarations on human rights and the rights of children, if we then punish children for the errors of adults?

> Complete text


6. From the general audience of Wednesday, April15, 2015:

Sexual difference is present in so many forms of life, on the great scale of living beings. But man and woman alone are made in the image and likeness of God: the biblical text repeats it three times in two passages: man and woman are the image and likeness of God. This tells us that it is not man alone who is the image of God or woman alone who is the image of God, but man and woman as a couple who are the image of God.

The difference between man and woman is not meant to stand in opposition, or to subordinate, but is for the sake of communion and generation, always in the image and likeness of God. Experience teaches us: in order to know oneself well and develop harmoniously, a human being needs the reciprocity of man and woman. When that is lacking, one can see the consequences. […]

Modern contemporary culture has opened new spaces, new forms of freedom and new depths in order to enrich the understanding of this difference. But it has also introduced many doubts and much skepticism. For example, I ask myself, if the so-called gender theory is not, at the same time, an expression of frustration and resignation, which seeks to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it. Yes, we risk taking a step backwards. The removal of difference in fact creates a problem, not a solution. […] The marital and familial bond is a serious matter, and it is so for everyone not just for believers. I would urge intellectuals not to leave this theme aside, as if it had to become secondary in order to foster a more free and just society. […]

I wonder if the crisis of collective trust in God, which does us so much harm, and makes us pale with resignation, incredulity and cynicism, is not also connected to the crisis of the alliance between man and woman. In fact the biblical account, with the great symbolic fresco depicting the earthly paradise and original sin, tells us in fact that the communion with God is reflected in the communion of the human couple and the loss of trust in the heavenly Father generates division and conflict between man and woman.

The great responsibility of the Church, of all believers, and first of all of believing families, which derives from us, impels people to rediscover the beauty of the creative design that also inscribes the image of God in the alliance between man and woman. The earth is filled with harmony and trust when the alliance between man and woman is lived properly. And if man and woman seek it together, between themselves, and with God, without a doubt they will find it. Jesus encourages us explicitly to bear witness to this beauty, which is the image of God.

> Complete text


7. From the homily at Saint Martha’s on April 17, 2015:

The grace of the “imitation of Jesus” concerns, the pope said, “not only those martyrs of whom I have spoken now, but also the many men and women who undergo humiliations every day for the good of their families, the good of other things, and keep their mouths closed, do not speak, bear with it for the love of Jesus. And they are many.” This “is the holiness of the Church: this gladness that is given by humiliation not because humiliation is beautiful, no: that would be masochism”; but “because with that humiliation you imitate Jesus.”

> Complete text


8. From the homily at Saint Martha’s on April 21, 2015:

“There are also the hidden martyrs, those men and women who are faithful to the power of the Holy Spirit, to the voice of the Spirit, who are making their way, who seek new paths for helping their brothers and loving God better.” And for this reason “they are suspected, calumniated, persecuted by many modern sanhedrins that believe themselves to be the owners of the truth.” Today, the pontiff said, there are “many hidden martyrs,” and among them there are many “who in order to be faithful in their families suffer so much for their fidelity.”

> Complete text


9. From the general audience of Wednesday, April 22, 2015:

Let us also think of the recent epidemic of distrust, skepticism, and even hostility that is spreading in our culture – in particular an understandable distrust from women – on the part of a covenant between man and woman that is capable, at the same time, of refining the intimacy of communion and of guarding the dignity of difference.
If we do not find a surge of respect for this covenant, capable of protecting new generations from distrust and indifference, from children coming into the world ever more uprooted from the mother’s womb. The social devaluation for the stable and generative alliance between man and woman is certainly a loss for everyone. We must return marriage and the family to the place of honour!

> Complete text


10. From the address to the bishops of Namibia and Lesotho on April 24, 2015:

Be generous in bringing the tenderness of Christ where threats to human life occur, from the womb to old age – and I think particularly of those suffering with HIV and AIDS. […] I think too of Christian families fragmented due to employment far away from home, or because of separation or divorce. I urge you to continue offering them help and guidance. Be of fresh resolve in preparing couples for Christian matrimony, and in constantly sustaining families by offering generously the Church’s sacraments – ensuring in a particular way that the Sacrament of mercy is widely available. I thank you for your efforts in promoting healthy family life in the face of distorted views that emerge in contemporary society.

> Complete text


11. From the address to the bishops of Benin of April 27, 2015:

I know that the pastoral care of marriage remains difficult, taking into account the concrete social and cultural situation of your people. But one must not become discouraged, but persevere without pause, because the family that the Catholic Church defends is a reality willed by God; it is a gift of God that brings, to persons as also to society, joy, peace, stability, happiness. What is at stake is important, because since the family is the fundamental cell both of society and of the Church, it is within it that authentic human and evangelical values are transmitted.

> Complete text


12. From the general audience of Wednesday, April 29, 2015:

Today, persons who marry are always fewer; this is a fact: young people do not want to get married. Instead, in many countries the number of separations increases, while the number of children decreases. The difficulty to remain together – be it as a couple, be it as a family – leads to breaking the bonds with ever greater frequency and rapidity, and, in fact, it is the children that are the first to bear the consequences. […]

If you experience from the time you are little that marriage is a bond for “a determined time,” it will be so for you unconsciously. In fact, many young people are led to renounce the project itself of an irrevocable bond and of a lasting family. I think we have to reflect very seriously on why so many young people “don’t feel like” getting married. There is this culture of the provisional ... everything is provisional, it seems there is nothing definitive. […]

In reality, almost all men and women would like affective stability, a solid marriage and a happy family. The family is at the top of all the indexes of satisfaction among young people; however, out of fear of making a mistake, many do not even want to think about it; although they are Christians, they do not think of sacramental marriage, unique and unrepeatable sign of the alliance, which becomes a testimony of faith. In fact, perhaps this fear of failing is the greatest obstacle to receiving the word of Christ, who promises his grace to the conjugal union and to the family.

The most persuasive testimony of the blessing of Christian marriage is the good life of Christian spouses and of the family. There is no better way to describe the beauty of the Sacrament! Marriage consecrated by God  to safeguard that bond between man and woman that God has blessed since the creation of the world; and it is source of peace and of goodness for the whole of conjugal and family life.

For instance, in the early times of Christianity, this great dignity of the bond between man and woman overcame an abuse held then to be altogether normal, that is, the right of husbands to repudiate their wives, even with the most pretentious and humiliating motives. The Gospel of the family, the Gospel that in fact announces this Sacrament has overcome this culture of habitual repudiation.

> Complete text


13. From the speech to the Communities of Christian Life of April 30, 2015

In the wake of the developments of the last synod of bishops, I encourage you to help the diocesan communities in attentiveness to the family, the vital cell of society, and in accompanying the engaged to their marriage. At the same time, you can collaborate in the welcoming of the so-called “estranged”: among them there are not a few separated spouses who suffer from the failure of their plan for conjugal life or from other situations of family distress, which can even make difficulties for the journey of faith and life in the Church.

> Complete text


14. From the May 4 speech to Mrs. Antje Jackelén, the Lutheran archbishop of Uppsala:

Urgent also is the vital issue of the dignity of human life, which is always to be respected. So, too, are issues concerning the family, marriage and sexuality. These cannot be suppressed or ignored, simply for fear of risking the ecumenical consensus already achieved. It would indeed be sad if in these important matters new confessional differences were to arise.

> Complete text


15. From the general audience of Wednesday, May 6, 2015:

We must ask ourselves seriously: do we also accept in full, we ourselves, as believers and as pastors, the indissoluble bond between the story of Christ and the Church and the story of marriage and the human family? Are we prepared to take on seriously this responsibility, namely that every marriage goes down the path of the love that Christ has with the Church? […]

The route is marked out forever, it is the route of love: one loves as God loves, forever. Christ does not cease to take care of the Church: he loves her always, he safeguards her always, like himself. […] Saint Paul is right: this is a “great mystery”! Men and women, courageous enough to bear this treasure in the “vessels of clay” of our humanity, are - these men and women who are so courageous - an essential resource for the Church, even for the whole world! May God bless them a thousand times for this!

> Complete text


16. From the May 9 address to the bishops of Mozambique:

Among the functions of the episcopal conference […] I encourage a decisive development of good relations with the government, not of dependence, but of healthy collaboration […], with particular attention to the laws that are approved in parliament. Beloved bishops, spare no effort in supporting the family and in defending life from its conception until natural death. In this regard, remember the choices proper to a disciple of Christ and the beauty of being a mother accompanied by the support of the family and of the local community. May the family always be defended as a privileged source of fraternity, respect for others, and the primary pathway of peace.

> Complete text


17. From the "Regina Caeli" of Sunday, May 10, 2015:

I greet all those who have taken part in the initiative for life conducted this morning in Rome: it is important to work together to defend and promote life.

> Complete text


11. From the address to the bishops of Togo of May 11, 2015:

Il est important que les aspects positifs de la famille qui sont vécus en Afrique s’expriment et soient entendus. En particulier, la famille africaine est accueillante à la vie, elle respecte et prend en compte les personnes âgées. Cet héritage doit donc être conservé et servir d’exemple et d’encouragement pour les autres.

Le sacrement de mariage est une réalité pastorale qui est bien accueillie chez vous, bien que des obstacles d’ordre culturel et légal subsistent encore, empêchant certains époux d’aller au terme de leur désir de fonder leur vie de couple sur la foi au Christ. Je vous encourage à persévérer dans vos efforts pour soutenir les familles dans leurs difficultés, notamment par l’éducation et les œuvres sociales, et préparer les couples aux engagements, exigeants mais magnifiques, du mariage chrétien.

Le Togo n’est pas épargné des attaques idéologiques et médiatiques, aujourd’hui partout répandues, qui proposent des modèles d’union et de familles incompatibles avec la foi chrétienne.

> Complete text


Anonymous said...

Tea (Tempest) Pot

Joe Potillor said...

The issue is not changing dogma (it can't) rather the complete ignoring of said dogma (which practically happens anyway)...

The synod will not change dogma, it has zero power to do so.