Thursday, December 12, 2013


It is amazing to me how trivial so many Catholic traditionalists are and superficial to boot. Don't they read Pope Francis, his homilies, his exhortations and his calls for fidelity to the Church and HER Magisterium?

And don't they know that winning people over to Christ is accomplished with sugar rather than vinegar, with a smile rather than a pickled peppered expression?

The "right" has politicized the pope just as the left had done using categories of politics and political affiliation to box him in. This is new and when one listens to either traditional or progressive Catholics you think you are listening to a religious version of FOX NEWS or CNN with all their editorializing blather. It is sad that Catholics have stooped to this level. Maybe they are in league with the Main Stream Press to completely undermine the Church, the Bride of Christ and divide and conquer Catholics as they have divided and conquered the nation politically.

Pope Francis has the secular press talking and spinning. They like him but they don't like his dogmatic Church, so the spin is to separate the pope from the Church. That's politics for you. But the editorial piece in the Washington Post on The Feast of St. Nicholas this past Friday its the nail on the head. Traditionalists chill out, in other words:

The conscience of a pope

By Kathleen Parker, Published: December 6, Washington Post

We have reached a new level of political absurdity when the right is mad at the pope and the left wants to anoint his head with oil.

Everyone seems to have his own special version of Pope Francis. Liberals have declared him a crusader for social justice, especially regarding his comments about global inequality. Conservatives fear he just might be a commie.

To briefly recap, Pope Francis has hit two hot buttons: He has questioned the efficacy of “unfettered” free markets and has encouraged de-emphasizing the church’s positions on such divisive issues as gays and abortion.

The latter message, while loving and refreshing, is more complex than an “I’m okay, you’re okay” platitude. The pope never proposes changing church teachings but merely suggests that the church should be open to all. You can’t minister to people if you won’t let them in the door. And no one follows a wagging finger.

“Frequently we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators,” Pope Francis writes. “But the church is not a tollhouse; it is . . . a place for everyone, with all their problems.”

He also makes frequent reference to the unborn but in the context of a throwaway culture that acts as though certain people don’t exist or can be easily discarded, as in the unborn or the elderly.

The message relating to the financial world similarly targeted the collateral human damage of “unfettered” markets. This is by-the-book Christianity, hardly the moorings of heresy. Yet these Christian sentiments have sent some conservatives reeling to the fainting couch.

Upon reading the pope’s words about greed and inequality, Rush Limbaugh threw down the word “Marxist” like an overcooked rib-eye. The pontiff’s words, said the man of many words, was “just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope.”

Now seems a good time to step back and consider what so often eludes us in our rush to pontificate: Context, context, context.

Both Karl Marx and Pope Francis may have critiqued our idolatry of money as creating an “economy of exclusion and inequality,” as Francis described the global economic system in his “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel). But Marx was making an economic statement and Francis was making a theological one. Christianity is based on Christ, while Marxism advocates abolition of religion and acceptance of atheism. One receives grace and performs acts of charity; the other abjures grace and systematizes penury.

Next comes Adam Shaw, news editor for and a Catholic, who wrote that the pope is like Obama — the worst invective a good conservative can hurl this side of “You’re a tool of Satan!”

“Just like President Obama loved apologizing for America, Pope Francis likes to apologize for the Catholic Church, thinking that the Church is at its best when it is passive and not offending anyone’s sensibilities,” Shaw wrote. Both men, he implies, “pander to enemies ” and are “professional grievance mongers.” And so on.

Pray, where does one see passivity in Pope Francis? The man is an activist, a street-worker, a foot-washer and an evangelizer. There’s nothing passive or pandering about him. And it would appear that Francis is quite willing to offend sensibilities.

It is useful to remember that Jesus wasn’t only a carpenter’s son but also a radical who turned the tables on the status quo. Likewise Francis — a Christian right down to his sensible black leather shoes, the better to walk the walk and sneak out at night to minister to Rome’s homeless.

What set off conservatives was the pope’s criticism of “trickle-down” economic theory that places absolute faith in markets to be humane and fair. Conservatives argue correctly that capitalism has done more to raise millions from poverty than any other system. And they well remember the fusion of Marxism and Christianity called “liberation theology” that seeks to redistribute wealth.

But the pope never mentions redistribution. He is challenging our idolatry of money and obsession with things (I confess!), a cultural fascination that distracts us from the needy. What is the successor to St. Peter supposed to do when he sees so much suffering even in free-market societies? Quote Ayn Rand?

In a final contextual note, Francis is the pope, not the president. Like Jiminy Cricket, he is urging people to let their conscience be their guide. No one, Christian or otherwise, can escape the mirror he holds up, his eyes doubtless twinkling in anticipation of his next moonlight adventure, searching for souls in need.


Anonymous said...

"It is amazing to me how trivial so many Catholic traditionalists are and superficial to boot."

That statement is an attempt to quiet anyone who disagrees with words or actions by Pope Francis which denigrate or contradict Church teaching or Tradition/tradition. The pope recently said that Christ "pretended" to be angry with the apostles in order to teach them a truth. So Francis is saying that Incarnate Truth itself was passive aggressive and immature, how else is one to understand something so ridiculous. To say that we can't obsess on abortion or homosexuality, what church is he talking about. In all my life I have never heard one word preached against homosexuality during Mass or in 12 years of Catholic school. As for abortion I could count on one hand the times I have heard priests preach against it. To commit a liturgical abuse to prove a point was scandalous. If he thinks washing the feet of women in violation of the rubrics of the Missal of Paul VI should be changed, then he should have used his authority to change it. When he comes down on the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception with an iron fist because they like Tradition yet does nothing to stop hundreds of priests in Vienna and Germany and Ireland who are on the verge of formal schism, he is wrong. And it is not evil or mean to point this out. Numerous saints have said it is perfectly just to correct a pope who is wrong, St. Paul did it. Getting rid of all the trappings of a monarch while ruling with an iron fist doesn't strike me as honest. It's phony and it is a tactic to advance a personal agenda. And that is what this pontificate is all about. He knows best and that's the way it's going to be.

Rood Screen said...

Certainly, the present pope is perfectly orthodox. No question.

What is needed, especially during this fiftieth anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, is a return to the concept of the Sacred Liturgy as the "source and summit" of Christian life. We need a Church-wide conversation on the need for the liturgy, particularly the Holy Mass, to be clearly and simply centered on God, rather than on the personality of the priest. It is clerical distraction, not lay nostalgia, that has created the present liturgical divide.

Henry said...

It's certainly good to know that our Holy Father enjoys the Washington Post's approval. But none of the matters discussed in the article--nor any pious nods by anyone to Catholic beliefs that in any event are not subject to question--will make any difference until the Church has the leadership to forthrightly correct past and present inadequacies in the liturgy that is the primary (if not only) contact of most Catholics with the Faith.

Anonymous 2 said...


I have now checked out some other “traditionalist” sites to see what they say regarding this quote about Jesus pretending to be angry with his disciples. Invariably they fault Pope Francis for this interpretation (assuming the reporting and translation of his words are accurate). You seem to share their criticism. Here is a more complete account of the Pope’s words:

Is the Pope just talking about the incident on the Road to Emmaus?

Also, can you please bring your doubtless considerable powers of scriptural exegesis to bear on the following passages from Matthew chapter 5:

5: 29 -- If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.

5: 30 -- And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

Does Jesus mean literally what He says here, or is He speaking metaphorically for effect and emphasis (isn’t it a bit difficult to imagine just one eye or hand offending and not the other)? If the latter, can He not also “become angry” for effect and emphasis, to get His disciples’ attention when that seems to be an appropriate approach? Or did He literally mean that the eye should be plucked out or the hand cut off because any other meaning would just be unacceptable “pretending” as well?

And, of course, if one is just looking for every possible opportunity to criticize this dreadful Pope (please note my non-literal use of language here), one will not be alert to such nuances.

Anonymous 2 said...


“When he comes down on the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception with an iron fist because they like Tradition”

I do not now recall the details, not have I searched for the relevant thread, but didn’t Father McDonald explain that there was more to this story than just “because they like Tradition”?

rcg said...

until a few years ago people told us all sorts of things were in Vatican II that apparently are not there. But no one corrected them. Now we are being told not to fear Pope Francis because what the Progressives spin on him is not what he is saying. I do not think Pope Francis needs to be feared, but he does not seem in a rush to comfort the Traditionalists. That omission is troubling.

rcg said...

Until a few years ago people told us all sorts of things were in Vatican II that apparently are not there. But no one corrected them. Now we are being told not to fear Pope Francis because what the Progressives spin on him is not what he is saying. I do not think Pope Francis needs to be feared, but he does not seem in a rush to comfort the Traditionalists or correct very public figures who are thanking his changes in Church teachings. That omission is troubling.

Anonymous said...

Cardinal Kasper just announced that Pope Francis will allow "remarried" divorced Catholics to receive Holy Communion. So he is officially teaching that a person living in persistent mortal sin does not need to go to confession before receiving communion. He is going to officially teach that receiving communion in a state of mortal sin is permissible. What does that make Francis? And what will his new title be?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Where did you see this ? I cannot find it in any likely source !

Anonymous said...

We must also consider whether or not the "quotes" we have from Jesus are actually "quotes," or whether they are the writings of inspired authors who, working at the direction of God, wrote down all that God wanted written down?

Anonymous said...

None of us is qualified to judge when another is "living in persistent mortal sin".

Henry said...

(AGI) Berlin, Dec 12 - People who have been divorced and remarried will once again soon be able to receive sacraments, said Cardinal Walter Kasper in an interview with the weekly magazine Die Zeit.

Of course, there is ample evidence that Kasper's merely saying something does on make it so.

Anonymous 2 said...

Thank you, Henry. And for a bit more context, including some question about the accuracy of the report, see: