Friday, April 25, 2014


During the war years and also during the cold war, propaganda and disinformation were quite common to disorient the enemy.

The Church and this pope (and by the way, Pope Benedict also) have many enemies both inside and outside the Church. The Church and the Papacy are seen as the enemy by godless secularism the epitome of which can been seen in how the liberal press covers the Church.

Unfortunately and sadly, Pope Francis has many enemies in the Church, as did Pope Benedict, but from differing factions and ideologies.

I always thought the more progressive Catholics symbolized by those who write and comment at the National Chismatic Reporter (NCR) and at Praytell (and Whine) were some of the most small minded and cynical of Catholics in their hatred of Pope Benedict and his Magisterium.

Yet, I have been more scandalized by the ultra-traditionalist right that has become like a brood of vipers in their contempt for Pope Francis and their shrill and vitriolic condemnation of this pope. They are like their ultra-progressive counterparts at the NCR and PT but more vicious and unCatholic in their lack of charity, which by the way, is the greatest of the gifts God gives us above faith and hope!

The media has made an art of handing out disinformation to confuse and confound Catholics, especially conservative, orthodox Catholics. This shouldn't be shocking to anyone. Catholic ultra-traditionalists as well as those on the left do the same thing. This should be shocking when we consider how much our Lord desires the Church to be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic and prays for that unity in his farewell discourse in John's Gospel.

Pope Francis is a progressive when it comes to pastoral sensitives and placing people above rules, some of which he has indeed called small-minded rules. After more than a year of his papacy, this should not be shocking. And quite frankly, we know of many bishops and priests who do not prevent divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion--there is nothing new in this although it is illicit. That Cardinal Jorge Bergolio would be of this school is not a shock, but that he would promote it as the Bishop of Rome is. He needs to clarify his position on this and I hope he will if not it smacks of the highest degree of clericalism and will lead Catholics to think that whatever lifestyle choices they make, even being a member of the mafia, entitles them to receive Holy Communion if they so desire.

But there is also a bit of recklessness in Pope Francis' Italian/South American heritage of personality and culture. He is not careful in choosing his words and is naive in not realizing how his words are twisted and used against him by Catholics and secularists and the media.

A symbol of his recklessness occurred in South America when he arrived for World Youth Day when his compact car got lost on the way to an event and was mobbed by the faithful. I actually thought (as I watched it live on television) that the Pope's security might have been severely injured or killed in the chaos that ensued not to mention the laity, many men, women and children, even infants in the arms, that might have died being crushed between moving cars or stampeded or run over. The Holy Father seemed oblivious to this danger, not only to himself, which is okay, but to others he endangered by his recklessness and this is unacceptable.

The same is true when he allowed two young boys to ride in the pope-mobile at a Wednesday audience in St. Peter's Square. On the surface it looked sweet. But let's face it this pope could be a target for assassination. Did he place these children into an unsafe environment (an open air vehicle) and could they have been in the line of fire in an assassination attempt?

We need to pray for Pope Francis that he be as serious and somber in his everyday life as Pope as he is when he celebrates Mass. There needs to be integration of personality and persona in these two parts of his public life.

Pope Benedict's splendid example of apologizing for poorly chosen words:

ABC US News | ABC Business News


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I am deleting vitriolic comments against Pope Francis, as they are sinful acts of calumny and lead others into sin in this regard and make it look like I approve of such comments when I don't. So think twice before you type this tripe.

We can criticize certain actions of the pope, but don't criticize the pope's faith, intent and person, at least not on this blog, go to the SSPX or the National Chismatic Reporter or to the Remnant to do that.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It is one thing to criticize a particular thing the pope does and in a respectful way, it is quite another to do it in a hateful, sinful way. When Pope Benedict chose words that inflamed the Islamic world and led to the deaths of some innocent people, it is fine to recall to the Holy Father that he should be more careful in choosing his words. The same for Pope Francis, do it in a respectful way and not like the liberals did when Pope Benedict made mistakes in speech. But he always corrected them or apologized.

Gene said...

Well, I really like this Pope. I mean, I love the way he keeps us on our doctrinal and liturgical toes, always anticipating the next Papal event or statement. This is good because it trains us to be prepared for life's uncertainties. After all, doctrine and dogma should be "living things," and we all know how suddenly life can change or shift in completely unexpected ways.

Gene said...

oh, wait…which disinformation are we talking about? Is it the disinformation of the press regarding the disinformation of the Vatican, or is it the disinformation of the Vatican regarding the disinformation about the disinformation of the press about the disinformation of the Vatican? Mongo confused?!??!!

Anonymous said...

Well when you can't defend the indefensible stop all dissent I guess. I guess you are what Pope Francis charitably calls "a little monster".

Vox Cantoris said...

Thank you for an honest assessment about what is a pattern which is causing great distress.

What I find the most difficult to cope with is that he does not seem to either take advice on learn from these occurrences. We do not know for certain what he said to the woman. However, since Fr. Lombardi did not deny that the call took place, then we can only assume that it did. That, I suggest, is the problem.

On the matter of security, that was quite evident in that first Mass he celebrated at the Vatican City parish, putting his security officers and the public at risk in that way.

The result of his actions is that many people are simply tuning him out. What else can we do other than pray and suffer it.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again.....

"I am deleting vitriolic comments against Pope Francis, as they are sinful acts of calumny and lead others into sin in this regard and make it look like I approve of such comments when I don't. So think twice before you type this tripe.

We can criticize certain actions of the pope, but don't criticize the pope's faith, intent and person, at least not on this blog, go to the SSPX or the National Chismatic Reporter or to the Remnant to do that."

We've heard this before....

Catholic said...

I have a question: If a pope were a heretic, as evidenced by public, clearly heretical statements, would it be sinful to bring that fact to other people's attention if done with a proper intention (like instructing the ignorant)?

(I am not claiming that Pope Francis is a heretic. This is a hypothetical question based on history.)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It all hinges on who has the authority to "depose" a pope and who doesn't. The laity don't and ordinary deacons and priests don't.

There is a way to depose of a pope sort of killing him. I'm not sure what that process is, but it has to come from the proper authorities of the Church, meaning the bishops in union with the pope and I suspect there would have to be a canonical trial.

The carping I get in comments I delete about Pope Francis shows a post-Vatican II ignorance not only about respect for the papal office and its occupant, but who has the authority to point out the pope's faults and doing so in the most charitable and respectful way without denigrating the person of the pope, even if he is heretical in some teaching.

So we can question Pope Francis on his pastoral outreach to another Bishop's parishioner and even say the advise given is illicit.

None of us can say that Pope Francis' papacy is illicit or begin to call him names because we don't like this, that or the other of what he says or does. That is up to the bishops to do and their duty alone.

John Nolan said...

Pope Benedict's Regensburg lecture was one of the most significant papal pronouncements of recent times. It addressed the question of faith and reason, and although Benedict expressed regret that certain people took umbrage at certain things he said, and deliberately took them out of context in order to inflame conflict, he did not retract anything. Nor should he have done.

I well remember the gaggle of Islamic fanatics jumping up and down outside Westminster cathedral and calling for the Pope to be beheaded. The Metropolitan Police looked on. Had Christians attempted to demonstrate outside a mosque they would immediately have been arrested and charged with a 'hate crime' under the Public Order Act.

Every senior Church figure came out in defence of the Pope on this, with one notable exception, who lost no time in coming out with a statement attacking Benedict for allegedly destroying twenty years of Christian-Moslem dialogue. This was the then Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I should have written "Short" of killing him, not sort of killing him.

Catholic said...

I don't think anyone could depose a pope for being a private heretic, that is if he didn't attempt to make his heresy doctrinal or Magisterial.

I also think the Great Western Schism shows us that councils are superior to popes when they need to be and subordinate the rest of time.

Anyway, my initial question is not about the deposing issue.

It is not proper to detract people, but we also have a duty to instruct the ignorant. You are making the problem for yourself, though, if you hang on the pope's every word. That isn't how the papacy works, thankfully. Otherwise, we would all be monothelites.

Nymous said...

I agree, FrAJM. Way too many people have fallen for the characature the media has made of pope Francis. His biggest weakness is he's no politician. He doesn't speak for sound bites. He is a pastor who is speaking to the individual, not the crowd. I think the ultra conservatives here want a warrior messiah and are disappointed with this humble shepherd.

Православный физик said...

Pope Benedict XVI had nothing to apologize for in the Ragensburg address. I thought the address was pure genius, and the reaction of people showed the accuracy of his address.

Yes, there are people deliberately misquoting Pope Francis, but it's fair to ask, is the way he speaking assisting in the media's misquoting? The answer has to be an astounding yes. In short, the Pope hasn't helped himself by the way that he's speaking. (This is not to say, he's a heretic, or heterodox...just simply that he can state himself clearer at times)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

One can see in the ABC news story reported at the time of the pope's speech and the subsequent firestorm how sensational news can be with its dire predictions of the future as though they are clairvoyant like me.

But in fact Pope Benedict was able to diffuse the whole thing and then go on to Istanbul and meet with Muslim leaders and go into a mosque with shoes removed and he was welcomed by this secular Muslim state!

Anonymous said...

"We can criticize certain actions of the pope, but don't criticize the pope's faith, intent and person, at least not on this blog, go to the SSPX or the National Chismatic Reporter or to the Remnant to do that."

So referring to him as a self absorbed promethean pelagian rosary counter triumphalist rigid superficial museum mummy sourpuss elitist pickled pepper faced creed reciting smarmy idolator christian religious priest who has a heart as sour as vinegar would or would not be acceptable?

George said...


" The Great Western Schism shows us that councils are superior to popes when they need to be." My reading of Catholic teaching and history (what little I have read) is that this is not so. The Sixth Ecumenical Council reproved Pope Honorarius and others over the Monothelite heresy,which it condemned, that is true.
Leo II, his successor, approved the condemnation of Honorius, but he did so not because he taught heresy, but rather because he was not vigilant and allowed a heresy to exist and continue which should he should have put an end to. An Ecumenical Council, which is where the bishops act in union with the
Pope, can infallibly define a dogma or teaching. It must be in union with the Pope however. The Pope can proclaim dogmatic teaching on his own, ex cathedra, by virtue of his office.

Catholic said...

George, I don't disagree with your assessment, but when there were multiple popes, a council was convened to determine which was legitimate. That wasn't, as you note, a dogmatic determination. And there was debate about the relationship between popes and councils up thru Vatican I.

John Nolan said...

A general council can indeed depose a pope (six hundred years ago the Council of Constance deposed two and accepted the resignation of a third) but only a pope can summon a council. Ironically, the pope who summoned Constance, John XXIII, was deposed by that same council.

The idea that popes are subordinate to general councils (conciliarism) was floated at the time but had no precedent in tradition and was soon repudiated.

If (God forbid!) a pope were to go insane or embrace heresy, then the senior curial cardinals would procure his abdication (like the German General Staff did with the Kaiser in 1918) and a conclave would elect a successor.

Catholic said...

John, I hear this idea that only a pope can summon a council. Then I read the history of the Church and find that that doesn't seem to have been the case in the first millennium. How do you rectify the idea with the history?

(To be clear, I'm not baiting an argument, this question seriously perplexes me, and I'd like your opinion.)

Rood Screen said...


There is now a canon (338) regulating the calling of an ecumenical council. The bishops are bound by ecclesiastical law. Were this canon to change, then the practice could change.

Catholic said...

I did not know that, JBS. Thank you!

So, it seems to follow, then, that it doesn't matter what happened historically in this regard. Is that your thought?