Monday, August 17, 2015


As anyone who reads my blog will attest, I have said time and time again that the secular press manipulates and twists the words of Pope Francis and always out of context to sow seeds of confusion among those who still follow the traditional media. The blogs and new media outlets distort Pope Francis for their own ideological reasons, neo-traditionalists being some of the biggest post-Catholic culprits.

For example, Pewsitter, is kind of a "c"atholic Drudge Report. But its headlines introducing stories from other sources, such as the post from First Things I post below, are always negative and frequently disrespectful to the Holy Father, although I've notice in recent days a softening of that silly, derogatory captioning.

For example the post below which I get from Pewsitter was introduced by Pewsitter this way:

"New Book: It's not that Francis wants to change Church teaching. He's just really faithful to Vatican II!
... more"

Of course for Pewsitter's ideology, being faithful to Vatican II is anathema, so far have these so-called catholics who work this blog site have drifted from true Catholicism.  

But when I went to the First Things article below, I was pleasantly pleased by the article and its positive evaluation of a book written about Pope Francis which gives us insights into the man that is the Vicar of Christ and thus the Bishop of Rome!

Pope Francis and Vatican II

About Fr. C. John McCloskey

Fr. C. John McCloskey, a Church historian and Non-Resident Research Fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute, writes from Menlo Park, CA.

Pope Francis presents a great puzzlement to many of the faithful, particularly those Catholics who are accustomed to the clarity of Pope Emeritus Benedict and his holy predecessor St. John Paul. As a result, those Catholics who are faithful to the teachings of the Church have a difficult time penetrating the meaning behind the current pope’s rhetoric. This is understandable, given that he has so far produced only two encyclicals – one on Faith (written with the help of Pope Benedict) and the second a complex reflection on the environment.

He is most misunderstood, however, because of the secular media, which, stoked by the Internet, constantly portray him as a man who in some way or other intends to change the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church, particularly in the area of marital life. In the United States, which is eagerly awaiting his visit just a week prior to the already much-debated Synod on the Family, speculation is particularly keen. Many seem to hope that, somehow, Pope Francis is going to give in to radical changes in sexual morality, especially with regard to the divorced and remarried and on homosexuality. Well-formed Catholics think this is impossible – and Francis’s words, at least on homosexuality, seem to confirm that belief. But partly owing to Francis’s own off-the-cuff statements, the impression persists.

Unfortunately, there are bishops and cardinals preparing for the upcoming synod on the family who share or rather encourage the media in its misconceptions. Happily, those working (publicly, at least) for this view are not the U.S. contingent but come primarily from the decaying formerly Catholic countries in middle Europe, particularly Germany and Austria. Ironically – and as a witness to the new universality of the Church – the strongest and most outspoken defenders of Catholic teaching on this matter are African Catholics. The hierarchies of the Catholic dioceses in Sub-Saharan Africa insist that the Church preach and encourage people to follow its treasury of teachings on faith and morals. Given the apparent decay of the West, the Africans constitute perhaps the best example of faithful and fruitful Catholic communities in the world.

Which brings us to Eduardo Echeverria and his just released book Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II. George Weigel, the well-known Catholic thinker – and friend and biographer of St. John Paul – describes the author as one of the liveliest and most insightful thinkers practicing the ancient craft of theology in the United States today. His book sheds new light on the Catholic Church and on Pope Francis himself at this challenging moment in history. Echeverria is a professor of philosophy and systematic theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.
What Echeverria shows is that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, is as man of the Second Vatican Council and faithful, in the best sense, to its teaching. As The Catholic Thing’s Robert Royal notes in his Foreword to this volume, through a careful reading of Jorge Bergoglio’s writings prior to being elected pope, Echeverria has discovered there two key interpretive elements. First, the pope very much believes that the Church should judge between “yes” and “no,” whatever the media would like to believe about “Who am I to judge?” And second, the future pope leant heavily on the notion of the pueblo fiel, (“faithful people”) in Argentina, by which he meant a genuinely popular Catholicism that was also profoundly faithful to the Catholic tradition. The author includes chapters that detail his dealings with traditionalists and with the liberal and progressive sectors of the Church.

Echeverria also devotes space to the pope’s particular mission of encouraging Protestants and others outside the Catholic faith to engage with Rome. In addition, he describes the great attractiveness of Francis to people throughout the world – which we may hope could eventually draw many back to the Church that Christ founded.

Contrary to public impressions, Francis frequently addresses that part of Christian life that is a spiritual “battle” within the soul of each Christian (for example, battling gossip, prejudice, and self-indulgence). But he’s also demonstrated the importance of showing joy and sharing our faith with family and friends, as well as in the workplace. This book is a challenging read because of the deep theological analysis it undertakes. Yet it’s certainly worth the effort as we prepare for the visit of Pope Francis to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and the United Nations in New York in September.

This visit will be historic in several respects. Given the ongoing collapse of Christianity in United States, Pope Francis’ teachings and the degree to which he is properly understood will play a large role in the fate of America, which has already begun the long, grueling process of electing a new president. These elections will also, of course, have repercussions for the selection of new members of the Supreme Court, which has done so much damage to what at one time was a Christian land, most recently by the Obergefell decision allowing same-sex marriage.

Perhaps this extraordinary gift from God that is Pope Francis will awaken us to the extraordinary treasure of the Church that Christ founded. In any case, this book will help confirm for all who read it that the Church, in one way or another, will prevail until the end of time, as its Founder has assured us.


Anonymous said...

If the recommendation didn't come Fr McCloskey, a well known priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei, I might be more open to the comments but what it boils down to is Fr McCloskey is only following the party line of Opus Dei that there is to be no criticism of Pope Francis - no matter what. The comment I have heard is tolerate everything for the sake of unity even if it is wrong!

As people elsewhere have commented, Opus Dei were found completely wanting when it came to public support for Pope Benedict and I agree. Pope Benedict was never ambiguous but he was vilified by the press for standing for the truth. However, the public support of Opus Dei was noticebly absent during his pontificate and they certainly have shown scant support for Summorum Pontificum despite their avowed loyalty to the Pope.


Anonymous said...

Pope Francis has allowed discussion, for almost 2 years, that it is possible for people living in adultery can receive Holy Communion in this state of mortal sin without contrition and sacramental confession and absolution. THAT is a scandal. He refuses to teach clearly that this is impossible. His allowing the discussion gives people the impression that Church doctrines are open to change. Truth cannot change. Francis knowingly gives out mixed signals to the world which causes confusion. How in any way is it good for any priest to do something like that. Confusion is of the Devil. The Faith is crystal clear and it is not a burden and it is not a hindrance to following the Gospel. The role of a pope is to confirm the brethren in the Faith. The pope's role is not to invent or change any defined teaching, he is not a Demi God. Francis has not stopped talking since the election. He has time to talk about the poor, and trees and the poor and the poor. Yet silence when Ireland turned it's back on Christ and embraced evil. Silence when it was proven with video that babies where being butchered and trays of body parts where shown and those body parts are being sold like meat. Silence from the pope! That is a scandal. And it's ridiculous to think that divorced people feel alienated from the Church. The dirty little secret is that 99% of today's Catholics don't know what the Church teaches and they don't care. The Faith has been so compromised by priests, bishops, nuns and yes pope's for the last 50 years that the present generation of Catholics think of the Church as some kind of organization that has religious overtones. They do not believe it is divinely instituted by Christ Himself and therefore isn't open to picking and choosing. Francis is a scandal and he knows full well what he is doing. But we as a Church deserve to have him because of our collective unfaithfulness to Christ for the last 50 years. For god sake that man laid a blasphemous representation of Our Lord's crucifixtion on Our Lady's altar. My god, that alone is should be enough to enrage every Catholic in the world and prove that something is seriously wrong with that man. Wake up.

Jusadbellum said...

I tend to agree with Anonymous on the score that even if a given Pope's personal position is solidly faithful to the deposit of faith, to the degree his public governance and utterances (like to notorious atheist authors who regularly misconstrue his words via 'paraphrases' rather than direct quotes) confuse people, in once sense, it doesn't matter how faithful this interior life may be.

I assume a Pope is "a faithful son of the Church". I assume a Cardinal - ready to spill his own blood for the faith - knows the faith and is courageous in defending and promoting it. It's sort of like assuming that a Marine Corps General knows how to lead a platoon into battle. You assume that anyone who reaches that height of responsibility can go toe to toe with the world, flesh, and devil and 'win'.

The last thing you expect is the uncertain trumpet, the rambling stream of consciousness meanderings that lend itself to easy equivocations- that give ammo to those who are most decidedly NOT faithful sons of the Church but actually are striving to undermine if not eliminate the Church from any effective leadership role in society.

There are many who would gladly co-op the Church to promote their own ideological goals but would instantly turn on the Church in a heartbeat should it get in their way. The distressing thing is when bishops' utterances or personnel decisions give credibility to anti-Catholic ideologues who are 'loyal sons of the "sexular" materialist project.

We could see or read about Pope John Paul II's time as a leader in the Church in Poland and be rightfully edified and proud of how he deftly handled the Communists and outflanked them both intellectually and on the ground with the youth and young intellectuals, families, marriages, etc. But we have little evidence that as Archbishop Bergolio, any similar success was achieved in Argentina.

It's nice to know the man is humble and rode a city bus, lived in his own little flat and cooked his own food. But what effective role has the Church played in arresting the "sexular" materialist project in Latin America? He is praised for resisting the military dictatorship in the 1980s, but what did he do to resist the Peronists (who technically fall on the Socialist-Fascist side of the political spectrum). It's great that he wasn't a communist. But by all accounts he was comfortable with Peron, the Argentinian Mussolini.

So there's the theory - he's 'theoretically' a "loyal son of the Church" (WHATEVER that happens to mean, exactly). But practically..... that's what the confusion and the drama and the consternation is about: regardless of his personal position on a given matter, what does his public acts promote?

The whole Western World is sliding towards a Fascist system of State-big business/big finance centralized command and control. It's sliding towards anti-Christian social and ideological policies that institutionalize and globalize the sexual revolution. Its geo-political positions with respect to the East and Middle East is fraught with the risk to touching off a world war (as the Pope himself warns). Thus, as a HATED minority, Catholics in the West are looking for a champion from our Pope and are finding..... well, only occasional signs of a backbone.

If the calculation is that the anti-Christian Western oligarchy can be persuaded to hold off the open persecution by dangling an olive branch to them maybe there's some wisdom to it. But it runs the risk of dispiriting those who would resist the slide towards depravity.

I read the Pope and find long as I read the WHOLE document. Most people don't and walk away with a smug sense that the Pope and 'cool kids' are seeing the atheistic sexular materialist "light" and getting with the program.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could be more optimistic about Francis, and if this was the beginning of his pontificate maybe I would be. But 2 years in and he is STILL causing scandal almost every time he opens his mouth, I think we're just gonna have to wait him out until he dies.
I also wish I could be optimistic about him speaking to the UN, congress, etc., but I think we all know he is going to say something profoundly stupid and scandalous that will just cause even more problems, and I can already see the Democrat party saying "Francis says so and so is ok!! vote for us!!"
This is the first time I've ever had to tune out a pope, but that's exactly what i'll be doing when he comes to America, I'm sure I'll already be on damage control with my protestant family/friends who already think Francis is the false prophet from Revelation :/ commie crucifix, heretical advisers, Kasperite heresy...could they be right?

MR said...

"Many seem to hope that, somehow, Pope Francis is going to give in to radical changes in sexual morality, especially with regard to the divorced and remarried and on homosexuality. Well-formed Catholics think this is impossible – and Francis’s words, at least on homosexuality, seem to confirm that belief."

So, the media says Francis is going to give in to radical changes in sexual morality in two areas, but we should be happy because he he's said he wont give in on one of the two?

"Rejoice because one out of two heresies has been rejected" is a rather low bar, Fr McCloskey.

Cletus Ordo said...

Father, you wrote:

"Of course for Pewsitter's ideology, being faithful to Vatican II is anathema, so far have these so-called catholics who work this blog site have drifted from true Catholicism."

I guess I should apologize in advance, but just WHY should Catholics be so devoted to Vatican II anyway? There were no new dogmas defined by this council and none of its decrees carry the anathema that previous councils attached to their proclamations. Besides, it was only, and I stress, ONLY pastoral in its nature and scope.

Vatican II was supposed to "update" the Church's approach to the modern world and the problems facing the Church. Yet the Church sold the council out in advance with the Metz Accord, guaranteeing that the biggest enemy of the Church, namely Communism, would never even be mentioned at the Council.

The schemata prepared for the council was undermined and rejected by liberal bishops from Northern Europe, who had their own agenda.

Last week, you published a report from good bishop Athanasius Schneider, who affirmed that the SSPX deserves full canonical status. And we all know why the modern Church is obstinate in its refusal to grant them canonical recognition: Their rejection of Vatican II.

Good Pope John, who decided to instigate the council said that he preferred to use the "medicine of mercy", but some 40 years later, the only medicine used by those who disagree with the council is vitriol and condemnation or worse, the vilification of being labelled "preconciliar"--something in today's Church that is slightly lower than being part of the untouchable class in India.

Vatican II did not reject any teachings that came before it, but it did leave many texts too open-ended for misinterpretation, abandoning the precision that council documents normally are expressed in. Yet Catholics who still practice the faith as it was before Vatican II are vilified for not accepting the new fluffy interpretations of these documents as practiced by the modern Church.

Cardinal Ratzinger was certainly right when he warned Chilean bishops that Vatican II was being misinterpreted as a sort of "super dogma" that cancelled all that came before it.

If you look at the younger breed of priests who are coming along today, most of them are not obsessed by Vatican II, the way the older gang still is. It would not be fair to say that they reject Vatican II. It's probably more precise to say that it is irrelevant to them and they won't be bothered with it. Given the "fruits" of this council, I don't think that's a bad thing.

gob said...

Who's going to DC or NY or PA to see Pope Francis? (I'm not.)

gob said...

Who would be going if it were Benedict?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I saw Pope Francis several times in Rome and enjoyed the short walk to see him, the special seating and the ability to get back to my residence quickly after the event.

I went to see St. Pope John Paul II in Columbia, SC and hated the wait in a tight line in the middle of the summer with temps approaching 100. Never again for any pope to an event like that.

Lefebvrian said...

I will go see any pope who comes to the city in which I live (or perhaps, a city within about 30 minutes of where I live), and if I am ever traveling in a city where the pope happens to be, I will go see him there if it isn't a major inconvenience.

I will not travel specifically for the purpose of seeing the pope. I am not a pope-idolater.

Anonymous 2 said...

Oh goodie, it’s time to bash Pope Francis again. Wheeeeee!

gob said...

He is the "Vicar of Christ on Earth", right? What if the "real" guy was coming? Would the lines still be too long for us?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous gob said...

"Who would be going if it were Benedict?"

We know not you, Gob, for sure!

I attended a general audience in St Peter's Square for St John Paul II The Great and loved it. I didn't go to see him when he visited my country, though - not that I didn't want to but I'm not a great fan of crowds. I definitely wouldn't go to see Pope Francis because I find how he engages with the throng cringe material. It makes me feel embarrassed that a grown man behaves as he does. I would say the same of any leader who donned a red nose for a photo op, generally behaved like one of the guys and stood there with rosary beads hanging from his ear - not his fault I guess but those who clown around don't tend to be taken seriously, Jan

Православный физик said...

Wake me up when this pontificate is over...

Anonymous said...

I'm with Lefebvrian. We see someone in person who is greater than ANY pope every time the Host is elevated at Mass.

Anonymous said...

I firmly believe Vatican II teachings because they only intended to make Christian Catholic dogmas more understandable to every day Catholics in modern times. On the other hand I also believe that the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

The V2 pudding is somewhat off taste for many. Its up to date language failed to live up to its hype and. Young Catholics brought up on its Spirit are leaving the Church in droves. So, I conclude, if Vatican 2 teaches what Vatican 1, Trent, and all the other approved Councils taught well and good.

On the other hand, if I am told that Vatican 2 teaches something contrary to that other approved Councils or Popes did teach, then one is forced to think either the past was wrong or the modern Council teaching is wrong.

In either case our Church would be facing a faith crisis of disastrous proportions.

Recall Bishop A. Schnider's comment that V-2 is an over commented and overvalued Council. Benedict XVI had the right approach which is to apply reforms in continuity with Tradition. That approach - resisted mightily- is in line with Church teaching of yesterday and today; it will not declare untrue what was believed by Catholics everywhere from the time of Jesus until the middle of the 20th century.

Anonymous said...

Una Voce America has on its website the full text of the then Cardinal Ratzinger's address to the Bishops of Chile in 1988 in which he talks about the SSPX, the Traditional Mass and Vatican II of which he says:

"The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living
Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero.
The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately
chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat
it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the
importance of all the rest.

“This idea is made stronger by things that are now happening. That which previously
was considered most holy — the form in which the liturgy was handed down —
suddenly appears as the most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely
be prohibited. It is intolerable to criticize decisions which have been taken
since the Council; on the other hand, if men make question of ancient rules, or
even of the great truths of the Faith — for instance, the corporal virginity of
Mary, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, etc. —
nobody complains or only does so with the greatest moderation. I myself, when
I was a professor, have seen how the very same bishop who, before the Council,
ad fired a teacher who was really irreproachable, for a certain crudeness of
speech, was not prepared, after the Council, to dismiss a professor who openly
denied certain fundamental truths of the Faith."

The whole article is well worth reading in light of what is happening in the Church today.