Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I found this on the Huffington Post: It says it all, no comment from me is necessary:

  Gay Voices Editor-at-Large, The Huffington Post

How Pope Francis Undermined the Goodwill of His Trip and Proved to Be a Coward

Posted: Updated:

After first refusing to confirm nor deny it, the Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis met with the Kentucky clerk Kim Davis at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, where Davis' attorney -- who made the news public after the pope's trip ended -- said Francis told her to "stay strong." And that simple encounter completely undermines all the goodwill the pope created in downplaying "the gay issue" on his U.S. trip.

The pope played us for fools, trying to have it both ways. As I noted last week, he's an artful politician, telling different audiences what they want to hear on homosexuality. He did that in Argentina as a cardinal -- railing against gay marriage when the Vatican expected him to do so -- and he's done that since becoming pope, striking a softer tone on the issue after Benedict's harsh denunciations were a p.r. disaster for the Catholic Church in the West. But this news about Kim Davis portrays him as a more sinister kind of politician. That's the kind that secretly supports hate, ushering the bigots in the back door -- knowing they're an embarrassment -- while speaking publicly about about how none of us can judge one another.

I would have more respect for the pope if he had publicly embraced Kim Davis and made an argument for her, as he did in his visit with the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are battling against filling out a form to exempt themselves from Obamacare's contraception requirement, claiming that even filling out the form violates their religious liberty -- even though I vehemently disagree with the pope on that issue. I'd have more respect if he boldly, explicitly made a public statement (not the vague, general statement he made on his plane on the way home only in response to a reporter's question about Davis), as he did in trying to stop the execution of a Georgia inmate who was put to death this morning. But by meeting with Davis secretly, and then at first having the Vatican neither confirm nor deny the encounter -- and now having the Vatican say it "won't deny" the meeting while it still won't offer any other details -- the pope comes off as a coward.

He shows himself to be antithetical to much of what he preaches and teaches. He talks about dialogue and having the courage of one's convictions and the courage to speak out. But he swept this Davis meeting under the rug, seemingly ashamed and certainly not wanting to broach the subject. Even Davis's supporters should find that insulting to them.

We all knew Francis was playing a p.r. game, and we were fine with that. He was focusing on climate change, immigration and other issues passionate to him -- and certainly I, and I hope everyone, still welcome whatever influence he can have on those issues. And it appeared he viewed the LGBT rights debate as a distraction from a focus on those causes. He even told U.S. bishops in a meeting during his trip that they should stop complaining about it and turn their attention to other issues. The sense was that he was probably not passionate about gay rights, but not passionate about attacking them either.

But by telling Davis that she should "stay strong" -- if her attorney's account of the encounter is to be believed -- the pope is only encouraging the bigots, even if he's doing so quietly. We don't know all the details yet regarding how Davis came to meet Francis -- if, for example, it was one of the more vocally anti-gay U.S. Catholic Church leaders who brought her along, or if the Vatican invited her.

But the optics of it are bad no matter what. Rather than moving us forward on LGBT rights ever so slightly, as many viewed the pope as doing, he now, with this meeting, emboldens the haters in the church who will be pushing to make sure church doctrine continues to call homosexuality "intrinsically disordered." And it sends a message to all those people who've experienced anti-gay discrimination -- like the Catholic school teachers fired from their jobs in the U.S. simply because of who they are -- that this pope is not going to end that discrimination any time soon. Rather than stopping that discrimination, he welcomed, with open arms in the Vatican's own embassy, the bigots who promote that discrimination but who've turned themselves into the victims.


I am giving a weekly class on Laudato Si. Tonight it is Chapter III. I am amazed at how Pope Francis rehabilitates natural law as one of the foundations for Catholic morality in ALL THINGS!

THIS IS PERHAPS THE MOST POWERFUL STATEMENT I'VE HEARD FROM A POPE ON NATURAL LAW. It is in Chapter III but all chapters thus far have relied on the principle of natural law combined with Scripture and Tradition:

117: Neglecting to monitor the harm done to nature and the environmental impact of our decisions is only the most striking sign of a disregard for the message contained in the STRUCTURES OF NATURE ITSELF. When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities--to offer just a few examples--it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected. Once human beings declares independence from reality and behaves with absolute dominion, the very foundations of our life begin to crumble, for "instead of carrying out his role as a cooperator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of NATURE.

My comments: The pope's clear teaching on natural law, which is available even to the non believer who rejects Scripture and Tradition, has ramifications for everything that goes against natural law, for all is connected.

When we set ourselves up as God and thus provoke a rebellion on the part of NATURE, what do we do?

1. We abuse the earth
2. We abuse sexuality and make what is unnatural in this regard "natural"
3. We abuse the meaning intrinsic in nature of what marriage is as designed by natural law
4. we abort babies 
5. Once human beings declare independence from reality and behaves with absolute dominion, the very foundations of our life begin to crumble!

The Holy Father directs his encyclical to everyone but especially those who are in control through their elected or appointed offices or who are dictatorial despots.

Think of what the Supreme Court has done to the unborn and now to marriage! Even the name Supreme competes with the only Supreme we must do homage: The Supreme Being! 

This is how natural law is treated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which Pope Francis uses explicitly in his encyclical:

1954 Man participates in the wisdom and goodness of the Creator who gives him mastery over his acts and the ability to govern himself with a view to the true and the good. The natural law expresses the original moral sense which enables man to discern by reason the good and the evil, the truth and the lie:
The natural law is written and engraved in the soul of each and every man, because it is human reason ordaining him to do good and forbidding him to sin . . . But this command of human reason would not have the force of law if it were not the voice and interpreter of a higher reason to which our spirit and our freedom must be submitted.5
1955 The "divine and natural" law6 shows man the way to follow so as to practice the good and attain his end. The natural law states the first and essential precepts which govern the moral life. It hinges upon the desire for God and submission to him, who is the source and judge of all that is good, as well as upon the sense that the other is one's equal. Its principal precepts are expressed in the Decalogue. This law is called "natural," not in reference to the nature of irrational beings, but because reason which decrees it properly belongs to human nature:
Where then are these rules written, if not in the book of that light we call the truth? In it is written every just law; from it the law passes into the heart of the man who does justice, not that it migrates into it, but that it places its imprint on it, like a seal on a ring that passes onto wax, without leaving the ring.7 The natural law is nothing other than the light of understanding placed in us by God; through it we know what we must do and what we must avoid. God has given this light or law at the creation.8
1956 The natural law, present in the heart of each man and established by reason, is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties:
For there is a true law: right reason. It is in conformity with nature, is diffused among all men, and is immutable and eternal; its orders summon to duty; its prohibitions turn away from offense . . . . To replace it with a contrary law is a sacrilege; failure to apply even one of its provisions is forbidden; no one can abrogate it entirely.9
1957 Application of the natural law varies greatly; it can demand reflection that takes account of various conditions of life according to places, times, and circumstances. Nevertheless, in the diversity of cultures, the natural law remains as a rule that binds men among themselves and imposes on them, beyond the inevitable differences, common principles.
1958 The natural law is immutable and permanent throughout the variations of history;10 it subsists under the flux of ideas and customs and supports their progress. The rules that express it remain substantially valid. Even when it is rejected in its very principles, it cannot be destroyed or removed from the heart of man. It always rises again in the life of individuals and societies:
Theft is surely punished by your law, O Lord, and by the law that is written in the human heart, the law that iniquity itself does not efface.11
1959 The natural law, the Creator's very good work, provides the solid foundation on which man can build the structure of moral rules to guide his choices. It also provides the indispensable moral foundation for building the human community. Finally, it provides the necessary basis for the civil law with which it is connected, whether by a reflection that draws conclusions from its principles, or by additions of a positive and juridical nature.
1960 The precepts of natural law are not perceived by everyone clearly and immediately. In the present situation sinful man needs grace and revelation so moral and religious truths may be known "by everyone with facility, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error."12 The natural law provides revealed law and grace with a foundation prepared by God and in accordance with the work of the Spirit.





First, it means that Francis has significantly strengthened the hand of the US bishops and other voices in American debates defending religious freedom.

 Second, Francis may also have smoothed the waters in advance for round two of the Synod of Bishops on the family, which opens on Sunday.
Third, Francis has also debunked impressions of a rift with the American bishops when it comes to the “wars of culture.”

 Fourth and finally, the Davis meeting confirms that the US trip amounted to the public debut of “Francis 2.0,” meaning a pope more clearly perceived as standing in continuity with Catholic teaching and tradition, as well as in solidarity both with previous popes and with the bishops.
This is yet one more example of how an elegant small gesture from the Holy Father, Pope Francis, speaks volumes about natural marriage even in the secular realm.

Lawyer says Kim Davis met with Pope Francis during his visit

Details from CBS News:  
Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, met with Pope Francis last week during his visit to the U.S., Davis’ attorney Mat Staver told CBS News.
According to Staver, the two met briefly last Thursday, September 24, at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Staver said Pope Francis spoke to Davis in English and asked her to pray for him. He said Davis, in return, asked the pope to pray for her. The pope told her to stay strong, according to her lawyer.
Staver said the pope also gave Kim and her husband rosaries he had blessed.
Photos of the meeting are in the possession of the Vatican, according to Staver. CBS News is awaiting confirmation of the meeting from Vatican officials.
In a statement released by Liberty Counsel, Davis says she was “humbled” and never thought she would be granted an audience with the popular and unpredictable pontiff. The conservative legal nonprofit said Davis and her husband, Joe, shared face time with Francis at the Vatican Embassy.
She and the pontiff hugged, and he presented her and her husband with two rosaries, which she is giving to her parents, who are Catholic, Liberty Counsel said.
Who am I to have this rare opportunity? I am just a county clerk who loves Jesus and desires with all my heart to serve him,” Davis said in the statement. “Pope Francis was kind, genuinely caring, and very personable. He even asked me to pray for him. Pope Francis thanked me for my courage and told me to ‘stay strong.’”
Robert Moynihan at “Inside the Vatican” had this detail (for some reason the link to his site is down, but here’s Moynihan’s account from his regular email):
Kim and her husband had come to Washington for another purpose — Kim was to receive a “Cost of Discipleship” award on Friday, September 25, from The Family Research Council at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
“Thank you for your courage”
Pope Francis entered the room.
Kim greeted him, and the two embraced.
There is no recording of this conversation, or photographs, as far as I know. But “there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)
Kim Davis gave me this account of the meeting shortly after it took place.
“The Pope spoke in English,” she told me. “There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’ I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. ‘Stay strong,’ he said to me. Then he gave me a rosary as a gift, and he gave one also to my husband, Joe. I broke into tears. I was deeply moved.
“Then he said to me, ‘Please pray for me.’ And I said to him, ‘Please pray for me also, Holy Father.’ And he assured me that he would pray for me.”
Joe told Kim that he would give his rosary to her mother, who is a Catholic. And Kim then said that she would give her rosary to her father, who is also a Catholic.
Vatican sources have confirmed to me that this meeting did occur; the occurrence of this meeting is not in doubt.

What it means that Pope Francis met Kim Davis

ROME – If anyone suspected that Pope Francis didn’t really mean the strong words he spoke on religious freedom last week in the United States – that he was phoning it in, while his real concerns were elsewhere – news that he held a private meeting with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis certainly should lay that suspicion to rest.

The Vatican is not officially commenting on the meeting, which was first reported by Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican magazine. A spokesman told Crux on Wednesday that “I won’t say anything,” which, in effect, is a way of allowing the report to stand.

Taken together with his unscheduled stop to see the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Davis encounter means Francis has expressed personal support to leading symbols of the two most contentious fronts in America’s religious freedom debates – the contraception mandates imposed by the Obama administration, and conscientious objection on gay marriage.

Before unpacking what it means, let’s roll out the necessary caveats.

First of all, the fact that someone arranged a brief encounter between Francis and Davis does not necessarily mean that Francis initiated the contact, or even that he necessarily grasps all the dimensions of her case. By her own account it was an extremely brief greeting, just long enough for the pope to tell Davis to “stay strong” and to give her a rosary.

It would be over-interpreting things to read the meeting as a blanket endorsement of everything Davis has said or done.
In addition, we don’t yet know how Francis sees the balance between honoring one’s conscience and upholding one’s responsibilities as a public official, because he hasn’t addressed that question at any length.

The fact that the Vatican has chosen not to comment probably means, at least in part, that they don’t want to be dragged into a detailed discussion of Davis’ situation.

That said, there’s no way to view the encounter other than as a broad gesture of support by the pope for conscientious objection from gay marriage laws, especially taken in tandem with his statement aboard the papal plane that following one’s conscience in such a situation is a “human right” – one, he insisted, that also belongs to government officials.

So what does it mean?

First, it means that Francis has significantly strengthened the hand of the US bishops and other voices in American debates defending religious freedom.

In the wake of a massively successful trip in which Francis was lauded for his stands on issues ranging from climate change to immigration to fighting poverty, it will be more difficult for anyone to wrap themselves in the papal mantle without at least acknowledging his concerns vis-à-vis religious freedom.
Second, Francis may also have smoothed the waters in advance for round two of the Synod of Bishops on the family, which opens on Sunday.

Last time around, the question of how welcoming the Church ought to be to gays and lesbians was a major flashpoint, in part because conservatives worried it might lessen the Church’s resolve to resist a “definition” of marriage. By holding the Davis meeting, Francis has probably reassured conservatives that he’s not priming the pump for going soft on same-sex marriage.

Ironically, the Davis meeting may actually increase the odds of the synod recommending a more pastoral approach to same-sex relationships, since there won’t be the same fear about where such an opening might lead.

Third, Francis has also debunked impressions of a rift with the American bishops when it comes to the “wars of culture.”

Yes, Francis called the bishops to spurn “harsh and divisive” rhetoric and to embrace dialogue as a method. That does not imply, however, that he believes the substance of their concerns is mistaken, and by meeting both the Little Sisters of the Poor and Davis he drove that point home.

Fourth and finally, the Davis meeting confirms that the US trip amounted to the public debut of “Francis 2.0,” meaning a pope more clearly perceived as standing in continuity with Catholic teaching and tradition, as well as in solidarity both with previous popes and with the bishops.

To put the point in crudely political terms, Francis is a figure who utterly defies the usual left/right divides, equally capable of meeting Kim Davis and embracing poor immigrant children at a Harlem school – seeing both as part of a continuum of concern for human dignity.

That will be a source of consolation to some and consternation to others, but in any event it’s now officially part of the Francis narrative.


As many of you can tell, I'm fed up with the faux Catholicism of traditionalist Catholics who nitpick every thing they dislike about Pope Francis. I've dealt with anti-papacy sentiments with my Protestant fundamentalist friends and enemies all my life and I know the smell of anti-Catholicism when I smell it but never has it smelled so bad when it comes to pretend Catholics who do not know that a Catholic is obliged to be respectful to the successor of Saint Peter especially in public forums. He's our Holy Father.

The dysfunctional attitudes so many have toward their Holy Father indicates to me why there is so much divorce in the world and that marriage and the family are in crisis!

I fear that the traditionalist blogs that are stirring up discontent against Pope Francis are doing great harm to the new liturgical movement. That is a shame to say the least.

Although, for me and for the majority of Catholic bishops, priests and laity, while the new liturgical movement is open to the wider celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the goal is to make sure that the Ordinary Form is celebrated in a way consistent with the reverence, precision and piety of the Extraordinary Form.

Cardinal Robert Sarah has already indicated this in one of his speeches and called for cathedrals to celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass ad orientem to indicate that prayer and sacrifice are offered to God with the priest and congregation together facing in the same direction. This prevents prayers from being a performance read to the congregation. 

When one asks how effective a Eucharistic Prayer is when the congregation is able to hear and understand it, one misses the whole point! It is more important for God to hear and understand prayer. He does even in a silent Eucharistic Prayer prayed in the presence of a congregation! Asking if the congregation got anything out of the prayer shows forth the fatal flaw of post-Vatican II wrong-headed thinking and liturgical action, the horizontal rather than the vertical. 

If nothing else is changed about the Ordinary Form, the following which already is encouraged is all that is needed in the new liturgical movement to align the Ordinary Form's celebration of the Mass in keeping with the reverence, precision and piety of the Extraordinary Form:

1. Chanting the propers and never omitting them and using the Extraordinary Form's form of the Introit to include the Gloria Patri

2. Ad Orientem for at least the Liturgy of the Eucharist but not to exclude the Introductory and Concluding Rites of the Mass

3. Kneeling at the altar railing for the reception of Holy Communion

4. In keeping with the Ordinary Form's Roman Missal's General Instruction, when Holy Communion under both forms is allowed to the lay faithful it is done by way of intinction as is modeled by Pope Francis and the Masses here in the USA and elsewhere.

Simply doing the above four things will add greatly to the continuity between the EF and OF Masses and put the new liturgical movement into high gear!


Of course when Pope Francis said,"Whom am I to judge" it was in the context of a Vatican priest who was said to be homosexual but was seeking the Lord and living a chaste life. This emphasized the Church's consistent teaching in the catechism that while the homosexual orientation is disordered due to original and actual sin, the same sex orientation in and of itself is not sinful but the unnatural sex acts are. If a homosexual is chaste, who are we to judge is very good advice! Keep in mind that unnatural sex acts for heterosexuals are sinful even in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony!

But read the following scathing remarks that Pope Francis said about the mayor of Rome! Talking about judging someone and doing so publicly!!!!!!

Pope shows no mercy as he blasts Rome mayor as a 'pretend Catholic'


Rome (AFP) - Pope Francis raised eyebrows in Italy on Tuesday by slapping down the left-leaning mayor of Rome as someone who "pretends to be Catholic".

The unforgiving assessment of Ignazio Marino -- a man the Italian media love to hate -- further heightened tensions between the pope and the mayor in the run-up to the start of the Holy Year of Mercy in December, with the Vatican fearful the Italian capital is ill-prepared for the millions of extra pilgrims.

"He pretends to be Catholic, it came on him all of a sudden. It doesn't happen like that," Francis said.

The pope's cutting comments on the politician -- who observers say rubbed the pontiff up the wrong way with his vocal support of gay marriage and euthanasia -- came as Francis returned from a barnstorming visit to the United States and Cuba.

Asked on the flight home if the pope had invited Marino, Francis said, "I didn't invite the mayor. Is that clear? I asked the organisers and they didn't invite him either."

Marino's presence on the last leg of the papal tour, coming hot on the heels of his holidays in the US and the Caribbean, did not go down well in Rome as the capital reels from a series of crises.

"If the most popular man in the world takes down one of the least popular in Italy, that says that all the rules of the game have been thrown up in the air, including possibly those of mercy," said the Turin daily, La Stampa.

"The Pope excommunicates Marino," headlined the right-wing Roman daily Il Tempo, which devoted inside pages to the controversy, while Il Giornale, owned by former premier Silvio Berlusconi, gloated at Marino's "colossal shame".

"The Pope freezes the mayor of Rome," said the centre-left La Repubblica, whose editorial said the swipe could almost be seen as a bid to "hand Rome back to the right who had poisoned the city", a reference to the Mafia corruption scandal which has engulfed its former right-wing mayor Gianni Alemanno.

Others saw the pope's disdain for the mayor as being linked to his support of gay marriage, and in particular the city "legalising" same-sex marriages conducted abroad, even though Italy still bans such unions.

One thing is sure -- the row will not help relations as Rome gears up to welcome 20 million pilgrims for the Year of Mercy, which begins on December 8, when the faithful will be granted special indulgences, the highest form of forgiveness.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


This is the best article to date on this subject! Kudos to Philip Lawlor of

A conspiracy to elect Pope Francis? Don't believe it.


Did a powerful group of cardinals conspire to unseat Pope Benedict XVI and elect Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio—Pope Francis—in his place? That sensational claim has been circulating in conservative Catholic internet sites. But the available facts don’t support the sensational headlines.

Edward Pentin, a respected Vatican journalist, broke the story to the English-speaking world with his report for the National Catholic Register. He reported—accurately—that a new biography of Belgium’s retired Cardinal Godfried Danneels has disclosed that the existence of a group of prelates who were committed to “progressive” causes, and unhappy with the influence exerted in the Vatican by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The members of the St. Gallen group reportedly included the late Cardinal Carlo Martini of Milan of Milan, the veteran Vatican insider Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, English Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, and the German Cardinals Karl Lehmann and Walter Kasper, along with Cardinal Danneels. At the launch of the book, Cardinal Danneels referred to this group—known as the St. Gallen group, after the location where they had met—as a “mafia club.”

Now it may not be edifying to learn that cardinals were plotting to influence Vatican policy, and knowledgeable readers, glancing down that list of names, might well worry about their influence. But it does not rise to the level of conspiracy if a group of prelates meet to discuss Church affairs.

However, the authors of the biography went further, telling a French newspaper that the St. Gallen group had been active in the conclave of 2005, resisting Cardinal Ratzinger and promoting Cardinal Bergoglio. If it were true—if the cardinals had actively lobbied during the conclave—their behavior would have been a scandal, a clear violation of canon law, an offense for which St. John Paul II prescribed the penalty of excommunication.

As soon as that story drew public attention, things became more complicated. The authors of the Danneels biography said that they had been misunderstood. The St. Gallen group had not been acting as a lobbying bloc at the 2005 conclave, they now said, and shortly after the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the group stopped meeting.

But should we take this retraction/correction at face value? The authors were working closely with Cardinal Danneels (it was an authorized biography, and he was cooperating actively in the publicity campaign to launch the book), so it seems unlikely that they were entirely mistaken about the nature of the St. Gallen gatherings. And when the cardinal himself referred to a “mafia club,” although the phrase might have been used light-heartedly, it did prompt thoughts of a sinister, secret cabal. So it would not be unreasonable to suspect—as many conservative analysts did suspect—that the book’s authors had been all too honest, and when they realized the scandal they might have created, they were prepared to obfuscate in order to undo the damage.

On the other hand, there are compelling reasons to dismiss the claims of conspiracy:
  • Even if the authors of the Danneels biography were quoted accurately, they had an obvious incentive to exaggerate the power of the St. Gallen group, to create publicity for their book. A story about a secret cabal is more likely to sell briskly than the life story of a retired cardinal.
  • If the St. Gallen group did make an effort to control the conclave of 2005, they failed miserably. The conclave almost immediately turned to Cardinal Ratzinger: the man whose influence the group was allegedly fighting to curtail.
  • Cardinal Martini was widely seen as the leader of the liberal group that might have sought for an alternative to Cardinal Ratzinger. But Vatican insiders know that Cardinal Martini was not at all favorably disposed toward his fellow Jesuit, Cardinal Bergoglio, and would never have supported his election.
  • Since the St. Gallen group stopped meeting in 2006, it was not likely to be an important factor in the conclave of 2013, which elected Pope Francis. By that time Cardinal Martini was dead, and other members—Cardinals Silvestrini and Murphy-O’Connor—were too old to participate in the conclave.
  • In the days leading up to the 2013 conclave, virtually no one expected the election of Cardinal Bergoglio. If a group of cardinals had been working for years to generate enthusiasm about his candidacy, they must have been singularly inept .
A biography of Cardinal Danneels is, regrettably, likely to generate thoughts of scandal. The Belgian cardinal’s failure to report sexual abuse, and the police raid on his residence; his support for government recognition of same-sex unions; his advice to King Baudouin to sign a law allowing for legal abortion. In light of this checkered past, it is astonishing that Pope Francis chose to appoint Cardinal Danneels to participate in the October session of the Synod of Bishops. But to claim that Cardinal Danneels is a successful conspirator is to leap well beyond the evidence.


Don't knock alligator tail deep fried and spicy as an appetizer. It's great! As Tony the Tiger would say.

However, sometimes unsuspecting pets, children and adults can be appetizers for the gator! It happens! 

I was near this pond last night in a neighborhood I was visiting where a good friend of mine lives, in North Augusta, SC!
An alligator stealthily swims through pieces of moss growing in the still waters at Brick Pond Park in North Augusta on Monday afternoon.


When I was growing up, all I ever seem to hear from Pope Paul VI was one lament after the other about how bad things were. Catholicism was painted in such dreary terms and seem depressing. And much of the preaching I heard in the 1960's especially from our Irish parochial vicars who constantly told us how much better it was in Ireland than here when they were growing up.

How much more effective is having someone who was involved in abortions and then converted to the truth tell us of their heartbreak in learning the truth and how knowing the truth and God's compassion set them free to become an advocate for the Church's pro-life ministry, rather than a doctrinaire homily or class on the evil of abortion from a technical, theological point of view.

I wonder time and time again, if someone on the fence about the Catholic Church were to read some of the comments on my blog (especially the ones that I delete that scandalize even me and make me wonder what Catholicism has done to these people to make them so sour and mean-spirited) if they would want to be a part of us and discover the truth or buy whole-heartedly into the secular culture that entices them in a more positive manner to do the wrong rather than the right.

Pope Francis to bishops: Stop wishing for the good old days

PHILADELPHIA — Likening the world today to a giant supermarket with a plethora of choices but an impersonal feel, Pope Francis urged his bishops to embrace change and work within it to connect with young people.

He also urged the bishops to not merely harp on doctrine, but also to preach positively about the benefits of marriage and family life.

“A Christianity which ‘does’ little in practice, while incessantly ‘explaining’ its teachings, is dangerously unbalanced. I would even say that it is stuck in a vicious circle,” he said. “A pastor must show that the ‘Gospel of the family’ is truly ‘good news’ in a world where self-concern seems to reign supreme!”

Francis did not mention same-sex marriage, but US bishops have cited that, as well as high divorce rates, contraception, and abortion as serious threats to the family.
Pope Francis’ remarks to bishops taking part in the World Meeting of Families
But the majority of his speech was focused on encouraging his bishops to accept the realities of life today.
“Christians are not immune to the changes of their times,” Francis said. “This concrete world, with all its many problems and possibilities, is where we must live, believe, and proclaim.”

The pope’s remarks came to 300 bishops from around the world gathered in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families and was delivered shortly after he met with a group of sexual abuse victims. Speaking off the cuff, Francis called the victims “true heralds of mercy,” and he promised that “all those responsible are held accountable.”

Returning to his theme of flexibility, the pope encouraged his bishops to recognize that despite the tendency of young people to be obsessed with “running after the latest fad, accumulating friends on one of the social networks,” that lack of personal contact can lead to “a kind of impoverishment born of a widespread and radical sense of loneliness.”

It is, he said, a “loneliness with fear of commitment in a limitless effort to feel recognized.”

The morning after delivering an enthusiastic, off-script sermon about the beauty of family life at the Festival of Families Saturday nignt, Francis used an extended metaphor almost everyone can relate to – grocery shopping – to explain the challenges of ministering to families today.

In the old days, the pope said, society was like a neighborhood store.

“The products may not have been cleverly displayed, or offered much choice, but there was a personal bond between the shopkeeper and his customers,” Francis told the bishops. Then there’s the giant supermarket, he said, with a multitude of choices but leading to a breakdown of trust and neighborly bonds.

“Today’s culture seems to encourage people not to bond with anything or anyone, not to trust,” Francis said. “Consuming relationships, consuming friendships, consuming religions, consuming, consuming. Whatever the cost or consequences. A consumption that does not favor bonding, a consumption which has little to do with human relationships.”

The pope said pastors must resist the temptation to say things were better in the old days and be willing to engage people where they are, not blame them for the way things are today.

“Are today’s young people hopelessly timid, weak, inconsistent? We must not fall into this trap,” Francis said.

Mindful that the median age of marriage continues to rise and the number of children continues to drop in the United States and Europe, Francis reiterated his call for young people to have the courage to make long-term commitments, saying true happiness can only be found that way.

“Many put off marriage while waiting for ideal conditions, when everything can be perfect. Meanwhile, life goes on, without really being lived to the full,” he said. “For knowledge of life’s true pleasures only comes as the fruit of a long-term, generous investment of our intelligence, enthusiasm, and passion.”

Looking up from his remarks, Francis joked that mothers could help by refusing to pamper their adult sons, a phenomenon especially prevalent in Italy. (As one who knows, he hit that nail on the head, but I am glad for my Italian mother!!!!!Lay off!)

He recalled a mother saying to him, “My son is 34 years old and he’s not getting married. I don’t know what to do.”

The pope’s reply: “I say, don’t iron his shirts anymore!” The crowd laughed. (SO TRUE!)

“We have to encourage the youth to take that risk [to commit to marriage], because they need to move toward fruitfulness,” Francis said.

The pope called on bishops to move away from stale denunciations about the state of the world, and instead engage with young people.

“We need to invest our energies not so much in rehearsing the problems of the world around us and the merits of Christianity, but in extending a sincere invitation to young people to be brave and to opt for marriage and the family,” Francis said.

Francis again repeated his call for pastors to be with their people — or to smell of sheep, as he’s memorably put it in the past.

“A pastor watches over the dreams, the lives, and the growth of his flock,” he said. “Only one capable of standing in the midst of the flock can be watchful, not someone who is afraid of questions, contact, accompaniment.”

In his talk to families last night, Francis joked that sometimes people question what celibate priests and bishops can really contribute to a discussion about family life, and he touched on that topic again Sunday.

“A good pastor renounces the love of a family precisely in order to focus all his energies, and the grace of his particular vocation, on the evangelical blessing of the love of men and women who carry forward God’s plan of creation,” he said, “beginning with those who are lost, abandoned, wounded, broken, downtrodden, and deprived of their dignity.”

Speaking off script, Francis said the first job of a bishop is to pray, the second is to preach, and “if you have time, you do the rest.”

“Our ministry needs to deepen the covenant between the Church and the family,” Francis said.

“Otherwise it becomes arid, and the human family will grow irremediably distant, by our own fault, from God’s joyful good news, and they’ll go to the local store that is most popular and they’ll buy the product they desire at the moment.”


UPDATED! As vigorously as our USA bishops have promoted the Church's pro-life message, message on marriage and family and on religious liberty, how successful has it been in changing the hearts of those who have changed America in this regard. Not very!

Pope Francis is promoting the same agenda as the American Bishops but in a differing way, by engaging those who disagree with us or are opposed to us and he speaks with gestures not so much words, which conservative Catholics of a political brand simply don't understand.

So when the pope kisses babies, touches the most handicapped child or adult and visits prisons and promotes care of the earth he is promoting the Church's pro-life agenda in a tender way that is not off-putting and thus entrenching  those who disagree with the Church. Pope Francis approach may well plant the seed for conversion in those opposed to us.

Of course the Holy Father in doing his ministry in the way he is, through small gestures, rather than harsh words, is appealing to Catholics who are on the fence or lapsed. He is also appealing to those who have tuned out or turned off the Church, the secularists and politicians.

As Pope Francis has made abundantly clear in Laudato Si, there is a connection between God, humanity and the earth and all creatures. To upset this balance (first done through Original Sin and then subsequently through actual sins) is devastating to our relationship with God, each other and the earth and its creatures that sustain us.

When Pope Francis says we are a throw-away society, he's not just speaking of the consumer goods with throw away more more importantly the people we throw away, like the unborn, the handicapped, the poor, the elderly and the dying.

And our consumerism contributes to the depletion of the earth's resources and even the climate that then disproportionately hurts the poor.

And when we mess with natural law and poke it in the eye, there are consequences and this certainly applies to unnatural sex now enshrined in law. 

This is about the most coherent, logical and theologically sound explanation of the Catholic ethos explained in down to earth terms that I've ever heard!

Just saying!

Monday, September 28, 2015


On the last day of Pope Francis historic visit to the USA and his historic Mass in Philadelphia prior to his historic departure from the historic Philadelphia Historic International Airport in front of a historic crowd of admirers, Saint Joseph Church down the road from Philadelphia in Macon, Georgia celebrated its first ever since the historic Second Vatican Council Extraordinary Form of the Mass in the High Form at a normally scheduled Sunday Mass! HISTORIC!

No one offered any negative feedback. The Mass took about the same amount of time as our Ordinary Form Mass at this time, 12:10 PM.

I prepared for this day since September 14, 2007 when we had our first EF Mass.

In the last three years, we have celebrated the Liturgy of the Eucharist ad orientem and in the last six months we have been distributing Holy Communion to communicants kneeling at the full length of the altar railing. 

Last November 2 which fell on a Sunday, we celebrated the All Souls' Mass with our combined choirs singing Faure's Requiem. It was an Ordinary Form Mass, but mostly in Latin.

Several people said the Mass yesterday was beautiful and that this form of the Mass is more reverent.

I would agree. I contend, though, the reverence isn't in the Latin Language, per se, although some might say that; it is in the following:

--Formal Chant
--Ad Orientem
--quiet Roman Canon
--more bowing and genuflections by the priest
--kneeling for Holy Communion
--chanting the propers

It is also formal, no folksiness and no ad libs or banalities.


On his in-flight interview, Pope Francis said this about women:

Look, in the Church women are more important than men, because the church is a woman. It is “la” church, not “il” church. The Church is the bride of Jesus Christ. And the Madonna is more important than popes and bishops and priests. 

As I have written, time and time again, this is part of the basis for the Church's infallible teaching via the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church as to why women cannot be priests, because Jesus is the High Priest, He is a man and a priest is a sacramental "sign" of the maleness of the Bridegroom who is the High Priest. Women cannot be a man because of NATURAL LAW which backs up Scripture, Tradition and the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church.

The same is true of Holy Matrimony. The basis of this sacrament which Christ instituted is the relationship of the Man Jesus, who is the Bridegroom to His bride which is the Church. In this context the Church, meaning all the baptized, are souls. The word soul in Latin and Italian is "anima" which is a feminine word. Our souls are feminine in order to receive the sanctifying and actual graces Jesus gives us.  To have two men or two women saying they are married is a lie and a compounded lie if the state approves it as a "marriage" rather than a civil legal union. It goes against NATURAL LAW which supports Scripture and Tradition as well as the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church in this regard.

Because of the principle of subsidiarity, the pope leaves to local bishops how they will handle aberrations in their dioceses.

Speaking from experience it would be nice to have the pope say that we should fire those who work for the Church who enter into an illicit same sex union. The Church should have moral clauses for those who work for us. We have that in our diocese and our bishop has acted decisively in this regard as is his responsibility.

My clairvoyance tells me and you can take this to the bank:

There will not be a blanket approval of Catholics who are in indissoluble marriages (that have ended in a civil divorce) who are "remarried" in a state recognized marriage being allowed to receive Holy Communion!

If a person in the Sacrament of Confession tells the priest of his or her's second unrecognized marriage and says that they are no longer engaging in the marital act  in any way the priest may offer absolution and indicate that the person is free to return to receiving Holy Communion even if the couple does not separate. In this case, the caveat is that no scandal is given to the parish in which this person returns to Holy Communion.

There is nothing new about this liberality--it is called the internal forum!

Will there be a blanket permission for someone to return to Holy Communion who is in an illicit marital union and engaging in the marital act? NO! This is a mortal sin.


But, I like that you asked the question about 'Catholic divorce.' That doesn't exist. Either it wasn't a marriage, and this is nullity -- it didn't exist. And if it did, it's indissoluble. This is clear. Thank you.

Holy Father, do you also support those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example in issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Do you support those kinds of claims of religious liberty?

Pope Francis:  But, yes, I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right...It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis speaks about his just concluded visit to the United States and Cuba and touches on many issues including the sex abuse scandal in the Church, the right to be a conscientious objector, the peace accord in Colombia, migration and the upcoming Synod on the Family.  
The Pope was speaking to journalists on the papal flight that departed from Philadelphia on Sunday evening and landed in Rome on Monday morning, ending his 10th Apostolic Journey to Cuba, the United Nations and the United States.
During the journey Pope Francis answered questions put to him by 11 journalists on board the American Airlines flight.
The in-flight press conference lasted 47 minutes. Questions were asked in English, Spanish and Italian.
Please find below our translation of the full transcript of the press conference:

Pope Francis: 
Good evening to all and thank you for the work because you went about from one place to the other and I was in a car but you… thank you very much.

Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine:
Thank you so much Holy Father Elizabeth Dias from TIME magazine. We are all so curious…this was your first visit to the US. What surprised you about the US and what was different to what you might have expected?

Pope Francis:
It was my first visit. I’d never been here before. What surprised me was the warmth, the warmth of the people, so lovable. It was a beautiful thing and also different: in Washington the welcome was warm but more formal; New York was a bit exuberant. Philadelphia very expressive. Three different kinds of welcome. I was very struck by this kindness and welcome but also by the religious ceremonies and also by the piety, the religiosity of the people... you could see the people pray and this struck me a lot. Beautiful.

Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine:
Was there some sort of challenge that you didn’t expect in the United States?

Pope Francis: 
No, thank God no…everything was good. No challenge. No provocation. Everyone was polite. No insults and nothing bad.

Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine:
Well, what is the challenge?

Pope Francis:
We must continue to work with the faithful like we have always done, until now. Accompanying people in their growth - through the good times but also through the difficult ones - accompanying people in their joy and in their bad moments, in their difficulties when there is no work, ill health. The challenge of the Church… now I understand: the Church’s challenge is staying close to the people. Close to the United States… not being a Church which is detached from the people but close to them, close, close and this is something that the Church in America has understood, and understood well.

David O’Reilly, Philadelphia Inquirer:
Holy Father: Philadelphia, as you know, has had a very difficult time with sex abuse. It’s still an open wound in Philadelphia. So I know many people in Philadelphia were surprised that you offered bishops comfort and consolation and I think many in Philadelphia would ask you why did you feel the need to offer compassion to the bishops?

Pope Francis:
In Washington I spoke to all the US bishops… they were all there no? I felt the need to express compassion because something really terrible happened. And many of them suffered who did not know of this. I used words from the bible from Apocalypse: You are coming from a large tribulation. What happened was a great tribulation. But also the suffering (emotional). What I said today to the victims of abuse. I wouldn’t say an apotheosis but almost a sacrilege. We know abuses are everywhere: in families, in neighborhoods, in schools, in gyms. But when a priest abuses it is very serious because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy, that girl, grow towards the love of God, toward maturity, and towards good. Instead this is squashed and this is nearly a sacrilege and he betrayed his vocation, the calling of the Lord. For this reason the Church is strong on this and one must not cover these things up. Those who covered this up are guilty. Even some bishops who covered this up, It is a terrible thing and the words of comfort were not to say: ”Don’t worry that was nothing… no, no, no even some bishops who covered this up, It’s a terrible thing and the words of comfort were not to say “don’t worry that was nothing…no, no , no, but it was so bad that I imagine that you cried hard”… that was the sense of what I meant and today I spoke strongly.

Maria Antonieta Collins, Univision:
You have spoken a lot about forgiveness, that God forgives us and that we often ask for forgiveness. I would like to ask you, after you were at the seminary today. There are many priests that have committed sexual abuses to minors and have not asked for forgiveness for their victims. Do you forgive them? And on the other hand, do you understand the victims or their relatives who can’t or don’t want to forgive?

Pope Francis: 
If a person has done wrong, is conscious of what he has done and does not say sorry, I ask God to take him into account. I forgive him, but he does not receive that forgiveness, he is closed to forgiveness. We must forgive, because we were all forgiven. It is another thing to receive that forgiveness. If that priest is closed to forgiveness, he won’t receive it, because he locked the door from the inside. And what remains is to pray for the Lord to open that door. To forgive you must be willing. But not everyone can receive or know how to receive it, or are just not willing to receive it. What I’m saying is hard. And that is how you explain how there are people who finish their life hardened, badly, without receiving the tenderness of God.

Maria Antonieta Collins, Univision:
Regarding victims or relatives who don’t forgive  - do you understand them?

Pope Francis:
Yes, I do. I pray for them. And I don’t judge them. Once, in one of these meetings, I met several people and I met a woman who told me “When my mother found out that I had been abused, she became blasphemous, she lost her faith and she died an atheist.” I understand that woman. I understand here. And God who is even better than me, understands her. And I’m sure that that woman has been received by God. Because what was abused,  destroyed, was her own flesh, the flesh of her daughter. I understand her. I don’t judge someone who can’t forgive. I pray and I ask God… God is a champion in finding paths of solutions. I ask him to fix it.

Andres Beltramo, Notimex:
Thanks, first of all for this moment. We’ve all heard you speak so much about the peace process in Colombia between the FARC and the government. Now, there’s an historic agreement. Do you feel involved in this agreement and you’ve said that you wished to go to Colombia when this agreement was made, right? Now there are a lot of Colombians awaiting you.

Pope Francis: 
When I heard the news that in March the accord will be signed I said to the Lord, 'Lord, help us reach March.'  The willingness is there on both sides. It is there, even in the small group, everyone is in agreement. We have to reach March, for the definitive accord, which is the point of international justice. I was very happy and I felt like I was a a part of it because I’ve always wanted this. I spoke to president Santos twice about this problem. Not only myself, but also the Holy See. The Holy See was always willing to help and do what it could.
Thomas Jansen, CIC:
Holy Father, I wanted to ask something about the migrant crisis in Europe. Many countries are building new barriers out of barbed wire. What do you think of this development?

Pope Francis:
You used a word, crisis. It’s become a state of crisis after a long process. For years, this process has exploded because wars for which those people leave and flee are wars waged for years. Hunger. It’s hunger for years. When I think of Africa… this is a bit simplistic. But I see it as an example. It comes to me to think about Africa, “the exploited continent.” They went to pick up the slaves there, then its great resources. It’s the exploited continent. And, now the wars, tribal or not. But they have economic interests behind them. And, I think that instead of exploiting a continent or a nation, make investments there instead so the people are able to work and this crisis would have been avoided. It’s true, as I said at Congress, it’s a refugee crisis not seen since World War II. It’s the biggest. You asked me about barriers. You know what happens to all walls. All of them. All walls fall. Today, tomorrow or in 100 years, they will fall. It’s not a solution. The Wall isn’t a solution. In this moment, Europe is in difficulty, it’s true. We have to be intelligent. We must find solutions. We must encourage dialogue between different nations, to find them. Walls are never solutions. But bridges are, always, always. I don’t know. What I think is that walls can last a little time or a long time. The problem remains but it also remains with more hatred. That’s what I think.

Jean Marie Guenois, Le Figaro:
Holy Father, you obviously cannot anticipate the debate of the synod fathers, we know that well. But we want to know just before the Synod, in your heart as a pastor, if you really want a solution for the divorced and remarried. We want to also know if your ‘motu proprio’ on the speeding-up of annulments has closed this debate. Finally, how do you respond to those who fear that with this reform, there is a de-facto creation of a so-called 'Catholic divorce.' Thank you.
Pope Francis:
I’ll start with the last one. In the reform of the procedure and the way, I closed the door to the administrative path, which was the path through which divorce could have entered. You could say that those who think this is 'Catholic divorce' are wrong because this last document has closed the door to divorce by which it could have entered. It would have been easier with the administrative path. There will always be the judicial path.
Continuing with the third (question): the document…. I don’t remember the third but you correct me.

Jean Marie Guenois, Le Figaro:
The question was on the notion of Catholic divorce, if the motu proprio has closed the debate before the synod on this theme?

Pope Francis:
This was called for by the majority of the Synod fathers in the synod last year: streamline the process because there are cases that last 10-15 years, no? There’s one sentence, then another sentence, and after there's an appeal, there's the appeal then another appeal. It never ends.  The double sentence, when it was valid that there was an appeal, was introduced by Papa Lambertini, Benedict XIV, because in central Europe, I won’t say which country, there were some abuses, and to stop it he introduced this but it's not something essential to the process. The procedure changes, jurisprudence changes, it gets better. At that time it was urgent to do this, then Pius X wanted to streamline and made some changes but he didn’t have the time or the possibility to do it. The Synod fathers asked for it, the speeding up of the annulment processes. And I stop there. This document, this ‘motu proprio’ facilitates the processes and the timing, but it is not divorce because marriage is indissoluble when it is a sacrament. And this the Church cannot change. It's doctrine. It’s an indissoluble sacrament. The legal trial is to prove that what seemed to be a sacrament wasn't a sacrament, for lack of freedom for example, or for lack of maturity, or for mental illness. There are so many reasons that bring about (an annulment), after a study, an investigation. That there was no sacrament. For example, that the person wasn't free.  Another example: now it’s not so common but in some sectors of common society at least in Buenos Aires, there were weddings when the woman got pregnant: 'you have to get married.' In Buenos Aires, I counselled my priests, strongly, I almost prohibited them to celebrate weddings in these conditions. We called them “speedy weddings”, eh? (They were) to cover up appearances. And the babies are born, and some work out but there's no freedom and then things go wrong little by little they separate (and say) 'I was forced to get married because we had to cover up this situation” and this is a reason for nullity. So many of them.
Cases of nullity, you have, you can find them (the reasons) on the internet there all there are many, eh? Then, the issue of the second weddings, the divorcees, who make a new union. You read what, you have the “instrumentum laboris.” what is put in discussion seems a bit simplistic to me to say that the Synod is the solution for these people and that they can have communion. That's not the only solution. No, what the “Instrumentum laboris” proposes is a lot more, and also the problem of the new unions of divorcees isn't the only problem. In the “Instrumentum laboris” there are many. For example, young people don’t get married. They don’t want to get married. It's a pastoral problem for the Church. Another problem: the affective maturity for a marriage. Another problem: faith. 'Do I believe that this is for ever? Yes, yes, yes, I believe.' 'But do you believe it?' the preparation for a wedding: I think so often that to become a priest there's a preparation for 8 years, and then, its not definite, the Church can take the clerical state away from you. But, for something lifelong, they do four courses! 4 times… Something isn't right. It’s something the Synod has to deal with: how to do preparation for marriage. It’s one of the most difficult things.
There are many problems, they're all are listed in the “Instrumentum laboris.”
But, I like that you asked the question about 'Catholic divorce.' That doesn't exist. Either it wasn't a marriage, and this is nullity -- it didn't exist. And if it did, it's indissoluble. This is clear. Thank you.

Terry Moran, ABC News:
Holy Father, thank you, thank you very much and thank you to the Vatican staff as well. Holy Father, you visited the Little Sisters of the Poor and we were told that you wanted to show your support for them and their case in the courts. And, Holy Father, do you also support those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example in issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Do you support those kinds of claims of religious liberty?
Pope Francis:
I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscience objection. But, yes, I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying 'this right that has merit, this one does not.' It (conscientious objection) is a human right. It always moved me when I read, and I read it many times, when I read the “Chanson de Roland” when the people were all in line and before them was the baptismal font and they had to choose between the baptismal font or the sword. They had to choose. They weren’t permitted conscientious objection. It is a right and if we want to make peace we have to respect all rights.

Terry Moran, ABC News:
Would that include government officials as well?
Pope Francis:
It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.

Stefano Maria Paci, Sky News:
Holiness, you used very strong words at the UN to denounce the world’s silence on the persecution of Christians, who are deprived of their homes, thrown out, deprived of their possessions, enslaved and brutally killed. Yesterday, President Hollande announced the beginning of a bombing campaign by France on ISIS bases in Syria. What do you think of this military action?   Also, the mayor of Rome, city of the Jubilee, declared that he came to the World Meeting of Families because you invited him.  Can you tell us how it went?

Pope Francis:
I will start with your second question.  I did not invite Mayor Marino. Is that clear?  I didn’t do it and I asked the organizers and they didn’t invite him either. He came. He professes to be a Catholic and he came spontaneously. That’s the first thing. But it is clear, heh? And now about bombardments. Truly, I heard the news the day before yesterday, and I haven’t read about it. I don’t know much about the situation. I heard that Russia took one position and it wasn’t clear yet about the United States.  I truly don’t know what to say because I haven’t fully understood the situation. But, when I hear the word bombing, death, blood… I repeat what I said in Congress and at the UN, to avoid these things. But, I don’t know, I can’t judge the political situation because I don’t know enough about it.

Miriam Schmidt, German DPA Agency:
Holy Father, I wanted to ask a question about the relationship of the Holy See with China and the situation in this country which is also quite difficult for the Catholic Church. What do you think about this?

Pope Francis:
China is a great nation that offers the world a great culture, so many good things. I said once on the plane when were flying over China when we were coming back from Korea that I would very much like so much to go to China. I love the Chinese people and I hope there is possibility of having good relations, good relations. We’re in contact, we talk, we are moving forward but for me, having a friend of a great country like China, which has so much culture and has so much opportunity to do good, would be a joy.

Maria Sagrarios Ruiz de Apodaca, RNE:
Thank you. Good evening, Holy Father. You have visited the U.S. for the first time, you had never been there before. You spoke to Congress, you spoke to the United Nations. You drew multitudes. Do you feel more powerful? And another question, we heard you draw attention to the role of religious women, of the women in the Church in the United States. Will we one day see women priests in the Catholic church as some groups in the U.S. ask, and some other Christian churches have?

Pope Francis:
He’s telling me not to answer in Spanish (referring to Fr. Federico Lombardi.) The sisters in the United States have done marvels in the field of education, in the field of health. The people of the United States love the sisters. I don’t know how much they love the priests, (laughs) but they love the sisters, they love them so much. They are great, they are great, great, great women. Then, one follows her congregation, their rules, there are differences. But are they great. And for that reason I felt the obligation to say thank you for what they have done. An important person of the government of the United States told me in the last few days: “The education I have, I owe above all to the sisters.” The sisters have schools in all neighborhoods, rich and poor. They work with the poor and in the hospitals. This was the first. The second? The first I remember, the second?
Maria Sagrarios Ruiz de Apodaca, RNE
If you feel powerful after having been in the United States with your schedule and having been successful?

Pope Francis:
I don’t know if I had success, no. But I am afraid of myself. Why am I afraid of myself? I feel always – I don’t know – weak in the sense of not having power and also power is a fleeting thing, here today, gone tomorrow. It’s important if you can do good with power. And Jesus defined power, the true power is to serve, to do service, to do the most humble services, and I must still make progress on this path of service because I feel that I don’t do everything I should do. That’s the sense I have of power.
Third, on women priests, that cannot be done. Pope St. John Paul II after long, long intense discussions, long reflection said so clearly. Not because women don’t have the capacity. Look, in the Church women are more important than men, because the church is a woman. It is “la” church, not “il” church. The Church is the bride of Jesus Christ. And the Madonna is more important than popes and bishops and priests. I must admit we are a bit late in an elaboration of the theology of women. We have to move ahead with that theology. Yes, that’s true.

Mathilde Imberty, Radio France
Holy Father, you have become a star in the United States. Is it good for the Church if the Pope is a star?

Pope Francis:
The Pope must… Do you know what the title was of the Pope that ought to be used? Servant of the servants of God. It’s a little different from the stars. Stars are beautiful to look at. I like to look at them in the summer when the sky is clear. But the Pope must be, must be the servant of the servants of God. Yes, in the media this is happening but there’s another truth. How many stars have we seen that go out and fall. It is a fleeting thing. On the other hand, being servant of the servants of God is something that doesn’t pass.