Sunday, October 18, 2015


John Allen as usual has yet another  wonderful article in CRUX this morning, "Are the Bishops Fiddling While Places Other Than Rome Burn?" You can read the entire article here. The fact that Pope Francis has not only polarized the Church in a way never thought it could be, His Holiness has also polarized the bishops in a way that is rather unseemly. John Allen states this with ample evidence from some bishops themselves, Cardinal Wurel being one. Allen concludes: "That’s probably not in anyone’s interest – beginning, of course, with Pope Francis himself."

 The "crux" of Allen's article can be summed up in this paragraph concerning Bishop Borys Gudziak, who leads the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Paris with whom Allen had had a very nice Roman Pranzo (lunch):

“Almost half of the world lives with less than what a cappuccino costs in this neighborhood, less than two euros a day, and 80 percent of the world lives on less than $10 a day,” he said, with rising intensity in his voice. “There’s 150 million homeless people, 100 million orphans, 60 million refugees.” “Those,” he said, “are impediments to good family life.”

My final comment: Rather than focus on these issues and the elephant in the room that should be included with all the suffering Bishop Gudziak mentions are the million upon hundreds of millions of babies being aborted everywhere in the world as well as low birth rates in the west that is contributing to a destabilization of society and culture, the Holy Father and bishops are caught up in the narcissism of western culture, the poor people who have chosen to live adulterous lives and the bleeding hearts that insist they receive Holy Communion so they don't feel excluded and the bleeding hearts that want those with the gay agenda not to feel excluded no matter how insidious that agenda against the true Church is. It is as though  giving Holy Communion to those living institutionalized mortal sin (immoral lives) is more important than one single infant not to mention millions upon hundreds of millions facing infanticide or a 150 million homeless people, 100 million orphans and 60 million refugees. The agenda of this synod at this point in history is a scandal. 

Then on top of this is the silly discussion, when all these other horrible things are happening (the likes of which haven't been seen since the rise of Adolph Hitler), of making the Church more synodal. Ever since Vatican II the Church has been navel gazing and self-absorbed and Pope Francis rightly stated this at the beginning of his pontificate.  But now we get more of the same as the focus of his papacy shifts the Church away from abortion (as though we've talked too much about this in the past) to reordering the Church structures once again and tinkering with the way the papacy exercises its power given the fact that non-Catholics for the most part don't like the papacy. So we have to make the papacy more attractive to non-Catholics and alienate the Catholics who think things are fine as they are.

Could you imagine Pope Pius XI or XII holding a "synod" like the one we are experiencing now during the rise and reign of Adolph Hitler? 

So more self-absorption from the hierarchy a la the 1970's as we've been tinkering with liturgy, parish, diocesan and international structures and promoting Vatican II as though it was God and not God Himself and what He expects of each person who is baptized as revealed through Scripture and Tradition as well as natural law. The pastoral sensitivities of the west are pure narcissism compared to what so many Christians experience daily as Bishop Gudziak laments. And to think that these narcissistic pastoral sensitivities may well lead to the actual changing of doctrine in practice adds insult to injury!

John Allen's title of his article is "Are the Bishops Fiddling While Places Other Than Rome Burn?" when in reality it could just have well be "Are the Bishops Fiddling While Rome Burns?"

And finally this morning Russ Douthat of the New York Times, a practicing Catholic, has a fine but chilling commentary in that paper which corresponds to John Allen's article which you can read HERE. But these his final paragraphs which I'll make mine too:
"The documents guiding the synod have been written with that (preferred outcome) goal in mind. The pope has made appointments to the synod’s ranks with that goal in mind, not hesitating to add even aged cardinals tainted by the sex abuse scandal if they are allied to the cause of change. The Vatican press office has filtered the synod’s closed-door (per the pope’s directive) debates to the media with that goal in mind. The churchmen charged with writing the final synod report have been selected with that goal in mind. And Francis himself, in his daily homilies, has consistently criticized Catholicism’s “doctors of the law,” its modern legalists and Pharisees — a not-even-thinly-veiled signal of his views.

And yet his plan is not necessarily succeeding. There reportedly still isn’t anything like a majority for the proposal within the synod, which is probably why the organizers hedged their bets for a while about whether there would even be a final document. And the conservatives — African, Polish, American, Australian — have been less surprised than last fall, and quicker to draw public lines and try to box the pontiff in with private appeals.

The entire situation abounds with ironies. Aging progressives are seizing a moment they thought had slipped away, trying to outmaneuver younger conservatives who recently thought they owned the Catholic future. The African bishops are defending the faith of the European past against Germans and Italians weary of their own patrimony. A Jesuit pope is effectively at war with his own Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the erstwhile Inquisition — a situation that would make 16th century heads spin.

For a Catholic journalist, for any journalist, it’s a fascinating story, and speaking strictly as a journalist, I have no idea how it will end.

Speaking as a Catholic, I expect the plot to ultimately fail; where the pope and the historic faith seem to be in tension, my bet is on the faith.

But for an institution that measures its life span in millennia, “ultimately” can take a long time to arrive.


Clyde Catholic said...

I find it fascinating that, during this very synod, archeologists have discovered the remains of Sodom which, their excavation apparently indicates, suffered a sudden, complete, and traumatic destruction during the Bronze Age. Life there ended for over 700 years. Just saying'...

Clyde Catholic said...

If the Catholic Church is the True Church, she should not give a hoot what protestants think. If protestants realize their error and come humbly to the Church seeking truth, fine. If not, who cares?

Anonymous said...

"The agenda of this a scandal ". What? Just last week you referred to this scandoulous gathering as the "glorious synod on the family". What's going on?

Those of us how don't live in dreamland could see what is going on from the beginning.

We have bishops and cardinals openly advocated that those Catholics who freely choose to live in adultery and sodomite relationships to be admitted to the sacraments without amendment of life and sacramental absolution. All of this done in the name of mercy. In reality it is pure evil and anyone who actually believes in the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Faith knows this to be true.

Why is it so hard to say that the Church loves you as does God but the chooses you are making are in direct opposition to the will of God and will condemn your souls to Hell if you don't change. The Church is here to help you save your soul. Why will they not say that? The answer: because THOSE MEN DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE CATHOLIC FAITH. That's why those bishops promoting acceptance of evil are partying away at Cardinal Marx's multi million dollars villa in Rome dining on feasts while we see a pope getting angry at orthodox who spent to much money. Will Cardinal Marx be removed?

Living a true Catholic life isn't for sissies, it's for the truly heroic. It's time these men start acting like St. John the Baptist, St. Thomas More, Pope St. John Paull II etc and stop acting like little archbishops of Canterburys.

Anonymous said...

Ross Douthat sums it up well:

"The entire situation abounds with ironies. Aging progressives are seizing a moment they thought had slipped away, trying to outmaneuver younger conservatives who recently thought they owned the Catholic future. The African bishops are defending the faith of the European past against Germans and Italians weary of their own patrimony. A Jesuit pope is effectively at war with his own Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the erstwhile Inquisition — a situation that would make 16th century heads spin.

For a Catholic journalist, for any journalist, it’s a fascinating story, and speaking strictly as a journalist, I have no idea how it will end.

Speaking as a Catholic, I expect the plot to ultimately fail; where the pope and the historic faith seem to be in tension, my bet is on the faith. But for an institution that measures its life span in millennia, “ultimately” can take a long time to arrive."

We are all awaiting the outcome - what will happen?

Imagine that recent speculation about Pope Francis wasn't a conspiracy theory at all. Imagine that there was a group who met in St Gallan and lobbied for Pope Francis. Some of those said to be in the St Gallan group are in fact papal appointees - notably Card Danneels and Cardinal Kasper is an old friend of Pope Francis and a detractor of Pope Benedict. If that is the case, we can be sure those aging progressives will see this as a last ditch effort and will be putting enormous pressure on Pope Francis to come up with the goods - to go for broke. It could mean that what a Jesuit wouldn't normally do he will do. He will wilt under pressure.

With his restatement of papal authority today my money is on: he will go for broke and break the Church in the process, because I also think that what we have been witnessing from Cardinal Pell and others, couched in diplomatic language, is formal notice being given to Pope Francis that doctrinal change will not be accepted by the conservatives. That's my take on it anyway for what it's worth.


Jdj said...

"Speaking as a Catholic, I expect the plot to ultimately fail; where the pope and the historic faith seem to be in tension,
my bet is on the faith."

Hope is what drives faith. When we lose hope, faith seeps away. I have to actively avoid, sometimes even flee that which corrodes hope including reading comments here at times! The quote above (particularly one coming from a NYTimes journalist!) offers hope. As the author notes, it could take a long time. Our job is to remain faithful. When all is said and done, nothing, not an errant or even immoral hierarch can separate us from the love and ultimate authority of Christ unless we allow it. If the hierarchy including local bishops fails to catechize properly, it is up to us to bridge the gap, to "make up for what is lacking". In the end, I answer to God alone, as does everyone.

Anonymous said...

From a recent news article...coming soon to a Catholic Church near you? Now, that is ecumenicism!

Every Sunday morning, dozens of locals gather at a bar in Concord, New Hampshire to eat pie and fight each other with foam swords.
They call themselves the Church of the Sword, and in lieu of worshipping a higher being, the five-year-old institution preaches self-ownership and self-defense. Its hymnals are called “jams,” it lets followers keep several other faiths, and its customs—like the Ritual of Combat, in which service-goers duel with each other with fake swords to symbolize the defense of personal opinions—may seem more like eccentric social club activities than sacred rituals.
Yet the church, which has 280 members, is fighting to be legally recognized as a religion. The group recently sued the town of Westmoreland (where it is based) for denying it a religious tax exemption on a property donation. It lost: according to the town and the county court that decided the case, the organization doesn’t qualify for tax breaks because it’s political, godless, and simply not a real religion.

Anonymous said...


Faith comes first. We have hope because we have faith that the gates of hell will not prevail. (People who buy lottery tickets hope but have little faith that they will get the prize. People in adulterous or same sex marriages have hope that they can legitimately receive the eucharist, but they do not have the Faith).

George said...

What excuse is there for anyone who can read and comprehend at all, for not knowing and understanding God's Holy laws? In knowing and understanding, can one be excused from obeying them?
Even those brought up in unholy arrangements can find out and know what the Church teaches. Doing what God requires of us may be difficult, but He does not give us commandments that are impossible to obey.
Those who have entered into sinful lifestyles and arrangements cannot plead ignorance of God's commands as a reason to persist in such. God's teachings are available to modern man in ways that would be the envy of generations that came before us.
God may not judge everyone the same, but His Divine precepts apply equally to everyone. Does not the physical laws God has put in place, such as gravity, apply equally to everyone? Was not Jonah sent by God to Ninevah to call the pagans (yes, the pagans) residing there to repentance?
The Catholic Church has requirements for the reception of the Holy Eucharist -as well it should. Is it now to be that those who have separated themselves from God by their sinful lifestyles, and remain so, are to be the arbiters of Church law and how it is to be applied? Will it now no longer be necessary to cease sinful behavior, confess and repent? If the Eucharist is to be considered as an entitlement, can anyone then be denied it's reception?
Persistent, serious sin will corrupt and confuse the conscience and impel one rationalize,accept, and justify the continuance in a sinful state. Those who are living in a persistent sinful state, need to be challenged and helped by our prayers, sacrifices and interventions, to see the error of their ways, and to make the decision to conform to the Will of God by choosing to change their lives, obey His laws, and and repent of their transgressions.
Many today, because of the abuse of the freedom God has given them and a turning against His laws, become unwitting co-operaters with Satan.
It speaks to the lack of belief of many today that they presume to judge God as not having done enough, of not having provided adequately, of having left things unfinished or incomplete and of being unfair. As if God Who is Generosity Itself has not done and provided enough. As if God, Who in Himself is Mercy and Goodness itself, has not done for us and revealed to us everything necessary for our salvation As if God who Mercy and Justice itself is not fair in what He has done for us and provided to us. God Who is Truth itself cannot change or re-define what is true according to the whims of man. Truth is truth and because it is true can never change or be changed. God cannot ordain that which goes against His Divine nature and is contrary to what He desires from His creatures.
Such persons who can’t and don’t accept this have a very weak faith- if they have any at all- and so they do not know God and what He desires. Everything holds together only as long as we accept, acknowledge and obey God's pre-ordained laws and His created order of all things.
Does not God want us to obey His Holy laws? He wants us to obey them out of love and respect for Him and for our own good. It is for our own good to do so because disobedience to His ordinances can bring serious consequences, even spiritual death and Eternal damnation.

Anonymous said...

Cupich was appointed by Bergoglio need I say more. These modernists will all have to answer to Our Lord Jesus Christ one day, they have no fear of The Lord, I do however, because Iam a sinner. Remember my friends the Novus Ordonarians don't believe in sin at all, so they have nothing to fear. They lost the Holy Roman Faith after Vatican II. Pray the Holy Ghost will send us a savior and return the Traditinal Latin Mass to its proper place!!! Burke, Ranjith, Schneider, Sarah will all be fantastic!!

Jdj said...

I don't normally respond to anonymi, but will this once. Faith builds over a lifetime. Hope nourishes faith and drives it. Ask anyone who has sunk into despair...

TJM said...

The Catholic Bishops in the US abandoned their teaching authority long ago concerning themselves with issues that have nothing to do with the Faith and making themselves looking ridiculous (and hypocritical) at the same time. Par example, weighing in on the minimum wage, while grossly underpaying their own lay employees. I believe quite sincerely that by failing to discipline prominent "catholic" politicians like Nancy Pelosi (Theologian par excellence in her mind) they have ZERO credibility speaking out against abortion. As a matter of fact they have materially cooperated with evil by not disciplining her publicly and may themselves incurred excommunication. My dollars will NOT go to Rome nor the Archdiocese of Chicago while the Francis and Cupich regimes are in power. I will give them to faithful Catholic priests and institutions instead

Anonymous said...

I've thought for some time that it would serve the Church well if abortion was framed not simply as a moral issue but as an economic one too. That idea of course eluded Pope Francis in his Joyful exhortation. In your comments, Father McDonald, you correctly aggregate the political, economic and moral ideas into the overall problem that concludes with destabilization. Interesting that a parish priest is able to pinpoint the price to be paid for the sin within a couple of paragraphs, but a pope writes thousands of words without coming close to the target.

The length of time it will take for many of the earth’s future inhabitants to be drawn to the true faith may take some time. But what modernist clergy may not appreciate about the modern world they love is that it moves at light speed. The dissemination of information is instantaneous and so I suspect that the reaction to a heretical document from this synod will ignite a rapid response. In this context I think that the election of Pope Francis makes some sense. Maybe the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church into a major pruning? I know it would be comforting to me to know that when I enter a Catholic Church I would be able to do so without having to wonder what kind of liturgy I will encounter and I won’t have to hunt for the tabernacle. I may have to drive a little further, but I’ve become used to that anyway.


Anonymous said...

Fr Ray Blake has this to say:

"I suppose that we might continue to sing, "Unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam" but as 'diversity' increases as the new fashion, then possibly we should be singing about believing in "multas ecclesias". This argument about 'one' and 'many' has been going on since I was a seminarian, it was the urs-argument between Ratzinger and Kasper, and although Ratzinger's raising to the Apostolic throne seemed to show the triumph of the 'one' camp, yesterdays speech by the present incumbent shows that there is victory for Kasper and Germany, who follow the 'many' camp. Apparently there have been rather grand banquets in Cdn Marx's grand Rome palatio, whether these are to scheme or celebrate the victory, no-one knows."


Anonymous said...

I will be interested to hear Fr McDonald's take on the unambiguous comments of Pope Francis on his call for a decentralised Church ...


Gene said...

Jan, it is called protestantism.