Tuesday, February 23, 2016


We know that Pope Francis is judgmental. Usually the clergy and religious get the brunt of it and some say that he judges faithful Catholics too.

But he judges non Catholics as well, when he said in response to a question about Donald Trump and fences that one who builds fences is not a Christian, or something like that.

Today, though, Pope Francis in his homily at the humble chapel at the humble Vatican Motel Six which happens to serve as his residence, not out of humility as His Holiness has made clear, but because His Holiness likes being around people and what better place than a Motel Six, judged who are Christians and who aren't once again, a sort of pontification:

 Pope Francis went on to make explicit mention of the lines from Matthew’s Gospel, which foretell of the Last Judgment, when God will call men to account for what they have done to the hungry, thirsty, imprisoned, strangers. “This,” said the Holy Father, “is the Christian life: mere talk leads to vanity, to that empty pretense of being Christian – but no, that way one is not a Christian at all.”

Here is Vatican Radio's summary and the unofficial English translation of the original Italian:

Pope Francis: God is real, too many Christians are fake

Pope Francis at Mass, Feb 23, 2016 - OSS_ROM
Pope Francis at Mass, Feb 23, 2016 -
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday morning described Christianity as a religion that by its very nature must act for good, not a “religion of saying” made of hypocrisy and vanity. The Holy Father was speaking at Mass in the Chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.

Following the readings of the day, Pope Francis reflected on God’s reality and the “fakeness” of so many Christians who treat the faith as though it were window dressing – devoid of obligation – or an occasion for aggrandizement rather than an opportunity for service, especially to our neediest neighbors.

The way of doing

Building on the reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah in concert with the passage proclaimed from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the Holy Father sought to explain once again the “evangelical dialectic between saying and doing.” He placed emphasis on the words of Jesus, which  unmask the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees, calling the disciples and crowds to do as they say, though not as they do:

“The Lord teaches us the way of doing: and how many times we find people – ourselves included – so often in the Church, who say, ‘Oh, we are very Catholic.’ ‘But what do you do?’ How many parents say they are Catholics, but never have time to talk to their children, to play with their children, to listen to their children. Perhaps they have their parents in a nursing home, but always are busy and cannot go and visit them and so leave them there, abandoned. ‘But I am very Catholic: I belong to that association,’ [they say]. This is the religion of saying: I say it is so, but I do according to the ways of the world.”

What God wants

The way of “saying and not doing,” says the Pope, “is a deception.” Isaiah's words indicate what is pleasing to God: “Cease to do evil, learn to do good,” and, “relieve the oppressed, do right by the orphan, plead for the widow.” It also shows another thing: the infinite mercy of God, which says to humanity, “Come, let us talk it over: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”:

“The mercy of the Lord goes out to meet those who dare to argue with Him, but to argue about the truth, about the things one does or does not do, [and He argues] in order to correct me. This, then, is the great love of the Lord, in this dialectic between saying and doing. To be a Christian means to do: to do the will of God – and on the last day – because all of us we will have one – that day what shall the Lord ask us? Will He say: “What you have said about me?” No. He shall ask us about the things we did.”

The make-believe Christians

Pope Francis went on to make explicit mention of the lines from Matthew’s Gospel, which foretell of the Last Judgment, when God will call men to account for what they have done to the hungry, thirsty, imprisoned, strangers. “This,” said the Holy Father, “is the Christian life: mere talk leads to vanity, to that empty pretense of being Christian – but no, that way one is not a Christian at all.”:

“May the Lord give us this wisdom to understand well where lies the difference between saying and doing, and teach us the way of doing and help us to go down that way, because the way of saying brings us to the place where were these teachers of the law, these clerics, who liked dressing up and acting just like if they were so many Majesties – and this is not the reality of the Gospel. May the Lord teach us this way.”


James said...

I recognize the guy in the first picture (though I've never appeared before him). It's the appropriately named Igor Judge, former chief justice of England and Wales. That's got to be worth a prize...

Anonymous said...

Faith with out works is dead. works without faith is humanism. Both are needed. I am troubled by a lot of things this pope says and does but not by anything I see in this homily.
Saint Michael the Archangel defend us in battle.

Anonymous said...

He seems like a very, very unhappy, nasty person. He is very hard on everyone who try to live a good life and seems to excuse those who could care less.

Mark Thomas said...

Father, I hope that the following isn't off topic. Here is a beautiful spiritual act, in the form of a gift, that His Holiness performed for the Faithful.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald said..." But he judges non Catholics as well, when he said in response to a question about Donald Trump and fences that one who builds fences is not a Christian, or something like that."

In fairness to Pope Francis, he said that he granted the "benefit of the doubt" to Donald Trump in regard to the notion that Mr. Trump is not a Christian.

By the way, Donald Trump had better not build a wood fence. Not only would certain folks continue to accuse him of racism, but a wood fence would place him in trouble with the environmentalists. DOWN WITH DONALD...DESTROYER OF FORESTS!


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

I see nothing wrong with the Pope's homily in this case. Our Lord himself used very strong words about the consequences of ignoring the corporal works of mercy. Our rosaries, Masses and devotions should spur us into action to provide succour to the least of our brothers and sisters. Not to do so is proof positive that our faith without works is dead and we may very well hear the dreaded words, "Depart from me," at our particular judgment.

Православный физик said...

I don't see any problem in today's homily from the Holy Father, Faith without works is dead...When he's on the mark, he's on target, but when he's off, he's so far off, it's an embarrassment....

Jusadbellum said...

I wholeheartedly agree with the Pope. SAYING you love minorities, women and the poor does not make you a Christian. SAYING you are for "peace" and against war does not make you a Christian. SAYING that you love the stranger, the illegal immigrant, the marginalized does not make you a Christian.

But how many "Catholics" declare that their love for the poor, women, minorities (* except men since men are statistically a minority) etc. is proved by VOTING for one particular political party. It never means actually using their own money, their own time, their own talents to actually do right or justice to the objects of their affection.

How many Catholics declare themselves to be "for peace" but don't lift a finger to actually protect the innocent or re-establish a just order?

How many who drive around with COEXIST bumper stickers also despise and will actively heap scorn on people who make up the "T"? Plenty!

Now, about that wall.... I think the options on the table include running a row of Jersey barriers from Brownsville to San Diego (typical Jersey barrier is 3 feet high and about 16 feet long. There are over 1,000 MILES of them on US highways already. They could be deployed on the border immediately and form a vehicular barrier from sea to sea within 1 year. The actual wall is more like a 'system' than a single unit. The jersey barrier keeps trucks etc. from getting close...then a Hesco anti-personnel metal mesh fence with a concertina wire pyramid about 12' high then the actual 'wall' which could either be concrete panels - much like our highway sound barriers or Hesco (dirt and gravel filled metal mesh boxes) gabions stacked 3 high.... those would be deployed also rapidly. The entire border could definitely be sealed except for official gates of entry within 2 years.

Once that happens, 99% of foot traffic would cease forcing all drugs, guns, human trafficking, and random illegals seeking work to enter through the official entry points.

The interesting thing is how EVERYTHING in our lives is supposed to hyper-regulated by vast nameless bureaucracies except for who enters the country and who can vote. Odd no?

Gene said...

The Pope is no theologian or Biblical scholar. He wants to isolate the purely ethical aspects of Jesus sayings from the inescapably
apocalyptic/eschatological focus of the Gospel of Matthew. The ethical imperatives of Jesus in Matthew are subordinated to His preaching of the coming Kingdom, which will only be entered by those who believe in Him as the Messiah and in His promise of redemption. All of the so-called "ethical" teachings are fruits of belief and of following Christ. They are not primary in the sense of being salvific. We will not be judged by our fruits until we are judged by our belief, our faith. This is important and is always played down by progressives who want to view the Gospels as merely ethical guidebooks. If the Pope really wants to impress people, let him begin calling for repentance, condemning heresy, and reminding people that Christ will return as a righteous judge who will mete out mercy and judgement with the two-edged sword of his mouth...the Word that gives life or eternal damnation. It will not be the cheap mercy, sown broadly, that the Pope seems to prefer.

Rood Screen said...

That photograph shows how every judge should look.

Anonymous said...


"We will not be judged by our fruits until we are judged by our belief, our faith. This is important and is always played down by progressives who want to view the Gospels as merely ethical guidebooks."

It isn't either faith or works. It's faith and works. Since you're generalizing progressives, let me say this. Traditionalists like limiting their works to saying 2000 rosaries, wearing a chapel veil, attending Mass 7 days a week, putting up statues, not eating meat on Fridays and arguing about things like whether the priest should lift his pinky skyward at the consecration or how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.

This. Is. Not. Enough. If anything is cheap, that is. This is what I believe Pope Francis is talking about.

The Mass is for man. Ite missa est. You have been fed, now go and do good in the world because God loves you and you must share the graces you've been given. "Whatsoever you did to the least of my brothers, you did it to me."

Faith without works is dead. Faith and works are unified when ones actions towards their neighbour are vivified by their love for God. Any suggestion otherwise is contrary to the perennial teaching of the Church. The 'fruit of belief' stuff is very Protestant.

If anyone's no theologian or biblical scholar, it's you. (Unless you're some sort of Baptist of something like that.)

I'll place myself firmly on the side of Peter. He got it right this time.

George said...

Anonymous at 6:08 PM

Rosaries and attending Mass 7 days a week are Spiritual Works of Mercy (praying for the living and the dead).
They can also be considered works of faith.

There exists consecrated religious in the Church whose members in their vocation are devoted almost exclusively to prayer and adoration, even around the clock.

Re-read Luke 10:38-42 and then (John 11:19-27) about Martha and Mary.

George said...

Faith is necessary to good works, and good works are necessary to faith. Faith make the works worthy of merit. Without good works faith is unproductive, without faith good works are ineffective. The stronger the faith, the more copious the good works, and vice-versa, plenty of good works increase the vitality of faith.

- Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini (1839-1905), Bishop, Feast day June 1

Gene said...

Anonymous @ 6:08, in your frantic rush to defend this Pope, you completely miss the point. The Gospel of Matthew is an apocalyptic/eschatological Gospel, the message of which is that Jesus is the Messiah in whom we must John the Baptist says, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." We all know that faith without works is dead (which isn't the point), and that "fruits of belief" stuff is Biblical, not protestant. Oh, and by the way, I do have the credentials tho back up my theological comments and, no, I was not a Baptist.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 6:08: You're generalizing about and stereotyping trads every bit as much as you claim Gene to be generalizing about progs.

Jusadbellum said...

I don't know any pro-life traditional latin Mass Catholic (of the 4 dozen or so that I know) who ISN'T ACTIVELY involved on the ground with helping women in crisis pregnancies, who doesn't regularly help the poor (homeless or otherwise) and who isn't a frugal steward of God's green earth.

None of the gun-totin NRA memberin' conservatives I know (of the dozens) are violent or irrational. If anything their being armed makes them much more self-controlled and responsible to their neighbors and the general public.

So while we continue the apples to apples moral comparison between Catholic liberals and Catholic traditionalists, and the measuring stick is not what they SAY but what they DO, we have to look at their entire lives.

Let both groups go to weekly Mass. Both SAY various things about their politics, moral preferences, and theological beliefs.

But which side walks the walk when it comes to actually treating women and men as moral equals? Which side actually walks the walk when it comes to actually treating the races as moral equals? Which side actually treats the socio-economically poor as moral equals (intelligent and possessed of moral agency)?

In all my travels I've always found that the self-described "leftwing" "progressives" will CLAIM to be feminists and against racism, sexism, bigotry, xenophobia etc.... but they routinely and without self-awareness continue to posit that women simply can't be held to the same standard they use to judge men but need special set asides and perks. That the minorities simply can't possibly be expected to perform to the standards expected of white men so MUST be granted special (lower) standards of behavior. That foreigners simply can't be expected to obey the laws - as though they're children.

So insisting on actual egalitarian standards is now considered the height of sexism, racism, xenophobia etc. while premising all you do on the presumption that women and minorities are intrinsically inferior to white men in every category of endeavor is considered uncontroversial.

It's not right-wing tea partier conservatives who regularly vote down school vouchers for inner city families. It's not traditionalist conservatives who vote to disarm fellow citizens in the inner cities. It's not white male Christians who insist on institutionalizing 'privilege' or calling for separate but equal.

Pick your poison and we're not the aggressor. We're not the cause of poverty, decay, social collapse. We're not the ones cheerleading the culture of death. We're not the ones driving the youth to despair, nihilism, and permanent disenfranchisement.

Gene said...

Jusad, YES!!!

Anonymous said...

"It's not white male Christians who insist on institutionalizing 'privilege' or calling for separate but equal."

Yeah. But many used to. In my lifetime. And they don't anymore because so called 'progressives' who believed in DOING struggled alongside people oppressed by bigotry to soundly defeat them. And most of the Catholics in the fight, priests and laity alike were of the Vatican II, Pope Francis type. And we don't want any of that to return, in society at large or in the Church, especially if it comes wrapped in silk and ermine 'traditionalism'.

We don't believe in suffer in silence because it's God's will and you'll go to hell if you upset the appearance of all is well; so pray, pay and obey, little ones. We believe in, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Gene said...

Based upon the Pope's off-the-cuff statements about contraception, the Filipino Bishops are now reconsidering the use of birth control in "certain situations." Ah, Francis, what a guy! More chinks in the wall. Hey, baby, let the good times roll!

Gene said...

The Pope also praised one of Italy's foremost abortion proponents and practitioners, calling her one of Italy's "forgotten greats." When he was questioned about his supporting a leading abortion proponent, he said, "never mind, we have to look at what people do." Ok, now tell us what he meant...or that isn't what he really meant...or said, or whatever.