Thursday, May 19, 2016


Let's start with the second part of my title above. Poor old Pope Francis has been accused by so many as not believing that mortal sin condemns someone to hell if not repented. They accuse His Holiness of encouraging non-repentant mortal sinners to receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin and this despite the million times His Holiness has encouraged sinners to go to Confession regularly.

Well, fear no longer, Pope Francis says a particular kind of mortal sinner will not go to heaven if not repentant:

Pope Francis: heaven’s doors are closed to those who close their hearts to the poor

Catholic World News Report: May 18, 2016

Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his May 18 general audience to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

“Lazarus, lying outside the closed door of the rich man’s house, longs to eat even the scaps that fall from his table,” Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, according to the official English-language synthesis of his remarks. “Lazarus represents the silent cry of the poor in every time and place, and the paradox of a world in which astonishing wealth coexists with scandalous poverty.”

“When both men die, their situation is reversed,” the Pope continued. “Lazarus, whose name means 'God helps,' is brought to the bosom of Abraham, while the rich man is in torment, thirsting even for a drop of water.”

The Pope added:
Abraham has to explain to him how, in the mystery of divine justice, the mercy we seek from God is linked to the mercy we show to others. The doors of heaven are closed to those who close their hearts to the needs of the poor. Only conversion can open hearts to the truth of God’s word and its saving message, which, as Our Lady sings in her Magnificat, overturns the situations of this world by the triumph of God’s justice and mercy.
And then there is this about how hopeful the SSPX is that Pope Francis will make regular their canonical status in the Church:

Catholic World News

SSPX leader optimistic about accord with Vatican

This seems to me to be a nuclear bombshell if true!

May 18, 2016
Bishop Bernard Fellay, the leader of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), expressed optimism about the prospects for achieving an accord with the Vatican in a lengthy interview with the  National Catholic Register.

Bishop Fellay said that under Pope Francis, talks between the SSPX and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have taken a new direction, with Vatican officials no longer demanding that the breakaway traditionalist group must fully accept the teachings of Vatican II. He said that the longer talks continue, "the more lenient Rome becomes."

The situation is paradoxical, the traditionalist leader said, insofar as the SSPX continues to decry changes in Church teaching, at the same time that Vatican officials move closer to regularizing the group.


I have to agree with Bishop Fellay that there is an irony of ironies that Pope Francis is the one who is allowing in the most liberal sense of the word liberal, the SSPX to be fully reintegrated into the proper canonical status of the Church by allowing them to reject some of the pastoral, non infallible, theologies of the Second Vatican Council. These theologies are in fact just theologies, they are not doctrine but pious opinions or pious pastoral agendas similar to how the theology of Limbo for unbaptized infants developed in the Church as a pastoral theology opposed to unbaptized infants going to hell. It has been made clear that limbo for unbaptized infants is just a pastoral theology and never a promulgated doctrine or dogma and this pastoral theology has since been somewhat repudiated by the highest levels of the papal magisterium.

But it doesn't get any better than this, that the Pope condemns certain Catholics to Hell and opens the gates of heaven for the SSPX!


Anonymous said...

"But it doesn't get any better than this, that the Pope condemns certain Catholics to Hell..."

What?! I thought he wasn't judging anybody? Isn't that his shtick? That and little clown cars.

Gene said...

More worship of the poor.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Perhaps you have consistently misread Pope Francis or have never read anything His Holiness has written, but rather have relied on what others, especially shrill bloggers have said about him. Pope Francis is the most judgmental pope we have had in centuries and in times before Vatican II you would have applauded His Holiness rather than snark at him.

Perhaps, too, like Jesus was misunderstood or misrepresented by others, you too, believe the misrepresentations about our Lord and snark at Him in the same way as they did at the time of His public ministry?

And Gene since when has love of anyone in the Christ-like sense been "worship?" What you write seems very heterodox to me.

Gene said...

In times before Vat II, this man never would have been Pope. Also, being "judgmental" is not the criteria we are looking for. It all depends on what he is judgmental about. People do not go to Hell because their hearts are closed to the poor. They go to Hell because their hearts are closed to Jesus Christ. And, before libs and logic choppers rush in...NO, they are not the same thing. This Pope deals only in anthropology...his theology is from man to God and not vice versa. Not only is that bad theology, it is bad philosophy.

Rood Screen said...


He's been condemning certain groups from the beginning, for better or worse, so this is nothing new. As for the poor, Our Lord Himself does seem to have very high standards for how He expects His Church to treat the poor. Poverty is, after all, one of the evangelical counsels.

Victor said...

I wonder what Wall street would think of "Heaven’s doors are closed to those who close their hearts to the poor". But then I guess it has it`s own heaven, the bull market.

Gene said...

How does it follow that Wall Street has its heart closed to the poor? Does financial success automatically mean you are closed to the poor? Your Communism is showing.

johnnyc said...

Maybe this is what Gene is talking about? One does get the sense 'the poor' have no sin. Is it possible to go to hell if you are poor? Or is it only those that do not help 'the poor' that go to hell? And who are 'the poor'? What's the cut off line? One might say I know it when I see it but I volunteered at a St. Vincent de Paul and there were plenty of people driving some pretty nice cars that were in line for food. Also the 'poor' person that stole my tablet while I was handing out food.....does he get a pass? :)

Cardinal Sarah.....The cardinal explained that the worst discrimination against the poor is not refusing to give them food, but rather to give them only food and refuse to give them the Gospel.

He talks about it even more in his book God or Nothing. He talks about reducing the Gospel to a slogan such as.....“Let us fight for zero poverty” He said 'Not one saint ever dared to speak that way about poverty and poor people.'

Anonymous said...

Do he have to obsess about the poor all the time.

Marc said...

"Do he have to obsess about the poor all the time."

The people who are obsessing about the poor all the time have to do so because they have lost supernatural faith. So making things pleasant in this life is all they have.

Gene said...

The "poor" are just another tool the Left uses to attack capitalism and Western values. They don't really give a damn about them other than as a useful weapon.

Victor said...

America and its capitalism cannot exist without usury whether by the banks or in the bond markets on Wall street. Usury, whether for Catholics or Muslims, is sinful because, as St Thomas Aquinas has explained, it "is to sell what does not exist, and this evidently leads to inequality which is contrary to justice." (S.Theol. II-II. q. 78, resp.)
The lure of money is demonic, and there will be a lot of counter arguments to usury as sin such as the idea of being paid for money lending risk. But when is lending your friend money without risk? Or when the central banks need to use it to control the economy which really means keeping the system as it is, a system in which the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer and focused solely on material and hedonistic goods (eg entertainment industry).

Gene said...

I have no problem with the rich getting richer as long as they are not breaking the law. The fact that CEO's get paid a lot of money, for instance, is not money out of the poor's pockets. As far as the poor are concerned, their being poor has nothing to do with the rich being rich. The rich corporations, by the way, contribute hugely to the economy through job creation and the production of goods. Many individual wealthy people give huge amounts of money to charitable causes, including the Catholic Church. You seem to want to define usury as any lending at all, without which every economy would collapse. Don't like Capitalism, go check out Cuba or Russia, maybe a Central American country. Besides, socialism and communism are all about money.

George said...

"Cardinal Sarah.....The cardinal explained that the worst discrimination against the poor is not refusing to give them food, but rather to give them only food and refuse to give them the Gospel." I agree with the Cardinal wholeheartedly. It is the worst of circumstances to be both materially and spiritually poor.

It is my take on what the Pope says about poverty is that he is referencing especially those poor in parts of Central and South America who exist in dire circumstances, without clean running water, having inadequate or non-existent sanitation, barely enough to eat, and no electric power, and also all those in every place, anywhere in the world, that are destitute and homeless. The poor in the U.S. are well off compared to those in most parts of the world but not spiritually so.

When Christ said the following was not speaking to the poor as well?

"If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into gehenna (hell)."
"And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into gehenna (hell)".

It certainly would not be surprising to me however, if the Lord were be more merciful to those who were born into and endured abject poverty from their birth to the grave.

One must make a distinction between commercial lending of money and just loaning money to a friend in need. Commercial transactions have both a cost and benefit and since money can change in value over time, there is the attendant risk as well as any potential profit involved.

Victor said...

The Holy Father working in the trenches saw how the demonic lure of money even mesmerises Catholics:

53. Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape. ... Francis I, "Evangelii Gaudium"

What chance do the homeless have in benefiting from the stock market? What chance do the poor have of ever paying off their credit card bills? Dorothy Day in the Catholic Worker also said it well: “Can I talk about the people living off usury . . . not knowing the way that their infertile money has bred more money by wise investment in God knows what devilish nerve gas, drugs, napalm, missiles, or vanities, when housing and employment . . . for the poor were needed, and money could have been invested there?”

George: You seem to want Catholics to behave differently towards those involved in commerce and fiends. I cannot accept that.

Gene said...

Victor, Many are homeless by choice or because liberals such as yourself insisted that the institutions be closed down and these folks be turned loose on the streets. They benefit from the stock market because the overall economy is what provides them with shelters, showers, food, and protection by police and EMT's, who spend hours answering calls regarding these people, often for minor things or stupid altercations. And, what are the "poor" doing with credit cards in the first place? Dorothy Day was a nut case.

George said...

Victor, you are saying that a Catholic should treat a loan to a friend in need and a commercial loan the same? Commercial loans should be interest free? Where can you go and borrow money to purchase a car,home or anything else for zero interest? Let me know so I can go there for a loan. If there exists collusion between financial institutions to keep interest rates higher than they should be, then that is wrong. Loan rates in the U.S. are set according to the prime rate, which is based on the federal funds rate, which is set by the Federal Reserve. Loaning money is taking a risk and so rates are also set according to a person's credit worthiness. A person can default on a loan which does happen.
A lot has happened since Dorothy Day wrote what she did. The poor in the U.S. are much, much better off than they were in her day. It is spiritual poverty which is more of a problem.

What to you constitutes usury?

Victor said...

Prudence is required when making a loan, not the greed that almost caused the collapse of the US banking system in 2008.

The Federal Reserve is not exactly a Federal Agency, but effectively owned by the banks for their own profit, in fact giving huge profits to .1% of the population.

I cannot believe, and am apalled, by the attitude towards poor people here. It is similar to the attitude of those ivory tower experts of the Consillium who imposed their fantasies on the faithful while being completely isolated from and ignorant of the liturgical needs of the faithful.

In USA, 20% of the population owns 90% of the country's wealth. Or, better stated 80% of the population owns only 10% of the country's wealth. Or, that USA has the second highest poverty rate among childcren in the developed world. And how many mothers with children are forced to go to work to make ends meet in the family? Maybe the Pilgrims of St Michael have been on to something all along these many years.

I will let Benedict XVI speak the final words "... the pursuit of justice must be a fundamental norm of the State and that the aim of a just social order is to guarantee to each person, according to the principle of subsidiarity, his share of the community's goods." (Deus Caritas Est)

George said...

"The Federal Reserve is not exactly a Federal Agency, but effectively owned by the banks for their own profit, in fact giving huge profits to .1% of the population."
I admit Victor that under this administration, there has been an unholy alliance between the Federal Reserve, banks, and Wall Street which has kept interest rates low to the benefit of financial institutions but has not grown the economy enough to create the kind of employment we need. In fact this has been the worst recovery from a recession ever.

Studies have borne out that in the U.S., Christians, including Catholics(especially the ones that attend daily and weekly Mass) donate more time, money, and material goods to charity than other group. And this does not even include tax monies which fund a myriad of programs to serve the poor.

The history of the Church is replete with the examples of saints, the most Traditional and faithful of Catholics, serving the poor including at great personal sacrifice to themselves. Yes, we should follow their example to serve the poor and we do so when we pay taxes, donate to St Vincent De Paul, Catholic Charities, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity and other similar and numerous social service organizations. Donated blood goes to the poor as well. We also do so when we likewise donate to organizations which serve the poor outside the U.S. Many locales have Food banks and Soup kitchens which provide "hands on" opportunities.

"Certainly you know that the great Lord when coming into the virgin's womb chose to appear contemptible, needy, and poor in this world. He did this so that human beings, who were utterly poor and needy, might be made rich in him in the kingdom of heaven that they will certainly possess. So, exult exceedingly and rejoice, filled with great joy and spiritual happiness."
— St. Clare

We should be concerned for the homeless and destitute but also consider that many of us provide a poor habitat for Christ.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” - Romans 8:18

"Humility, obedience, meekness, and love are the virtues that shine through the Cross and the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. O my Jesus, help me imitate you!"
– St. Anthony Mary Claret

Far better to live materially poor if God is given more prominence in our lives, than to enjoy material prosperity without God.

Anonymous said...

"I have no problem with the rich getting richer as long as they are not breaking the law."

When the laws favor the rich, there is a problem.

Sales tax is charged on the sale of bread, milk, diapers, etc. But sales tax is not charged on the sale of stocks. 83 per cent of stocks are owned by 1 per cent of the population. Who benefits? The rich do.

Ordinary workers pay their income taxes upfront - it's taken out when you get your paycheck. The super wealthy benefit from loopholes that allow them to defer paying income taxes years, sometime decades, down the road. Who benefits? The rich do.

The mortgage income tax deduction wildly favors the rich. The wealthy can deduct hundreds of thousands of dollars on mansions and other property they own, but the ordinary folk get a far, far smaller deduction. Of course, the wealthy really need that savings for their 8,000 square foot homes....

And then there's the income cap for wages taxed for Social Security. The Social Security Wage Base is $118.500. A worker earning $118,500 (lucky worker) pays FICA taxes on every dollar. A hedge fund operator makes $20 million and pays FICA on . . . $118.500. Eliminating or raising the cap significantly would produce funding for Social Security - indefinitely. But, of course, it is the wealthy who, through their lobbying and funding of candidates, makes that simple change nigh impossible.

Gene said...

Get rid of there "wealthy" and see what happens to everybody else...

Anonymous 2 said...

Eliminating or raising the cap for FICA taxes, perhaps after immunizing income above the current cap up to a certain threshold, seems such an easy fix to me that sometimes I feel sure I must be missing something fundamental.

Anonymous said...

No one's talking about "getting rid of the wealthy." I am happy to see the rich remain rich.

But what is needed is greater equality under law. Incomes of $25 million a year ought to be treated the same as incomes of $25,000.00 a year.

Adjusting the Social Security Wage Base is a simple fix. It does not happen because the rich influence legislators to maintain the status quo from which, of course, they benefit wonderfully.