Saturday, June 18, 2016


 Catholicism isn't a easy religion because of Jesus Christ who has marked our soul with His real presence in Holy Baptism and confirmed His Holy Spirit within us in Confirmation. Jesus continues to pour out sanctifying and actual graces in the other sacraments, Penance, Holy Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders.

The reason for this is that carrying the cross that is laid upon our shoulders or we choose takes a great deal of human and divine strength. It is too easy to go with what the world teaches rather than God's design which is available to believer and non believer through natural law.

Thus I have found Pope Francis liberal pastoral theology made almost into a doctrine or dogma very disconcerting because it is the old "new" morality of the 1960's and 70's which I was taught in the major seminary between 1976 through 80. It was and is a disaster for the Church and individual souls. I blame the sexual abuse crisis as well as the sexual immorality of Catholic clergy and laity upon this old "new" morality because it relativizes everything and makes Scripture and Tradition in terms of morality out to be time and culturally constrained. This allows for its manipulation by what is called "development." Thus what was once considered immoral is manipulated into being moral. This is the dictatorship of relativism of the heretics of the new morality born slightly after Vatican II and very much a result of the sexual revolution of the 1960's.

Worse yet, in fact the worst, is to hear the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church bloviate about this, that and the other in off-the-cuff remarks that shows his complete insensitivity to those of us who are trying our best to be both pastoral and docrtrinally sound. As well we know that the way of the Episcopal Church and other liberal Protestant denominations in moral relativism has been the death knell for them. Why should the Catholic Church through a pope's off-the-cuff bloviating be dragged down this same destructive path? It is beyond my comprehension.

Thus Pope Francis' most recent opinionated off-the-cuff remarks (and these are not magisterial, btw) hit me in two ways:

1. When His Holiness said that the majority of "SACRAMENTAL" marriages were invalid, I don't think His Holiness was thinking.  His Holiness misspoke. He must have meant marriages or marital unions because if a marriage is proven to be SACRAMENTAL(and all Catholic marriages are presumed to be sacramental)  through a very strict canonical process, it cannot be ever considered invalid. This misspeak on Pope Francis' part is inexcusable for a pope but forgivable.

2. Worse yet is to confirm people in cohabiting prior to marrying in the Church. Canon Law governs marriage of Catholics although we know that Pope Francis has a 1970's mentality about canon law as being small minded rules. Nevertheless none of us is dispensed from canon law unless a bishop dispenses us.  And yes a bishop could dispense from the Catholic form of marriage but not from natural law or Scripture and Tradition as it regards sexual morality.

Yes, it is true that in the early centuries of the Church all that it took for a marriage to be a sacrament was for a Christian man and woman who had no impediments to simply move into together and consummate the marriage--that alone constituted the Sacrament of Marriage. Only later did civil and religious law require a "solemnization" of this coming together under one roof. The Catholic Church devised a nuptial liturgy for the purpose of blessing this living together union and eventual canon law to govern Catholics and marriage for the good order of the Church!

The Church has always required that not only Canon Law recognize Catholic marriages by following the law but that civil or secular law must be followed as well for a valid marriage.

Pope Francis may be suffering from old age which muddies his thought processes. If so we can cut him some slack. If His Holiness misspeaks are actually what His Holiness believes and wants to teach in this fashion as a way to change Catholic doctrine and morality intentionally, we have a very serious moral, canonical and psychological problem on our hands which can only be rectified by the college of bishops in union with the pope. Lay people and other clergy can voice their concerns but only the hierarchy can deal with this-- and that's the way it is!

The Church has experienced worse from popes in the past and yes, this too will pass by the grace of God!


John Nolan said...

If we take the Fernandez line (that Francis has a revolutionary agenda) then his sowing of confusion is part of a wider game-plan. The alternative is that he is himself confused.

Whatever the case, it would appear that many of those who elected him have had second thoughts, which suggests that they will not make the same mistake next time.

rcg said...

Does the Holy Father have no confidant to tell him how this sort of thing harms him and the Church?

Mark Thomas said...

AS long as the Holy Father remains Pope, and possesses the power of speech, he will offer off-the-cuff remarks that spur controversies of his making. He will also offer remarks that liberals, traditionalists, and conservatives, within and without the Church, will misrepresent to advance their respective causes. That is the reality that we face in regard to the Holy Father.


Mark Thomas

gob said...

In your new parish, have you, or will you tell the people about your blog and invite them to participate?

Anonymous said...

Confusion, making confusion is the "spirit of V-2".

Anonymous said...

Father, I agree with you on both the Pope’s comments and those who brought relativism into our Church. I was at a retreat recently for those in diaconal formation. There were some of us in our first year and some in their third year who attended. In addition, there were several deacons there as instructors or to help facilitate the retreat.
Over the 5 days, I made it a point to talk with every deacon and discovered a huge difference between the ones who were ordained more than 10 years ago and those who were more recently ordained.
It seemed the older deacons were on the “pastoral” side, while the newer ones were more orthodox. I found a tendency among the older ones to be a bit dismissive of the supernatural side of our faith. By supernatural, I mean a de-emphasis on grace and the working of the Holy Spirit.
I had a conversation with one about his homily on the sacrament of confession. He mentioned that not many at his parish went to confession, like almost never, so he was urging them to go. However, he focused completely on the natural side of it. He talked about how it felt good to confess to another person rather than just yourself and God. When I said, “they also don’t receive any grace by not confessing to a priest”, he said he doesn’t bring up grace.
It almost seems that besides a relativistic tendency regarding doctrine, they also don’t really believe in the supernatural part of our Church, the effects of sacraments, infused virtue and grace, the real presence of our Lord in the Eucharist or the parting of the veil between heaven and earth in the Mass.
We were also told about a rift between the older deacons and the newer ones. This rift was about one group wearing clericals while the other doesn’t for which the latter accuses the former of clericalism. One of the older deacons said he was at this retreat because he couldn’t stand the meetings with his peers because they are just “bitch sessions”. He needed company of the newer deacons and us in formation in order to grow as a deacon. Our diocese is working on this rift and hopefully the discord will be lessened.
In my opinion, the split is due to poor formation in years past. It used to be pretty loose and was only a 2 year program. Now it is a 5 year program and very thorough concerning faith and doctrine. I am extremely happy with it and hope to be ordained in 2020.

Anonymous said...

And just when did we experience worse from pope's? And don't bring up Alexander VI or the first John XXIII. They like every other human being on the planet had personal sins. This pope has publicly said that people living in objective SIN are in a valid marriage and receive grace from God. That is heresy....and you know it. I would rather Francis have a mistress then to spew heresy. Personal sins are forgivable but when he tries to distort and change what God Himself has commanded I say NO! He has to go.

Catholic Mission said...

The Magisterial Heresy -1 (Updated June 18, 2016)

Magisterial Heresy -2 (Updated June 18, 2016)

Magisterial Heresy-3 (Updated June 18, 2016 )

Marc said...

"We are nearing the end. Everyone will fall into heresy. Everyone will fall into error because wicked clergy, as St. Pius X predicted, have found their way into the Church and occupied it. They have spread errors from the positions of authority they occupy in the Church." - Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Anonymous 2 said...


“[T]he parting of the veil between heaven and earth in the Mass”

Thank you for this thought-provoking and inspiring formulation. It deserves to be emphasized.

Gene said...

I guess, now, that senility is the ultimate spin on this Pope's apostasy and deceit...nonsense. He knows exactly what he is doing and saying. He cut his teeth on Leftist, Liberation theology and has wallowed in the mire of Third World politics his entire career. He behaves like any other lip service to doctrine, law, etc. while steadfastly working to undermine both. He is a disaster for the Church, an insult to anybody with a modicum of theological understanding, and the longed for culmination of Vatican Two. I am amazed at the shameless and absurd efforts on the part of Priests and lay Catholics to defend him. Every time he opens his mouth, desperate Catholics climb all over each other like crabs in a bucket trying to be the first to come up with the best "spin." Disgusting. God does a face palm and Satan laughs...and, people think this Church is not under judgement...sheesh!

Anonymous said...

People from Argentina when Francis was elected commented that it was a disaster for the Church. They have been proven right. They said the Church was in an abysmal state in Argentina when he was Cardinal, and now he has extended that to the whole of the Church.

This latest comment that sacramental marriages are probably null is going to offend a lot of Catholics just as his comments about breeding like rabbits offended a lot of Catholics.

And I see nothing changes - we got the stock reply from Mark Thomas.

Rood Screen said...

Anonymous 2,

Anonymous is simply repeating basic Catholic theology. As Pope Emeritus Benedict once put it, "we all look together at the One whose Death tore the veil of the Temple, the One who stands before the Father for us and encloses us in His arms in order to make us the new and living Temple".

Gene said...

Mark Thomas is like the Pope's parrot. Anon 2 is the Pope's apologist and is able, as are the academics in Swift and Pope, "to bend a word ten-thousand ways.?\"

Mark Thomas said...

Sorry, Jan. That is simply my understanding of things. His Holiness Pope Francis has offered his share of puzzling, off-the-cuff remarks. He also has offered perfectly orthodox comments that right-wingers and left-wingers have misrepresented to advance their respective agendas.


Mark Thomas

John Nolan said...

Fr John Hunwicke, whose scholarship and orthodoxy I greatly respect, and who does not post comments disrespectful of the Holy Father, today described his papacy as 'calamitously dysfunctional'.

One cannot but agree. In today's Gospel Our Lord admonishes him that would say to his brother 'Thou fool'; but to point out that his words are foolish (and in this case profoundly mistaken) is surely an act of charity.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to Fr. Allan as our new pastor at St. Anne. He will be thought provoking, and challenge us to take the step to deepen our faith.
With that said, I for one have mixed emotions on our pope. This is my advice, unless you talk to him directly, you are all judging him by what others write about him. You don't really know what is in his heart, or what his intent really means. I ask you to pray on the matter. And search your own heart as to what his message meant. I for one will not judge him, but will pray that his intent is pure and a message truly from God. Don't read the bad, but pray for the positive.

Anonymous said...

"I guess, now, that senility is the ultimate spin on this Pope's apostasy and deceit...nonsense. He knows exactly what he is doing and saying. He cut his teeth on Leftist, Liberation theology and has wallowed in the mire of Third World politics his entire career. He behaves like any other lip service to doctrine, law, etc. while steadfastly working to undermine both. He is a disaster for the Church, an insult to anybody with a modicum of theological understanding, and the longed for culmination of Vatican Two. I am amazed at the shameless and absurd efforts on the part of Priests and lay Catholics to defend him. Every time he opens his mouth, desperate Catholics climb all over each other like crabs in a bucket trying to be the first to come up with the best "spin." Disgusting. God does a face palm and Satan laughs...and, people think this Church is not under judgement...sheesh!"

Quite the condemnation - all without merit.

Apostasy, to Gene, means that Pope Francis does not use the words and phrases he wants him to use.

Deceit, to Gene, means that Pope Francis doesn't see the world in the same Manichean manner Gene does. Nuance is not Gene's long suit.

Leftist, Liberation theology, to Gene, means that Pope Francis actually believes in the Church's Social Doctrine and uses it to instruct. (Cue Gene's dismissal of the Church's Social Doctrine as "hogwash" or worse.)

Anybody with a modicum of theological understanding, to Gene, means anyone who agrees with his own overly-Protestant, overly-Calvinist theology. Although there are many with far greater theological understanding than Gene who are very much in favor of Pope Francis' words and actions, he will dismiss them as rank amateurs.

Gene is amazed that priests and lay Catholics defend the pope, revealing Gene's continual romance with his Protestant underpinnings and his unwillingness to recognize that Catholicism doesn't work like Protestant denominations.

That the Church is under judgment is nothing new, and it certainly did not begin with Pope Francis, Pope Paul VI, Saint Pope John XXIII, or Vatican Two. Gene is as much to blame for the judgment of God as we all are, sinners in need of God's mercy.

Gene said...

Anonymous, I disagree with everything except your last sentence. You need to look up Manichaeism... I am about as far from that as one can be. So, go ahead and continue apologizing for the Pope. Enjoy.

Anonymous 2 said...


“Nuance is not Gene's long suit.”

I hope you don’t mind if I appropriate this comment of yours as my response to Gene’s comment about me bending words. It seems particularly apt.

Anonymous 2 said...

Pope Francis has since revised his remarks to refer to “a portion” rather than “the great majority” of marriages:

Also, one assumes that by “sacramental” he means marriages performed according to the sacrament of holy matrimony in the Church as opposed to according to the formalities of civil law.

Anonymous 2 said...

Dialogue (at 10:12 a.m.):

Yes, I understand that. But I like Anonymous’ pithy formulation and thought it deserved to be highlighted.

Anonymous said...

"This misspeak on Pope Francis' part is inexcusable for a pope but forgivable."

Of course, every sin is forgivable in a theological sense. But, for a pope to "misspeak" in error on a matter of belief and morals, is really not forgivable in any meaningful colloquial sense. Surely his paramount obligation in his primary role as defender of the faith is to never, ever mislead the faithful in any way whatsoever, when he could avoid it with humility in silence, never speaking fatuously in ignorance. Not for nothing did Fr. Adrian Fortescue once suggest that a pope never speak or write anything not vetted verbatim in advance by all the pertinent Vatican dicasteries.

Jusadbellum said...

The problem is that we mere laity are not left without a clear signal, without clear marching orders. The western anti-Catholic secular hedonist elites are on the march through our American society. They've co-opted the federal government and the fortune 500. They've undermined the Boy Scouts and every other institution that might provide a point to rally behind in defense of classic Western values and virtues. Now everyone is being made to not just applaud every new sexual fad but to subsidize the spread of such in public and private.

We are given no leadership in how to respond to Islam - other than to pretend it's a religion of peace - and be encouraged to welcome millions of Muslims into our country as the price of being 'civilized'. Ditto with every other ethnic group imported with nary a consideration that they first renounce their old allegiances. They'll be voting in this election using nothing but state drivers' licenses as proof of ID.

I've known greencard holders - legal resident aliens who have gotten Jury duty summons and other invitations that are authorized only for citizens because the threshold is the honor system.

So as Catholics we are not being defended and as Citizens we are not being defended. The fix is in. We're told that all we honor and believe in is passé and that the new program is the inevitable wave of the future against which resistance is futile.

This is why I suspect we will live to see a bloody persecution against Christians within 20 years. There is no internal brake or control within the secular world or in Islam that would keep the radicals from pushing the envelope ever more and more into the utterly insane and self-destructive.

For the sake of the 'FEELINGS' of 0.8% of the population, entire states are being forced by Fortune 500 companies into capitulating to bathroom codes. Our feelings as representatives of 23% of the population apparently count for nothing. 3% of the population are Muslims but it appears the country's new policy is to boost that to 6% as quickly as possible and for what end? The radical chicanos and Mexican activists openly speak of Atzlan - seizing the American South West and returning it to Mexico.... and so the powers that be fling open the border and allow millions of illegals to flood our borders without concern for safety or even health (witness the TB outbreaks all over the place).

The center cannot hold. We're told to get with the program or be steamrolled. And people wonder why guns are flying off the shelves? But guns won't save us. Not without leadership.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous at 5:57 yesterday (and why do you refuse to identify yourself? You can always sign off with a monicker that would not reveal your true identity):

Gene may be forthright but he is consistent. Your caricature of his views is grotesque. Who are these theologians who are so much in favour of Francis's words and actions? Can we have some names, please?

Anonymous said...

Gene, since anonymous @ 5:57 yesterday disagrees with all your remarks that he quotes--says they're "all without merit"--I infer that he thinks Francis IS senile. If so, our pope must surely by now set a new record for longevity while senile, having maintained publicly the same views for several decades.

Gene said...

John, I think Anonymous at 5:57 is Kavanaugh or a twin that he excreted. His very caricatures of my positions reveal that he knows nothing of theology, just like Kavanaugh. But, don't you just love the term "nuanced?" LOL! Liberals and academics love the word because it helps them avoid really standing for anything....well, I'm taking a "nuanced" approach. Right. I have trouble seeing anything "nuanced" in the Creeds and Church Dogma. I don't recall Christ being "nuanced" in His speech, either.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene (at 1:32 p.m.):

Spoken like the True Believer you seem to be. This seems an appropriate occasion on which to repeat a comment I posted several months ago in a response to JusadBellum:

I have hesitated before posting this comment because it could easily be misconstrued as an “attack” on someone. I am not trying to attack anyone but I am trying to stimulate conversation about a troubling phenomenon that increasingly seems to infect our public discourse.

I appreciate what you are trying to do, Jus. Indeed, I have tried to do the same myself but to no avail. I have never met Gene (although I have suggested it, he refuses to meet me for reasons explained in the third point below) and therefore I am only able to form an opinion based on his posts here. My sense is that Gene’s intentions are sincere and good. But—Gene seems to be a True Believer (as opposed to a true believer). I first encountered this animal at university over four decades ago. That particular True Believer was a member of the British communist party. In Gene it seems I may have encountered another such animal. And, of course, we are aware of their existence throughout the world and throughout history. ISIS seems to be full of True Believers, for example. In my observation, and without attempting to explore the underlying psychology, True Believers of all stripes share several characteristics:

(1) They are unflinchingly uncompromising in their views, because only they have access to The Truth;

(2) They have an answer for everything and therefore live in a simplified world of absolute certainties;

(3) They have little or no time for those who do not share that world with them, for fear of contamination or for some other reason, and indeed demonize such others, regarding them as “enemies”;

(4) They will, however, through persuasion or coercion as appropriate, seek to straighten the crooked timber of humanity and convert these “enemies” into friends who come to share that same world and indeed may view such efforts as acts of love;

(5) They are quite prepared to break this crooked timber in the process when necessary. Thus, when they have had access to the means, True Believers have probably been responsible for more oppression, death and destruction throughout history than any other group, including those who overtly seek external goods such as power, wealth, or fame as ends in themselves;

(6) They worship and are enslaved by the greatest external good of all, The Idea, which helps to explain the five preceding characteristics.

By contrast, true believers, while principled, also differ in important ways in each of these respects. Moreover, because of the third characteristic listed above, it is virtually impossible for a true believer to break through the armor of a True Believer because any such attempts are viewed as assaults by “the enemy.” Indeed, perhaps only divine grace is capable of doing so.

If I have been unfair in my assessment of True Believers in general or any given True Believer in particular, I trust that someone will correct me.

Jusadbellum said...

I have to admit I'm fairly scandalized by this controversy.

I agree that the state of catechesis has been deplorable for 40 years (and whose fault has this been? Sure as heck not the fault of traditional/conservatives!). I agree that the anti-Catholic secular world has been promoting no-fault divorce and the sexual revolution for 50 years or more and have succeeded in hoodwinking most low information people into thinking that their norms are permanent and legitimate and all traditional norms are passé and old hat....

But I don't agree that "the vast majority of Catholic marriages are null" because how would anyone know? How could we invert the premise of canon law from a presumption of innocence to a presumption of guilt when it comes to actual sacramental marriage and then flip the presumption of guilt and innocence when it comes to co-habitation? How could a Pope go from general trends in society to certainty as to the status of untold hundreds of millions of marriages within the Catholic Church?

Our Lord said "the man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against his wife". No "nuance". No quibbles about the internal forum or the man's limited catechesis or social pressure. No loopholes based on what constitutes full knowledge and consent. How could a man NOT know that leaving his wife and taking up with another woman was wrong? How could a man who publicly made an oath to God to be faithful and exclusive to this woman "until death do us part" not understand what faithful and exclusive and 'death do us part" mean?

The Jews had a divorce culture. They readily accepted that a man might divorce his wife with a writ, a public declaration formally dissolving his ties to her, following the Law of Moses. So Our Lord was not ignorant to the 'nuances' involved when he stated that what God has joined no man can put asunder (including the husband writing a writ of divorce!).

We don't believe in polygamy whereby a man might have 1 wife he separates from and marry a second wife with whom to raise a family such that the second union is not adulterous against the first wife's claims.

But to hear theologians and the Pope speak one would get the impression that either we can't presume first marriages to actually be valid....or that regardless of the sacramental reality, all that matters is the FEELINGS of the couple in a second or tertiary union. The feelings of the abandoned spouse and children apparently are of no particular concern.

If this is so then why would the man need the 'internal forum' to begin with if his conscience (heavily based on his feelings) was satisfied with his new and successful (i.e. emotionally satisfying) union? If we're justifying divorce and remarriage AND justifying sexual activity outside of one's sacramental marriage, of what purpose would confession or counsel in the 'internal forum' provide?

If we effectively, DE FACTO remove all stigma from co-habitation on the presumption that it's more likely genuine marriage than a church wedding.... how will we put the toothpaste back into the tub? The sexual revolution will have won at the core of all societies: marriage. No one will be able to know whether genuine marriage has occurred or not.

But it gets worse - if the ex post facto problems of spouses mean we must presume no valid marriage took place, what of Baptism or Confirmation or....Orders?

If we can presume the wedding wasn't a valid sacrament because of the ignorance or socially brainwashed provisionalism of the participants, why not presume no priest or bishop ordained since 1968 are in fact validly ordained?

After all, goose-gander. One opens these sorts of cans of worms at their own peril but the Pope apparently doesn't see the fire he's playing with or how many untold millions are going to get burnt by occasions of sin this is causing millions to doubt their union while reinforcing others in their cohabitation....

Jon said...


Relating to religious marriages, I'd like to see a first source on this:

"Yes, it is true that in the early centuries of the Church all that it took for a marriage to be a sacrament was for a Christian man and woman who had no impediments to simply move in to together and consummate the marriage--that alone constituted the Sacrament of Marriage. Only later did civil and religious law require a "solemnization" of this coming together under one roof. The Catholic Church devised a nuptial liturgy for the purpose of blessing this living together union and eventual canon law to govern Catholics and marriage for the good order of the Church!"

I don't believe it for a moment. The Jews certainly solemnized their marriages liturgically. The very idea that early Catholics would not have I find highly unlikely. Sounds like some of that balderdash they foisted on you guys in seminary.

Rood Screen said...


Even today it is possible for a totally isolated man and woman to enter into a sacramental marriage without ceremony, if no licit minister of the Church is available for 30 days. You won't find the first source you request because there is no evidence of an early marriage rite for Christians.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous 2 said...

Pope Francis has since revised his remarks to refer to “a portion” rather than “the great majority” of marriages:"

That certainly doesn't improve his statement one jot ...

I have suspected for a while that Anonymous and Anonymous 2 are one and the same people - perhaps exemplified in their dislike of Gene and their vitriolic comments against him. The majority of Gene's statements are straight out Catholic truths that I was brought up with, which liberals eschew. That is not surprising because Fr Kavanagh, Anonymous 2 and Cardinal Kasper have all been poured out of the same mold.

Henry, Jusadbellam and others have made some great statements about marriage.

I also agree with Jon that the first Christians would have continued with their earlier Jewish practices of solemnization of marriage. Can anyone imagine they would have suddenly decided it was okay to jump into bed together and declare a marriage? Done in the middle of the night who would know? Next day they could then jump into bed with someone else and declare that a marriage. This is a practice which Kasper and his ilk - and now even Francis - seem to be advocating is okay. Francis as Pope going to far as to say those cohabiting may be in more of a marriage than those solemnizing marriage in the Church is absolutely devastating. For him to promote confession on one hand and make a statement like that on the other is to coin Ed Peters' term "incoherent". Thankfully, most of his statements boil down to mere [erroneous] opinion and can be ignored but the grave seriousness for those who may be led into sin and even to hell by such comments is impossible to deny.

Gene said...

Anonymous 2, You are playing word games. You are so spineless that you believe that anyone who seriously follows the Faith and actually believes in the articles of the Creed and the teachings of Christ is some kind of fanatic. You really are more small minded than those whom you accuse of the same...just another academic castrato who cannot avoid condescension towards others because it is in your DNA.

Anonymous 2 said...


I was merely sharing information about a revision the Pope made in his remarks. My intent was descriptive, not evaluative.

I can assure you that Anonymous and Anonymous 2 are not the same person.

The majority of Gene’s comments are not straight out Catholic truths. They are vitriolic attacks on other people. I leave the vitriol to Gene and his ilk. My suggesting that he is a True Believer is not vitriolic. Here is the definition of vitriolic: “extremely biting or caustic; sharp and bitter.” Please compare my comment with his attack on Pope Francis and priests and lay Catholics who seek to defend the Holy Father at 6:40 a.m. yesterday and you should be able to see the difference.

Anonymous 2 said...


See my response to Jan above.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2, Gene said, "I am amazed at the shameless and absurd efforts on the part of Priests and lay Catholics to defend him. Every time he opens his mouth, desperate Catholics climb all over each other like crabs in a bucket trying to be the first to come up with the best "spin."

I don't find that vitriolic. However, I do find calling Gene a "True Believer", and the accompanying explanation for that, to be vitriolic because "vitriolic" means "filled with bitter criticism or malice", and in calling Gene a "True Believer" I think there is a malicious intent there.

The vast majority of Gene's statements on the Church are fundamentally what was taught prior to Vatican II and are, essentially, what traditional Catholics still believe. Church teaching since Vatican II has been so watered down that we now have even a Pope saying that, in some cases, cohabiting can be a real marriage while the vast majority [now revised to 'a portion'] of sacramental marriages are null. Obviously, in doing that the Vatican has heard the outcry from Catholics about this latest statement and are trying to temper it, but it is too late to reel it back in. Anyway, we haven't heard the usual "spin" about the Pope's words being taken out of context so obviously the Vatican wishes that statement to remain.

Mark Thomas has been remarkably quiet. Even he must be having difficulty finding some kind of spin to put on it to make it more palatable.

Gene said...

Jan, you and I agree on most things, so I suppose that makes you a True Believer, too. LOL! I laugh sometimes because the fundamentals of all this are so simple. After four years of college philosophy and theology, five years of grad school in theology and Church history, a lifetime of theological and Biblical study and twenty years as a protestant pastor it all comes down to this: either you believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, literally born of a Virgin, literally performed miracles (I am talking about things that defy the natural order, not some BS allegorical stuff), and literally (again, like you could have gotten it with your little digital camera) got up and walked out of the tomb...or you do not believe it. If you do believe it, then the Articles of the Creed and the Christological truths embodied in the EF follow from it. If God is Sovereign and Jesus Christ is His son, Incarnate Divinity given as the ONLY (necessary and sufficient) Sacrifice for our salvation, then the humility, awe, and mystical, non-rational elements of the Mass also follow from it. Until Vatican II, the Mass recapitulated the worship of the Children of Israel, full of awe and mystery, it elevated the role of the Priest, and humbled both Priest and laity before the terrible majesty of God and the incomprehensible humility of the Son. This was lost in both the theology and the practice of the Vatican II Church.

Now, if you do not believe this, nothing else really matters. The Church is pretty much a meaningless social organization which must stumble along seeking to do good works and create some kind of humanist "good society' (a Biblical oxymoron), while trying to convince an increasingly skeptical flock that she still embodies and believes the Doctrinal truths I mentioned above. So, we basically have a two-faced theology and Mass...we must fool the people (with their beliefs in magic and mystery...hocus pocus, if you will), while schmoozing (a theological term) them into accepting a social/humanist philosophy. This Pope is the man for this season, doctrinally indifferent, humanistic in his orientation, and inscrutable in his speech. It is no wonder that the Kaspers Kavanaughs and the Anon 2s love him. He can talk out of both sides of his mouth and never even frown.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the compliment, Gene. Yes, I am a True Believer, in the sense that I truly believe everything I was taught by good nuns and priests. And, yes, those are the things that we must believe. God is all powerful and nothing is impossible to Him, but it seems these days God is limited by people who just do not seem to have faith enough to believe, and yet we are told if we had faith the size of a grain of a mustard seed we could move mountains.

St Gertrude the Great, if she lost a needle, would put her hand out for God to place the needle in her hand, as she said, rather than she waste time looking for it. Of course, she was answered so great was her faith in God. St Therese said that prayer is the thing that makes God say yes when He means no, and He is the fulcrum she said that the saints have used through prayer to change the world - the thing that Archimedes couldn't do because he relied on worldly things. But if people don't have faith, how can they pray? How can they believe in an all powerful God without faith?

That is what I think has been lost. Many can't believe that Christ is the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary, who suffered and died on a cross for our sins and rose from the dead, because they want proof. [And yet they have the proof in front of their eyes in the Shroud of Turin, but still they won't believe.] They can't work out the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity so they don't believe in the Blessed Trinity. They don't believe Christ had the power to work miracles and so they say St Peter walked not on water but on a submerged reef. Christ didn't work the miracle of the loaves and fishes but those gathered with him felt ashamed and so produced their hidden food which fed the multitude! It is endless the stories that those without faith come up with to explain away miracles.

It is said that "in those days" people will be blinded and it seems to me they are and we are "in those days". To put it simply, if there is a white panel on the wall and someone comes along and insists it is black you could put every color of the spectrum next to it and slowly eliminate each color, this is red, this is green, until you came to the end where there is only a white panel and a black panel left. You could say "That panel is black and that panel is white" - but even after all the elimination and the explanation some would still be convinced in their own minds that the white panel was black, and no amount of arguing with them is going to change their mind. They are literally blind.

They say that Faith is a gift and maybe we just have to accept that some people have not been given it and leave it to God to sort them out.

Gene said...

Jan said, "...Faith is a gift and maybe we just have to accept that some people have not been given it and leave it to God to sort them out."
You have an excellent understanding of both St. Augustine and John Calvin...a fine theological synthesis in my (Jansenist) estimation.

Marc said...

Quite right, Jan. Not all men are predestined by God to receive the gift of Faith. It is a mystery that is not for us to understand.

Gene said...

BTW, I am re-reading for about the third time, De Trinitate, by St. Augustine. I highly recommend it, but it is not bedtime reading. I am always gratified to see how much of Augustine is in John Calvin and how the roots of both Calvinism and Catholicism lie there in St. Augustine. There should have (and possibly could have) been some better synthesis (Calvin/Catholicism) post-Reformation, but the counter-Reformation went its own way and a reunion became an impossibility. All modernists have been able to offer is the pitifully flawed and theologically insipid Vatican II, an insult to both protestants and Catholics.

Jusadbellum said...

Before his death St. JP2 gave a homily where he wondered aloud about the line in the Gospel referring to the end days and whether anyone would keep the faith. I've always wondered about that line too....until most recently when it seems as though more and more people who were nominally Catholic are waking up to discover not that the world is Arian but that the world is Atheist.

As I pointed out, the world Jesus encountered was full of all manner of natural and unnatural vice. The Jewish nation was full of men who had divorced their wives and taken second or third wives. Divorce of course was common among the Pagans too. So when Our Lord taught that "from the beginning" a man would leave mother and father and cling to his wife and the two would become one, and that consequently anyone who abandons his wife and marries another commits adultery against her... he was fully aware of the 'nuance' and messy condition of humanity. But he gave no loop hole for vice.

How then can any theologian think that Our Lord is wrong? That there must be some convoluted, contortions we might undertake to finangle a way to allow divorce and remarriage and subsequent sexual activity with the second woman that isn't adultery or if it is, it's OK because....reasons or because...feelings?

The internal forum does not annul the public forum doctrine. It exists to better explain and implement the public forum not undermine and subvert it!

Anonymous 2 said...


There you go again, selectively quoting to support your point while ignoring completely the following language Gene used in reference to Pope Francis:

Leftist, liberation theology
Wallowed in the mire of Third World politics
Steadfastly working to undermine [law and doctrine]
Disaster for the Church
An insult to anybody with a modicum of theological understanding

I have no malicious intent towards, Gene, none whatsoever. I would be happy to meet him and break bread with him whenever he chooses. But I will stand up to his bullying tactics and his denigration of the Holy Father. I stand by what I say about Gene being a True Believer as I define that term. In doing so, I take into account his many other posts on other subjects as well as this thread.

And yes, I defend Pope Francis, just as I have defended Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict. I am no less a Catholic than you because I support our current Holy Father. In fact, just having to write that sentence seems absurdly ironic.

Anonymous 2 said...


Can you please clarify—There seems to be a tension in your observations. On the one hand, you seem to be relying upon a type of Biblical fundamentalism, yet on the other you refer to the “public forum,” which I take to be canon law and its judicial system, which certainly does recognize “nuance.”

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2, the truth is that Gene and all Catholics have a right to expect that the Pope will uphold Catholic teaching - that is the bottom line. If the Pope accepts the gift of a hammer and sickle, if he upholds liberation theology then I am not surprised that Gene is scandalized and has expressed righteous indignation. Catholics can't afford to pussyfoot around when the Faith is at stake as it is and it is, in fact, a disaster for the Church. The following article sums up what many Catholics are thinking:

Anonymous said...

After thoughtful prayer for several years I am considering a change of faith. I am not a young person. I have been a devoted Catholic. When out Pope attempts to reach out and embrace ALL people not mater what color, gender, social status and sexual identity and a many priests disrespect him in this way seems to be the icing on the top of the cake. These posts are full of sarcastic remarks written in red, insults to our Church leader and it appears to me that most of the comments are written by priests. Making fun of women, priests who attempt to help rebuild a church after a storm (with hints that his dress for that occasion would turn people on) well this is just shameful. Making fun of people in the congregation who must be mentally ill attempting to imitate the priests manners during mass, mocking what people wear to church, insulting where the Pope has decided to live, implying that there is something "evil" a conspiracy theory agenda with the Pope. These are just shameless words that may affect many who might consider joining our faith. I have written the Bishop and have asked him to please review these posts and use his judgement and prayer and see if he feels that holy men who are to be shepherds to a flock are the types of individuals that would put in writing insults such as these towards the Lord's Chosen leader of the church. Everyone has a right to their own opinion and freedom of speech. What hurts me is the insulting behaviors and the attitudes with no humility that some of these writings suggest. To mock women who wish to serve the lord, to insult the Holy Father, and to indicate that the Laity are somehow not as qualified to serve the lord as a fancy dressed up priest...... I will write the bishop and encourage others to do the same. He needs to read what his shepherds write. Knowing the man personally I don't think he will put up with it long.

Anonymous 2 said...


Once someone buys into a particular narrative about people subsequent events are readily interpreted and understood as being within that narrative rather than within another one because of confirmation bias. So it is with Pope Francis, Muslims, or pretty much anyone else. We are all prone to this and we all have to try to resist it as much as possible.

I read the article you linked. Much of it focuses on the Pope’s latest comments about marriage. I recognize the risk the author notes of giving up too easily on a marriage. I saw this on my own parents, who went through a very bad patch indeed for about four years beginning when I was twelve years old but who persevered and ended up with a very good marriage. This said, the author also takes things too lightly when he says

“For a Catholic marriage to be valid all that is needed is the freedom to marry, consent from both parties, and the intention to marry for life and be open to children. That’s it.

Over the years, some clerics have used an interpretation of canon law to suggest ‘emotional immaturity’ can be a reason for not understanding the responsibilities of marriage, and therefore as invalid and open to annulment. But marriage is not hard to understand, and the Catholic rite of marriage, as well as the preparation couples go through beforehand, makes clear what marriage involves.

For Pope Francis to say the great majority of marriages are null implies that the great majority of Catholic are ignorant fools who cannot understand the responsibilities of a bedrock of society that has existed for thousands of years.”

The following 2007 commentary explains why matters are not quite as simple as the author suggests:

After analyzing the circumstances that can vitiate proper consent the author concludes:

“Given the circumstances, it should not be too surprising that there are so many marriage annulments, especially here in the U.S. On the one hand, Catholic theology has ‘upped the ante,’ so to speak, in requiring spouses to consent to much more than merely a contract for rights over the other spouse’s body, as in previous generations. On the other hand, in our current social climate, more and more persons of marriageable age have significant problems that may render them unable to give their consent!”

As you can see, Pope Francis was largely reiterating a standard canon law position in questioning the ability to give proper consent, even though he subsequently made a quantitative revision from “a majority” to “a portion.”

Anonymous 2 said...


I do understand why the things you mention trouble you so much but I would urge you not to give up on the Faith. Those who talk so much on this blog about the Church (and this includes us laity) being tested and about persevering through the current bad times do not have a corner on such sentiments.

George said...


A valid Catholic marriage must be witnessed by an authorized representative of the Church (usually a priest or deacon) and two other witnesses. It also must follow the Rite of Marriage, the book containing the words and actions that make up the wedding liturgy. Under special circumstances, your pastor can ask your bishop to dispense with the requirement to celebrate the wedding according to the Rite of Marriage. This is most commonly the case when Catholics marry someone who is not Catholic and choose a wedding ceremony from the religious practice of the person who is.

George said...

June, the month of the Sacred Heart

Let us, by our prayers and other good works, done for the love of God and neighbor, draw from the treasury of of the Well-spring of Holiness and Grace, of the Divine Presence itself. Not by the merits of our commendable works by themselves do we merit our good fortune and plenitude, but only by the spiritual value imparted to them by the grace of God which fills the Divine Treasury. This Treasury of Grace was filled by the profit resulting from the greatest of good works, which was the Passion and Death of Christ. What flowed from the Sacred Heart pierced by a lance, brought our sacramental Church into being, along with the multitude of other good things produced by Divine grace, and into Mary's Immaculate Heart and her pure and holy soul does this benevolent and life-giving grace likewise flow, and outward from her according to where she, in her God-given role, directs it. The overflowing fullness and purity of Love for God which pours forth from her Immaculate Heart stands in contrast to what is lacking in our own response to Divine Love. With her unsurpassed love for the Divine Trinity, the Holy and Blessed Mother of God brings her maternal solicitude and compassion to God on our behalf and, having an awareness exceeding any creature of how our sins offend God, ever calls us to amend our lives and do penance.
While change is fundamental to our earthly existence, the love and concern for us of God and His Holy Mother is changeless and never diminishes.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the seat and source of His Divine Love and Mercy. God Is Love, so it is right and proper that we refer to His Sacred Heart, since this Mystical fountainhead is the source of His love from whence emanates His Divine Mercy and Charity. This incomprehensible, boundless and fathomless Love informs His Divine Power. By the Divine Holy Will and Power did all that exists come into being, and by the same are all things sustained in existence, as He by His Divine and Merciful Love desires it to be . The Sacred Heart exceedingly burns with a love for us. The mystical flame of this Divine Love is ever burning and everlasting. The light and grace from this Divine Heart will penetrate us, and through the working of the Holy Spirit send grace to within our souls, if only we would correspond and co-operate with it. God so respects the free will of even the most weak and powerless of His creatures that even His Almighty Power will yield to it. The grace of God produces and sustains the life within our souls and is ever available to bring light and sanctification to those who are in spiritual darkness. We can pray to the Blessed Virgin and the saints to help us by the power of Divine grace in parting the clouds of sin and sinfulness in our lives, so that the light of God's Divine love can shine down to us, and through recourse to the Sacraments, His Holy grace come into us.The Sacred and Immaculate Hearts are our protection from the evil so prevalent today, and this evil constitutes an ever present and increased danger, and this because so many in our time have abandoned God and His teachings.

Gene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Gene, unless your post is tongue-in-cheek, I think you need to read the Anonymous post at 5.31pm. It seems to me he is under the mistaken impression that most of the comments on this blog are written by "fancy dressed up" priests, rather than him understanding that we are in the main lay people who are scandalized by many of the comments coming from Pope Francis, including the latest one that some people cohabiting [and so in mortal sin] are living in a situation more akin to marriage than some in a sacramental marriage. He may well find that the bishop he is contacting is as equally scandalized by those comments as I am. Certainly some protestants are shocked by those comments.

Reading between the lines in his post he appears to be in favor of women priests, people being scantily dressed at Mass, homosexuality, transexuals and other irregular situations. In short, a very liberal man. Well, in case he reads my post I want to make it clear to him that there are many Catholics who do not accept his liberal views and after reading this blog for over two years, he would be better to read the National Catholic Fishwrap, about which I'll wager he will never make a complaint.

Anonymous said...

George - A valid Catholic marriage can take place without a priest or deacon present, although that is the norm.

See Canon 1116: Can. 1116 §1. If a person competent to assist according to the norm of law cannot be present or approached without grave inconvenience, those who intend to enter into a true marriage can contract it validly and licitly before witnesses only:
1/ in danger of death;
2/ outside the danger of death provided that it is prudently foreseen that the situation will continue for a month.
§2. In either case, if some other priest or deacon who can be present is available, he must be called and be present at the celebration of the marriage together with the witnesses, without prejudice to the validity of the marriage before witnesses only.

Interesting commentary: Roman Catholic law has a surprisingly liberal attitude to marriage ceremonies. The Code of Canon Law 1983 provides that it is enough for the couple to be present together, either personally or by proxy, and to express their consent to be married in words, or by sign language if necessary (canon 1104). (Sign language would, of course, have avoided the difficulty alleged in Harrod.) Although words (or signs) of consent are necessary, no particular form of words is required, so long as consent is clearly expressed. The parties may even be allowed to compose their own personal formula of consent. Before 1917, Roman Catholic law allowed that marriage could be validly be contracted merely by letter. (see Code of Canon Law. A Text and Commentary eds Coriden, Green and Heintschel 1985, Paulist Press, New York, p.791)


Marc said...

Whether the pope is Catholic or not does not determine the truth or falsity of the Catholic religion. It is incumbent upon all of us personally to grow in the faith. We do that as part of a community -- with the first place being the Church in the home. It is oftentimes good to discuss issues with like-minded Catholics and to be exposed to the opinions of other people who disagree. During this time where the pope's words and actions are scandalizing many, resulting in the opposite errors of papal positivism or sedevacantism, it is good to discuss the Catholic faith and its existence independent of the pope, who is not the decider of doctrine, but the guardian of the Church's deposit of teaching.

These are the discussions that are taking place on this blog and in these comments.

George said...


I was responding to the following comment which could be misconstrued:

“For a Catholic marriage to be valid all that is needed is the freedom to marry, consent from both parties, and the intention to marry for life and be open to children. That’s it."

The above, and what you cited are, for a Catholic, exceptions to the norm just as
general absolution is allowed in certain exceptional circumstances. Catholics do come under certain obligations.

Yes, the Church does recognize marriages outside of her. Protestants and those of other faiths do not have to re-marry if they convert. Adam and Eve were indeed married.

There are differences among political jurisdictions of what constitutes
a recognized civil marriage. At one time the state of Georgia recognized common-law marriage but it no longer does.

Gene said...

Jan, You are right. I just read his first few lines and assumed he was discouraged for the same reasons real Catholics are. I see now that is just another bed-wetting liberal who thinks a good time should be had by all in the Church. Let me re-cast my recommendations to him...Anonymous, have you checked out the Wiccans?

Anonymous said...

In spite of what many of you state I am in no way a liberal. I just do not try to play God and judge others as many of you do. Playing God and calling people names to me is the ultimate Mortal Sin. Who are you to judge Homosexuals, Women who desire to serve the lord as a priest when the church is almost ruined by lack of priests. Have you seen how many parishes have closed because we have no priests. Who are you to call someone liberal just because they try to accept all of God's children. Who do you think Jesus worked with people who followed the rules or those that needed forgiveness. Who said anything about dressing in an inappropriate way to mass. What happened to the plain white holy robes that were once worn in my church that are replaced with fancy lace and such. It just may surprise you that God is disgusted with people who claim to follow the "Rules" I believe he discussed "following the rules" to the fancy priests that were concerned that his followers were picking grain on a Holy Day. Be very careful as you spout out the rules and belittle your fellow man. You are not Gene and Jan God..... he might surprise you when you find out he loves everyone even those you call liberals and suggest they check out Wiccans. You are the types of people that are driving so many out of the church. Now..... you won't hear any more from me. I refuse to judge others as you all do on this site. God Bless You all.

Anonymous said...

I found this Blog today and just had to comment. I am not a priest and do not claim to be educated concerning all the rules and regulations. I do know that I love my church and I do know that all of us fall short following the rules. I do however know 100$ that I am a child of God. Every human being on this planet is a child of God. Not all Children are perfect. In fact I think he only had one son that was perfect. That perfect son died for every single person on this earth including Gene those you call bed-wetting liberals. I see a God who only sees our heart. He does not see color, gender, mental illness, rich, poor, sickly or healthy. He sees a person's heart. If the church needs priests to continue to grow God would look at a heart. He would not care if it were female or male. He has some mixed up children as we all have seen in this world. He wants us to help them instead of nailing them to the cross. No child of his needs to be nailed to the cross if they are female, male, black white, gay, straight etc..... No child of God's should be mistreated and kept from his holy church. Every single child is God's son or daughter. They don't have to be nailed to the cross and mistreated..... he did that for them. Jesus did not work with only those who were dressed in robes and "normal" He forgave all including I am sure the bed wetting liberals. I don't think God likes it when we call his children names.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1:03 AM. If God had wanted female priests he would have ordained his mother and he simply didn't. St John Paul II The Great stated that the Church has no authority to ordain women as priests. If God wants priests for His Church then he will surely send many good men

Despite what you may want, the Church asks those who are in mortal sin not to come forward for Communion. Why is that? It is simply because "He who eats the body and blood of the Lord unworthily eats and drinks damnation unto himself". That applies to all who will not repent or confess their mortal sins. The choice is theirs.

If you want a church that has no rules and regulations then there are plenty of churches like that around. As a Catholic, I do my best to uphold the Church's teachings and I am not going to apologize for doing so. Sorry, but it is you who are the person out of step not those who uphold Church teaching.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, June 24, 2016 at 12:09 AM, who are you to go against Church teaching about women priests? St John Paul The Great stated that the Church has no authority to ordain women priests. Using your argument that people shouldn't be judging others leaves you in a difficult situation because you yourself are judging others. You are also being judgmental of priests.

Gene said...

Anonymous, I thought you were leaving...why a second blathering, subjectivist, universalist/protestant post? We already have Anonymous 2, Kavanaugh, and ol' Gob...they so it better. Now, don't let the thurible hit you in the butt on your way out.

Anonymous said...

A promo of the EF Latin Mass

Anonymous said...

The International Federation Una Voce has announced a position paper on the Role of the Laity in the Extraordinary Form:

"It has been argued that the Extraordinary Form excludes the laity from liturgical participation by accommodating only a limited number of formal liturgical roles for the laity: thus they can be servers, but not readers or Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. This claim is itself linked to accusations of ‘clericalism’. This paper shows that the formal liturgical roles are not intended to promote participation, but rather the worthy celebration of the liturgy, and the danger today, condemned notably by Pope St John Paul II and Pope Francis, is rather a clericalist ‘clericalisation’ of the laity, which seeks, on the basis of a perception that clerics alone in the Church have authority and prestige, to make an elite of the laity an adjunct of the clerical class. The clear demarcation between clerics and laity in the Extraordinary Form facilitates a strong sense of the proper lay role, of conforming the home and the worlds of work and politics to Christ. . . . . . ."

Gene said...

"...conforming the home and the worlds of work and politics to Christ." Amen.