Tuesday, October 18, 2016


This is from a retired bishop but should not be understood as controversial if applied in a generic way!
Most Catholics are unaware that there have been instances in Church history when a pope either taught heresy, or failed in his duty to suppress heresy. And if it happened before, it can happen again.
For example: Pope Nicholas I said that baptism was valid whether administered in the name of the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity or in the name of Christ only. In this Pope Nicholas was mistaken. Baptism in the name of Christ only is not valid.
Pope Honorius, in order to justify a compromise with heretics, said in 634: ‘We must be careful not to rekindle ancient quarrels.’ On this argument, the pope allowed error to spread freely, with the result that truth and orthodoxy were effectively banished.
St. Sophronius of Jerusalem, almost alone, stood up to Pope Honorius and accused him of heresy. Eventually the pope repented, but died without repairing the immeasurable harm he did to the Church due to his compromising principle. Thus, the Third Council of Constantinople cast its anathema upon him, and this was confirmed by Pope St. Leo II.
Pope John XXII said at Avignon, on the feast of All Saints, 1331, that the soul does not enter the beatific vision until the resurrection of the body, at the last day. After which, the pope was rebuked by the theologians from the University of Paris. They rebuked the pope because they knew that this theory of the pope was a heresy. It wasn’t until shortly before John XXII died in 1334 that he recanted his error.
A pope enjoys the full infallibility promised by Christ only when he fulfills all of the following conditions:
  • Teaches on a matter of faith and morals
  • Teaches to the whole world
  • Teaches after lengthy consultation with the bishops and theologians
  • Proclaims his teaching in a solemn manner before a large assembly of cardinals, patriarchs, bishops, priests and laity
Otherwise, he is merely giving a press conference and enjoys little if any of the infallibility promised by Christ.

Originally published at Renew America


Servimus Unum Deum said...

I think that in this modern era, due to the lack of orthodox theologians and bishops, that condition should be struck or reduced to a couple of orthodox faithful bishops who do not preach heresy themselves.

Anonymous said...

Oh, ok. That makes me feel better. So at the end of the month when Pope Francis publicly praises God for Martin Luther and the Reformation I won't be too upset. Boy does that make me feel better. Thanks Father.

TJM said...

I never thought I would prefer Paul VI over Pope Francis, but unlike, Francis, Paul VI, when he went to the World Council of Churches in Switzerland clearly pronounced that "I am Peter." That statement did not go over well with the "progressives" in the Catholic Church. I seriously doubt Paul VI would be slobbering over Martin Luther.

rcg said...

I think that Pope Francis is very sincere and means well. I believe he wants everyone to come to Christ through His One True Church. I also think he is making a mistake in his execution by allowing errors to go unchallenged and therefore allowed to propagate.

Rood Screen said...

Not to mention Saint Peter, who at first taught that Gentile converts must follow the Law of Moses.

TJM said...

A Pope who tells you to turn off your air conditioning, has jumped the shark.

Tony V said...

TJM: Paul VI also wanted Vatican II (Lumen Gentium) to state that the pope is 'accountable to the Lord alone' (Granield's Limits of the Papacy, p.62-63, citing Acta Synodalia V-II vol II part I p.247--unfortunately I can't find this volume on line so I haven't been able to corroborate it). Granfield goes on to state that, mirabile dictu, this proposal was rejected by the Theological Commission.

Despite this escape, Lumen Gentium is still in my view a very problematic document--for it (1) extends (rather than retreats from) the unfortunate declaration of papal infallibilty of Pastor Aeternus by extending it to the bishops, when acting in consort with the pope, and (2) it demands 'prompt obedience' from the laity.

If you want to be a true traditionalist, you need to consider the excesses of both Vatican Council. We lost a lot of good people because of them both.

Rood Screen said...


Yes, that's what's puzzling about him. He says we need to focus on the essentials of the faith, instead of moral issues, but then he condemns everything from mascara and pets to air conditioning and parish priests. Maybe he's perfectly consistent and I just am not getting it, but for now he seems fragmented in his thoughts, incoherent in his conversations, contradictory in his writings, and hateful in his preaching. It's hard to know how to follow a leader like that, but I'm trying.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - There's more to the story.

“At Geneva, in an ecumenical meeting, before the representatives of sister churches and ecclesial communities he said, 'I am Peter and by virtue of this weight of office, I point and search with you on the path of truth and unity.'”

Pope Paul was not using his office as a put-down to non-Catholic Christians. He was, rather, offering them the service of his office in the search for unity.

In context, Paul VI was also lamenting the fact that the Petrine office was a cause of division. "I am Peter. The office of Peter, created for the unity of the Church, had become its greatest obstacle." ("Unity of the Churches: An Actual Possibility, pg 63.)

George said...

Pope Honorius
In approving the condemnation of Honorius, his successor, Leo II adds the very important qualification that he is condemned, not for the doctrinal reason that he taught heresy, but on the moral ground that he did not exercise the due diligence expected of him as Pope, and allowed a heresy to spread which he should have quickly put an end to.

Pope John XXII
Prior to his becoming pope and even for a time while he occupied the Chair of Peter, John XXII argued that those who died in the faith did not see the presence of God until the Last Judgment. He never taught this officially as doctrine. He eventually changed his position, and accepted that those who died in grace do immediately enjoy the beatific vision.

John XXII is not considered a heretic because the doctrine he had contradicted had not been formally defined by the Church until his successor, Benedict XII, addressed it in the encyclical Benedictus Deus, which formally defined this doctrine as part of Church teaching.

John Nolan said...

When John XXII challenged the Franciscan view on the poverty of Christ, Franciscan theologians challenged this, and invoked the infallibility of previous popes in their defence, arguing that since John was in error, he could not really be pope. The medievalist Brian Tierney believed the theory of papal infallibility originates here (first half of the 14th century). This resulted in an academic debate with Fr (later Cardinal) Alfons Stickler, who argued for an earlier tradition.

Pastor Aeternus (1870) actually represented a defeat for the Ultramontanists since it set strict limits on papal infallibility. Newman recognized this at the time. When John Paul II issued Ordinatio Sacerdotalis in 1994 liberals accused him of 'creeping infallibility' whereas he was merely 'confirming the brethren' regarding the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, the infallibility of which does not depend on the authority of a particular pope.

Rood Screen said...

Father McDonald,

Father Zuhlsdorf has a post about traditional, but timid, priests who are afraid to move liturgical celebrations in a better direction. I'm curious what you think, since you're in a new parish and you've been a parish priest for many years (while Fr. Z just seems to fly around the world eating exotic foods and buying new vestments; I don't think he's ever been a pastor)).

TJM said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

I remember the context since I am older than you and have been following the Papacy since Pius XII. Never did Paul VI back down from the fact that he was the succcessor to Peter or that he would "share" his Petrine office or diminish its authority to satisfy the leftists in the Church. By the way, when was the last time you gave a sermon (homily) on Humanae Vitae, and did you explain to your congregation that the Democratic Party's platform contains intrinsic evils like Abortion and Gay Marriage, where the Republican Party's doesn't?

TJM said...


Father McDonald is an established pastor who also has the luxury of working in the South where folks are much more conservative than elsewhere in the US. He probably hasn't run into an aging, pant-suited "nun" screaming at him for wearing a cassock (not sure that he wears one but many younger priests do). I actually witnessed this in the Archdiocese of Chicago. People routinely complain if something traditional is incorporated into the Mass like ringing the offertory bells. With the current Archbishop in Chicago, the loons will have a strong supporter.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - Your age is of no concern to me.

You might recall that, in Ut Unum Sint, Saint Pope John Paul II, invited leaders - theologians, bishops, academics - to assist him in renewing the Petrine office so that it might better serve the cause of Christian Unity.

"In his encyclical Ut Unum Sint, Pope John Paul II acknowledged that a major obstacle to church unity is the papacy. He invited leaders and theologians of all Christian Churches to engage with him “in a patient and fraternal dialogue on this subject, a dialogue in which, leaving useless controversies behind, we could listen to one another, keeping before us only the will of Christ for his church . . . .” (n. 94).

Neither Paul nor John Paul spoke of "diminishing" the Petrine office, but both understood that, for a variety of reasons, the office has become an obstacle to unity.

UUS 95: "Whatever relates to the unity of all Christian communities clearly forms part of the concerns of the primacy. As Bishop of Rome I am fully aware, as I have reaffirmed in the present Encyclical Letter, that Christ ardently desires the full and visible communion of all those Communities in which, by virtue of God's faithfulness, his Spirit dwells. I am convinced that I have a particular responsibility in this regard, above all in acknowledging the ecumenical aspirations of the majority of the Christian Communities and in heeding the request made of me to find a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation."

This is the Church's vision of the path to unity.

Crystal Vision said...

I know of no priests, younger or older, in the Savannah who wear a cassock out in public.

The South is only "much more conservative" in the eyes of those who do not live here. They are trapped in baseless stereotypes.

(The rates of divorce are higher in the South, the rates of internet porn use are higher in the South, the #1 state for death by drug overdose is KENTUCKY, and the top ten states for getting a sexually transmitted disease are, starting with #10, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Illinois, Arkansas, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana.)

Oh, yes, the South is SOOOOOO conservative.....

The only incident of nun-yelling I know of was when a priest for foreign extraction treated a devoted, holy nun with disrespect and she, rightly, told him where to go.

Mark Thomas said...

"Most Catholics are unaware that there have been instances in Church history when a pope either taught heresy..."

There isn't a shortage of Catholics who insist otherwise.

How does one square the claim that Popes have taught heresy with the Church's teaching that the Apostolic See has preserved the Faith immaculate?


Mark Thomas

TJM said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

The major obstacle to unity is that most Christian "Churches" are not sacramental churches. They do not believe in the real presence in the Eucharist and they have totally caved on abortion and gay marriage. So Christian "unity" is a fool's errand unless there is a serious change of heart on the part of the non Roman sects. As part of my Catholic Faith, I believe we are the true Church founded by Jesus Christ.

Please comment on Humanae Vitae and the two Party's platforms.

Your age is a concern to me because you are likely part of the generation malformed in the Faith.

TJM said...

Crystal Vision,

Before popping off, I never said priests wore cassocks out of doors. As a matter of fact, the Council of Baltimore in the late 19th century prescribed the collar and jacket for priest's attire when off parish grounds.

You seem like you have anger management issues. Maybe Obamacare covers that. Re you gob in disguise?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - I am a Catholic because it is in the Catholic faith the fullness of God's revealed truth is to be found.

If you think Christian unity is a fool's errand, then you disagree with the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Long, long before Vatican II the Church sought unity with Christians of other denominations. Then as now, the Petrine office was understood to be a sign of unity and the popes took seriously their responsibility to be agents of unity. You err if you think that the restoration of unity among all Christians places requirements on other denominations and not on the Catholic Church. (See Ut Unum Sint which I have already cited regarding the Petrine office and how it can be changed so as to better serve the cause of Christian unity and Christians in general.)

In more modern times, "In 1915, Pope Benedict XV approved a British legation to the Vatican as an attempt at ecumenical dialogue. With the start of World War I, the British were concerned about the possible German and Austrian influences over Vatican policy. The Malines Conversation informally explored the corporate reunion between the Catholic Church and the Church of England. The legation was led by an Anglican and a Catholic, but by 1925 the potential reunion in the Malines Conversations failed. In spite of the failure, the spread of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity occurred and visits with the Bishop of Chichester and the Cardinal of Milan, later Pope Paul VI began."

As to my formation, I'll be happy to supply you with my Bishop's contact information since he is, apparently, entirely satisfied with my knowledge of and ability to present/teach the faith. Any complaints about my age of ability should be addressed to him.

Rood Screen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony V said...

@John Nolan: The notion that Pastor Aeternus was a defeat to Ultramontanists is curious, to say the least. Undoubtedly there were some who'd have preferred a more extreme statement, but the one prepared was extreme enough and caused a very large number of bishops to leave before the vote. (If you think the recent synod was 'rigged', then look at Vatican I, with its preponderance of Italian bishops.)

And despite the arguably restricted definition of infallibility in P.Aet, what we've witness since is indeed a (quickly) creeping notion of infallibility--what I like to call 'The Spirit of Vatican I.' Popes themselves quickly came to believe they were empowered to do anything they wanted to do. Can you imagine a patriarch of Constantinople announcing that sweeping changes were being made to the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and that resistance would not be tolerated? Yet that's what Paul VI believed he could do to the liturgy of the west. And only 2 bishops, to my knowledge, resisted him (the same number, interestingly, that remained at Vatican I to vote non placet).

It's good that JP2 and B16 have reached out to oru separated brethren, but as we do this we must be willing to admit the excesses of both Vatican councils--and face up to the fact that they weren't truly oecumenical councils either, but western ones.

Rood Screen said...


As a patriotic son of Dixieland, I assume that our big city Yankee brethren are more liberal than we are, bless their hearts. Sometimes, it just comes down to difference in definition. For example, Southerners strongly believe in "gun control", by which we mean a gun should be firmly under the control of the free citizen firing it.

However, when it comes to the Catholic Church, Catholics here are just as enamored by self-worship--and just as perplexed by reverent worship of God--as are Catholics everywhere these days. The devil is bringing us all together, Northerners and Southerners, like a black hole unifying everything around it.

Rood Screen said...

Father Kavanaugh,

That last comment is very well put. Thank you.

TJM said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

I question your formation in the Faith because you are still evading my questions on Humanae Vitae and the two Party's respective platforms, one which supports intrinsic evils that no Catholic can support, and the other, which does not. Contacting your bishop will be to no avail since many bishops teach material heresy.

The true Pope of Christian Unity is Benedict XVI, via, ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS. His predecessor, Pope Benedict XV, a wise diplomat, would probably run screaming from modern efforts at "Chrisitan Unity."

Anonymous said...

Well, Hillary made pretty clear last night her commitment to the abortion on demand crowd---her refusal to support a ban on partial-birth abortions because of the "health of life" of the mother is disingenuous---heck, the woman seeking such abortion can define those terms, to her benefit of course. But hey, she was elected from New York state twice---doubtless with a lot of Catholic support---which tells you something disconcerting about the state of the Church in the Northeast---maybe life support? I'm sure others have noticed that going back to 1992--18 states and the District of Columbia have voted Democratic for president in every election since then---many of them have high Catholic percentages, like New York, Massachusetts, Illinois...well, you get the idea. And doubtless that will be true again on November 8.

On TJM's point about other churches not being sacramental, that is indeed a significant problem. Even if all the Protestant Churches agreed with Rome on abortion and gay marriage---and obviously they don't---they tend to downplay the importance of the Eucharist and mostly view it as symbolic, like an addendum to Sunday worship, not the focal point. Despite its liberal tendencies on moral issues, the Episcopal Church has moved to a more Catholic view of the Eucharist in terms of most parishes having it every Sunday, not just once a month, but even there, they can't agree on what it means. In the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, the view tends to be more on the "high" side (the Sewanee influence), but cross the state line to Alabama, and their diocese tends to take a more "low church" view of the Eucharist; even the dean of the Cathedral in the Alabama Diocese (Advent in Birmingham) sides with the low church view, as evidenced by their Cathedral alternating their Sunday worship between "Holy Communion" and "Morning Prayer". The Orthodox Church has the same 7 sacraments as we do (though there are differences in the administration of them), but then we have significant differences with them on the papacy, the Creed, the Immaculate Conception and divorce and remarriage among other issues.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - What evidence will you offer for accusing my bishop and others of teaching "material heresy"?

Jusadbellum said...

TJM, its not so much that the bishops teach material heresy - I agree with Fr. K that at least Savannah's doesn't - but that the general environment is to avoid controversy when it would disfavor the Democratic party.

Now, if some issue would put the GOP in a tough spot? Like say, urging people to accept Syrian refugees or open borders or amnesty? Well, they'll encourage people to contact their congressmen on those issues. Or gun control. There's no internal 'dialogue' with laity to figure out a position for the USCCB. It's suddenly just the way it is...

But where are they when it comes to actually keeping pro-abort politicians from high office? No where. No challenge. No connecting the dots. No encouragement of laity to connect the dots.

So on the one hand the USCCB letter on faithful citizenship calls for laity to be involved and active in politics....but on the other, the moment right-wing/conservative laity connect dots on the Party platforms and individual candidates' positions...suddenly we are to go to radio silence on the matter.

Thus it's not overt water carrying for heresy as much as an appearance of being one sided in the use of moral capital and policy preferences.

How can we encourage the March for Life or Life chains but then not translate that into actual criteria for voting for particular candidates or party platforms? How is it not kabuki theater? It's as though they're OK for symbolic but feckless gestures when it's conservative but suddenly very pragmatic and activist when it comes to advancing some progressive agenda item.

When gay marriage was coming down the pike, when the Boy Scouts were about to capitulate, the bishops basically planned to not plan. They kept saying "watch and see" until it was too late to mobilize politically. Oh, we had some last minute and half hearted and amazingly content-less symbolism in the "fortnight for freedom"s where again, general statements are made without much effort to address any number of 800 lbs. elephants in the room.... and then dropped.

It's frustrating as laity to see the monolithic, closed ranks of clergy go radio silent on the chief moral crisis of our time (which is not immigration, gun control, the environment or capital punishment but is in fact abortion inasmuch as the abortion franchise undermines the very premise on which the country is built: that people have inalienable rights or on the new front of gender theory which overthrows western civilization's premises entirely).

So we're left to the wolves. Laity will have to pay for abortions...but the clergy carve out exceptions for direct involvement for themselves. Laity will have to bow down to the gay lobby or face termination and social repression...but the clergy will carve out small bubbles for themselves.

TJM said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

I will answer you when you respond to Humanae Vitae and the party platform issue. I suspect if you answered you'd be exposed.

TJM said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, when are you going to comment on Humanae Vitae and the two party's very different platforms, one promoting instrinsic evils and the other not doing so?

TJM said...


Thank you for your thoughtful response. Unlike Father Kavanaugh you do not dodge the issue for fear of being found out as less than orthodox.

Immigration, amnesty, open borders in terms of Catholic doctrine is an entirely different kettle of fish than abortion or gay marriage. The Catholic Catechism allows nations to protect themselves and their borders. Moreover, the matters you raise are prudential concerns where reasonable people may differ. Abortion and gay marriage, intrinsic evils, are not open to debate. So a Catholic, knowledgeble in their faith, be he layman, priest or bishop, cannot, under pain of mortal sin, vote for a political party that promotes (glorifies) abortion and gay marriage. The Catholic bishops, all on their own, have disheartened the faithful laity and have caused grave harm to the Faith. Could you imagine the Democratic Party prior to the Council when the Church in the US was at its zenith having the temerity to promote abortion and gay marriage? I think we all know the answer to that. Their phoney "social justice" nonsense, even if you accept it to be true, does not weigh in favor of voting for them given their commitment to intrinsic evil.

Although there are exceptions, I see most American bishops as rank cowards and timeservers underserving of their office and I feel the same way about the mealy-mouthed parish priests who lack the courage to teach the Catholic Faith. This will not end well for the Catholic Church in America. Maybe it's a good time for the American bishops and priests to read "A Man for All Seasons." "But for Wales?"

Anonymous said...

Jusad, I am always grateful when you weigh in. You say everything I've been thinking, but say it so much better than my thoughts can translate into written words. Thanks.

Tony V said...

@TJM, as Fr Kavanaugh is very busy at the moment, I will take the liberty of answering for him.
Paul VI is not exactly my favourite pope, to say the least. His imposition of the Novus Ordo was, in my view, not only an error of judgment, but a serious overstepping of his authority.
But when it comes to Humanae Vitae, it occurs to me, as the saying goes, that even a broken clock is right twice a day. But what the other time was still escapes me.

TJM said...

Tony V,

I suspect Fr. Kavanaugh has gone back into hiding because he does not support Humanae Vitae nor does he have the courage to say he supports a political party that promotes intrinsic evils like abortion and gay marriage.

Rood Screen said...

Tony V,

Good observation. Paul VI was right about: the evil of contraception, the sacrificial nature of the Mass, the importance of the rosary, the continuation of priestly celibacy, the importance of liturgical Latin and Gregorian Chant, the necessity of the papacy for all Christians, the continuing threat of Modernism, the dangers of demonic activity, etc. But he somehow managed to consistently undermine his own principals. He's a self-contradictory figure.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - This statement is not correct:

"So a Catholic, knowledgeble in their faith, be he layman, priest or bishop, cannot, under pain of mortal sin, vote for a political party that promotes (glorifies) abortion and gay marriage."

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles" July 2004, wrote: "A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."

It is for the individual voter to decide in conscience what constitutes "proportionate reasons." In my case, and in the case of many, many others I suspect, it is Donald Trump's utter and complete unsuitability, to put it mildly, for the office of President of the United States, that constitutes "proportionate reasons."

Rood Screen said...

Does anyone seriously believe that Trump is genuinely, by conviction, pro-life? Granted, if pro-lifers help elect him, he'll likely return the favor, so that it's kind of like dealing with the mafia. But I see no evidence to suggest that he really cares about this issue.

Tony V said...

Fr Kavanaugh is absolutely right. Donald Trump has violated his marriage vows and indsiciminately groped women! Who ever heard of a president doing something like that?
Oh, and he's arrogant. Unheard of, in a president.
And thick. Ditto.
Very unsuitable indeed.

gob said...

BINGO ...Fr. K. And I knew that even if the Cardinal had not said it. I have learned to use my brain..some here, it seems, have not....

rcg said...

Fr kavenaugh, what if Trumps lack of suitability suitability for the office was the reason to elect him? Since he would be the weakest candidate electable he could be easily over ridden and perhaps even forced to resign allowing Pence to step up to president. Clinton is clearly the most powerful and would be impossible to remove. Voting for anyone except Trump is actually a vote for Clinton.

TJM said...

Father K, but Bill Clintoon, who actually molested an intern in the Oval Office and did some unspeakable things with her, is just dandy to you. And his vicious wife, Hillary Clintoon who trashed women who came forward with credible allegations is just fine with you. And her running mate is just another cafeteria Catholic. But you continue to show your utter contempt for the Catholic Faith by supporting a party that supports intrinsic evils like abortion and gay marriage. Sorry, Charlie, but if I were your bishop, I would suspend you a divinis. We simply can't afford having priests like you in the ministry.

Tony V, you're suffering from amnesia. We had that kind of president, Bill Clintoon.

Anonymous 2 said...

Father Kavanaugh,

Thank you for the quote from Cardinal Ratzinger. I was unaware of it.

For some time I have been trying to get TJM to see that he is incorrect in his sweeping claims about Catholics voting for candidates who support abortions, but to no avail. I hope you have greater success.

Anonymous 2 said...

Tony V.

Your list does but touch the surface of the multiple layers of reasons why The Donald is completely unfit to hold the office of President of the United States.

Anonymous said...

Hillary is guilty not only of the charge of supporting the individual right to infanticide; she is also guilty of actively working to undermine the Catholic Church of Jesus Christ. Biblical revelation of the world order? Ditto! As Fr. K claims to be a priest of the Catholic Church he is remiss in his sworn duty to do all in his power to protect it from wolfs like the Democrat presidential candidate and her coterie of wolfs masquarading in proverbial sheep's skins. Fr.K has lost his way a long time ago. As Father Z urges go to confession! (to FrMacDonald?).

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - Again, if you would like to communicate your concerns to my bishop, his contact information is readily available on the web.

If you're going to accuse him falsely again with teaching material heresy, I suggest you post evidence to back up your claim.

Anon 2 - I doubt I will have any success with TJM. Like many, he is impervious to facts. I will correct his errors not so much for his sake, but for the sake of those who might be mislead by his false claims about what the Church does and/or does not teach.

rcg said...

I would tread cautiously with the Cardinal Ratzinger quote. As with just war and the death penalty we can use such concepts to rationalise doing bad things.

Faithful Catholic said...

TJM- I'm thinking Tony V. was being facetious and having fun at our expense. Re-read his comment and think about it.
Of course we have had Presidents that fit that description in some way of another and some of them turned out to be better Chief Executives than the current occupant of the White House.

So... Mr Gob and others: Did you vote to re-elect Mr Bill Clinton after his having committed an adulterous and perverted sexual act with a White House intern? Hmm...self-righteous indignation has not quite the same effect when it is selectively, and not consistently applied.

Father K. I thank you for your priestly service but as for your comment about Donald Trump's " utter and complete unsuitability, to put it mildly, for the office of President of the United States", that is an assessment that could be applied just as much, if not more so, to Hillary.

Hillary Clinton has exhibited a breathtaking duplicity and a tendency to prevaricate that would put many other politicians to shame. The party she represents will stop at nothing to win, including planting thugs at Donald Trump rallies to foment violence, and also committing organized voter fraud. Of course we also know of her unwavering commitment to abortion including using our tax money to pay for it.

If anyone commenting here had set up a personal, inadequately secured email server, as Hillary did, while working in a position which it was necessary to have the highest security clearance, you would unquestionably be terminated . More importantly, you would not be able to get employment in any position or field which required a security clearance.

We now know, with the recently release of FBI documents(though redacted), that Hillary Clinton lied . The documents reveal that pressure was put on two FBI officials to change the classification of at least one of the emails. Both refused, but when asked, the FBI let it be known that they would not publicly comment on the matter. This was a green light for Hillary, who subsequently issued a public statement denying what she in fact knew.

I could go on and on with "multiple layers of reasons"...

TJM said...

Father Kavanaugh,

Still evading Humanae Vitae and your party's intrinsically evil platform. Why don't you man up and respond?

Until you respond to that, there is nothing more to say to an apostate like you. You might care to read, Archbishop Chaput's comments at the University of Notre Dame on October 19th. He didn't name you, but you easily fit the description of what he is talking about. It is published at Crux News in an article by John Allen, who like you, doesn't get it. He applies political terms to the spiritual realm, like all lefties do.

Anonymous 2 said...

Here is my take FWIIW, which for most commentators on this blog will be absolutely nothing:

The country faces a dreadful choice in these two candidates.

Hillary is a corrupt politician, who supports a number of intrinsic evils, and who has told several lies and knows it.

The Donald is a completely unpredictable snake oil salesman who lies almost ALL the time and may not even know it.

Now, which one do you think The Republic, or indeed the Church, can better withstand?

If one believes the above characterizations of these two candidates, as I do, the Bishops’ document “Faithful Citizenship” and Cardinal Ratzinger’s statement, among many others, require me to use my reason and not to vote blindly for Trump out of some kind of misplaced moral purism. I respect those who do vote for Trump for conscientious reasons related to intrinsic evils, but I cannot join them in what I sincerely believe would be a highly imprudent decision with unspeakably disastrous consequences both for The Republic and the world.

I accept, of course, that others may legitimately have a different opinion of these two candidates and may therefore legitimately reach a different judgment about the choice between them. But that does not entitle them to de-legitimize my opinion and my judgment or to accuse me of committing mortal sin if I vote for Hillary in an effort to help stop Trump. It is as simple, and as complex, as that.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Faithful - Obviously, I disagree with your assessment of Secretary Clinton's readiness to be President.

If you want "breathtaking duplicity" that goes far, far beyond anything Ms. Clinton has been engaged in, read Robert Caro's multi-volume bio of LBJ.

TJM - I'm a man; I don't have to prove it to you or anyone.

TJM said...

"Father Kavanaugh" you are afraid to admit your true feelings on Humanae Vitae and the intrinsically evil Democratic Party. Maybe your bishop just might not approve and your might have to find honest work at Walmart?

rcg said...

Fr. Kavenaugh do you think there is a case to be made for Catholics to support and vote for Secretary Clinton?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - Sorry, I'm not gonna let you deflect here.

Maybe it is you who are afraid to admit that your post, "So a Catholic, knowledgeble in their faith, be he layman, priest or bishop, cannot, under pain of mortal sin, vote for a political party that promotes (glorifies) abortion and gay marriage." was simply wrong, as the passage I have provided from Cardinal Ratzinger shows...?

rcg - Inasmuch as Secretary Clinton is the better candidate, the case is made, in my judgment.

rcg said...

Fr. K., isn't that a false dilemma?

TJM said...

"Father" Kavanaugh,

Sorry, I am not going to allow YOU to continue to deflect and obfuscate here! What is your position on Humanae Vitae and the intrinstic evils of YOUR party?

Cardinal Ratzinger would laugh in your face at your weak and puerile analogy. There is nothing proportionate at all in the situation you pose. However, since Bill Clintoon did far worse and Hildabeast trashed all of these women who made credible allegations, and we will always have the "blue dress and cigar" you have unmitigated gall to place Donald Trump even remotely in the same evil company of Bill Clintoon and his Hildabeast.

Hildabeast voted for the Iraq War, and then as SOS destabilized the mideast further, and then compromised national security. If that is your definition of "success" you lack the judgment to run a lemonade stand, much less a parish. Go to confession before you imperil your immmortal soul

rcg said...

Fr. Kavenaugh, assuming that it is not self evident, what is her appeal to the consciencious Catholic voter without comparison to any other candidate? Can you compare her own positives and negatives to each other without comparing to another candidate?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

rcg - Secty Clinton, as candidate, does not exist apart from the Republican candidate. We are making a choice here b/w Clinton and Trump.

If you want a list of Clinton's qualifications, see Hillary

TJM said...

rcg, Kavanaugh can't unless he is the new incarnation of Joseph Goebbels. With people like Kavanaugh, I can finally understand how the Germans put Hitler in power.

rcg said...

But she can be evaluated on her own merits regardless of her opponent. Elections are like golf, you play the course not the other golfer. Please note that the salient dimension of the question set was why a Catholic would consider voting for her and I asked a priest who has declared his intention to vote for her on a Catholic web site. Since you have made your intentions public and since both the choice and the fact you make it public run contrary to expectations it begs the questions I have asked.

So, what do you see as reasons a Catholic could vote for Secretary Clinton?

TJM said...

rcg, a Catholic can't, so draw your own conclusions about Kavanaugh

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

rcg - I have never declared who I am going to vote for. You may assume what you will, but I have never declared my intention.

The reasons I see for voting for Secretary Clinton are that she is far more qualified to assume the office of the President than her Republican opponent. One of the two will end up being elected. I think it makes sense for voters to choose the one they believe is more qualified, don't you?

She is, far and away, the better candidate. And while she can be judged apart from the Republican candidate, that's not how elections work, at least when a candidate is not unopposed.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see Fr. K's take on the documentary film "Hillary's America".

Anonymous said...

In Hillary’s America, New York Times #1 best-selling author and celebrated filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza reveals the sordid truth about Hillary and the secret history of the Democratic Party.

"In January 2014, D'Souza was indicted on felony charges for campaign finance fraud, knowingly making illegal political contributions to a 2012 United States Senate campaign. On May 20, 2014, D'Souza pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to one charge of using a "straw donor" to make an illegal political campaign donation. On September 23, D'Souza was sentenced to eight months in a halfway house near his home in San Diego, five years probation, and a $30,000 fine."

While serving as president of King's College he became embroiled in a marriage scandal where he had an alleged affair and became engaged to a young woman while still married. In an October 16, 2012, article in World Magazine, author Warren Cole Smith reported on D'Souza's activities after a September 28 talk that year in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Smith said that D'Souza, who was married at the time, checked into a hotel with another woman and left with her the following day. He confirmed that he had been engaged to Denise Odie Joseph – herself married to Louis Joseph. After an investigation of his affair by officials of at King's College, D'Souza stated that he had suspended his engagement to Joseph.Smith noted that D'Souza filed for divorce on the date of Smith's inquiry after the marriage scandal broke.

D'Souza had "disturbed some Christians" by showing up at a conference with a "fiance", despite also being married at the time. The trustees of the King's College announced after meeting on October 17, 2012, that D'Souza had resigned his position as president of the university in order "to attend to his personal and family needs". He and his wife subsequently finalized their divorce in 2013."

rcg said...

Fr. Kavenaugh, thank you for the response. I do not agree that Secretary Clinton is better qualified to be President prima faci. It is possible that we have no candidates who would be good at the job. It is possible that either candidate would do great damage to our country, perhaps wilfully, and should not be voted for. It is possible that she is a supremely skilled psychopath. It is possible that we should not vote at all. That does not break any laws or even moral guidelines. We can still obey the laws without voting for anyone or anything.

Faithful Catholic said...

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles" July 2004, wrote: "A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."

Such a statement of general principle as above begs for more clarity, as do other similar statements (though not all). It hinges on the last sentence and especially the last ten words of that sentence:" which can be permitted in the presence of PROPORTIONATE reasons."

Suppose there is a candidate "A" who is much more knowledgeable, and far more capable and experienced, has a great economic plan and a inclination for helping immigrants and refugees to settle here,as well as providing affordable medical care to all. What if that same candidate wanted to use Federal tax money to "persuade" poor women to get sterilized or have abortions, and to use tax money to fund those procedures? Oh, and by the way, this candidate would nominate "secular-progressive" judges to fill judicial vacancies.

Candidate "B" is not as experienced or knowledgeable, but would not do what "A" wants to do as far as "persuading" poor woman to have sterilizations and abortions, and would nominate judges in he mould of Antonin Scalia.

Looking at this strictly in a legalistic way, one could find more "proportionate reasons" to vote for candidate "A", but strictly from a moral standpoint (which is how faithful a Catholic should vote) could one? I don't think so. Proportionate reasons in the above example, or some similar scenario, for a Catholic or other Christian are different(or should be) than for say, an atheist or agnostic.

Anonymous 2 said...


TJM has apparently set himself up as the authority to tell you how to vote. He is not the authority. The U.S. Bishops are (as is Cardinal Ratzinger). Here is a link to the USCCB document “Faithful Citizenship”:

I am so tired of continually having to resist TJM’s manipulative nonsense, however well-intentioned it might be, and I implore, nay beg, readers not to listen to TJM, an evident Trump supporter, but to read—carefully—the Bishops’ document and then prayerfully make up their own minds about what is, and is not, permitted to Catholics in the voting booth.

My own reading of the Bishops’ document is that what you cannot do as a Catholic is to vote for a candidate who supports abortion if your intention in so doing is to support abortion yourself. But there is no blanket prohibition against voting for a candidate who supports abortion.

To be sure, the premise that abortion is an intrinsic evil is indeed correct. To be sure, too, abortion itself must always be opposed. But this does not mean that one must always oppose, and never vote for, a candidate who supports abortion. If it did, all that a candidate would have to do to secure the vote of a Catholic who chooses to vote would be to publicly oppose abortion, even cynically (but of course this never happens, right?).

Less naively, then, the “Faithful Citizenship” document states:

“Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions, redefining marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning, or racist behavior, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases, a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.

35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.

36. When all candidates hold a position that promotes an intrinsically evil act, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.

37. In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose policies promoting intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions. These decisions should take into account a candidate’s commitments, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue. In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic, guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.

38. It is important to be clear that the political choices faced by citizens not only have an impact on general peace and prosperity but also may affect the individual’s salvation. . . .”


Anonymous 2 said...

Please note in the above extract the statements that “[t]here may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons” and that the decision on voting “should take into account a candidate’s commitments, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue.”

The introductory video in the link is also very helpful.

The bottom line is that, provided the Catholic voter reasons conscientiously in accordance with the Bishops’ Guidelines, a Catholic may vote for Donald Trump to stop Hillary Clinton and a Catholic may also conscientiously vote for Hillary Clinton to stop Trump. The difference, then, becomes a difference in judgment. It is not, repeat not, a difference between the righteous and mortal sinners.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Faithful - I don't agree that choosing a candidate "strictly from a moral standpoint" is required (or always wise) for Catholics.

Years ago I was approached by a couple who urged me to vote for Nellie Gray, asserting that she was the only candidate for President who met the moral standards of the Catholic Church. While that analysis of Ms. Gray's stand(s) may have been correct, there was no possible way that voting for her would have accomplished anything positive. On the contrary, had Ms. Gray actually won the election, the results could have been catastrophic.

The expectation that the Republican candidate will do what he has suggested he will do is, I think, uncertain at best. Also, the expectation that his appointments to the Supreme Court might follow a hoped-for path of decisions in the mould of Scalia - as if that were something to be desired - is sketchy. The history of the SCOTUS is full of Justices who, after appointment and confirmation, did not carry on as expected.

TJM said...

"Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions, redefining marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning, or racist behavior, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases, a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity."

Cite one example where voting for a Party or a candidate promoting intrinstic evil can be justified when the opposing Party or candidate does not promote intrinsic evil?

Anonymous 2 said...


Read the document carefully—all of it—and you will have your answer.

In addition, I do not agree with your implied premise that Donald Trump does not promote intrinsic evil—both explicitly and, where not explicitly, then in reality.

George said...

38. It is important to be clear that the political choices faced by citizens not only have an impact on general peace and prosperity but also may affect the individual’s salvation. . . .”

So how one votes can affect one's salvation. That being the case, I don't see how it can be anything other than good to vote pro-life. And if both major candidates favor abortion, to vote for the one who is the least liberal or libertarian on the matter. The downside, morally speaking, only occurs on that side of the divide where one votes for the candidate who is in favor either exclusively, or most in favor of, abortion and embryonic stem-cell research and other such extremely evil practices, which outweigh any other consideration of whatever positive attributes the candidate may evidence, owing to the gravity of what they advocate, and who whey wish to put into positions of power who share their evil philosophy, and how they would fund these abominable endeavors by the use of public tax monies with little or no consideration of the desires or convictions of those who consider these things morally unacceptable and which also a constitute a grave offense against God.

JoeW said...

And now I've become curious. The fellow named TJM asked a question to which Fr. K never responded:

"...when was the last time you gave a sermon (homily) on Humanae Vitae, and did you explain to your congregation that the Democratic Party's platform contains intrinsic evils like Abortion and Gay Marriage..."

I really don't give a hoot who's voting for whom. But I too am very interested in hearing an answer. No equivocation. Just a simple response like "recently" or "last year" or "I don't remember" or "never."

Another deflection or obfuscation will merely confirm the selection of "never." So, let's hear it.

Anonymous 2 said...


As a conscientious Catholic voter, for me the question is not whether Clinton’s positives outweigh her negatives—they clearly do not—the question is whether Trump’s negatives outweigh Clinton’s negatives. My own judgment is that clearly they do and that voting for Clinton is, very regrettably, the only way to stop Trump. But other conscientious Catholic voters will disagree with this judgment, which is fine and the essence of our democratic system and indeed of legitimate disagreement among conscientious Catholic voters in that democratic system.

I voted for Rubio in the Republican primary in an effort to stop Trump. Now I must vote for Clinton as part of the same effort.