Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Pope: Clericalism distances the people from the Church

Pope Francis during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta (file photo). - L'Osservatore Romano
Pope Francis during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta (file photo). - L'Osservatore Romano
13/12/2016 12:39
(Vatican Radio) The spirit of clericalism is an evil that is present in the Church today, Pope Francis said, and the victim of this spirit is the people, who feel discarded and abused. That was the Pope’s message in the homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.
Among those taking part in the Mass were the members of the Council of cardinals, who are meeting with the Pope this week in Rome.
In his homily, Pope Francis warned pastors of the dangers of becoming “intellectuals of religion” with a morality far from the Revelation of God.
The poor and humble people who have faith in the Lord are the victims of the “intellectuals of religion,” those who are “seduced by clericalism,” who will be preceded in the Kingdom of Heaven by repentant sinners.
The law of the high priests is far from Revelation
The Pope directed his attention to Jesus, who in the day’s Gospel turns to the chief priests and the elders of the people, and focuses precisely on their role. “They had juridical, moral, religious authority,” he said. “They decided everything.” Annas and Caiaphas, for example, “judged Jesus,” they were the high priests who “decided to kill Lazarus”; Judas, too, went to them to “bargain,” and thus “Jesus was sold.” They arrived at this state of “arrogance and tyranny towards the people,” the Pope said, by instrumentalizing the law:
But a law that they have remade many times: so many times, to the point that they had arrived at 500 commandments. Everything was regulated, everything! A law scientifically constructed, because this people was wise, they understood well. They made all these nuances, no? But it was a law without memory: they had forgotten the First Commandment, which God had given to our father Abraham: “Walk in my presence and be blameless.” They did not walk: they always stopped in their own convictions. They were not blameless!
The people discarded by the intellectuals of religion
And so, the Pope said, they had forgotten the Ten Commandments of Moses”: “With the law they themselves had made – intellectualistic, sophisticated, casuistic – they cancelled the law the Lord had made, they lacked the memory that connects the current moment with Revelation.” In the past their victim was Jesus; in a similar way, now their victim is “the humble and poor people who trust in the Lord,” “those who are discarded,” those who understand repentance even if they do not fulfill the law, and suffer these injustices. They feel “condemned,” and “abused,” the Pope said, by those who are vain, proud, arrogant.” And one who was cast aside by these people, Pope Francis observed, was Judas:
Judas was a traitor, he sinned gravely, eh! He sinned forcefully. But then the Gospel says, “He repented, and went to them to return the money.” And what did they do? “But you were our associate. Be calm… We have the power to forgive you for everything!” No! “Make whatever arrangement you can!” [they said.] “It’s your problem!” And they left him alone: discarded! The poor Judas, a traitor and repentant, was not welcomed by the pastors. Because these people had forgotten what it was to be a pastor. They were the intellectuals of religion, those who had the power, who advanced the catechesis of the people with a morality composed by their own intelligence and not by the revelation.
The evil of clericalism can still be found in the Church today
 “A humble people, discarded and beaten by these people.” Even today, the Pope observed, this sometimes happens in the Church. “There is that spirit of clericalism,” he explained: “Clerics feel they are superior, they are far from the people”; they have no time to hear the poor, the suffering, prisoners, the sick”:
The evil of clericalism is a very ugly thing! It is a new edition of these people. And the victim is the same: the poor and humble people that awaits the Lord. The Father has always sought to be close to us: He sent His Son. We are waiting, waiting in joyful expectation, exulting. But the Son didn’t join the game of these people: The Son went with the sick, the poor, the discarded, the publicans, the sinners – and that is scandalous – the prostitutes. Today, too, Jesus says to all of us, and even to those who are seduced by clericalism: “The sinners and the prostitutes will go before you into the Kingdom of Heaven.”


Gene said...

This Pope is so far off the rails it is laughable. There is nothing more scholarly and "intellectual" than St. Augustine, the Nicene Creed, the Council of Trent, Thomas Aquinas, and the CCC. Devout and believing Priests, Popes, and scholars through the ages have combined to give us the most theologically, philosophically, and intellectually sophisticated body of doctrine in the world. The issue is not the academic and intellectual aspects of the Magisterium and the Priesthood...the issue is how well this becomes embodied in the lives of the Priests and Popes who lead the Church. In Francis' case...NOT TOO GOOD!!!

TJM said...


best way for dealing with this papacy

Anonymous said...

Those who reject the portions of the CCC that they don't like can't, then, turn around and cite it as "scholarly."

DJR said...

In the meantime, it is being reported in the Spanish and Italian press that a bishop in Spain ordained a homosexual "couple" to the priesthood.

Gene said...

Anonymous@11:56, Why not...I reject Marx' "Das Kapital," Hegel's "Phenomenology of Mind," and Heidigger's "Sein und Zeit" but acknowledge all as scholarly. Besides, who is rejecting CCC?

Anonymous 2 said...


Where did you read about these reports? I would like to know how accurate they are. I just Googled the story and the only site that came up was Novus Ordo Watch, a sedevacantist website that, in the same article, also sarcastically attacked Pope St. John Paul II. Out of respect for the Catholic Church I will not post a link to this sedevacantist website here but for those who wish to verify what I say it is easy to find on the internet.

The Novus Ordo article cited and quoted from an article in something called InfoVaticana, with which I am unfamiliar and about which I could find no explanation in English.

The reports may indeed be accurate but reading about the story on Novus Ordo Watch does at least raise some red flags for me.

DJR said...

Anonymous 2 said... DJR: Where did you read about these reports?

I don't read "Novus Ordo Watch."

I have family in Spain.

Anonymous said...

On clericalism, from the appropriately named Bishop Athanasius Schneider:

"An ecclesiastical authority that issues norms or pastoral guidance that provides for such admission, arrogates to itself a right that God has not given it. A pastoral accompaniment and discernment that does not communicate to the adulterous person, the so-called divorced and remarried, the divinely-established obligation to live in continence as a sine qua non condition for admission to the sacraments, exposes itself in reality as an arrogant clericalism, as there does not exist any clericalism so pharisaical as that which arrogates to itself rights reserved to God."

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous 2,

In regard to Novus Ordo Watch, I will give them credit for the following:

1. They denounce those "traditionalists" who, in their hatred of His Holiness Pope Francis, have developed the preposterous "recognize but resist" approach to the Holy Father. The "traditionalists" in question claim that Pope Francis is a heretic, but as they lack the nerve to take the next step, that is, to embrace sedevacantism, they pretend that they're on firm ground in regard to the following:

They insist that Pope Francis is a heretic. He hates the Church. He desires to overthrow the Church. He is vile and satanic. But they recognize him as the legitimate Vicar of Christ...whom they curse and resist at every turn.

Novus Ordo Watch, while they are wrong to reject Pope Francis, at least knows the score when it comes to the preposterous "traditional" Catholic "recognize but resist" movement.

2. Pope Francis released recently his "APOSTOLIC LETTER Misericordia et
misera AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE EXTRAORDINARY JUBILEE OF MERCY." One right-wing Catholic blog after another ignored the letter. They did so as the letter was too traditional for their tastes.

That is, the Apostolic Letter destroyed the right-wing's narrative that Pope Francis hates Catholic teachings. For example, the right wing claims that Pope Francis preaches false mercy in that he does not promote repentance and the amending of one's sinful behavior.

That is a right-wing lie as the Apostolic Letter made clear.

To his credit, the man behind Novus Ordo Watch, although with obvious displeasure, at least had the honesty to note the following in his review of the Apostolic Letter:

"Overall, the document actually does appear to emphasize somewhat the need for sincere repentance and amendment of life as a condition of forgiveness."

I give Novus Ordo Watch credit in that, compared to many "traditionalist" blogs, Novus Ordo Watch, despite their intense hatred opposition to Pope Francis, is willing to give Pope Francis his due when His Holiness upholds and promotes Holy Tradition.


Mark Thomas

Jusadbellum said...


I think the issue is one of 'emotional pacing'. In the "only Nixon can go to China" sort of way. Once a person has 'paced' you emotionally and ideologically or in your most closely held value, then he can lead you to a position you might not otherwise be comfortable going on account of the human capital you have invested in his judgment.

Trump did this all the time (and does it still). So he came out with a hard liner's hard line on the border and immigration and won over the hardest line of the hardliners....and then began to walk back towards the middle with respect to visas, LEGAL immigration, etc.

Because people trust him in general on the issue, they trust he'll know best in any compromise deal.

The same thing works in theology and religious life. Only if you first feel a leader understands and loves you will you trust them when they broach uncomfortable topics and call you to sacrifice.

But with Pope Francis there was no preliminary emotional or cultural or theological 'pacing' which would make Traditionalists/conservatives feel comfortable that the Pope "gets it". Instead all the pacing has been on the leftist/progressive/sexual revolutionary/low information nominal Catholic side of the spectrum. He's "pacing" them.

Now, if by doing this he convinces millions of the low information Catholics to actually return to Mass and confession rather than presume they can have their cake (adultery, abortion, porn, socialism, vindictive hatred of others, etc.) and eat it too (repent and accept the mercy of God), we'll all be better off.

But so far I'm only seeing signs of leftist/progressives/low information people assuming that the secular media's spin is gospel and what the Church now teaches is that sodomy is a-OK, our consciences are sovereign and infallible, and that the only real sin is failure to become socialist in government and adopt a demographically killing immigration policy of unilateral ethnic cleansing.

I hope people who are generally left-wing and "progressive" (in that they sincerely believe morality changes with the times), find in Francis an avenue back to Catholic orthodoxy but I'm just not seeing evidence of this.

If that's his motive and I think it must be the most charitable view to take, then I think he might want to modify the methodology as it doesn't seem to be working.

I look at what's going on in Buenos Aires and I'm not seeing the Begolio effect result in a boom for Catholicism. His old archdiocese is floundering.

Anonymous 2 said...

Mark Thomas:

Thank you for the information. You are much better informed about such matters than I am. Southern Orders is the only Catholic blog—indeed the only blog—I frequent.

TJM said...

Anonymous 2,

My condolences

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous 2, there is a great deal of bleakness in regard to that which flows from the the Catholic blogosphere. Father McDonald's commentaries via his blog are devoid of right-wing/left-wing extremism. Therefore, I understand as to why you prefer to avail yourself to Father McDonald's blog exclusively.


Mark Thomas

Anonymous 2 said...


Thank you for the condolences. I used to visit no blogs at all before the internet and blogs were invented and have only become mildly to moderately ill (in the sense of soul-sick) by reading the vituperative comments on this one.

Anonymous 2 said...


Yes, mostly this Blog is very enlightening, and I have learned a great deal from it. Moreover, I have been a parishioner at St. Joseph’s for over 35 years, so this has provide me with a very personal reason for following and participating in this Blog. It is only the vituperative comments on it that sadden me and make me soul sick.

Rood Screen said...

Comments by Mark Thomas are focused on dissensions and divisions among the flock, and seem aimed at provoking extreme reactions, or otherwise flaming the fires of controversy and spreading the smoke of confusion. His lengthy reviews of obscure scandal and intrigue are hardly worthy of praise.

Gene said...

Dialogue, Mark and Anon 2 are nearly interchangeable for endless, mealy-mouthed dribble and sycophantic (psycofantic) rants on the Pope.

TJM said...


Mark Thomas is our new GOB. Vivat!