Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Pope Francis is of course an enigma, perplexing the polarized members of the Church on the left and right.

Pope Francis' Angelus on Sunday is an Angelus Pope Pius XII could have given in the 1950's:

Angelus: The Kingdom of heaven is the love and humility of God

Pope Francis during the Sunday Angelus - ANSA
Pope Francis during the Sunday Angelus - ANSA
04/12/2016 12:43
(Vatican Radio) “The Kingdom of God is at hand and is indeed in the middle of us, this is the central message of all Christian mission.” Those were the words of Pope Francis during his Angelus address in St Peter’s Square on the Second Sunday of Advent.
Listen to Lydia O'Kane's report
He was referring to the Gospel reading of the day in which John the Baptist issues the invitation to "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand".
The Holy Father explained that with these same words Jesus will start his mission in Galilee and it is an announcement that will “bring the disciples on their first missionary experience.”
The kingdom of heaven, said the Pope, is not just a place in the afterlife, but it is the good news that Jesus brings us.
God, Pope Francis continued, “comes to establish his dominion in our history, in our everyday life;” and where it is accepted with faith and humility and love.
But the “condition to become part of this kingdom”, the Holy Father stressed, “ is to make a change in our life, that is to repent.”
The Pope said, “it is to leave the streets, convenient but misleading, the idols of this world: the success at all costs, the power at the expense of the weak, the thirst for wealth, pleasure at any price and instead to open the way for the Lord who comes”.
He does not take away our freedom, Pope Francis underlined, “but gives us true happiness. With the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, it is God himself who has come to dwell among us, to free us from selfishness, from sin and corruption.”
During his address the Holy Father invited the faithful to prepare spiritually for Christmas by examining their consciences and confessing their sins in the sacrament of Penance.
Following the recitation of the Marian Prayer, Pope Francis said, “see you Thursday for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. We pray together, asking her maternal intercession for the conversion of hearts and the gift of peace."


Anonymous said...

"PIOUS". Are you referring to the man who is doing his best to teach that people living in objective mortal sin can receive Holy Communion without amendment of life and sacramental confession and absolution. And Hitler was really really nice to his dogs.

Rood Screen said...

Sounds good.

Gene said...

Yet, Dutch Bishops and Cardinals are changing the words of the Our Father in Scripture to read "...lead us not into trial or hardship" instead of "temptation" because they believe the Biblical notion of sin to be outdated. In a Church so degraded, where doctrine is seen as an epiphenomenon and Cardinals and Bishops go rogue at will with no apparent consequences, can we continue to believe that the true Church resides here? I am having real difficulty with that concept at this point. Oh, there is a true Church, but it may be that it will no longer reside in Rome. Perhaps it is SSPX or some other Catholic group...or maybe it will become a "remnant" of true believers from all denominations. A few orthodox comments from this Pope mean absolutely nothing. They are merely scraps to what he considers traditionalist dogs...smoke and mirrors to obscure his Leftist, agnostic, indifferentist preferences. But, the Church has been failing for decades. This Pope is merely the culmination of a Church long turned humanist, where unbelief is rampant and where Priests and Bishops spout "pastoral" nonsense in defiance of doctrine and whose entire Priesthood is conducted tongue-in-cheek. Luther and Calvin can no longer be considered pariahs by Catholics...more like prophets, maybe.

Anonymous said...

The true Church never resided in Rome.

The idea that the true Church can bop around from splinter group to splinter group is preposterous. God is not a fickle lover.

The Church has always been "Leftist." Siding with the poor, taking up the cause of the oppressed, calling wicked leaders to account and repent, rejecting the power structure of human making, speaking out against those who use their political or economic advantage to deny just compensation to workers, etc, etc.

If you are just now discovering that the Church, the true Church, does not meet your peculiar expectations, then you should reconsider prayerfully what brought to the true Church in the first place.

Anonymous said...


"This Pope is merely the culmination of a Church long turned humanist, where unbelief is rampant and where Priests and Bishops spout 'pastoral' nonsense in defiance of doctrine and whose entire Priesthood is conducted tongue-in-cheek."

This is understated in such a typically British manner, that I did a double take to make sure it hadn't been written by John Nolan.

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald said..."Pope Francis is of course an enigma, perplexing the polarized members of the Church on the left and right."

The same could be said of Pope...fill in the blank. Left-wingers and right-wingers have for decades expressed outrage at our Popes.

Left-wingers attacked Pope Blessed Paul VI viciously in regard to Humanae Vitae. Right-wingers attacked Pope Blessed Paul VI viciously in regard to the creation of the Novus Ordo.

Have we forgotten the manner in which the left-wing and right-wing were perplexed by Pope Saint John Paul II? Have we forgotten as to how "controversial" he was to the left and right wings?

Pope Saint John Paul II was the darling of the left-wing whenever he offered a bizarre Mass or engaged in "radical/liberal" ecumenical gestures. Conversely, when he promoted Holy Tradition, the left-wing portrayed him as a right-wing reactionary who had "placed the breaks" on Conciliar reforms.

Have we forgotten the vicious and unending right-wing attacks that were directed against Pope Saint John Paul II? The right-wing for years assailed him as a "modernist" "heretic."

We need only revisit the days when Archbishop Lefebvre led the right-wing assault against Pope John Paul II to realize that what has been said about Pope Francis isn't new.

1986 declaration against Assisi

Made by Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer

Subsequent to the events of Pope John Paul II's visit to the Synagogue and the Congress of Religion at Assisi

Archbishop Lefebvre with Bishop de Castro Mayer:

"Adopting the liberal religion of Protestantism and of the Revolution, the naturalistic principles of J.J. Rousseau, the atheistic liberties of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the principle of human dignity no longer having any relation with truth and moral dignity, the Roman authorities turn their backs on their predecessors and break with the Catholic Church, and they put themselves at the service of the destroyers of Christianity and of the universal Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

"The present acts of John Paul II and the national episcopates illustrates, year by year, this radical change in the conception of the Faith, the Church, the priesthood, the world, and salvation by grace.

"The high point of this rupture with the previous Magisterium of the Church took place at Assisi, after the visit to the synagogue. The public sin against the one, true God, against the Incarnate Word, and His Church, makes us shudder with horror. John Paul II encourages the false religions to pray to their false gods—an immeasurable, unprecedented scandal."

Pope Francis isn't even close to being the first Pope to perplex "the polarized members of the Church on the left and right."


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

His Holiness Pope Francis appears to be more controversial and perplexing than his predecessors as the result of the Internet. In particular, the rise in attention paid to bloggers has resulted in the image that Pope Francis is the most controversial Pope in history.

However, Popes Venerable Pius XII to Benedict XVI faced intense reactions from left and right wing Catholics. The difference between then and now is that the reactions/attacks were transmitted via print.

Weekly or monthly right-wing and left-wing magazines and newsletters delivered the nonsense spewed at Popes. Therefore, the attacks in question were not delivered literally second by second as is the case today via the Internet.

In turn, that has lessened the perception that our Popes prior to Francis were not as polarizing as (supposedly) is Pope Francis.

Until just a few years ago, we had to wait one week, two weeks, or 30 days between print runs for, example, to read the latest left-wing and right-wing commentaries about the Pope.

Imagine, for example, had Archbishop Lefebvre had the Internet at his disposal when, as a matter of routine, he denounced Pope Saint John Paul II, NewRome, NewChurch, and such "modernist" Churchmen as then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Second-by-second we would have read the SSPX's endless vile attacks against Popes Blessed Paul VI and Saint John Paul II. People would have been convinced that said Popes were the most vile, Tradition-hating Popes in history.

Cardinal Ratzinger would have been today's Cardinal Kasper...portrayed as the most heretical Cardinal in history.

There isn't anything new in regard to the attacks directed against Pope Francis. The difference is that today, thanks to the Internet and attention paid to Catholic blogs, the attacks are delivered by the second. Therefore, the perception is that Pope Francis is the most perplexing, polarizing Pope in history.

What we must recall is that between the Church's two wings reside the vast majority of Catholics who love Pope Francis and view him as a holy man.


Mark Thomas

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Mark I would agree with you to a certain extent. But today, there is so much vitriol against a reigning pontiff, deserved or undeserved. Catholics, no matter their polarization, are called to be respectful to the Holy Father, not only His Holiness high office, but to the person of the Pontiff. That doesn't mean there can be positive critique or concern. Pope Francis has helped to create the mess we are in now as it concerns the clarity of teaching when it comes to the moral law and the canon law of the Church.

But I would suggest to you that we are in uncharted waters when four high ranking Cardinals (along with others who were not so bold as to go public) have issued a public challenge to the Pope and one of whom is threatening to make a fraternal correction of the pontiff.

I know of no other situation like this in modern Catholic Church history since the Council of Trent or the Counter Reformation. To say that this isn't serious would be quite irrational.

Gene said...

Anonymous @ need to bone up on your NT theology. Christ's teachings are apolitical or, maybe, trans-political. Such ideological terms as left and right do not apply to the Gospel message. It is pretty clear from the Temptation in the wilderness and from Ephesians 6 that the NT views the political realm as the realm of Satan and the fallen world. And, since when must you be a Leftist to care fro the poor and down trodden and condemn greed and corruption?

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald, I appreciate your comments. I agree that the situation we're in in regard to Amoris Laetitia isn't that of a beautiful day at the beach. But I wonder as to how serious is the situation when we have just four (perhaps an additional Cardinal or two) Cardinals challenging His Holiness Pope Francis.

The Four Cardinals have, of course, rejected the notion that they've challenged Pope Francis. But Cardinal Burke's unfortunate declaration about "correcting" Pope Francis almost certainly elevated the situation to that of challenge against Pope Francis.

But even at that, I question as to whether the situation is terribly serious — at least to the point that the Church, as many right-wingers have insisted, has plunged into a "civil war" that will result shortly in a declared schism.

I don't sense that the Four Cardinals have strong backing among additional Cardinals (and bishops).

I most certainly have not encountered at the parish level any appreciable support for the Four Cardinals. I haven't encountered any uproar among my brothers and sisters in Jesus Church in regard to Amoris Laetitia.

I realize that concern in regard to Amoris Laetitia is not the exclusive domain of right-wing Catholic bloggers (as well as right-wingers who post to comment boxes). I realize that "serious" theologians and others have expressed concerns in regard to AL.

I favor open, frank, and respectful discussion related to Amoris Laetitia (or additional Church-related issues).

But Father McDonald, I don't believe that the vast majority of Catholics — regular Mass-going, as well as Christmas and Easter-only types — are in an uproar over Amoris Laetitia. I don't believe that the vast majority of Catholics are interested in the controversy in question.

I also believe that as the 100th anniversary of Our Lady Fatima is on the way, the Blessed Virgin Mary will intercede to prevent Holy Mother Church from exploding over Amoris Laetitia.

I have the feeling, the belief, that Our Lady will diffuse the controversy at hand.


Mark Thomas

TJM said...

Mark Thomas,

The reality is, most churchgoing Catholics are grossly uninformed (because their priests are)and I doubt 90% of them even know about Amoris Laetitia. If the priests actually understood it and told their congregations about the controversy surrouning AL as articulated by the brilliant, faithful Cardinals, there probably would be an uproar. Liberals count on Catholics being uninformed so they can continue to demolish the One, Holy, Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Anonymous said...

The NT does not view the political realm as the realm of Satan. This is preposterous. There is no "realm" of Satan; he can be as present and active in the ecclesial, the medical, the financial, or the artistic realm as he can in the political.

The CCC speaks of politics and politicians.

1897 "Human society can be neither well-ordered nor prosperous unless it has some people invested with legitimate authority to preserve its institutions and to devote themselves as far as is necessary to work and care for the good of all."

"people invested with legitimate authority" are those who, in most contemporary societies, engage in politics.

1898 "Every human community needs an authority to govern it."

Again, these are the politicians. The Church does not see them as entering into or assisting in Satan's realm.

1899 "The authority required by the moral order derives from God: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities."

Those in authority - politicians - can and ought to serve God precisely in the realm of politics.

1903 "Authority is exercised legitimately only when it seeks the common good of the group concerned and if it employs morally licit means to attain it."

Politicians who seek to serve the common god are, in fact, doing God's will.

Your notion that politics are the realm of Satan is not supported by the Church's own teaching.

Gene said...

Anonymous at 4:06, Christian politicians should certainly seek to embody the Church's teaching in their lives and works. That does not change the fact that the NT CLEARLY views political power and the realm of government as a realm that is passing away and under judgement. Our lives here and the Church's exhortation to live a Christian life should be viewed as eschatological statements, looking toward His return and renewal and as a statement to the world to repent and believe the Gospel. These are not instructions for constructing a Kingdom on earth.

"And the Devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, "To you, I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, shall worship me, it shall all be yours." (Luke 4:5-7) Notice that Jesus never questions Satan's ownership or his right to offer this.

Anonymous said...

All, Mr. Gene, is passing away.

The Church's teaching regarding living a Christian life is not merely eschatological. While all things are passing away, it in this world, in this creation, that we are called to be holy as our Heavenly Father is holy, which gives our mortal existence great value.

We are, in this present life, building up the kingdom of God. While it will not be completed in this existence, that is no excuse for not living in the here and now with values and behaviors that reflect the life to come.

We pray, do we not, "They kingdom come, Thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven..."?

Gene said...

Anonymous, I have no argument with that. It is still an eschatological proposition, else why do it at all?

Anonymous said...

Why do it at all, Mr. Gene?

Because we are call to build up the kingdom of God in this life. We do this knowing that, although this life will end, the kingdom begins here.

We are reminded many times in Scripture that "The kingdom of God is in your midst," or "The kingdom of God is at hand."

This is both a present time statement and an eschatological statement. There is not, properly understood, a separation nor a division between the two frames of existence. What happens here - our behavior - determines where we will spend eternity. Hence, we should build up the kingdom while we are in the flesh because that kingdom building behavior is pleasing to God and prepares us for the Final Judgment at the Eschaton.

Gene said...

Anonymous, we are talking around each other. The entire NT is an eschatological proposition. Eschatology is the driving force behind the Christian life and every thing you are talking about. However, there is, indeed, a separation between the two frames of is called sin. "The kingdom in your midst" is not a an indication that the Kingdom is fulfilled, and "the kingdom of God is at hand" is one of the most eschatological statements in all of Scripture...but, it means that it is proceeding from beyond us to fulfill and complete that kingdom within us, which is in our hearts and not in history. Certainly, in the Christological sense, it is already realized...Karl Barth has said, "The battle is over but there are still skirmishes and a few shots being fiored here and there."
We are like passengers on a salvation history Titanic (this world), well-built, well-intended, screwed up by an ice berg (sin) and sinking. But, we still behave with charity, tend to injured passengers, try to save all we can, and hope to be rescued. But, there is no need to re-arrange the deck chairs...that is called humanism.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gene - The present and the future are purview of the New Testament. Neither is preferred, neither is set aside. The goals of living a holy life are 1) in this world and 2) in the world to come. You can't have one without the other. Live an unholy life on this side of the tombstone and you'll be excluded from the kingdom.

No, "The Kingdom is in your midst" is most certainly not an indication that the kingdom is fulfilled. That is precisely what I said.

Gene said...

Well, Anonymous, let's drop it. I have a feeling we pretty much agree, but we can't quite seem to get it right.