Monday, October 23, 2017


Pope Francis is the most post-Vatican II authoritarian pope we've had. Even His Holiness' desire that power be shifted away from the Curia to bishops and bishops' conferences, is an act of an authoritarian pope.

I don't know how the curia worked prior to Vatican II but I doubt that they wheeled as much authority as they have since Vatican II. Others might want to comment on this.

Orthodox or traditional Catholics should applaud the restoration of papal supremacy for it is the most orthodox of teachings concerning the Supreme Pontiff in the Church:

Referring to the doctrine of Papal Supremacy the Catechism notes in paragraph 882, “the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." Paragraph 937 states, “"The Pope enjoys, by divine institution, 'supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls.'” (This is to be distinguished from the Infallibility, which is a supernatural gift whereby the recipient is shielded from teaching error as it pertains to the faith handed down to us by Christ). Before we examine some of the Biblical texts that reveal this supremacy, we need to point out that the Church, the family of God, is among other things a divinely ordained society and as in all societies there must be an authority whose word is final if chaos is to be avoided. The Jews, for example, had patriarchs, judges and the then kings as well as prophets. Other societies have authorities that govern have prime ministers, kings and presidents. Thus, ordinary human experience shows that the need for authority is primary, which is demonstrated by the fact that the “justification for the existence of authority is not that it works perfectly [for the authorities are sinners like us] or that it never makes mistakes, but simply the rule, ‘no authority, no society.’”

We should 100% support papal supremacy no matter the pope. It is a defined doctrine to say the least.

What this will do in the future is to assure that popes can undo what a predecessor has accomplished as Pope Francis has done since the moment of His Holiness election. No longer will popes need to respect what another pope had set into action or the direction for the Church he has initiated. 

Even progressive or heterodox Catholics are pleased with the restoration of papal supremacy under Pope Francis. We should join them and be united with them in upholding this important Catholic doctrine. 

The following comments from Praytell sum up my concern. When we complain about papal supremacy we become like heterodox Catholics who pick and choose which pope they will adore based upon cafeteria Catholicism. 

Orthodox Catholics cannot be cafeteria Catholics adoring popes we like and choosing not to follow popes we don't like, like the progressives do.  

Praytell comments:

 Earnie Bay says:
It really seems as though Cardinal Sarah is getting the same treatment as the other Cardinals who have dared to question Pope Francis… the Holy Father appears to have as much need for a prefect of the CDW as he had for the one at the CDF or of the Signatura. One wonders if Cdl. Sarah will have the good grace to resign forthwith… or whether the Pope will sack him, or leave him marginalized (on the periphery?), twisting slowly in the ‘vento Romano’… so much for “dialogue”!
Meanwhile there is “the dog that did not bark” in the persons of all of those who were so vocal in their criticisms of Pope Benedict for “not being a ‘liturgist’ ” despite his obvious knowledge of and love for the liturgy… his successor on the Throne of Peter makes no pretense to either and yet not a peep from the liturgical establishment about his qualifications or motivations.
Does he bear any responsibility for any of the present disquiet in the Church?

I can only speak for myself, but I support Pope Francis because, quite apart from whether he’s bothered with the writings of the liturgical establishment, he “gets” the liturgy like very few people I know – including me, to be honest.
The liturgy isn’t about liturgy. Nor is it about music – including the organ music and Latin chant and choral music I so dearly love. Nor is it about sacramental theology. Nor is it about building up the Church. (Those things all have their place, of course.)
The liturgy is about the Reign of God. This is the central preoccupation of all Jesus’ teaching and healing. This is to be the central concern of all of us, as we work for the transformation of the entire world into which the Reign of God is breaking.
It seems to me that Pope Francis gets this. In that sense, he’s the most liturgical of popes!

 Earnie Bay says:
Well, I guess that’s a point of view… I’m trying very hard to support Pope Francis myself but the whole package is very worrisome to me, and the apparent slapdown of Cdl. Sarah continues in the same vein: “Dialogue… but if I don’t like what you’re saying I’ll freeze you out”. “Mercy… but not for those who disagree with my novelties”. Canonize one predecessor and praise another, but oppose their magisterium as no pope in living memory has done… but I guess it’s OK if one agrees with the results. There are many Americans who feel the same way about their president…

Wait a minute, Earnie. I think you are misunderstanding some of the essential facts that are relevant here.
The situation with Sarah is not about dialogue. It’s Sarah’s job to present fairly what the Pope has said in his motu proprio, and to interpret it correctly so that others can understand it according to what Pope Francis actually said and intended. Sarah didn’t do this, so Francis corrected him. Sarah is not appointed to rule on liturgical questions his own, or to advance his personal opinions if they are opposed to the Pope’s. He is appointed as part of the Pope’s cabinet to assist the Pope. How can he do this if he misrepresents the Pope?
As for “novelties,” the Pope has explained (with chapter and verse) where and how his decision is based in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. It’s simply not a novelty. If anything was a novelty it was having the CDW micromanage the translation process, as Liturgiam authenticam directed. Same goes for what you are concerned about, re: the magisterium of his predecessors. I think you are underestimating the continuity between Francis and his predecessors, which is considerable. No pope is expected to be a carbon copy of the one before him.
I wonder if you have absorbed some false impressions about what Francis is actually doing, and this is causing you to be concerned.



John Nolan said...

Please stop copying chunks from the Ruff'n'Rita show. We can all access PrayTell even if we are barred from commenting on it, should we wish to do so - and mostly we don't.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Agreed. I refer to it as "Pray Sniff!"

Henry said...

Ditto, I'm not interested in reading any comments by Rita and RuffStuff, and certainly wouldn't bother to dignify them with further thoughts.

ByzRC said...

I'm not sure I wholly agree with this. Given what was written, its like we're saying its OK for the papacy to devolve into an office that doesn't support continuity through the ages but, rather, one where the ball is hit over the net by one style then, hit back over the net and changed with another style and on, and on... I suppose restoring papal supremacy is a good thing so long as it doesn't then compartmentalize each successive papacy as its own version of the Church driven by its own agenda. This type of papacy sounds more like an elected public official as opposed to the Vicar of Christ on Earth.

"Orthodox Catholics cannot be cafeteria Catholics adoring popes we like and choosing not to follow popes we don't like, like the progressives do." Orthodox Catholics want an Orthodox pope continuing the traditions of his predecessors back to the origins of the church. Orthodox Catholics are finding a way to live with the current rupture and, I don't think we are necessarily adoring popes like Benedict XVI though, I found him as a personality pretty easy to put into that category.

Orthodox Christians, on the other hand, don't have to deal with this. To be sure, their world isn't perfect and I'm positive they have their own progressives and liberals but, this doesn't seem to have affected the various patriarchiates the way it has affected the papacy. It must be wonderful getting through life without having to deal with what we've dealt with.

For those who say it's not about the liturgy, how, fundamentally, could it not be? It all starts there and the liturgy has been the favorite whipping boy for 50+ years now with the progressives on one side of the net and most who read/comment this blog on the other. Think about it, how can you push a progressive agenda providing latitude to those who are divorced/remarried and/or living an 'alternative' lifestyle and then have everyone show up on Sunday for traditional bells/smells type liturgy (a.k.a. stuffy). 2+2 !=4 - Bottom line, we are now in two very different churches and no matter how supreme a given pontiff chooses to be one way or the other, we are likely to stay that way.

ByzRC said...

I'm going to have to agree with John, TJM and Henry on this one. Additionally, as the PrayTell folks are on their side of the fence and most here on ours, we'll just be typing repetitive comments. I doubt, at this juncture, they would change their opinion about us and I'm certain I not likely change my opinion of them. Please consider limiting or, not posting from their site going forward.

Anonymous said...

It really is embarrassing to see that a person like Pope Francis would humiliate a man of such quality as Cardinal Sarah.

The Cardinal arguably possesses an incredible intellect as well as a humility that is edifying. He comports himself with dignity and gentleness and kindness.

Then we have Francis... What is there to say. He is a person of very little quality. He is a lumbering, intellectual lightweight who shows just how nasty he really is on a daily basis. His daily “homilies” given at his motel chapel are a scandal.

There is no comparison between the two.

I guess as a whole we deserve to be inflicted with a man such as Francis because the Church has been and continues to be unfaithful to Christ. Look at what is happening in Ireland. Look at what the Jesuits have done, the Maryknolls, Augustinians, etc, the numberless orders of nuns ...... all who have embraced and promote perversion while calling it merciful.

We should get down on our knees and thank God for a bishop like Cardinal Sarah and beat our breasts asking for forgiveness for being afflicted with a pope such as the one we have. We need to pray fast and do penance begging Our Lord to deliver us from that man. God bless Cardinal Sarah, Cardinal Burke etc. May God have mercy on Francis, Wuerl, Marx, Kasper, Daneels and the rest of the cabal.

But even amidst this raging storm Our Lord is in the boat. He has already won. He will allow only so much and then all those who have betrayed him and lead souls astray will have to answer for what they have done.

John Nolan said...

The Pope's authority, as defined by the first Vatican Council, is very much circumscribed. He may, or course, make changes to the Curia (it's his court after all). He, as the supreme legislator, can alter Canon Law - indeed no alterations can be made without his authority.

What he cannot do is alter doctrine, or even interpret it or develop it, according to his own predilections. He is bound to pass on the deposit of Faith, and is the servant of Tradition. He is also required to 'confirm the brethren' and remove any doubt.

It is simply nonsense to suggest that Pope Francis has restored 'papal supremacy'. His 'obiter dicta' can only be interpreted in the light of what the Church has always believed or taught. The reason why one pope cannot bind his successors is nothing to do with 'papal supremacy'; it is due to the fact that both are equally bound to pass on 'the revelation handed down through the Apostles, that is to say the deposit of Faith.'

Cardinal Marx suggested that the Synod fathers were wrong in putting Tradition above the authority of the Pope. This is outright heresy. What worries me about Pope Francis is that he appears to believe that the Holy Spirit is working through him to move the Church in a new direction, and his idea of Tradition is that it is something we work towards through dialogue, which seems to betray a fundamental ignorance at the very least.

Popes like Alexander VI were castigated for immorality and nepotism; those (whose numbers are increasing) castigate Francis for far more serious failings.

Anonymous said...

"What worries me about Pope Francis is that he appears to believe that the Holy Spirit is working through him to move the Church in a new direction, and his idea of Tradition is that it is something we work towards through dialogue, which seems to betray a fundamental ignorance at the very least."

From the beginning of the Church, our understanding of God's revelation, not the Truth contained therein, has developed and evolved.

Tradition refers both to the process of communication and its content.

"The tradition which comes from the apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts, through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For, as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her" (Dei Verbum 8).

Henry said...

"Popes like Alexander VI were castigated for immorality and nepotism; those (whose numbers are increasing) castigate Francis for far more serious failings."

I understand that, whatever his personal proclivities, history has judged Alexander VI to have governed the Church with efficiency and fidelity as pope.

I would suggest that a benevolent pope who governs the Church with fidelity to Tradition, defending and preserving the deposit of faith, is a good pope.

While a malevolent pope who governs the Church with a disdain for Tradition, pursuing personal initiatives rather than defending and preserving the deposit of faith, will be judged by history to have been a bad pope.

By this standard, has the Church ever had a worse pope than now?

Joe Potillor said...

As an Easterner, I must say the governance of Pope Francis acts quite contrary to the ethos of the East. We don't screw around with things just because. This Pope is doing more to prove the Orthodox right, than any other pope in history....I'll leave it at that.

TJM said...


I suspect there have been worse popes than the present one. However, I would heartily agree, that in my lifetime, I never saw anything like we're seeing now. I view Pope Francis finishing the demolition job Vatican Disaster II started.

ByzRC said...

Joe Potillor -

Amin! Amin! Amin!

Anonymous said...

As an Orthodox I will copy pretty much exactly what @Joe Potillor said. The Orthodox acknowledge the primacy of Rome but definitely not supremacy and absolutely not infallibility, as no one person can be infallible, if Rome could be infallible, why not Antioch?
I have to say that it is sad to stand in the distance and watch Rome burn, the branch broke away from the true Church and is now dying


Henry said...

TMJ: "I suspect there have been worse popes than the present one."

Why? Can anyone name a single one of the previous 265 popes whose words and actions repeatedly produced widespread confusion or doubt about long-standing Church doctrines. The absence of such example might suggest that the present pope is indeed the worst one in Church history. (As opposed to worse men who have been popes, of which there surely are numerous examples.)

TJM said...


I could do the research but I seem to recall that there have been a few Popes who spouted heresy and I believe they were deposed. I would agree, however, that because of the media and instant messaging, this Pope has caused a lot of confusion and serious damage which would have been extremely difficult to do heretofore. His nastiness toward Faithful Catholics seems to be unprecedented.

Henry said...


There have been popes (e.g., Honorius, John XXII) guilty of isolated heretical statements, but none before to my knowledge who have instigated moral confusion--in doctrines involving a wide range of the faithful--even remotely comparable to the current situation in the Church.

TJM said...


Your point is well taken but consider you are risking the wrath of a certain uber-ultramontanist who posts a lot of garbage here!

Henry said...


To survive this papacy, we'd all do well to remember that (in the recent words of one of the Church's most widely respected theologians, Fr. Aidan Nichols OP)

"It is NOT the position of the Roman Catholic Church that a pope is incapable of leading people astray by false teaching as a public doctor. He may be the supreme appeal judge of Christendom ... but that does not make him immune to perpetrating doctrinal howlers. Surprisingly ... this fact appears to be unknown to many who ought to know better."

The present pope with his innumerable "doctrinal howlers" may be leading more of the faithful further astray than any of his predecessors, but that alone does not make him a heretic.

TJM said...

Henry, just a bungler.