Sunday, May 27, 2018


It is interesting how progressives applaud a method of change which at its core is quite two-faced, dishonest and hypocritical; shall we say immoral?

Copied from Praytell:

Pope Francis’ cunning long game – UPDATED

 Pope Francis

Damon Linker is one of the most astute commentators there is on church and society. He writes about “Pope Francis’ cunning long game” in The Week:
If Pope Francis were a straightforward reformer, he would seek to change church doctrine regardless of the potentially dire consequences for church unity. But Francis is well aware of the limits of his power and the danger of pushing too far too fast. So he has set out on a different, and distinctive, path. … 
Instead of acting as an expositor of these core teachings of the church, the pope selectively diverges from them in his actions and statements wideigning to change the teachings themselves. The implicit message is the same in every case: The pope himself thinks it’s possible to be a member of the church in good standing while failing to abide by all of the institution’s rules. …
I think the pope’s strategy for a longer game displays greater psychological acuity — and Machiavellian cunning. Francis may be betting that once the church stops preaching those doctrines that conflict most severely with modern moral norms, the number of people who uphold and revere them will decline rapidly (within a generation or two). Once that has happened, officially changing the doctrine will be much easier and much less likely to provoke a schism (or at least a major one) than it is in the present.
That’s the great advantage of pursuing a strategy of stealth reform: The seed planted now with a minimum of conflict bears fruits in the future with even less.
It’s never been more obvious that this is precisely what Pope Francis has in mind.
OTOH, Andrew Sullivan offers a clarification on an essential point, suggesting that Pope Francis isn’t actually changing anything in this particular case. He writes (scroll down):
The idea that Francis’s love for a gay man as a gay man somehow rips apart the fabric of the church and implies that Francis is guilty of heresy is absurd. Francis is blessing an identity, not an act. But if the inclination always leads to an immoral act, isn’t the inclination itself sinful? The answer to that is no. Because being gay is not only or even mainly about sexual acts. It is also the only way some human beings can express exclusive love for another person. The reduction of gay people to what we do with our genitals is un-Christian.
… And that is all the Pope is saying to another human being. God made you the way you are, and loves you for it, and wants you to be happy as yourself. … It is so strange to me how so many nonbelievers can see in this Pope’s interaction with others the spirit of Jesus, and how so many of the most devout seem terrified by it.
I think Sullivan is probably right on this particular point. But Linker’s larger point would still hold: Francis is playing a “cunning long game” to change the Catholic church in significant ways. Read Linker’s whole column here


Gene said...

It is not we who define gay people by "what they do with their genitals," it is gays. They are the ones with the big gay marches with vulgar clothing (or none) and signs depicting sexual themes and acts. They are the ones who mock normal sexuality with their campy behavior and insitence on same-sex marriage. They are the ones who flaunt their disordered sexuality in public. The only identity they have or display is from the waist down.

Dan said...

Hmmmm.... doesn't Satan have a "cunning long game" as well?

Anonymous said...

"It is not we who define gay people by "what they do with their genitals," it is gays."

Yes, it is you. Gay men and lesbian women get up every day, get the kids off the school, go to work, volunteer for the Red Cross, take music lessons, visit their elders in nursing homes, hire/fire people in the businesses, participate in political town hall meetings, cook dinner, pay bills, call members of congress, and go to bed tired.

You see them not as whole people, but as people who are defined by what they do with their genitals.

Big marches and vulgar clothing are hardly limited to gays and lesbians. Ever see videos of spring break on the beaches of Florida, Alabama, Texas, etc. Lots of straight vulgarity there.

If you think lesbians are engaging in "campy behavior," you don't know what you're talking about.

TJM said...


You better be careful or the Gaystopo will come after you! Spot on as always.

rcg said...

Homosexuality is not wrong because some people act oddly. It is not excused because homosexuals can manage the rest of their behavior to be acceptable. The profession of love is not defined by a sex act. Even if both (or however many) enjoy the act it is not the purpose of the act to swap physical pleasure. This reduces the other person to a merchant and the expression of affection to barter. This is unacceptable for heterosexuals as well.

Mark Thomas said...

I have not experienced at my parish, as well as several parishes familiar to me, the "new" Church that His Holiness Pope Francis is supposed to have established.

Compared, for example, to Pope Benedict XVI's reign, I have not experienced at any parish any difference in the Faith that has been preached during the past five years.

Well, there is one difference: During the past few years, the Masses have become more "by the book".

During the 1970s through the 1990s, many priests improvised prayers...Masses were joke sessions...priests acted as entertainers.

During the past..oh, 10 years...younger priests have restored solemnity to Novus Ordo Masses offered at parishes familiar to me.

Other than the manner in which Masses are offered today, I have not perceived any great difference, as compared to Pope Benedict XVI's reign, in regard to my overall religious experience as a Catholic.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

How can a schism form among "remnant faithful" Catholics? If a Catholic is "faithful," then he or she will always maintain communion with the Pope.


Mark Thomas

Dan said...

Mark Thomas, so I gather you did not read the article.

Gene said...

"Gay men and lesbian women get up every day, get the kids off the school, go to work, volunteer for the Red Cross, take music lessons, visit their elders in nursing homes, hire/fire people in the businesses, participate in political town hall meetings, cook dinner, pay bills, call members of congress, and go to bed tired."...Stopping occasionally during their busy day to play pink train in the tummy tunnel and drill for mud bunnies...

Anonymous said...

."...Stopping occasionally during their busy day to play pink train in the tummy tunnel and drill for mud bunnies..."

And there's the proof that you "define gay people by what they do with their genitals."

Yeah, you just did.

Marc said...

Dan, if you believed the pope was a living oracle, as Mark does, why would you ever read anything else?

Anonymous said...

Andrew Sullivan's latest in New York magazine:

"Why We Should Say Yes to Drugs"

In the article he opines on psychedelic experiences as related to love.

He is openly gay, in a same sex marriage, and is characterized as a practising Roman Catholic.

All in all, he is not the person to use as a reference for Catholic teaching.

Fr Martin Fox said...

It was remarkable to see PrayTell applaud an article that, in turn, applauds the pope for setting in motion the overturning of those teachings of Christ that modern sensibilities find uncongenial.

I guess PrayTell has "come out of the closet," as it were.

Gene said...

Anon @ 2:30, Just following their lead. Your trite description of their daily activities is meaningless. I'm sure John Wayne Gacy, Wayne Williams, the Zodiak Killer, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, the Rosenbergs, and David Koresh all did many of the same things. Their behavior is abnormal, immoral, disordered, condemned in Holy Scripture and you and they want us to accept it as normal, even laudable. You are truly a nut case with a veneer of rationality.

Tom Makin said...

Would that this not be true...the cunning long game...but this is a very logical explanation for what Francis is doing. He is a Jesuit after all and Machiavelli had nothing on them. He played "rope a dope" with the regimes in Argentina and is playing the same now with the Curia. In the end, he has succeeded where FDR "packing the College of Cardinals" so as to ensure this "long game" ends as he would have it.

Anonymous said...

No, Gene, I'm just pointing out that you define gays and lesbians by what they do with their genitals.

You conveniently overlook ANY other aspect of their lives and focus on one.

That's how YOU define them. It is not how they define themselves.

George said...

There are people who engage in breaking the law (whether man or God's) who in the greater part of their day-to day existence are involved in doing things which are little different from anyone else. So what? If one who burglarizes homes is occupied in doing so only 5% of the time, does the 95% of the time the person otherwise leads a normal life mitigate his criminal and sinful activity? Is the person not defined by the evil done, no matter that most of the time he is not engaged in that endeavor? A person is defined by what he or she does, whether it is in a vocational occupation or in the kind of life they live.

So it is also for practicing homosexuals, since by act which denotes what they are characterized as, their sinful actions can be reasonably inferred. The Catholic Church, in ever conforming to what she teaches, cannot in any way accommodate that which violates God's Holy law. The Church admonishes the sinner but also prays for, encourages, and provides the means for practicing homosexuals and other sinners to lead a life which conforms to what God desires of all of us. While it is true that a a married heterosexual can engage in acts which are sinful, it is always present to them that they can avail themselves of an act which is not sinful and is therefore in conformance to what God intended and desires. This is not true of those in a same sex "marriage", since the sexual act those in such an arrangement engage in, violates both moral law and natural law and is always sinful.

Anonymous 2 said...

Those who are minded to equate sinful homosexual conduct with the sinful acts of burglary or genocide when confronted with “holistic” arguments regarding homosexual persons might want to consider that the CCC contains no provision applicable to burglars or genocidal mass murderers similar to CCC 2358, quoted recently on another thread:

"The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."

There must be a good reason for this difference.

Moreover, even regarding those committing the most heinous criminal acts we might want to recall Bryan Stevenson’s words in “Just Mercy” that “each of us is more than the worst thing we have ever done.”

More broadly, are these instances, then, for application of the admonition to love the sinner but hate the sin, with what love actually requires varying between the cases?

George said...

There are those of the school of thought and of the conviction so prevalent in the world today, that one can reject a portion of Church teaching while accepting most of it, and this is therefore an acceptable position. And so you have some today who decide what is sinful, not according to what God has revealed to His Holy Church, but according to what in their darkened intellect and spiritual state is considered what by them is to be obeyed.
This of course is not how it is in the realms, domains and disciplines of man. Is a person not to be subject to arrest and prosecution for committing a crime simply because the person obeys all other laws except for the one he broke? Is the person who pays all the taxes he owes except for one, not then to be subject to penalties and fines because he paid all but the one?
God' s laws are above man's, and so it is therefore of the utmost importance that we obey them and strive with every effort to do so, without considering ourselves as not being bound to obey that which others are required to. Our consolation is in knowing that if we repent and confess of our trangressions, God in His mercy will forgive us.

Mark Thomas said...

"Damon Linker is one of the most astute commentators there is on church and society," according to Father Ruff, OSB.

Via Mr. Linker's "astute" analysis of Pope Francis' Pontificate, we learn that Pope Francis has a "cunning long game" stealth strategy to change Church doctrine.

If Mr. Linker is to be believed, then Pope Francis is "two-faced, dishonest and hypocritical; shall we say immoral?"

The problem is that Mr. Linker's "astute" analysis of Pope Francis does not correspond to reality.

The fact is that Cardinal Sarah, for example, is far more expert in rendering an analysis of Pope Francis.

In tremendous contrast to Mr. Linker's analysis in question, Cardinal Sarah has declared that Pope Francis has "openly and vigorously defends Church teaching on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, reproductive technologies, the education of children and much more."

That is the authentic Pope Francis.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

"Damon Linker is one of the most astute commentators there is on church and society," according to Father Ruff, OSB.

Mr. Linker is a man whose "astute" understanding of "church and society," as well as Pope Francis, is to be taken seriously, according to Father Ruff, OBS.

Well, I reject Mr. Linker's analysis of Pope Francis' Pontificate.

Mr. Linker has a vested interest to spin Pope Francis in such fashion as to cast credibility upon Mr. Linker's agenda.

What Father Ruff did not reveal is that...

-- Damon Linker supports the homosexual lobby's same-sex marriage agenda.

"Let me be perfectly clear about where I stand. I support gay marriage and am cheered to see it becoming so widely accepted around the country so quickly."

-- Damon Linker supports legalized abortion.

Twitter, 12:06 PM - 14 Mar 2018:

"I'm not at all "pro-abortion" in a personal/moral sense, but I think abortion should be legal through the first trimester and probably until near-viability."

-- Damon Linker declared that "when Catholics and Mormons bring into the political realm the authoritarian elements of their faith, it threatens to circumvent norms of democratic deliberation."

I don't take seriously Damon Linker's analysis of Pope Francis.

I don't take seriously the idea that Damon Linker is an "astute commentator on church..."


Mark Thomas

Charles G said...

@Mark Thomas. You sound just like those Episcopalians who for years said their parish was OK, none of the leadership’s liberal anti Christian craziness there. But all the time the worms were burrowing away through the wood, and eventually one no longer had a “Christian” church to speak of...

Mark Thomas said...

If Damon Linker's analysis of Pope Francis is accurate, then the Vicar of Christ is "two-faced, dishonest and hypocritical; shall we say immoral?"

That does not correspond to that which I've observed from Pope Francis. He is a loyal son of Holy Mother Church.

Damon Linker, and those who adhere to his analysis of Pope Francis, paint a bleak picture of Pope Francis. In effect, they portray him as a destructive, monstrous liar.

They are akin to right-wing Catholics who despise Pope Francis to the point that they pretend that Pope Benedict XVI is Pope.

If said right-wingers are to be believed, then Pope Benedict XVI lied about his reasons for resigning as Pope. He is aware that Pope Francis is an imposter.

The right-wingers in question have rendered Pope Benedict XVI into a vile man. That alone spurs me to dismiss as nonsense their claims in question in regard to Cardinal Ratzinger.

Damon Linker and his ilk — those who pretend that Pope Francis is, in effect, conning the Faithful via the Pope's supposed "stealth" remake of the Faith — in effect, have rendered Pope Francis into a vile man. That alone spurs me to dismiss as nonsense their claims in question about His Holiness Pope Francis.

What we're dealing with in the above instances is conspiracy theory fantasies.

We are supposed to believe that Pope Benedict XVI conned the Faithful into believing that he had resigned as Pope...but is aware that he is the real Pope.

We are supposed to believe that Pope Francis has conned the Faithful in that via two-faced, destructive, immoral methods, His Holiness has plotted to overthrow the Faith.

That is the nonsense that the two camps in question have asked us to accept in regard to Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope Francis.

Each camp in question actually works to undermine not only Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope Francis, but ultimately, Holy Mother Church.


In regard to Pope Francis, I stand with Cardinal Sarah who declared that His Holiness "openly and vigorously defends Church teaching on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, reproductive technologies, the education of children and much more."


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

My diocese, during Pope Francis' supposed "revolutionary" reign, has ordained several men to the priesthood.

The men in question were formed in a Novus Ordo seminary.

They, at least the ones I've encountered, offer Mass according to the reverent fashion.

They promote Confession. They promote popular devotions. They promote holiness.

Via their sermons, they have referenced Pope Francis regularly and in positive fashion.

They have exhorted the Faithful to listen to and obey Pope Francis.

They very much are, to employ in positive fashion, a term used by right-wingers in negative fashion...


In light of the above, where is the "new Church," that Pope Francis has foisted supposedly upon us?

The parishes near me defend and promote the Faith.

Other than the more reverent manner in which, as compared to older priests I've encountered, the younger "FrancisPriests" have offered Masses — Deo gratias for that — I have not encountered a Church that differs greatly from the Church that I had encountered during Pope Benedict XVI's reign.

Where is the supposed revolutionary Church that Pope Francis has created?


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Charles G...

If that is how I sound, then so be it.

I don't accept Damon Linker's analysis of Pope Francis

I stand with Holy Mother Church via my communion with and obedience to His Holiness Pope Francis. Pope Francvis has defended and promoted the True Religion.


Mark Thomas

Fr Martin Fox said...

Everyone in this thread is either focusing on what this article says about Mr. Linker or the Holy Father.

What interests me is what the way it was presented at PrayTell, says about PrayTell.

Mark Thomas said...

Based upon conversations that I've had with seminarians assigned to parishes near me, Pope Francis had best step up his supposed "stealth" program designed to create a new Church.

That is, the seminarians in question, all of whom have spoken in positive fashion about Pope Francis, are orthodox in the Faith...and have a great desire to transmit the True Faith to each person they encounter.

By the way, Pope Francis' "stealth" program in question isn't very hush-hush as Damon Linker and his ilk claim to know that His Holiness is determined to overthrow Church teachings.


Mark Thomas

John Nolan said...

No schism. The Pope will die and speculation about his supposed agenda will die with him. The cardinals, even those he has appointed, will make their decision based less on the perceived orthodoxy or holiness of the candidate, but on geopolitical factors. An Italian is therefore ruled out, as is a Polish or German replacement. If they pick Africa, then Turkson will be chosen over Sarah. If Asia, then Tagle (God forbid!) will trump Ranjith.

I am no longer interested in whatever PF has to say. Like Mark Thomas, I see evidence of renewal at grass-roots level, and that is enough for me.

George said...


I have worked with persons who identify as homosexuals and in fact even with a person in a same sex "marriage". In no way did I, or do I, interact with, or treat such persons any different than anyone else. If nothing else, one can pray for them.

A person with an inclination to kleptomania who steals someone's property is subject to arrest and prosecution according to man's law, although it is possible the person's punishment may be reduced and include psychological treatment. Likewise, a person with an inclination to nymphomania who engages in prostitution is like wise subject to arrest and prosecution. The difference in the above and those who engage in homosexual acts is that the latter is not a criminal offense, at least in our country. What is the same in all three cases is that each person is (or will be) subject to the judgement of God, as we all are and will be. There is the hope for all of us that God in His mercy will consider mitigating factors in His judgement. Still, it is imperative that the Church exhorts all to practice the virtue of chastity, since whatever the subjective mitigating circumstances, the homosexual act and other sinful sexual acts are always objectively gravely wrong and so stand in opposition to the infinite Holiness of God.

I have no dispute with CCC 2358, but nothing in the Catechism negates what is in Holy Scripture, which the Church many centuries ago authoritatively and infallibly decided was the revealed and inspired Word of God. This includes passages in the Pauline letters on homosexual behavior. Now there are those today who will contextualize what St Paul wrote in Romans, but he and the ones he preached to were well aware of the pagan practices prevalent among the Greco-Roman inhabitants of their time. He knew that to become submerged in the homosexual lifestyle was to risk being trapped in a sinful condition from which it would be difficult to extricate oneself.
What Paul wrote was the truth and what was true then is true today, and will be true tomorrow. He knew that he would have to answer to God if he did not exhort his listeners to avoid what was sinful and to instead strive for holiness.

Anonymous 2 said...


Thank you for the thoughtful response.

Last night I was reading about Dante. As I understand it, in Dante’s charting of the moral universe, sexual sins were the least serious and therefore those committing them were only in the Second Circle of Hell (with the prospect of mitigated punishment over time) (resonances here, I think, with Father McDonald’s intimations on earlier threads regarding the possible “gradation” of mortal sins). Dante’s treatment of homosexuals seems ambiguous (with indications both that homosexual sexual sins were on a par with heterosexual sins as well as that they were worse as being instances of violence (against nature)). What fascinates, and troubles me, in all this, however, is that in Dante’s universe sins of deception seem to be viewed as worse than either. Today the opposite seems to be true.

What happened? Why is is that we are so prepared to normalize, and give a pass to, lying and deception? Why aren’t we Catholics on a “crusade” against lying and deception as much as we are against “pelvic matters” (to quote a phrase)? Have we become morally corrupted in this respect? I haven’t researched the CCC on lying and deception. I am talking about the general “cultural” attitude of Catholics as evidenced, for example, by the apparent willingness of some commentators on this Blog to excuse lying and deception on the part of their preferred political leaders. For myself, I wouldn’t excuse any of them, not a one, and that goes for the media too. My sensibilities are much closer to my understanding of Dante in this respect.

I certainly stand to be corrected in my understanding of Dante but be that as it may, the question remains.

Charles G said...

Dear Anonymous 2,

Please advise where I might find this alleged “crusade” about “pelvic matters” in the current age? The only crusade I see is being conducted to normalise and enforce celebration of sexual sins, both within and without the Church.

TJM said...

GOLDEN CALF ALERT: This news should send MT to the emergency room:

BREAKING - Scandal: A Bishop "Married" with Children Will Be Created Cardinal by Francis (Exclusive in English). Story is carried on Rorate Caeli

Anonymous 2 said...

Charles G,

You could begin by comparing the relative coverage of sexual sins and sins of deception in the posts and comments on this blog. Beyond that, perhaps you could advise_me_on where I can find coverage of the latter in Catholic social media sources. As always, I stand to be corrected in my perception of relative disparity of coverage.

Gene said...

Anon 2, God created man and woman for each other. The Bible is a very sexual/fertile book, often rather explicit, and many of the most significant events in Scripture are related to sexuality (gender is today's popular word). The sexual sins were particularly condemned because Scripture understands that our sexual drives are such elemental processes. The continuing existence of the Hebrew race depended upon reproduction. Indeed, the virility of King David was the determining factor of whether he could continue as King...they brought the fetching young Abishag into his tent and put her in bed with David..."but, David knew her not." So, Solomon became King (I'm glad they did not use this test for Bill Clinton or he would still be President). Then, we have the Virgin Birth, transcending sexual relations between man and woman and establishing God's initiative in which man had no part other than Mary's obedience. So, to dismiss these issues as "pelvic" is not only sophomoric and cynical, it is a denial of an elemental thrust (sorry) of Holy Scripture. Shame on you...

TJM said...



Anonymous 2 said...


I do understand your point and it would be well taken were it not that Father McDonald himself used, or perhaps even coined, the phrase "pelvic issues" in earlier posts. Here are a couple of examples:

So, my intent was not to be sophomoric, cynical, or dismissive in any way but to use terminology that would be readily familiar to readers of the Blog, or at least so I thought. That is why I added “to quote a phrase” in parentheses. You must have forgotten this history, although you should know me well enough by now to know that it is not my nature to be those things.

As usual, I appreciate your Scriptural exegesis on this topic (as well as your pun!), but I would very much like to get your take on the Dante point too. Indeed, given how well read you are, I was rather hoping that you especially would engage with me on this point. As I think we have discussed before, the current apparently widespread disregard for the truth and lack of honesty is deeply troubling to me. Because of this phenomenon especially, I fear for the future of our Republic, and clearly I am not alone in this.

Charles G said...

Dear Anon 2,

I don’t know why it should be either or, all sin is of concern. In terms of sexual sins, it may be that any particular sinful act is of lesser importance than other sins, but they are so common that collectively they do have a great impact our spiritual health, and can lead to sexual addiction and bad habits as well.

Anonymous 2 said...

Dear Charles G:

I take your point. But still the focus is on sexual sins and no-one has yet engaged with me on sins of deception. Why is this? Surely it can be said of them, too, that “they are so common that collectively they do have a great impact our spiritual health, and can lead to . . . bad habits as well.”