Thursday, November 16, 2023


I think that most who read my blog, or at least comment, agree that Pope Francis' agenda for the Church is a dead-end and that the next pope will have to do to Pope Francis what Pope Francis has done to both St. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. The new pope will have to cancel the previous papacy. Hopefully it won't be as hurtful and what Pope Francis did to the previous two popes.

Neo-traditionalism is not the way forward, but the way forward allows for the older form of the Mass and sacraments. But evangelical Catholicism is more in line with the forward looking papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, properly interpreting Vatican II, correcting any time-constrained issues no longer applicable in today's world and evaluating what went well with the poor implementation of Vatican II and what did not. That means changing course, making a course correction.

The next pope will have to emphasize over and over and over again that Catholics do not worship Vatican II, syndodality or the world, especially fads, social trends, sentimentality and anti-intellectualism. We see the Deposit of Faith as a grace from God, practical, concrete, out in the open for anyone to discover, not a select few through a parliamentary process.

Evangelical Catholicism means forming the laity in Catholic orthodoxy and apologetics to be able to live the Catholic Faith in a hostile world, die for the Church if needed but more importantly to help convert the world to the saving mission of Jesus Christ and the eternal life he alone makes possible by his passion, death and resurrection.

Clergy and laity are not going to proselytize the world but attract the world to the clarity of Truth of the true Church by the manner of their lives and the love they show even to the worst sinner. 

Catholic parishes will be hotbeds of ministries to keep Catholics and make them stronger. They will be hospitable and help Catholics to form small support groups for community, catechesis and outreach to each other and the poor.

The Liturgies of the Church will be imminent and transcendent, reverent, otherworldly and splendid, a respite from the noise of the world and the work of evangelization, but an energizer too!

This is Fr. John McCloskey's summary of John Allen's Evangelical Catholicism written in 2010, the year we need to recover and then go forward.

 In his chapter on evangelical Catholicism, (John) Allen waves the white flag of surrender to 50 years of liturgical, doctrinal, and sacramental confusion dating from the proliferation of poorly applied teachings from the misunderstood Second Vatican Council. As Allen puts it, "The defining features of evangelical Catholicism are, a clear embrace of traditional Catholic thought, speech, and practice, the usual word for which is ‘orthodoxy'; eagerness to proclaim one's Catholic identity to the world, emphasizing its implication for culture, society, and politics; faith seen as a matter of personal choice rather than cultural inheritance."

In short, what we are seeing is a dropping out of the lukewarm and "dissenters" from the visible Church in the face of resurgent, vital, orthodox Catholicism. One in 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic, one of the greatest mass apostasies in the history of the Church. The Church of the future will be evangelizing and self-confident--considerably smaller but much more powerful in its effect on American culture and society as mainline Protestantism continues its almost 500-year-long death march to oblivion, giving way before the mainly non-denominational free-standing mega-churches that rely on enthusiasm and private interpretation of the Bible.

The chapter on expanding lay roles allows Allen a different way to approach the reality that 98.5 percent of the Church's faithful are not bishops, priests, or deacons but rather the laity. Allen writes: "What makes lay roles a major trend in the twenty-first-century is that the laity is emerging as protagonists both inside and outside the Church. Internally lay people are occupying ministerial and administrative positions once held almost exclusively by priests. Externally, lay people are taking it upon themselves to evangelize culture and to act on Catholic social teaching. It is this one-two punch, lay ministers inside the Church and lay activists on the outside, that constitutes the trend."

The central teaching of the Second Vatican Council is the universal call to holiness. For the large majority of Catholics, this means holiness is to be pursued (and can be attained) primarily in the everyday world of family, work, leisure, and politics, which inevitably influences contemporary culture. It may take until the end of this century for this first and primary role for the laity to be grasped and put into effect. Allen examines the dozens of lay movements that, approved by the Vatican, all with their proper charisms, personify this approach to the role of the laity in the Church. In some ways these movements can be likened to Pre-Constantine Christians who put little emphasis on structure but rather lived their Christianity in their family life, work, friendship, and works of charity, inspired by a faith that made them willing to bear witness even until death. However, one need not be a member of a lay movement to live out fully one's Christian faith in the world.


Paul said...

A new pope to "cancel" the Francis pontificate??!!

Strong words!

Fr Martin Fox said...

Just to be clear, nothing bad is happening, it's all an illusion created by those traddie poopy-heads.

But if anything bad is happening. it is impossible that any of it could be Pope Francis' fault, because that's just absurd.

Here's what Vatican II had to say:

"As for the rest, this sacred Synod is confident that its issuance of these instructions and norms will be gladly accepted and religiously kept by all the Church's children."

Inter Mirifica, paragraph 24.


On the other hand, every good thing is even more obviously due to Pope Francis. I mean, how could it be otherwise?

Again, consider these words from Abraham Lincoln:

"In The End, It's Not The Years In Your Life That Count. It's The Life In Your Years."

See? Crystal clear!


Tark Mhomas

rcg said...

Along those lines, what bad would happen if we cancelled Vatican II? Was there anything in it that was unique or new and that we could not live without. In the charitable sense, is it the manner by which Vatican II was implemented, or things that claimed to be of Vatican II but weren't, that we can live as well or better without?

TJM said...

Francis should have an asterisk after his name, anti-pope

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

RCG, we can’t cancel Vatican II and I hate that Pope Francis has canceled the progress that Popes JPII and B16 made to return us to the chaos of the Church in 1978. That should not have happened and Pope Francis has set a miserable example in doing it.

Vatican II properly interpreted and adjusted is what is needed and B16 was doing that as did JPII. We needed a more pastoral Church. I grew up in the Bible Belt and my Protestant friends, meaning their parents, always thought that priests were out of touch with people, distant, aloof and doctrinaire. Catholic priests were seen a cultic figures, not as pastors or pastoral. Pope Francis is correct in promoting a pastoral Church and clergy. Where he veers off the road is that he enables sins rather than calls it out in terms of gender ideologies and sexuality. I have never heard him speak about traditional Catholic sexuality and the pursuit of chastity. That ain’t pastoral either.

We needed a more vernacular liturgy, but not the overhaul we had, but some things needed adjustment, especially pontifical Masses and papal Masses.

That’s my 2 cents worth.

ByzRus said...

My view, we're embarking on a vicious circle of cancellation where succeeding popes cancel each other out in pursuit of their personal goals. I hope I'm wrong as that is bad governance to an nth.

Will some of this papacy be cancelled? Perhaps unless Mark Thomas leads a crusade into the Vatican reminiscent of a Chairman Mao rally. He could preside over both the cultural revolution and re-education campaign.

Agree, we can't cancel VII as much as I would like to get through the remainder of my earthly existence without ever hearing about it again. Ever. Perhaps VIII will need to occur just to once and for all shake off that moment in time. No public company would be allowed to exist this long and in this state without a shareholder revolt followed by an avalanche of class-action lawsuits.

Agree, neo this and that is counterproductive. By definition, "neo" things look like something else yet oftentimes lack the substance that drew people to the original. The Church needs to reclaim its patrimony, stop talking so much and start praying again. Detractors might say I'm wrong, the Church never stopped praying. True, in part, but through my Eastern lens, RC's are almost hopelessly preoccupied where we, and a good portion of non-RC Christendom is not. In my very humble opinion, precious time is being wasted.

TJM said...


Excellent commentary! Yes we are supposed to believe everything is well when it isn’t. The Pope and his minions are contumaciously stubborn in clinging to a failed experiment. Sadly this will not change until they are dead and buried!

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald said..."... I hate that Pope Francis has canceled the progress that Popes JPII and B16 made to return us to the chaos of the Church in 1978."

I just hope that Pope Francis does not return us to the horrific Church-related chaos that, in 2005 A.D., then-Cardinal Ratzinger had described.

Following nearly 27 years of Pope Saint John Paul II's Pontificate, then-Cardinal Ratzinger insisted that the Church had collapsed spiritually, was engulfed in chaos, and via additional writings, insisted that the Latin Church had long been mired in a state of liturgical collapse.

Then-Cardinal Ratzinger, 2005 A.D: "How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency!"

"What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation...Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side."

"In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion."


What an horrific state into which the Church in 2005 A.D. had collapsed, according to then-Cardinal Ratzinger.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

In addition to 1978 A.D., as well as 2005 A.D., let us not return to 1986 A.D, at least if we are to accept Archbishop Lefebvre's horrific view of Pope Saint John Paul II's Pontificate.

Archbishop Lefebvre, December 2, 1986 A.D:

"Indeed, it is clear that since the Second Vatican Council, the Pope and the Bishops are making more and more of a clear departure from their predecessors...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. John Paul II encourages the false religions to pray to their false gods — an immeasurable, unprecedented scandal."

Actually, based upon horrific declarations issued by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, as well as Archbishop Lefebvre, we would do well not return to the years 1978 A.D. to 2005 A.D.

The Church, from 1978 A.D. to 2005 A.D., existed in a state of terrible scandal, confusion, as well as spiritual/liturgical collapse, according to then-Cardinal Ratzinger, as well as Archbishop Lefebvre.


Mark Thomas

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

MT, interesting that you make no comment on evangelical Catholicism that evolved under both JPII and Benedict XVI. John Allen, quite a progressive and reporter for the National Catholic Reporter underwent a conversion that enabled him to embrace the evangelical Catholic movement. I suspect he still leans toward it because its basis in Vatican II but clarity of teaching and equipping the laity to defend the faith not want to change it. It isn’t about whining Catholicism that we have seen in the recent self-referential Synod on synodality to allow progressives to vent their spleens and whine about the changes they want in the church.

Unknown said...

Imagine thinking that the Church is in better shape now than it was in 18 years ago. It's the ecclesial inverse of Reagan's landslide re-election.