The substance of Pope Francis

Crowd mobs papal car in Rio

Crowd mobs papal car in Rio

The following comes from a July 29 story by Michael Sean Winters in the National Catholic Reporter.

In the four months of Pope Francis’ still young pontificate, and throughout the past week during World Youth Day in Rio, there has been a great deal of commentary on the new pope’s style. It is now obvious that the style is the substance.

Pope Francis is known for his accessibility. That was on full display as he arrived in Rio, when the motorcade took a wrong turn down one of the marginals that lined the boulevard and got stuck in traffic. His car was swarmed with people wanting to reach out to him. The security detail looked very, very nervous. The pope, who declined to roll up his window, looked elated. In the press interview he gave on the plane back from Rio to Rome, he had this to say: “The climate in [Rio de Janiero] was spontaneous…I could be close to the people, greet them, embrace them, without armored cars. During the entire time there wasn’t a single incident. I realize there’s always the risk of a crazy person, but having a bishop behind bulletproof glass is crazy too. Between the two, I prefer the first kind of craziness.”

Crowds at Copacabana

Crowds at Copacabana

This should not be dismissed as a stylistic point. Indeed, in his talks in Rio, he repeatedly called upon the Church’s bishops, priests and laity to get out into the highways and byways, to be with the people, especially the marginalized and the poor. He did not say that this would yield more vocations, a bigger collection, or stem the tide of secularism. He said – and he evidenced in his own behavior – that accessibility is no mere functionalism. The result is not the point. The point is that this is what it means to be a Christian. As he told the young people in the final Mass yesterday, the Master ordered His followers to go and make disciples, He did not say “if you feel like it” or “if you have the time.”

Another obvious dynamic in this pontificate is the way the Pope has held up the social doctrine of the Church. This is not merely a change in emphasis, this is content. Pope Francis tells us repeated, in his words but even more so in his deeds, that the Church’s concern for the poor, our thirst for justice, our calls to re-fashion political and economic systems so that they are more humane, this is one of the principal ways we witness to the fact that Christ is alive. It is not an add-on to the Christian creed, it is integral to the Christian creed.

As a friend pointed out to me this weekend, all justice is social. True enough. But, it has been one of the characteristics of a variety of Catholic apostolate to essentially accept the economic and political rules of the game as determined by others, and then do our best to get along. In the face of this syncretism, Pope Francis calls for a revolution. It is not enough for the apologists of modern capitalism to point out that it has lifted many people out of poverty: It has left many more millions in poverty. In the early 1980s, I remember an editorial in The New Republic that said of Marxism that it should no longer be evaluated based on its theoretical claims but on how those who live in Marxist regimes prosper or not. Marxism was a moral and human failure. Sadly, so too is modern capitalism. The Pope sees this and sees it clearly. He does not criticize capitalism merely because of its results, although clearly to him, the “creative destruction” that capitalist apologists tout is to Francis more about the destruction than the creativity. He criticizes modern capitalism because it shapes a culture of greed, creates idols that de-humanize, and encourages a hyper-materialistic view of human happiness.

Many have noted that the pope did not mention the word “abortion” in his many talks in Rio. I think we know what Pope Francis thinks about abortion, but I suspect that he understands that it has become an “issue” and, just so, politicized in ways that frustrate any amelioration of this great evil. I suspect, too, that if the Church had spent the past fifty years talking about abortion as a social justice concern and not as an issue of sexual morality, we might have had a more fruitful result. Whatever has motivated Pope Francis not to mention abortion explicitly, undoubtedly, he intends to confront it differently. We do not know what shape that will take. But, it is a blessing to see the pope decline to keep beating his head against the wall.

A third dynamic quality of this pontificate in which the style is the substance is the pope’s commitment to dialogue. In his talk with civic and cultural leaders, Pope Francis said that when people ask his advice about something, he always replies “dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.” The pope is not making a methodological point, or at least not primarily a methodological point. This is about the proper stance of a Christian to the world. This is about that deeper sense of conscience, beyond discerning right from wrong, in which we entrust ourselves to Christ in such a way that we find ourselves engaging other people differently, leading with love and openness to the gift that person has to bring to us, creating a “culture of encounter” as Francis called it, touching upon Levinas’ observation that conscience is the moral challenge posed by the face of another.

How often we fail to do this! How often I fail to do this! Papa Francesco admitted that he often fails to do this! But, we see here, as we saw in his open window amidst the crowd, a man of deep faith, someone who has all the security that comes from having abandoned himself to the Lord, someone who in our midst is living out the Lord’s maxim that he who loses his life for Christ’s sake will find it. Dialogue can be frustrating. It can lead nowhere. It can be invoked as a smokescreen to avoid resolving an issue that must be resolved. “God so loved the world that he did not send a committee.” But, dialogue, real dialogue, is the stance proper to a Christian as he or she engages the world.

I wonder how differently the debate over same sex marriage might have been these past ten or fifteen years if the leaders of the Church had actually sat down with gay people and asked them what they wanted. I wonder what would have happened if we had said, “We will work with you to guarantee that you get benefits, we will affirm your human dignity.” How different the debate would have been if our bishops had said what Francis said about homosexuals on the plane: “Who am I to judge?” Again, I do not want to reduce the call for dialogue to a kind of functionalism, suggesting that a better outcome would have justified the method, although I think it would have. The Pope is calling us to something deeper here.

The depth is seen, too, in his repeated calls to the Church’s pastors to change the way we view the Church, especially to end the evil of clericalism. In his address to the Brazilian bishops and later to the leaders of CELAM, not once did he blame others for the woes of our times. He urged the bishops to ramp up their game. He urged the priests to go out of the doors of their churches and into their neighborhoods to be with the people. He did not blame secularizing forces or Pentecostals or anyone. He said, “We can do better,” and then proceeded to show how to do better. It should surprise no one that he drew three million people to the beach. Will the bishops follow his lead? Will they see how he is modeling a different type of leadership in the Church?…

To read the entire story, click here.



  1. Many of us have been urging our Bishops and Parish Priests to teach and save Souls for some time.
    However the ban on the “National Catholic REPORTER” has not been lifted by Bishop Finn due to their support for heresy and schism and relativism, and their support for sacrilegious Catholic politicians. This ban has been in place since the 1960’s and was renewed in 2013. Same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception, Obama and Obamacare, women Priests – are just a few of their more recently printed outrages – while pretending to be Catholic, and illicitly using the name “Catholic” without their Bishop’s permission.

    It would be better if we all ignored the “REPORTER”. We can get our news and impressions from faithful forms of media.
    The “Reporter” does not support reading the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition”.

    • 4unborn says:

      I agree. Getting homosexual couples benefits enables them to commit homosexual acts. Pope Francis loves the sinner, but hates the sin. Now that he has recently emphasized the former, I hope that he reiterates the latter.

      • Uh, 4, homosexuals will commit homosexual acts whether or not they are given health insurance benefits.
        Do you REALLY think they would live chaste lives just because their employer doesn’t offer benefits?!?

    • Francis says:

      “This ban has been in place since the 1960′s and was renewed in 2013” is not quite factual. There has been no “ban” but a demand by the bishop and the diocese to not use the name “Catholic.” Animosity between the Reporter and the diocese since 1968 has not been continuous. In 2013, following Bishop Finn’s conviction of failure to report child abusers under his control, the paper called on him to resign, and that’s why he re-issued the demand that they stop calling themselves “Catholic.” Think what you may about a “Catholic” paper calling on the local ordinary to resign because of his conviction in secular court (disobedient? insolent?), but the editorial board’s behavior is not heresy or schism.
      It isn’t as though the editor or commentors on CCD have lacked for stridently negative comments about episcopal behavior, and nobody is calling for it to stop calling itself “Catholic” (or is there?)

  2. Tom Byrne says:

    Secular reporters (including those of the “Fishwrap”) love to grab on to snippets of papal addresses. But popes do not speak in snippets: they speak in complete sentences, paragraphs and whole documents. Pope Francis has said nothing to justify certain over-avid expectations of the “Catholic” Left that Church teachings are going to change. Yet even false hope seems to spring eternal.

    • It matters little what Pope Francis actually said or meant. What matters is the perception of the public, and they believe he just ok’d the gay agenda.

      • Catherine says:

        Skai, That is absolutely true! It is the perception. Facebook Cheers are going up telling friends that the Pope just OK’d “gay marriage” when he told the world to stop judging and marginalizing “gay” people. Now there is even more confusion and faithful Catholics will have to explain and parse out what the Holy Father really said.

        People will still choose to believe what they want to believe. Now anyone who tries to tell people that the Pope did not OK same sex marriage will themselves be accused of being “rigid” “stodgy” and ” DOUBLY judgmental” because they will still believe what they read in the newspaper and all over the internet. The real sobering reality is that many individuals might even seek out the truth from a particular clergy member who will tell also tell them “yes” that is what the Holy Father meant, isn’t it wonderful. Now we know that this is NOT what the Holy Father meant but now many think it IS what he meant.

        The Early Church Fathers, the martyrs and the saints have built up the beauty and *clarifying truths* for centuries. Now with the use of the internet, imagine a magnificently large gleaming sand castle resting on the seashore, then take just one off the cuff comment to a media who loves to distort the truth, and then one giant media wave crashes down and quickly washes away and erodes much of the difficult work that has been done to build and defend that beautiful sand castle on the shore.

        • Catherine says:

          Here is one example of the confusion that is now floating around the world by the media. Pray for our shepherds to stop using PC jargon words like “marginalization” that are tied into the language of the culture of death. These words are not the clarifying Teachings of the Catholic Church and when they are used in today’s PC language of the culture of death they enable even more confusion. It is the “clear and concise” Teachings of the Catholic Church that are being “marginalized” in many circumstances. This is unnecessary confusion that harms the faithful. Here is a newsletter article and a video from People and Politics. The article is titled:


          People and Politics

          by Patrick Roberts

          Cardinal Timothy Dolan corrects pope, gays still sinners according to God (VIDEO)

          Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 08:08 AM


          Cardinal Timothy Dolan corrects pope, gays still sinners according to God (VIDEO)
          Pope Francis call for more acceptance of gays changes everything

          On Monday Pope Francis made international headlines for insisting that gays, including gay clergy, should not be ‘marginalized’ because they are our brothers. ‘Who am I to judge?’ asked the pope.

          It was a startling admission, because the clear implication is that if the pope himself is in no position to judge gay people’s private morality, then neither is anyone who falls lower in the church’s totem (and that would be literally everyone else).

          Sensing a problem, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan was almost first to the microphone with a ‘clarification’ of what the pope’s words really meant.

          Had Francis struck a new note of tolerance and equivocation concerning gay Catholics, as many news outlets insisted? No, not at all, Dolan said. Speaking to CBS This Morning Dolan insisted that homosexuality is still a grave sin, despite the new pope’s apparent reluctance to condemn it or to hear it condemned.

          Apparently speaking for God, Dolan said, “We’ve got … two points of church teaching,” Dolan said Tuesday. ‘One would be the immorality, in God’s view, of any sexual expression outside of a man and woman in lifelong marriage. …The other point of church teaching is that a person’s identity, respect, the dignity and love that he or she deserves does not depend on anything — sexual orientation, how much money we’ve got, if we’ve got a green card … does not depend on anything other than the fact that we’re a child of God, made in his image.’

          Dolan’s cold water to the face clarification reassured disgruntled conservatives, who privately grouse about Francis’ headline grabbing pronouncements. The cardinal’s clarification also recalled an earlier one, where despite what Pope Francis said in a homily in May about the Lord redeeming all of us, a Vatican spokesman insisted that atheists were still not off the hook.

          But the optics speak for themselves. Why was Dolan on the talk shows if something had not changed?

          Dolan has never been afraid to condemn the gay community, having in recent months called for prayer, fasting and personal sacrifice from the faithful in the hope of keeping same sex couples from enjoying the same rights as other married couples.

          Adulterers, divorcees, unmarried couples, single parents and the childless are not subjected to this kind of spiritual hose down it appears that gays are held in special contempt by some conservative church leaders.

          Earlier this year Joseph Amodeo, a board member of Catholic Charities, told The Associated Press that he quit the organization’s junior board after Archbishop Dolan failed to respond to a ‘call for help’ from the nonprofit Ali Forney Center that offers emergency services to homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender young people in New York City. (Of the nation’s homeless youths, a disproportionately high 40 percent are LGBT, studies show).

          ‘Neither I nor anyone in the Church would ever tolerate hatred of or prejudice towards any of the Lord’s children,’ wrote Dolan in a letter to the Center, taking offense at the suggestion that the church’s hostile attitude to gays could contribute to the ‘marginalization’ the pope warned of.

          Dolan seems intent on holding the line no matter what the pope says. That line is the same old story dressed up in conciliatory rhetoric. “Judge not lest you be judged” from Matthew does not seem to have impacted the good Cardinal who works for God.

          • Mark from PA says:

            Did Cardinal Dolan actually say that having a homosexual orientation is a grave sin?

        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          I have not heard a single media outlet, mainstream or gay, say that the Pope OK’d gay marriage. Not a single one. Mostly, I’ve heard the coverage emphasizing that he did not. The only possible person I’ve heard say that the pope said that was Skai in a post from yesterday when he said the Pope OKd the gay “agenda”. I corrected Skai immediately, but he insisted that he was correct.

          • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

            So YFC, now we also know you don’t even read your friends in the “Main Stream Media”. If you say you have not read or heard those things, that must be the case.

            Viva Cristo Rey!

            May God have mercy on your soul,
            Kenneth M. Fisher

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            So called KMF:

            If you have a reference in the main stream media or press that the Pope OK’d gay marriage, can you please provide it. If I’m wrong, I’d be happy to correct myself, but I’ve been watching pretty avidly what has been said, your insults of me notwithstanding.

          • YFC, it’s ok. Just relax. It is completely understandable that you wouldn’t be aware of what the media is saying or not saying about Pope Francis, what with your intense study of gene pooling which you’re earnestly trying to understand.

        • Interesting insight, Catherine. Immediately I thought of the late Marshall McCluhan’s “The medium is the message”, and realized that each new social medium manifests its unique spin on the message and thus becomes part of the message. So, Facebook, Twitter, Linkeldn, whatever each carry a spin that is integral with whatever is posted on it. Maybe it’s hard to see, but same msg on twitter would put forth a perception different from the same msg on FB, because the two media A. have different followers, and B. have different formats. In other words the formatting effects the perception of the message. Jesus didn’t hole up and send forth messages, but walked among mankind and did things that could not be spun … such as raising dead people to life, giving sight to people born blind, etc. Applied scientists and engineers are working on imitating this unique signature of divinity; so, we’ll see it soon enough. Discernment is paramount. Naysayers and whiners such as PA and YFC … well, let’s credit them for staying the course, since others have long fled the introduction to reality and eternity … provide hope. Sinners who incessantly rebuke God but hang in with those who try to correct them are reasons for hope.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        Well, Skai, you YOURSELF said that Francis actually said that he OK’d the gay agenda. After I corrected you, you reiterated the untruth of what you said by saying that you had been correct. So please stop accusing the “perception of the public” for false notions that you yourself put out there!

        • YFC, your hissy fit won’t work. Public perception is a reality. Why you deny this is strange … but of course we come back once again to the gay community which has nothing that is not strange.

      • The Holy Father did NOT “endorse the gay agenda.”
        No Pope ever has, and no Pope ever will.
        He’s simply talking about a person with a condition (e.g., homosexuality, alcoholism, epilepsy) who should not be discarded merely BECAUSE of that condition.
        Pope Francis expects people to live according to the teaching of the Church, as he’s made clear over and over again — including in his remarks to high living prelates who act more like royalty than servants of Jesus.

  3. markrite says:

    This is a very curious post or story. And much is mentioned about the Catholic Faith, but always from, to me, a humanist perspective. Where is there any references therein to a religion that is, at it’s heart, based on MIRACLES? The miraculous cures of epilepsy, lameness, blindness, not to mention the raising of the dead to life, done by the Man-God Jesus? Or the countless exorcisms He performed to show everyone He had power over demons? How about the miraculous distribution of the loaves and fishes, where Christ Jesus, Divinity in human form, feeds over 5,000 people from left over fragments because He takes pity on them, having nothing to eat? The post seems to me to be mainly about the need for “dialogue,” stopping “marginalization,” being accessible, and so on. How about the Transfiguration, one of the first instances where Christ Jesus Divine allows his three “favorite” apostles to see Him in all His heavenly glory? None of this is mentioned. Only mundane things that s/be done by a Pope or his followers in order to “attract” people to the One True Church. Finally, what of the institution of the Holy Eucharist on Holy Thursday, super graciously GIVING us the privelege to consume His Body and Blood? It’s the GREATEST of all the sacraments, why not bring it up in “dialogue?” Are these not a huge majority of Catholics present @ WYD? iSN’T BRAZIL THE COUNTRY WITH THE LARGEST NUMBER OF cATHOLICS? (but maybe only 20% who ever show up for Mass on Sundays?) And then the story touches on how “the debate over same-sex marriage might have been,” etc. Should there really be a DEBATE over same-sex marriage? Or s/there be the CONSTANT TEACHING of the Catholic Church over it? Well, thankfully there was a story today on “NEW ADVENT.ORG,” coming from when Pope Francis was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina and he sent a letter to the monastery located there. In it he Said: “GAY MARRIAGE IS A MACHINATION OF THE FATHER OF LIES THAT SEEKS TO CONFUSE AND DECEIVE THE CHILDREN OF GOD.” In other words, so-called “gay” marriage is a TOOL of LUCIFER HIMSELF. But still, the “gays” cannot be “marginalized”. But aren’t people who are suffering from S.S.A. marginalizing themselves? AND DOING SO BY THE NATURE OF THEIR AFFLICTION.? Well, just asking, nothing personal. GOD BLESS ALL, and VIVA CRISTO REY, MARKRITE

    • Catherine says:

      markrite, Thank you. That is an excellent and well thought out post. May GOD BLESS YOU TOO MARKRITE!

      Isn’t using the word “marginalized” PC jargon ? PC jargon language has worked extremely well for the agitators of the homosexual agenda or so called gay marriage which does not exist in the eyes of God. PC jargon has aided in the wholesale murdering of millions of innocent babies. PC jargon has hurt many women. Women who say they have been “marginalized” have also used this PC word and this is why they get to re-use the PC jargon phrase.. “I’m pro-choice and I’m proud.” Pro-choice now means women NOT being “marginalized.” This PC language is not the clarifying counter cultural language of the gospel. It is the clever and newly disguised language that is often entangled in promoting the culture of death.

      Here are some Sacred Scripture quotes from John the Baptist. Notice how John the Baptist did not cry out in the wilderness, “Stop “marginalizing !” St. John the Baptist did say, ” He must increase: but I must decrease.” Saint John the Baptist did not get caught up in the politically correct jargon speak of the day. He prepared the way and asked all sinners to REPENT. Period. The PC word “marginalizing” is now wagging the whole world in confusion.

      “This is is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’ “…St John the Baptist

      “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”…St. John the Baptist

      John 3:26-30 (Douay-Rheims)

      26 And they came to John and said to him: Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom thou gavest testimony: behold, he baptizeth and all men come to him. 27 John answered and said: A man cannot receive any thing, unless it be given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves do bear me witness that I said that I am not Christ, but that I am sent before him. 29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth with joy because of the bridegroom’s voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled. 30 He must increase: but I must decrease.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        Catherine, perhaps a few concrete examples of how the Church marginalizes gay people would be helpful:

        -When some members insist that there is no such word as “gay”, but there is only “same sex attracted” people, it makes people feel like they are on the edges because it relegates their sexuality to one small part of their life, when in fact healthy sexuality is a fully integrated part of their entire being, gay or straight. By insisting on a different name, it tells the gay person that they don’t even know their own self but that someone else who is not on the margins will tell them that they are not who they think they are.

        -When some members insist that gay people are always evil, that they are deceitful, that they are Nazis, that they only get their rights by cheating, this also makes gay people feel like they are on the edges, because it is making false statements about them that they know are not true. It is way of making gay people feel that there is an un-god-liness that goes beyond their sexuality but to their innate core character.

        -When someone insists that the Church and the priesthood be purged of gay people, this is an attempt to literally put gay people on the margins of the Church, of heaven, of society, and of family.

        -When someone insists that a gay person cannot be your fellow catholic because he or she demands to be treated with respect and dignity, that fellow catholic is made to feel that he is on the margins of salvation, that he is less than a true Catholic or Christian, that he cannot be of good will and search for the Lord.

        Does that help breakdown the PC’ness? The Church makes gay people feel subhuman, unloved, unlovable and damaged every single day. If you want to use those terms instead of marginalized, go right ahead.

        • Mark from PA says:

          I hope people are listening here, Your Fellow Catholic.

          • PA why should we listen someone who constantly supports behavior that will lead to damnation

        • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

          so called YFC,

          The Church, thus Our Lord, has news for you that you no doubt reject, persons who engage in sex outside of marriage and do not repent cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. If that hurts your feelings, too bad! “The truth shall set you free”!

          Viva Cristo Rey!

          May God have mercy on your soul,
          Kenneth M. Fisher

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            Mister Fisher:

            The Lord has a message for you to: Whatsoever you do to the least of these, you do to me.

            May the Lord have mercy on your soul as well Mr. FIsher.

          • Very good, YFC, you’re getting around to professing you have a problem that needs a cure, by identifying yourself with the Lord’s “little ones”. Kind of a bizarre way to make this profession, but you’re closer to healing than you were before. You yet have to recognize the difference between the Lord’s little ones and those who were deprived of being a little one of the Lord. You need to find out who deprived you, and then ask Jesus to direct you from there.

        • Stop being gay, YFC, and problem solved.

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            “Stop being gay”, Skai says. Not possible. As the Catechism says, the number who are homosexual is not insignificant. Please learn what the Church and what psychology teaches about being gay.

          • YFC, gay psychology is, well, gay. The Church is trying to heal and cure the defect of gayness but because the bishops are not holy, this is not happening. It will eventually happen though, either by bishops becoming holy or by the Church becoming smaller and thus holier without the gays and bad bishops.

        • Gays marginalize themselves. Gayness is the fault of gays, not of others. All you ever do, YFC, is spin deceptive quagmires of conjuration.

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            Did you listen to the pope, Skai. He said the Church ought not marginalize gays. Do you understand what that means? It means that gays are marginalized by straights in the Church. Not that gay people marginalize themselves. Please listen to what the Holy Father had to say! He is full of wisdom from his time living among the sheep, not in some ivory tower or apostolic palace.

          • YFC, the Church does not nor never has marginalized the gays. The gays marginalize themselves. Like Christ said about condemnation, you have a choice.

          • Well, YFC, although the Pope has lived among the sheep as you say, I have lived among gays at times and they always, every one of them, eventually gets around to launching an assault. No gay can be trusted because gays are intrinsically deranged or as the Church puts it “disordered”. I have always got hold of the handle end of the club though, YFC, and manage to wield it effectively, even when jumped by surprise.

          • YFC, don’t tell me you didn’t find “spin deceptive quagmires of conjuration” a fascinating and compelling literary formulation tempting.

          • The Church is trying … fighting … to keep gay people from marginalizing the Church. The gays always have it backwards.

        • The Church does not marginalize gay people.

    • Francis says:

      A religion based on purely material miracles and evidence is ultimately vulnerable to becoming irrelevant when new technology also cures diseases and enhances food production.

      I don’t believe Christianity is based on the miracles you quote, or if it was, it has matured to include and transcend that level of belief.

    • rooksie says:


      My dear Catholic brother in Christ, your post is Heavenly and stupendously excellent!!! Nothing more could be added to it to illustrate the beauty of our Lord’s life here on earth!!! Thanks you!!

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

      DIALOGUE, DIALOGUE, DIALOGUE, that is their God.

      May God have mercy on America and indeed the world.

      Viva Cristo Rey!

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

  4. Blah, blah, blah. One boring defender of current changes in the modern church under the guises of compassion for mankind. It is claimed the pope was chosen to reform the modern church, and it is reform we will get. Hang onto your hats for the winds of change may likely become like tornadoes.

  5. JimAroo says:

    Bad news for the Church: The National Catholic REPORTER likes our Pope.

  6. Francis says:

    Both “left” and “right” want the rules to change to bolster their political positions. Or at least they want to ignore rules they don’t like, and see the Church enforce the ones they like with an iron fist. It would be a mistake to think that the contrast between the Holy Father’s emphasis and what has gone before represents fundamental change of dogma or teaching. Rather, he demands disciplined attention to what he knows to be truly important.
    An example of disciplined action the way he restricted the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate’s use of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Per the decree this was a distraction from their unity of mission. The action is not a change in dogma, but refocus on the mission.

    • So called “unity of mission” is a temporal administrative concoction, not a dogma. Dogma of unity is the Holy Eucharist including the exercise of faith. The more this is indulged in, the less administrative rules, bylaws, laws, nonsense, committees, bureaucratic gas outs, and tyrannical prelatures, with feminism and sodomism. Get holy and you won’t need what St Paul calls the “judaizing” of the Church.

    • Canisius says:

      Tell me Francis how does the TLM, the mass witnessed by countless saints throughout the centuries distract the Franciscan from their primary mission of saving souls… I really want the day to come where the Ordinary of Mass is taken away and the Extraordinary is made the norm and then tolerant wonderful progressives can see what its like….It is obvious the Holy Father is no fan of the TLM I expect this to happen other communities, ones that are strong and thriving, ICKSP and FSSP

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        Canisius it would seem to be a misreading of the Pope’s declaration and of Francis (the poster not the papem) comment to say that the TLM is a distraction. As I read things, it is the division within the community over the use of the TLM that was the distraction. Remember, this order had been appointed a visitor by Benedict to observe what was going on, and it appears that the congregation was dividing itself along the lines of those who insisted upon the use of the TLM and those who didn’t want it. It seems not unlike the situation we have here among CCD readers: Those who think the TLM can add back a treasure that had been lost versus those who believe that the extraordinary form is the only valid form and the ordinary form is of the devil.

        • Then why not simply provide the option? No, the problem is not that, but some challenge to the puffed up sense of obedience that is being bought and sold inside the Church today.

        • YFCis presenting a false opposition, he builds a straw man. Progressives fear the Extraordinary Form of the Mass because it it demonstrates all that the Faith lost in the past 50 years. The Bishops do not want Catholics to experience the Traditional Mass. They prefer the Church withers on the vine than to recognize their mistakes.

      • Francis says:

        I can’t tell you how the TLM distracts the community from its mission, at least in part because I didn’t write the decree; I only quoted from it.
        But since you asked, I’ll venture my opinion: You yourself and your attitude that you “really want the day to come where the Ordinary of Mass is taken away and the Extraordinary is made the norm” is likely to exemplify how the focus on the TLM becomes a distraction from your own discernment of your true mission within the Church. I’m not saying what your mission is, just offering the opinion that changing the form of the Mass — for the 90 percent of Catholics who don’t care to go back exclusively to the 1962 rite — is not likely to be your true mission.

        • Anton L Seidl says:

          The Church is not a democracy. Just because 90% of our fellow parishioners like the novus ordo does not make it right. A more likely explanation for this lop-sided preference may be the fact that anyone born after 1960 is utterly clueless as to what an uplifting experience the traditional mass is for those of us who have been denied it for so long. For a brief period, after Benedict XVI issued his motu proprio lifting the prohibition of the Latin mass, our 10% minority nurtured the hope that the pope’s words would receive a positive response. Alas! It was not to be.

          • The Church is not a democracy. Just because 100% of our pope wants to keep the current Ordinary Form and allow the Extraordinary Form when it doesn’t interfere with running the Church makes it right.

          • Francis, a faithful Church with holy bishops does not need running.

          • “Smaller, holier Church”: Goodbye 90%.

        • Canisius says:

          Francis, I stated what I stated because I want liberals to see how it feels when something you love is taken from you in the name of God knows what. If the NO was replaced (as it should be) the howls from you liberals would be deafening. The TLM is not distraction but as liberal I understand that you state that, liberal inherently have contempt for tradition, goodness and beauty, but embrace novelty, hipness and anything current and modern. I know that TLM will not be made the norm outside of Diving intervention, I just pray to God the current Pope does not complete suppress it as those the Left wish he would.

          • Canisius and Anton:
            All the polls I’ve read (and I welcome you to quote others) indicate that most Catholics prefer to attend the current Mass, and the vast majority of us (something like 90 percent of the 90 percent) have no desire to remove the Extraordinary Form as an alternate rite. Also a majority of Catholics who normally attend the Extraordinary Form do not express a desire to eliminate the Ordinary Form.
            Where things get “lopsided” is when you ask what percentage of both groups would never attend the “other” group’s liturgy. Then, you find most Catholics will attend whatever Mass is offered, but among E.F. attendees, the percentage is 2-4 times (depending on poll) as large.
            The point of my earlier post is that is the strident desire to suppress is lopsidedly on the “E.F.” side, and I suspect this has a lot to do with the pope’s decision regarding the FFI.

          • “I just pray to God the current Pope does not complete[ly] suppress [the Extraordinary Form] as those the Left wish he would.” Can anyone find recent quotes lay Catholics expressing a desire to suppress the Extraordinary Form? I’ve heard a lot of opposition from priests (my pastor, for example) who don’t want to learn how to celebrate the old Mass, but I haven’t heard laity express a desire to suppress it.

          • Canisius says:

            It is not my desire to remove the Ordinary Form, just abuses (constant chattering, applause, Eucharistic Ministers, protestant hymns etc). I stand by the fact that the N.O. Mass has stripped the Church of Catholic identity without a doubt…

  7. Roberta Genini says:

    The Church has always emphasized the two facets of abortion – as a sexual issue and as a justice issue. It is the result of a sinful distortion of what should be fruitful, loving marital union. And it unjustly kills a human being. There are corollary injustices…depriving the aborted child’s brothers and sisters of a sibling, depriving grandparents of a grandchild, and, most important of the corollary injustices, depriving the father of his child. (In the U.S. the deprivation of the right to be a father is total; males have no right whatever to fatherhood, whereas men by nature have co-equal rights with women in reproduction as a cooperative effort of their marital union. One may well ask, why should they be required to pay child support since the U.S. gives them no say in fatherhood?)

    And of course it is unjust to God himself, who created the child to love and be loved, and to love and serve him forever.

    • Tom Byrne says:

      The Culture of Death springs largely from a Culture of Lust.

    • Maryanne Leonard says:

      As the granddaughter of a married Lutheran Norwegian woman who chose to abort her second child, I can also tell you that it deprives a grandchild of an uncle, and deprives a granddaughter of a grandmother as well. In my father’s case, it deprived a 3-year-old boy of a mother, who died at the hands of an abortionist in 1925, and that deprivation negatively and profoundly affected the child she left behind, rendering him a wounded child and an inadequate father emotionally speaking. His need for a mother was so great that he couldn’t help competing with his own children for his wife’s mothering of them, despite being an otherwise responsible person. This narcissistic wounding of a child happened because his own mother chose to risk her life by choosing to abort a child who would have been beloved by her entire family, and unfortunately she shocked and damaged her entire family while killing her own child. The pain and shame and loss all reverberate nearly 90 years later.

  8. good cause says:

    If Pope Francis can get everyday Catholics to take the struggles of the poor more seriously, he will be a force for good.

    Over 80% of US Catholics support overturning the teaching on contraception, and a clear majority now support gay marriage. The Church can continue its firm disapproval of these behaviors but the day of the universal acceptance of anything Catholic because the Pope decrees it is long in the past. If the worldwide sex abuse scandal has taught Catholics anything it’s that their leaders in Rome make mistakes frequently, and that this may also be in the area of morality, not just Church management policies.

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

      good cause,

      If a Pope goes against Sacred Tradition, he is not to be obeyed in that violation!

      Even the supposed need for an Indult for the Tridentine Mass is such a violation!

      Viva Cristo Rey!
      May God have mercy on your soul,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

      • I see it as a violation of God’s will for a pope to suppress a valid way of worshiping God. The Tridentine Mass is valid, and let’s see the ex cathedra doctrine that says it can be suppressed.

    • good cause, that’s nothing that has not already been happening. What he is doing is fiddling a good tune while the Church tumbles for lack of knowledge.

  9. Maryanne Leonard says:

    Who is Pope Francis to judge? I think this wonderful man is the pope. The question is, “Should gay men be allowed to serve as priests?” Apparently he says yes. Since the priest scandal, which was as much about homosexuality as it was about child sexual abuse, most of us have wondered about our priests. Many of them do seem to have a style of speech or other mannerisms that are not typical of the average male, but many of those seem to be deeply committed priests who serve us well and seem to be above falling into temptation from man or woman.

    If a priest is truly faithful to the vows he took of chastity, who are we to judge, as to which gender he is giving up having sexual relations with, and much more importantly, how are we to judge who wants whom? Will they tell us even if asked directly? Somehow I question whether they could be counted on to tell the truth, even to the pope.

    If they break those vows, with man or woman or child, how are we to know? Or if they suffer dreams of breaking their vows, is that a matter for confession? What about verbally proposing a dalliance to someone, even if nothing ever comes of it; it seems to me that’s a sin, and a breaking of a vow of chastity, but is being willing to sin the same as sinning?

    Even when it seems clear as to what we are to do, in response to a discovery by a priest’s admission or an accusation by another, who is telling the truth, what is the truth, and most challenging: where does Christian forgiveness come into play, or does it not?

    Has the challenge of an insufficiency of priests played a role in the decisions of bishops and others in the past merely to shuffle priests around into different roles?

    How are we to apply the teachings of Jesus Christ to these questions? Do we trust our own reactions, since each situation is highly nuanced, or is there clear Church doctrine in these matters? If so, what is it? It seems to me that each case is being judged on its own merits by very subjective means, before it comes into the light of day. Some estimates are that up to 50% of our priests are, or rather, would be, actively gay if priests were allowed to marry, which assumes they would also be allowed to spend time, money and emotion in dating. Would they then date their own gender and insist from within that the Church marry them? How far do we let this issue go before we address it?

    Has Pope Francis just overturned Church doctrine? Should we kick out every priest who has ever had a homosexual thought, or should they live out their lives in chastity and hide their own secrets from everyone but God?

    It is easy to see why the Church has required chastity of its priests for a very long time. However, I know a married priest who had been Episcopalian and now is a truly magnificent Catholic priest with a wife, and the Catholic Church is blessed. I think these questions deserve as much deep, Christ-informed thought as all the other questions that define who we are as Catholics and there is no one more empowered to guide us in these matters than our pope.

    Pope Francis is undoubtedly a man of Christ. Perhaps in time he will reveal more fully what he meant by, “Who am I to judge?” The word judge can refer to the judgment that only God can render, or it can refer to a final conclusion as to what is to be done in a certain situation or with sinners, criminals, and ordinary human beings who falter and fall in daily life.

    I think when we are told not to judge, it refers to the former type of judgment. As to how we are to operate the Church that Jesus Christ entrusted to Peter and his successors, we do need to make judgments that follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and to work hard to discern His intent when we arrive at a conundrum on which He has not given us direct teachings. And offhand comments, even from a pope, are insufficient to establish Church doctrine for time and eternity.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Wow you have a lot of questions today Maryanne ! 😉

      To be clear, though, the Pope did not suggest a new doctrine. Nor, do I believe, that he was speaking off-handedly. His remarks mirror to a very close degree the teachings on homosexuality as written in the Catechism, but we so rarely hear anything but the admonition against sexual acts that we forget the rest is in there too. The Pope was merely reminding us of the rest of Church teaching.

      On the other hand, it was Benedict who issued a new teaching about ordaining gay priests. But even on that, I would say he was promulgating a new discipline, not a new doctrine. It would be analogous to a Pope saying that a person could only be ordained after completing a masters’ degree in economics. He could do that by way of discipline, but it would not be a doctrine.

    • One Pope says no gay priests; one Pope says go gay priests: Obviously there is problem here. With this type of problem in contradictory papal statements, why would anyone further want to pay attention to them? Nothing they say seems to have much to do with how they live or how they administer. Why should the faithful be subject to such confusion among popes?

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        Because matters of discipline and administration can be changed whenever a pontiff believes it is warranted by the current needs of the Church. If he wants to only ordain priests who have an MA in Pastoral Psychology and a PhD in Patristics, he could do that today, and then change his mind next month. Hardly seems something that ought to create a crisis of faith.

      • Anonymous says:

        No pope said “No gay priests.” No pope said “Go gay priests.” There are no contradictory papal statements. There is no confusion.

        • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said “NO GAY PRIESTS”. Pope Francis just said, Gay priests are not a problem”, and weeks ago Pope Francis said the gay mafia has infiltrated the curia … and he asked everyone what we could do about it … Now he switches to “it does not matter”. There are only a few things that cause men to do this: a. fear, b. mini-strokes, c. onset of senior dementia, d. closet gay, e. can’t handle the pressure and babbles while trying to retain emotional balance. It is totally unacceptable … everybody knows it, and a few people are trying to deny it.

        • Canisius says:

          Skai is correct Pope Emeritus Benedict said NO GAY PRIESTS, NOT TO BE ADMITTED TO SEMINARY EITHER

          • Well, Benedict is retired, so he doesn’t have any say now.
            We have a new Pope in town.
            (Who, by the way, is NOT condoning hedonism, people…)

        • Anonymous says:

          Good luck with that lack of understanding. I’ll add one more for your list. There is and never has been child abuse by the Catholic clergy.

        • Anonymous, how does all that sand feel that your head is buried in?

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:


      Your statement ” but is being willing to sin the same as sinning?” was answered by Our Lord himself when it came to sins against the Sixth Commandment (not suggestion) when he said that if a man even look at a woman with lust he has already committed a sin of Lust! You should know that!

      Viva Cristo Rey!

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

      • Maryanne Leonard says:

        Thanks, Kenneth. Yes, I think all of America knows that after Jimmy Carter shamed himself and his long-suffering wife by proclaiming that he lusts in his heart after other women every day. My questions were posed as points upon which we need to reflect. There are too many off-the-cuff remarks by this new pope that are being elevated by the media and even by ourselves to the point of near dogma and too many questions still unanswered for the laity regarding the impact of gay priests upon the Holy Roman Catholic Church. I am confident that most of us know that if a man even looks at a woman with lust in his heart, he has committed the sin of Lust. What about if a priest looks at a man with lust in his heart? Obviously God knows he has already committed the sin of Lust, but how are we to know? And if it should come to pass that we know, what are we to do? Where is it written?

        • Mark from PA says:

          Some people don’t necessarily lust after people in their hearts. I have never lusted after a woman in my heart, or a man either really for that matter.

      • Thanks for chiding Maryanne, Kenneth — your posts are like a big hug, always.
        Such a gift!
        What a delight!

  10. The Left loves the current Pope and I for one understand why, he is doing everything they are for and that frightens and makes me very sullen. Funny the Left and the Liberal press could not stand our wonderful Holy Father Pope Benedict the XVI, he tried in vain correct the Church and have the interpitations of Vatican II correctly carried out, but in the end the instense pressure from inside and outside the Vatican was too much for this Holy Pope. I for one believe he stopped the negotiations with the S.S.P.X. for a reason and it was a good one he knew that the next Pope would not be as welcoming as he was to the S.S.P.X. and the Traditional Latin Mass. Look at what just happend to the Franciscans of the Immaculate, they were ordered to cease saying Holy Mass according the Rites of 1962 Missal in Latin as of August 12, 2013 this signed by non other than the current Pope Francis. People on the Web are spinning this like crazy, saying oh, this is a minor issue and it does not mean a thing. How wrong they are, the FFI are a very large and growing order this is the point!! Unlike pre-Vatican II orders that are dying out the FFI are growing by leaps and bounds reason being they celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, they started out saying the OF but switched to Tradition. This my friends is the core of their being and the reason the fist came down on them by the current Pope. Funny how the Mass of All Times instills FEAR in all who hate it. It just proves how powerful the Traditonal Latin Mass is!!!!! Keep your clowns, giant puppets, altar girls, dancing girls in leotards, drums, guitars, polka, mariachi, rock music, hand holding, kiss of peace, felt banners, polyester vestments, and all that is the Novus Ordo and give me the True Mass of All Times that saved millions of souls!!!

  11. Steve Phoenix says:

    I would expect Michael Sean Winters, representing the consensus Natl Catholic Reporter view, would purport the moral issue of abortion as a “social justice” issue, splitting it from its integral relationship to sexual promiscuity and morality. After all, the reason that the Left fiercely advocates abortion on demand is that, for them, abortion is “back-up birth control” (Consider the immortal words of our Great Leader: “Suppose [one of my daughters] makes a mistake, I wouldn’t want them to be punished with a baby…” (Townhall meeting, Johnstown, PA March 29th, 2008). Can you believe it: He is aggressively advocating to kill his own grandchild? This man has an iceberg in place of his heart. In other words, live a promiscuous, irresponsible lifestyle, and yet “avoid the punishment” of a child. Great, great, deep moral thinking by Our Leader, by you, Mr Winters and by all your NCR cohort.

    • Maryanne Leonard says:

      Agreed, 1,000%, Steve Phoenix. How is it that this man’s Johnstown statement has not electrified the world, advocating child murder? And not of children in general, mind you, but his own grandchild!

      For me, this puts Johnstown on the map in a way no flood could have as the site of staggering events. Few today seem to remember the Johnstown flood that all but wiped this place off the map, all due to the immoral greed and disregard of the wealthy, self-interested powerbrokers of their day, but all alive today should be able to recall this staggering statement by Barack Hussein Obama. It should have so stunned America that we should be free of his immoral presence today as our lawfully elected, morally and spiritually defective and therefore utterly unqualified president.

      And I don’t care if this comment gets me investigated by the IRS or any other anti-conservative, privacy-invading governmental agency. I stand firmly and forever against killing anyone’s grandchild, born or unborn, and I pay the taxes I owe my nation’s government, and they can snoop through my e-mails and check the internet sites I use and still never find a reason to do so. Bring it on. I call the president’s position on killing his own grandchildren staggeringly immoral, and his public proclaiming of his enthusiasm therefor a horrifying and chilling clue as to the content of his character.

      As a Baptist minister in favor of pointing out injustice repeatedly until it is eradicated , Martin Luther King, he himself the victim of murder, would probably understand and even sympathize with me when I say that I’m glad we finally have a black president, but I just wish it were not the individual we Catholics helped elect, much to my everlasting astonishment and chagrin.

      If more Catholics than not can have chosen such a man, one wonders how well these “faithful” even know the most elementary teachings of their faith.

      • Anton L Seidl says:

        Maryanne: You ask why has Obama’s statement not “electrified” the world? The man is not just Teflon-coated. He is pure Teflon. Nothing he says or does is ever held against him. Even Cardinal Dolan seems to hold nothing against this monster. Remember the Al Smith dinner…..

  12. Anonymous says:

    Once again, The National Catholic DISTORTER completely misunderstanding the story because they are incapable of viewing things with a Sensus fidei (sense of the faith) perspective.

    • Anonymous, you used the incorrect term, “sense of faith”, where the only term that would make your post meaningful is “rose colored glasses optimism).

    • Do you think you could explain your argument, Anonymous?

  13. What right does a pope have to prevent Catholics from worshiping God in Spirit and Truth? And how is it that the EF is not Spirit and Truth? Has there been a dogmatic statement on this? Or has it been an “assumed close” that it is an obedience to God issue?

    • Anonymous says:

      No pope has ever or ever will prevent Catholics from worshipping God is Spirit and Truth? The EF is the sacrifice of Calvary. So is the OF. A dogmatic statement on what? What are you referring to?

      • Anonymous, don’t you follow the threads? Why should I repeat every last little point for you. Use your memory, use your reason, use your faith. This ain’t third grade here. Do your own work. Some bloggers try to strap me into the role of teacher, some chain me into the role of leader, some this some that. I’ve stated often that all I’m doing is challenging readers to think based on faith. Yesterday I even posted the definition of “reasoning” from Catholic Encyclopedia. You do the work you need to do. A. Throw your TV set out. B. Read the books by the saints. C. Memorize the Bible. D. Learn the difference between infallible doctrine and everything else. E. Find out what human nature consists of. F. Learn from the prophets by utilizing prayer instead of various and sundry recommended explanations … because they were published to bring home the bacon. G. Do something radical for Jesus.

      • Theory is wonderful in Disney movies, Anonymous. But in reality theory has many problems. You should try to become aware of these; so, don’t just sit there, remove your rose colored glasses. Say, why don’t you go and buy a book on optimism and pessimissim written by the late Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand, whom Bl JPII spoke of as the greatest Catholic philosopher of the XXth century. Imagine that, one little book on the seemingly insignificant topic of pessimism and optimism contrasted with hope.

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:


      Actually his predecessor already answered that when he stated concerning the Mass of St. Pius V that “what was once holy, can never be unholy”. Pope Francis should read that!

      Viva Cristo Rey!

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

      • “What was once holy, can never be unholy.”
        REALLY, Kenneth?!?
        How about a holy priest who later gets corrupted and becomes a child molester?
        How about a holy bishop who falls into sin and has sex with one of his own priests, like the guy in Santa Rosa?
        How about a holy pope who falls into the trap of “absoluter power corrupts absolutely” and falls into evil acts?
        How about a holy child who is cleansed of all sin at baptism, but then grows up to become a terrorist?

        • Sam, a review of the meaning of holy seems in order, right? Merriam Webster: exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness; divine <for the Lord our God is holy; devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity. These wolves in sheeps' clothing were never holy, but corrupt. Pope Emeritus told the bishops to "become holy", so, dude, holiness does not go with the office but with the man or woman, despite the office or lack thereof.

      • Kenneth, that is one of the things I likely had in the back of my mind when I posted. I recall you posting that more than once. It is certainly a key to the resolution of the problem that keeps rolling onward which is the effort to split the Church by making it lukewarm.

  14. Steve Phoenix says:

    Yes Janek, the Franciscans mentioned (FFI for short) are growing exponentially, unlike Francis’ own order, which in most of the “developed” world is numerically and I am afraid spiritually dying out.

  15. OF COURSE abortion is a social justice issue — just like genocide, ethnic cleansing, and murder.
    Social justice means that people have rights because they are children of God — not merely because some local government considers them worthy of protection.
    A state may say an unborn child has no rights, or that and unborn child is not even a child but “a mass of cells” — but the Church says we’re talking about a human life here, not a tumor, not a disease, not an inconvenience.

  16. SAME THING with gay people.
    Pope Francis simply said that such people exist and have rights not to be treated like dirt.
    He didn’t condone sex or promiscuity or gay marriage — he simply stated that children of God have God-given rights.
    As the Catechism already teaches.

    • Sam, you fail to say anything about the other recent statements from Pope Francis. You are isolating fragments that all need to be looked at together. Are you doing this knowingly or simply regurgitating the latest statement by some damage control specialist?

      • Skai, I can’t remember every darned thing the Pope has said.
        If you can, then you get an A.

        • Sam, memory is a treasure, not something to be sloughed off. I know many people who remember everything; and I often wonder why some people don’t.

      • Brian S. says:

        Skai, you make up words, place them in the mouths of the Popes, and then make wild accusations based on the conflicts your misrepresentations create.

        No doubt you feel your proclaimed mastery of time and space provides you the authority to do that, but byond being tiresome, it shows reckless disregard for the truth. Pope Francis said nothing that is not throughly orthodox. Stick with reality-based criticisms.

  17. Recently the Holy Father turned up unexpectedly for a Walk for Life in Rome. We know what he thinks about abortion.

  18. I agree. Although abortion is a moral issue of mammoth proportions, I do think many, especially on the left, may have heard the truth had it been well presented as an issue of social justice. Clearly the human rights of an unborn child cannot be respected by the courts in cases where the mother was killed and ignored when the child is killed by abortion. The “reproductive rights” issue makes no sense to me, but even to those who support it, clearly human rights prevail over it in a rational, legal setting. Unfortunately, of course, the people of this country have never been allowed to vote on this tragic issue. If that day ever comes, I agree with the author and hope the Church will stress the violation of human rights as an injustice of the worst kind. I don’t know if it will help. I once heard a very high placed and powerful nun praise abortion as a better option than growing up in a slum. Mind boggling.

    • Susanna makes sense — we see men convicted of two murders when they kill a pregnant woman, but no one is convicted of murder when the mother herself decides to kill the baby.
      It’s too weird for words…

  19. Joannie Cassity says:

    I’ve been so excited to share Pope Francis’ words with my evangelical brethren. He spoke them, I believe, in 2010 as Archbishop of Argentina in a public letter on gay marriage: “Let’s not be naive: this isn’t just a simple political fight, it is the destructive pretension against the plan of God”. Brief, powerful and clear. If the Pope uses the hackneyed phrase “who am I to judge” , in any context, no reasonable person will have the patience to listen to any “explanation” we might try to give as to what he “really” means.

    • Joannie, reasonable persons do not need the instruction on what the Pope means. This is the big problem, as he is conveying confusion instead of the divine light.

  20. Who am I to Judge? the Pope asked. Well, he is the moral compass for 1,200,000,000 Catholics.

    This NCR idea of abortion as Social Justice results in deaths. The Brazilian Presidenta is about to sign a bill allowing abortion any day now, and not a peep from Pope Francisco.

    Speaking ill of capitalism is also dangerous as it strengthens anti-Christian Marxists that have devastated so many countries. In Argentina the Partido Justicialista (known as Peronista) has ruined that rich country with their Social Justice policies. The Church cannot now internationalize this philosophy.

    • In reports of what this Pope says, what I’m perceiving is intimidation. You’d think that Pentecost never happened and that Peter and the apostles are still hiding out in their safe houses.

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