Being Frank about Francis

The McCarrick scandal, let us all admit, is just one powerful gust in the swirling tempest that now surrounds Francis and threatens to capsize both his pontificate and the barque of Peter itself.

Pope Francis gestures as he leads his general audience in St. Peter's Square Aug. 29 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

Fr. Thomas M. Rosica, Vatican press assistant for the anglophone sector, wrote recently these astonishingly frank words:

Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is ‘free from disordered attachments.’ Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.

These words were intended to be both laudatory and prophetic. Francis is the pope who trims the Church’s sails to the winds of the Spirit rather than letting old charts and logs dictate the course. He is the man appointed by God to lead the Church out of its hide-bound clericalism into a new freedom to relate to the modern world, to generate in her a new “openness to what lies ahead,” to issue “a call to go further.” If, as some say, his methods and manner smack of Peronism, what of it? According to Fr. Rosica, those who dare criticize this divinely appointed ruler should go to confession and henceforth hold their tongues.

Well, since we are being frank, let me say that a finer example of a disordered attachment could scarcely be found. Francis does not appear here as the successor of that Peter whose only mandate is to confess Christ and to safeguard the sacraments of the gospel, thus feeding the flock and strengthening his brethren. He appears rather as Jesus himself appeared – as one so vested with the Spirit as to take authority over scripture and tradition. And this, if taken seriously, is heresy of the rankest kind.

Fr. Rosica’s fawning “clericalism of one,” if I may put it that way, confuses Peter with Christ. Moreover, it reflects a confusion evident in Francis himself, who on hearing this ought to have torn his cassock and ripped up Rosica’s letter of appointment. Perhaps, however, he was too preoccupied with his own effort to persuade us to go further, “to open ourselves up without fear, without rigidity, to be flexible in the Spirit and not mummified in our structures that close us up.”

Now dare I say that, in the context of the present ephebophilia crisis, the words of Francis just quoted, which were used in expression of gratitude to José Tolentino Mendonça, a priest (now bishop) who has not shied from promoting LGBTQ causes, take on a rather sinister sense? One can well imagine such words being used in the grooming or cajoling of young seminarians by the likes of “Uncle Ted.” No doubt that was far from Francis’s mind! But recall that this is the pontiff who has not merely erred, as his predecessors did, in appointing men of dubious character to high office at the urging of other such men in the bureaucracy. This is the pontiff who has deliberately surrounded himself with such men (whose names, eschewed here, have now been named by one in a position to name them). It is the pontiff who allegedly lifted what limited sanctions Benedict imposed on McCarrick and apparently took the latter’s advice in making major episcopal appointments. It is the pontiff who, confronted with all that, said that he would speak not one word in reply, yet clearly indicated that critics, however grave their charges, are but sowers of division, a howling “pack of wild dogs” who seek to destroy the peace of a prayerful man.

The McCarrick scandal, let us all admit, is just one powerful gust in the swirling tempest that now surrounds Francis and threatens to capsize both his pontificate and the barque of Peter itself. If the bridge is unresponsive it is not because it is deep in prayer, as the pope pretends. It is because the bridge itself is now riddled with the worms of sexual and financial corruption. Greed and lust, particularly homosexual lust, is doing to the Church what it is doing elsewhere in human society – destroying its very sense of direction and its capacity to distinguish truth from error, good from evil, the innocent from the guilty, sound judgment from folly. In such a situation keeping our heads down and bailing, bailing, bailing, as Rosica advises, is no solution at all.

What, then, is the solution? To resist clericalism? Yes, and especially this “clericalism of one” that places the pope beyond all criticism and beyond all accountability. That will not be enough, but it will be a start. For the pope may be subject to no earthly authority the equal of his own, but he remains subject to the authority of Christ, of which he is by no means the only repository, nor in most matters the sole interpreter.

Some think that Francis displays signs of a disordered personality, as David doubtless thought of King Saul; but subjective judgments of that sort, though they become more germane in any scheme that makes authority reside in the person rather than in the office, are not the issue here. The point is rather that it is wrong to treat Francis – or any pope – as if, like Saul, he were indeed a sovereign, an absolute sovereign against whom no hand must ever be lifted save, at most, to trim some small piece from the hem of his garment, lest one be found guilty of sinning against the Lord’s anointed.

The first Jesuit pope will likely be the last. At all events, Ignatius’ military model of obedience ought not to be transferred to the papal and institutional structures of the Church. Nor ought anyone to be taken in by the kind of modesty of which Francis has made a show, as if that military model were the very thing he wished to break down by something more spontaneous, more charismatic, more Franciscan (that is, more lay-like). That is just what leads round to the error of papal personalism. From his bow on the balcony to his “Who am I to judge?” to his recent “You be the judge,” Francis has deflected attention from proper papal authority in order to enhance or protect his personal authority – the very authority so aptly described by Fr. Rosica.

At this point, let us consult the charts. Canon 331 states:

The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.

That certainly sounds like sovereignty, but what kind of sovereignty? Not the personalistic kind that Rosica favors, nor even the political kind that the people of Israel favored when they demanded that a king be appointed over them, nor yet the military kind favored by Ignatius.

Note well here that the bishop of Rome is the vicar of Christ, not the vicar of God. God has now but one vicar, the God-man himself, who is the Church’s true head and its only proper sovereign and high priest. Peter exercises something of the sovereignty vested by God in Christ, for Christ has in turn vested that something in him and his successors, together with the apostolic college, in the form of magisterial judgment and binding juridical authority in the daily life of the Church. But Peter is not himself a sovereign, properly speaking; he is merely a steward, with very specific responsibilities. It was and is a mistake, whether by titles or by customs or by laws or by scruples – here we may indeed challenge some of the old charts, which were rightly corrected at the Second Vatican Council – to regard him as if he were something other or more than that.

Yet did we not call the Church the barque of Peter? Yes, but the genitive is not possessive. If we wish to make it possessive, or even appositive, we must refer to the barque of Christ. Recall the occasion when the Twelve were out in a boat with the wind against them, while Jesus also was out – walking on the sea in the tempest. When he joined them and climbed into the boat, both the wind and the sea and the boat itself obeyed him, though they would not obey Peter or the Twelve. There is a lesson there. The Church is the barque of Peter only in the sense that Peter is asked to remain watchful on the bridge. He is certainly not invited to seize the helm and steer the ship on some course of his own, fancying that his sails are trimmed to the Spirit.

So let us, by all means, be frank. But let us have none of Fr. Rosica’s nonsense. If Francis is doing what Rosica says he is doing – and that, I fear, is difficult to deny – then Francis is not performing the duties of his Petrine office at all. Rather he is driving the ship onto the shoals, and it is high time the rest of the Twelve (I mean, of course, the apostolic college) pointed that out, as indeed the more alert members are beginning to do. This storm will pass, and the air in the Church be fresher for it. The ship will sail on and reach suddenly its destination. But its broken masts and rotten planks must first be replaced or repaired. For that, not only the charts, but also the ship’s plans, must be consulted again.


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


About Dr. Douglas Farrow 3 Articles
Douglas Farrow is Professor of Theology and Christian Thought at McGill University, and the author, most recently, of Theological Negotiations: Proposals in Soteriology and Anthropology (Baker Academic, 2018).

65 Comments

    • I agree with most of Dr. Farrow’s above article.

      However, this line, “the bishop of Rome is the vicar of Christ, not the vicar of God” is grave error.

      Jesus Christ is God. This is a mystery. All 3 Persons of the Trinity are God. One can never imply that Jesus Christ is not God. He Is.

      Also, one of the major problems which is fueling to Pope Francis evils is the ladder climbing, brown-nosing, and willful papalotry shown by numerous bishops and clergy. These bishops and clergy are intelligent enough to know that Pope Francis is propagating the gravest of errors; they just willfully ignore the errors in attempt to be named Cardinal, bishop, etc. That must be what is meant by “clericalism”.

      • Farrow was saying that Pope Francis is not equal to Jesus the Incarnate Son.
        PF is not the Son of God. He is Christ’s brother but not in the Holy Trinity. So he is not the Vicar of God as one appointed like Christ Himself. Rather PF is the Vicar of Christ in the Church, not in the Holy Trinity.

        • It’s like an argument on the Theotokos.
          Mary is the Mother of Christ only, and not the Mother of God.

          Peter is the Vicar of Christ, Christ is a God-Man one person having two nature, hypostatic unionm we cannot separate it.

          To label Pope Francis or the Vicar of Christ is not the Vicar of God is like separating the nature of Christ, from his humanity.

          This is not a sound article.

          • Certainly it is right to recognize Christ as intercessor which is a role the Divine Person of the Father does not play. There is also a hierArchy of sorts within God’s personage. Not a value judgement but the Son proceedeth from the Father and the Spirit from the love of both.
            Popes are Vicars of Christ (not the Father) so that we can understand their role in the economy of salvation.

      • Yes, agreed. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ but not Christ Himself. The Pope is entrusted with the Gospel to promote it, not to corrupt it. The Pope is the servant of Sacred Tradition, not its master. He has the authority to defend the truth, not to change it.

    • DEAR JESUS, FORGIVE THE CHRISTIANS AND CATHOLICS WHO ARE SO QUICK TO ASK FOR POPE FRANCIS’S HEAD. THEY ARE IGNORAMI, NO MATTER HOW MANY DOCTORATES THEY HAVE. SEE HOS THEY MISLEAD YOUR POOR LITTLE ONES. WHY ARE THEY SO DENSE ABOUT CHURCH HISTORY? WHY DON’T THEY KNOW THAT SATAN HAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE INFILTRATING THE CHURCH? THE CHURCH IS BUILT ON A ROCK AND NOTHING, NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO DESTROY US. PITY THESE FOOLS…..

      • The Rock upon which the Church was built was Peter proclaiming the Truth, not Peter spouting heresy. So, let’s try to be thorough when we go back in time attempting to find excuses for those who misuse authority.

        It’s the Truth that’s not destroyed, Eden, even by one who rises to the position of pope.

  1. To me it appears that Pope Francis is more interested in fixing tickets than in fixing sinners. Ticket fixing is much easier and less time consuming than sinner fixing. I wonder if he should be called Franky the fixer?

  2. Nothing prevents a slew of Francis types in the next 50 years since we now know there are many Francis appointees voting next time plus the ones who voted for him. When clergy are not gay, they are often over genteel from a life of books. I believe God might be reducing many aspects of the Church…it’s population which itself is fictional at some level; but it’s active population also. In the last two hundred years, God reduced the papal lands greatly from the whole middle of Italy to its present small city state. He may have a lot more reducing in mind…until high clergy return to the scriptures rather than hopscotch over them as they’ve done on wifely obedience, Judas being in hell according to Christ, the death penalty, and hoping for an empty hell despite Christ saying the opposite in LK.13:24. God is reducing the Church and when it honors every scripture again, gays won’t want to be in a masculine theology atmosphere.

    • Psychologically, one has to be very careful to assume that all gays are effeminate. From a Navy veteran who also worked in prisons, most gays are actually very masculine and it is a “power” maneuver. Francis Cardinal Spellman allegedly appears to fit this mold in his nefarious dealings with Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.

  3. The storm will pass, only when those in the barque with Christ , subject themselves to Him and the Sacred Tradition and Church Dogma. “Peter” must reach out to Christ in order not to sink beneath the waves. The poisonous tree is Ecclesiastical Freemasonry.

  4. It’s arguable that Rosica’s statement has little to do with even Christ Himself and is more a kind of gnostic faith in the leadership of Francis as an individual “free from disordered passions.” By what standards is this liberation declared, proven or recognized if this individual is beyond “the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture?” Are the teachings of Scripture and the Church themselves “disordered passions?”

    This is not the humility of Christ in the Gospels sent by the Father who proclaims the coming of the Spirit. This is not the teaching of St Augustine in De Trinitate.

    The most troubling phrase is “openly ruled by an individual.” There is nothing of the Trinity here…something more akin in this “new advent” to a replacement, a substitute.

    And the most troubling word here is “openly.”

    • I think it is a desperate clutch at a lifeline attributed to Pope Francis which can indeed cover a multitude of sins and exonerate one from the need for self-examination.

      What is needed is a true sense of fear of the Lord and trust in His power to save.

      It is a crisis of faith.

  5. One part of this could have been much better-expressed than it was: “Note well here that the bishop of Rome is the vicar of Christ, not the vicar of God. God has now but one vicar, the God-man himself….”

    Argh.

    Christ Jesus is God. Ergo, the vicar of Christ IS the vicar of God. But Christ Jesus is God The Son, whereas Christ Jesus is NOT God The Father. Ergo, the vicar of Christ is the vicar of God The Son, but not of God The Father.

    THAT’S how you’re supposed to say it. If the great St. Athanasius weren’t currently in Heaven enjoying the eternal reward of his faithfulness, he’d be rolling in his grave.

    And that distinction is utterly irrelevant to the argument, anyway.

    The relevant distinction is the distinction between the Davidic KING and the Davidic Chief Steward, who has primacy among the other Stewards, and can bind what they loose or loose what they bind. Isaiah 22, as always, is the go-to scripture; and Matthew 16 and 18 merely confirm by their parallelism that the Petrine office under Jesus the Son of David is the office of the Chief Steward (in Hebrew, the “al Bayith,” literally “he who is over the House of David”), whereas the other 11 Apostles are also stewards (able to “open and shut”) but they lack the primacy (the authority to “shut” what another steward has “opened” or “open” what another steward has “shut”).

    So. Christ Jesus is the KING, and the holder of the Petrine office, the office of the Al Bayith, is only the Chief Steward (among other Stewards), the Grand Vizier (among other Viziers), the Prime Minister (among other MInisters). THAT is how to explain the distinction.

    Everything else in Dr. Douglas Farrow’s argument is correct and follows perfectly from this distinction.

    He just needs to tighten up his understanding of Ancient Near-Eastern stewardly offices under the Davidic Kings…and also, some of his Trinitarian Theology.

  6. I quote you Professor : “Note well here that the bishop of Rome is the vicar of Christ, not the vicar of God.” Did you just affirm that Christ is not God ? That is a most abominable heresy. You are not better that Francis if you say so, professor. Repent now. A heretic is a alien of the catholic church. A public heretic cannot rule in the catholic church, because he is an external, public heretic.

    • Well, considering Dr. Farrow writes: “Note well here that the bishop of Rome is the vicar of Christ, not the vicar of God. God has now but one vicar, the God-man himself, who is the Church’s true head and its only proper sovereign and high priest…”, it’s clear he affirms that Christ is God. His point is that the papacy has a certain relationship to the Incarnate Word, and that the authority of the pontiff flows from the authority granted by Jesus Christ, Who Himself is the Head of the Church. Anyone familiar with Dr. Farrow’s articles and books knows that far from denying the Trinity, he has actually penned some very insightful works on the Incarnational and Trinitarian nature of reality and the Church.

      • Some of these comments are getting into the theological weeds and losing track of the main point. Thanks, Carl, for bringing the discussion back to that main point.

        It is very important that it be said: Bergoglio is damaging the Catholic Church whether by design or folly, and must be corrected.

      • I write with gratitude for your explanation. Dr. Farrow is a true defender of the Christian faith. He has stood, alone or almost so, against the terrible forces of atheism manifested as radical secularism. His logic on questions concerning marriage, motherhood and fatherhood is perfectly clear; he is learned, a master of his subject. His conclusions as to the results of radical secularism are irrefutable and frightening. He does not “mince words” and therefore can be understood as harsh. His “harshness” brings to mind the fact that God’s mercy is severe; a “refiners fire” is not gentle but it does purify. We are indeed “a stiff-necked people”.

      • I do agree with some others that Dr Farrow’s choice of words here were unfortunate. I am sure that he did not intend to deny the “communication of idioms”, however.

        It might have been better to stress that fact that the pope is the SUCCESSOR OF PETER and hence the Vicar of Christ. However, he is most certainly not thereby the SUCCESSOR OF CHRIST which is the heretical assertion to which Rosica and so many others now seem to be tending.

  7. Since, as the author notes, Francis wants to regard himself as Christ rather than Peter, it is time to regard him as the imposter that he really is as Pope Frankenstein.

  8. A pope, who prior to his election, denied the Sanctity of the marital act, and thus the Sanctity of The Sacrament of Matrimony, by condoning, as Francis did, same-sex sexual relationships that he defined as “private, did not include children, and are not called marriage, and thus there is not a third party, nor is society affected”, could not possibly be a validly elected Pope, for in denying that God, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, Is The Author Of Love, of Life, and of Marriage, he sets himself against Christ.
    Only a Crisis in Faith could explain the Signs of The Times we are living in. Our hearts are broken.

    • You have not bothered to understand the point Farrow is making.

      Farrow is saying that the pope is not a vicar of God who is the equal of Christ.

  9. Being a convert since the 70s and finally finding a true home in the Church after years of wandering, it is very painful to me to hear the strange words of our present pope. (I had not heard the quote from Fr. Rosica but it leaves me speechless! New Age nonsense!) When I sense that I have a stronger faith than the pope, something is very wrong in the Church! I pray daily that the Lord will cleanse us and make us fit to be His Bride.

  10. Please just read what Gustavo Oscar Carrara, a new Auxiliary of Buenos Aires said about the Pope:

    “Die Vorstellung, dass der Papst nur an Argentinien denkt, ist doch etwas beschränkt, nicht wahr? Wir Argentinier sollten mehr auf seine Botschaft hören. Ich sage immer, man muss versuchen, Franziskus Worte und Gesten so zu hören und zu lesen wie sie sind – also die Essenz, ohne Interpretationen. Ich glaube, dies ist ein großer Moment: Gottes Geist verkörpert sich in Franziskus’, aber diese Dimension erfassen viele nicht.”

    Its the last sentence which is mostly shocking!

    “I believe this is a great moment: God’s Spirit is embodied in Francis’, but many do not grasp that dimension. ”

    A short analysis:

    1. Its a heresy to state that the third divine person incarnates in a human being. Only the second divine person, the eternal logos, became flesh.
    2. If he speaks of “God´s spirit” we have to presume, as he claims to be a validly ordained catholic bishop, that he speaks about the One God we confess in the creed. So his statement is heretical. And if his statement is true, it is acceptable that this “incarnated spirit of God” aka Begoglio can change everything he has inspired for example in the holy scriptures 2000 years ago.
    3. “but many do not grasp that dimension.”
    This is pure gnosticism without any “neo”. Gnosticism states that the Lord revealed certain truths only to certain people like the Gospel of Thomas etc. So no person can understand Begoglio properly, only those who know him personally for many years and have lived around him. Its a special and occult knowledge only a small group of people has. Its like Archb. Fernandez speaking about “a new logic” and “a new way of thinking”. Or Spadaros 2+2=5.

    Even writing this down, makes my knees shaking! I have send this episcopal statement to many traditionalist outlets, but no one considered it important.

    here is the source
    https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/katholische-kirche-generation-franziskus.2540.de.html?dram:article_id=411788

    • Yes. This is papalolatry, that is, worship of the Pope. Rosica is a slightly different type of this. And Coccopalmerio said things that approached this papalolatry. I’m sure we can find many more of Bergoglio’s appointments that are abject worshippers of the Holy Father.

      The desire for power and sex has perverted the Bergoglio appointments. So I suspect that we will see much more of this until the Holy Bergoglio is gone. Irony intended.

  11. The sexual abuse and cover-ups that now haunt the Catholic church were committed under the reigns of previous popes’, who failed to hold accountable unworthy priests and bishops. Pope Francis is playing catch-up given the scale of sex abuse in the global Catholic church. He is trying, as supreme pontiff merits our support and prayers in resolving a terrible crisis done over the past many, many decades. Let us focus on reaching out to clerical sex abuse victims, who seldom get a mention in the articles or posts, but they are the hurt and damaged victims of the old church which engaged in so, so many cover-ups.

    • Previous popes most certainly did make mistakes (even grave ones — which, if there still were a devil’s advocate, might have complicated John Paul II’s canonization), but Pope Francis is actively running cover for and promoting a homosexualist clique. The notorious Uncle Ted helped to get Bergoglio elected, and his hand is still heavy on the Church in America, since he urged Francis to put McElroy, Cupich, Tobin and other homo-heretics in the positions they now occupy.

  12. I am Catholic but, unfortunately, I mistrust our Pope Francis. I pray for him, but I disagree with many of his saying. He made many unforgettable intentional mistakes and wrong pontifical statements. God have mercy on him.
    Archbishop Vergano deserves all the credit for having such a great apostolic courage to umask all the perversion promoted by a cardinal. And this is not the first case, but one of many, many cases, covered up by the highest authority of the Church. Many of the Catholic prelates, bishops and clergies are filled with all sort of perversion.
    The Church is Holy, but has a lot of dirt to deal with.

    • This is the end of the world. The book of Revelation is slowly unfolding Let’s wait for our Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our Sins.. soon or later we are going to know who is the ANTI CHRIST. . let us receive Jesus Christ and His Salvation so as to meet Him in the clouds in what is called RAPTURE Amen!

    • You can find the same dirt in all religions, all walks of life, all cultures. Unfortunately, dirt is gaining ground. But hopefully a nice healthy rain will wash most of it away.

  13. “…here we may indeed challenge some of the old charts, which were rightly corrected at the Second Vatican Council.”

    Just out of curiosity: In what way, specifically?

  14. When I read the Old Testament I can see prophetic messages speaking of the coming of the suffering servant and a new covenant. God gave Israel plenty of advanced notice of upcoming changes. There were also incidents recorded in the New Testament where the Father’s voice was heard endorsing Christ. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was sent. There is no place in the New Testament where I can see any notices that there would be any revisions to Christ’s New and Eternal Covenant. I do see warnings of false prophets. We have had the appearance of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. After Pentecost the Holy Trinity was all in. There are no further Persons of the Holy Trinity left to send to usher in a new dispensation. The current claims of the God of surprises are contrary to God’s prior conduct as recorded in Holy Scripture. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Can the progressives provide any?

  15. Business as Usual or All Hands on Deck? An Imperfect Model.
    Main stream media is enthusiastically touting the Crisis of Faith caused by the most recent scandals of sexual abuse and cover-ups revealed in the McCarrick and Pennsylvania cases. As an over 60 cradle Catholic, I had only five years of primary school Catholic education, but never sensed any type of homosexual culture in priests I encountered in that generation. I am not experiencing a Crisis of Faith, but a Crisis of Confidence in the leadership of the Church. I dubiously joke with the young faithful priests I have come to know, that I’m advising all who listen not to trust priests over 40 unless very confident of their backgrounds. A Catholic military chaplain who was a mentor of mine paraphrased and taught the differences between the religion OF Jesus versus the religion about Jesus, a difference between Faith and Institutions. I don’t believe the “fake news” of MSM, but as in the secular world, a crisis of confidence in governmental institutions parallels the crisis of confidence in Church leadership.
    As faithful Catholics, we can weather the heavy seas facing us by retaining our Faith, but we do need All Hands on Deck in order to stabilize the ship and go forward. Many American readers are or have been military and/or federal government employees with security clearances which require periodic (5 year) updated Background Investigations via a very imperfect and cumbersome process, but the efforts are usually made. I posit for consideration and reflection that an improved Catholic internal process be established to vet and ensure background investigations for the entire clerical community with required periodic updates, not unlike the many national checks done for Diocesan employees and volunteers as well as non-religious service organizations ranging from scouting to athletic programs. Diocesan parishes throughout the country would nominate voluntary personnel to work with full time staff including investigators, lawyers, and professional counselors on the Diocesan or regional levels in an as transparent manner as possible. These personnel and infrastructure costs would probably be less expensive than the numerous payouts nationally which have bankrupted Catholic communities in many states. The hybrid nature of another bureaucratic layer for Church management and security is not an ideal solution, but the necessity to act is all too apparent.

    • Now, that is a great idea Patrick! As a retired USAF MSgt, I can think of the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) which could be the sustaining framework to the background check process. For those who are not familiar with the PRP program, I believe that it was primarily instituted to reduce operational risks with our nation’s nuclear weapons by monitoring personnel and removing them from their official duties if they were not in compliance with the program’s parameters. Once the risk criteria was eliminated, the person would be restored to active status (or NOT). If a bishop institutes a Priestly Reliability Program (PRP)for his diocese and it is discovered that a priest is a sodomite, he would be relieved of duties and charged with a canonical crime until he is formally acquitted or found guilty and deposed.

  16. Appalling as is all the immorality which Francis is obviously facilitating (promoting the likes of James Martin, etc.) that in itself is less troubling from the standpoint of the indefectibility of the Church than are his many deviations from Catholic doctrine — grave errors he has made not only in his sermons and interviews (that would be easy to deal with theologically, cf. John XXII of Avignon), but also in official documents addressed to the universal Church. In trying to make sense of this disastrous pontificate (“regime” is a more accurate word), it is hard to know where to look for parallels in Church history: bad popes or … anti-popes. The fact that there has not been an anti-pope in 600 years does not mean that such a thing is impossible in the 21st century. Very seriously, this needs to be looked at seriously by theologians, bishops and canonists. If Francis does in fact benefit from the special protection of the Holy Spirit which prevents a legitimate pope from leading the Church into error, it sure don’t look like it! In any case, there certainly are enough irregularities both in the abdication of Benedict XVI and in the conclave of 2013 (Bergoglio was elected in an illegal extra ballot, not to mention the St Gallen conspiracy), that it would be eminently plausible for some future pope to judge that Bergoglio was in fact an anti-pope (an illustrious club already including 40 or so people, not all of them bad men necessarily). No individual Catholic has the authority to judge that this is the case, but we have reached the point that the question really needs to be asked. Only the retired Bishop Gracida is doing so, but the reputable Catholic media need to ask this question seriously, no matter how scary it is.

  17. Pope Francis, early on said that he would be seen as the Pope who split the church. I think that is what “diablo” means, to divide. That was my first red flag. (Thank you Nancy for your comments too.) Who would be proud of such a thing. Or even think it? His job is unity and peace in Truth. I’m sticking like glue with the Truth and holding my people in Unity. Amen

  18. I beg to disagree in this article.
    Peter merited the position of the Vicar of Christ because among the Apostles, before the Pentecost exemplify his prayerful attributes, Peter is a contemplative soul.
    Look what Jesus said when among the Apostles Peter stood up and said you are the Messiah Son of the Living God. Jesus said Peter received the revelation directly from the Father.How? Peter is a contemplative.
    Next, when all the Apostles were confused and tempted to leave Jesus in the bread of life discourse..Peter against stood up and said “to whom shall we go”.Peter is loyalty shines.
    And in the eve of Christ passions only Peter have the courage to follow Jesus, but unfortunately he fall because courage is not enough to follow Jesus Way of the Cross, Peter need the Holy Spirit and all of us need the Pentecost experience to follow Jesus.
    So, Pope Francis anointing as the Vicar of Christ carried with it the Holy Name of Christ and the powerful promised of protection of Jesus in Luke22:32, and not only that Acts5:3 had shown that Peter the Vicar of Christ is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, a lie spoken face to face to Peter carries God wrath. We cannot disrespect the Vicar of Christ.
    You cannot said you are a catholic and slap the face of Christ by attacking the dignity of Pope Francis. An attack on the dignity of Pope Francis is a direct attack on Jesus Himself. (Acts9:3)
    And God commanded us in Psalm105:15 “DO NOT TOUCH MY ANOINTED ONE”.
    For us to believe in this article lowering the dignity or role of the Vicar of Christ just because the prelates and the clergy had done a homosexual crimes which Pope Francis is not culprit and blame it on Him, is for me is “BLINDNESS” on the real issue.
    Pope Francis is the Chief Shepherd, and we cannot say that God is not guiding His action.
    Pope Benedict XVI clearly said, “DO NOT LOSE THE VISION, GOD ALWAYS GUIDE HIS CHURCH”.

    Let’s not be deceived by this kind of article.

    S&IHMMP4us,Amen

    • “Pope Francis is the Chief Shepherd, and we cannot say that God is not guiding His action.”

      Jong, there is nothing in Catholic doctrine that supports your statement. There is a big difference between reverence for papal primacy and papalotry. Was God guiding Alexander VI to fornicate and murder? Was Pope Honorius inspired by God to tolerate heresy, and if so, was his successor guided by God when he condemned him for it? Or perhaps previous popes are open to criticism for their bad actions but Pope Francis has some new special super magic powers no pope before him ever had? On second thought, that is sort of what Father Rosica said.

    • “For us to believe in this article lowering the dignity or role of the Vicar of Christ just because the prelates and the clergy had done a homosexual crimes which Pope Francis is not culprit and blame it on Him, is for me is “BLINDNESS” on the real issue.”

      Nobody is blaming him for homosexual crimes. They are blaming him for removing sanctions from someone who had committed them, and ignoring or covering up the grievous sins of those who have committed them.

      “You cannot said you are a catholic and slap the face of Christ by attacking the dignity of Pope Francis. ”

      Would you say the same about, say Pope John XII? Was nobody allowed to criticism because he was the Pope?

    • We are in total obedience to the Chair of Peter. When “Peter” strays, it is incumbent on the “Pauls” of the day to call him to his task. The currant occupant of the Chair of Peter is indicisive and ambiguous publicly in his leadership. Leadership and clarity ARE HIS TASK! HIS OFFICE! There is no slap in the face here….there is a plea to the Shepherd for direction for and from the Sheep!!

  19. Thank you Dr Farrow. Great article.I think, in a way, every christian is a Vicar of Christ. In the early times of the Church, Popes were referred as Vicars of St Peter. Probably this is a more appropiate title and helps to understand better the petrine ministry.Papolatry is not part of the catholic tradition

  20. I am disappointed in Pope Francis, but if you follow the prophecies of the Catholic Church for the last few hundred years, you will see according to St. Malachy that this pope is the last Pope predicted in this 5th Church age. Malachy states: “In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church, will be occupied by ‘Peter the Roman’, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven-hills (Rome) will be destroyed and the formidable Judge will judge the people. The End.” Is This Pope Francis? It seems so. A judgment will take place in the 2030s but is not the end. According to prophecies, this age is “coming to a close”, after the 10 events unfold that Mary, Mother of Jesus has predicted to us through her latest apparitions such as at Medjugorje. A book and web site called, “After The Warning To 2038”, has many prophecies from credible, Catholic sources that are predicting many more future events. There are two more Church ages to unfold after this chaotic time.

      • Medjugorje is not a hoax. Stop it. Bearing false witness against the Blessed Mother is a sin. There are numerous miracles (hundreds) associated with Medjugorje and hundreds of faithful men have received their vocations to the priesthood through Medjugorje. Research it before you speak. Many people have seen the Blessed Mother in apparitions in Medjugorje.

6 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Being Frank about Francis -
  2. Viganò Watch: VVednesday Second Edition – Big Pulpit
  3. S’opposer au cléricalisme? Oui, et surtout à ce «cléricalisme d’un seul» | Le Salon Beige
  4. Viganò reveals Newchurch’s only unforgivable crime | AKA Catholic
  5. [Ecclésiologie] La Passion Mystique de l’Eglise catholique selon la Doctrine catholique | Fide Catholica
  6. “Conservatives tend to obey” so bad men can do anything they want to them – What's Up With Francis-Church?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.


*