Papal distractions can reveal papal intentions

One way to understand where a leader’s true priorities and concerns lie, is to look at who comes in for rough treatment and why, and who doesn’t, and why not.

Pope Francis listens during the opening Mass of the plenary assembly of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 23, 2021. (CNS photo/Cristian Gennari, pool)

By now, you’ve surely heard what happened. “How do you deal with people,” a Slovak Jesuit asked Pope Francis during the now standard Q&A with local Jesuits during papal trips, “who look at you with suspicion?”

There is, for example,” Pope Francis responded, “a large Catholic television channel that has no hesitation in continually speaking ill of the pope.”

I personally deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner,” Pope Francis continued, “but the Church does not deserve them. They are the work of the devil. I have also said this to some of them.”

There’s a lot of dry tea spilled in those few short lines of answer, but I’ll skip the reading. Suffice it to say that the reports of these conversations with Jesuits are highly curated affairs. They usually appear in La Civiltà Cattolica. They are what they are. He is who he is. It is what it is.

Aquila non captat muscas, the old Roman saying goes. “The eagle does not hawk for flies.” The expression conveys the sense that lofty and powerful men – or men in lofty and powerful office – ought not let themselves be tempted to waste time swatting at nuisances. Apparently, Pope Francis has let Raymond Arroyo’s – or someone’s – buzzing and biting get to him. Oh, well.

There is, by the way, a pat answer to the question the Slovak Jesuit asked. It basically says: Yeah, people are going to talk. If I spent my time considering even a small fraction of the criticism for which I come in from the commentariat, I’d have no time for real work. Yeah, my guys let me know how I’m doing in the press. I’ve got guys for that. I take what they say about what they’re saying with a grain of salt, and I’m sure there’s plenty of legit criticism out there, but I try to keep my eye on the ball.

Instead, we got a vaguebooking reference to Arroyo (or whomever) and EWTN (or whatever).

So, Pope Francis doesn’t like EWTN. Maybe. Probably. Who cares? Seriously, why does it matter?

Pope Francis is the Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, Prince of the Apostles and Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province and Primate of Italy. He is Patriarch of the West (yes, he is still what he is even if he doesn’t like to advertise it), Sovereign of Vatican City, Vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth. He is the Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church, whose person in his see is judged by no man.

Raymond Arroyo is a news anchor, a talking head.

If Pope Francis’s purpose in placing the remark about the “large Catholic television station” was to distract folks, then he accomplished it.

This past week, Pope Francis announced his intention to keep the embattled Cardinal Ranier Maria Woelki in place (and also not keep him in place) despite thoroughly documented failures to oversee and properly address dozens of sexual abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Cologne. Many of those cases stopped at the doorstep of Woelki’s predecessor, Cardinal Joachim Meisner.

Cardinal Woelki had commissioned and eventually published a report, which absolved Woelki of personal wrongdoing but detailed “systematic coverup” of abuse in Cologne between 1975 and 2018. Woelki became Archbishop of Cologne in 2014. Woelki also decided not to publish an earlier report after lawyers for the Archdiocese of Cologne found “methodological deficiencies” in that earlier review. The chief architect of the report that Woelki did eventually publish, criminal law professor Björn Gercke, said the unpublished original report also cleared Woelki of personal wrongdoing.

A statement from the Apostolic Nunciature heading into the weekend said Pope Francis is “counting on” Cardinal Woelki. “At the same time,” the statement also said, “it is clear that the archbishop and the archdiocese need a time for a pause, renewal and reconciliation.”

While an Apostolic Visitation conducted over a couple of weeks in June by Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm and Bishop Johannes van den Hende of Rotterdam “did not find that [Cardinal Woelki] acted against the law in handling abuse cases,” the Visitors nevertheless found that Woelki’s overall general handling of the business “especially at the communication level,” was wanting.

“Cardinal Woelki committed great errors,” the statement from the nunciature said. “This essentially contributed to the crisis of trust in the archdiocese.”

Earlier this month, Pope Francis rejected the resignation of Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg, also named in the Cologne report as responsible for eleven specific failures when he was a priest and official of the Cologne archdiocese.

The Vatican said Archbishop Hesse had been guilty of “personal procedural errors” but didn’t commit them with the specific intention of covering up abuse. The statement also said that Hesse was really, really sorry.

“After carefully examining the documents received,” a statement from the Apostolic Nunciature to Germany said on September 15th, “the Holy See found deficiencies in the organization and functioning of the Archbishop [of Cologne]’s General Vicariate and personal procedural errors [committed by now-Archbishop Stefan Hesse] for the period in question.”

“However,” the statement continued, “the investigation has not shown that these were committed with the intent to cover up cases of sexual abuse.”

“The basic problem,” according to the Nunciature, “in the larger context of the administration of the archdiocese, was the lack of attention and sensitivity to those affected by abuse.”

The response of German Catholics to Pope Francis’s decisions in both cases – Hesse’s and Woelki’s – has toggled between befuddlement and incredulity.

“The pope declares that [Bishop Hesse] should stay,” noted the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung, “with the bizarre justification that he did not commit the errors proven against him with the intention of covering up abuse.”

“This is crazy,” the Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung’s editors opined.

Regarding Cardinal Woelki, the Washington Post quoted the president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Thomas Sternberg, as saying “A timeout is not enough.” Sterberg also said, “It is completely unclear what could stand at the end of such a timeout and it is not suited to restoring lost confidence.”

Now, the ZdK’s willingness to countenance all sorts of doctrinally dubious “reform” projects is as well known as the group’s willingness to make hay while the sun shines, but it’s tough to say they don’t have their finger on the pulse of German Catholics or are out of touch with Catholic opinion. If Pope Francis wants to win the battle for hearts and minds in Germany, he is going to have to do a whole lot more – and a whole lot better – to show the faithful that he’s on their side in the fights that matter.

On Friday of this week, Pope Francis announced he had relieved the leadership of the Memores Domini lay association affiliated with the global Communion & Liberation movement founded by the Servant of God, Luigi Giussani.

The Memores now have a special papal delegate for their leader in Archbishop Filippo Santoro of Taranto. In late summer of 2020, the Memores got a canonical advisor in Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda SJ – a world-renowned canonist and former Magnificent Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, who also previously served as canonical assistant to the Legionaries of Christ during their late reform effort.

If you take a beat and look around, there’s more than enough doing in the Church and out of the Vatican to make you ask: “What gives?”

One way to understand where a leader’s true priorities and concerns lie, is to look at who comes in for rough treatment and why, and who doesn’t, and why not. The pope is a leader.

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About Christopher R. Altieri 251 Articles
Christopher R. Altieri is a journalist, editor and author of three books, including Reading the News Without Losing Your Faith (Catholic Truth Society, 2021). He is contributing editor to Catholic World Report.


  1. One wonders how many, if any, Cardinals who voted for Bergolio in the Conclave, now regret their decision.

    Even though EWTN and Raymond Arroyo will probably not receive a Christmas card from the Holy Father, the fact that EWTN broadcasts into more than 100 countries, speaks volumes of what Mother Angelica, love her or hate her, was able to accomplish — something no Bishop, Cardinal or Pope has been able to do. Why the Holy Father chooses to belittle EWTN remains befuddling and clearly an indication that a future visit to Birmingham will not be on Francis’ schedule.

    • Well, Pope St. John Paul II actually visited 129 countries, some several times. One would not expect that schedule of a pope 84 years old. But maybe the messages from these earlier papal visits can be recalled now (in those countries) as grist for the decentralized and grassroots synod on synodality.

    • Dear CMI (as you call yourself),

      Time to get out of your comfy bed and open a window, breathe in some fresh air, pray The Lord’s Prayer, so the deceptive demons of the night flee from you, CMI!

      You want to know why RA, EWTN, etc., etc., ad nauseum have it in for our Pope?
      Because (within the limits of mortality we all face) Francis TELLS THE TRUTH.
      They can’t handle that. Horrors: The Holy Spirit could actually blow anywhere; control freaks can’t cope with that. So, they have to block it by any means fair or foul. Basically, bullying gang dominance. Not at all edifying! Certainly not Catholic!

      In his September 1st homily, CMI, Pope Francis calls our Church back to her original allegiance to and persevering imitation of Our Lord Jesus Christ:

      At the general audience, Pope Francis asked Catholics to reflect on how they live the faith, and to strive to put Christ at the center of their actions to avoid falling into mere formalities.

      “Does the love of Christ crucified and risen again remain at the center of our daily life as the wellspring of salvation, or are we content with a few religious formalities to salve our consciences?” the Pope asked in his weekly message.

      Speaking in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, he continued: “Are we attached to the precious treasure, to the beauty of the newness of Christ, or do we prefer something that attracts us momentarily but then leaves us empty inside?”

      “The ephemeral often knocks on the door of our days, but it is a sad illusion, which makes us fall into superficiality and prevents us from discerning what is really worth living for,” he added.

      Pope Francis’ weekly catechesis centered on a passage from St. Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, in which the Apostle says: “O stupid Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? I want to learn only this from you: did you receive the Holy Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard?”

      The Pope began his message by underlining that the Scripture passage and its message comes from St. Paul, not from him. “This is not something new, this explanation, not something of mine: what we are studying is what St. Paul says in a very serious conflict with the Galatians”, he emphasized. “This is simply a catechesis on the Word of God expressed in the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians; nothing else.”

      He noted that St. Paul is “not courteous” with the language he uses to address the Galatians. In other letters, Paul calls them “brothers” or “dear friends,” but here is angry, the Pope explained, pointing out that Paul calls them “foolish,” which is also sometimes translated as “stupid.”

      “Paul does so not because they are not intelligent, but because, almost without realizing it, they risk losing the faith in Christ that they have received with so much enthusiasm,” Pope Francis said. “They are foolish because they are unaware that the danger is that of losing the valuable treasure, the beauty, of the newness of Christ and so they may miss the possibility of attaining a new, hitherto unhoped-for freedom.”

      St. Paul is “shaking up their consciences: this is why it is so forceful,” Pope Francis stated. “He takes them back to the starting point of the Christian vocation.”
      Pope Francis emphasized: “Paul’s intention is to compel Christians to realize what is at stake, so they do not allow themselves to be enchanted by the voice of the sirens who want to lead them to a religiosity based solely on the scrupulous observance of precepts.”

      Even when we are tempted to turn to superficiality, however, God still bestows his gifts on us, he said.

      “Even today, people come and harangue us, saying: ‘No! Holiness is in these precepts, in these things, you must do this and that,’ and propose an inflexible religiosity, the inflexibility that takes away from us that freedom in the Holy Spirit that Christ’s redemption gives us,” the Pope continued.

      He warned Catholics to “beware of the rigidity they propose to you: be careful, because inflexibility does not come from the Holy Spirit of God.”

      Following this truly Petrine, apostolic leadership by our Pope, CMI, could we then say that every Catholic organization needs to continually measure itself thus: “Are we leading our people into an ever-growing, loving relationship with King Jesus Christ? Or, are we going through the repetitious, anaesthetizing, motions of religiosity?”

      Going back hundreds of thousands of years, human beings have everywhere displayed religious sentiments. Religious spirits are present everywhere and love to bind people to their rituals and repetitious pleadings and temple building and sacrifices and adorations.

      Yet, John chapter 1 tells us they were all in darkness. Only with the advent of Jesus Christ of Nazareth did TRUTH shine out and reveal all the deceptions imposed by religious spirits. Apostle John then mourns the many who still stay in the dark, with only a few responding to Christ Light and so becoming God’s daughters and sons. Jesus remarks on the many who are called but few chosen. Serious thought, dear CMI.

      Again, He reflects on humankind’s rejection of The New Wine in preference for the old. He warns us that all who came before Him were thieves and robbers. He assures the scrupulous, judgmental Martha that: “Only one thing is necessary!” In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul tells us, that if we don’t have that One Thing, Jesus Christ, in our heart, we are counterfeits! Again, a maximally serious issue.

      With all his limitations (and who has none, CMI?), I see Pope Francis perseveringly calling us Catholics out of our religious stupor, out of that ancient darkness, into the Light of an intimate, living relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, too many have become comfortable in the familiar pits of religion and refuse (even violently) God’s open invitation to the mountain-top wedding feast.

      May Almighty God raise up many young, energetic helpers for Pope Francis, in his courageous efforts to get us to HEAR our one True Shepherd, and to FOLLOW Him, and Him alone (see John 10:27-30). There is no other fulfilling destiny for a human person.

      Wake up Catholic people! Pray daily that God will continue to bless this courageous Pope that He has given us and fill him more and more with The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ – with power, love, and a sound mind, so Francis can take us exactly where God wants us to be, so Catholics can teach the whole world of the love of God in Christ Jesus.

      Take care you’ll. Stay safe. Ever in the love of Our Lamb; blessings from Marty

        • Dear A., if you don’t have a Bible, please borrow one and read Hebrews chapter 3, verses 7 to 11. Be blessed; ever in Jesus Christ, with love from Marty R

        • Hmmmm – in whatever subject you got your doctorate, you seem to have used it as an opportunity to take a Hypocritic Oath of your own devising, vowing to be as mealymouthed and smarmy and holier-than-thou and falsely humble as possible. You’re succeeding admirably.

          • Many thanks again, dearest Leslie.

            What a consistent Luke 6:23 blessing you are for me.

            Always in the merciful goodness of Jesus Christ; love from Marty

      • As if “scrupulous adherence to precepts” is the problem absorbing the world in freefall and the Church today!

        Said Christ, instead: “Do not think that I have come to abolish Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Mt 5:17). The Gospel is the Beatitudes and the Commandments, both. As Pope St. John Paul II clarified (when clarity was still in vogue): “…the commandment of love of God and neighbor does not have in its dynamic any higher limit, but it does have a lower limit, beneath which the commandment is broken” (Veritatis Splendor, n. 52).

        Therefore, anticipating the key assumption (!) in your accusatory lecture (“The Holy Spirit could actually blow anywhere.”), St. John, also, cautioned this: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out” (1 John 4:1).

        Looking to the future, and “walking together,” synodal “listening to the Holy Spirit”—if it is to be a real dialogue (as with listening to all of the perennial Church)—would seem to welcome a bit of steadfastness (“rigidity!” “bigotry!”). Are we still permitted to walk and chew gum at the same time?

        • Many thanks dear Peter for your carefully & courteously composed response.

          Maybe we need to avoid naively equating submission to The Holy Spirit with disobedience to God’s commandments . . .

          Our Blessed Mother Mary conceived by The Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ had the fullness of The Holy Spirit, Who remained on Him. The bewildered and fearful 120 were changed into the bold, loving, fearless founders of Christianity when they received The Holy Spirit, poured out by the risen and ascended King Jesus Christ. Centurion Cornelius and his family heard Apostle Peter preach about Jesus; their hearts were so moved to faith that The Lord Holy Spirit filled them all – even though they had not yet been baptized!

          Paul instructs us unequivocally in Romans 8:9: “If you don’t have The Holy Spirit of Christ, then you have nothing of Christ!” That is you are not a real Christian, not a real Catholic; you are still subject to God’s justified wrath.

          Are we paying the price for a generation of effete, heterodox catechesis? Few have been instructed in the truth: commandments accessed through religious rituals do not fill us with God’s Holy Spirit. They leave us bereft of power to obey. Mutual hypocritical pretense then becomes the seedbed of rote religion, scrupulosity, judgementalism and, so dreadfully evidently, paucity of genuine love in many parishes, descending to diabolical hatred between factions.

          Is is because of this Holy Spirit-less formalism that God is currently doing a job on the Church? Serious question for all of us. Please don’t duck!

          RATHER, it is our being filled with God’s Holy Spirit that enables us to be joyfully obedient to God’s commandments, to truly love one another, and become pleasing to The Holy Trinity (and to all the holy angels & saints). Pope Francis understands this and will lead all who are chosen to its blessings.

          Pope Francis’ God-given ministry is being targeted and subverted by enemies of The Gospel. Please, prayerfully consider 2 Corinthians 11:12-15.

          For example, people I know to be obdurate freemasons & spiritists watch EWTN approvingly . . . I’m not sure how to interpret that . . .

          We are told to constantly test their spirit:
          Do they wholeheartedly, unreservedly proclaim Jesus Christ as triumphant, sole ruler of the heavens & the earth; as the fullness of eternal God enfleshed, crucified, resurrected, reigning & soon returning as the sole judge of us all, living and dead. ? ? ?

          Do we ourselves believe & boldly announce the kerygma from the rooftops?

          Pope Francis is firm & sure in God’s Holy Spirit and God’s commandments. He trumpets the Gospel kerygma throughout the world. Let’s open our ears!
          Think: what does that show us about the spirits of his detractors.

          Dear Peter, please take care. Ever in the love of Jesus; blessings from Marty

      • Ok, I’ll ask you, since I can’t ask Francis. What the Church has taught since Christ is that our God given human nature doesn’t change, and that the moral truths that define how we ought to order our lives together do not change. The Church teaches this, because Our Lord taught this, and Our Lord taught this because it is true. Our moral natures are unchanging divine endowments. The truth about morality is self-evident when we are not busy trying to lie to ourselves because of our immorality. Knowing the truth about unchanging truth this does not require any cast of mind that can rightfully be characterized as “rigid.” On the contrary, it requires a rigid refusal to understand Christianity to believe that it does.
        Tell us why exactly, do you believe it is impossible, that a man who abandons his family, destroying their lives, to run away and shack up with his mistress can not be deluding himself that he is not doing something wrong and that the only possible pastoral response from an ordained man would be to endorse such behavior?

        • Many thanks Edward J. Baker,

          I can see you struggling with the same issue.

          Basically, we should have been taught by our bishops, priests, and catechists that a living relationship with the risen and reigning Jesus Christ, by His Holy Spirit, enables us to obey God’s commandments.

          It is part of The NEW Covenant that God graciously gives us The Holy Spirit and puts His commandments in our hearts, so we are always able to obey.

          There is a role for our brains as well as our hearts. We are to cooperate by doing our best to keep God’s commandments. For Christians that’s more than was given to Moses at Mt Sinai (Deuteronomy 5:1-22), since for the last two millennia we’ve had privileged access to the divine edition of these commandments, as exegeted by Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Matthew 5:17-48).

          The Jesus-refurbished commandments, like their Jewish antecedents, can be easily memorized.

          HAND ONE.
          Thumb: With all my heart, mind, body, and soul I will worship the One revealed by Jesus Christ: Father/Son/Holy Spirit; Index Finger: I will have no other god nor any idol; Middle Finger: I will not use God’s name profanely, and will swear no oaths; Ring Finger: I will keep the Sabbath Day holy; Little Finger: I will honor my mum and dad.

          HAND TWO.
          Thumb: I will love every person and will not hurt or kill anyone, nor hate, nor think evil; Index Finger: I will maintain sexual purity and faithfulness in thought, word, and deed; Middle Finger: I will not steal but follow Christ in giving not taking; always forgiving, never taking revenge; Ring Finger: I will tell the truth and not lie nor deceive nor slander; Little finger: I will not covet, for God in Christ is providing all I need.

          At Holy Communion we recall & re-enact our New Covenant obligations by stretching out our two hands to meet God stretching out His Body and Blood for us.

          Simple ‘finger commandments’ can give us confidence in our personal and collective, ever-deepening love affair with God in Christ Jesus.

          The world depends on New Covenant-keeping Catholics FAR more than we depend on the world. In Christ, we are a Holy Spirit-sealed priestly, servant people interceding for all of humankind. They need us.

          As we, The Church fail, so the whole world fails! Does that ring a bell?

          Always in the mercy & grace of Jesus Christ; love & blessings from Marty

          • I’m not struggling at all. And I don’t appreciate your condescension with a childish tone. Why do YOU struggle to avoid self-evident questions that implicitly rebuke the blatant sophistry of Francis, and those who refuse to question him, a Pope who can not be honorable enough to respond to high prelates seeking, through the Dubia, for the good of the Church, a simple response to whether or not he believes there are any exceptionless norms to the negative precepts of the natural law.
            His refusal is similar to your refusal to address the question I put to you. In spite of what Amoris Laetitia has to say, tell us why you believe it is impossible, that a man who abandons his family, brutalizing them, to run away and shack up with his mistress cannot be deluding himself that he is doing something wrong and that the only possible pastoral response from an ordained man would be to endorse such behavior?

      • A prayer that God fill [this pope] more and more with The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ is meaningless. The Holy Spirit is infinitely full of all God’s truth, goodness, beauty, knowledge, power, etc. One cannot have more of something which, by its very nature, is without measure.

        The ones in religious ‘stupor’ are those unable to contemplate the Eternal Wisdom in His righteous lawful glory. Jesus and His perennial magisterial Church show the way which He Himself said was narrow and difficult with few able to pass it. Francis offers diversion to both the rigid and the bendable reeds. That only bendable reeds like his byways is nothing new according to God’s word.

        • IN REPLY TO EDWARD J. BAKER September 27th, 2021

          Dear Edward,

          In what way does this part* of my response to you not fully address your example of severe sin?

          * HAND TWO commandments –
          Thumb: I will love every person and will not hurt or kill anyone, nor hate, nor think evil;
          Index Finger: I will maintain sexual purity and faithfulness in thought, word, and deed;
          Middle Finger: I will not steal but follow Christ in giving not taking; always forgiving, never taking revenge;

          The commandments of God multiply condemn the sins you describe; The Catechism of the Catholic Church condemns them and every proper bishop and priest will inform the perpetrator that he is in mortal sin and exclude him from Holy Eucharist until he has repented, done penance, and made full reparation.

          In most countries even the secular legal system will imprison such an abuser and force him to make payments to the deserted wife and children.

          It is a lie to suggest that our Pope Francis proposes any other way of dealing with the sins that you describe, Edward. Sadly: abusive, unfaithful, and deserting spouses are all too common in today’s ‘advanced’ society.

          The Church must accept much responsibility for often giving poor instructions in the way of Christ. A return to proper catechesis, emphasizing the non-negotiable essence of the commandments, is long overdue. In that connection Pope Francis insists that The Gospel stands immutable and unalterable. You fault him, Edward, but on false grounds.

          It’s a puzzle as to why these very simple truths seem to be beyond the grasp of so many commentators on this good article. WAKE UP CATHOLIC PEOPLE!

          Always in the mercy & grace of Jesus Christ; love & blessings from Marty

          • You obviously did not read Amoris Laetitia because infidelity and divorce are precisely what it trivializes and rationalizes and it is precisely what you trivialize by your uncritical acceptance of Francis as a living oracle. Your problem is that you have such a need to idolize Francis that you have blinded yourself regarding his foolishness, and you have created fantasies about his orthodoxy. And there is a common type of incoherence in your own thought typical of the mindset that abuses the meaning of what Jesus means by the fulfillment of the law. His mission to perfect the law by bringing clarity for all time, that there is a difference between ritual law, which is changeable, and moral law, which is not changeable. Jesus did not invent anything new, but revealed what is innate, what is natural, what is unchanging. Francis has made it clear over and over and over again that he does NOT believe in unchanging truth. Anyone who trusts him without skepticism, without criticism, has also made concessions to the idea that truth is NOT immutable, a belief that is insulting to God. Francis has made it clear that he believes we insult God by accepting eternal truths. He has it backwards, and it is tragic that you fail to see this.

          • IN RESPONSE TO EDWARD J. BAKER 09.28.21

            Dear Edward,

            When you actually read and respond to what I took the trouble to write to you, bro, then I’ll think it worth responding.

            Until then: in identifying a Godly and truthful person, I – with hundreds of millions of sincere Catholics & hundreds of millions of informed Orthodox and Protestants – choose to trust Pope Francis (with all his human frailty).

            Am sorry to say that emotional claims, lacking any textual evidence, are merely untrustworthy slander. Maybe we need to ask who it is that inspires slandering.

            Yet, as Pope Francis teaches: God is still caring even towards slanderers.

            All the best to you, Edward. Ever in the love of Jesus Christ; blessings from Marty R

          • There was no reply button to your response you identified below as dated 9.28.21, where you slanderously accused me of slander, so I’ll post it here on 9-29.

            I am not a famous man like the man you idolize, Pope Francis. But I am equally entitled to not be slandered as he is. I have never slandered anyone in my life, but you slander me to falsely claim that I am involved in slander. I will rephrase the question I cannot get your indisputably stubborn inclination to answer. In Amoris Laetitia, where exactly do you find Pope Francis upholding Catholic morality and doctrine regarding the indissolvability of marriage? Where do you find him condemning rather than praising the sort of man who goes and finds his way to establishing a new family after abandoning his first family, with no thought at all examined in Amoris Laetitia, to the devastating consequences, regarding the damaged families, as a result of the sexual sins of adultery and abandonment? Where do you find it?
            I contend he does not provide an answer, nor do you. How is this slander? You have publicly accused me in this public forum of slander. I demand an answer for your unwillingness to answer the basic question of Catholic doctrine. Your claim that there are lots of people in the world who also do not what to come to terms with the heterodoxy of Francis and insist on idolizing him anyway is no answer at all. The world is filled with only self-deluded sinners. Since you publicly insulted me, I demand an answer.

        • Hi dear Meiron, maybe check Luke 11:13 . . ?

          Jesus Christ said: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, HOW MUCH MORE WILL THE HEAVENLY FATHER GIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THOSE WHO ASK HIM.”

          It could be a good thing that so many commentators are displaying their profound ignorance of the Catholic faith. Hopefully, some leaders may notice this and take steps to bring you all into line with The Apostolic witness.

          Meanwhile, in your personal prayers, dear Meiron, why not ask: “Dear Father God, in the name of King Jesus Christ, I Meiron ask for the gift of The Holy Spirit.” Apostle John tells us to come and drink as much as we want, without having to pay. Jesus assures us: “If anyone comes to Me, I will by no means turn them away.”

          Believe me, dear bro, hundreds of millions of good Catholics have sincerely prayed like that and now live an amazingly blessed & beneficial new life.

          Take care; keep well. Ever in The Lamb of God; prayers and blessings from Marty

      • Not against Vatican II, but I see it’s fruits and Orthodoxy isn’t a part of it.
        But also the advancement in technology has made us soft watering down of the gospel, the watering down of who Christ truly was and the many Catholics who pick and choose the doctrines in Catholicism they want to follow.

        God’s approach is NOT always “tender.”

        In fact, Jesus was often so challenging, direct, and outright harsh that I often wonder, reading the NT, at the disconnect between this modern concept of Jesus and the fierce Jesus of the NT.

        He had tenderness for the poor and unloved, for the repentant.

        He spoke about Hell and sin quite often, and the seriousness and high standards of moral life.

        He was very harsh and direct, to the point of open insults, to leaders. Particularly hypocritical, unrepentant leaders.

        THAT Jesus, the Jesus of the Gospels, would lay into leaders like our faithless politicians (and bishops and priests) much like he did the Pharisees.

      • An excellent post, Dr Rice. This sentence you quoted is so true. “Paul’s intention is to compel Christians to realize what is at stake, so they do not allow themselves to be enchanted by the voice of the sirens who want to lead them to a religiosity based solely on the scrupulous observance of precepts.”

    • Dear CMI,

      After taking possession of his titular church in Rome — a longstanding tradition meant to symbolize the unity of the pope with his cardinals around the world — Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington said he is “saddened” by the tensions in the U.S. church and sees it part of his job to bolster Pope Francis’ ministry.

      “Francis has provided extraordinarily generous, kind and sensitive leadership to the church throughout the world,” Gregory said. “And I hope in whatever way I can to assist him in that, to support him in that, and to be available for whatever he might ask me to do, and buttressing and supporting his papal ministry.”

      Many like Cardinal Wilton Gregory are on the side of the holy angels of God.

      There are still first-class seats available, CMI, if you want one.

      Love & blessings & always in The Lamb of God; from Marty

  2. You know, we should have taken seriously Francis’s protestations that “he is a sinner”. He has told us this time and time again. Has any other Pope so blatantly declared himself a sinner? I don’t think so. We know everyone sins and is a sinner, but you don’t expect the calling card of a Pope to be his constant celebration of his “sinnerness”. Maybe he meant “I am a really bad sinner, and I don’t even confess my sins. I identify as a sinner precisely because I LIKE to sin.”
    We also expect a Pope to take responsibility for his actions, not to whine about a TV channel and blame them.

    • By saying he is a sinner, Pope Francis tells the truth, about all Catholics.
      God alone is Perfect and Holy.

      Our Pope is also opening the Church door to non-Catholics, who may have felt that their sins disqualified them from Church membership. Our Lord Jesus Christ emphasized that He came into this world to save sinners. The Church, and every informed good Catholic, are here to continue the work of Jesus, set the captives free, and bring in the harvest of souls, to the Glory of God.

      Is this so hard to understand?

      • Of course the Church is (should be) welcoming of all sinners of every variety. But, to be in full membership with the Church, sinners must be contrite and repentant (CCC 1451). A contrite person will seek the Sacrament of Confession because he is sorry for his sins. Love for God is the best motivation for seeking God’s forgiveness. However, if a person enters the Sacrament with the intention of committing the sin later, then this person is not sorry for his sins and the sin will not be forgiven.

  3. At the risk of incurring the wrath of the Holy See, I offer the following observation.

    I have long suspected that, like all other leftists, Bergoglio judges people on ideological grounds rather than by the principles he mouths or by the evidence before him.

    I would be willing to bet that the individuals whom Bergoglio declines to hold accountable in this circumstance are sympathetic to his point of view and his overall agenda.

    The well-being of the abuse victims and/or avoidance of further abuse will, I submit, not merit his least consideration, regardless of anything he might say to justify himself.

    This is how leftists ensure that the chancre of leftism is able to overwhelm virtually any organization it infects, often in a surprisingly short time.

  4. EWTN should take great pride in Bergoglio’s comment.

    In fact, if I were in charge of their fundraising, I would send out a letter immediately, with his quote highlighted front and center.

    I can only hope that CWR and — dare I dream? — our own esteemed Mr. Olson might be singled out specifically and personally for some of the irrepressible South American’s spicy political invective.


    ¡Viva la revolution!?

    ¡Viva Los Vegas!


  5. That, “the Pope is a leader” ends an interesting article with questionable rhetoric. As if, Here’s one for the Gipper. As if a leader is simply required to be fair on occasion to be judged fair. There are other instances where His Holiness’ response to allegations has been wanting with prelates under investigation for financial license Cardinal Maradiaga, and his deputy aux bishop Pineda for sexual misconduct and finances. Pineda’s resignation accepted Cardinal Maradiaga elevated. Wasn’t it until Archbishop Carlo Viganò publicly announced the pontiff’s failure to respond to rheems of sexual misconduct evidence against then Cardinal McCarrick? Also, it’s capricious to thrice cite Raymond Arroyo as the source of EWTN criticism of His Holiness. Alieri appears hawking for fellow journalist “Whomever”. Woelki and Hesse have opposite traditional and liberal views. Hesse, “On 1 August 2015, Heße called for the Catholic Church to be more realistic in regard to teachings on sexual morality. He said: We have to look upon the manifold ways and forms of living in which people live” (Rorate Caeli). Woelki, “Has been criticised by some German politicians for his language on homosexuality, which has led them to question his suitability for the post of archbishop in a city with a significant gay population. In an interview with the Catholic journalist George Schweikart, he described homosexuality as an offence against the order of creation” ( Neuer Erzbischof wegen Schwulen-Äußerung in der Kritik in Die Zeit, 04 Juli 2011). We may question outcry against Woelki in Cologne, as well as Bishop Bätzing’s open support Of Hesse. We may also consider whether a fellow journalist is much more than a desultory talking head. If Arroyo is a Musca he’s certainly gained worldwide attention. Evidently not for personal notoriety, rather for justice on what really matters. The Catholic faith.

    • Spot on, Father Peter! Spot on! Bergoglio is LEADER indeed: of his Sankt Gallen Mafia; PPBXVI remains charged to lead the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. You are the tip of the iceberg Father Peter. Behind you there are the 11/12th of Good Men in Holy Orders, and the majority of the laity who know that Pope Benedict remains the real deal.

        • Not really very lovin’ …Marty.

          Would you in turn feel you received a loving reply if the person you addressed said “you’re sleep-walking” ?


          • Thanks Chris, If actually ‘sleepwalking’, I’d be eternally grateful for their loving care (as in 2 Timothy 4:2-4). Always in Jesus; blessings from Marty

          • Many thanks Steve, would it be that its ‘too sanctimonious’ explain why some catholics refuse to ‘take seriously’ the New Testament and The Catechism of the Catholic Church? Thanks for the thought. God bless you bro; ever in Jesus Christ; love & blessings from Marty

          • Steve, you’re so right. He’s not actually praying for anybody, he’s praying at them in smarmy, smugly sanctimonious, passive-aggressive attacks. “O Lord, let them see how wrong they are for disagreeing with me.” I fully expect his next post to read “O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican.”

          • Steve, I’d say “Marty’s” posts seem contrived and artificial, something like a deliberate caricature. Even the “sanctimony” seems canned. I also can’t take him seriously, in any case.

      • My guess is that Bergoglio is smarting on account of the fact that orthodox Catholics reacted with strong concern and an outpouring of prayer for Cardinal Burke who recently battled Covid but when it came to Bergoglio’s recent surgery, barely a notice was made on his behalf.

        Oh, and by the way, Bergoglio made mention in his little “panties tirade” to fellow Jesuits, that there were those who were hoping to see his demise and were, in fact, gathering to plan his succession. If this is true, he should provide the names of the accused and give us the details. He doesn’t because he can’t. Bergoglio makes up stories to get people to feel sorry for him. These are the tactics of a little boy. Bergoglio needs to grow up and be a man and stop being a vindictive child.

        • IN REPLY TO STEVE SEITZ, and LESLIE 09.27.21 and GLEN M. RICKETS 09.28.21

          Dear Steve, Leslie, and Glen, Thank you so much for saying those things about my character! Am dancing & rejoicing in my office! (see Luke 6:23)

          Ever in the love of Jesus Christ; thanks & many blessings from Marty

          • I wrote earlier: ‘I fully expect his next post to read “O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican.”’

            I was right.

          • IN RESPONSE TO LESLIE 09.28.2021

            Thank you so much dearest Leslie for giving me yet more cause to rejoice in Luke 6:23.

            Am the worst of wretched sinners, only saved by Christ’s Precious Blood.
            I’m ecstatically in love with the One who paid my enormous debts and (totally amazingly) said: “Come follow Me, Marty; we’ve much to do before I call you Home. Now I’m crying.

            Please don’t mock this dear Leslie.
            Ever in Jesus Christ; love & blessings from Marty

        • One man sacrificed half his ___-collection bag. Another man labored for inspiration.

          That is why we attended one and ignored the other.

          • RESPONSE TO LESLIE 09.29.2021

            Thank you so much dearest Leslie for giving me yet more cause to rejoice in Luke 6:23. Praise God!

            Take care.
            Always in the mercy & grace of Jesus Christ; love & blessings from Marty

          • RESPONSE TO GLEN M. RICKETTS 09.29.2021

            “Whatever you say, Marty.”

            Glen beloved, what servant Marty says is:
            “Find a good, Christ-loving priest, make a good confession, do your penance, make restitution, humbly receive the Holy Eucharist.

            Then, with all your heart pray:
            “Beloved Father God, please give me more of Your Holy Spirit, so I can receives the gifts of The Holy Spirit & can lead a life full of the fruit of The Holy Spirit; in the unparalleled name of Jesus Christ, Your only begotten Son, our only Lord & Savior & King forever. Amen”

            Don’t be scared, bro; it’s easy; you’ll taste how GOOD God really is!

            Ever in the love of Jesus Christ; prayers & blessings from Marty

    • The more egregious comments were his presumptions that we offend God by not agreeing with Francis about what is offensive to God, in particular, not trending with the “changing times” and with the accommodations of sin that the “times” like to demand, which happens to be what all times throughout history have always demanded. Just as truth never changes, our delusions about the evil we do while searching for ways to tell ourselves we don’t do evil, never changes.

      Even Francis’ end run around criticism is boring. “I might deserve criticism, but not the Church”, the implication being that to criticize him is to criticize the Church. Thus, he traps critics into impossible situations in the same manner as liberal politicians in America manage to manipulate popular sentiment to believe any criticism of them is an attack on the downtrodden for whose welfare they claim to be a savior.

      You know what people really believe by what they think they understand about the nature of evil. Francis does not have a Catholic understanding where personal vanities turn against God’s will, manifested in the seven sins. People depersonalize an understanding of evil for one of two reasons. They don’t want to come to terms with their own faults, or they desire to be a hero to others who don’t want to come to terms with their faults. They prefer to view evil abstractly, as a force outside of our intentions.

      Progressives, like Francis, believe evil is mostly a management problem where the world’s elite forces need to be fortified to eradicate its supposed structural socio-economic political “underlying” conditions once and for all. Francis, like his secular counterparts, has disavowed immutable truth, and he is prone to making up “new sins” to accommodate the expectations of globalist stupidity. Yet this false, non-Catholic understanding is irritating, at times hysterically irritating to this man who might still maintain some dim awareness that he is conceding falsehoods while being the one voice most charged with the responsibility of leading the Church and preserving its truth from not being seduced by surging voices of demonic utopian promises. Francis is a rigorous secular ideologue while projecting these vices of pride onto those who are faithfully honest and loyal to Catholic truth.

    • “If Pope Francis wants to win the battle for hearts and minds in Germany, he is going to have to do a whole lot more – and a whole lot better – to show the faithful that he’s on their side in the fights that matter” (C Altieri). Gilberta jogged my mind regarding interpretation of this article. In review the quote stands out. Perhaps Signor Altieri having lived in Rome is well versed in the ironic, now a master of the sardonic. Conniving, Gilberta’s take of Francis as portrayed can be machination, framing a scenario to keep us guessing as notes Altieri for what reason, if not to advance an agenda? Either ideological, or simply to remain His inscrutable Holiness. A leader however we frame him. Ultimately, Altieri’s sentence, “If Pope Francis” decides the issue for this writer.

      • Hi dear Mike,

        Many more would agree with you if you completed the sentence:
        “He (Pope Francis) hates Catholics who reject 1 Corinthians 13:1-13″.

        If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I’m simply a gong booming or cymbals clashing. – – – – – – –

        Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; love is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever happens.

        – – – In short there are 3 things that last:
        faith, hope & love; and the greatest of these is love.”

        As you can see, hate, slander, condemnation have no place in Catholicism.

        While we are still breathing, we can still say sorry to God, and get a new start.

        Always in the merciful grace of King Jesus Christ; prayers & blessings from Marty

        • Catholics need to pray for the Sankt Gallen Mafia, James Martin SJ, and all the other enemies of the Bride of Christ. Publicly supporting their works in word or – deed – is certainly not on the cards.

  6. Raymond Arroyo does not involve himself in absurd violations of the First Commandment (the Pachamama event at the Vatican), and then fail to apologize to the entire world for it.

  7. I think Mr. Altieri has it right. The word conniving comes to mind.
    Re: EWTN – Look on the bright side – free advertising.
    No one has answered my question whether the move on Memores Domini, the lay association of Communion and Liberation, is a clampdown.

  8. I read this article as an extension of one a few months ago, which appeared here at CWR, where Chris Altieri stated that Cardinal Burke was not a leader.

    Burke is a very good shepherd, and by the standard of the Gospel, that is the measure of a good leader.

    This article indicates a very low standard of “leadership.”

    Who gets rough treatment and who doesn’t? That is a very chilling standard by which to measure “a leader.”

    And thus, because the The Pontiff Francis treats some people roughly, he is a leader?

    Let’s begin answering Mr. Altieri’s question about the Pontiff’s rough treatment, starting where The Pontiff Francis began, with his destruction of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FFI). And let’s ask The Pontiff Francis, and his Bishop Jose Carballo (former Director General of the OFM Franciscans), and the late Rev. Volpi (OFM), the man The Pontiff Francis and Bishop Jose Carballo chose to “execute” the destruction of the FFI, and even ask Catholic journalists such as Mr. Altieri, why the FFI got rough treatment from the Pontiff Francis?

    What was the sin of the FFI, that they deserved to have their elderly founder, Fr. Manelli, defamed by “Rev.” Volpi, to the point where a civil court in Italy found “Rev.” Volpi guilty of defaming the reputation of Fr. Manelli?

    What was the sin of the FFI, that they deserved to have their order taken over by Volpi and Carballo, and their rectory and convent in Italy closed by Volpi and Carballo, at the direction of the Pontiff Francis?

    What was the sin of the FFI, that their young priests and nuns were ordered to vacate their FFI home in Italy, and literally exiled to the Philippines and other far-flung locations?

    And what did the Pontiff Francis and Bishop Carballo do with the property of the FFI that they siezed? What is the value of that FFI property that was siezed? Was that property sold by Bishop Carballo, at the direction of the Pontiff Francis?

    And why, may we ask, did Jose Carballo, the former Director General of the OFM Franciscans, get preferential treatment by The Pontiff Francis, after having presided over what his successor (Bro. Michael Perry PFM) called “the financial irregularities” that cause “the grave, and I underscore grave, financial situation” of the OFM Franciscans, where a few short months after Jose Carballo left the “leadership” of the OFM, the OFM were found to be in tens of millions of dollars of debt?

    Why was Jose Carballo of the OFM Franciscans the very first appointee of the Pontiff Francis, and why was a man who presided over the “grave financial” crisis of the OFM Franciscans, then whisked away to Rome, and made a Bishop, and put in charge of the Congregation for Religious Life, governing all Catholic religious orders, despite having failed to fulfill his responsibilities to properly govern his own OFM Franciscans?


    Cardinal Burke is not a leader in the estimation of Mr. Altieri? That seems to indicate an odd standard of judgment about leadership.

    Bishop Carballo (former Director of the OFM) presides over the grave financial crisis of the OFM Franciscans, and he gets rewarded with red carper treatment by the Pontiff Francis?

    Fr. Manelli, of the FFI Franciscans, and his FFI priest and sisters, get destroyed by Bishop Carballo and the Pontiff Francis?

    Do we mean that this is leadership: crooked men get rewarded, and holy men and women are destroyed, and the Catholic faithful should be content with that?

    A leader? The Pontiff Francis?

    The question is not “who is a leader and who gets rough treatment?”

    The only important question is: Why isn’t The Pontiff Francis acting like a good shepherd?

    • “The Pope,” [as a duly elected pope in accordance with Church canon law], “is a leader.” Do we agree with that statement?

      The first sentence of the last paragraph sums the article’s theme. A leader does not support all causes. He grants an open door, a reprieve, a ‘Go’ signal and forgiveness to one cause/group and denies those to a second. Altieri infers which group the pope supports. “One way to understand” …[a leader’s priorities] “is to look at who comes in for rough treatment and why, and who doesn’t, and why not.”

      In the past week, a certain Catholic TV channel was signaled out for demonization. In the past week, the handling of sexual abuse claims by certain German bishops was accepted without sanction. Then let’s look at the weeks prior…the months and years…

      The pope no longer shrouds his positions in ambiguity or neutrality. His positions are as clear as crystal. A bad angel may stir up dust and emit bad smells; he may also appear like light. This pope is crystal clear.

      • Congratulations Meiron. A Bingo! All these years I’ve rated no more than a ‘spot on’ or two, most often a ‘well said Father’, never a bingo. Sad. Maybe someday. Although I happily acknowledge the honor bestowed on you.

        • Gilberta intuited my day of birth. That’s all. I’ve now officially reached the age at which I’m good for not much more than the game. Blessings to you and your wonderful views (particularly when they make me grind my teeth and think!).

      • The German bishops are still dealing with the abuse cases. Give them some time. And sometimes EWTN correspondents do get things very wrong. It needs to be addressed.

  9. “Altieri infers which group[s] the pope supports” – Meiron above.
    I could stand for Altieri to be more straightforward. Why not a straight up analysis of the Hesse/Woelki decisions and the moves on Communion and Liberation?

    • Well, if nothing except Church dogma is absolute and certain, we can hope. Lightning could strike. Visions of the third level of paradise or hell could cause conversion. Altieri uses nuance and ambiguity–traits of both good authors and also poor leaders.

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