The peddling of “dialogue” and the denial of doctrine

Cardinal Pell was right to confront Hollerich and Bätzing. And Pope Francis will say nothing at all to Hollerich and Bätzing. So it goes.

Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 27, 2022. (CNS photo/Guglielmo Mangiapane, Reuters)

Have you heard the recent news about a prominent Cardinal being taken to task for criticizing two bishops who insist that Church teaching on slavery is “wrong” and that “the sociological-scientific foundation” of that teaching, on what “one formerly condemned as enslavement,” was “no longer correct”?

No? Of course not. I made it up. No bishop would be crazy enough, stupid enough, or beholden enough to radical ideologies to denounce the Church’s teaching on slavery, which is (despite secular cries to the contrary), consistently clear and unequivocal (see CCC 2414, etc).

However, sodomy and homosexuality are different matters altogether. As most readers know, two European bishops—Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg and Bishop George Bätzing (current president of the German Bishop’s Conference)—recently came out (so to speak) against Catholic doctrine regarding homosexuality. Hollerich, in an interview in February, stated, “I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct,” and:

What was condemned in the past was sodomy. At that time, it was thought that the whole child was contained in the sperm of the man, and that was simply transferred to homosexual men. But there is no homosexuality in the New Testament. There is only the mention of homosexual acts, which were partly pagan ritual acts. That was, of course, forbidden. I think it is time for a fundamental revision of the doctrine.

Bätzing, who is continually in Church news for all the wrong reasons (and who is a member of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinal Advisers and president of the Vatican’s Council for the Economy), apparently thought he needed to top Hollerich in the “down with doctrine” contest. From a March 31st CNA report:

Earlier this month, Bishop Georg Bätzing, Marx’s successor as chairman of the German bishops’ conference, agreed with a journalist’s assertion that “no one” adhered to the Church’s teaching that sexuality should only be practiced within marriage.

“That’s true,” Bätzing said. “And we have to somewhat change the Catechism on this matter. Sexuality is a gift from God. And not a sin.”

He was speaking after participants in the German “Synodal Way” voted in favor of draft documents calling for same-sex blessings and the revision of Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

Plenty could be said here; for instance, if “sexuality is … not a sin”, does Bätzing have any qualms about incestuous relationships, or sex with consenting minors? If so, why?  But let us keep to the straight and narrow here, as that is certainly part of the point.

Cardinal George Pell, on March 11th, responded to the comments made by Hollerich and Bätzing. In an interview with a German television station, as reported by veteran Vatican journalist Edward Pentin, Pell “called on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to intervene and pronounce judgement on the wholesale and explicit rejection of the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexual ethics” of the two European prelates. Further, he exhorted them to “rediscover the promises of Jesus” and to embrace more closely the “undiminished deposit of faith”, and “not to follow the changing dictats of contemporary secular culture.” Outrageous!

Then, in short order, Pell noted that Hollerich and Bätzing have both rejected “the ancient Judaeo-Christian doctrines against homosexual activity” and in doing so have undermined and rejected Church teaching on marriage as “the exclusive union of a man and a woman.” He pointed to the March 9 letter by the Nordic Bishops Conference in response to the German synodal squishiness, but said “a clear Roman reprimand, following all due process, is needed.” He made brief but important remarks on the Church, divine revelation, authentic ecclesial unity, apostolic teaching, and the hierarchy of truths (for the sake of those who take such matters seriously).

He then stated:

This rejection is a rupture, not compatible with the ancient teaching of Scripture and the Magisterium, not compatible with any legitimate doctrinal developments. The Cardinal respectfully concluded by repeating his request for Roman intervention. Not one of the Ten Commandments is optional; all are there to be followed, and by sinners. We cannot have a special Australian or German version of the Ten Commandments. Nor can we follow Bertrand Russell, the English atheist philosopher who suggested the Ten Commandments might be like an exam—where only six out of ten questions need to be answered. Christ welcome and mixed with sinners, but He called us to repentance. So a Mass for special groups can be a good thing, provided Christ’s teaching is presented regularly, the need for repentance is preached, and the Sacrament of Penance, Reconciliation regularly available.

I quote at length because it’s not clear that Dr. Adam Rasmussen, in a 3200-word-long nothingburger of a March 23rd essay, bothered to go beyond the short, rather skewed, and less than helpful “news” piece written by Nicole Winfield, who often seems intent on forgetting more than she actually knows about the Catholic Church. Winfield, in my reading, is clearly aiming to write clickbait, rather than just state: “Catholic bishop encourages other bishops to uphold clear, traditional, CCC-approved, stamped-in-stone, nothing-to-see-here Church doctrine”.

But, of course, when it comes to homosexuality, any and all sense of reality is tossed out the window, cyber-wailing commences, and feverish dances of denunciation and deflection break out like hives at a honey farm.

I would have ignored the essay by Rasmussen (who is an adjunct professor in Georgetown University’s Department of Theology & Religious Studies), except he notes that Cardinal Pell—famously railroaded in Australia for sexual abuses he didn’t commit, found guilty, imprisoned, and then finally acquitted—”has been defended by George WeigelCarl E. Olson, and other conservative Catholics, who now view him as a hero. His call for punishing two liberal prelates will only increase his popularity among them.”

Readers should take a look at my July 6, 2017 CWR editorial, provocatively titled, “Is Cardinal Pell ‘the quintessential scape-goat’?” and including this hero-worshipping remark: “Yes, it is true that Cardinal Pell may be guilty of some or all charges. But I’m inclined to think he is probably ‘guilty’ of being blunt, occasionally insensitive, orthodox, and unwilling to bent to the whims of those who would prefer he go away. He has expressed readiness, even eagerness, to clear his name.”

Oh, and guess what? I was right. So there’s that.

But here are three key points that Rasmussen eventually conveys in his lengthy tour through the thesaurus: Hollerich and Bätzing are indeed “liberal” and even wrong, but Pell is “conservative”, so he’s just as wrong; Pell and Co. (“conservative Catholics”) are wrong because they fail to bow low enough before that greatest of virtues: “Dialogue”; and Pope Francis is the epitome of that great virtue, the Doctor of Dialogue. In sum, in Rasmussen’s words:

Obviously Hollerich and Bätzing are “liberals.” They want Catholic sexual morality to be re-thought and updated considering modern understandings of sexuality. Pell is a “conservative,” who wants the Church neither to give an inch nor change a jot or tittle (cf. Matt 5:18). Pope Francis from the beginning of his pontificate has signaled his desire to overcome this wearisome and toxic dichotomy through the practices of dialogue, patience, and accompaniment laid out in the first part of Gaudium et Spes (chapters 1-4).

Further, and this is just as important (if only touched on briefly by Rasmussen), Hollerich and Bätzing are being “true in their consciences,” and that must be respected. But, as I’ve explained at length before, “Conscience is not the ground of moral authority; nor is it the final judge when it comes to what is actually moral and true.” Besides, “bishops are “constituted true and authentic teachers of the faith and have been made pontiffs and pastors” (CCC, 1558). And, strictly speaking, Hollerich and Bätzing have indeed veered directly into either Heresy Lane or Apostasy Avenue: “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith” (CCC, 2089). That’s impossible to spin otherwise.

And yet, for Rasmussen, Dialogue is the Answer. Thus he says the following, apparently confident it is a positive remark: “I cannot predict what Pope Francis will or will not do in any given situation, but I think it unlikely that he will discipline either Hollerich or Bätzing. In fact, I doubt the pope will say anything at all.” It’s good to know that Rasmussen and I do agree 100% on this point. Francis will not do anything. Count on it.

But, to be clear, this is not because Francis is so deeply invested in Dialogue that he won’t exhort, correct, or otherwise cast negative vibes towards Hollerich and Bätzing. Because, in fact, Francis is perfectly fine being negative, harsh, critical, demeaning, damning, and outrightly mean towards Catholics he considers “rigid” and too traditional (Exhibit A: Traditionis custodes). And if you, dear reader, shirk from standing close to those folks, what about the sorry, sad tale of the Pope harshly criticizing Catholics in Chile and other South American countries who have been dismayed by Francis’ stubborn refusal to address sexual abuses by his favorites?

Put bluntly, Rasmussen’s bloated essay is simply an exercise in Francis adulation that ignores two facts: Cardinal Pell did absolutely nothing wrong in addressing the public falsehoods put forth by two other bishops, and Francis is not at all the great Doctor of Dialogue. The fact is, Francis attacks the easy targets (although far too often without fairness or facts) and almost never addresses the falsehoods and capitulations flooding forth from Germany and other western European countries.

He does nothing at all; he says nothing at all. And silence is not dialogue, by any basic standard.

Furthermore, such silence is not a virtue; it is not a strength. And if Francis was this quiet about a bishop supporting slavery, everyone would be outraged.

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About Carl E. Olson 1227 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.


  1. Holler-ick and Bats-sing hail from the dark side mouthing double-speak. Before his conversion, St. Augustine also tried to cross-dress his own duplicity as the truth:

    “I did not want to lose You, but together with You I wanted to possess a lie, just as no one wants to speak falsehood such that he himself does not know the truth. Thus did I lose You, because You disdain to be possessed together with a lie” (Confessions, Bk.10, ch. 41, n. 66).

    So, the two media-darling shepherds rejoice over Pell as a scapegoat and–the way things are going–might they also rejoice over lying with a goat pal? If not now, then later when “He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left” (Mt 26:32-33).

    • Last sentence evokes images of swagger stick wielding Nazis deciding who went to the ovens and who lived another day. Now directed by Christ’s crook to the left among the goats. And unfortunately with Wayward Synodal hierarchy who failed muster.

  2. “He [Bergoglio] does nothing at all; he says nothing at all. And silence is not dialogue, by any basic standard.”

    What then of Bergoglio himself if Hollerich and Batzing “have indeed veered directly into either Heresy Lane or Apostasy Avenue: “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith” (CCC, 2089).” ?

    The question is not rhetorical, and as the author himself implicitly recognizes: “That’s impossible to spin otherwise.”

    • The difference, it seems to me, is that the Marx & Co. have spoken explicitly, while Pope Francis has not. Heresy, technically, is EXPLICIT.

      The more accurate precedent and label might be found in the neglect by Pope Honorius I, who in 423 A.D. failed to respond clearly to Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople on the explicit HERESY of Monothelitism. Honorius rolled over, but pronounced nothing explicitly, and in his case was not even a willing enabler. (Decades after his death a Church council still did pronounce only an anathema against Honorius—-NOT for having actually taught heresy, BUT for failing to suppress it.)

      The precise incapacity of Pope Francis is his penchant to (a) pastorally acknowledge possibly mitigating factors in personal culpability (“who am I to judge?”), BUT (b) without implying/signaling/enabling and rolling-over to an aggressive new category of “paradigm shift” theology that exempts the homosexual subculture altogether from objective moral clarity (the Marx & Co. explicit assault on the Catechism).

      The needed clarity and resolve is found already in the now-targeted Catechism and, moreover, in St. Pope John Paul II’s Veritatis Splendor (1993, and not mentioned since 2013) which explicitly incorporates the natural law (of which the Church “is in no way the author or the arbiter,” n.95) as part of the Church’s Magisterium:

      “This [Christian moral teaching] is the first time, in fact, that the Magisterium of the Church has set forth in detail the fundamental element of this teaching, and presented the principles for the pastoral discernment necessary in practical and cultural situations which are complex and even crucial” [….] I now pass this evaluation on to you, in obedience to the word of the Lord who entrusted to Peter the task of strengthening his brethren (cf Lk 22:32), in order to clarify and aid our common discernment” [….] with REAFFIRMING OF THE UNIVERSALITY AND IMMUTABILITY OF THE MORAL COMMANDMENTS [italics], particularly those which prohibit always and without exception INTRINSICALLY EVIL ACTS” (n. 115).

      Silence is no longer golden, but (very shrewdly?) it is not heresy either.

      • I would suggest that you need to bear in mind the multitude of public statements Bergoglio has made and public acts that he has performed over the past 9+ years in addition to his silence on this matter. This is a radically different situation from that of the apparently singular lapse of Honorius. At the very least, their totality suggests that substantial, objective question exists as to Bergoglio’s adherence to orthodox Catholic doctrine and dogma.

        • I would suggest that you read the Pope’s beautiful and very Christian messages. This should help to clear your mind of this muddied opinion of him. Unless, of course, you are a committed member of one of those ant-Pope Francis and/or anti-Vatican 2 rad trad groups. Or, perhaps, some eastern orthodox Church that hates the Latin Church. I doubt there can be anyone who is more Catholic and orthodox than our Pope. He stands by Church doctrine and its dogmas.

          • Mal, you wrote: “I doubt there can be anyone who is more Catholic and orthodox than our Pope. He stands by Church doctrine and its dogmas.”

            Well I don’t see the Pope standing by Church doctrine and dogma in Germany but that is beside the point. My point is that with Traditiones Custodes the Pope has proven to be the very enemy of orthodox Catholicism. How in the world can you make the statement that you doubt that there can be anyone who is more Catholic and orthodox than Francis? Your ability to manage cognitive dissonance in the face of contradictory information is astounding.

          • “I doubt there can be anyone who is more Catholic and orthodox than our Pope. He stands by Church doctrine and its dogmas.”

            I think it is you who has “muddled” not only your words but also your understanding of Catholic doctrine and dogma. Even a cursory review of Bergoglio’s public statements and acts provide abundant objective, factual, and incontrovertible evidence that substantial and serious grounds exist for considering that Bergoglio is a heretic and an apostate. As even a cursory Google search will establish, there are now after 9+ years hundreds and hundreds of serious dogmatic and moral theologians and commentators, both clerical and lay, who have dealt in detail with his official and informal statements and acts. For example, no fewer than 1,500 such authorities from around the world have explicitly accused Bergoglio of heresy:


            As has the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States:


          • Mal, other commenters are making factual observations and drawing reasonable conclusions from those observations. In contrast, you lean heavily on the supposed hatred you observe in others to make your points. I think you need to up your game.

          • He stands by while Church doctrine and Her dogmas are stramped underfoot at his own instigation by his personally selected C6.

        • To Paul and Mal,
          Yes, a long pattern of public acts (like his photo op with Fr. James Martin, S.J.), I agree, but I still propose that this exploited AMBIGUITY between published statements and incompatible actions is the sharper point to be understood: the novelty that half of double-speak is silent.

          Please provide for us a statement that is as carelessly over the line as Marx, Bats-sing and Hollerich have staged, now explicitly and deliberately…

          Which is to add for Mal, yes, that he does “stand(s) by Church doctrine and dogmas.” But, the POINT is his bipolar style of (a) affirming doctrines formally while also (b) signaling a “paradigm shift” exempting, in concrete cases, orals from faith.

          So, never crossing THE LINE into denial (“heresy”) but, for certain new categories of action, an exemption or suspension—-where moral norms do remain intact but also do not apply (e.g., Amoris Laetitia Ch. 8 and fn. 351, silence toward the dubia, appointments from the lavender-enabling hierarchy).

          This duplicitous strategy was anticipated by St. John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor, especially where he affirmed (and “FOR THE FIRST TIME”) that sexual “moral norms” are part of the dogmatic Magisterium of the Church (above citation, VS n. 115). That is, NOT eligible for exemption. The strategy of selective memory loss (the “paradigm shift”) pretends to preempt this encyclical and well-anchored truth.

          In better times, the challenge for the much damaged Church (eventually less manipulated by the lavender mafia and their flaccid enablers) will be to evangelize/reestablish—-with intellectual clarity and effective governance—-the COHERENCE between “humility and mercy” AND “faith and reason” as revealed in the incarnate Jesus Christ, “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb 13:8).

          • “Please provide for us a statement that is as carelessly over the line as Marx, Bats-sing and Hollerich have staged, now explicitly and deliberately…”

            Very well, I will, since you so ask, although I am surprised that with the apparently ample time you enjoy on this site to comment with frequent, lengthy, and prolix comments that you would not have made simple Google searches of your own that would identify one one but numerous examples.

            Here is a May 20, 2018 article in The Guardian, a prominent English newspaper of record, that involves Juan Carlos Cruz, a self-identified Chilean homosexual who in a face-to-face meeting with Bergoglio in Rome at the Vatican to discuss the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a Catholic priest was told by Bergoglio, directly and without qualification: “God made you like this.” The full quotation is as follows:

            “Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.”

            As you can appreciate for yourself, Bergoglio thus compounded his heresy with an act of blasphemy:


            I will add to this the public declaration by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano on December 21, 2020 specifically accusing Bergoglio of heresy in his “legitimation of homosexuality”:


            There is nothing imprecise or “bipolar” in Bergoglio’s statements and acts, but rather in the eye of the beholder.

          • “There is nothing imprecise or “bipolar” in Bergoglio’s statements and acts, but rather in the eye of the beholder.”
            Exactly. And the Guardian and onepeterfive are among the biggest culprits here. Their hatred of Pope Francis takes them down to that level.

          • Paul,
            You are correct, of course, your references are well-known and slipped my message. No excuse…
            Regular readers of CWR, even including myself (!), are well aware of the Cruz and Vigano material. And, regarding the explicit “God made you that way” pronouncement, Pope Francis overstepped his standard modus operandi (formal statements versus signaled messages)–and no Google search is required for yours truly. I have refuted this premise, yes, more than once in my unrepentant “frequent, lengthy, and prolix” and intended informational manner, e.g.:

            Research into the genome does point to some genetic markers—but NOT to a gay gene—and that even these markers do NOT account for same-sex behavior.
            From the news release: Five of the genetic markers were “significantly” associated with same-sex behavior, the researchers said, but even these are far from being predictive of a person’s sexual preferences. “We scanned the entire human genome and found a handful – five to be precise – of locations that are clearly associated with whether a person reports in engaging in same-sex sexual behavior,” said Andrea Ganna, a biologist at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland who co-led the research.

            “He said these have ‘a very small effect’ and, combined, explain ‘considerably less than 1% of the variance in the self-reported same-sex sexual behavior.’ This means that non-genetic factors – such as environment, upbringing, personality, nurture, [early sexual abuse] – are far more significant in influencing a person’s choice [!] of sexual partner, just as with most other personality, behavioral and physical human traits, the researchers said.”

    • Gilberta;

      Your 5/1 @3:45 am – Thanks for stating the obvious, which needs to be repeated over and over.

  3. There is truth and there are lies. Truth can never be defined as either liberal or conservative. Whenever I read anything using such terms when it comes to Church teaching, I automatically interpret what they’re advancing as lies masquerading as truth.

  4. A clear statement of what loyal Catholics have always held and will never compromise whatever the fleeting breeze of relativism may bring. Scripture and reason based on natural law will prevail.

  5. The perfect synopsis of Francis and his pontificate:

    “The fact is, Francis attacks the easy targets (although far too often without fairness or facts) and almost never addresses the falsehoods and capitulations flooding forth from Germany and other western European countries.”

  6. “Pope Francis is the epitome of that great virtue, the Doctor of Dialogue.”

    Rasmussen, whoever he is, is obviously ignorant of the real Francis who does not dialogue (talk about preaching what you do not practice). No dialogue with Dubia Cardinals, calls journalist who opposed him as being guilty of coprophagia and coprophilia, dismissed Bishop Torres without any reason, came up with Traditiones Custodes despite the results of the survey of bishops being more positive to the Latin Mass. And yes, there’s more of that version of “dialogue”.

    Now if the definition of dialogue means bullying power, then I suppose Rasmussen is on to something.

    The Pope and Rasmussen both have to learn what dialogue means. This “lengthy tour through the thesaurus” would have done better if it had done a quick trip through the dictionary.

  7. Bullseye! Great article. I believe that abortion is the major moral issue of our time. But LGBT is a close second, and may well become the major issue.To oppose homosexuality is to be labeled a bigot. Our youth are being hammered with LGBT propaganda. There have even been Catholic schools where students and parents and faculty have protested the failure to renew the contract of a teacher who has engaged in a so called “same sex marriage.”
    Unfortunately, the Church has failed to engage with this issue on a parish level.
    Thanks for this article.

  8. Jesus said, “John 18:37-38 (ESV) For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” Commitment to the truth was the focus of Jesus’ life and defense here. As we can see, Pilate wanted no part of truth….neither does the Pope or these bishops.

      • And it has escaped your notice that Francis is the most disdainfully judgmental pope in your lifetime? Certainly in mine.

      • So you’re in total agreement with Francis, and see nothing narcissistic or potentially imbalanced in his mind when he describes himself as the equal of Christ and anyone who criticizes him as the equal of Satan?

          • You’ll recall that after the Viganò revelations, Francis claimed he would say nothing, yet he never shut up about the matter. As Phillip Lawler, Edward Pentin, and numerous others noted in numerous Catholic journals, including NCR, CatholicCulture, LifeSiteNews, and CWR, Francis referred to the revelations of Vigano, and other critics, and his own actions during, multiple homilies, with comments, including overt accusations of his critics’ motives and alleged “hypocrisy,” at times comparing them to Satan, the “Great Accuser,” as well as equating his own situation to that of the innocent Christ during His passion. In later interviews he patted himself on the back for having maintained his perfect silence and with adolescent illogic cited Vigano’s family dispute as vindicating “proof” of his complete vindication for the particulars of Vigano’s 11 page narrative of events.

  9. I fully trust Pope Francis on this. With trust in God – and not his feelings – he is allowing the story to be written with all the characters doing their bit. He, like us, does not know the full story but, unlike some of us, he is not afraid of adversaries because he trusts the One who knows too well how this story will pan out. And He will never allow any evil to prevail.
    It must be said that Pope Francis had made it abundantly clear that this exercise is about structure and evangelization, and not about doctrinal matters.
    Talking about this divine story, Malcolm Schluenderfritz, wrote: “There are no enemies, but only fellow servants before the Lord. Even in the face of evil, we must cling to a trusting hope in God. In particular, this perspective of trust should keep us from viewing our fellow human beings as mere enemies. Through the overwhelming grace of God, those who seem like adversaries today may become our fellow citizens of heaven for all eternity. If our brothers or sisters have lost the plot, we can be certain that the plot has not lost them. Most of all, we can be certain that we and our supposed adversaries are held together in the loving embrace of God. He gives us everything, and in return, he merely asks us to trust in the goodness of his great story of love.”

    • As if “this exercise is about structure and evangelization, and not about doctrinal matters”??? Welcome to the Trojan Horse!

      Having read through the linked article by Rasmussen, I was surprised to discover that “Fr. Bernard Häring, [was] the leading [!] moralist of the time and one of the drafters of Gaudium et Spes”…

      True, he was the “secretary” of Gaudium et Spes, and in this role worked with Bishop Guano, Monsignor Glorieux, Fr. Signmond, and Fr. Tucci to initially scope out the spirit, content and purpose of the Constitution. The first draft was written by Fr. Sigmond. The long road to adoption began with the first draft initially expanded from 29 pages to 79 pages, influenced by no less than 830 pages of “interventions.”

      In recent decades the progressive slant toward “hopes and joys” has come under the scrutiny of the Constitution’s “anxieties and fears” (the second half of the opening line). Let the reader decide where then so-called “liberals” and “conservatives” fit on this spectrum.

      Rasmussen is correct in reporting that, following Humanae Vitae (1968), Pope Paul wrote no further “encyclicals,” but why not mention his foundational apostolic exhortation “Evangelization in the Modern World” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 1975)–which includes “doctrinal matters” and is not reducible to today’s over worn and even evasive bubble of “dialogue”:

      “And why should only falsehood and error, debasement and pornography have the right to be put before people and often unfortunately imposed on them by the destructive propaganda of the mass media, by the tolerance of legislation, the timidity of the good and the impudence of the wicked? The respectful presentation of Christ and his Kingdom is more than the evangelizer’s right; it is his duty” (n. 80).

    • “[H]e is allowing the story to be written with all the characters doing their bit.” Where do you get this gibberish? Is this what Christ commanded Peter to do? “Thou art the shifting sand upon which I build my Church. Do not preach exclusively the Truth, but let each disciple speak the truth as he sees it. With all the characters doing their bit, the sheep will sort it call out. Or maybe not… Who am I to judge?”

      • Gibberish? Did not all the characters involved in the story that began on Maundy Thursday and went on till Ester Sunday do their bit? And did it not have a wonderful ending? Was not our Church built on a “rock”?
        And what does this rock say? Pope Francis said that the synodal way began in the early Church with the Apostles present. Why should we fear this way? We are truly a unique family created by Jesus. We should therefore listen to one another, to allow our brothers and sisters to enter into the family discussion. He said: “Allow everyone to enter… Allow yourselves to go out to meet them and allow yourselves to be questioned, let their questions be your questions, allow yourselves to walk together: the Spirit will lead you, trust the Spirit. Do not be afraid to enter into dialogue and allow yourselves to be disturbed by the dialogue: it is the dialogue of salvation,”

        • Baloney. “Questioning” is more often than not the avoidance of truth, not the pursuit of humility, which is why a deceitful voice, like that of Francis, would make the claim that what is intended to be an ultra rare event, like a synod, is not to be a perpetual state where those who want to convince themselves that truth, including the truths that impeach the evilness in our lives, are not in a perpetual state of self-serving flux. The only Catholics Francis has no use for are those Jesus loved, those who put immutable moral truth into action in their lives, whom Francis’ hatred characterizes as “rigid.” Can you name one line in Amoris Latitia where his more-compassionate-than-thou ministrations mentioned sympathy for the abandoned first families when a man runs away to start his new “irregular” family?

    • Mal, you said he is not afraid of adversaries because he trusts the One who knows.

      The thing is Mal, the One Who knows also has made His will known. He did not leave us to wallow in uncertainty second guessing what He wants of us.

      Now of course, people like Francis can choose not to believe the One who knows. But the problem with that is that Francis drags the rest of faithful down with him.

      If there is anyone who trusts the One Who Knows it is us. We know that God allowed evils (think of Auschwitz and all manner of human evil). But God allowed it. So yes, we are the ones who trust that despite the evil being visited upon the Church by someone who is supposed to shepherd her into truth, God will always be victorious.

      How to grapple with what is going on in the Ukraine? We trust in God who know all and will see to all.

      How to make sense of the wrecking ball that is the current Pope? We trust in God who knows all and will see to all.

      • But, of course Cory, chose to believe the One who knows. His deeply religious grandmother played a major role in his life. He always carries these beautiful words written by her: “May these my grandchildren, to whom I have given the best of my heart, have a long and happy life, but if on some painful day, sickness or the loss of a loved one fills you with grief, remember that a sigh before the Tabernacle, where the greatest and most august martyr resides, and a gaze at Mary at the foot of the Cross, can make a drop of balm fall on the deepest and most painful wounds.”
        You may not know this, but after a unique spiritual experience while at the confessional, Jorge Mario Bergoglio committed himself to serving the Lord.
        For a while, I too like you, was worried when I read about his “confusing” statements in certain “Catholic” websites. It was only after reading the Pope’s statements for my self I realized that all the confusion was actually caused by the writings of mischief-makers or anti-Pope Francis people with agendas of their own.

    • “Plot” is the word. It was investigated by Cardinal Gagnon for Paul VI. His3 year report was buried by Freemasonry, just like the red file handed by PPBXVI to the appointed occupant of his throne,r who claims publicly to be following a programme handed to him.
      Theodore Murr : Murder in the 33rd Degree. Terrific book. Perhaps the most important in 2022.

  10. Formerly it was reductio ad absurdum. Today it’s reductio ad animalum. Herr Bätzing [although validly ordained his apostasy no longer warrants a bishop’s title defender of the faith] elevated by Francis to his hierarchy round table Council of Cardinal Advisors obviously advises the Pope to accommodate homosexuality [no one has forgotten Fr James Martin SJ appointed by Francis consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications] favors the more cerebral Cardinal Jean Claude Hollerich to explain to the public the new science Reductio ad Animalum.
    Now somebody out there is going to ask what am I talking about. Reductio ad Animalum refers to reducing Man to the status of an Animal. Man we know is created with a soul, an intellect that mirrors the divinity. Animals don’t possess that. So they behave by different rules. Although, in regards to deviation from the ordained ends of sexual behavior animals are not samesexuals [perhaps I should have said Reductio ad Animalum Inordinatum]. Occurrences of deviate sexual behavior among them is rare. Whereas with homo sapiens it’s become virtually prevalent. Is it because man has intellect and can reason, be creative? Hollerich would have us think along those lines, dismissing 2000 years of Apostolic tradition on deviate sexual behavior.
    For Hollerich it’s simply knowledge that Man does not transmit the entire person in his seed; therefore it’s unnecessary for Man to transmit his seed into a woman. Why! Wunderbar. He can now freely transmit his seed into another man however his creative intellect delights him. Herr Bätzing of course is similarly delighted with this new erotic scientific discovery.
    Enter a man. A true Roman Catholic apostle Cardinal Pell. Olson recounts the charade surrounding his strong rejection to Hollerich Bätzing [they’re a team] Rasmussen’s empty Pope Francis dialogue suggestion. “He does nothing at all; he says nothing at all. And silence is not dialogue, by any basic standard”. Silence can be witness to the truth as with Christ, arguably with Pius XII during the Holocaust. Or it can be approval.
    Allow me to add a personal conviction held since boyhood in Brooklyn. That if homosexuality were ever assumed as normal behavior by the Church it would be an unmistakable sign of Satan’s emerging dominance, and of the Antichrist’s presence within the Church, that is, by his influence within the hearts of some of our number.

    • And so many cut it off at “Neither do I condemn you”.

      The whole problem of sin started with dialogue. If Eve had not had that chat with the serpent we would have been better off.

    • What a dramatic moment that must have been.
      That statement has a first part: Neither do I condemn you.
      The dialogue was brief, but the sinner saw our Lord’s love, compassion and forgiveness.
      Wow! Who would not like to follow such a man?
      Yes, they were wanting her to be stoned to death for her adulterous behavior. They had stones in the hands of these men ready to commence this ritual in accordance with the law or doctrine. But, where was the man who participated in this sinful act?
      Jesus’ love triumphed over the law.

      • Like I said, stressing the “neither do I condemn you” and cutting off the final words : God and sin no more.

        Apparently Pope Francis hates it when people point that out.

      • A dialogue the way progressives mean it is exactly what the words of Our Lord were not. Progressives, including religious progressives, intend “dialogue” exactly as other Marxist idiots intend it, to blend two contradictory ideas together to create an imaginary new “insight”, which is inevitably false, whereby mankind can hide from immutable truth.

    • When it comes to stoning, how many people remember the stoning of St. Stephen in response to his speech to the Council in Acts 7? In Christ’s woes in Matthew 23 He pointed out how often God’s prophets were put to death in response to their witness. Starting with Cain, often the sinner’s response to God’s holy ones was the dialog of death.

  11. Bravo, Carl. Emotion and outrage are constrained yet conveyed.

    The final paragraph incites: “…if Francis was this quiet about a bishop supporting slavery, everyone would be outraged.”

    Jesus DID say that sin was slavery at John 8:34: “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”

    Sin is the slavery against which Jesus came to set us free.

    If a pope cannot do the job God gave him to do, if a pope does not know the difference between the sheep he is commanded to feed and the goats and wolves he is to reprove and disband with rod and staff, we must conclude that the church of such a pope is not the church God intends and not that He will defend.

    Get Woke, Frank.

    • Sadly, our whole ecclesial culture, from the top down, has mastered the art of taking refuge in cliché words.

      The most common of human experiences, right up with breathing, is self-deception. The most transgressed Commandment is the Eighth. Lying to ourselves counts as much as bearing false witness about others, and we lie to ourselves and implicitly to God about all of our sins by assuming we know better than God. And every strategy we employ to lie to ourselves that we are not lying to ourselves counts too, and this includes inventing or repeating cliché words that deflect serious moral thought. Mr. Olson is perceptive. Dialogue is an ongoing euphemism for moral cowardice.

      One of my favorite sanity checks, that I listened to nightly during my self-treatment for Covid that attacked my unvaxed senior bod with preexisting breathing difficulties, more than a half century removed from my collegiate track days, involves the straight talk honesty of abortion survivor Gianna Jessen, to whom all our wimpy prelates should listen, particularly when she admonishes men to be men. (11:50)

      One of the best Pro-life speeches EVER! Gianna Jessen abortion survivor Full video – YouTube

  12. Of course Bergoglio will say nothing to Batzing and Hollerich. They play on the same team and are reading from the same play book. Batzing and the Germans carry Bergoglio’s water. He’s 100% behind the German anarchy.

    Can we stop already with this narrative of the mean Germans doing their own thing in defiance of poor, put-upon Francis? For your homework, write an essay comparing and contrasting Bergoglio’s treatment of the heretic Batzing, with his treatment of the Catholic Torres.

  13. Pontiff Francis decrees that “the-church-he-rules” is in dialogue with the cult of sodomy.

    This is “The Way of the McCarrick-Danneels Cult,” the two lane highway of sacramental-izing their own lust, and covering up the crimes they commit against the souls that fall prey to their own predation.

    Pontiff Francis orchestrated the Pachamama idolatry in 2019 to plow the ground for this second abomination, knowing that it was necessary to subvert the 1st Commandment, without which subversion it was impossible to get “the sheep” to sleep-walk through his subversion of the 6th Commandment.

    This is the McCarrick-Danneels-Bergoglio cult, abuse and coverup, supercharged by the false shepherd of silence and subversion.

    It all sums up in their unholy-trinity, a communion of the morally corrupt.

    Which explains why Pontiff remains a fugitive from his own country, because he would be confronted by the faithful in Argentina, who would demonstrste against him for his defense of “Rev.” Julio Grassi (the pedophile who abused children while running his “charity” organization for orphans), who was underhandedly defended by Cardinal Bergoglio as head of the Argentine Bishops Conference).

  14. Forget about slavery; I would like to see the fate of any bishop who dared to take a stance opposed to Francis’ “teaching” on his holy trinity of causes: immigration, climate change and Covid vaccinations. On second thought, it appears that we have had a case study in Puerto Rico recently.

  15. Rasmussen, and the folks at wherepeteris, seem to be thinly veiled heterodox/marxist types, but who still go to lengths to try to hide it. This is especially seen when looking at the individual contributors and their social media accounts, aside from the official postings on wherepeteris; where one can find a lot of postings of dubious orthodoxy and certainly inspired more by left-wing politics and ideology rather than the Faith. They seem to have a cult-like adherence to Francis and have a papalotry of convenience- it is only with Francis that they suddenly take on the role of super-pope defender and champion of the magisterium, but if it’s any other pope, forget it, while some of their contributors fomented against JPII and Benedict. It’s kind of like how other outlets such as the NCReporter, now take on the aforementioned mantels, after being career dissenters. The wherepeteris folks also use leftist tactics against anyone who criticize them: name-calling/demonization, e.g., you just hate Francis, you’re a “rad-trad”, you’re racist, sexist, etc.

    • To your point, I have never met ANYONE – Catholic or non-Catholic – who strongly supports Pope Francis and is NOT an out and out leftist. Politics rules everything with these people.

  16. I am not sure if the author is lying or just took a sabbatical for the past two years and missed the Pope literally admonishing the bishops in Germany over their synodal path like a year ago.

    Also, if all errors are equal, does this mean the Pope should also be censoring the folks like Chris Ferrara, the Benevancanists, and more for their own heterodox and sometimes even heretical ideas? I mean, in the interests of fairness?

    Yeah, thought not.

    • Hmmm. I must be lying since I’ve never taken a sabbatical. No, wait: I don’t lie, so I must be on sabbatical.

      You are obviously lying (light sarcasm alert) as the letter you refer to was issued in June 2019. Regardless, the 5200-word-long letter (not available in English, so relying here on Google Translation) was hardly an admonishment. It expresses some concerns about possible “temptations”, including:

      • “schemes and mechanisms that end up alienating or limiting our mission.”
      • “complicated series of arguments, analyzes and solutions”
      • “to believe that the solutions to current and future problems can only be found through structural reforms”
      • “excessive centralization”
      • “the thought that the best response to the many problems and shortcomings is to reorganize things, to make changes and ‘patch things up’ so as to order and smooth out Church life, conforming to current logic or that of a particular group.”
      • “the promoters of Gnosticism who, in order to make a name for themselves and increase the reputation of their teaching and fame, have tried to say something always new and different than that what the Word of God has given them…”
      • approaches that will “reduce God’s people to an enlightened group that does not allow them to see, rejoice in, and give thanks for the humble, scattered holiness.”
      • “the temptation to remain in sheltered and comfortable positions…”

      I list these, not to criticize, but to document; I don’t have a problem with them, even though some appear rather vague and lacking any real specificity.

      Three points:

      1) If the 2019 letter is, in fact, an “admonishment” (again, I don’t read it that way), then the Holy Father would have been doing exactly what Rasmussen claims is wrong with Cardinal Pell’s approach.
      2) If the 2019 letter is an act of dialogue (a very reasonable view), then what has come of that dialogue? The past 3-4 months reveal that things are much worse in Germany in terms of direct and open defiance of Church teaching. Hollerich, Bätzing, and Co. are even more emboldened.
      3) Pope Francis has not yet responded to the recent remarks by Hollerich and Bätzing. Rasmussen thinks that is a good thing. How so?

      So, the June 2019 letter, if anything, puts Rasmussen’s argument and Francis’s apparent approach in an even worse light.

      Now back to my lying sabbatical.

      • “schemes and mechanisms that end up alienating or limiting our mission”

        Translation: hey guys, don’t go full throttle yet. We need to do this slowly so that it will be irreversible. Can’t show your hands just yet.

        And there’s that phrase “OUR MISSION”. So the Germans and Francis have the same mission.

    • Francis’ weak admonishments have not stopped the German bishops from pursuing their course, nor did he mean them to. They were as perfunctory and lame as his statements against abortion, purely intended to cover himself. After nine years of these games, it should be obvious to even the most obtuse.

    • Tony W,

      That was pretend. If he was serious he would have really done something about it. Look at the ferocity with which he persecutes those with a traditionalist bent. Look at Traditiones Custodes.

      The German bishops are his mouth pieces. Men of his own heart.

  17. Mr. Olson, thank you for continuing to expose the efforts of some Catholic leaders to undermine the Church, her teachings and her people, and the ongoing refusal of Bergoglio to even try to protect the faithful from the wolves among us.

    CWR’s coverage is an invaluable resource for individual Catholics who are trying to make sense of the fact that members of the hierarchy are attacking the Church’s foundational truths.

    Thank you for the work you are doing.

  18. This pope is a genius, sent to by God at this most crucial time in the history of the church, and I say that, having grown up in a very ‘conservative’ Catholic home. Yes, the “on the one hand, on the other hand” approach is no doubt frustrating to those who want black v white ad nauseum … but then what, the church sinks further into irrelevance, no fish … in fact, no nets?
    Context is very important, and for good or ill certain things have changed. We live now in a context where: Consumer capitalism and its attendant Radical Individualist ‘brother’ are the golden calf or our time, the laity are far more educated than in previous centuries, the church is internally fighting (when is it not?) but has been through the very serious harm caused by clerical sexual and physical abuse of minors (knock, knock anyone), church teaching is clear to anyone with half a brain cell, access to Internet, etc. We have Newman, Vatican II, Pope Benedict, other great teachers, lay and clerical, the ‘core’ teachings of the faith are clear and well-articulated in our tine (thank God). That’s not the problem though is it? Jeez Louise, when are self-appointed ‘conservatives’ going to clean the ear wax out? Pace, yesterday’s gospel, when a Pope stands before the judgement seat, the question will be “Do you love Me, did you feed my lambs, did you feed my sheep?” Think well on it my friends.

    • Percy, your view, well articulated regarding Pope Francis, whose ambivalence is often perceived as laxity on moral issues, is actually a means to malleableize doctrine [while that doctrine remains integral and clear] for benevolent purpose, to reach all permitting Christ’s teaching to draw the disenfranchised into the Church. As the alternative to a stricter presentation of the faith that obviously isn’t successful. An issue of interpretation for many that nonetheless leaves many [strict conservatives] inert, hostile.
      There is a degree of viability to what you say, our challenge is to what extent. For one, your perception that Laity have a sure grasp of doctrine I can assure you as a priest whose had long, wide socio cultural experience is not true. It is such for yourself, and likely within your social circle. I’ve struggled with this issue, your interpretation of Francis the alternative to my criticism of his ambiguity and silence.
      My means of gauging Pope Francis is his effectiveness in changing the Church for the better, realized in the practice of faith as well as active participation in the liturgy, Mass attendance, support. Indications show all are falling and many remained confused, many leaving abandoning the faith. The common denominator is their sense that one can do as well, or better, outside. Is the faith, then held as securely as you imply? That’s not at all evident. A reason is, we can never justify misrepresenting what is revealed as true for sake of increasing adherence to that same truth.

    • “when a Pope stands before the judgement seat, the question will be “Do you love Me, did you feed my lambs, did you feed my sheep?”

      Indeed. What fodder though? Hemlock or Honey?

      He who likes to call those who disagree with him coprophagists, is not leading the sheep to green pasture but feeding them droppings. No wonder he is so fond of the term.

  19. While I have never really gone along with Mr. Olson’s tone —the content here is true, and we are headed the way of the “Global Methodist Church”; with monumental consequences; I dearly hope a false global church does spring out of Germany.

  20. Matt.20:16. I got to see the ‘Father Stu’ movie this weekend and read about his amazing journey. It is so re-affirming to see and hear of real Catholic leadership, faith, discipleship and missionary endeavors in the humble parishes of the hinterlands and obscure places far away from the fancy garbs and thrones of self-important princes of the Church. Carry the Cross and pray my fellow sojourners.

  21. Carl Olson’s article is spot on. Kudos, Carl.

    Ongoing calls ad nauseum for a dialogue on this or a dialogue on that in the Church continue to be presented as reasonable requests by various groups who simply do not want to follow Church tradition, yet they want to maintain their affiliation with the Church to try to re-create it in their own merely human image.

    Moreover, these calls for “dialogue” NEVER seek clarification and insights in order to lead a more faithful and Christ-like life in faithful harmony with Church teaching, nor do they seek greater wisdom to help the Church carry out its traditional mission. No indeed. The majority of these calls for dialogue are extremely closed-minded and one-sided, and they always attempt to get the Church to abandon or diminish its traditional teachings or practices in one form or another under the false and arrogant assumption that those seeking the dialogue are more enlightened or progressive than Jesus Christ, His apostles, Church tradition, Church doctrine, and its greatest theologians of the past could ever hope to be in comparison, and so their views should simply be accepted as the only acceptable conclusion to a dialogue.

    To be sure, those who make such calls for dialogues are disingenuous and dishonest to their core, because they do not seek real dialogues in pursuit of objective truth; they seek to impose their views under the guise of a dialogue in order to pretend that any change they may help effectuate has been mutually worked out among competing ideas when only their ideas must prevail. This is always made clear whenever their ideas are rejected, because then they lash out and declare that the Church is simply not open to dialogue.

    Our Lord declared that He is the Truth, and this also pertains to His Church. Yahoos call on Jesus for a dialogue because to them the Truth is relative even though they often present their own misguided views as absolute. They are correct in one sense: their views are absolutely rubbish and often quite sinful.

  22. Thank you Father for the civil reply. I don’t really want to get into a back and forth here. I am an ‘old’ European (though youngish in years), an ecclesiastical historian with a strong faith (thank God) who tries not to comment on fora too much. I do wish however that the church in America (as it IS a significant segment of the US church, the segment who should know better) would stop attacking the present pope, as occurs here and allow him to get on with it. “Fat pope, thin pope” as the Italians say. The views espoused are often based too simplistically on a partially accurate assessment of our present, wedded to a far too rosey view of the church’s past. This is dangerous thinking. Unlike in previous eras, in the West today the church no longer controls the ‘narrative’. This is significant. Significant too is the ‘triumph’ (for good and ill) of what I term ‘radical individualism’, the ‘fruit’ of the triumph of American-style capitalism over its rivals. It is the pervasiveness of this ‘gospel’ that has spread greater individual freedom but the consequences of which also lies at the root of many of the conflicts of the present moment (West v Islam, Russia v West, etc.) Until Pope Benedict and Pope Francis I’m not sure the church/papacy ‘got it’. Indeed, the whole of the 19-20th centuries issues in the church are belated attempts to come to terms with this new reality … very slowly. Prior to Benedict and Francis there were good people in the church acting with great intention, but very unwisely, in ways that while temporarily ‘satisfying’ serve only to reinforce radical individualist culture while failing to alter it. This is now in full swing and seriously undermining the faith, conspiracy thinking, paranoia, “my enemies, enemy my friend”, tying all papal authority to one or two ‘core’ Western issues (an v foolish thing to do), etc. The writings and papacies of Benedict and Francis show that at the top (finally) they ‘get it’. I firmly believe that PF is using his papacy (sacrifically) as a poultice of sorts, drawing to the surface the darkness and light heretofore ‘hiding’ in the church. “On the one hand, on the other hand” has a knack for drawing out the troublemakers as we can all see. It is not pleasant, but essential, so Ecclesia becomes ‘a house of glass’ (JPII). If the church succeeds she will again become the leader and exemplar, with many of the solutions to current and future crises at her fingertips. His vision is truly global, as it now should be. On evangelization he is showing that there must be a new approach to skinning the proverbial cat. So park the parochialisms, self-righteousneses,pride and fears for a while, and trust in the Lord and Holy Father. HE does not deceive.

    • If there’s question Percy, we can trust entirely in the words of Christ, or the Pontiff when he pronounces formally and definitively to the Church. Otherwise, where there’s ambiguity we stay faithful to revelation.
      As the Apostle warns we cannot propose a new Gospel. We can’t judge Church doctrine based on popular acceptance. We see that in the life of Christ. We judge that doctrine by the holiness, Christlike humanness it calls us to practice.

      • What you admit to in your perception, Percy [and Mal] of papal policy is that Francis’ intentions are benevolent in employing deception to achieve a good. That the Father wills that his vicar jeopardize the souls of the great many presently being misled by a false narrative in tandem with sound Apostolic tradition.
        What you Percy, and Mal must both consider is whether Our Lord [and the pontiff] wills this deception as a good to cleanse the Church, or whether he permits this evil, a duplicitous deception as chastisement for the infidelity of the Church, of the vast number of nominal Catholics living in sin.

        • I don’t believe it is remotely ‘deceptive’ but simply very smart strategy when dealing with a very large church, filled with millions of decent (but mostly silent) sheep, but which has two radically polarized wings, both of which scream loudly and endlessly at one another, and both claiming to speak as ‘the church’ of the present and future. What currently unites the ‘rad-trads’ of the US and the bat crazy ‘liberals’ of Germany, apart from their demands for greater individualism (special rules for us) and simplistic readings of modern history, is their mutual self-righteousness. Both incidentally are local churches (mis)using current superior financial and political influence, far outweighing their size vis-a-vis the relative number of practising Catholics globally (I.e. “the smell of the sheep”), to try to ‘get their way’. I suspect that his experience as bishop of Buenos Aires during what was one of the bitterest and bloodiest civil wars in modern history, which split populace, state and church, may be one of the reasons the Holy Spirit has chosen this man for this hour. Just a thought.

          • Percy you say that it is just a thought but frankly it is a profound one built on the truth.
            However, you talk about the two wings making their big noises but do not mention the third group in the middle that is silent, faithful and huge. The Pope has this group on his side – as does out Redeemer and Founder.

        • Percy and Mal, sadly, are psychologically incapable of seeing through the duplicity and evil; they minimize and rationalize as well as any victim of Stockholm Syndrome. They see only what they want to see and perceive those who would rescue them from their delusions as agents of the devil. They are part of Pope Francis’ legions of enablers, men and women who shield him from his need for accountability and repentance. Pope Francis has caused great grief to many good, orthodox (not traditionalist but orthodox) priests and theologians who used to instinctively defend him–i.e., until it became unavoidably clear that his inconsistencies, ambiguities, and patterns of reward and punishment reveal deep hypocrisy if not a Machiavellian heart.

          • That same “great grief” and sadness (or worse, as one added) must have been felt by the priests and Pharisees who were comfortable with their many prayers and rituals until Jesus came along and upset them, telling them (in today’s language) to “smell like the sheep” out there in the “field hospital”.

    • Thank you, Percy, for this beautiful post. It is truly illuminating. Importantly, what you say is true, and this is due to the fact that you have a good understanding of the situation. I do not perceive any pride, boast or personal agenda in your presentation. We have been, as you say, very well served by the Popes of the past few decades who, with the blessing of the Holy Spirit of God (no doubt), have been trying to make us more Christ-like not merely in prayer and ritual but, importantly, in action as well.

    • To: Percy Blakeney:

      As a wag once said after listening to the opening statement of his debating partner, “I feel like a mosquito in a nudist colony. I don’t know where to begin.”

      Indeed I find numerous strawmen arguments and false characterizations throughout your comments, so I will simply confine myself to addressing just a few of the more egregious ones that present false or at least distorted pictures of things.

      First are your declarations about “radical individualism” (actually a concept that has been around and well-known for many, many years), and your bogus broadside against “American-style Capitalism” in which you declare that a negative consequence of the “radical individualism” arising out of it ‘lies at the root of many of the conflicts of the present moment (West v Islam, Russia v West, etc.).’”

      With respect to the West v Islam, it’s just plain silly to claim that any aspect of capitalism is a root cause of the conflict. Islam opposes the West because of its barbaric theo-political ideology that is in opposition to the West; not the West’s practice of capitalism, and it has been an enemy of the West for some 1300 plus years and was so for some 1000 years before capitalism even began to make significant progress in the 18th century in Europe and America.

      Regarding the West and Russia, the rise of the former Soviet Union did indeed pit Socialism/Communism against the capitalism of the West, but you write as if capitalism is to blame for the conflict and the Soviets/Russians were merely attempting to bring about that fantasy utopia of Marxism, yet those stinkin’ capitalists and their championing of radical individual rights got in the way and continue to do so. Balderdash. With all of its warts, capitalism is far and away the best economic system to alleviate the vast majority of economic woes throughout the world, and despite the well-recognized dangers of all forms of radical individualism, the late, great Pope St. John Paul II clearly illustrates the superiority of capitalism over all other systems in his extremely insightful encyclical Centesimus Annus.

      Next up for consideration is the haughty claim that “The writings and papacies of Benedict and Francis show that at the top (finally) they ‘get it.’ What is the ‘it’ that they allegedly get, and that the Church has been deprived of until the last 2 papacies enlightened us? Moreover, your lumping in of Benedict with Francis is quite suspicious, so I suspect you really mean that just Francis gets ‘it’ whatever that undefined ‘it’ is, but based on your other comments, the ‘it’ you refer to is likely just a variation on your false characterizations of capitalism and the West in general. Indeed, many of your claims look like they came out of Woke central where ambiguity is used as an artifice to promote the Woke agenda.

      Lastly, since the Catholic Church is the One True Church established and guided for all time by the Lord Jesus Christ, in and of itself it is always the leader and exemplar, and all of its faithful leadership helps perpetuate this reality insofar as the leaders carry out their ongoing mission to preach the objective truth of the gospel regardless of the time or place one lives in. The Church’s vision has always been global, and it did not just come about with the papacy of Francis; and when it comes to evangelization, our Lord and His apostles and the Church throughout the ages provide the only legitimate blueprint, also for all times and places. Any “new approach” that fails to present the timeless truths of the faith automatically fails to carry out the mission entrusted to the Church by the Lord Himself.

      Accordingly, because of his intentional lack of clarity in many things in pursuit of dialogue, and his failure to do his basic job as the primary teacher of the Faith (evidenced in many ways, but one in particular is his unjust refusal to properly respond to the dubia presented to him by sincere leaders of the Church and not just some “troublemakers”), Pope Francis is simply a bad pope, and trusting in the Lord has never prevented some men from being bad popes. In fact, trusting the Lord helps reveal when the Church is burdened with a bad pope like Francis. Yes, this is not pleasant, but it is necessary to recognize this reality and stop pretending that Francis is some kind of a super wizard with a secret plan that will be revealed soon enough that will somehow make all of his failings as the Vicar of Christ (a title he does not care for; wonder why?) actually good things that were necessary so the entire Church “gets it.”

      • Excellent comment, DV. Thank you. What every orthodox Catholic “gets” today is that Bergoglio is not merely a “a bad pope” but rather that “his inconsistencies, ambiguities, and patterns of reward and punishment reveal deep hypocrisy if not a Machiavellian heart,” as Archange noted above. The destruction that Bergoglio and his curia of faithless homosexual clericalists in mitres and scarlet have wrought throughout the entire Church is incalculable and includes as collateral damage the feckless insouciance of people like Percy and Mal.

  23. The collateral damage quod ita dicis, beneficium dubitationis tribuit. IMO, to frame it as feckless insouciance perhaps errs too far on the side of kind.

  24. There are many sources that could serve useful instruction; that are not ambiguous. One example would be Plato’s Four Counterfeit Arts, the Flatteries, set against the Four Genuine Arts. The Flatteries pretend to do good and they parasitize the good.

    Or consider “Arete”.

    ‘ The only story involving Arete was originally told in the 5th century BC by the sophist Prodicus, and concerns the early life of the hero Heracles. The story has become known as Hercules at the crossroads. At a crossroads, Arete appeared to Heracles as a young maiden, and offered him glory and a life of struggle against evil; her counterpart Kakia (κακία, “badness”), offered him wealth and pleasure. Heracles chose to follow the path of Arete.

    This story was later used by Christian writers, such as Methodius of Olympus, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, and Basil of Caesarea. ‘

  25. Mal you’re making too many generalizations (or assumptions?) and I am not buying it as a package. The Pharisees as a group suffered grief that they didn’t smell like sheep? Chapter and verse?

    Maybe some of them? But all?

    People with questions are all ill-willed and all have agendas of their own? And the great mass between the two wings supports everything hands down AND whatever you say, because the Maundy Thursday characters did their bit?

    I mean I do agree the sun rose today and will set this evening. Thank God too!

    • When I used the clause “to smell like the sheep”. I did say that this is today’s way of saying what Jesus said in Matthew 23:3-7 about Pharisees. “You must therefore do and observe what they tell you; but do not be guided by what they do, since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they!”
      Yes, They wany others to smell like sheep – but not they.

  26. While all these (wrong) things are having to be explored, experienced, explained, extolled – the Church, the faithful and the People of God are oppressed.

    I can recognize this a long time before 2013, even from before 2002; and the question remains why it is there is so much hard-of-hearing. Not boasting!

    Not only that, why is there such an effort to cover over the uncovering of it as if “it can’t really matter that it matters so much” type of thing. To succeed!

    Save us O Lord God, gather us from among the nations that we may give thanks to Your Holy Name and glory in praising You. – Psalm 106:47

  27. *Sixty years of madness.
    *Will it ever end? Will it?
    *Or is this madness, this sickness, just the new forever normal (until the end of time)?

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