Pope Francis, Bishop McElroy, and Amoris Laetitia

Here is why I believe that Pope Francis—slowly and brick by brick—is attempting to subvert the theological hermeneutic of the previous two papacies.

A journalist holds a copy of a book by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, on Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation, "Amoris Laetitia," during its presentation at the Vatican Feb. 14, 2017. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By now it is part of an old news cycle that Bishop McElroy is to be made a Cardinal. And the reactions to the news, as might be expected, reflect antecedent theological commitments. In short, theological liberals are cheering and the conservatives are jeering. Over at The National Catholic Reporter Michael Sean Winters is gushing like a fifteen year old adolescent over this appointment, which makes me suspicious. But I have long since gotten beyond judging folks based on who likes or dislikes them. (Because, you know, blind squirrels and acorns and all that.)

The bottom line here is that popes tend to appoint folks who think as they do, even though Papa Francis has elevated that tendency into an art form. And the liberal wing of the Church in the U.S. has had much to cheer about from all of the Pope’s American red hats, with the McElroy red hat being the cherry on the red velvet cake of Cardinals Cupich, Tobin, and Gregory.

Conversely, there are those on my side of the theological aisle (Communio/Ressourcement) who view this as the Pope turning a cold shoulder to the American Church and who consider this the “last straw” in a long series of last straws. After all, McElroy is on record stating that the language of the Catechism on homosexual acts being “gravely disordered” should be changed to something more “inclusive” and he is clearly sympathetic to the project of Fr. James Martin. Still others view McElroy’s promotion as a direct repudiation of the current leadership of the USCCB and of Archbishop Cordileone’s recent actions against Speaker Pelosi. I think this is unlikely, although there must have been Francis allies in the Vatican who cheered the serendipitous coming together of the Cordileone action and the McElroy promotion.

Finally, there are questions about what McElroy knew about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s darker proclivities, and how McElroy responded.* The veteran expert on priestly sex abuse, the late Richard Sipe, had warned McElroy about McCarrick in 2016; the two then met twice. Then, in a lengthy July 2016 letter to McElroy, Sipe lamented, “It was clear to me during our last meeting in your office, although cordial, that you had no interest in any further personal contact,” before later outlining several specific allegations against McCarrick. Sipe, however, was not without his own baggage in the form of a clear agenda, so the cold shoulder may have been McElroy’s way of saying that “advice” from such tendentious sources was not welcome. Or not.

Who really knows? And that is precisely the point. In an era where the Church’s credibility in the public arena has been fatally compromised by the rolling nightmare of the sex abuse scandals, Pope Francis should have perhaps taken this into deeper consideration before promoting McElroy, who was the face of obstruction (along with Cardinals Cupich and Tobin), to the efforts of the USCCB to pressure the Vatican for more transparency on the status of the McCarrick investigation.

Indeed, McElroy was one of the bishops who voted against a USCCB petition pressing the Vatican for more transparency and speed in the McCarrick investigation. I repeat: he voted against transparency. Which marks him off as either someone who is: A) personally compromised himself in the McCarrick situation and who is seeking to cover things up; B) uncaring toward the victims of abuse; C) a Pope Francis sycophant who was simply trying to shield the Pope from criticism; or D) all, or some combination, of the above.

All that said, I think there is a need to identify the root issue at stake in all of these concerns and criticisms. Beyond particular and proximate issues such as LBTQIAA+++ promotion, Eucharistic discipline, sex abuse scandals, and obstructionism, it is important to ask a simple question: why does Pope Francis like Bishop McElroy enough to make him a Cardinal? After all, the man has some serious baggage.

And the answer to that question can only be ascertained once we understand how important to this pontificate Amoris Laetitia is. Just as Traditionis Custodes was in many ways a clear repudiation of Summorum Pontificum, so too is Amoris Laetitia a repudiation of large parts of Veritatis Splendor.

My view of this papacy is that Pope Francis—slowly and brick by brick—is attempting to subvert the theological hermeneutic of the previous two papacies: Pope John Paul II’s in particular, and primarily in the realm of the late Pontiff’s moral theology. Bishop McElroy has been an unabashed supporter of Amoris and his promotion to the red hat is the Pope’s way of signaling that McElroy’s approach to the moral theological principles of Amoris is correct.

This also explains, as I have blogged on before, why Pope Francis has systematically dismantled the John Paul II Institute in Rome and replaced numerous professors and leadership—all of whom were devotees, of course, of John Paul’s thought, of Communio theology, and of Familiaris Consortio/Veritatis Splendor—with theologians who are largely proportionalists in moral theology and strong supporters of a more “progressive” agenda. And they have all been given the specific mandate to transform the Institute into a think tank for Amoris Laetitia. This is also why nobody from the previous regime at the Institute was invited to the Synod on the Family.

Therefore, in my view, the various red hats that Francis has given out to the Church in the U.S. are primarily, although not exclusively, about moral theology and the revolution in the post-conciliar theological guild on the topic of human sexuality. People tend to focus on the great controversies surrounding liturgy in the post-conciliar era. And those issues are important. But take it from someone who lived through it—the deepest, most important, most contentious, most divisive, and most destructive debates surrounded moral theology, especially after Humanae vitae and the massive dissent from it that followed.

Charles Curran, Richard McCormick, Bernard Häring, Joseph Fuchs, and many others, developed a form of moral theology called “proportionalism” or “consequentialism” that taught that there can be no absolute moral norms since moral actions are largely determined, not by the moral object of the act itself or the teleology of the faculty in question (classic natural law principles), but by the concrete circumstances in the life of the person committing the act. They spoke of “premoral goods” that had to be weighed against each other and that these kinds of judgments are almost always prudential and fraught with the ambiguity of “difficult and mitigating” circumstances. It is a bit of a caricature, but for the sake of a useful shorthand familiar to most readers, proportionalism is a subspecies (in Catholic drag) of situation ethics. They deny this, but it is what it is.

Along these lines, Pope Francis, in a much ignored but enormously significant comment in October 2016 (made to Jesuits gathered for the 36th general Congregation), praised the dissenting, proportionalist, moral theologian Bernard Häring (1921-1998) as a great “model” for the renewal of moral theology. This is the same Bernard Häring who dissented from Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor. And Pope Francis said that Häring’s kind of moral theology is expressive of Vatican II and of how moral theology should be done. A clearer endorsement from a Pope for a proportionalist approach cannot be found. Imagine the consternation if Pope Benedict had said, when issuing Summorum, “You know, that Lefebvre dude was right all along.” But Pope Francis praises a leading proportionalist theologian as a wonderful role model for renewing moral theology—and nobody even blinks twice.

I bring up the issue of Häring, since it does help us to frame our hermeneutic for what Pope Francis is really trying to accomplish in Amoris Laetitia. What was it that caused the most consternation in Amoris Laetitia? That famous little “throw away” footnote where Francis greenlights divorce and remarriage “after a process of discernment” (footnote 351). Now, I would be the very first person to tell you the Church’s pastoral practice in regards to divorced and remarried Catholics needs a serious examination. But is this footnote a “serious examination” or is it rather simply a very clever way of bringing in through the backdoor, through a sub rosa and vague “process” of “accompaniment” and “discernment”, what you cannot get in via the front door?

But beyond all of that there is the problem of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, where the Pope seems to endorse a contradiction. Namely, that he, like Pope John Paul in Veritatis Splendor, rejects a “gradualism of the law” all the while, and unlike John Paul, using language that clearly seems to endorse a gradualism of the law. In an important essay here at CWR, the theologian Eduardo Echeverria makes this very point and in an in-depth analysis of Amoris Laetitia shows quite clearly that Pope Francis attempts to have his cake and eat it too. Francis pays lip service to John Paul’s rejection of the gradualism of the law, but then goes on to embrace the notion in classic ways. Echeverria states:

So, with all due respect to Francis, I think that he does imply support for the “gradualness of the law” and hence by implication opens the door to a “situation ethics.” He says, “Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel.  It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal” (AL 303). Now, is the pope actually saying that such acts are right for such an individual? Indeed, that is precisely what he says, namely, that the person in those mitigating circumstances may be doing the will of God. That’s not an inference on my part; that’s what the pope actually says above. If you missed it, here it is again: a person can “come to see with a certain moral security that it [his choice] is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.” It is hard to see why a person needs the grace of the sacrament of confession, and hence the Lord’s mercy, if, as Francis suggests here, that person is doing the will of God.

Echevierra’s essay and his interpretation of Amoris has been criticized by people I admire very much (e.g. Robert Fastiggi), but when you put together the Pope’s praise for the proportionalist Bernard Häring as a model for moral theology, his destruction of the John Paul II Institute in Rome and its “reform” along proportionalist moral theological lines, his apparent promotion of the gradualism of the law in Amoris, and his promotion of prelates including Cupich, Tobin, and McElroy and his very clear snubbing of more traditional prelates, a clear picture begins to emerge of a Pope who is a profound enigma. At once orthodox and even conservative in many areas—and yet at the same time a true revolutionary in the area of moral theology, for good or for ill.

Again, at the end of the day, I really don’t care whose head is adorned with a red hat or whose petard sits in an office chair on the via della conziliazione. The immediate needs of my day and the tidal undertow and sinful entropy of my degraded life seem much more pressing to me. I seek Christ and Him crucified. To that end, I think the whole Church needs to take a deep breath, take stock of itself in light of the “one thing necessary”, gaze Eastward toward the rising Son, and ask: “Quo vadis, Domine?”

• Related at CWR: “The Four Cardinals and the Encyclical in the Room” (Nov 8, 2016) by Carl E. Olson

*Editor’s note (June 5, 2022): The original posting of this column described Bishop McElroy as “a longtime associate and friend of [former Cardinal Theodore] McCarrick’s” who “benefited from McCarrick’s promotion of his ecclesiastical career…” That was an inaccurate description and it has been removed. We regret the error and apologize for posting it.


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About Larry Chapp 22 Articles
Dr. Larry Chapp is a retired professor of theology. He taught for twenty years at DeSales University near Allentown, Pennsylvania. He now owns and manages, with his wife, the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. Dr. Chapp received his doctorate from Fordham University in 1994 with a specialization in the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. He can be visited online at "Gaudium et Spes 22".

223 Comments

  1. When Pope Francis canonized John Paul II he praised the saint. CNA reported, “It is enough to look at his life” to see that John Paul II had “the smell of the sheep,” Francis said. “He was a pastor who loved people and the people returned it with an immense love.”

    • Plus something more than the smell of the sheep. Once canonized and shelved, easier to leave behind. “Veritatis Splendor,” what’s that?

    • Why don’t you answer the author’s specific claims in his column instead of distracting on a tangent, ‘Mal’?

      • I know many others, like some contributors to this forum whom I won’t name, who in making a personality cult over Francis have remained oblivious to how catastrophically life and death, not to mention atheistic, the consequences are resulting from the blatant moral relativism that Francis revived in Amoris Laetitia and the stupid theologians he’s admired.

        The author accurately notes, Francis’ bad moral theology as the most egregious damaging influence from his pontificate. A man can talk about abortion is like hiring a hitman, an insensitive way to express outrage, till the cows come home, but if that man trivializes the damage done being directly connected to the sex revolution, he’s being dishonest. Neither is talking about a hypothetical man running away with his mistress to start a new “happy family” without even mentioning the damage done to the abandoned first family an honest thing to do.

        And the twin phony sophistries of proportionalism and consequentialism, that even a fibbing child can see through, only prove that there are some ideas so stupid only the intellectually prideful can believe them. We have moral absolutes because we can never do evil to achieve good. It is impossible to pretend that we can know all the ripple effects of our actions, but we have the word of God that true goodness does not ultimately come from evil. We become at least temporary atheists every time we think we know better than God, a very bad thing for anyone to be, especially a man with a Roman collar, even more so, high prelates.

      • He claims to know the Mind of God more than the Holy Spirit who inspired the choice of Francis. Is that about it in a nutshell?

        • We don’t know if Francis is a case of the Conclave having ignored the Holy Spirit or the Holy Spirit seeking to awaken the Church, slouching towards its destruction for decades, with the distillations of bad theology coming from the Chair of Peter itself.

          • “We” don’t know? Well, many of us who belong to another “we” know that in some way the Holy Spirit is well and truly active in the Church. Pope Francis, the faithful Catholic all his life, is the one the Holy Spirit wanted as Pope.

        • The Holy Spirit fid not inspire the election of any Pontiff, including those of the 9th Century “Pornocracy,” the Borgias, or Pontiff Francis.

          As B16 correctly reminded the Church, the Holy Spirit is always speaking to the Church, but the Church is not always listening.

        • You claim that the Holy Spirit inspired the choice of Francis. Did the Holy Spirit inspire the choice of Francis alone or has he inspired the choice of all Popes? If the latter can you suggest any reason why the Holy Spirit inspired the choice of Alexander VI?
          And I would be interested to know your source for claiming that the Holy Spirit inspired the choice of Francis.

          • Our Catechism tells us that the mission of the Holy Spirit is inseparable from the mission of the Son. And before the Holy Spirit descended on the small Church in that room, our Lord chose Simon to be the first Pope. Our Lord chose Simon because the Father had revealed a certain truth to this Apostle. The truth being that Jesus was the Son of the living God.
            So, yes, the Holy Spirit is continuing our Lord’s mission but in ways unknown to us.

        • The notion that “God chooses the Pope” is no part of the teaching of the Church. It is the purest superstition.

          Neither, btw, does the Magisterium “teach” the name of the Pope. The Conclave teaches nothing. It performs an administrative act, which may be valid or invalid. Thus, a Catholic who doubts or disputes the validity of a putative papal election is not, for that reason, a “schismatic” or a “heretic.”

          • Nor is the claim that the Holy Spirit is not involved in the selection and election of Peter’s successor part of Church teaching.

          • “I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope…I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined. … There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!” — Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 1997

            The papal office is protected from certain things, within a very narrow scope, as “Lumen Gentium” explained:

            And this infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded. And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith, by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals. (par 25)

            Which means that a pope is not protected from sinning, being a jerk, being ambiguous, having a mistress, being corrupt, causing confusion, insulting others, etc, etc. Quite the contrary. As history shows.

        • No one knows if the H.S. inspired the choice of Francis versus allowed it. Significant difference. Look at Renaissance popes.

      • Carl, you are entitled to your opinion just as much as I am to mine.
        Nobody said that the Pope cannot sin. It is also true that human beings have a free will which is respected by God. This does not mean that our Church is left abandoned to the whims and fancies of its members.
        Talking about the workings of the Holy Spirit in the Church in Catholic.com, Jimmy Akin said: “you can’t take a case here, or a case there, where a mistake was made, and conclude from that, that we can just ignore the teaching of the church, because the Holy Spirit does guide the church in its overall mission. And so, we have to start from the assumption that the Holy Spirit is guiding the church in a particular matter. Even if it’s challenging to us, personally, we start with that understanding, and we don’t leap to the conclusion, “Oh, I don’t like that. Therefore, it must be wrong,” because we don’t have a universal perspective either. We’re dealing with the world from our own little angle, and we’re not privy to everything God is. And so, we have to be trusting, and recognize that even though mistakes can be made, the Holy Spirit is still in charge, and is still guiding things…”

    • Mal:

      That was mere theater…to put a fig leaf over the subversion.

      Larry Chapp is right…quite obviously…subversion.

    • You might make note of the fact that when JPII and Benedict said anything theological, consistent with Catholic doctrine, which was everything, Francis as bishop and cardinal, when questioned by the press, gave his pat response, “He doesn’t speak for me.”

        • Is it the intention of the Jesuits to foist upon the whole Church their way of communal discernment?

          If so the ramifications are many not singular; notwithstanding that the rupture itself that it initiated, would be singular.

          And if it is the case such a thing is in the offing, it would give the significance of having a dicastery system; explain the meaning of separating doctrine and discipline; and reveal why there is developing this particular emphasis on “synodality” outside the contexts provided in VATICAN II for synod.

    • This is what Bergoglio constantly does: he canonizes saints like JPII or Newman in order to put his own ideas in their mouths, unashamedly.
      JPII is the Pope of Veritatis Splendor, whose Institute for the Family PF literally turned upside down; Newman is the classic theologian against the very liberalism PF endorses.

  2. “It is hard to see why a person needs the grace of the sacrament of confession, and hence the Lord’s mercy, if, as Francis suggests here, that person is doing the will of God”. (Echeverria)
    Indeed. Why Confession? Why the atoning Sacrifice? Why any of it?

  3. Two points:
    #1. Many today (and this includes some of our bishops) fashion themselves to be God and hence believe that the One who IS God answers to them. From where I stand, I find no humility evinced in this man Bergoglio nor in any of his appointees like Gregory, McElroy, Tobin, Cupich and Co. I only find hubris. Arrogant, prideful, angry men who spend too much energy hating their perceived enemies. What a pity.

    #2. As we are finding among in politics among the Left, the same goes for those in the hierarchy of Christ’s Church – it is far easier to destroy the Good, the True and the Beautiful than it is to edify. Francis and his minions know how to deconstruct: the family, liturgies, sexuality, and truth but they don’t have any inkling about how to strengthen that which forms the structure of essential ecclesiastical, civil or family life.
    But as the case with Leftists in general, once they’re finished tearing everything down, they themselves will be torn down. Just watch and see.

    • If you don’t appreciate Pope Francis, which is obvious, that’s your right as an indidual. But if you represent the voice of the church, and as Deacon you do, you owe him obedience. You have no right to use your pulpit to divide people into 2 factions– “the liberals” being not only wrong but evil. Please start taking your important position seriously.
      If you don’t, your fault will be greater than that of a layperson.

      • Where does Deacon Peltier disobey a command of Francis? How and where specifically does the Deacon cause division? The unity of the Catholic Church depends on Christ; it does not depend on Francis’ appointments, and it certainly does not depend on what the hierarchy and laity think about those.

        Just as Francis is free to voice a personal opinion, so is the deacon, and so are we.

        There is no ‘pulpit’ here on this forum. Unless one sees objects which don’t exist.

      • My obedience is always first and foremost to the Truth. If a fail to speak it even when it pertains to the Pope, then I would be as a clanging cymbal. You should understand that you cannot love amidst untruth. It’s simply impossible. You can only love where Truth is honored.

      • Deacon Peitler is on the front lines of the Church Militant and, as such, has a keen eye and an acute ear to perceive what is happening in this world, especially with regard to what helps the sheep, and also what hurts them. The enemies of the good, true and beautiful, both mortal and immortal, have upped the battle more than a mere notch. The spiritual and physical help and support from Rome and our bishops has dried up, and worse, many of these same clerics have changed sides and now aid the infernal enemy.
        As I see it, Deacon Peitler and company would be negligent if they failed to give an honest and accurate description of the condition of the sheep under their care, the situation on the battlefield that lies before them, and no less important, an honest and sincere evaluation of the strength and number of the enemy.

      • You are very confused.

        You don’t want obedience; you want mindless adulation.

        And yes, the “liberals” who have ruled the church for 60 plus years are evil. They embrace every novelty, and invert the the prudential and the absolute.

        The fruits of liberal Catholicism is best exemplified by one man. Hunter Biden.

        • That is how St Paul tells it. However, this had nothing to do with Peter’s standing or with his teachings. It was about Peter’s behavior while eating.

          • Mal you’re reading into Scripture what’s not there. Paul rebuked Peter for the hypocrisy in letting the circumcision faction including Judaizers, overtake Peter’s authority and Peter’s own true inspirations; and the mission among the Gentiles already in full gear; and Peter’s own encounter with Gentiles.

            Scripture gives us what Paul said because Paul took Peter to task on it in the same theme as where the Lord Himself had had to correct Peter.

            And the issue was not circumcision alone but Peter’s sly behaviours. This situation developed after Peter’s tears upon the cock’s crowing, after his encounter with the Resurrected Lord, after Pentecost, after the martyrdom of Stephen and after Peter had his dream “kill and eat”.

            You underrate Paul because you underrate Scripture and you underrate Scripture because you underrate Paul. Paul is in there where it is because of his ( “rigid” – unswerving ) fidelity. And of course because his witness and persistence faithfully reflect and buttress the Holy See.

            Yes, Mal, it’s not only that quotes can get misplaced.

          • “It was about Peter’s behavior while eating”

            As always you miss the very important point. What Peter did was not just simply behaviour while eating as if it was a matter of hand washing.

            It was to Peter that the revelation about the inclusion of the gentiles was given and yet there he was practically turning his back on that because of the Judaizers.

            Which is not dissimilar to Francis who says one thing then does another. The great example of this farce is Traditiones Custodes. He says that the bishops have the call on what happens with the Latin Mass then in the next breath proceeds to tell them exactly what they should. Typical Bergoglio.

      • Obedience is owed to Christ and His Truth….when the Pope does not teach the Truth of the Gospel, Paul corrects him as ‘not keeping the truth of the Gospel’…this division of those who fight against truth and those who fight for Truth is Christ and His Work…obedience to evils is not a moral or Gospel principle, rather, ‘we must obey God, not man’…thus Paul to Peter…blessings

    • “From where I stand, I find no humility evinced in this man Bergoglio”

      From where you stand you obviously cannot see the humility existing in our Christ-centered Pope. You cannot even address the Vicar of Christ as Pope.
      It is far easier to corrupt the “Good, the True and the Beautiful than it is to edify.” I have yet to find someone who cares for life, marriage and family more than Pope Francis does, or has a better appreciation of Jesus and his Church.

      • Any “Christ-centred” man will uphold the word of God. He will not be wayward in promoting that which is contrary.

        Ezekiel 22:27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain.

        1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

        2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

        2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

      • So you accept his ideas that a man abandoning his family to run away with his mistress to start a new family is just so “hopelessly complex” it must be understood as what God is asking? And his “life values” are such that he constantly arranges for the world’s most notorious abortionists to come to the Vatican to lecture the Church on life ethics? And his prohibitions of discussions of Amazonian tribal societies that bury children alive least it upset the agenda of his predetermined result for his Amazonian Synod is a “life value?” Reconsider your personality cult Mal. It’s not healthy for your soul.

      • Cardinal Sarah has said that the effort to suppress the TLM is clearly inspired by Satan.

        Can one man simultaneously be “Christ-centered” and follow the inspirations of Satan?

  4. Great insights and it is tragic that Francis is so driven to repudiate his two predecessors, under whose papacy the Church was reinvigorating and strengthening. Never mind that John Paul, especially, was a catalyst that literally changed the world to spectacular benefit. As for your McElroy multiple choice, unequivocally D.

    • I think that Francis is subverting a lot more than just the theology of the previous two popes. He is attempting to alter the content of the Christian gospel itself. It is one thing to have a different theological emphasis, quite another to flatly contradict Jesus and his apostles on an almost daily basis.

  5. Like many clerics, Francis surrounds himself with like-minded people who are unlikely to challenge him in any way. I have told a number of these priests that people who always agree with you are not your friends, and people who disagree with you are not necessarily your enemies. I appreciate most a friend who will warn me that I’m approaching a cliff instead of standing by cheering for me to fall over it.

    • What a lovely response to the Hatemongers who are well represented on The US Supreme Court also. Catholics make horrible SCOTUS members.
      Dred Scott was written by A Baltimore MARYland Catholic Roger Taney.
      RBG is missed already. Amy “Touchdown Jesus” ND Salem Witch Trial survivor Handmaiden People of Praise Sychophant Zombie Catholic.
      Barrett
      The Catholic Church has been run by White Supremacists, since Jesus died. The writer of this article is a Sour Grapes Drumpf from Dumbphuquistan Trumpenstein Insurrectionist Supporter.
      Catholics could not own land in America until 1780.
      There was the Know nothing Party that raped nuns, burned down Catholic churches. My Grandfather had a sign on his fireplace in NY: “Irish need not apply for jobs here.”
      How quickly Catholics forget and become Intolerant Fascists. Potato famine, Auschwitz in the most Catholic country in world–Poland. Pope Francis is a very well educated Jesuit. Some of the best high schools and colleges in America are Jesuit open minded intellectual bastions. Gonzaga High in DC. OU & USC QB Caleb Williams. Gonzaga U. in Spokane.

      • “What a lovely response to the Hatemongers….”

        “Amy “Touchdown Jesus” ND Salem Witch Trial survivor Handmaiden People of Praise Sychophant Zombie Catholic. Barrett”

        Patrick: You lack charity, reason, facts, understanding, and self-awareness. Otherwise, you’re doing great.

      • Patrick: Please stop, you’re embarrassing yourself. I don’t have time to dismantle your ridiculous post, but I’ll help you get started. You mentioned Auschwitz and Catholic Poland…start here:

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_persecution_of_the_Catholic_Church_in_Poland

        “Church leaders were especially targeted as part of an overall effort to destroy Polish culture. At least 1,811 members of the Polish clergy were murdered in Nazi concentration camps. An estimated 3,000 members of the clergy were killed. Hitler’s plans for the Germanization of the East did not allow Catholicism.“

      • It’s rare when a movie line is appropriate here, but here’s one, only the name has been changed to reference the subject.

        Mr. McGinnis, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • Patrick, what is your point? You have not made any with your long vituperative rant. Try a bit harder to address the points made by Chapp. The facts, views and behaviour associated with the appointments cited do speak for themselves. The “gay mafia” within the church is quite extensive and does control the advancement protocol more and more depending on the national circumstances.

      • No matter how Irish one adverts himself to be, it is not tantamount to being a Christian. Or morally superior.

      • Patrick, in response to your 6/3/22 @10:37, I quote Ann landers from a post many years ago in the Chicago Tribune:

        “You have a point, but if you keep your hat on maybe no one will notice.”

        If one loses his sense of humor, one is lost.

        BTW – if anyone wishes to use the quote from Ann Landers (or it may have been Dear Abby) feel free to do so, but always acknowledge the original author.

        I take my leave with words of wisdom from P.G. Wodehouse – “All work and no play makes Jack a peh bah pom bahoo.”

        Just think about it.

  6. “You know, that Lefebvre dude was right all along.”

    In essence, being in communion with Christ, and His One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic Church, outside of which, there is no Salvation, due to The Unity Of The Holy Ghost, (Filioque), is not a matter of degree. If you are not with Christ, “you are against Christ”.

    “For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might make known new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound the Revelation, the Deposit of Faith, delivered through the Apostles. ”

    To deny The Unity Of The Holy Ghost (Filioque), is to deny The Divinity Of The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity. Perhaps if Pope Benedict were free to speak, he would make it clear that the denial of The Sanctity of the marital act within The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, is a sin against The Unity Of The Holy Ghost. The question is, why is Pope Benedict not permitted to speak?

    I do care that a counterfeit church is attempting to subsist within Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic Church, outside of which there is no Salvation, due to The Unity Of The Holy Ghost, because Christ Has Revealed Through His Life, His Passion, And His Death On The Cross, that No Greater Love Is There Than This- To Desire Salvation For One’s Beloved..How then can anyone who denies The Christ, The Word Of Perfect Love Incarnate, be desiring Salvation for themselves or their beloved?

  7. “Quo vadis, Domine?”, or, Where is Our Lord permitting the Church to journey? If an attorney were required to prosecute a case against this pontificate Dr Larry Chapp would be well chosen.
    If I were compelled to take the stand and tell the truth in response to why I assume God permits what’s occurring, that the Church is being led to a place it normally would not wish to go, I would answer that somewhat like Peter who would be led to crucifixion to glorify Our Lord, the Church is being led to crucifixion to glorify Our Lord. Both will be crucified by unbelievers, the latter specifically by Catholic apostates. The difference?
    If Peter’s crucifixion would join the blood of the Roman martyrs to convert Rome, the Church is being crucified as a chastisement to cleanse Rome of its infestation by reprobates and homosexuals.

    • Truth and the love of Jesus compels you to speak of godly principles.

      2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

      1 Timothy 5:20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

      Luke 17:3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,

      God bless you.

  8. The connection to Mr McCarrick looks pretty weak. There were warnings against him in the mid-90s, and still, Pope John Paul II and his Bishops dicastery promoted him. How can we solve that? We can’t revoke a sainthood.

    The whole fuss about Bishop McElroy smells like internal church politics. My own preference for a red hat would be Bishop Mark Seitz. But this isn’t about lobbying, primaries, or democracy.

    And yes, there are aspects of 1978-2013 that need unravelling: secrecy, blind spots to bishop misbehavior, personal attacks on people who disagree. Let’s let it go.

  9. Your analysis resonates as accurate, unfortunately. Good connecting of the dots.I wonder who is behind the scenes, similar to leftist Biden, ghost writing and master planning?

      • There were a lot of bad kings in ancient Israel. God allowed the kingdom to be divided, two Temples to go to destruction, and the Israelites to be sent into exile. The Northern kingdom became the Lost Tribes of Israel. The Second Temple went to destruction in New Testament times so the Old Testament remedies are still available. When people don’t listen to or obey God, He will let them follow their own path and learn things the hard way. That is what happened to Pharaoh. Pharaoh and the faithless Israelite people both stood accused of being hard-hearted. That got the Israelites forty years of pre-exile in the desert. Sometimes divine intervention can result in dire consequences.

        • And yet, the Father of one lost son was willing to leave the party and seek out the elder son who preferred to separate himself from his father’s plan and will. Discontented Catholics have been simmering over circumstances long before Pope Francis. It seems they are more confronted with the hard lessons of life: “Why did we get bypassed in favor of sinners, heretics, and the unfaithful?” The lesson of Luke 15:28-32 persists, and likely, the Father will never let up.

          • The older brother was out in the field, nobody went out to the field to inform him what was going on. The servant said nothing to the older brother about the younger brother’s penitence when questioned about what was going on. You get a very detailed account about the younger brother, but the account of the older brother has nowhere near the same level of detail. The father’s initial encounter with the older brother leaves a lot to the imagination. The older brother was totally out of the loop until the end of the parable. The parable is open-ended so you never know what the older brother does.
            *
            We are told that unrepentant sinners in a state of mortal sin will not gain admission to heaven. Too many modern sinners have the pride of the Pharisee and the way of life of the publican. Proud, boastful, arrogant sinners who care nothing about how their bad example can lead others into sin. Unrepentant sinners can be very evangelical in leading others into lives of sin. Children of the serpent. Adam, Eve, and Cain never showed contrition.

          • Eisegesis can be a fun exercise: starting with one’s own point of view and interpreting from there.

            “We are told that unrepentant sinners in a state of mortal sin will not gain admission to heaven.”

            Sinners need not repent to the elder siblings. The lost son came to the father. You and I are cut out of the relationship. Even a confessor is there only to represent Christ. We are also told that a lot of people will be surprised who enters heaven.

            “Too many modern sinners have the pride of the Pharisee and the way of life of the publican.”

            Yes, and these unrepentant sinners are notably those who wrap themselves in the mantle of religion and usurp the role of Last Judge.

          • You omit that there was a public dimension to what the younger brother and the father did, a public dimension of exterior acts. If the older brother is to be cut out of the relationship between the father and the younger brother, then what kind of relationship does the older brother have in the family? If we consider the father to be the quarterback, when was the older brother in the huddle to find out what the play was, the standards of conduct that his and the younger brother’s actions were being evaluated by? This only starts to be answered at the end of the parable, which is open ended.
            *
            The answer to your last comment can be found in First Corinthians. You might want to give 1 Corinthians 5 a read. While we are not to judge the soul, we are called to judge actions. That is what the Spiritual Works of Mercy of admonishing sinners is all about. Most of First Corinthians is St. Paul administering correction of defective faith practices. And while you are at it you should also read Ezekiel 3:16-21 about prophetic responsibility, and the consequences of failing to carry out prophetic correction. St. Paul makes a similar observation in Acts 20:25-30. In this passage he also warns about coming of fierce wolves.
            *
            Prophetic correction cost Christ, St. John the Baptist, and St. Stephen their lives in accord with Christ’s woes in Matthew 23. There is a lot of talk about the the role of prophet. How many current day Catholics are willing to act like St. John the Baptist, and St. Stephen did? Even the Good Thief was willing to accept both his guilt and his punishment as well as defending Christ, giving witness to it in the most public way possible. His only request was that Christ remember him. How many kindred spirits would the Good Thief find in today’s Church?

          • You are reading too much into the parable, my friend. Jesus directed the tale at Pharisees, those who considered themselves righteous. The parable is open-ended because Jesus’ listeners have yet to acknowledge the wisdom of God in seeking out the lost to save them. The older brother wasn’t in the huddle because he went off to play golf with his friends.

            Prophets still exist today. They often go unrecognized by the elder siblings.

          • In Acts 6 it says that “a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” The most prominent conversion of all was the Pharisee/older brother Saul/St. Paul whose words I have referenced and that you appear to have ignored. The Pharisee/older brother St. Paul was the major theologian of the early Church.

          • I hardly ignore Saint Paul. I’m very aware of his criticisms of the Galatians and Corinthians for each of their versions of unseemly behavior. 5:15 of the letter to the former rather sums up the current Catholic situation, or something similar.

            I find those critical of Pope Francis to the point of embarrassment look very much like the elder sibling of Luke 15:28-32. Jesus knew well to whom he was addressing his story. It wasn’t about people who saw no need of penance and confession in their own lives, but who took it upon themselves to criticize others.

          • Flowerday,
            The scripture story of Luke 15 does not stretch to fit your analogy.

            In Luke’s parable, the younger son turned away from sin, then returned to his father. The father did not travel to the land of foreigners to bring his son home.

            The pope does not represent the father because he does not act as the father. If the pope acted as the father acted, the pope would love both his sons who always remained at home as well as he loves those who left but then returned home. The father in the parable has no concern for any sons choosing to go and remain in foreign lands.

            The pope wills to send his sons to foreign peripheral lands. Why? Is it to describe the appeal, the happiness and the glory found by dwelling in the Father’s House? Or is it to spill pearls among the swine and waste the inheritance in strange and filthy byways?

          • The Pope is hardly an innocent bystander when it comes to giving verbal abuse. There is extensive documentation of Pope Francis’ papal put-downs on the website “The Pope Francis Little/Bumper Book of Insults.”
            *
            https://popefrancisbookofinsults.blogspot.co.uk
            *
            The quotes are clickable links to the articles where those quotes came from. It is quite the papal rock pile for him to verbally stone those he disagrees with. I had to look up some of the words that he used because I don’t use that kind of language. I think he recently used one of them again.

          • Jesus was addressing the pharisees and teachers in Luke 15. We err in thinking of the longest parable as primarily a teaching about sin and forgiveness. Jesus was already preaching to the lost–Luke 15:1 says the sinners had come to him. The religious were bothered by this (15:2), and the parables that followed (vv. 3-32) were addressed to them. The final point is that God wants to draw the righteous to himself, but many religious people separate themselves from God’s mission despite appearances that they have always been faithful.

            There is a difference between a Christian giving a general message that chides a group, such as Galatians 3:1ff, Revelation 3:16ff, or even the Lord himself in Matthew 23:27. Commentators here and on other sites make it personal, calling out people they do not know (unlike the Lord or his apostles) with sins and crimes they cannot prove.

            It would be more illustrative and possibly edifying to compile a Biblical book of insults. Just who spoke the criticisms, and to whom they were directed, and why. As far as I can recall, Pope Francis has not named names among preening clergy, narcissistic seminarians, or the Temple Police, or his other detractors.

            Rather than read that linked book, I’d favor Galatians.

          • I’ve heard it said that the younger brother can represent the Gentile nations. Interesting that Christ chose an older brother Saul/St. Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles. The open ended nature of the parable left the door open for the older brother to reevaluate his position. The priests in Acts 6 and St. Paul gave a positive response to the call of the gospel.
            *
            Too many in the Church hierarchy care more about what the world thinks than what God thinks. The German Church is very zealous in using worldly secular sources of authority in their attempt to change Church teaching. In their own way they can be hair-splittingly legalistic in searching for and/or creating loopholes to get their way. A sin is called an orientation and the sinner is described as having an indissoluble identity and oneness with this sin/orientation. God gets turned into a rubber-stamp for their desires. In fact sin, temptation, and repentance are treated as alien notions. To me the Parable of the Dishonest Manager is a more accurate description of the “progressive” wing of the Church. Writing off people’s sins to ingratiate themselves to the world. Fixing tickets is far easier and less time consuming than fixing sinners.
            *
            Based on your responses you appear to be making plenty of judgments yourself. The same goes for Pope Francis and his insults. Highly selective enforcement of “Who am I to judge?” Accountability is the difference between righteousness and self-righteousness.

          • Yes, there are likely many people in the hierarchy who are concerned with the world’s values: fame, careerism, creature comforts, narcissism, social media platforms, wealthy allies, the freedom and wealth to travel and sample the delights of human civilization: food, drink, and other indulgences. We saw a lot of it in the previous two papacies–people like Ted McCarrick or Marcial Maciel who were exalted and honored because they helped money flow into the Church’s coffers. We also saw the rise of internet celebrities, a fair number of whom were outed for excesses of sex, money, and other indulgences.

            So, yep. I judge.

  10. I remember Francis saying near the beginning of his pontificate that he was not a theological expert and that the focus of his papacy would, therefore, be evangelization.

    Well, judging by the numbers, he’s failed at evangelism. I wonder why he thinks that he can do any better with theology

    • Some people don’t do well at thinking. Aquinas wrote a bit about ‘blindness of mind.’ (https://www.newadvent.org/summa/3015.htm). Sins of lust and gluttony particularly interfere with the ability to perceive reality and to think clearly about it.

      St. Paul, on the same (Corinthians 4:4–5): “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

    • Excellent observation.

      His performance as Archbishop of Buenos Aries would say “NO” on both evangelization and vocations, which collapsed under his “accompaniment.”

    • Pope Francis is a well-educated person but does not boast about it. He taught theology, philosophy, literature, and psychology at various schools and universities.
      During a talk to students and teachers, he said to the educators: “To educate well, we need to step out of ourselves and be among young people, to accompany them in the stages of their growth, placing ourselves at their side. Give them hope, and confidence for their journey in the world. Teach them to see the beauty and the goodness of creation and of humanity, which always retains the imprint of the Creator. Most importantly, be witnesses with your lives.” https://www.pope2you.net/pope-francis-on-education/#:~:text=Pope%20Francis%20has%20always%20been%20a%20big%20proponent,literature%2C%20and%20psychology%20at%20various%20schools%20and%20universities.

      • What exactly is the point here, Mal? This is a bit like quoting the President to prove that his policies are effective.

      • Mal,
        I have a few points:

        Being “well educated” or being a teacher doesn’t mean that a person has any morality, common sense, or intelligence. It just means that they completed degree programs and got a job.

        Francis is not humble. What makes you think this?

        Your Francis quote, of itself, does not indicate that Francis is actually intelligent.

      • Mal
        JUNE 4, 2022 AT 1:01 AM

        You could say that Bergoglio is “impressive.”

        He certainly impressed Fr. General Kolvenbach, SJ, who wrote a famous memo about him when Bergoglio was being considered for the episcopate. Kolvenbach described him as putting up a phony façade of piety, as ambitious, dishonest, conniving–and as a “psychopath.”

        • There were many Jesuits who did not like Pope Francis because he did not go along with their liberation theology.
          But a priest, who works in one the slum areas of Argentina, said that “this is where the future Pope Francis filled his lungs with the “oxygen” he needed to think about what the church ought to be.”
          Did you know that the very poor and disadvantaged people in Argentina refer to Pope Francis as their Slum Pope?

      • Anyone can recite greeting card sentimentality. It’s his heresies that corrupt the young and ought to concern everyone.

  11. Lord have mercy. May the chastisement be short, but our Lord may deem a longer necessary to get at the root cause that is clericalism.

  12. How much emphasis should be placed on studying the Scripture? That is what I would inquire of these men who would dilute the Gospel. How often does this Pope actually quote the Scripture?

  13. This is why Francis and his friends are clericalists. They presume our loyalty, no matter what they do, because of their office. It may come as a surprise to them that our obedience is commensurate with their obedience to the Scriptures and Holy Tradition. If they are going to undermine the Faith and the Sacraments, it may also further surprise them to learn that valid sacraments can be found elsewhere (Eastern Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and SSPX). I don’t understand how Francis can think that undermining the Magisterium of previous Pontiffs won’t also apply to him as well. I might soon get to the point where I will just say to Francis and friends….”No, thank you.”

    • Francis calls traditionalists all sorts of epithets. He accuses traditionalists of being divisive. I would truly like to know how many Roman Catholics he and his chorus in the hierarchy have driven away only to join Eastern Rite Catholic churches, the Orthodox Church or (God forbid) the Nones. If I thought that I was ever responsible for driving someone from the Catholic Church, I’d surely show up for Mass in sackcloth and ashes.

      • “…have driven away only to join Eastern Rite Catholic churches…”

        Not that going from a fully Catholic church to a fully Catholic church is a bad thing, right?

        But I get your point re: traditionalist Roman parishes. I’m quite happy to have been in an Eastern Catholic parish since the late 1990s.

    • Too many folks on this thread talk like Roman Protestants instead of faithful Catholics.

      “By certain indications it is not difficult to conclude that among Catholics – doubtless as a result of current evils – there are some who, far from satisfied with the condition of ‘subject’ which is theirs in the Church, think themselves able to take some part in her government, or at least, think they are allowed to examine and judge after their own fashion the acts of authority. A misplaced opinion, certainly. If it were to prevail, it would do very grave harm to the Church of God, in which, by the manifest will of her Divine Founder, there are to be distinguished in the most absolute fashion two parties: the teaching and the taught, the Shepherd and the flock, among whom there is one who is the head and the Supreme Shepherd of all…

      Similarly, it is to give proof of a submission which is far from sincere to set up some kind of opposition between one Pontiff and another. Those who, faced with two differing directives, reject the present one to hold to the past, are not giving proof of obedience to the authority which has the right and duty to guide them; and in some ways they resemble those who, on receiving a condemnation, would wish to appeal to a future council, or to a Pope who is better informed.

      On this point what must be remembered is that in the government of the Church, except for the essential duties imposed on all Pontiffs by their apostolic office, each of them can adopt the attitude which he judges best according to times and circumstances. Of this he alone is the judge.

      It is true that for this he has not only special lights, but still more the knowledge of the needs and conditions of the whole of Christendom, for which, it is fitting, his apostolic care must provide. He has the charge of the universal welfare of the Church, to which is subordinate any particular need, and all others who are subject to this order must second the action of the supreme director and serve the end which he has in view.” [Pope Leo XIII: Apostolic Letter Epistola Tua (circa 1885)]

      • “Too many folks on this thread talk like Roman Protestants instead of faithful Catholics.”

        Very well said, Shawn McElhinney. You will find many of them expressing these same thoughts in rad trad sites.

      • “Christendom?” What’s that? “Toto, I have the feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

        The hour is late, and rather than still the “teacher and the taught,” we now too often have the signaler and the untaught. Indeed, yes, “too many on this thread talk like Roman Protestants instead of faithful Catholics.” But, the shoe is on the other foot, and the Vatican/photo-op James Martin & Co. snickers.

      • Shawn McElhinney
        JUNE 4, 2022 AT 9:41 AM

        A papal quotation which has absolutely no relevance or applicability to the current situation! As I read it, I just KNEW I was reading a pope from 120-150 years ago. A time when you could pore through the documents of the twenty or thirty previous popes and not find a scintilla of theological error, let alone a heresy.

  14. I must admit that after 17 years of Catholic education I find it very difficult to keep up with the intellectual depth of the original post and many of the following comments. However, I do sense that we are headed for an upcoming contradiction of my 17 year education supported by the Pope’s comment concerning “who am I to judge” and the alleged large number of Homosexual clergy. I hope in my lifetime I do not see my church supporting homosexual unions and their various sexual acts.

    • If that travesty occurs John, it won’t by definitive Magisterial pronouncement. God will not permit that. It will occur by suggestion and oblique reference [as with the exchange of letters between the pontiff and Argentine hierarchy entered in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis which do not formally teach] as are the commonly held errors that are now in practice by many. The basis of your faith [the Deposit of Faith and Apostolic tradition] is safely guarded by Christ.

  15. Dr. Chapp’s analysis is sound enough, but more than a little understated in a couple of its conclusions. It is quite reasonable to infer that McElroy’s elevation to the rank of Cardinal was in part intended as a rebuke to Cordileone and other bishops who take a firmer line with politicians who defy Church teaching, just as Biden’s and Pelosi’s visits to the Vatican last fall were meant as a signal to the bishops to lback off and water down their Eucharistic Coherence statement. I fail to see how Francis can be considered orthodox or conservative in any, let alone many, ways. Far from being enigmatic, he is very transparent and predictable and has become only more so as time has gone by.

  16. Correct, Carl, I was not meaning to imply anything negative about Eastern Rite Catholics. I was only making the point about how unnecessarily divisive some of our ecclesiastical leaders have become (are). I refer to what is happening to the Church as “Stripping of the Altars- Part III”. The first at the hands of the Protestants; the second in the Post Vatican II Era from circa 1965-1980; and the third under this disturbingly failed pontificate of one Jorge Bergoglio. All of these episodes were terribly divisive to the fabric of the Catholic Church.

    BTW, I am delighted that you worship at an Eastern Rite Church. I just hope that Bergoglio and his henchmen don’t come after those in the Church whose liturgies are different from that insisted upon by the “Novus Ordo Gestapo”. I must add before someone accuses me: I am no “traddy” in the sense that I insist on the Extraordinary Form nor have attended more than a handful of said liturgies. I just am intolerant of Novus Ordo Masses said irreverantly as we all have been subjected to for far too long. But I am a Traditionalist in that I value the Good, the True and the Beautiful.

  17. I can’t agree with Larry Chapp’s point that “popes tend to appoint folks who think as they do.” Francis certainly does, in spades, but Paul VI – who resolutely defended the faith in encyclicals such as Mysterium Fidei, Humanae Vitae and the Credo of the People of God – mysteriously and bizarrely elevated to episcopal status a long string of men who were deeply hostile to everything that he affirmed so staunchly. Baffling is the only word for it. And John Paul II continued the same tendency, giving us the likes of Mahoney, Bernardin, May, Daneels, Kasper, Marx, Martini, Pilarczyk, a certain Jorge Bergoglio and, of course, McCarrick, whom he appointed over the dire warnings of Cardinal O’Connor. So while I can concur that Francis does indeed seem to hand-pick a bench of bishops completely on board with his progressive mindset, I can only wish that his predecessors had done the same.

  18. IMHO, Larry Chapp should be the papal theologian. In any case, this essay greatly clarifies my mind about Pope Francis and his project. Unfortunately, it also raises the question of to what degree his moral theology is special pleading. Scary, very scary thought. Could it be, too that as in the case of Nancy Pelosi, and for similar reasons, we should be praying for the conversion of Pope Francis?

  19. “My view of this papacy is that Pope Francis—slowly and brick by brick—is attempting to subvert the theological hermeneutic of the previous two papacies: Pope John Paul II’s in particular, and primarily in the realm of the late Pontiff’s moral theology…
    “Therefore, in my view, the various red hats that Francis has given out to the Church in the U.S. are primarily, although not exclusively, about moral theology and the revolution in the post-conciliar theological guild on the topic of human sexuality.”

    Dear Mr. Chapp, I have a different view of this pontificate. I believe it is about bringing people back to a living relationship with Jesus Christ. One of the first acts Pope Francis did after his election was to canonize Peter Faber. In a letter to a fellow Jesuit, Fr. James Lainez, Faber wrote: “The first thing to keep in mind is that if anyone would be of help to the heretics in this day and age, he must look upon them with great charity and love them in truth. And he must close his mind to all thoughts that would tend to lessen his affection for them. The second thing to be remembered is the need of gaining their good will so that they in turn shall love and think kindly of us, This can be accomplished by dealing with them in a friendly way on those subjects about which we are in agreement and by avoiding those disputed points in which one side might give the impression of lording it over the other. Rapprochement should be established with them in those areas in which there is concord between us rather than in those which tend to point up our mutual differences…The man who has the knack of speaking with the heretics on holiness of life, virtue, prayer, death, hell, and those other truths closely related to moral reawakening, will accomplish far more good with the heretics than the man who, armed with the pro¬nouncements of authority, makes it his aim to confound them.”
    Also, you quote the famous line “Who am I to judge?” I am surprised that someone of your intellectual integrity did not quote the full sentence: ““If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Interview, July 29th, 2013. Unless I badly misunderstand English, the first part of the sentence sets a definite condition for the second. As I understand the whole sentence, Francis refrains from judging someone who is trying to find God while struggling in the search. To me, that would describe certainly myself, and, I trust, all those taking part in this discussion.

    • Sister, that is indeed the full quote, ignored by the secular media. But Francis also said absolutely nothing to correct the misimpression, and so to this day it stands in the public mind.

        • Greetings Todd, good to see you here at CWR. You may recall that we had some interesting discussions at TLM several years ago. Let’s give it a try here, eh?

          I’m not sure, however, who “chooses to be confused.” Popes, like Presidents or other public figures obviously have to choose their words more carefully precisely because of the meanings that others may attach to them. I recall, for example, the instant, breathless, response at PBS News Hour which immediately empaneled a bench of “experts” who opined that Francis had indeed set the stage for a major shift in Church teaching on homosexuality. Other secular media outlets engaged in similar speculation. Unfortunately, Francis did nothing to correct the misimpression, leaving many inattentive Catholics to think that he had done what he hopefully hadn’t done. I for one would like some reassurance and clarity, something that we often don’t get from Francis.

          • I prefer to read Pope Francis directly. I don’t need CWP or PBS to interpret. I doubt the Holy Father is much concerned what the pundits have to say about him, if he is even aware of them.

          • Agreed. I’ve read almost everything by him. I wouldn’t trust CWP at all. But CWR….that’s a different matter.

          • Good to see you also, Glenn. I assumed you meant NLM, proponents of cancel culture for a decade-plus.

            Even as someone who likes most of what the Holy Father is doing, I don’t feel he’s my private pope. He doesn’t owe me reassurance. And if we Christians don’t always get clarity in the Gospels, I’m not sure anyone else connected with Jesus is going to give it to us true. In fact, I tend to be suspicious of easy answers and those ready to peddle them to me.

        • Todd Flowerday
          JUNE 6, 2022 AT 10:20 AM

          I’m not confused. Nothing Bergoglio does or says baffles me. He is a Satanist, attempting to destroy the Church’s liturgy once and for all, attempting to stamp out contemplative religious life, to crush and literally scatter Catholic religious. I mean literally throwing many of them into the streets, forbidding bishops even to give them shelter and food. He is a Satanist, coercing all citizens and employees of the Vatican to be injected with deadly poison. (This make Bergoglio eligible for trial for Crimes Against Humanity.) He has never uttered a word against the murder of millions of people by the lockdowns, the denial of treatment, the denial of food and water in hospitals, and the poison injections. He is a Satanist, showering with praise relentless campaigners for the mortal sin of sodomy, and promoting them in the hierarchy and into the College of Cardinals.

        • You and the Pope should be well aware of the sound-bite, facts optional narrative nature of the media. The Pope is not very diligent in issuing clarifications and/or corrections. His position as Pope imposes a greater responsibility. I do believe that the Bible says that teachers are held to a stricter account. His public statements are not idle chit-chat around the water cooler. Uncorrected public quotes can and do become the de facto media narrative.

    • Also, you quote the famous line “Who am I to judge?” I am surprised that someone of your intellectual integrity did not quote the full sentence…

      Except Chapp never quoted that line (another person did, in a comment above). I would also note, as the one who edited Chapp’s essay, that I’m not a fan of folks using that quote out of context as well, even though I still think the whole quote has its own, more subtle, problems.

      Nothing that Chapp says here is new or outrageous; he simply connects the dots in a way that is helpful for folks who don’t have time to follow the flood of ambiguity, misdirection, politicization, personal attacks, and general chaos that flows from this pontificate.

      I wrote a very similar piece in 2016 and pointed out how it seemed evident to me that Francis and Co. are working to undermine and bury “Veritatis Slendor”. I wrote:

      Francis then said, “I think Bernard Häring was the first to start looking for a new way to help moral theology to flourish again. Obviously, in our day moral theology has made much progress in its reflections and in its maturity; it is no longer a «casuistry.»” It was a rather startling remark since the German priest Häring (1912-1998) was a leading dissenter against Humane Vitae, and, as a 1989 article rightly observed, “has been writing and speaking without hindrance against Church positions for 25 years.” Häring inspired the work of Fr. Charles Curran, the leading opponent of Humane Vitae from the day it was released by Paul VI in 1968. “Häring himself then and later,” wrote Curran in 2013 in praise of the late German theologian, “without doubt became the most prominent and public proponent in the Catholic world for disagreeing with the conclusion of the encyclical.” Häring, in so many ways, was precisely the sort of moral theologian whose thought and work John Paul II addressed and criticized in Veritatis Splendor. Could it be that John Paul II is precisely the sort of moral theologian that frustrates Francis? If not, how to make sense of all this?

      Cardinals Farrell, Cupich, Kasper, and others repeatedly emphasize that each situation is unique and different, as if such an observation is a revolutionary leap forward in appreciating the mysteries of human existence. (Actually, in the case of Cardinal Kasper, that might well be The Point.) Then, when it is clear they are on the edge of the cliff of relativism, they insist on their belief in an objective moral law. The problem is that a truly objective and eternal moral law must exist outside of and above any subjective, temporal situation—and it certainly does, as John Paul II demonstrated so well. Thus, the question is: where does the uniqueness of my situation end and the objective moral law begin? How do we avoid the grave danger of “a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment” (as John Paul II put it) and instead embrace the fullness of the splendor of truth?

      A clear answer is quite difficult to find; hence, in large part, the current situation. Instead, there is much talk about “discernment” and “accompanying” and “dialogue”, as if the goal is to walk about in a fog until finally bumping into an unexpected solution uniquely customized for this or that specific situation. Or, as Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn put it, in trying to explain Amoris Laetitia 8, “One cannot pass from the general rule to ‘some cases’ merely by looking at formal situations. It is therefore possible that, in some cases, one who is in an objective situation of sin can receive the help of the sacraments. … Because otherwise, there is a risk of falling into an abstract casuistry.” Cardinal Schoenborn seems to argue further that we have now reached a point when the complexities of our unique time have overwhelmed the clarity of objective truth: “To a greater degree than in the past, the objective situation of a person does not tell us everything about that person in relation to God and in relation to the church. This evolution compels us urgently to rethink what we meant when we spoke of objective situations of sin.”

      Yet John Paul II, it appears, would have none of it, asserting,

      “some authors have proposed a kind of double status of moral truth. Beyond the doctrinal and abstract level, one would have to acknowledge the priority of a certain more concrete existential consideration. The latter, by taking account of circumstances and the situation, could legitimately be the basis of certain exceptions to the general rule and thus permit one to do in practice and in good conscience what is qualified as intrinsically evil by the moral law. A separation, or even an opposition, is thus established in some cases between the teaching of the precept, which is valid in general, and the norm of the individual conscience, which would in fact make the final decision about what is good and what is evil. On this basis, an attempt is made to legitimize so-called “pastoral” solutions contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium, and to justify a “creative” hermeneutic according to which the moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept.” (VS, 56)

      That comes in a section (“Conscience and Truth”, pars 54-64) which also takes on the faulty notion that the essential work of one’s conscience is to make a “decision”. So, for example, Cardinal Blaise Cupich has said, “I try to help people along the way. And people come to a decision in good conscience. … Then our job with the church is to help them move forward and respect that … The conscience is inviolable. And we have to respect that when they make decisions and I’ve always done that.”

      But John Paul II said otherwise:

      There are numerous links in my 2016 article, as well as much more background (ie, the 2014 and 2015 Synods, the dubia from the four Cardinals, etc.). It’s going to take a bit more than a quote from St. Peter Faber and the non-use of a quote by Chapp to dismiss the points that Chapp, myself, and many others have made over the years on this topic.

      • The church has survived because Christ is the head. Through good popes and otherwise, God honouring people have in turn, been honoured by God. He will never leave us or forsake us.

        There are some who seek the dissolution of the church, from inside and outside as well. We all sin and fall short of His majesty, however, those who uphold His word are a blessing.

        “Who am I to judge?” When the Lord has judged a matter and given us His verdict in scripture, who are we to argue? We may fight against the matter, however God has given a clear proscription against the practice of homosexual relations. To try and obscure the matter brings no help to those who struggle.

        We have the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus and the urging of the Holy Spirit to bring us to confession.

        If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, whatever they may be!

        Our struggles are constant in this life, regardless of how they manifest themselves. Praise be to the Lamb, for He has overcome.

      • Dear Mr. Olson, Thank you for the correction about attributing the quote to Dr. Chapp. I should have read more carefully.
        For the rest, I think we are dealing with two different matters: theology as a subject of belief and study, and pastoral guidance of individuals. I don’t see that there is any contradiction between the two, but there is a very great difference in presentation. In the First Epistle of St. John, the author writes, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” (1 John 3, 2-3) I believe that people need the hope of a life in God in order to give them the strength to undertake the moral transformation demanded in in the Commandments, to say nothing of the Beatitudes. In 1 Peter 1, 8-9, we read: “Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” How many of us can say that we believe in Him to the point where we “rejoice with an indescribable joy”?
        . I believe that for far too long in the Church the hope of a living relationship with Jesus Christ as taken for granted and focus was put on the moral effects of such a living relationship. But I don’t believe most Catholics have such a deep and trusting relationship with Him. The have been articles about how few Catholics believe in the Real Presence. What about belief in the effects of Baptism? How many Catholics believe that Baptism actually makes any difference in their lives? How many of us rejoice in the living hope that makes moral purity worth while?
        I think there is a lot of misunderstanding because the discussion is taking place on two different levels: that of the teaching of the Church, and that of formation of actual people. I may see this because I am involved in formation in my community, and it is not enough just to tell people what they should believe and how they are to act. There is much more needed if you want them to develop a living relationship with Jesus Christ so that they can “rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” I believe that Pope Francis, like St. Peter Faber, understands this.
        God bless you and have a blessed and Gift-filled Pentecost!

      • Most importantly, a number of people in high positions at the holy see or various institutions or in Francis’s circle- A. Spadaro, Tucho Fernandez- have themselves said the same as Chapp. As if on cue, America magazine just published an interview with a professor who gave the keynote address at a recent conference in rome on “Moral Theology and Amoris Laetitia.” https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2022/05/27/amoris-laetitia-pope-francis-rome-julio-martinez-sj-243066.

        He openly states that Francis and amoris laetitiae are providing a “new morality,” which does away with intrinsic evils, to be replaced by “discernment,” whereby one can choose to commit evils. He also states that Amoris L. undoes alleged problems, or “knots”, of JPII’s veritatis splendor. It is accompanied by the false claims that intrinsic evils are a “controversial philosophical concept” and that Vatican II called for such a new moral theology.

        And just as important, such comments are never met with any repudiation by anyone at the holy see or in Francis’ circle. One could even say that this professor was chosen for the keynote address precisely because he represents what Francis and Co. want to be said regarding Amoris. So, for those who claim Francis and Amoris L. are being misrepresented or what have you, just read what his most ardent supporters, inner circle, officials at the holy see, etc., have said.

    • To say that someone “is” gay suggests an identification, an equivalence of the subject and adjective. God made man in God’s own image.

    • I never cited that quote, Sister. So I am at a loss as to why you say that I do. And I agree with Carl Olson. Despite the fact that that quote can be parsed in an orthodox way, the fact is it was immediately taken out of context and used by both the Catholic and secular media to promote the idea that Pope Francis was saying that the Church was changing its teaching on homosexuality. And the Vatican did absolutely nothing to correct that so-called misinterpretation. And if you add in the later promotion of James Martin to a Vatican position, you can start to connect some dots.

      I too admire Father Faber. I read a lot of his work in my youth. But it has nothing to do with the point of my essay which is that Pope Francis favors proportionalism in the moral theological domain and that this shows up in Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8, and in his demolition of the JPII Institute in Rome and its remaking as a think tank staffed by proportionalist moral theologians

      • Dear Dr. Chapp, I apologized to Mr. Olson for attributing the quote to you, and I apologize to you. I should have read the article more carefully.
        When the CWR posts my reply to Mr. Olson, the one that includes my apology, you will see how I view the situation.
        You mention Father Faber. I hope you are not referring to the English Oratorian who wrote “Faith of Our Father.” I was referring to St. Peter Favre, whose name in English is usually spelled Faber.
        I will be interested in seeing what you think of my reply to Mr. Olson’s reply to my original comment.
        God bless you.

      • I think I agree with almost everything in this article, and I’m glad to see Catholic media shining a light on the dangers in Amoris Laetitia. In my own analysis, I’ve tended to focus on different aspects of the document. Indeed Francis is indebted to 70s theologians like Curran, as you mentioned in the article.

        But a primary objective of (heretical) 70s theology was sexual liberation and gay equality. And they used proportionalism to get there. For some of the relevant concrete facts to be proportioned were psychological in nature, sexual orientation being one important example. (Amoris Laetitia does not mention proportionalism directly, but it DOES emphasize the importance of psychology and science in moral education.)

        So if a young man were to discovers that he’s “gay,” a priest “properly” trained in proportionalism and accompaniment would echo to the young man the words of James Martin: “God made you the way you are, and you are beautifully and wonderfully made.”

        Thus, as I argued in my book, Confronting the Pope of Suspicion, Amoris Laetitia, in its recycling of 70s heretical theology, is a gay liberation document. My book’s thesis has been vindicated numerous times—by the German
        bishops, by the new president of the JP2 Institute, by Card. Hollerich.

        And THAT is the endgame of the Amoris Laetitia-inspired synodal way: the full implementation of gay equality in the Church. If we don’t stop the synod, all faithful Catholics will find themselves in the same legal jeopardy as cake bakers and florists.

        • And the fruit of all you mention, John, will be apparent for all to see: Catholics leaving the Roman Rite churches for: Eastern Rite Catholic Churches, the Anglican Ordinariate and, for some, the Orthodox Church. We must remember that the Catholic Church recognizes the Sacraments of the Orthodox Church as fully valid.

    • The quote: ““If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

      I find this quote to be unnecessarily and perhaps deliberately problematic, in that good will and searching do no substitute for objective truth, and in that a pope need not render things more obscure by implying that his role, as pope, is simply a decision to either judge or not judge.

      In such matters, no mention of Veritatis Splendor in nine years and counting. Combined with signaling (e.g, appointments), (sustained) silence speaks louder than words.

    • From my understanding, theology has unitive modes and pastoral guidance is an expression of theology, not something apart. The constant stress on a speculative theology is not VATICAN II.

      VATICAN II clearly indicates that things outside the Church that belong to Her through Christ (the Redemption), are things of sanctification and truth – Lumen Gentium 8. It is in keeping with what St. Paul taught, justification not by works of the law but by faith, while yet we aim for the best in fulfilling the law.

      I don’t mean (at this point in time) to single anyone out, Sr. If you have a parish leader who is ushering “clinical” or other abortion and “merciful” contraception, say, among the youth, it is neither theology nor pastoral. That individual has to be removed from the leadership.

      For indeed, retaining such a person in the leadership position is not a requirement of “ministering” to him or her (if that is the right word for it). It can be added, that there is a certain common sense or practical wisdom that never goes away; and I just expressed it.

      It is seen in Scripture as well: the mother who was ready to forfeit her motherhood so that Solomon would spare her baby; or the village in Joshua’s time that sued for peace and proved true.

      And there is the other side of the coin, or, should I say, the second penny in the widow’s mite -: the hierarchy being able to hear what I just said when it got uttered and to act on it promptly not take 25 years jabbering, resigning and hurling accusations at itself to see if to do something about it.

      Why promptly? Because of the peculiar sensitivity of some moral matters. Parish catechists who make for the truth themselves become more and more edified. The Bridegroom is with them why should they “fast”. That kind of “fasting” is vanity.

    • “I believe it is about bringing people back to a living relationship with Jesus Christ.”

      Spot on, Sr. Gabriela. This is exactly Pope Francis’ mission. He wants us to see then face of Christ in every human being – no matter who or what. Did our Lord not say that what we do to the least of my people (or shall we say: how you treat the least of my brothers and sisters) that you do to ME.
      To be a Christian as our Lord wants us to be is a tough call. We find it easier to pray and to practice our rituals. The Jewish priests and Pharisees could not accept Jesus for this very reason. He was trying to get them out of their comfort zone, but they preferred their ritualistic life and obedience to laws/doctrines. The latter ism the easier option.
      Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI began the implementation of Vatican 2, and now Pope Francis is apply some of the finishing touches. This is why on his very first appearance on the balcony after his election, he asked Catholics to pray for him. Our praying Pope truly appreciates the power of prayer. We too need the prayerful support of each other to reach out to all of our Lord’s people – no matter who, what or where they are. Our Lord mixed with sinners.

      • You are correct Mal, Pope Francis is continuing the work of VaticanII which is to turn the Catholic Church into another Protestant sect. Now that objective truth no longer exists and morality is situational, every Catholic is free to ignore the natural and moral law as taught by the tradition of the Church to find their own personal Jesus who will just happen to agree with whatever their personal conscience tells them.

      • As for the smooth “finishing touches” and the alleged continuity between Pope Francis and his predecessors, and as for needed prayers, we probably should pray as well for the notoriously compromised and late Cardinal Danneels, who pridefully coined the term “St. Galen Maria”), and whom the newly-elected Pope Francis either selected or found at his side when he first appeared at the papal balcony to publicly ask the upstaged conclave and the now-disrupted Church to pray for himself. https://catholicismpure.wordpress.com/2019/05/28/cardinal-danneels-admits-being-part-of-clerical-mafia-that-plotted-francis-election/

        At the end of the link we find this: “Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Universi Domini Gregis, 79, clearly condemns the constitution of a ‘Mafia’ like the Sankt-Gallen group: ‘Confirming the prescriptions of my Predecessors, I likewise forbid anyone, even if he is a Cardinal, during the Pope’s lifetime and without having consulted him, to make plans concerning the election of his successor, or to promise votes, or to make decisions in this regard in private gatherings.’”

        • There have been many instances of sites presenting statements that have not been verified but it suits their agenda. It goes like this: “someone heard someone say …”.

          • There have been many instances of this site presenting statements that have not been verified but it suits his agenda. It goes like this: “someone heard someone say that Mal was actually interested in informational dialogue.”

      • Yes, Mal, Jesus did indeed mix with sinners, for the purpose of inducing them to abandon their sins and seek repentance. The woman caught in adultery is the prime example: Go and sin no more.

        • Of course, Jesus did not want that woman to sin. Sin is an act of disobedience to God’s will. This was well known even in the Garden of Eden. Jesus changed the emphasis from “thou shall not …” to “thou shall love”. Where there is true love there is no sin. Yes, we must hate sin but we must, as our Lord commands, love the sinner, no matter how deeply entrenched in sin a person is. And it was this love that we see in that incident. Those stone-throwing followers of the Jewish faith had condemned the woman because they saw her sin, but Jesus saw a child of God and loved her. This is what he taught. It is a tough call to follow but what is the alternative?

          • “What is the alternative?”
            Mal, you speak not highly of “stone-throwing followers of the Jewish faith,” and justifiably so, but it is BECAUSE Christ “changed the emphasis …to ‘thou shalt love'” (your words), that we also have from Christ this inconvenient reminder about a really big millstone:

            “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

            Might we just suppose that de-emphasis of the complete truth about Christ’s fulfilling love or charity–failure to fully preserve the “thou-shalt-not” prohibitions in the law (intrinsically evil acts as in the Decalogue) which Christ came not to abolish but to fulfill (Mt 5:17)–is, well, a scandal to the children of this generation?

            To say otherwise is really sticking our neck out. Instead, “…the commandment of love of God and neighbor does not have in its dynamic any higher limit [as Francis proclaims], but it does have a lower limit, beneath which the commandment is broken” [as St. John Paul II also reminds] (Veritatis Splendor, n. 52).

          • The flip side of mercy is justice. You can’t have the absolute one without the other.

            You don’t have sin without a sinner. And the opposite. Too many people ‘love’ the sinner to the point that any mention of leading them back to Christ is eventually defined as ‘hate’ because a change of lifestyle is always required.

            One would hope – but cannot know this side of heaven – that the woman rescued from the punishment of death by Christ did indeed change her behavior.

          • Depends on specific circumstances, doesn’t it Mal? Jesus took a somewhat more forceful approach with the sacrileges committed by the money-changers in the Temple, for example.

          • Mal JUNE 5, 2022 AT 8:07: “This was well known even in the Garden of Eden. Jesus changed the emphasis from “thou shall not …” to “thou shall love”

            This is utter nonsense. Jesus did not change anything. Are you saying the God the Father got it wrong somehow so the Son had to set him right? Did you not hear Him say that not one iota of the law is going to be changed.

            The reason for the Thou Shalt nots in the Ten Commandments is because God knows our proclivity to sin. If your child is prone to playing with fire and touching the stove, you say Thou shalt not.

            And you also said : “Where there is true love there is no sin”

            And what is true love? Do we call homosexual “love” true love so gay sex is not sinful? Or what about adulterous “loving” relationships? Are they no longer committing adultery?

            Or how about those who euthanaze their “loved” ones?

            Your morality is completely up the creek. And if you think that because of the Pope, then you are exhibit A for our case.

          • Cory, you have got it all wrong. God the Father did, in fact, want Adam to love his creation. God was pleased with his creation. He deemed it to be Good. There was nothing wrong with it, and when God placed Adam in that perfect world, He endowed man with the attributes that would enable him to lovingly care for it. Yes, God did want Adam to love Him and His creation and, as long as he did, God assured him that all will will be well. However, failure to do so had consequences for him and his descendants. This was the original Covenant God presented to man.
            When the Son of God assumed human nature, he lived that perfect sinless and absolutely obedient life that Adam failed to do. In doing so, Jesus ushered in a new grace-filled Covenant the blessings from which were made available to another family – the Church – a people mystically and totally one with Jesus. People are baptized or born again into this new family. And love again was preached. “Teacher,* which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him,* “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it:* You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
            The last sentence says it all.

      • Dear Mal, It is frightening how easily we get distracted from Him. St. Benedict warns against an “evil zeal” and ancient spiritual writers said that anger is the passion most destructive of the spiritual life. I knew of someone who decided to pray for a certain politician as a practice during Lent. The person soon gave up praying for that politician because every time they did, they got so angry thinking of what he had done that they couldn’t pray. And this was praised as being a sign of zeal for God! I think that we often prefer to be angry about what we see as wrong than to focus on imitating Jesus Christ. “Tell me what you love – not what you hate – and I will tell you who you are.” God bless you.

          • I think the sister refers to the “someone who decided to pray for a certain politician” but the ‘someone’ gave up praying “because every time ‘they’ did, they got so angry…that ‘they’ couldn’t pray.”

            It does not surprise that such people became angry zealots. Apparently ‘they’ began as single individuals but unwittingly underwent a grammatical and perhaps genetic number change.

            Imagine waking up one morning not as one Glenn Ricketts but as a perverse, generative replicant. I imagine I’d be angry if someone gave me three heads, more than a few multi-gendered dysphoric torsos, and an infinite number of uncountable fingers. For sure I’d be angry, nasty, and plurally zealous.

        • Sister Gabriela,
          As you say. St. Benedict’s Rule does discuss zeal. In eight chapters, the saint also addresses faults and how to best deal with sinners. He claims that a brother found to be “stubborn or disobedient or proud,…should be warned twice privately.” If he does not amend, he is to be “rebuked publicly in the presence of everyone.” If he then does not reform, he is to be excommunicated but if he does not understand, he is to undergo corporal punishment.

          Regarding serious fault, the saint says that a brother so guilty is to be “excluded from both the table and the oratory. No other brother should associate or converse with him at all.” The saint quotes Paul three times: 1) 1Corinthians 5:5 – Such a man is handed over for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. 2) 1Corinthians 5:13 and 3) 1Corinthians 7:15 – Banish the evil one from your midst; and if the unbeliever departs, let him depart,… “lest one diseased sheep infect the whole flock.”

          This certainly looks like zeal, justice and love for souls of men. Where is this to be found in our Church today? Those who attempt serious amendment are slandered as scoundrels, haters, bitter zealots, pharisees, legalists, and outmoded casuists.

          Sin abounds but where is justice and opening to pathways of grace? Where are the men in the Church with zeal? Cordileone, stepping up to the plate, has been slandered and contradicted by some other fellow bishops while Francis elevates McElroy. Sound teaching by Francis has been virtually nil for so many years. Many lambs have been sorely wounded and are ill.

          St. Benedict, pray for us.

        • Sr Gabriella, the people who criticize the Pope are not distracted from Christ. It is precisely because they are focused on Christ that they know when the supposed Vicar is leading them away from Him. He is guided by the spirit of this world not the Spirit of Christ.

    • What you quote sounds very benign at first glance Sister, but it reflects a great deal of the pervasive weakness in the Church for the past half century. Rather than return anyone to Christ, this is a rathe cowardly “pastoral” attitude that contributes to the ruination of souls, and despite its pretenses of mercy, it is merciless in its presumption of malice towards those who would seek to affirm the hard moral truths that offer the authentic balm for broken souls. It is truth that sets us free even when sinners would prefer not to hear it, and “pastors” would prefer not to say it.
      Avoiding hard truth is merciless when innovating prelates who are more concerned with appearing heroically original than faithful, encourage all of us to adopt a soft approach, oblivious to the fact that it’s been tried for decades and hasn’t worked. The divorce rate hasn’t gone down, and the carnage of the sex revolution only increases. Even gay relationships support abortion. It is not an accident that corruptions of moral thought, uncorrected with soft “pastoralism,” has created moral entropies where even Catholic gays are virtually unanimous in their support of abortion.
      Please read Mr. Olson’s brilliant summation of Veritatis Splendor below. True, it is not word for word what a pastor would render in a counseling session, but it reflects the understanding necessary for a pastor to have to impart that God never places us in situations where it is impossible to be moral. God does not abandon us to a capricious understanding of how we ought to order our lives together. Never forget, there are only two philosophies; everything else is derivative. Either God is a fool, or we are.

      • Very well said, Mr. Baker.

        Pew or Gallup showed increased numbers of lapsed American Catholics in the first three years following Francis’ takeover compared to Benedict. Despite many previously lapsed taking a second look at the Church after Francis, they never returned while many more left. If I recall, Protestant numbers neither increased nor decreased while the ‘Francis’ effect’ on Catholics was a decided decrease.

  20. Some time ago I did a pro-life walk-around, distributing pro-life materials for free, on foot, cold call. I went to retail shops, cafe courts, pedestrians on the side-walks, hair salons, council housing tenements. There was a certain bank where I could make an appearance work out, so I went there too. There was no accessing big business HQ’s, stopped at the buzzer every time.

    I also went to 7 HQ’s for trade-unions. For 4 of these, the head people met with me and engaged the content for more than 20 minutes – and more than 30 minutes for 2 of them. The fifth and sixth ones received me at reception and then assigned me to a desk agents who would collect what I had to communicate. I don’t know about the bosses with these last 2, but the junior agents were very keen.

    The reception everywhere was very positive except for one place, the 7th trade union HQ. As a fringe outfit, very bare and very fringe, the one-member office tried to turn my visit into an occasion to run “everything” into a general view about “equality” otherwise called “fairness”.

    He was trying to say that homosexuals have an equal right to everything just as the women should have the right to terminate pregnancies when it suited them. In other words, fairness for him meant, in addition to that, that what I had to say to him then and there, was of no account, but he would use the occasion to push his own viewpoint because it was his prerogative.

  21. Sr. Gabriela, you write: “I have a different view of this pontificate. I believe it is about bringing people back to a living relationship with Jesus Christ.”

    Could you give five concrete examples of how exactly this supposed intention is bearing fruit in the Church? Since I see this pontificate as actually producing great disunity and disaffection in the Church by it’s equivocation on Church teaching and ever-denouncing of well-meaning and observant Catholics, I see many undesirable fruits of this pontificate. I’d love to be shown otherwise. I my dotage, I’m no longer impressed with mere ‘good intentions.’

  22. I have been a Catholic through thick and thin (I converted during the beginning of the homosexual crisis in 2002) but Pope Francis is trying my last bit of patience. The McElroy decision is pretty much the final nail in the coffin for me with this Pope. McElroy voted against transparency and is the picture, like Uncle Ted and Cardinal “Night night baby”, and Cupcake from Chicago, of Catholicism in America.

    Come, Lord Jesus, and save us.

    • Andy, these are tough times indeed, but please stick with us. You have a lot of friends here at CWR.

    • Andy in Maryland
      JUNE 5, 2022 AT 10:51 AM

      Bergoglio is not pope. It’s that simple.

      That means the Church is in DEEP trouble. But it’s not a proposition that will break your mind and shatter your faith, like trying to believe that “Bergoglio is Pope.”

    • Andy, one day, Simon Peter walked a short distance on water as he kept his eyes on Jesus but as soon as he took his eyes off Jesus and on to other things, he began to sink. The Church – which is the unique family established by Jesus – helps us to keep our focus on Jesus.
      Re: homosexuals. The Church teaches that all sex outside of a marriage is sin. (And marriage, in the eyes of the Church, is only a man and woman relationship.) So, though the Church condemns sin, it still reaches out to the sinner. Did not Jesus did that? Did not God do that (reach out) after Adam and Eve turned their backs on the One they knew very well was their creator, and chose to satisfy their greed and pride?
      God is always reaching out to us but it is the individual’s response that determines the fate of his/her soul.

      • The Pope of whom you seem to have made into a cult, disagrees with you about sexual sin. He doesn’t accept what the deposit of faith has said about it for centuries.

        • You misrepresent the Pope’s view on sexual sin. He very clearly does consider it to be a sin. Perhaps, he was concerned about our apparent disregard for the other serious sins that are committed. While most of us know about sexual sins, many do not pay much attention to some of the Deadly Sins lurking in us. Lucifer’s sin was not sexual in nature, but look at its consequences. Adam’s sin too was not sexual, but it had terrible consequences. Sins of the flesh can be forgiven, but those against the Spirit cannot.
          “The Church also tells us that the sins of anger, blasphemy, envy, hatred, malice, murder, neglect of Sunday obligation, sins against faith (incredulity against God or heresy), sins against hope (obstinate despair in the hope for salvation and/or presumption that oneself can live without God or be saved by one’s own power) and sins against love (indifference towards charity, ingratitude, and/or hatred of God) also constitute grave matter. This list of grave sins, is based on Jesus Christ’s interpretation of the gravity of the Ten Commandments. Grave sins can be classed as sins against God, neighbor and self, and can further be divided into carnal and spiritual sins (CCC 1853). https://stmaryofthesevendolors.com/prayers-2/list-of-mortal-sins-every-catholic-should-know/
          The views of Pope Francis on this issue are in keeping with the official teachings of the Church.

          • Except when he publicly agrees with a certain Fr. Martin who has yet to lead any active homosexuals back to Christ’s Church. He is publicly proud of that as by his direct words and actions.

            Your conflation of grave sins is similar to the late, discredited Bernardin who refused the gravity of abortion. It was, once again, the ‘seamless garment’ of sins where there is no hierarchy in seriousness but social sin is equitable and abortion is no different.

            As usual, nothing to say about the German Synod, ‘Mal’?

            The Pope’s deafening silence is taken as acknowledgement in the leading German bishops’ increasing public advocacy of flat-out heterodoxy relative to the Church’s doctrine and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

          • It is disingenuous, a deflection, an erroneous ruse, to suggest that grave MATTER, in and of itself, is grave SIN.

            CCC (1857): “For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”

            For instance, anger is a passion, often arising from an experience or sense of injustice; in and of itself this response is not per se a sin. What one CHOOSES to do with the matter is the question. To purposefully indulge and nourish it, to willing it to continue, to choose to use it against charity in thought, word, or deed) it may then become mortal sin.

            (The CCC quotes Aquinas on differentiating mortal from venial sin. He has an entire tome about sin: “De Malo.”)

          • In the ST, Aquinas writes on the passions of men. Specifically, Reply to Objection 3 at ST, I-II, 24, 2: The passions of the soul, in so far as they are contrary to the order of reason, incline us to sin: but in so far as they are controlled by reason, they pertain to virtue.

            That is to say, the experience of anger may motivate a person to engage in acts of charity against the cause of the anger. The Little Flower Saint talks of turning her distaste of one sister into acts of loving kindness toward that sister.

      • Mal. God put Adam and Eve out of Eden after they sinned. Moreover, He then stationed cherubim on the east side of the Garden of Eden, along with a whirling sword of flame to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24). Interpreting these acts as God ‘reaching out’ directly contradicts the literal meaning of scripture.

        In the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus sought the lost sheep; he did not seek a lost goat. Jesus Himself says he will go after one (sheep) who repented, not one who continued to deny the life-saving gifts of faith, hope, and charity infused into a soul at Baptism. “I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7). Neither did the father of the prodigal go after the son who chose to travel to a land foreign to the father.

        Jesus allowed many people to walk away. Did Jesus run after Judas?? Jesus told the adulterous woman caught to “Go and sin no more.” He did not invite her to follow him.

        Jesus allowed the rich young man to walk. He allowed those who refused his teaching on his Body and Blood to go. He offered then let people decide.

        When the disciples could not convert on their missions, they were to shake the dust from their sandals as a sign against those refusing the message of salvation.

        The apostle John continues the theme of letting the lost walk: “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.: (1John 5:16).

        My reply to Sr. Gabriella describes St. Benedict’s Rule on the saint’s dealing with serious sinners. He excommunicated and physically separated them from the community.

        Jesus came that sinners may have life, not that they should continue to die in serious sin. One cannot hold onto Jesus “for dear life” in heart, soul, and mind while simultaneously engaging in serious sin. It is impossible to do both at the same time. Peter began to sink because he began to doubt the power of Christ.
        Miracles and healings occur when sinners begin to believe, hope, and love the healing.

  23. In his NCR article, Michael Sean Winter calls Bishop McElroy the “American Newman.” Cradle Catholics may correct this former Anglican, but who might that be in reality? Certainly not the Bishop of San Diego.

    • Graham, when I read Winter’s article, I thought he was referring to the Newman character on ‘Seinfeld’.

      That’s the only way the allusion makes sense.

  24. You can neither satisfy nor allay the Divine Wrath by trying to abate or cool the righteous zeal and righteous anger of the witness and the truth.

    If you have abortion going on there you have to deal with the abortionists not invoke St. Benedict upon the “truce breaker”. Get real.

    People who make the exposing of interiorism and of lied-about abortion, as direct proofs of a psychopathic aggression, are on the wings of the devil.

  25. John Hague, above, JUNE 3, 2022, 5:18 PM – I believe Chapp’s argument is structured around this idea, here in the quote I have extracted; and that he is saying there is a recognizable persistent disconnect in the follow-through just as happened in the aftermath with Humanae Vitae.

    I encourage Catholics. I say, the burden -the sweet yoke- will come before you and you will be invited to shoulder it. Meanwhile suddenly there will appear the spirits of the world, the flesh and the devil entreating you about why it doesn’t matter; why you shouldn’t let anything get under your skin; and why you must give everybody his fair chance. And the one responsible for the minutes won’t even have it in there.

    ‘ But take it from someone who lived through it—the deepest, most important, most contentious, most divisive, and most destructive debates surrounded moral theology, especially after Humanae vitae and the massive dissent from it that followed. ‘

    • Wait, what? I thought Archb Vigano supported Ted McCarrick all those years he was nuncio and rubbed shoulders with him in DC and elsewhere. Why would we believe someone who lacked the gumption to stand up to corruption when he clearly knew about what was so obvious?

    • The McCarrick scandal existed before the time of Pope Francis. When he was nuncio, Vigano gave McCarrick an award for missionary service and praised him as a much loved person. That was during the time McCarrick was under suspicion. And, of course, Vigano was an official at the Vatican during the scandal. Poor Vigano, he never got the Red Hat which he had so desired. That would have made him angry and resentful.

        • It was a tradition going back to the beginning of the 20th century that when the nuncio ended his service in the US, he would get a red hat. The exceptions were Archbishop Jadot on the outs under JP2, and Archb Viganò’s two predecessors, one of whom died in office and the other died less than a year after the end of his term.

          • Thanks for not answering my question. In truth, you can supply no evidence for your gratuitous statement that Archbishop Vigano “desired the red hat.”

          • Sometimes our beliefs are based on our understanding of situations, circumstances or events. Did you find any criticism of Vatican 2 and of the Popes when Vigano held positions in the Vatican? Did he make these criticisms when, as Nuncio, he was wining and dining with the Church officials, including McCarrick? It all started after that. The writing was on the wall” he was not going to be given the Red Hat.
            Professor Bellitto said. “The bigger narrative here is that Vigano is actually demonstrating exactly what Francis says is the major problem, which is clericalism”. He went on to say: “Vigano’s playing a game, it’s a game that’s 2,000 years old, and Francis is saying, ‘I’m not playing games, I have other things to do,’
            According to the theologian, Faggioli: “His beef really is with the Vatican that expelled him in 2011 doing two things: The first, denying him the red hat of a cardinal; and second, expatriating him to the United States,”
            This may be why he attacked these two Popes in particular.

          • I think people trying to catch Ted McCarrick faced similar obstacles. Evidence that goes on behind closed doors is hard to uncover, so to speak, and easy enough to deny, especially when one is a fundraising darling, not unlike Marcial Maciel. And when one is a favored ally of a pope, such as John Paul II.

            It is undeniable that Archbishop Vigano rubbed shoulders in positive ways with all US bishops until his retirement in 2016–that was his job as a diplomat. He certainly knew “what everybody knew” about the retired archbishop of Washington. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be doing his job.

            Who knows why he was only the 2nd US nuncio in 120 years not to get a red hat? Lots of big city bishops for whom it was once automatic are getting passed over. Lots of whistleblowers get the cold shoulder for promotion, as do people with personality conflicts with their superiors. Is the man one, the other, or both?

    • Cory, Ms. Mal, Todd Flowerday, Arthur McGowan, you’re shifting focus now we see it now we don’t. If it is supposed to answer the issues raised by Chapp, it fails to even say so and it doesn’t do it in any way at all. It’s not so much that you make too light of some very serious things, it’s that you’re disappearing them using items of little or no consequence or that are just muddled.

      Are you even reading the article fully? Here is part of what you dodge:

      ‘ Along these lines, Pope Francis, in a much ignored but enormously significant comment in October 2016 (made to Jesuits gathered for the 36th general Congregation), praised the dissenting, proportionalist, moral theologian Bernard Häring (1921-1998) as a great “model” for the renewal of moral theology. This is the same Bernard Häring who dissented from Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor. And Pope Francis said that Häring’s kind of moral theology is expressive of Vatican II and of how moral theology should be done. ‘

  26. Dr.Chapp,
    Thank you for this essay which has opened floodgates. If waters run dry, please open more gates. 💕💥💕

  27. My goodness! May God bless everyone who commented on my comments! I will simply add some advice from my Foundress, St. Teesa of Jesus: “If anyone should see that her Order is falling away in anything, let her try to be a stone on which it can be rebuilt. The Lord will help in this.” (“Found.” 4, 7) Replace ‘Order” with “Church” and I think that we all have enough to occupy us for the rest of our lives.

    • Not a response to anything you have written, but I’ll bet the following from St. Teresa of Jesus doesn’t show up on many synodal flip charts:

      “…Oh, that some one could make this plain to those who commit most foul and filthy sins, that they may remember their sins are not secret, and that God most justly resents them, seeing that they are wrought in the very presence of His Majesty, and that we are demeaning ourselves [!] so irreverently before Him! I saw, too, how completely hell is deserved for only one mortal sin, and how impossible it is to understand the exceeding great wickedness of committing it in the sight of majesty so great, and how abhorrent to His nature such actions are. In this we see more and more of His mercifulness, who, though we all know His hatred [what’s this, divine hatred?!] of sin, yet suffers us to live” (“The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus: of the Order of Our Lady of Carmel, Written by Herself,” Newman, 1943, Ch. XL:15).

  28. Paul VI was totally blackmailed long before he accepted his election to the papacy. He was morally degenerate, and everyone who counted knew all about it. I think everyone will agree that “by their fruits you shall know them” is a valid principle. He reduced the Church to a smoldering ruin in fifteen short years–a process punctuated by a few orthodox, ignored documents.

    • Arthur McGowan your schtick is nothing like Chapp’s. And I mean this for all your inputs here so far.

      You are trying to compare Paul VI whose saintly life is accomplished and Francis I who has some way to go yet. It’s not apples with apples and so you’re making a mess.

    • Paul VI was a saintly man. It was he who, like his namesake, believed that we, including Popes, should go out and spread the message.
      Yes, there were rumors about him, but he denied them. There are still rumors being spread about him, John XXIII, JPII and even Benedict XVI – all the Vatican 2 popes.
      Somebody started a rumor that my Bishop is a freemason which we know is not true. Somehow, they never give details. The usual American sites published a story from an Australian priest who claimed that the Australian Bishops had allowed Catholics to join the Freemasons, but this is what the Director claimed: The ACBC’s Director of Communications claimed to have no knowledge of the alleged abrogation being espoused by Fr. Costigan, nor of Fr. Costigan’s openly professing to being a Freemason.”

      • So, over the past 60 seconds (literally), I’ve done an internet search on this topic.

        Part of the story is that the updated Code of Canon Law in 1983 omitted mention of the standing penalty for joining the Freemasons. A misleading oversight which Cardinal Ratzinger then corrected. Also reported is Fr. Costigan’s misleading comment.

        Here’s one link, for whatever it’s worth. Or, rather than subversion, maybe just a comedy of errors as we have come to expect. Who needs a conspiracy theory when inattention to detail, or bureaucratic delegation, or maybe somnambulism will do?
        https://www.fli.org.au/bishops-permission-for-freemasonry-was-hiding-in-plain-sight/

  29. “Nothing that Chapp says here is new or outrageous; he simply connects the dots in a way that is helpful for folks who don’t have time to follow the flood of ambiguity, misdirection, politicization, personal attacks, and general chaos that flows from this pontificate.”

    It is now clear where you are coming from, Carl, and with which group you stand.
    I, a faithful Catholic all my life, was once a critic of Pope Francis when I was misled by certain writers and websites. In the beginning they accepted my comments and then when I began writing in support of our beloved Pope (after doing my own research) I was banned by one rad trad site after another. Obviously, some so-called Catholic websites are against Catholics who have views different from theirs. Sometimes I wonder how long I will be tolerated here.
    Personally, I do not find Pope Francis to be confusing, chaotic, misleading, ambiguous and whatever else he has been accused of. However, he tries to be Christ-like and wants us Church-goers to be likewise. This disturbs us, but he is telling us the truth. He makes us realize how difficult it is to be a disciple of Jesus – and how rewarding.

    • “It is now clear where you are coming from, Carl, and with which group you stand.”

      Well, Mal, I’ve always been clear about my concerns and specific criticisms (and, yes, praise) of Pope Francis. It’s not a state secret.

    • Mal, I think you are describing more of the previous two pontificates, at least in terms of the prelates appointed by JP2 and B16 who weren’t perhaps as worthy of trust placed in them. I think each of our last three popes have been holy priests and devoted to the Church. They each suffered blind spots, and in turn, placed confidence in people who would have been better ignored for the good of the Gospel.

      For a subset of Catholicism to turn so bitter against the Chair of Peter suggests that there may well be a serious flaw in much of the Catholic Right. Advice given to me long ago about the internet: do I write with opinions I would be comfortable voicing to my wife, my confessor, my close friends, and am I willing to sign my own name to it, as Carl does–but not everyone who strays from the critical to calling the Holy Father a “Satanist.”

      • The Chair of Peter does not pose a problem for Catholics, else they would have turned to Orthodoxy, Protestantism, or Anglicanism if that were true. The Person of Peter’s Successor is also not the problem.

        The personal teaching of the pope, the opposing, twisting, distorting, perverting, confusing half-truth teaching, the remaining silence and failure to correct ambiguous misunderstandings or mis-speakings or off-the-cuff up-in-the-air stuff. …THAT is the problem. The failure to focus on the perennial teaching of his predecessors, the trouncing of Tradition, THAT is the problem. Many of us Catholics are filled well beyond our over-full brim with such malnutritious weak and horribly-tasting gruel. We want the next course to be meat. Substantial. Well-seasoned. Full of protein. Full of truth. Nutritious, given to God for His glory.

    • Your use of the term “rad trad” reveals your bigotry, and that’s probably why most posters on the site don’t take your comments seriously. Put your own house in order before you criticize the world.

        • I once had a pastor in the 1980s who railed against being called a “conservative.” He insisted instead that he was “orthodox.” What we need now, instead of slogans, brandings, and name-calling (years of “rad trads”!) is another such distinction (realizing, of course, that making intelligent and necessary distinctions is a bad habit left over from “traditional” Scholasticism)…

          First, the distinction, within the airbrushed “traditionalist,” what possible difference is there between being “steadfast” and being (called) doctrinal “bigots, rigid, and fixistic”)? And, then, the added distinction: what is the difference between those (anyone!) who steadfastly affirm coherence between faith and reason, that is, between revelation/natural law and day-to-day morality, and those who affirm articles of the faith, but then enable by photo-ops and such (poster child James Martin, etc.) a category of exemption for, say, the homosexual lifestyle?

          Distinctions seem like a worthy dialogue for these pages. Oh, wait, that’s what’s been going on all along for most readers.

        • But not radicals. You actually fall more in line with that perspective from all your comments about being loving and welcoming. It’s not 1968 anymore.

  30. What the Lord describes for the end times is quite a tumult. I surmise that the Great Apostasy will not be merely one Catholic individual rowing off into the sunset on his dinghy on Chesapeake Bay on a cool dusk in early autumn.

  31. Mal, I’m afraid this one stumps me – CWR is surely not a “rad/trad” site, and no one here, including the editor, is suggesting that you should be banned. What are you talking about?

  32. Dr. Mal you took some serious hits on this page already but I have something to say as well. Where did you get it that any Pope has to put the “finishing touches” on VATICAN II? There is no such thing in VATICAN II or the Church.

    A few of the Church things you’ve listed COULD be of value, that’s true; they’d have to be real though.

    Now suppose there really is a need for future newcomers and present knotted up members to see the Church in a more welcoming and accessible light. Your various lists are somewhat like the Church that is decried already as “not open”.

    But this list would look like something else besides:

    Too soft Germans?
    Too credulous with James Martin, Cupich, Bartholomew & etc.?
    Too hard on Toulon/Dominique Rey?
    Too risque with Barros and Madriaga?
    Too accommodating with Parolin?
    Too aligned with GAVI and homosexual civil union?

    GAVI has the one single authentic insight on renewing the earth? More TOPICALLY, there are other problems (very ordinary too) that don’t get addressed but the apostolate is skipping over them and has tones that would eventually make them worse.

    It would appear from Acts that Paul’s one rebuke of Peter was enough to straighten out the kinks -at least at the level of the determination of the Council of Jerusalem.

    Today even with things persisting in going badly, corrections are always missing their mark while it is said the situation is a call to hope because we have parrhesia.

  33. “It was he [Paul VI] who, like his namesake, believed that we, including Popes, should go out and spread the message.”

    What message is that?

    • The message of the Gospel. He did so in word and in deed. I know because I was there in that large throng of people in the maidan – many of them Hindus and Muslims.
      “It was not just the great events of the Holy Father’s visit that caught the public imagination but rather his simplicity, generosity and the little human things that he did that won the heart of India. Right from his concern for the photographer who died in an accident, to his swiftness to come to the aid of anyone young and old, to going down on his knees to give communion to little orphans, to his compassion for the sick and the blind, to his tears at the sight of suffering and poverty and his abandonment of prepared speeches in favour of an interpreter so that he could spontaneously speak his heart out; Pope Paul VI in his very own words left his heart in India. (‘We feel ourselves to share in a moral citizenship with this land which we will ever love. Here we leave our heart!’ –Pope Paul VI) https://www.pottypadre.com/the-pilgrim-of-peace/#:~:text=Never%20before%20had%20a%20%E2%80%98Namaste%E2%80%99%20or%20a%20%E2%80%98Jai,testimony%20of%20unforgettable%20memories%2C%20stories%2C%20pictures%20and%20reports.

      • If Paul VI won the “heart of India” through his visit, how many Hindus or Muslims converted to Catholicism because of Paul’s sharing a Gospel message?

        According to the citation, Paul VI’s cry of “Jai Hind” thrilled the people. How is the phrase “Jai Hind” a Gospel message? How does Catholicism associate with the phrase?

        How account for the 15.6 million abortions performed in India in 2015 (as reported by the Guttmacher Institute)? Apparently Paul VI’s preaching of the Gospel moved the Indian populace toward Catholicism just as much as it moved the U.S. populace: Backward. Meanwhile, Francis moved the Church to proclaim Paul VI a saint.

        • I suppose you can, in that vein, say that Jesus failed because the Pharisees continued living their “religious” lives that our Lord had condemned, and some Jews even began to kill the Jews who followed Jesus. Saul was only one of them. Even today, Jews still allow abortion. But can we blame Jesus for the sins committed by those who do not abide by his teachings?
          As I remember, meiron, in those days there was not much talk about abortion. The Church was concerned about the use of contraceptives.

          • Mal, I interpret Meiron as simply noticing something that surely we can all agree upon…and this is the difficulty of getting “inculturation” right…

            How to plant the complete Gospel in pre-Christian (or post-Christian) cultures without diluting it? When visiting Africa in one of his 129 visits to other countries, Pope John Paul II was asked what the Gospel meant in a local culture that still included polygamy. His response: “to be both completely African and completely Christian.” That is, be truly who you really are, but also (and therefore) delete the contradictions.

            I am reminded of a prominent leader of Healing the Culture, who about five years ago in India was questioned by a Muslim in one of the large audiences. “Does that mean,” he asked, “that I can still read the Qur’an?”

            The speaker repeated the internal nature of the Triune God as being infinite Love that (or Who!) communicates itself to us, freely–(rather than a monolithic and distant Allah who insists on “submission” (“Islam”) to Sharia Law—the apolitical speaker was not this direct or explicit).

            The Muslim interlocutor brightened up: “Oh, I never thought of it quite that way before!”

            The “aha moment” we all hope for, even in our own lives. At that moment, it was the Sacred Heart that had been left in the heart of India. So, yes, just a bit of “jai Hind” (“victory to India”), but mostly and essentially something more than self-identity or politics. Fraternity is the beginning, but it is not inculturation. The cattle are not more sacred than aborted children.

            Should we now await an airbrushed evasion into the bonhomie image of Pope Francis?

          • As I remember, meiron, in those days there was not much talk about abortion.

            You must be very old or seriously confused, if you remember those days.

          • “At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Sirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world.”
            This (coincidental) Gospel reading from Matthew 28:18-20 for Trinity Sunday from the 1962 Roman Missal sums the goals for Catholic ‘outreach.’

            Speaking ‘Jai Hind’ to Hindus is not Catholic outreach to Hindus. ‘Jai Hind’ is no different than ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité’ or ‘Heil.’ But all these differ from “God Bless You, In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

            I’ve traveled in and know some things about India. It was my experience that most Hindu pantheists had no problem allowing Jesus entree into their group of supernumerary pantheistic deities. (The problem arises for the Hindu only if a Christian asserts their god’s superior solitary position.)

            I found it curious and delightful that most auto Rickshaws in Tamil Nadu and in Kerala included pictures of Jesus in their dashboard puja picture collection. A Hindu friend joyfully accepted a picture of Jesus for her puja room.

            The Hindu view allows that the Lord manifests in multiple ways, with an acceptance of multiple ways different people reach toward the same god. All prophets and gods of all religions are included in their pantheon of deities.

            Hindus likely would not object to Paul VI bringing one more deity into the Hindu pantheon for Hindu consideration. And I know of no evidence that Paul VI did that.

  34. The picture of India and the picture of the destitute, are specific features or types in VATICAN II set that way by Paul VI. Neither is the “finishing touch” on VATICAN II.

    St. Vincent de Paul said the poor are our lords but he never idolized them or the destitution; he meant to say that charity was done in a service and in humility not in an overlordship.

    Matthew 25 has multiple applications or dimensions, it’s not about mandatory alleviation of destitution as all-engrossing for everyone at once. It is conditioned through its 3 parts.

    Mother Teresa gave witness to her vocation of dedication in the service of the destitute. If you have a call like that then by all means you should pursue it.

    The word maidan: “town square” seems to be more evocative for some people. In the case of Escriva, his call wasn’t total dedication to the destitute, it was to fulfill a witness of work.

    • In India, maidan means an open field.
      In the years prior to this unique event at the time – a Pope visiting a foreign country – the Church had been gradually coming under attack physical as well as in some sections of the media.The Economist had written how this Congress did more good by presenting India as a secular country by spelling out how “despite the Pope not being in the country for a state visit, the who’s-who of Indian politics — President S Radhakrishnan, Vice-President Dr Zakir Hussain, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, State Governor Dr PV Cherian and Chief Minister VP Naik spent time with Pope Paul VI while he was in Mumbai in December 1964.”
      This image sent out a powerful message to those intolerant Indians. The message: India is a secular country and not a country only for Hindus. So, for the Church, here is something good that emerged.
      Strangely, we want to see this happening in China, but we fail to recognize it when it happened in India.

      • “India is a secular country and not a country only for Hindus. So, for the Church, here is something good that emerged.”

        Mal tells it as she sees it.

      • In the eyes of the referenced Pope Paul VI, India was/is more a “religious” country than a (yes, politically) “secular” country—or state.

        In the eyes of the referenced Pope Paul VI, India was/is a “religious” country (see link, below) and not a “secular country.” Institutionally, India became a secular state by constitutional amendment (the 42nd) in 1976, thirteen years after the visit by Pope Paul VI and “emerged” as a secular state, not from his earlier visit(s), but to much more directly to forestall communal riots. Just as post-colonial India was already organized geographically into states based on the many different (communal) and major language groups. (The 42nd Amendment was trimmed down a year or two later because it hamstrung the judicial review process and compromised the balance of power among the three branches of government.)

        Any symmetrical comparison between the post-colonial and later “secular” political development of India as a religious country, and the very different post-1949 and still Marxist situation in (the state of) China today is a bit of a stretch, in my opinion.

        As for Pope Paul VI and the religious sense of India as a country (81 percent Hindu and 13 percent Muslim, but also Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Zoroastrian, Jewish and Bahai faith) here’s a good read: https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/paul-vi-and-india-5552

        • The word “secular” was considered while their constitution was being written but a leading person from the lowest caste (or outcastes) said that there should be no reference at all to terms like that because Secularism was inherent in the constitution of India. It was not based on Gita/Quran/Bible/whatever but on the simple premise of justice, equality and liberty for all citizens across gender, caste and religion. Later, because of the presence of the militants, that I made reference to, they deemed it necessary to insert the word.

          • The 42nd Amendment changed the description of India from a “sovereign democratic republic” to a “sovereign, socialist secular [!] democratic republic”, and also changed the words “unity of the nation” to “unity and integrity of the nation”.

            The constitutionalist Ambedkar objected that the amendment was “purely superfluous” and “unnecessary”, as “socialist [not “secular”] principles are already embodied in our Constitution.”

          • A bit more on this subject from the Statesman. “He went on to argue that the amendment was superfluous since the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy, already incorporated in the draft, bore testimony to the fact that socialist principles of justice, equality and fair play were embedded in the Constitution. In fact, Ambedkar’s commitment to secularism stems from his forceful espousal of the principles of justice and equality and his eloquent propagation of fraternity as a lofty ideal of our nation building process.”

        • Peter,
          Thank you for the citation. The last few sentences surprised (a bit):

          “…on 22 December 1964, Paul VI affirmed that “truth remains firm, and charity illuminates its splendour. This remains our solid program for the future, as we are convinced that the world needs love, it needs to overcome the chains of egoism, it needs to open itself to a sincere, progressive, universal brotherhood”.

          L’Osservatore Romano
          Weekly Edition in English
          26 August 2016, page 13

  35. Who is this Sr. Gabriela? I looked her up and it referred to a Sr. Something who is a Contemplative. Are Contemplatives on Twitter these days? I find that some Srs. (or ex-Srs.), especially those of a certain vintage, are no more reliable than those without a religious-sounding title. Pace Sr. What’s-her-name, who considers making a moral judgement of abortion to be above her pay grade.

    • Sr. Gabriela is not a “something” but a person, a faithful Catholic who has devoted her life to serving our Lord and his Church.

  36. Peter D. Beaulieu, your post which commented on inculturation is interesting and makes a lot of sense. I think about such issues quite often. When I was in Bombay (that’s long ago now), I heard a sermon on this subject preached by an Indian Jesuit. He very rightly told the congregation that their conversion to Christianity was not a conversion to westernism – the wearing of frocks, skirts, suits – but a conversion in the minds and hearts to the teachings of Jesus and a commitment to discipleship. In other words, the conversion is spiritual in nature and not cultural.
    Sometimes I have tried to imagine how our Church, and the world, would have been if Peter, the first Pope, had remained in Israel. By moving to Greece and to Rome the Church absorbed Greek and Roman cultural aspects. Unlike the Israelis, these societies had pictures and statues to honor gods and people, they genuflected before authorities, wore wedding rings and spoke Greek and Latin. And I wonder what the Jewish converts in Israel might have thought about these strange ways that had been adopted. Perhaps, they would have been just as concerned as some of us were when the Pope went to the Amazon. Would we have had pictures and statues of Jesus and the saints? Would our rituals have been more like the Jewish ones?
    Would it surprise you if I were to tell you that Jesus did not establish a new religion? Religion had already been in existence from the first day of Adam’s creation. Religious philosophies might define people of other faiths, but it is the Church that defines us. Yes, it was a sacrament-rich Church family that Jesus established. Christians are people from Adam’s fallen family who are baptized into this family of redeemed people.

    • Your comment actually leads us on a tangent to the Iconoclastic Controversy between the Western and Byzantine branches of the Catholic Church (which, it is opined by many historians, was influenced by the new/old religion of Islam which eschews images). Enough said, almost: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_Iconoclasm. But your final and patronizing (“…if I were to tell you…”?) paragraph invites clarification….

      While we are a “family of redeemed people,” the lead-in seems to conflate all of the natural religions of history with the supernatural self-disclosure (!) of the living God—the Triune One. There are religious beliefs, but now there is “faith” in the person of Jesus Christ (“sacrament-rich” in baptism, but especially CCC 1374). As Pope Benedict stresses, the Incarnation is a singular “event” within human history, categorically more than any religious “idea” from history about the divinity.

      Christ, demoted as the founder of a not-so-new (?) “religion”? Marcion erred in accepting only the Gospel of Luke (a gentile) and in rejecting the continuity between the Old Testament and the New. The opposite error, however, would be to insist on the continuity while denying the uniqueness—history’s singular discontinuity—of Christ.

      Irenaeus is quoted: “The (heretics) are all later than the bishops, to whom the Apostles have transmitted the Church, and the manifestations of their doctrine are different and produce a veritable cacophony. But the path of those who belong to the Church, dwelling throughout the world and holding firm to the tradition of the Apostles, shows that all have one faith and one kind of organization” (cited in Danielou/Marrou, “The Christian Centuries: The First Six Hundred Years,” vol. 1, 1964).

      Within the charismatic family of the Church, then, the traditional hierarchical structure (our “kind of organization” as indicated very early by Irenaeus, etc.) is partly a response to early dualistic heresies such as Marcionism (also Gnosticism and Montanism), and fidelity to the distinctly new commission from Christ himself to maintain and transmit the “deposit of faith” (the unique “religion”) about the Triune Oneness as self-disclosed once and for all in “the fullness of time.”

      • I am neither for or against icons. My intention was to show how local cultures can influence the cultural aspects of the Church. We do, however, need to ensure that these aspects do not become dominating factors in our relationship with Jesus.
        Though it is good to have a sound knowledge of scripture and of the thoughts expressed by the early Fathers, the important thing is to have a trusting, loving relationship with Jesus. This was brought to our attention by Jesus when he spoke about the two men who went to the temple to pray.
        The deposit of faith, I believe, has two components. One is the religious philosophy that had its origin in the Garden of Eden and perpetuated in the OT. (Mary and Joseph would have, in my opinion, lived in accordance with these instructions.) The second component is in the Church. In it we have forever the Teacher, the Holy Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father and sent by the Son, and also the sacraments which have sanctifying graces flowing from them. These sacraments enable us to initiate, strengthen and maintain our relationship with our Redeemer, which is why Jesus established the Church.

        • Yes, “two components,” both in the Church. All of Scripture, plus Tradition: According to Dei Verbum, “Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church […] both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end.”

  37. No-one has taken me to task on what I said above about destitution and how I framed poverty. The Lord loves the poor as well as the lowly. The Catechism outlines a preferential option for the poor. Every day in the liturgy we pledge a service to the poor. The Church teaches to give them more than just from our surplus: to give from our own needs. St Lawrence gave his life for the poor and once he set upon doing that he faced it on his own terms with a full measure. Some of the most lovable people are found among the poor, you have to have your heart and eyes open to it. And some of the most unlovable are there too that will test an authentic commitment. According to the Apostle of Charity St. Vincent de Paul, either way we find the Lord in the poor.

    Anyone can serve the Lord in the poor alongside their regular life. Some things the Pope and hierarchy might be able to do the laity can’t do. Making the poor and your service of them into a public fanfare, is not the service of the Lord and never was the way of the lay Church. If you did that you’d have your reward already, I think. Serving the poor shouldn’t be led like that.

    Serving the poor well but inside due modesty, is surely a practice of a true poverty of spirit and rightness of intention.

    • You mention the correctly inclusive “poverty of spirit,” which leads us to notice that St. Leo the Great also stressed this inclusiveness: “when he [Christ] says: Blessed are the poor in spirit, he shows that the kingdom of heaven is to be given to those who are distinguished by their humility of soul rather than [!] their lack of worldly goods.”

      To avoid becoming a clanging cymbal, then, it might even be that the reductionist social-Gospel version of the Church must be tempered, just a bit, even by the Old Testament: “You must not pervert justice; you must not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the rich; you are to judge your neighbor fairly” (Leviticus 19:15).

      With something like this in mind, and the Church’s core mission of Evangelization ever in front, Pope St. John Paul II defines “the option for the poor” broadly: “This option is not limited to material poverty, since it is well known that there are many other forms of poverty, especially in modern society—not only economic, but cultural and spiritual poverty as well” (Centesimus Annus, 1993, n. 57).

      And regarding our horrendous “spiritual poverty” of the current moment, Pope St. John Paul II asserts that, “…the right of the faithful [italics!] to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity must always be respected” (Veritatis Splendor, n. 113).

      Not much verbiage about any of this in the German “synodal way,” or likely many other synodal exercises…. Surely, the feckless Cardinal Hollerich—who already has signaled through the media the need to trash the Catechism (the “throwaway society!”)—will fix all this as relator for the 2023 Synod on Synodality!

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