“The strong support you provide to the Holy Father through the many articles you publish is much needed in today’s age where truth is not always readily available – even on Catholic sites! The opposition to the Holy Father is a sure sign that he is doing God’s work. And, it is through our prayers and public support, such as your website, that we collaborate with the Holy Father in bringing Jesus’ message of love for all to the world. Congratulations on your enterprise and I will do my best to promote ‘Where Peter is’”
— A reader
In recent days, we’ve received an influx of new readers and commenters, some of whom were directed here from a somewhat critical source.
We’re happy you’ve discovered Where Peter Is, and we hope you find our work engaging and enlightening.
In the last year, we have received many comments, messages, and emails from readers filled with gratitude at having found our site, in many cases expressing relief that someone, somewhere, is consistently presenting a view of the Church that is both faithful to the magisterium and supportive of the current Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis. When so much of Catholic media is devoted to undermining the Holy Father, Church teaching, or both, there are very few outlets where faithful Catholics can turn to find intelligent and engaging commentary.
It’s clear that we’re helping to fill a void, and we are committed to continuing to do so.
As many of you are aware, one of the main missions of this site is to challenge the assumptions of papal critics and to reassure Catholics of Pope Francis’s orthodoxy and fidelity to Church teaching. With that in mind, here are some of the essays we’ve published, a representative sample of the types of issues and topics we write about.
One of the big questions many Catholics are asking is where we are to look for the authoritative truth. Obviously as Catholics, we hold fast to Tradition and the deposit of faith, but to whom has Christ entrusted the protection of the Tradition and authentic interpretation of sacred doctrine?
In this essay (reposted again with additional comments after a prominent cardinal delivered a speech in opposition to the pope’s magisterial authority) Pedro Gabriel explores a fundamental error employed by many Catholics.
Many of the Catholics that passionately defended the Church against Sola Scriptura have fallen prey of a similar, yet different, error. I shall name it Sola Traditio.
As generally happens with many errors, this one has a comprehensible origin. Since Scripture was being improperly used to attack Tradition, Catholics learned to defend Tradition as an antidote against Sola Scriptura. This meant that Catholics would value Tradition and place it in high regard. That was understandable and laudable.
Unfortunately, as generally happens with many errors, it doesn’t matter where its origin came from. Soon, it spun out of control. Just like Scripture before it, Tradition started to be overvalued and, ultimately, idolized. Eventually, Tradition would be used to attack the other pillars of Truth. This came to be in the pontificate of Pope Francis (although it seems to me that it was in a latent, subclinical state, long before).
In this essay, Mike Lewis asks whether Catholics who pride themselves on their orthodoxy but reject many of the magisterial acts that have been promulgated since the second Vatican Council are, objectively speaking, dissenters from Catholic teaching.
One of the peculiarities of the debate over the exhortation Amoris Laetitia is the fact that many of those who oppose Pope Francis’s teaching are also Catholics who pride themselves on their orthodoxy, who openly advertise that they accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church, and insist that their beliefs are completely in line with Catholic teaching. Many of these Catholics assert that their adherence to Church teaching is what makes them unable to accept Amoris Laetitia’s allowance for some people in irregular marriages to receive the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist in certain cases. They believe that it is their unflappable orthodoxy that has set them in opposition of the pope, and that while the Church has officially taught one thing, the true Catholic teaching aligns with their understanding.
Delving further into this idea, and acknowledging that the word “Magisterium” has different meanings for Pope Francis’s supporters and detractors, Mike Lewis describes the phenomenon of the “imagisterium“: a parallel magisterium that has no basis in actual Church teaching.
It’s a bizarre juxtaposition. These Catholics, while affirming that they are 100% orthodox, reject official Catholic teachings as heterodox or even heretical. To them, what is promulgated as authentically magisterial (on an official level, to the entire Church, by the pope in his role as supreme pontiff) might not actually be magisterial. According to them, we are supposed to know what is truly magisterial by comparing it to prior magisterial teaching, to see if it lines up. If it doesn’t, we are to reject it, disregard it, or claim to be confused by it.
In addition to these three essays, here is a representative sample of other essays we have written on various issues that are facing our Church.
Paul Fahey breaks down Amoris Laetitia and the doctrinal foundations of its teachings.
Pedro Gabriel analyzes the texts of Amoris Laetitia and the guidelines for its implementation by the bishops of the Buenos Aires region in order to determine whether a clear reading answers the question of sacraments for the divorced and remarried, or if Pope Francis’s intentions are ambiguous.
Brian Killian takes a look at Amoris Laetitia in light of St. John Paul II’s landmark encyclical on moral theology, which has been used by Pope Francis’s critics to attack the exhortation.
Pedro Gabriel explores the development of the Church’s teaching on the death penalty through history, and responds to the suggestion that the current formulation is a rupture in Church teaching.
For the 50th anniversary of St. Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, Paul Fahey revisits this landmark document and its pastoral implications.
Pedro Gabriel dispels the notion that Pope Francis is somehow opposed to the Church’s teaching in Humanae Vitae, and explores his fidelity to the document and great respect for the pope who promulgated it, St. Paul VI.
Other Essays of Note
A reflection on a Holy Week homily by Pope Francis, where he (in Ignatian fashion) invites us to enter more deeply into the Passion of our Lord Jesus.
Dan Amiri, in light of the abuse crisis, discusses the struggle to remain faithful in the Church despite the sins and crimes of many of her leaders.
Pedro Gabriel, in three parts, offers bountiful evidence that Pope Francis is pro-life in every sense of the word.
John Cavanaugh-O’Keefe reflects on a moment from his past, where in the face of a life or death decision, he chose to trust in the Lord.
The story is on my mind, because I’ve been thinking about my friend Phil Lawler, who is promoting his book about Pope Francis, the wayward shepherd who’s killing off his flock parish by parish. Phil was on EWTN shortly after the book was released, being interviewed by that polished pink guy. And the interviewer set up a question. A gaggle of bishops got all gussied up for a synod, and everybody who really knows anything about anything that matters knew that the real issue at the meeting was how to interpret and enforce footnote 734 in Latin-Latin about how to handle sinners who come to Mass with their toupees crooked and a tangled marital history which has already been completely explained by the ancient and venerable bishops of Latvia and Timbuktu. Something like that.
Image: Adobe Stock
Mike Lewis is a writer and graphic designer from Maryland, having worked for many years in Catholic publishing. He’s a husband, father of four, and a lifelong Catholic. He’s active in his parish and community. He is a founding editor for Where Peter Is.