After his most insightful article diagnosing the roots of American Catholic polarization, Robert Christian addresses its possible remedies:One critical way to reduce enmity is for American Catholics who are publicly dissenting from Church teaching to be honest about their dissent. Catholics should not overstate their knowledge of Church teaching or their commitment to it. They should not distort it—intentionally or through neglect. And they should never downplay it or undermine it by making it seem optional by twisting concepts like intrinsic evil or the need for prudential reasoning. They should describe Church teaching in a way that is clear and fair, having examined it with the desire to fully understand and accept it.(…) The Catholic press should likewise set such standards for those who wish to write in Catholic publications or appear on a Catholic television network, if they publish or broadcast dissent. Efforts to hide dissent undermine trust. Dishonesty generates hostility. To reduce animosity, American Catholics should approach public dissent with honesty and integrity.” A must read!

Many times, critics like to point out the ways the Church has failed in adequately addressing the criminal nature of sexual abuse in her midst. But so many times we fail to report on when the Church actually acted properly. This article from a secular news source shows a case where the Vatican provided crucial information that aided the investigation of a sexual predator abbott.

Greg Daly provides another excelent commentary on the Pope Emeritus’ essay about sexual abuse: “what’s important here is how Benedict delves into questions of how traditional sexual morality was destabilised in the 20th Century, how this effected the formation and lives of priests, and how the Church might respond.Crucially, he’s not trying to do everything here – that would be an impossible task, given that he was writing a 6,000-word essay, not a book (…) Instead he’s homing in on the question of why Catholicism didn’t prevent abuse. Why did priests who presumably had objectively rich sacramental lives do monstrously wicked things? Why did bishops and others tasked with overseeing such priests endanger the innocent by not preventing such priests from harming children? How could anybody who purports to be Catholic have committed and facilitated such crimes?

The best article I’ve read about the Notre Dame fire, really cutting through the true heart of our Christian religion: “But, our mourning cannot become hopeless. Those who see the burning of Notre-Dame as some sign, metaphor, or parable for the loss of Catholic culture, an icon of a lost era, have forgotten the central mystery of Christian faith—the death and resurrection of Christ. During Holy Week, we remember that love enters into the darkest of spaces, those spaces seemingly most desolate, and bears new life.

Pope Francis condemns the Easter terrorist attacks against the Christians in Sri Lanka and expresses his “heartfelt closeness to the Christian community [of Sri Lanka], wounded as it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence

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Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.

Links of interest (Apr 14-22)

58 Responses

  1. carn says:

    “There is no better approach to reducing Catholic polarization than in following Pope Francis’s lead at all levels of the Church.”

    That put me into a mix of laughing, sadness and disbelief.

    After all – and i think even on this site -Pope Francis was seen as a positive force for making divisions that supposedly were already present under JPII and BXVI more visible; or in other words he was lauded for making division more visible.

    And the approach of someone who supposedly made a good job of making division more visible is supposedly the best to reduce division?

    While it is probably not intentional, in my view a lot that Pope Francis does increases division. And i see pretty limited evidence to the contrary.

    E.g. take abuse; the potential division line was, that one side focused on “clericalism” being guilty with the other side focusing on lax moral teaching and enforcement resulting in “active homosexuality” in the priesthood being guilty; Pope Francis started mid of last year a new and concentrated attempt to combat abuse.

    Do we have 9 months later more or less division between the “it’s clericalism” and “it’s homosexuality” groups?

    I think the answer is a clear no; the division is even more severe, with open attacks against Pope Emeritus for a statement, which talks a lot about moral teaching and enforcement, and with a former head of CDF counterattacking in return.

    No maybe it is not fault of Pope Francis that the division deepened; but his approach was at least unable to avoid that deepening.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      If you read attentively the quote you mentioned, you’ll see that it’s not so much about whether Francis has deepened the division or not, but rather that the remedy to division would be to follow Francis.

      Which is indisputable. If starting today, everyone who criticizes Francis started following him, division would, by definition, end.

      • Jane says:

        YES! Amen! My thoughts and feelings and position entirely and exactly.

        This whole thing going on reminds me of the challenge that Almighty God gave to the angels at the very beginning of time: Here’s My Plan, will you accept it or not? Then, many of the angels said, “I WILL serve,” and “who is like unto God?”

        Almighty God is saying today, “Here’s My Plan for you, will you accept it or not?” And I do really believe that His Plan at this moment is to focus our lives on the following:

        1. have mercy for sinners
        2. stop behaving like a hypocrite
        3. clean the inside of the cup
        4. get dirty with our fellow human persons who are suffering
        5. have compassion for others
        6. be humble
        7. don’t have many possessions
        8. if you have two coats in your closet, one belongs to you and the other, to your neighbor
        9. make a mess
        10. don’t judge others
        11. have love for one another especially in our families, and forgive each other
        12. what else? I’m sure I’m missing some 🙂

        And all taught to us by Jesus Christ Himself through His Vicar on earth, Pope Francis

    • Marie says:

      It astonishes me that anyone can blame the Pope, or anyone else for that matter, for their reactions or behaviours. How is the Pope responsible for division, because some people CHOOSE to disregard his message? That’s on them, NOT on him! Do you think perhaps that it is those who have decided that they are far more enlightened than Pope Francis, that they are the ones causing confusion and division ? Knowing that many of these same critics cry foul when their president is attacked in a similar fashion is simply beyond the bale that they cannot recognize that they are doing precisely the same thing. Carn- do you not recognize the slogan “He is causing division?” If I, as a non supporter of the US president, can see that how he has been treated and portrayed is unfair and divisive, even when I disagree with most of what he says, why can’t you and others see that this is exactly what is being done to our Pope? What of course makes it over the top, as far as outrage, is that one of them, namely the Pope, has been promised to us by our Lord, and promised to be without error in faith and morals, yet many have chosen to embrace the ideology of the other over the teachings of our Church. It is simply gobsmacking.

      There is no confusion Carn, just a smoke screen purposely placed by those who demand Church teachings be what they have decided it should be, and that the Pope should only focus on what they deem important, and that he should speak little on what makes them uncmfortalbe or challenges their belief system, or else, attack, attack, attack. Those who support Church teaching, and support Pope Francis have not objected to Pope Emeritus’ essay at all, for their is no conflict. Again, the conflict and confusion comes from the dissenters, on all sides, not from those who accept the Church teachings.

      • carn says:

        “How is the Pope responsible for division, because some people CHOOSE to disregard his message?”

        Your error is in trusting your personal mindreading skills, which you think prove beyond any glimmer of doubt, that “some people” actually made that choice.

        I try to stick with mindreading myself; and that mindreading tells me that:

        a) often i am uncertain what Pope Francis is trying to say;
        b) what of that would actually be teaching about faith and morals (and what is just personal suggestions by the Pope about various non-faith/non-moral issues, which i constantly hear from bishops), which of course might be in part caused by a) (if i am uncertain what is said, i am necessarily uncertain to what extent it is about faith and morals);
        c) resolving some of these issues is mostly fruitless, cause people i try to ask either do not know themselves and/or are to upset about me asking for answering.

        When and where in that did i choose to disregard his teaching?

        I cannot consciously disregard something, if i do not know it.

        As a for me practical example:

        Does the teaching of Pope Francis mean that i might be allowed in a certain situation to LIE [too complicated to explain, but the situation is real; i was in that situation and pondered lying; and likely i will be there again]? Could the teaching even mean that i OUGHT to LIE in that situation?

        If i take my best understanding of AL and of what the supposedly best apologist said about the matter (Stephen Walford), my conscience would tend then to a clear yes for question one and a less clear yes for number two.

        Only, my conscience also tells me, that of course that is a complete nonsense, that i ought not to lie and that somebody either worded things badly or misunderstood them badly. And that both what Pope Francis and his apologist say, is nothing i should rely too much upon.

        Yet, people would call me out for dissenting. For what? Lying? Not lying? Asking questions trying to resolve the issue?

        (no possibility to really explain the details; just take my word, that there was and probably will be a situation in which applying what i understand from what apologist of Pope Francis say would indicate that lying is on the table)

        A hypothetical but easier to understand example:

        If i happened to in charge of making/applying laws in some country (e.g. in political function or so) and if i were personally of the opinion that the new methods of detainment mentioned in the catechism, which are sufficient to protect society from dangerous criminals, are not available in the next years,

        and therefore i have the sole choice between

        imprisoning serial killers and accepting the risk of further murders due to the inadequate prison system; or

        executing serial killers (or making laws for that);

        am i going against teaching of Pope Francis with choosing the second?

        I really do not know.

        “Those who support Church teaching, and support Pope Francis have not objected to Pope Emeritus’ essay at all, for their is no conflict.”

        You just condemned quite a number of German Catholics to be dissenters, potentially even a few German bishops.

        And especially the official site of the catholic church in Germany.

        There is in my view no conceivable way to both claim, that there is no confusion and that “” is a dissenting site.

        If the official site of the catholic church in Germany is run by dissenters, there is confusion, at least due to dissenters claiming to officially represent the German Church online.

        “If I, as a non supporter of the US president, can see that how he has been treated and portrayed is unfair and divisive, even when I disagree with most of what he says, why can’t you and others see that this is exactly what is being done to our Pope?”

        Bad example.

        Of course US president is treated unfairly; but he also treats others unfairly. Which allows a straightforward counter:

        Of course Pope Francis is treated unfairly; but just like your example Trump he helped that by treating people unfairly. (though i would say that Trump helped quite a low more; he is a bully and reaps what he sows)

      • Jane says:

        Dear Carn, Could it be that you are overthinking things a bit? I don’t know, I can’t read your mind, nor do I wish to judge you and your comments. I love reading your comments because they help me with my own faith. I just wonder if simply trusting Our Lord Jesus Christ and learning from our Holy Father might be a less cumbersome way to go about life? I am thinking of your proposal of taking care of serial killers. If I were in that position, with what Pope Francis has taught me, I would up the security and allow the prisoners access to the sacraments to the utmost of my ability, seeing the soul of the person. Even if the serial killer where to be executed tomorrow, that would not solve issues. He could order the killing of those who imprisoned him, and that has happened. Nothing is fool-proof. However, trusting what Pope Francis says and seeking to conform to the things he says might help, since he is very keen on mercy and the salvation of the person’s soul, no matter who they may be. I think of Alessandro Serenelli in this case and Mike Lewis’ ancestor. I can be wrong in all of this; I am merely thinking out loud and wondering on things. God Bless you

      • carn says:

        “Could it be that you are overthinking things a bit?”

        About some issues – and among them the above mentioned issue of lying – my conscience is adamant about one thing:

        Think hard about them. Really, really hard.

        I presume that i would not think hard about some issues, it would be disobedience – not to the Pope but to his boss.

        “I just wonder if simply trusting Our Lord Jesus Christ and learning from our Holy Father might be a less cumbersome way to go about life?”

        The thinking is the consequence of trusting; as far as i can tell, there are some issues which the Lord wants me to think about to the extent of my abilities and then some. And part of these issues is, whether to lie or not or more precisely in what way and to what extent i have to disclose which information to some other people i have to interact with.

        If the answer to dubia 2 is yes, the path is still not clear, but at least i have a guidance and have confidence that i can navigate the issues without violating my duties; if it would be no, things would be far more complicated – since i might have the duty to lie under some circumstances – but still i would go along and try to do what i think i am asked to do.

        But no answer, neither yes nor no nor some long complicated text avoiding to give either yes or no?

        Feels like someone switched off or made a lot darker the dim light in which i try to find my way.

        The only good thing: All priest i ever tried to discuss this in detail, told me the answer is yes and nothing else; but also indicated they are uneasy about how Pope Francis handles this.

        “I love reading your comments because they help me with my own faith.”

        Thank you.

        I like reading the comments and articles here as well; while i disagree with a lot, it forces me at least to think carefully about my own position; and it helps understanding how people on “Team Francis” might think and their use of words.

        Which is helpful cause if i run out of luck, it might be that obedience requires me to get along nicely with some people so full of reforming the Church according to what supposedly Pope Francis wants, that i am honestly doubting, whether they believe in the creed they recite weekly.

      • Marie says:

        Carn- I really appreciate your comments as well, and I tend to agree with Jane regarding over thinking things (and everything else Jane says 🙂 !). From my perspective, as the one who is probably least able to quote tradition or scripture or canon law, etc, both on this site, and within my family, it was easier for me to look into the apparent problem with Pope Francis from a more innocent or naive perspective, perhaps, because I didn’t have a clue what was going on, until this past year. There were rumblings within the family, so I started to ask them what’s the problem Interestingly, I noticed almost immediately that the basics of our faith were being ignored when they put forth their arguments. Most was pure speculation and interpretation based on their political views, not on faith. I was met with ‘I know you mean well, but”, meaning of course I lack the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision. Yet, as a person who must look in from the outside, because I lack such knowledge, it was easy for me to see how their politics was interfering with their faith, and the two were morphing.

        The beauty of our faith is it can be understood fully by those with a childlike understanding of Christ, and great theologians alike, but only when we accept the basics first and foremost. Once either the ego, or our politics gets in the way, we are doomed. I believe you must start from the position that the pope is correct with everything he says regarding faith and morals, and if what he says doesn’t feel right to you, you must take the humble position that it is you that is wrong. Sure, you can find something in tradition or scripture or canon law, that when taken alone may appear to support your position in very narrowly defined terms (such as the argument about your conscience), but it still is requiring you to give up basic catholic teaching to have it support you, because you can never get away from the reality that Christ promised us no error with faith and morals regarding the pope. It is that simple. Start from that point only, and then everything falls in place.

        Starting from we are wrong if we are in disagreement with Pope Francis ( just start from it being everything he says, and don’t try to decide fallible vs infallible), and that politics is interfering with our concepts of understanding catholic teaching, we progress to where we ask what would a child think of this, by removing our ‘ya but’ from our thinking regarding moral and social teachings and replace it with, ultimately, everything the pope, and the Catholic Church stands for. “Ya buts” are often a result of life’s challenges, but rarely allow for the purity of the truth.

        Of course, as someone surrounded by family dissenters, some of whom have masters degrees in theology, some PhDs, etc, etc, I’ve also had to check and double and triple check to make sure I understand the teachings, and understand Pope Francis. To be honest, however, it is so clear to me, so very clear, I’m truly astonished at how amazing our pope is.

      • ONG says:

        Hadn’t read this earlier, but I agree with the “overthinking” too, insofar as I still haven’t been able to decipher carn’s concerns ’cause he continually goes into hundreds of topics that are also off-topic for each new article posted.

        Wasn’t the “Glaubenmanifest” by Card. Müller taken up elsewhere? Is there a post dedicated to it?
        If yes, shouldn’t any additional and clarifying comment belong there, or being addressed to it?

      • M. says:

        Carn, it’s not really a great argument when you ask us to accept on faith that you have had ethical dilemmas applying Pope Francis’ teaching to your own life in the area of whether or not to tell a lie- yet tell us it is too complicated to explain to us, and even also fail to provide reference to the specific area of the document that is giving you trouble. Wouldn’t this be, in fact, asking us to do exactly the thing you detest so vehemently- mindreading?

      • carn says:

        I posted a reply to your question attempting to explain the “ethical dilemmas”; it was 1700+ words; maybe it was too long; maybe some part was considered to be problematically worded; maybe some other reason.

        Whatever reason, it was not posted. So it seems to be “too complicated” that i formulate and word it in a way compatible to this platform; that means that it is at least “too complicated” for me to explain here.

        (no offense taken and no offense meant; i am aware that if i try to explain my personal perspective on my situation i will use words and wording that others might find objectionable; it was a good excercise to put it down and i kept the text, so nothing lost)

      • Jane says:

        I have noticed that the Devil always makes the current reigning Pope look bad, by discrediting him. He won’t make Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI look as bad because he’s more focused on Pope Francis. I’ve noticed this for awhile, beginning with Pope John Paul II. I was a youngster when Pope Paul VI and Pope JP I were reigning but could probably find evidence of that too if I looked

    • David says:

      Yes, it’s somewhat unbelievable. The Catholic “left” or those who might be inclined in that direction would love to censor people they don’t like and don’t agree with, which is really those who are orthodox. And let’s make no mistake that’s what it’s about, not any alleged concern for “standards.” And it is these folks who are the dissenters and dividers, who are promoted by wherepeteris, e.g., they have endorsed as allegedly trustworthy and Catholic sources or cited as their “news” sources those that are infamous for their heterodoxy, instigation against the popes, and dividing people up into categories and factions- N.C. Register, The Tablet, America, Commonweal, etc. (Of course, many/most papalators these days are really heterodox/progressives folks feigning papal allegiance, because Francis is implementing their agenda and they count Francis as one of their own. [This fact is also one of the good pieces of evidence against those who want to deny where Francis stands.]) This even seems to be the case with one the persons cited in this piece, Robert Christian, who at least appears “left-leaning,” as he seems heavily involved in the democrat party and aligns himself with “radical”- his own word- thinking and people, and puts himself into the corner of progressive/heterodox folks like C. Cupich of Chicago.

      I wonder if the folks here are going to demand sources like the NCRegister are vetted or shut down or have the name Catholic removed from their title? Multiple bishops have actually asked them to remove the word Catholic from their title but they have refused. I guess that doesn’t count as disobedience and dissent. I would finally add that under Francis we also have the strange phenomenon of those who might have labeled themselves as orthodox or “conservative” but have moved away from that in an effort to deny the problems.

      • ONG says:

        As it has been explained in another comment, wouldn’t it be better to avoid “subjective” political labels, and focus on the “objective” Church’s teachings as the basis of any interpretation of the experienced reality?

  2. carn says:

    “If starting today, everyone who criticizes Francis started following him, division would, by definition, end.”

    1. That is true for every single position in the debate.

    If everybody would do as Cardinal Kasper, Burke, Müller OR Schönborn suggested, there would also be no division.

    Accordingly, this cannot show that a specific approach would reducing division.

    2. Note also the context:

    “There is no better approach to reducing Catholic polarization than in following Pope Francis’s lead at all levels of the Church. The American Bishops, individually and collectively, should embrace the pope’s agenda of ending the throwaway culture and replacing it with a culture of solidarity.

    With greater unity among bishops, we might hope that Pope Francis’s approach would begin to shape our dioceses and parishes much more than it has thus far.”

    So part of the solution the author seems to think about, is that the Bishops make a first step and start doing like Pope Francis does. And that this would then help reducing the divisions on lower levels.

    The author therefore seems to think, that if all Bishops acted like Pope Francis, that this would reduce the divisions on the layers below them.

    So that Pope Francis approach is helpful in reducing existing divisions.

    But that is not what Pope Francis achieved so far; at the moment the divisions might be more serious that at the beginning of his pontificate; that might not be his fault; but praising his approach as a method for reducing divisions while during his reign the divisions increased and while others praise him for making divisions more visible, is a real stretch.

    Do you not agree that someone making divisions more visible as an example to emulate for reducing divisions is something that needs at least some explaining?

  3. carn says:

    My personal suggestions for reducing divisions:

    “It is perfectly fine to avoid certain conversations and to block people on social media if their tactics or dehumanizing views are causing distress or irritation. Many of these individuals have no interest in dialogue.”

    Stop overestimating one’s own powers at mindreading the motives of people one does not understand.

    And stop being a snowflake. Dialogue without distress or irritation is no dialogue but a chat between people having the same opinion anyway.

    • Marie says:

      Carn- What dialogue? Those sites block anyone who challenges their position. I was blocked after 3 comments on LifesiteNews, and 1 comment on Regina Magazine when I happened onto their site. Dialogue? There is no dialogue, just spewing their anti Catholic ideology under the guise of being “the faithful, orthodox Catholics.”

      • carn says:

        Which is why i say one should be ready for distress or irritation. They probably got distressed by what you said and acted – without knowing – according to the script in the linked article “remedies for american polarization”; they probably used their mindreading powers to determine that you have no interest in dialogue.

        These remedies are in part faulty.

        What did you post there?

      • Jane says:

        So was I Marie, blocked from commenting on LifeSite, and that was back in 2013, after saying, “Please trust the Holy Spirit!” regarding Pope Francis. They were already railing against him just months after his election! Thankfully, Church Militant allows folks to make comments.

      • ONG says:

        To stay on the same topic about LSN, I just discovered that a new article was posted against Pope Francis, titled: “Prominent clergy, scholars accuse Pope Francis of heresy in open letter.” And the first line says: “We are accusing Pope Francis of the canonical delict of heresy.”

        I won’t bother to open the link and waste time in debugging their venom.

        It’s time though to do something against these continuous calumnies from “the dark side”.

        Maybe WPI would like to create a new specific article with a spicy title that we could post around?

        So here we go again: Who is fomenting discord and causing division?

        Who is the “author” behind this anti-Catholic and anti-Christian propaganda?

      • David says:

        Allowing 3 comments is generous while it makes sense to establish a limit. A limit is also different from being blocked. That’s actually much better than the sites which like to demonize the “critics” of Francis, as they are the ones who most censor people and don’t like dialogue. They either offer no possibility of commenting or may not post any comments they disagree with or limit them to 1 or 2. This includes Where peter is, which may not even post comments they don’t agree with, pick and choose which ones they allow, and limit the number of replies. For instance, I submitted another reply to this piece which they didn’t post, probably because it called them out for their hypocrisy and contradictions. I’ll have to see if they have the courage to allow this one.

      • Marie says:

        David- Honestly this is offensive. We all want dialogue, but to suggest, that a limit is not a block, when one is blocked from any further comments on a site, and that 3 comments on a site (not on one article) is generous, is disingenuous at best on your part. You complain you are being censored for merely posing a different view, yet others often do, on a regular basis. Why them and not you? I do hope you continue to read and contribute, because in time I think you will notice a remarkably different tone then you’ll find on the other site, which apart for only allowing one point of view, it feeds the worst in people, where that world is one of speculation and gossip, and character assassination. Truly a negative force in a world so desperate for kindness and understanding.

      • ONG says:

        DIALOGUE is different from DEBATE, or discussion or conversation…
        If A wishes to dialogue with B, and vice versa, BOTH must be willing to LISTEN carefully to one another, honestly and truthfully, without bias or prejudices. One explains one’s own position clearly and then builds up the reciprocal *train of thought*.

        There cannot be hypocrisy and/or contradictions in such approach.

  4. carn says:

    My last post was meant as a general advise; not personal to Pedro Gabriel, since he is also willing to do irritating (=actual) dialogue.

    (In retrospect, that might not have been clear in that post.)

  5. Ashpenaz says:

    We can simply accept that the Roman Catholic Church is now a Protestant Church, a church where the Pope plays no meaningful role. It’s like Lutherans getting to choose between the ELCA, the Missouri Synod, the Wisconsin Synod–Catholics pick the flavor of Catholicism they like and split off from those in the Church who disagree with them. Each “synod” has their own websites, magazines, cable channels, and echo chamber, and they never interact with anyone from another “synod.” We all give a passing nod to the “office of the Pope,” but we have our own private Popes in Burke, Caspar, Chaput, or Cupich.

    The Pope is no longer a sign of unity. Catholics complain that Protestants have split up into 40,000 factions each claiming to be the One True Church–well, the Catholics have 40,000 websites each claiming to be the One True Catholic Church. You can’t say the Pope is the Head of the One True Church–which faction is the One True Church? Which website? Which cable channel? There is no way to know if you are part of the Church just because you give a nod to the Pope. Now, you have to search through all the divisions and find the right one.

    • Jane says:

      Dear Ashpenaz, The four marks of the Catholic Church are that she is : One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. The Church is Christ, with the Vicar who has been chosen by Him, and all in union with him. I have been a Catholic all my life. I consider my political views to be very conservative. One thing I learned from the very beginning is that I must be obedient, for Christ our Savior was obedient unto death. Christ our Savior loves obedience. His Holy Mother was obedient. The saints were and are obedient. The Holy Father is the visible sign of Christ’s presence on this earth. He is Christ our Savior’s Face to us. With that in mind, he is our source of unity, with all the Cardinals, Bishops and priests in union with him. If Christ our Savior felt that Pope Francis was unfit to reign as Pope, He would remove him somehow, because Christ is very aware of His Church and protects Her from error. So rest assured any website that teaches in union with Our Holy Father is going to lead you in the right direction. I found it very helpful to read the documents of the popes. There I have been able to see the continuity and therefore the unity that gives me assurance that we are in good hands. I also recommend the Cathechism of the Catholic Church as well as the Cathechism of the Council of Trent, so you can see there is no contradiction between the two, Humanae Vitae, Gaudium et Spes, Evangelium Vitae, and Lumen Gentium — all documents by recent popes. God Bless you 🙂

      I think this website is a wonderful place to go to in order to enjoy learning the teachings of the Catholic Church, simply because it’s one aim is to humbly learn from the Holy Father and all in union with him —- something which all the saints I know, did. I would stay away from all websites which talk about or teach dissent from the Holy Father. This site will clear your mind and heart as this one is doing for me.

      • Jane says:

        I do believe as well, that those who dissent from Our Holy Father, while calling themselves Catholic, are engaging in Protestant-like behavior.

        As a Catholic, we are obligated to learn our Faith continually. If I see or hear any heretical behavior or words from our Holy Father, I am obligated to go and speak with him. But I feel I must not rail against him all over the internet. That is called detraction, or calumny or slander, depending on the things I am saying. I must, in the spirit of St. Catherine of Siena, go to Rome and speak with him, write letters to him, etc.

        Personally I have not heard any heresy from Pope Francis. I have heard, however, statements from him that urge me to stop being a hypocrite, and I like those. They are good for me. Christ greatly disliked hypocrisy. I think that is why some folks are angry — they do not want to be called out on their hypocrisy and Pharisaical behavior. Nothing new under the sun since it was those same types of folks who crucified Our Savior

      • carn says:

        A further personal suggestion for reducing divisions:

        “I think that is why some folks are angry — they do not want to be called out on their hypocrisy and Pharisaical behavior. Nothing new under the sun since it was those same types of folks who crucified Our Savior”

        Stop putting people you disagree with on the same level as those who murdered Jesus.

        Calling them dissenters or heretics or protestant is sufficiently negative and therefore there is no need for even more negative characterizations.

        And also, mind the mindreading:

        You claim that some people are
        1. angry;
        2. angry for a reason you name.

        Funny thing: most human beings are usually after thinking about a matter for some short time aware whether they are angry and often also why they are angry; so you use your mindreading powers to formulate claims about people who usually would be capable to check within minutes whether your claim about them is true or false.

        Now presume that this time your mindreading powers failed and some of those realize that one or both of your claims are totally absolutely 100% untrue, false, wrong; and in light of dialogue they try to note you about that; but you – trusting your mindreading powers – ignore this testimony by those who are far more capable of determining whether they are angry and what is the cause and continue to claim what you claim.

        What could those people then conclude except that you are unwilling to dialogue?

        So mind the limits of your own mindreading powers.

      • Jane says:

        I have been commenting on websites that rail against the Holy Father and angry is the word I have felt from the commenters. I have not felt peace or joy or commraderie, but anger. I don’t know, perhaps your experience is different from mine?

      • carn says:

        “I have not felt peace or joy or commraderie, but anger. I don’t know, perhaps your experience is different from mine?”

        Some or even many of course are angry; but they might be angry for a different reason than the one you think; its one thing if someone is being angry for being called out for hypocricy; its another thing if someone is angry cause he thinks a third party is trying to undermine fundamental principles.

        If you tell someone angry for the second reason, that he is angry due to first reason, it will not help communication.

        Also, in online communication we do not see the face of the other side; i think this makes misunderstanding a lot more likely, especially when trying to understand the emotions the other side has.

      • ONG says:

        I posted a comment earlier on the differences between DIALOGUE and DEBATE, or, say, loose talk, with no aim of reciprocal understanding than only having the last word.

        Mind reading (as guessing/supposing) is not involved in DIALOGUE, since everything one wishes to say must be said/spoken out, and not being concealed/hidden on purpose. That would be *dishonest*, and considered double standard and hypocritical, if the person dodges/avoids to reply.

        It could also be possible though that the person in question really DOESN’T recognize/acknowledge being so, and therefore his/her conscience is not well-formed.

        Little can one do virtually by chat in this case than only directing them to counseling in person. (It could be of help.)

      • carn says:


        “Mind reading (as guessing/supposing) is not involved in DIALOGUE, since everything one wishes to say must be said/spoken out, and not being concealed/hidden on purpose. That would be *dishonest*, and considered double standard and hypocritical, if the person dodges/avoids to reply.”

        If what you say is true, it must be concluded that little (if any) dialogue took place between the various inner catholic “camps”, since in all camps there is a lot of attempted mind reading other camps.

  6. chris dorf says:

    My question is why, what is motivating, high level priests like Cardinal Mueller and Burke to write articles and grant interviews in such a fashion as to cause public scandal? And that leads others to claim Benedict is anti-Francis. And that leads Steve Bannon and other secular and evangelical protestants to disparage Pope Francis. What is their endgame? What is their motivation? Is it pure? Is it politically motivated? Just what are the reasons that they are doing this?

    • carn says:

      “Cardinal Mueller”

      “What is their motivation?”

      Regarding Cardinal Mueller the motivation might in part be due to him being a German and therefore being especially aware about the situation in Germany.

      As far as i can guess, Cardinal Mueller seems to be of the opinion that heretics or at least people promoting heresy are acting inside the inner catholic debate freely without much resistance by bishops and are funded in part by Church taxes; part of his motivation for his “Glaubensmanifest” and various public statements and interviews might accordingly be to stand against this potential heretic tendencies.

      That this is easy to be misunderstood as somehow contrary to Pope Francis is due to the potential heretics being very vocal about supposedly trying to change the Church in a way supposedly favored by Pope Francis wants.

      As people Cardinal Müller thinks are heretics claim to be in agreement with Pope Francis, attacks of Cardinal Müller on these potential heretics can give the impression of being attacks on Pope Francis – and of course the people Cardinal Müller attacks try to make it appear so.

      That is of course only a part of the picture, but it is a relevant part. Cardinal Müller especially seems to take the issue of Church tax funding the spread of what Cardinal Müller probably considers to be heresy not lightly (he did not explicitly say its heresy; but he claimed his opponents want to replace catholic teaching with their personal preferences, which would in principle be a form of heresy)

  7. ONG says:

    Could the understanding of the difference between Ideology and Faith eliminate a lot of unnecessary beating around the bush?

    • Jane says:

      As long as we understand that Ideology and Faith must be in compatibility with Church teaching and therefore must needs be compatible with each other?

      • ONG says:

        Pope Francis had a long homily in October 2013 which I tried to convey during the years to several members of those debate groups on FB… It always fell on deaf ears, or at least they didn’t go in depth and expand it.
        For the most of them fun was only in fighting back and forth with the non-Catholics on the usual: doctrines, history and so on, but never on a *dialogue* basis.

        Pope Francis uses terms with profound and specific meaning and the hearer or the reader does not often mull over them enough due to oversight. Also, translations and subtitles in English aren’t always available immediately, so that’s a disadvantage unless one understands Italian or some Spanish.

        However, the main point was that the Gospel of Love is lost in an Ideology, ’cause it doesn’t have Christ in it, and the reason why certain Christians became *ideologists*, was because they *didn’t pray*.

        And then, in his distinctive style, he explained too how to pray, which was quite different than just *saying prayers*.

        After Vatican Radio changed its layout I couldn’t find the full text anymore, but it was titled: *Prayer keeps us from losing faith*.

        I will see later (not now) if I find it saved somewhere and I will post it if you are interested. One can build up an hermeneutical approach that would ease the understanding of what Pope Francis is often misinterpreted.
        Pax Christi

      • Jane says:

        Yes please, I am very interested! HAPPY DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY ! ! !

      • ONG says:

        Here it comes.
        This is a video copy of the original homily in Italian: (I will post the article + the translation separately)

        OMELIA 17.10.2013

      • ONG says:


        Pope Francis: Prayer keeps us from losing faith

        2013-10-17 Vatican Radio

        (Vatican Radio) If a Christian “becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith.”

        This was the theme of Pope Francis’ homily during his Thursday morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. During his homily, the Pope warned Christians against behaving as though the “key is in [their] pocket, and the door closed.” He reiterated that without prayer, one abandons the faith and descends into ideology and moralism. “Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge!” (Luke 11: 52)

        Pope Francis referred back to this passage from Thursday’s Gospel in his homily, moving from Jesus’ warning. He warned: “When we are on the street and find ourselves in front of a closed Church,” he said, “we feel that something is strange.” Sometimes, he said, “they give us reasons” as to why they are closed: They give “excuses, justifications, but the fact remains that the Church is closed and the people who pass by cannot enter.” And, even worse, the Lord cannot be close to the people. Today, the Pope said, Jesus speaks to us about the “image of the [lock]”; it is “the image of those Christians who have the key in their hand, but take it away, without opening the door.” Worse still, “they keep the door closed” and “don’t allow anyone to enter.” In so doing, they themselves do not enter. The “lack of Christian witness does this,” he said, and “when this Christian is a priest, a bishop or a Pope it is worse.” But, the Pope asks, how does it happen that a “Christian falls into this attitude” of keeping the key to the Church in his pocket, with the door closed?
        “The faith passes, so to speak, through a distiller and becomes ideology. And ideology does not beckon [people]. In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid. And when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought… For this reason Jesus said to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge.’ The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements.”

        The Pope continued, Jesus told us: “You burden the shoulders of people [with] many things; only one is necessary.” This, therefore, is the “spiritual, mental” thought process of one who wants to keep the key in his pocket and the door closed:

        “The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, distances, distances the people and distances of the Church of the people. But it is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh? Already the Apostle John, in his first Letter, spoke of this. Christians who lose the faith and prefer the ideologies. His attitude is: be rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness. This can be the question, no? But why is it that a Christian can become like this? Just one thing: this Christian does not pray. And if there is no prayer, you always close the door.”

        “The key that opens the door to the faith,” the Pope added, “is prayer.” The Holy Father warned: “When a Christian does not pray, this happens. And his witness is an arrogant witness.” He who does not pray is “arrogant, is proud, is sure of himself. He is not humble. He seeks his own advancement.” Instead, he said, “when a Christian prays, he is not far from the faith; he speaks with Jesus.” And, the Pope said, “I say to pray, I do not say to say prayers, because these teachers of the law said many prayers” in order to be seen. Jesus, instead, says: “when you pray, go into your room and pray to the Father in secret, heart to heart.” The pope continued: “It is one thing to pray, and another thing to say prayers.”

        “These do not pray, abandoning the faith and transforming it into moralistic, casuistic ideology, without Jesus. And when a prophet or a good Christian reproaches them, they do the same that they did with Jesus: ‘When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him’ – they are ideologically hostile – ‘and to interrogate him about many things,’ – they are insidious – ‘for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.’ They are not transparent. Ah, poor things, they are people dishonoured by their pride. We ask the Lord for Grace, first: never to stop praying to never lose the faith; to remain humble, and so not to become closed, which closes the way to the Lord.”

      • ONG says:

        Did you like it, Jane?

        I wonder if some other commenter read it and got the gist of it.

        “The letter kills, the Spirit makes alive.”

        In other words: “One cannot reduce faith to solely adhering to doctrines and learned beliefs, for one’s own gratification only. The inner living element of the faith must be witnessed and transmitted to others (according to the New Evangelization’s criteria of Vat. II), and that also requires the adequate
        preparation which ought to be promoted and given in the various ecclesiastic communities/parishes apart of Sunday’s Masses only.”

        Without that “inner power” it would just be “salt that lost its flavor”.

        That’s the “Church in exit” (and not the “closed one”) so much preached by our beloved Holy Father, Pope Francis!

        Fiat voluntas Dei!

      • carn says:

        “I wonder if some other commenter read it and got the gist of it.”

        Bit hard to guess, what you think the gist of it is.

        It seems the Pope thinks that there are a lot of people who are described by this:
        “His attitude is: be rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness.”

        and he has some advise how to avoid to end up like that.

        But as i am no such person and as i know no such person personally and as of those people i am aware of who might be like that i cannot not for sure that they are, i am a bit lost about what to make of that.

        To make it hopefully more clear, i’ll use hyperbole: If someone talks in the Sahara about the dangers of snow blizzards, that is not entirely incorrect; but the listener might still be at a loss why choosing that topic in the Sahara.

        Only his advice that one should not pray for show and should try to avoid praying by just saying prayers with no heart behind, is discernible for me as sensible advice anybody should heed.

        And i know from experience, that careful considerations about complicated ethical and/or legal usually sound for some people to be heartless rigid legalism; so i suspect that a lot of what i say and write will make people that i am “rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness”; and from what i can guess it seems the same way for other people.

        So i suspect a lot of people will read what the Pope says, will look at what i and maybe other people with similar approaches write, will think we are meant by the words of the Pope and will be aghast that i and maybe some others scratch our heads and are at loss to whom these words apply.

        Did i get the gist?

    • ONG says:


      No, you didn’t get the gist of it. It was primarily about HOW TO PRAY!

      But let me try another one. Besides understanding what *prayer* is, do you know (or could guess) who wrote this?

      //“The gift of God is God himself. The ‘good things’ [Mt 7:9] that he gives
      us are himself.
      This reveals in a surprising way what prayer is really all about: It is not about this or that, but about God’s desire to offer us the
      gift of himself—that is the gift of all gifts, the ‘one thing necessary.’

      Prayer is a way of gradually purifying and correcting our wishes and
      of slowly coming to realize what we really need: God and his Spirit”//

      • M. says:

        Dear Carn, I am not sure if this will help or not. I have found Pope Francis has led me to a better place spiritually, as whenever I did read him on issues like one ONG posted above, I have found it helpful because I tend to think the pope is addressing me, and calling me to repent of my sinful attitudes and dispositions. I imagine if I was trying to apply his words to others or to some group or other, or wondering who or what he meant- I would find his words very irritating and frustrating, not to mention meaningless. His approach works when we apply his teaching to ourselves as individuals, I have found. I ask *myself* the question: “where am I rigid, moralistic, but without kindness? And I find lots of instances where I have behaved that way, and caused stumbling blocks to Christ in family members and friends. Now I must try to change- the pope saying it has been a wakeup call for me, because- well, he is the pope! I have to obey my chief shepherd! And my relationships are changing. I have not put away one iota of the law, but my approach to sharing my faith is drastically different from what it used to be.
        You say you are no such person (rigid, moralistic, but without kindness) and that you don’t know anyone who is like that. That’s so good, and I am happy for you- but it is not the experience of everyone. So you are not that way, and have not not ever met Catholics that meet the Pope’s description here. Still you have to admit that does not mean this problem doesn’t exist in our church as a significant problem. If those who follow the law have no kindness in their approach to others who are say, sinners, and/or non-believer- , that will be a big huge problem, an enormous problem, worthy of the pope spending all his energies on- because it will drive people away from the truth, and will also put the souls of those who follow the law, say-so, the “strongest” sheep of the flock- in precarious position. So this has to be pope’s number one friority, because you could say it is THE problem.

      • carn says:

        “Still you have to admit that does not mean this problem doesn’t exist in our church as a significant problem.”

        Of course from my personal experience i cannot conclude, that something is not a significant problem.

        But from my general observations i also cannot see that it is currently a significant problem.

        The reason is that i know that dark place inside my soul, that is rigid and moralistic without kindness; i know that beast inside myself; it has to be kept in and reigned in.

        And when i observe the well-known people who i think might supposedly be examples for that supposedly problematic attitude, i do not see that beast; it is like some saying “Look, a dangerous lion over there” and i see just a small kitten, not that dangerous beast i know well.

        “If those who follow the law”

        On the other hand, i think that the number of people who actually try to respect the law (and i mean law in general, both secular and church) is itself so small, that this is a far more serious problem.

        But ok, you provided at least one counterexample, where too much rigidity was according to your words a problem. Hopefully, the problem of too much rigidity gets reduced sufficiently, that the Pope can also talk a bit more about other problems.

      • M. says:

        Carn, you seem to be saying that no one can know whether another person is too rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness. Correct me if I am wrong. I think you are right to point out that we shouldn’t be pointing fingers at others and assuming that the Pope means them. However you can at least admit that the pope has a right to point out sins he sees as problematic in the church he is the head of? In order to shepherd the flock as he sees best? Why do you think that you know better than the pope, what problems he should be addressing? That is, shouldn’t we leave his job to him, and not try to think about how best he can do his job? It’s not our story. We won’t be judged on what the pope did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say. He seems to think that too much rigidity and moralistic behavior is a serious problem among Catholics. Say-so that if the strongest sheep, whether they are a lot of us or just a few, are behaving this way, and the pope seems to think some are- it will be a serious problem in the church, and the pope has a right to point out sinful behavior and to ask for a change in behavior? Whether or not we think he should be concentrating his efforts elsewhere, or not. He has the right to concentrate on what he deems most important. You needn’t agree or see the same thing that he does. But at least we should not be criticizing and undermining the pope where he sees fit to put his efforts- whether we agree with his emphasis or not. that is why I have a problem with certain news sources such as lifesite, etc.

      • M. says:

        Furthermore, I also wanted to say to you-as I have a bit more time now- that though you seem to think that rigidity is not so much the problem, as you said:
        “On the other hand, i think that the number of people who actually try to respect the law (and i mean law in general, both secular and church) is itself so small, that this is a far more serious problem.”

        I would like to address this idea with you if you are willing. I may not have time to come back and comment at length today, but hopefully, tomorrow or the next day. The question I would like to ask you is this. If a person truly is “rigid, moralistic, ethical but without kindness” why is this not as much of a problem as say, flagrantly sinful behavior? I want to see your answer, if you have the time- but for me, the reason rigid, moralist, ethical but without kindness is an *emergency problem* is that there is no slat left for the earth. That is, no one will be converted from their lawless ways by whom I call “strong sheep” who do not have kindness. The world is aching for love. When a Catholic gives laws and not love, it’s a clanging gong, a clashing symbol, someone wiser than I said. what is to be done for the sinners, Carn, when the salt has lost its flavour? Then there is no hope for sinners to be converted to Christ, because truly, only love converts hardened and sinful hearts- not teaching of the laws and fear. People already know in their hearts they are breaking the law. What will motivate them to stop? Being told “That’s wrong” by the pope do you think?

        sorry for two successive posts, I had more time to finish just now. God bless you today Carn.

      • carn says:

        “However you can at least admit that the pope has a right to point out sins he sees as problematic in the church he is the head of?”

        Of course he can and should.

        Just as i can and should not take his words in that regard and especially the words of people praising him for his wisdom about the matter seriously, if i have after careful observation concluded that we are in the Sahara and he warns about the dangers of the supposedly currently blizzards raging right around us.

        “Why do you think that you know better than the pope, what problems he should be addressing?”

        Cause i have experienced and observed a lot of conversations going along like:

        A: [logic applied to laws/law discussion]
        B: You have a cold heart and are a mean spirited evil persons yearning for punishing people.
        A: What? [trying again logic]
        B: Stop being so mean and heartless.

        And i see that pattern repeated so often in inner catholic discussion that i am quite certain that a lot of people speaking in favor of the Pope’s wisdom, etc. play the role of B without being aware; so they applaud the Pope for bashing rigidity cause they lack to some extent the capability to discern a logical discussion of law from rigidity.

        And the best explanation i have, is that the Pope to some extent also makes that error.

        “But at least we should not be criticizing and undermining the pope where he sees fit to put his efforts”

        What am i to do, if i think he and others have fallen into that error of mistaking people discussing law with people yearning to dish out punishment?

        It’s not disagreement with his emphasis; it’s that he for all i know errs.

      • carn says:

        It is interesting that you claim, that i did not understand, that the text was primarily about “HOW TO PRAY”,

        when i said verbatim

        “Only his advice that one should not pray for show and should try to avoid praying by just saying prayers with no heart behind, is discernible for me as sensible advice anybody should heed.”

        that he offered sensible advice in that piece about how to pray.

        “”The gift of God is God himself. … to realize what we really need: God and his Spirit””

        Ok, more good advice/important information regarding prayer. Though not information i was not aware about.

        “do you know (or could guess) who wrote this?”

        Doesn’t matter that much, cause good advice/important information is good and important whether a Pope or a beggar offers it.

        My guess is BXVI.

        Are you aware that the information you provided in this post and your post april 28, 2019 at 4:48 pm regarding prayer is

        known to me?

        Why do you think i am not aware about that?

        I just word things differently.

        What i cannot sort in in any sensible way are the numerous words the Pope uses about “those Christians” who become “disciples of ideology” and who have an attitude described by “be rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness”; maybe he is talking about some actual currently existing people or groups or movements within Christianity; or he just talks about some negative ideal, which we should avoid, without intending to suggest that there are numerous Christians who have fallen into that; maybe a mix of both. I have no idea.

      • M. says:

        Hi Carn I cannot reply under your response so I am doing it down here. For some reason on this site, it seems you can’t reply under every post, only some of them.

        You said: “Just as i can and should not take his words in that regard and especially the words of people praising him for his wisdom about the matter seriously, if i have after careful observation concluded that we are in the Sahara and he warns about the dangers of the supposedly currently blizzards raging right around us.”

        I have heard this argument against holy father many times. It goes “the world is such a sinful place, very few believers, many who practice evil and promote evil, abortion on demand, murder of innocents, sexual sins abound, abuse in the church, evil priest, and so one. And the pope spends all his time bashing the good guys, the prolifers, the just ones. (by good guys, usually they me, “people like me.” Why doesn’t he pick on the ones who are committing more serious sin than mine? ”
        I answer: because he chooses to emphasize repentance from sin of overly legal approach, that’s why. It is his prerogative, and what he sees as needing addressing the most, in order for the Church to provide the saltiness the earth needs. People won’t taste the food the church has to offer if it is presented to them in such an unpalatable way. Thus, no conversions, no repentance for sinners. There is a chance that sinners will repent if the food presented has some taste. Some love added in. It is not about people who love the law being big meanies. It is about the way they present the truth. Dear Carn, I hope you never have to be subjected to the hatred I have experienced from some (not all of course!) trad Catholics. It is appalling and vicious and sometimes, filthy. I could send a quote from email I have received- but here it would not be printed. Now I ask you to read my mind and trust me when I say- some of these lovers of the law are vicious, filthy, and cruel, and I am not exaggerating. Perhaps that is why some of us understand what the pope is talking about more. Maybe, in our country we have been exposed to some more of it than you have. Just saying. What I have seen and experienced from some (again, not all) trad Catholics is mind boggling to the point that you would not believe anyone who calls themselves a Christian could speak in such a filthy way. That is why I for one,know *exactly* what the pope is talking about. Lovers of the law can be terrible indeed Carn. I love the law, I truly do. But I should love the person more, for the law serves the person’s soul and salvation- not the other way round. We don’t serve the law for its own sake.

      • ONG says:

        Yes, M. I can confirm that the option “Reply” doesn’t always show under all subsequent comments. Though on mobiles, after one gets the notification of a new reply, and reads it, it gives the option “Show more”, and then a colored button shows up that says “Reply”.
        I wonder now where my comment will appear.

      • carn says:

        I seem to have missed one post above, so also answered here:

        “If a person truly is “rigid, moralistic, ethical but without kindness” why is this not as much of a problem as say, flagrantly sinful behavior?”

        It is as problematic.

        “People already know in their hearts they are breaking the law. What will motivate them to stop? Being told “That’s wrong” by the pope do you think?”

        Maybe they know in their heart; but not in their mind. Motivating them to stop therefore in my view requires both, love and getting the information into their mind, that they are breaking the law.

        How to do that, can be tricky.

        But it seems to me that quite a number of people want to skip the second part; and that they feel encouraged by the Pope, due to the Pope placing little emphasis on the latter (or when he does, the information what exactly the law breaking is, does not reach the mind correctly).

        The number of people wanting to skip the first part is in my view rather low.

        But there might be a lot of people not wanting to skip the first part, but yet unintentionally giving the impression of doing so.

        Maybe some pictures of the people which i think a relevant number of people in German church hierarchy consider to be of those problematic type skipping love might shed some light:

        here are the nefarious legalistic messages they want to be thrown as stones at women:

        They actually managed to impress someone around Pope Francis sufficiently to get a private audience, although they are legalistic stone throwers:

        Maybe you are a bit surprised why i think that these is what counts as legalistic stone throwers in Germany.

        But that is what i gather from how they are treated by some bishops and other people, who are so full of how fantastic Pope Francis is and how we should not be rigid. I cannot present conclusive evidence, but some indication:

        The official web site of the German bishops:

        1 hit

        The rather important web site domradio from Cologne:

        0 hits

        German vaticannews subsite:

        0 hits

        (Evidence that German abortion counsel groups are noteworthy news subject of vaticannews:

        Donum Vitae is a deliberate dissident group defying continuously an explicit request still from JPII and one news item “D: Bischöfe würden Donum Vitae” is that the bishops say something positive about them)

        And now a “conservative” site, which is getting more and more critical of the direction the Pope seems to take the church:

        38 hits

        From my perspective its clear who is positive about group “1000plus” (more traditional minded catholics) and who is negative (reform minded catholics); and i have a bit more background information from some personal exchanges.

        Those 1000plus people who with their lovely pictures try to reach pregnant women in crisis who ponder about abortion and who from what i can estimate literally life up to their name and save 1000+ human beings yearly from abortion – they are pariah not only for secular people and press, they are pariah for “reform minded” catholics and prelates in Germany.

        And they are loved and cherished by any trad in Germany.

        And the only explanation i see:

        They stick with abortion being always wrong (and BTW many of them are catholics honoring the request of JPII, which the officially dissident group Donum Vitae ignores and these are praised by bishops).

        They can drench their work in love all they want, they will be pariah for “reform minded” cause they stick with the law.

        So the ones verbally concentrating on the “love” part of Catholicism in Germany shun those who try hard to honor both law and love, while the ones verbally concentrating on the “law” part of Catholicism in Germany celebrate them.

        Accordingly, at least for Germany the lack of respect for the law is so severe that it hinders very promising and very christian pro-life efforts by closing the hearts and minds of many people in hierarchy to this effort.

        (I know for sure that beside the one auxiliary bishop Renz who tries to help 1000plus there are bishops positive about them; but they are not in a strong enough position)

        “Maybe, in our country we have been exposed to some more of it than you have. Just saying. What I have seen and experienced from some (again, not all) trad Catholics is mind boggling to the point that you would not believe anyone who calls themselves a Christian could speak in such a filthy way.”

        I concede that in the US there are probably a lot more problematic trads, also in the pro-life movement;if the entire world were like the USA then the Pope’s words would make some sense; the vast deserts in the US are also partially suffering from blizzards.

        But in Germany trads celebrate the ones trying to reach women pregnant in difficult circumstances with love and compassion as heroes and the people warning about too much law shun them. Germany has not seen any problematic trad blizzard in decades (that is unless one counts Ratzinger, Müller and similar people as problematic trads, as the German reform minded people do).

        And don’t worry about me receiving unfriendly comments from “lovers of law”; i fear them less, cause i am probably better at law than most of them; i fear the “haters of law” more, cause they are not bound by anything than their own whims.

      • carn says:

        Long answer might have had some problematic passages, so short answer:

        “Now I ask you to read my mind and trust me when I say- some of these lovers of the law are vicious, filthy, and cruel, and I am not exaggerating.”

        I trust you with that. Some or many “lovers of law” will act like that, though i would consider such lovers of law not true lovers of law (cause a true lover of law will get from time to time that parts of the law about presumably innocent till proven guilty and sins/faults of others usually do not excuse own sins, which among other things has the consequence that it is usually wrong to use “vicious, filthy, and cruel” words).

        “Maybe, in our country we have been exposed to some more of it than you have.”


        But in my country you can end being filed as an evil, heartless pharisee the moment you just indicate what the law says and that you are in agreement with this. And it helps little to do it in a loving and compassionate way. You are evil as indicating what the law says might cause discomfort in those breaking the law.

        And if someone is responsible for the whole world, and some parts of the world have problems with blizzards and other parts have problems with droughts, that person should not talk only about blizzards.

        Especially if people in the part of the world with droughts trying to construct irrigation systems are decried as bringers of blizzards.

        A missed question from above:
        “People already know in their hearts they are breaking the law. What will motivate them to stop? Being told “That’s wrong” by the pope do you think?”

        People must also know it in their mind, that they are breaking the law. So however lovingly it is done, in some form they must intellectually be made aware about the law. So some indication should be there from time to time; which means – see above – that some (inside the Church) will consider you to be evil.

  8. Ralph says:

    It is pretty clear that many American Catholics (and maybe Catholics in other countries) allow their political ideology to dictate their religion instead of the other way around. I agree that I would prefer dissent to be open. One thing I have to say for liberal dissenters is that they usually tend to be open about their dissent as opposed to claiming that they are literally more Catholic than the pope when they dissent from Church teachings, a stance that seems to be more common on the right.

    However, I doubt honestly will prevail since the combatants in this ideological battle see it as life or death and are willing to pour a lot of time and money into promoting their views. This is why I disagree with calls to give more power to the laity. All it would do is cause even more division as ideologically-motivated laypeople try to dominate the Church. The Church is NOT a democracy, something I used to hear often from people under the last two popes but curiously not so much now.

    Clergy should also be held to a higher standard when it comes to behavior and dissenting opinions, especially on social media. They are supposed to be shepherds, not ideological combatants. There should be disciplinary consequences for sowing dissent and division online or offline. Again, this should apply to both “liberals” and “conservatives.”

    At the end of the day this conflict is bad for ordinary Catholics who only want to grow in their faith and not engage in constant ideological warfare. This is why I usually recommend that Catholics stay away from most Catholic media outside of official sources which should be strictly governed to maintain fidelity to the Holy Father. I make an exception for Where Peter Is because I have not sensed a strong conservative or liberal bias to this website. But much of the rest of the Catholic media world is severely biased. This is not like politics. The stakes here are much higher. I can see many people losing their faith over these ideological battles and that would be very sad indeed.

    • Jane says:

      To be Catholic, from all I have learned, is to be neither conservative nor liberal. To be Catholic, from all I have learned, is to keep close and adhere to the four marks of the Catholic Church: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. . . which is why, like you Ralph, I like this site so much. Here at WherePeteris, I am being taught by the Holy Father, MY Holy Father, with an attitude from this site, of humility and obedience. This site is fresh air for my soul 🙂

    • ONG says:

      Very good, Ralph.
      Now let’s find and develop the proper strategies of communication to balance the polarizations, and which media are to be avoided or promoted.

      • M says:

        I couldn’t reply above for some reason but I wanted to thank you very much ONG for posting the article above. Another help from my pastor. For this type of talk of his is what saved both myself and my husband from just that attitude, and you could say we have both been transformed into people who try hard now to stop making our faith about *finding fault* here there and everywhere, as we used to do, and now do at least try to humbly seek the Lord who loves us with such tender love as to save us even from our intellectual pride. Thank the Lord for the beauty and love of these words of our pope! God bless you today.

      • ONG says:

        My pleasure M., many blessings in return to you and your family.

        I wish I had everything saved like that one, but many of these old translations haven’t been transfered to the new Vatican News/Media.

        Yes, Pope Francis is a tremendous source of inspiration for all people if they could only open their heart and be touched by his words instead of criticizing him unfairly for trivia.
        Pax Christi

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