“God has imprisoned all human beings in their own disobedience only to show mercy to them all.”

— Rm 11:32 (NJB)

When Pope Francis ended his Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2016, he issued an apostolic letter entitled Misericordia et Misera, dedicated to the theme of mercy. In this letter, His Holiness extended permission to any priest to validly grant absolution in the Sacrament of Penance with people who had procured an abortion (before this allowance, only bishops and priests specifically given such a mandate by the bishops could do this, given the sin’s gravity.)

However, this was not the only allowance granted by Misericordia et Misera. Francis also indefinitely extended the faculties he granted to the priests of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) to validly celebrate the Sacrament of Penance beyond the Jubilee Year. This society, I remind you, is not in a regular situation with the Holy See, since it was created out of rebellion against the Second Vatican Council. Priests of the society are considered suspended, and had not been able to validly absolve sins until Francis gave them permission.

I was struck by these two allowances and by how closely they were tied together. They are the only two allowances granted in Misericordia et Misera, and they appear one right after the other. The Pope even enclosed both in the same section! And that section deals with nothing more than those two allowances!

I don’t know for certain that he did this on purpose, but I sincerely think the Pope is giving a very subtle catechesis here. In fact, I’m surprised it doesn’t seem to have been more widely noticed: the Pope appears to be suggesting that the SSPX benefits from the same mercy given to the sinners of procured abortion.

The SSPX and like-minded Catholics tend to judge post-abortive women very harshly, and they don’t take kindly to the concept of mercy as practiced by the post-conciliar Church. Therefore, the Pope’s connection of the two situations is very meaningful.

Additionally, Pope Francis gave SSPX priests the faculty to be vehicles of God’s mercy. It’s as if he was telling them: you need to be merciful. Or rather: you need to (re)learn the value of mercy if you are to shepherd a flock in communion with the Catholic Church.

I get chills when I think about how God’s mercy seems inexhaustible except in two situations: 1) being unrepentant and (most importantly for this article) 2) not showing mercy to others.

It’s all over the Bible. There’s the parable of the Unforgiving Servant, pardoned of his debt by his lord until he refused to show mercy to his own debtor. There’s the Lord’s Prayer, where the forgiveness we ask God for our sins is conditional on the forgiveness we ourselves are willing to extend to those who have offended us. There’s the forgiveness that Jesus Himself granted the adulteress, since her executioners were sinful too (“he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone“). And there’s that ominous warning (emphasis from now on is always mine):

Judge not, that you may not be judged, For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again

— Mt 7:1-2

I recoil in horror whenever I see papal critics disparaging mercy as a kind of stumbling block, treating it as the fruit of a Kumbaya spirituality from the modernist “Church of Nice.” It’s like a person refusing a lifeboat and mocking the existence of lifeboats while their ship is sinking. They gnaw at the rope of mercy, so that those they deem sinners may not grab it, without realizing that the rope of mercy was cast to them as well.

The problem is, they do not see themselves as in need of mercy. Or rather, they do. They confess themselves to be sinners all the time, and seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and understand the value of mercy as a Christian virtue. But they see themselves in need of mercy on their own terms. They acknowledge their sins, but only according to their worldview. They remain unrepentant of sins that they consider virtuous according to the aforementioned worldview. And unrepentant hearts are incapable of receiving mercy, for they do not see themselves as in need of mercy at all.

They talk about Hell all the time, they see Hell as a central dogma in their religion, they demand that clergy talk about Hell more, they almost seem to lavish at the idea of Hell. But they always talk about Hell in relation to others. They do not see their path as conducive to Hell. They think that if someday, by some twist of fate, they end up in Hell, it would’ve been in spite of that path, not because of it.

The problem is that their path is sinful as well. And it is sinful according to the same qualitative measure as the sins they obsessively decry. In fact, their sin, while qualitatively equivalent to the other sinners, is quantitatively graver: as well-informed Catholics, they should know better.

But they continue on their merry way, scoffing at the idea of metanoia. They waste their days immersed in social media, chastising others for their sinful ways–sometimes in the most uncharitable manner. Yet God forbid anyone (even the Pope!) dare to chastise them: that means the Pope is alienating faithful Catholics! They think the “Church of Nice” should stop watering down doctrine to other sinners, but God forbid that the Pope would use strong wording against them!

They waste their days lecturing others, trying to devise clever arguments to convince others to change their minds. But what do they do when someone tells them they should change their minds themselves and accept the doctrines from which they dissent? When that happens, they invoke the principle of “prudential judgment.” Or they can regurgitate the arguments of their favorite pundit, explaining away with a lot of verbiage why what the Church teaches is not actually what the Church teaches (so confusing!). Or they simply apply their personal non-authoritative interpretation of Tradition to condemn as heretic that same Church they tell modernists to follow. They already have everything figured out! Orthodoxy is, by definition, whatever they and their faction already believe it to be: it’s only others that need to become orthodox.

Many waste their days attending conferences with speakers that tell them what their itchy ears want to hear, that the Pope is wrong and they are right. They then go back into the world demanding that bishops and Catholic institutions ban speakers they think are liberal sinners bent on destroying Church teaching, or to fire liberal teachers, or to excommunicate sinners. But God forbid that the bishops or the Pope do anything to prevent their favorite public figures from hijacking the throne of Peter and setting themselves as the true interpreters of Tradition! Then the Pope is cracking down on faithful Catholics, trying to silence them, the Dictator Pope!

They waste their days in churches that exist in an irregular situation with the Catholic Church, while insistently telling others that they should come to full communion with the Church. But God forbid anyone tells them that they themselves need to come to full communion with the Church! Then all kinds of lawyerly excuses are invoked to tell people that they are not schismatics, they are technically within the boundaries of the Church. But they are technically within the boundaries of the Church, not because they are right, but because of the Church’s benevolence towards them: the same benevolence they criticize all day and night!

Throughout my articles, I have tried to show the parallels between these papal critics and Protestants. Or the parallels between these papal critics and Modernists. Or the parallels between these papal critics and the divorced and remarried in an irregular situation with the Church. I tried to do so to wake them up! For they waste their days complaining about the Protestantization of the Church, or about how Modernism infiltrated the Church, or about how the Church should not grant communion to the divorced and remarried!

I say this very strongly, but not out of fury, or with condemnation in my voice, but with an undying frustration. It pains me deeply to know they are doing this, the evil they are self-inflicting upon themselves! Oh, how I wish they would listen and turn away from this path! How should they be trembling for condemning others for the sins they themselves commit! For denying mercy to others who make the same mistakes as they do! For judging others with a measure that can and will be used against them on that Final Day!

Why do I employ such fearful language, such as “trembling” and “Judgment Day”? Aren’t we living in Francis’ Church of Mercy? Isn’t this a quasi-universalist Church, where everyone is believed to be saved?

This is a misconception from people swayed by propaganda, blinded by opinion-makers, paradoxically “taking the red pill” to lull themselves into an illusionary bubble with no contact with reality. But these people should know better! As (alleged) well-informed Catholics, they should read Church documents on their own, and not just commentaries on them by pundits bent on shredding these documents apart! As apologists who defended Benedict XVI against the character assassination cabal mounted against him by the secular media, they should know better than to fall on the same tactics being now employed against Pope Francis by dissenting media! As Catholics, they should know better and should actually know what their pontiff teaches.

Then they would know that Pope Francis actually is very serious about the concept of Hell! And they would know that Francis has stated that God’s mercy is not infinite, and when mercy ends, then justice inevitably comes.

“God’s mercy is not infinite (…) Don’t say: “God’s compassion is great, he’ll forgive me for the many sins”, and so I continue doing what I want. Don’t say that. And one more advice from this father, this “grandfather”: “Do not wait to convert yourself to the Lord”, to change your life, to perfect your life, to remove all those bad weeds, we all have them, get them out… ” Don’t wait to convert yourself to the Lord, don’t postpone it from day to day because the anger of the Lord will suddenly burst forth”

Those who demand a Church more focused on justice, by trying to downplay the weight of mercy, should do well to re-examine their behavior. It will backfire on them. And when they are overwhelmed by the weight of that same justice they demanded, how will they plead the only thing that may save them: mercy?

Please consider: one of the things they dissent on is Amoris Laetitia‘s allowance of access to communion to some divorced and remarried people. They vigorously assert that Pope Francis is disrespecting the Eucharist, by allowing people in mortal sin to partake in communion. And yet, Pope Francis is perfectly aware of the dangers of desecrating the Eucharist. For Amoris Laetitia also says, in paragraph 186:

“The Eucharist demands that we be members of the one body of the Church. Those who approach the Body and Blood of Christ may not wound that same Body by creating scandalous distinctions and divisions among its members. This is what it means to “discern” the body of the Lord, to acknowledge it with faith and charity both in the sacramental signs and in the community; those who fail to do so eat and drink judgment against themselves

Judgment“… here’s that word again. To whom does it apply? To those who wound the unity of the Body of Christ (the Church) by creating scandalous distinctions and divisions among its members. Is this not what many papal critics do all the time in social media? Create scandal? Create division? Create distinctions that the Vicar of Christ has tried to tear down?

And yet, I’m pretty sure that many of them, after behaving this way so boldly and publicly, just go to Mass and line up to receive the Eucharist. They have confessed all the sins they agree are sins, so what’s the problem? They don’t think they are sinning by being dissenters, they actually think they are saving the Church! They partake of the Eucharist after unrepentantly sinning by denying other people the Eucharist.

One may reply: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they are doing.” Yes, they have been catechized in this warped version of Catholicism, they were taught to believe the words of these pundits and sites and networks as authoritative, they were raised in a cultural context where political polarization lends itself to these kinds of views. They didn’t come up with these excuses and cop-outs so they could reject the fullness of doctrine, they received them from false prophets who once upon a time were almost indistinguishable from true defenders of the Faith.

But the problem with saying “they know not what they are doing” is that they do not extend that indulgence to others. When apologists point out the orthodox doctrine of mitigating circumstances, they just reply that “ignorance” can be vanquished by simply telling people they are wrong. It’s simply a matter of officially notifying the sinners that they are committing a sin, and afterwards the sinners are on their own. The sinners have been informed, now the choice is theirs. However, when apologists tell papal critics that they are wrong in their dissent against Amoris Laetitia, do they turn away from their misguided views? No! They turn their backs, dig in their heels, and scorn and mock! They themselves prove the wrongness of their own approach!

Jesus Himself tells us that all sins can be forgiven, except “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” (Mk 3:28-29). What does this mean? According to the Catechism, “There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit” (#1864).

In other words, mercy can only be limited by a heart that deliberately refuses to accept mercy. For this very reason, I urge those who have strayed onto the path of error and dissent and division: Embrace God’s mercy! Accept your sinfulness, even (or especially) in your actions that you have not regarded as sinful, even as the Church tells you otherwise.

Remove the beam from your eye first, before trying to take the splinter from the eyes of others! If the Pope tells you that you are being rigid, or judgmental, or uncharitable, or wrong, do not reject it in a kneejerk reaction. Do not try to defend yourself. Do not spin the words of the Pope to deconstruct them into meaninglessness or use them to attack His Holiness. Rather, accept his correction as a blessing. Acknowledge that you need to change, first and foremost.

Only then will you understand how much mercy has been granted to you! And only when you have experienced this mercy will you be able to correct others, for you’ll do it out of love and not out of a hollow phariseeism. As Pope Francis explains in Mericordia et Misera, #16:

“We have learned that God bends down to us (cf. Hos 11:4) so that we may imitate him in bending down to our brothers and sisters (…) Once mercy has been truly experienced, it is impossible to turn back. It grows constantly and it changes our lives. It is an authentic new creation: it brings about a new heart, capable of loving to the full (…) Mercy renews and redeems because it is the meeting of two hearts: the heart of God who comes to meet the human heart. The latter is warmed and healed by the former. Our hearts of stone become hearts of flesh (cf. Ezek 36:26) capable of love despite our sinfulness. I come to realize that I am truly a “new creation” (Gal 6:15): I am loved, therefore I exist; I am forgiven, therefore I am reborn; I have been shown mercy, therefore I have become a vessel of mercy.”

Jesus validates this, for He also tells us: those who have been forgiven more, love more; and those who have been forgiven less, love less (Lk 7:47). Do not presume, therefore, that you have been forgiven less. This Easter, let us look at the Crucified before we look at others. And let us look at the Crucified only after we have looked at ourselves. Let us experience the mercy, and embrace it. And, by doing so, turn from the path of sin right back to the path of salvation, which is the path of love and mercy.

[Image: “The Virgin of Mercy“, Enguerrand Quarton, ca. 1452]

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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.

Papal critics: embrace Mercy!

31 Responses

  1. Jane says:

    How difficult it has been to read this article as my family has suffered such heavy crosses from this behavior from others for years. We could be crushed entirely by it, but we refuse to be so and continue to forgive. But forgiveness is not a one-time thing. We have had to forgive and forgive and forgive, over and over and over. . .

    May Almighty God have mercy on us all for this behavior, for we do not know what we are doing. . . to others, but most importantly, to ourselves, if we behave in this manner towards others.

    I really feel that the Holy Spirit has given us Our Holy Father Pope Francis, for the purpose of rooting out this horrific Phariseeism, this judgmentalism, this self-righteous uncharity, this looking down upon everyone while raising ourselves, this horrendous pride, that wounds so many hearts.

    I feel strongly that the Holy Spirit give us exactly the Pope we need for the times we live in. And that is why they are all so different and varied, and concentrate on things different sometimes from the one before them, but always with a wonderful continuity.

    Happy Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday! Thank you very much

  2. Jude says:

    This site has become the “us vs the deplorables” lately (if it wasn’t before).
    Condescension or condemnation…

    I know of no one who tends to treat post abortive women harshly or who doesn’t take kindly to mercy shown to them, Perhaps what they don’t take kindly to is indulgence of pro-abortion forces, even to the point of papal honors.

    It must be terrible believing that everyone around you, most of your fellow Catholic are so shallow and so bitter and that that’s the way it always was. Because they disagree with something the pope did or said doesn’t mean they want others to be damned, or get satisfaction at the thought of sinners being lost.

    • Mike Lewis says:

      While I am not the author of this piece, I strongly disagree with your accusation about our site. Yes, our primary mission is to stand up for the Holy Father and the Church’s teachings on the papacy. It is our intention to be a counter-voice to those websites and media outlets that are extremely critical of the Holy Father.

      We certainly don’t believe that most of our fellow Catholics are shallow and bitter, but it’s clear that a large contingent of Catholics who describe themselves as orthodox and traditional have rejected Pope Francis’s appeals to mercy, reject his magisterial teaching, and have accused him of heresy or worse. Surely you’ve seen articles and blog posts describing Francis’s “False Mercy” or saying his official teachings are not magisterial. We know that these have been effective in turning many Catholics against the Holy Father and put them at odds with the Church.

      And nowhere does this piece suggest that those who are bitter want others to be damned. They want others to be saved, but unfortunately their perspective isn’t aligned with that of the Church. They are blind to the fact that they have fallen into a different kind of error, and therefore are often poor ambassadors of the Mercy preached by the Church.

      This specific piece is an appeal to such Catholics to turn away from their errors and come back into full accordance with the teachings of the Church.

      But this is just one piece. Other pieces are well-researched essays, justifying various Church teachings. Some are commentary on current events. Others, such as yesterday’s, are reflections on some aspect of spirituality.

    • Marie says:

      Jude- You’ve given perfect example. Pope Francis, and others recognize that people are more than just pro or anti abortion. They are God’s people, and you win hearts by embracing the whole person, for you recognize that despite their errors, their intentions are good. Perhaps you, and others should take kindly to having a Pope who recognizes the humanity in all of us. These moments of embracing are opportunities to bring change. Judging does little.
      Happy Easter!

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      I’m afraid I may have not made my point across, which is my fault. If you have seen here nothing but condemnation, I’m afraid that my article failed.

      This is not condemnation. This is a wake-up call. It seems that no matter what we say or do, papal critics are just not open to reconsidering their position. Perhaps showing the danger for their soul would work.

      I actually thought that by using their own rhetoric they might either be convinced or see how they may be wrong to apply it to a secularized society.

      I assure you I do not condemn you and it was out of a burning love that I wrote these words.

      I reject the condemnation charge, but I may admit the condescension one. Unfortunately I didn’t know how to convey my ideas in any other way.

      God bless

      • Pete Vickery says:

        In all the stuff you’ve written Pedro, you have never come across to me as condescending. I’m amazed at the patience and humility you and Mike and others at this site continue to show. I can be condescending and proud wrt the Faith (just ask my family) so I think I know it when I hear it but I haven’t heard it from you guys.

    • Mike Lewis says:

      Jude – A couple of additional thoughts: I think we’ve reached a point where the opposition to Pope Francis has solidified. Certain media personalities have reached the point of openly admitting their stance of “Recognize and Resist” or being “red-pilled.” Two recent events clearly demonstrated how brazen and subversive Francis’s detractors are: The ring-kissing incident and the Muller Manifesto. They aren’t backing down. Sometimes, perhaps, we are imprudent and begin to resemble those we are addressing. It’s certainly worth reflecting on.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        That temptation was actually addressed on my “Showing mercy to traditionalists” article. It is a balance that is even more difficult to maintain than I imagined.

      • Jane says:

        Happy Good Friday to you and all of WPI. I just returned to this site after a week of defending Our Holy Father and a priest who defended him, at another site, and I must tell you it was one word: harrowing. So, thank you for this article. I had to go away from those sites, otherwise the Peace that Christ Our Savior can only give would have been ripped entirely from me. The Devil is alive and well and is doing hard work to tear apart the Church and destroy all the four marks of Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and ONE. God bless you and thank you

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        A Happy Easter to you too! The Devil is indeed at work, but God’s mercy is greater than him, even for those who have been deceived. Let us keep praying and defending the Holy Father and the Church.

      • carn says:

        “the Muller Manifesto”

        I missed what was supposedly bad about that one. Even Cardinal Kasper conceded in arguing against it, that it restates some important things about catholic faith. Can you please give a short hint, what the problem with the manifesto was?

        (That Cardinal Kapser argued against it, i counted of course as a strong argument in favor of the manifesto)

        Or do you mean how it was handled in respective media?

        (I think they interpreted it as an attack on the Pope; which i think Cardinal Mueller did not meant it to be)

      • Mike Lewis says:

        Carn, it wasn’t so much what was in it as what was excluded, and how it was promoted.

        1) Any “summary” of the key points of Catholic truth and teaching, especially in this day and age, should include at least some mention of the papacy or authority in the Church. Muller’s manifesto left out even the slightest mention. This was quite conspicuous.

        2) To see Pope Francis’s critics come out en masse an repeat over and over, “I don’t see how this could possibly be seen as a critique of Francis, it’s just a summary of the Catechism,” was so clearly dishonest, that there was a strong (and well-justified) pushback against it.

        We drafted a piece about it but it never got finished, because the controversy blew over quickly.

    • carn says:

      Try to presume it is this way:

      “This site has become the “us vs the deplorables” lately (if it wasn’t before).”

      Many authors of this site think that papal critics are theological speaking on the same path as Luther, with the added minus of not being honest (Luther was more or less honest about the direction he wanted) and the added minus of attacking a pope with – in the opinion of the authors of this site – few obvious faults (some of the popes Luther attacked objectively had some faults).

      So to them papal critics are like ill-willed and dishonest Luthers.

      Based on that perspective, i think their tone/style is still rather friendly.

      For comparison check out Mark Shea on Patheos. He agrees with a lot WPI writes (linked several of their articles), but has a tone/style regarding in respect to papal critics which does not emphasize friendliness.

    • David says:

      Indeed, I guess these folks don’t even read their own material: the whole thing is a rash, categorical judgment upon those they deem “critics,” complete with straw men and the bogey man of the SSPX. The hypocrisy is astounding. The whole piece is designed to demonize: if you dare to question things said and done by Francis, you are unmerciful, blocking the holy spirit, etc., a rather manipulative approach. Straw man #1: “The SSPX and like-minded Catholics tend to judge post-abortive women very harshly, and they don’t take kindly to the concept of mercy as practiced by the post-conciliar Church” Says who? Upon what data does the author conclude this? We also see here the false equation of any “critics” with the SSPX. (As an aside these folks need some schooling in the status of the SSPX and exactly what it is. For one, there are no lay members of the SSPX, it is a priestly society.)

      Straw man #2 “The problem is, they do not see themselves as in need of mercy. … But they see themselves in need of mercy on their own terms” and on for paragraphs, explaining to us the supposed lives and hearts and minds of some large swath of people, even suggesting these people may be on the path to hell. I guess the author can read souls and knows the personal details and schedules of all kinds of folks? Astounding.

      Straw man #3: “critics” don’t like mercy, want in on their own terms. No, people don’t like a mistaken notion of mercy that is currently in vogue and different from the Church’s concept of mercy before now. The very fact we now have a notion in conflict with what came before should set off the alarm bells. At the least one could say this is Francis’ particular idea of mercy and to say that all previous notions of mercy need to be discarded and Francis’ adopted is dubious, to put it mildly. But that is what they seem to want. I would ask these folks: were JPII, B16, and all prior popes “unmerciful” when they specifically denied- after considering it- communion to adulterers? Either they were and if you want to make that judgment, go ahead. Or, how could the Holy Spirit only enlighten us as to “true” mercy in 2019? How/why could no previous pope recognize such “mercy?” How could the Church deny mercy, grace, etc, for 2000 years as an official position? Were were only prepared to receive such mercy now vs. 6 years ago? The reply is very problematic no matter how it is answered.

      True mercy never permits evil; true mercy is never a way around doctrine or an exception to it; it never says that the ideal is too hard and people should accept compromise or that people don’t necessarily have to change their behavior, which is clearly part of the current notion of “mercy” being championed. It’s no accident we see this notion of mercy also being applied to other things, and by those even in Francis’ inner circle: homosexuality, communion for non-catholics, use of contraception, and with no repudiation by Francis that this is not what he means by mercy. Or one could cite the instances in which he has intervened to let sexual abusers off the hook or stopped investigations from continuing. To say one could not challenge this notion of “mercy” in some given case is even disturbing.

      One easy test of this “mercy” is seen if we change the issue under consideration: let’s say if someone invoked the same line of thinking of Francis in regard to communion for adulterers to another issue: let’s say an employer, through “discernment” and “accompaniment,” decided that although there is a general rule, that he can’t abide by it for the time being, and must pay his employees a substandard wage. We all know these folks would cry foul and say this can’t be justified, etc. Indeed, it is also posed as a real question- why should that appeal be excluded? Of course, it’s no accident the “mercy” card is most played with regard to matters of sexual misbehavior.

      • Mike Lewis says:

        David, we are quite aware of the status of the SSPX, and the fact that it is a “priestly society.” That said, those who attend the masses of the society’s chapels or seek sacraments from the society’s priests are doing so with a group that has no official status in the Church. It is only by the mercy of Pope Francis’s indult that they receive the sacrament of penance validly, and it is only possible with his permission that they have the opportunity to marry validly now as well. (This is the actual position of the Church, not the SSPX’s attempt to justify their position, “supplied jurisdiction” and other fantasies.)

        As for the rest, it seems you’ve hardened your heart and refuse to accept the teachings of Francis on Mercy. You have free will to reject the Vicar of Christ, and it appears you have made up your mind.

        Just understand the seriousness of your rejection of the Magisterial authority of the Catholic Church.

    • Chris dorf says:

      I find this comment very disturbing. It seems to be pandering in victimology for the very people that are being accusatory towards Pope Francis which if you look online on the internet there seem to be tens of thousands of people involved in that activity.

  3. chris dorf says:

    “When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
    –Matt 9:11-13

    When Christians lose sight of this very basic teaching that Jesus reiterated over and over again in the Gospel accounts, they have lost sight of God the Father manifesting thru Jesus, God the Son.

    It is why Pope Francis wrote of Pelagianism, where people believe that they have ‘made themselves holy’ without the need for Grace. It is the reason many seek to be ‘born again’ outside the Catholic Church when they were baptized Catholic and raised in the Church.

    Mercy for sinners, that is ‘all of us’, IS the Gospel message. Pray that you persevere till the end.

  4. jong says:

    Dear Pedro,

    Thanks for your profound article, by telling the Truth honestly it would really hurt some Trads who are there for good and valid reasons. But we know historically what the main objective of their founder was, as exposed by the published conversations between St.Pope Paul VI and Ab.Lefevbre, reading & understanding the answer of Ab.Lefevbre the SSPX will really not embrace Full Communion with Rome as their founder wanted “autonomous status” meaning they wanted freedom from the Church Hierarchy even from the Supreme Pontiff.
    They want to operate and govern by themselves their own church that resembles catholic tone but with No Pope and no Church Magisterium.
    Ab.Fulton Sheen prophecy of satan establishing a counterfeit catholic church in the end times must be pondered deeply as St.JP2 had described clearly the Final Confrontation between the Two Churches in the near future. The Vatican II Church will not be fighting against the People of God who have goodwill eventhough they belong to other faith and religion but Im afraid we will be fighting against the Rad Trads who also profess a catholic faith but are rebellious in nature. As Ive seen in one of Dr.Marshall video that the Trads are thinking if they can unite their clans to solidify their forces.
    The Sedes, other Trads by history belongs to their Mother Founder SSPX.
    It might be possible in the near future this forces will unite again as one clan to fight strongly the Vatican II Church having one recognize leader.
    Im seeing when this Trads clan unites that they will politically elect their own Pope that will become the anti-Pope and forcefully enter Rome to take over the Chair of Peter by the backing of secular forces which satan controlled as prince of this world . This is satan ultimate dream, to sit at the Highest Seat to be adored and worship by men and ofcourse satan wants the Latin Mass(Black Mass), he wont settle for the Novus Ordo for worship.
    Cardinal Ratzinger predicted the Vatican II Church will be reduced to a small poor church but a more pious one.
    Pope Francis already embraced this vision when he said “How I wish the church becomes poor and for the poor.”
    Lastly, can your Truth article wake-up our voluntary separated Trads brothers?
    Maybe some will, but for those who openly resist and the growing Trads channel who now have a regular uploading of topic attacking Pope Francis papacy recycling old accusations and twisting every words and action of Pope Francis this Truth article will be just ignored as usual.
    Even the beautiful historical truth letter of Pope Emeritus BXVI they find a way to twist.So, Im not surprise that the Council of Media will pursue their mission of destroying the Vatican II Mission in the end times. Satan hated the Mercy of God and will do everything to prevent the lost & wounded souls to acces that.S&IHMMP4us.Amen

  5. Arthur McGowan says:

    Wow. I can’t remember a more hateful rant.

  6. M. says:

    I think in second paragraph, it says “had been able to validly absolve” instead of “hadn’t been able to validly absolve?” Or am I confused?

    • ONG says:

      Yes, M.
      Perhaps “[h]ad been ‘unable’ to…”. Though, one would have to distinguish between ‘validly’ and ‘licitly’. But that’s another issue.

      However, let’s concentrate on Easter now so we might manage to accomplish other tasks too.

      Besides, Vatican Media will broadcast some events from Rome later this Friday afternoon and evening. (CET)

      Have a nice and blessed Easter everyone, and don’t let the divisive “Accuser(s)” steal your joy and distract from the walkpath. (See 2Tim 2:20-26)

    • Michael Demers says:

      “had been able to validly absolve sins” should be “had been *unable* to validly absolve sins”

  7. mig says:

    “And yet, I’m pretty sure that many of them, after behaving this way so boldly and publicly, just go to Mass and line up to receive the Eucharist. They have confessed all the sins they agree are sins, so what’s the problem? They don’t think they are sinning by being dissenters, they actually think they are saving the Church! They partake of the Eucharist after unrepentantly sinning by denying other people the Eucharist.”

    Can’t speak for over people (cause i like skill at mind reading), but my thoughts and attitudes about Pope Francis and sometimes also my online communication habits are one item i mention in confession.

    It just seems, that there are roughly three types i end up with:

    – the ones who seem to consider this and my other sins anyway to be so far venial, that they give me the impression that there was not really any need for confession for me (so that i am bordering on scrupulosity)
    – the ones who seem to find the whole matter of naming my sins a bit strange
    – the ones who at least take serious what i name as sins

    The last type seems to be the best i think to go for confession.

    Its just that, when i tell that one of my sins might be sort of unjustified anger at the Pope for so to say wording things badly, i often sense that they see only the anger as sinful and not that the Pope words things badly, cause they agree with that.

    So a bit hard to find in my area a confessor who bothers much about the sin you suggest i should confess.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      God bless you for your confessions. You are right that the best priests are the ones that take our sins seriously, but I would like to point out that even those who don’t give sacramentally valid absolution. Keep up and God bless

  8. Jane says:

    It seems to me that this site was merely set up to say to everyone: “Please be at peace! The Holy Spirit is alive and well, loves us very much, we are in good hands, the Holy Father is indeed 100% Catholic, he is teaching us, we just need to listen and obey, be humble, learn from him, the Lord Jesus has indeed not left us orphans, the gates of Hell are indeed NOT prevailing against the Church, the source of our unity is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church with the Holy Father as the head and all the bishops and cardinals and priests in union with him, as intended by Almighty, we have nothing to fear. . . ”

    I hope I am understanding this website correctly. God bless you 🙂

  9. L. Daily says:

    Excellent article as we wait in the tomb today, Pedro. In 2016, our parish held a series of faith sharing groups centered on the Year of Mercy. The widening road to absolution for both women who had chosen to abort and SSPX priests who had chosen to dissent was a topic of self-revealing conversation. I’ve always believed the Pope offered this as a teaching moment.

    The online church can be very tempting to untrained, self styled apologists who seem caught up in their own celebrity, especially when it becomes their income source. An RCIA inquirer once shared with me that he thought a Catholic “apologist” was somebody who needed to apologize and seek forgiveness. We do need to extend mercy and understanding especially during these Holy Days. Happy Easter.

    • carn says:

      “In 2016, our parish held a series of faith sharing groups centered on the Year of Mercy. The widening road to absolution for both women who had chosen to abort and SSPX priests who had chosen to dissent was a topic of self-revealing conversation. I’ve always believed the Pope offered this as a teaching moment.

      The online church can be very tempting to untrained, self styled apologists”

      No way to say it really politely, but whoever had the job in these faith sharing groups to help avoiding false teaching did a poor job.

      There is no way to make out of what the Pope did regarding SSPX a “widening road to absolution” for the SSPX priests themselves.

      Giving faculty to somebody to absolve sins has no effect whatsoever on that person’s sins.

      So whatever road there was to SSPX priest to receive absolution for any dissent they might be guilty of, it was not changed by their faculties being extended.

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