It seems that hardly a week goes by without another bold intervention into the affairs of the Church by one of the disaffected members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, usually delivered via channels like the National Catholic Register or LifeSite and then spread throughout social media. By now, the gallery of personalities is well-established: Cardinals Müller, Burke, and Brandmüller; Bishop Athanasius Schneider and of course the elusive Archbishop Viganó. Although not all of them are “traditionalists,” they all claim to stand in defense of tradition against what they see as the modernizing influence of the Francis papacy.

Characteristic of all of these interventions is the implicit or explicit suggestion that the pope is at best a naïve bumbler or at worst a looming menace to the faith. In any case, the message is that he must be controlled. They seem to believe it is their duty to tell the faithful—often through media outlets that are (to be generous) notoriously slanted in their reporting—what the pope is obliged to do and what he is forbidden to do. In some cases their warnings and “corrections” come across as presumptuous or even threatening, rather than fraternal.

Such interventions have provided both consolation and inspiration to disgruntled conservative and/or traditionalist Catholics, creating an atmosphere in which odd ideas about the faith have risen to the surface, particularly regarding the role and authority of the pope. Some of these ideas have been expressed publicly in unprecedented ways—at least for the more staunchly “conservative” wing of the Church.

One comparatively mild example is the recent Catholic Herald article by Fr. Raymond de Souza, “The inexplicable transfer of St Peter’s relics to Constantinople” (25 July, 2019). Fr. de Souza, greatly disturbed by the pope’s gift of a reliquary containing bone fragments of St. Peter to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, calls for an explanation behind the decision and asserts that the method of transfer of the relics is frankly “inexplicable.” He rejects the explanation for the decision given by Pope Francis, who suggested it was a spontaneous act, and claims that such an act is not permitted by tradition: “The transfer—‘translation’ in official parlance—of relics is a matter most grave in the cult of the saints and the Church’s liturgical life. The proposition that relics of such importance would be moved as a spontaneous act, without discernment or collegial consultation, without preparation or explanation, without ceremony or solemnity, is wholly and entirely alien to the entire tradition of the Church.”

It is worth pausing for a moment on this passage to appreciate fully what Fr. de Souza is suggesting. The “proposition” he describes is the one offered by Pope Francis, yet he unhesitatingly rejects it and, based on his own private judgment, declares that the pope’s act, concerning a “matter most grave,” “is wholly and entirely alien to the entire tradition of the Church” (italics mine). What kind of authority is required to make such an assertion? I do not believe that Fr. De Souza, despite the titles he holds and the accolades he has received, possesses it.

The article was retweeted on July 29 by Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, who commented, “I have great respect for Fr. de Souza and presume the veracity of what he reports here. This should be widely read and pondered.” What is there to ponder? Is it not possible that the pope’s gift was an act of love as generosity: freely given without any expectation of anything in return, in a humble and unceremonious way with no underlying symbolic resonance, to foster Christian brotherhood? Is the pope not free to do that if he wishes? Fr. de Souza might find it mystifying, but to publicly declare in a major Catholic publication that the pope’s actions in this case are wholly and entirely alien to tradition is itself alien to tradition.

This article came on the heels of another that Fr. De Souza also published in the Herald, on July 18, entitled “Cardinal Sarah: A prophet of our times,” in which he speculates that “when [Cardinal Sarah’s] five-year term at Divine Worship is up this November, there will be many in the inner circle lobbying Pope Francis to give him the same treatment given to Cardinals Raymond Burke and Gerhard Müller—the unceremonious dismissal.” Fr. de Souza is certainly casting aspersions by suggesting that there is an “inner circle” with such a strong influence over the pope’s decisions (which he perhaps means to connect with the “apostasy” that Cardinal Sarah, according to Fr. de Souza, has identified as “underway in many parts of the world, and in some parts of the Church”), but this is not the passage that is potentially most insulting to the pope.

Earlier in the piece, he compares the Cardinal to the prophet Elijah: “As a young archbishop in his native Guinea, still in his 30s, Sarah was marked out to be murdered by the tyrants who ruled his country and found him insufficiently submissive. Like Elijah, he knows what it means to be hunted by the king.” This is troubling imagery. What is Fr. de Souza trying to say by comparing Cardinal Sarah to Elijah and offering this piece of biographical information? How does this relate to the larger theme of what he sees as Sarah’s marginalization, and his worries that the Cardinal will be given the same “treatment” as Cardinals Burke and Müller? We can hope that Fr. de Souza is not positioning Pope Francis as King Ahab, although a reader—particularly one already hostile to the pope—might draw that conclusion from the article.

Another disconcerting example—and there are so many to choose from—is a recent (July 27) article by Elizabeth A. Mitchell from The Catholic Thing. The piece, entitled “When High Noon Strikes,” presents the film High Noon (1952) as an allegorical representation of the battle the author sees taking place over the direction and aims of the upcoming pan-Amazon synod. She first reduces the debate over the synod to a simple binary conflict in which brave upholders of the law are forced to take a stand against “obfuscating outlaws”:

“If the Truth is about to be unraveled on the Amazonian periphery, as all signs from the Instrumentum Laboris for the Amazonian synod indicate, the obfuscating outlaws must be faced down, as Cardinals Walter Brandmüller and Gerhard Ludwig Müller, as well as Bishop Schneider, have done in several important public declarations.”

She then proceeds to describe the inevitable showdown at High Noon between Marshal Kane (representing Brandmüller, Müller, Schneider, et al.) and the outlaw Frank Miller:

High Noon demands men “with direct eyes” (in the words of T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men)—clear-eyed individuals who know God and His unchanging Truth, who speak and act with clarity, men who step forth boldly in their duty. The marshal’s “direct eyes” do not flinch. He answers the call of High Noon.

The moment the showdown is won in High Noon, the townspeople rush from their shuttered parlors and rejoice in the street, thanking the marshal for his bravery. He climbs onto his buggy, his bride at his side, and rides away without a single word.

He has done his duty. He has faced down Frank Miller and his gang. When High Noon strikes, the law is safeguarded by the marshal’s clear stand for the good of all.

In light of this passage, an obvious question arises: who, in this allegory, does Frank Miller, the leader of the outlaws, represent? For many under the sway of Müller, Brandmüller and Schneider, the answer is obvious.

I can’t imagine why any faithful Catholic would share an article like Mitchell’s online, yet it was shared on Twitter by none other than Bishop Strickland (July 27), with an accompanying message of enthusiastic approval:

“A POWERFUL piece. Elizabeth Mitchell is an example of the growing number of courageous Catholic Lay women who are speaking and writing with theological and prophetic clarity. This article deserves to be read by many.”

Perhaps Bishop Strickland considers himself one of these “clear-eyed individuals,” and so his appraisal of the article is biased. We can all, at times, become blinded by self-flattery. All I can see in “When High Noon Strikes” is another crude example of the rebirth of Catholic Americanism and the populist reversal of the Catholic understanding of ecclesiastical authority.

Much of what we see in these examples is mere posturing, since most of those who believe it is the duty of bishops, priests, and even the laity to tell the pope what he cannot do are unclear or evasive regarding what the consequences will be for the pope if he continues to act freely. Not so with Bishop Schneider. In one remarkable passage from his statement on the Instrumentum Laboris for the upcoming Amazon Synod, he takes things further than any of the papal critics who are not already speaking from the twilight realm of sedevacantism:

The successor of Peter, the Pope, has a strict duty, as given to him by God, as the holder of the Seat of Truth (cathedra veritatis), to preserve, in its purity and integrity, the truth of the Catholic Faith, the Divine Constitution of the Church, the sacramental order as instituted by Christ, and the apostolic inheritance of priestly celibacy; and to pass them on to his own successor and to the next generation.  He may not support in the slightest way – by silence or by an ambiguous conduct – the obviously Gnostic and naturalistic contents of parts of the Instrumentum laboris, as well as the abolishment of the apostolic duty of priestly celibacy (which first would be regional, and then naturally, and step by step, then becomes universal). Even if the Pope would do this at the upcoming Amazon Synod, then he would gravely violate his duty as the Successor of Peter and the Representative of Christ, and he would then cause an intermittent spiritual eclipse in the Church. But Christ, the invincible Sun of Truth, will re-illuminate this brief eclipse by again sending His Church holy, courageous, and faithful popes, because the gates of hell are not able to overcome the rock of Peter (see Matthew 16:18). The prayer of Christ for Peter and his successors is infallible. That is to say, that, after their conversion, they will again strengthen their brothers in the Faith (see Luke 22:32).

The sheer audacity of this statement and the strange theology behind it undoubtedly cross a line. Schneider here defines the role of the pope as a purely conservative one. The pope is bound to tradition in every respect, and has only one duty: preserve the truth of the Catholic faith in its entirety as it has always been. He says, astoundingly, “[The pope] may not support in the slightest way – by silence or by an ambiguous conduct – the obviously Gnostic and naturalistic contents of parts of the Instrumentum laboris, as well as the abolishment of the apostolic duty of priestly celibacy . . .” In being so clear in this passage about what the pope absolutely may not do, he also makes clear what he believes the pope must do. The pope must, first of all, interpret the Instrumentum Laboris as he does—as a document containing heresy—and must reject it. He must not alter priestly celibacy (which is, as Schneider surely knows, a discipline rather than doctrine), even in a limited way, “which first would be regional, and then naturally, and step by step, then becomes universal.” Because there is a potential for a slippery-slope scenario, in other words, the pope is forbidden from reforming the reformable.

So what does Schneider suggest the consequences would be if pope does not heed his warnings? On this question Schneider is a little more ambiguous, but his meaning comes through. There would be a “spiritual eclipse” (the dark pontificate of Francis, I assume) after which Christ would send his Church “holy, courageous, and faithful popes,” since “The prayer of Christ for Peter and his successors is infallible.” This proposition, however, turns our understanding of Church and pope upside-down. It changes, radically, what it means to say that “The prayer of Christ for Peter and his successors is infallible.” It suggests that popes could teach error—teach heresy—but would eventually be replaced by good popes. And who would be the guardians of orthodoxy during this spiritual eclipse? Presumably brave bishops like Schneider. Though they would be hunted by the king, or—if you like—forced into protecting the town from Frank Miller and his gang of outlaws, they would persist until a new age in which timeless, unchanging tradition would once again assume its rightful place on the Chair of St. Peter.

All this considered, I no longer think that these self-appointed marshals are merely misguided, standing up in Quixotic fashion to a caricature of the pope, and to a conspiracy of their own imagining—though they are certainly doing that. What we are witnessing with their interventions, more and more, is the construction of a new conception of the role of the pope, or even a new vision of the Church: a pope-less Church of Tradition. In this Church, the Roman Pontiff would no longer possess the “full, supreme and universal power” that he is “always free to exercise” (Lumen Gentium 22). He may still be called “the pope,” but he will be shackled. Tradition and its representatives would monitor, judge, and admonish him, since the only popes who can safely wield supreme power are those who are safely in the past. This is not to say, however, that the pope of this pope-less Church would be stripped of all the trappings of authority. On the contrary, I suspect that such a pope would be treated with the utmost reverence. His actions would be choreographed, and his decisions predicted and applauded. One could be certain that if he ever engaged in the transfer of relics it would be in a solemn manner, for reasons that would be rich with historical significance. He would shine for the world as a glorious living symbol of the Catholic faith. But what he represented would no longer be alive, and for that reason no longer worth preserving.

 


Image: Wikimedia commons

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  1. Avatar Marie says:

    When I think how as young girls, we were lectured about the harm we inflict on others when we gossip and speculate about someone or about their motives, it seriously bothers me. The stereotype of gossiping girls, later to become gossiping women holds steady today, with images of us all circled around each other, in our kilts and tunics whispering tales about some other innocent girl we’ve victimized . A world we were told as girls we were apparently living.

    That’s not the image I have when I think about gossiping and speculating at the expense of another. They are wearing a uniform of sorts, but it’s not a tunic or kilt. Nor is it being worn by girls. Perhaps they should have considered going to the boys schools, and lecturing them and their clicks, because something is seriously lacking in some of the men who claim to serve God. Gossip and innuendo appear to be thriving, where even attempting to destroy the Vicar of Christ is not off limits. Truly shameful.

    Thanks for the great article.

    • Avatar carn says:

      “When I think how as young girls, we were lectured about the harm we inflict on others when we gossip and speculate about someone or about their motives”

      A considerable number of articles here on WPI comprise speculation about the motives of some people.

      E.g. :”All this considered, I no longer think that these self-appointed marshals are merely misguided, standing up in Quixotic fashion to a caricature of the pope, and to a conspiracy of their own imagining—though they are certainly doing that.”

      is verbatim speculation about motives.

      Don’t you see this? Or is it somehow ok for WPI to speculate about motives in your view?

      • Avatar Marthe Lépine says:

        To Carn: I certainly do not see any mention of or speculation about motives in the sentence you are quoting. It is only a statement about the way those critics being mentioned are misguided, based on their own statements about Pope Francis.

      • Avatar Marie says:

        Predicting an outcome and determining motive are two very different things.

      • Avatar carn says:

        @Marthe Lepine
        @Marie

        So you both would suggest that WPI does not regularly speculate or even (what is actually worse) says what supposedly motives are?

        (I consider this worse, cause by saying what someone’s motives must be, i am usually calling out that person a liar, cause usually that person either did not disclose such motives – which would be misleading if the motive were important – or outrightly claims other motives)

        Example:
        https://wherepeteris.com/the-archbishop-doth-protest-too-much/

        Entire piece speculating about the motives of Archbishop Chaput (though fortunately it remains speculation “Perhaps I have misjudged Archbishop Chaput’s positions in this piece.”; but note that even the author realizes that he is judging, which is one of the things supposedly only those evil pharisees do, while you people do it very often and seldom notice)

      • Avatar Marie says:

        There is a big distinction between someone deciding to ignore their vows of obedience to the Church hierarchy and attacking the Vicar of Christ through suspicion and innuendo, and someone defending their faith by questioning the actions of those openly dissenting. A big, big difference.

        How ironic, that those so certain they are the true ‘faithful’ Catholics, and stanch defenders of the family and marriage, have such difficulty practicing basic family values. It is our natural inclination, as a member of a family to protect and defend any member of our family from an assault. We defend our parents, brothers and sisters, and children, because we feel their pain as much as they do when someone says anything that questions their character. In private, we may have our disagreements, but in public we protect them from harm.

        Even in circumstances where their actions are wrong, and we acknowledge as much, we still put forth their good, because we know them well, and know their goodness. These attacks on our dear pope are nothing short of shameful, any which way you look at it. There are a lot of people that are going to have a lot of explaining to do.

        It’s a simple concept: The Vicar of Christ will protect the Church from error in faith and morals because Christ promised us so. It’s time for the dissenters to get over themselves and get back on board. How in the world can one claim to be Catholic and ignore this gift we have been given?

      • Avatar Marie says:

        I also find it pretty interesting that those same dissenters, who openly ignore their vows concerning obedience, are so outraged that the pope offers hope to some divorced and remarried couples who have ignored theirs. Seems to me a vow is a vow. I guess no mitigating factors for them either, right?

      • Avatar carn says:

        @Marie:

        Nothing what you wrote actually answers the question i asked.

        “There is a big distinction between someone deciding to ignore their vows of obedience to the Church hierarchy and attacking the Vicar of Christ through suspicion and innuendo, and someone defending their faith by questioning the actions of those openly dissenting. A big, big difference.”

        There is no difference in both speculating about someone’s motives. You declared above that speculating about someone’s motive to be generally wrong.

        “We defend our parents, brothers and sisters, and children, because we feel their pain as much as they do when someone says anything that questions their character. In private, we may have our disagreements, but in public we protect them from harm.”

        When has Pope Francis ever defended more traditionally minded Catholics?

        He even managed to attack in public people who are unhappy with his handling of abuse and who might be victims of abuse.

        So your vision of trying to keep criticism private is nice; but its hard to see Pope Francis following that, even when looking at pre-Dubia situation.

        That of course does not excuse own errors. But it puts a dent into your picture of painting one side as evil.

      • Avatar Marie says:

        Carn- I think you hit the problem right on the nail. There is no question some are upset with Pope Francis because he is not patting them on the back, hey look at me, I’m against abortion, I’m a front pew Catholic, etc. More accolades please!!! We’ve been good loyal conservative, orthodox Catholics, and he better not forget it. How dare he focus any of his time on the ‘other’ ones.

        Pope Francis constantly defends the faith. It’s not about the accolades, it’s about mercy, humility and gratitude.

      • Avatar carn says:

        @Marie:

        Ok, so you agree that the Pope DOES NOT follow what you suggest here:

        “We defend our parents, brothers and sisters, and children, because we feel their pain as much as they do when someone says anything that questions their character. In private, we may have our disagreements, but in public we protect them from harm.”

        since you admit that he does not defend certain types of Catholics.

        Question:

        Should i follow what you suggest – namely keeping my complaints about family or other Catholics or the Pope private and defend them in public – or should i follow the example of the Pope whom you admitted does not follow what you suggest?

        “Pope Francis constantly defends the faith.”

        The only thing he visibly defends the faith against are real and/or imagined traditional aberrations of the faith. Will be interesting to watch if he ever visibly defends the faith against the far more numerous real and/or imagined liberal aberrations of the faith.

        Currently in Germany it might be possible that a majority of theology teachers at universities do believe that either the tomb was not empty and/or that it is irrelevant whether it was empty; and it might be possible that they are teaching that to theology students.

      • Avatar Marie says:

        Carn- Our pope defends the faith and those disenfranchised, in hopes that the rest of us will open our eyes and try to make this a better world, a world that Christ desires. I did not suggest we go out in public and sing the praises of our family, just defend them when they are attacked. You are asking the pope to give a shout out to the ‘traditionally minded’, masked as defending what attack exactly? Give me a break. What needs to be praised? That you follow Church teachings? If you do, be grateful that somewhere along the line a light bulb went off and you saw the truth. The truth is a blessing, we don’t need any accolades for that, only gratitude. Peace 🙂

      • Avatar carn says:

        “You are asking the pope to give a shout out to the ‘traditionally minded’, masked as defending what attack exactly?”

        Against the public charge of being cold-hearted pharisees.

        If you think that Catholics should defend each other in public, then one would have to defend some people against that charge.

        “What needs to be praised?”

        I talked in the last posts only about defending. Not about praise as you suggest.

        You can twist all the way you like: you suggested that similar to people in family usually defending each other in public and keeping criticism private, catholics should act; and the Pope does not defend traditional catholics against being called pharisees.

        Accordingly, the Pope does not follow your suggestion.

        (Mind: i do not care whether the Pope follows your suggestion; cause it is yours and not mine; but i do care that you fail to admit that the Pope does not do so)

    • Avatar jong says:

      Carn
      Marie could have mention the 8th commandment as “gossiping” and “speculation” is a form of rash judgement and a grave sin and also both are mortal sin if one had full knowledge and full consent on their action and intention. Are the Cardinals and Dissenting Bishops have full knowledge? Yes, as they projected themselves more knowlegeable than the Pope.
      Do they have full consent? Yes, as they are repeating their opposition, criticisn and rash judgement over and over again.
      What can you say about Cardinal Burke, Ab.Vigano, Bishop Scheinder,etc. who are criticizing and making rash judgement on the working document of the Pan Amazonian Synod who have not even discuss more so approved by the Pope?
      Rash judgement stems from lack of prudence and prudence is a gift of the Holy Spirit.
      Therefore, if one lack prudence they are not docile to the voice of the Holy Spirit. So, whose voice they are listening to, if its not coming from the Holy Spirit?
      St.Athanasius has a good answer for that, ” Where there is slander there is satan.”

      • Avatar carn says:

        @jong

        I do not suggest that speculation about motives can be sinful.

        And i have often been at the receiving end of someone saying: “carn you say that because you want …”; and often … is totally completely 100% wrong; and often people do not care when i suggest that it is wrong and that i know better than them, what i want; but often people do not care.

        It’s just that i see this problem in many places and note only with papal critics.

        Besides some criticism about the working document is that it contains heresies. Claiming that some known text contains heresies would only be rash judgement, if one had not or barely read the text. If one reads a text and afterwards claims the text contains heresies, one has to presume that this is usually not rash judgement.

        So here you are guilty of rash judgement; or did you in anyway gain knowledge that “Cardinal Burke, Ab.Vigano, Bishop Scheinder” did not read the text?

        If not, then you ahve to presume at least that their criticism of the text itself is not rash judgement.

      • Avatar carn says:

        upps typo:
        “I do not suggest that speculation about motives canNOT be sinful.”

        Loose a few letters and suddenly you say the opposite of what you wanted to say. Speculation can be sinful

      • Avatar jong says:

        How can they be certain that the working document that they are judging now would be the outcome of the Synod that would be approved? This is the premise where their “rash judgement” falls into.
        A good judgement requires prudence, meaning they will allow first the Synod to take it course as whatever the outcome of the Final Document and upon approval of Pope Francis, then they can now review the approved doctrines and discipline if they want to and it is now the right time to carefully review and make a good judgement.
        The problem with the Dubia Cardinals et, al, is they are spreading criticism & speculation on a subject that does not yet even discuss.
        What kind of wisdom they possess if they acted prematurely? Did they exercise prudence? NO!

      • Avatar carn says:

        @jong

        I was talking about offering an opinion about the document itself.

        Someone saying that:

        https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/06/28/working-document-for-amazon-synod-is-both-a-catch-all-and-a-cover/

        “It is to be stated now with insistence,” Brandmüller wrote, “that the Instrumentum laboris contradicts the binding teaching of the Church in decisive points and thus has to be qualified as heretical.”

        can for this statement not be called guilty with your arguments.

        There is a text. Someone reads it. Afterwards that someone says: The text contradicts the binding teaching of the Church.

        How can you conclude from that itself that a rash judgement happened?

        It is for this statement irrelevant, if the text is a preparatory text for some long process or not; if the text contains heresy, id does contain heresy, no matter what process comes from that text.

        “A good judgement requires prudence, meaning they will allow first the Synod to take it course as whatever the outcome of the Final Document and upon approval of Pope Francis, then they can now review the approved doctrines and discipline if they want to and it is now the right time to carefully review and make a good judgement.
        The problem with the Dubia Cardinals et, al, is they are spreading criticism & speculation on a subject that does not yet even discuss.”

        So you would agree that the asking of the Dubia was ok, cause that followed your requirements of looking at the final document, wait a few months and then go public with the – implicite – criticism?

        But i guess you won’t agree with that; seems like there is never the right time in your eyes.

    • D.W. Lafferty D.W. Lafferty says:

      Thank you Marie. And I only included a small number of examples of the things that are being said. It’s relentless!

    • Avatar George Palantine says:

      Boy, I think you really misunderstood the position of those that oppose Pope Francis. They are not “gossiping” in any way. They are laying out the teaching of the Catholic church, as it always has been, and then pointing out where Pope Francis seems to be drifting away from that teaching. Now, some may applaud what they consider a “bold new approach” and some may oppose what they see as a “destruction of the tradition and teaching of the church”. But neither side is merely “gossipping” and it is a disservice to suggest that real, substantive debate about what has become a very confusing time, is simply gossip.

  2. Avatar Pete Vickery says:

    The alarmist critics of Pope Francis remind me of something Clint Eastwood said in one of his movies: they are “Legends in their own minds”. We can be eternally grateful to Pope Francis for unmasking the Pharisees and nut-jobs for us while he leads us beautifully by his Christ-like example. Humble servants of Christ like Pope Francis will always enrage the proud.

  3. Avatar Marthe Lépine says:

    About the use of the argument that ““The prayer of Christ for Peter and his successors is infallible.” used by the critics of Pope Francis, it seems that those critics are excluding Pope Francis from the list of successors of Peter, and I wonder what their reasons are. Who are they to challenge Pope Francis’ perfectly regular election by a Conclave? Where do they think their own authority comes from? Do they think that the Holy Spirit has abandoned this particular successor of Peter and chosen them instead? To me, all this does not seem strange at all, but very very stupid! Or would this be a contemporary manifestation of that “american exceptionalism” that has been condemned by Leo XIII more than a century ago?

  4. Avatar Ralph says:

    It is clear that tradition is now functioning for some Catholics in the same way that sola scriptura does for some Protestants. Unfortunately it has the same problem of interpretation. Apparently any bishop, priest and layperson can interpret tradition and be an authority on the same level or even higher than the pope. Who is to decide who correctly interprets tradition? Are we just going to assume it is the most conservative interpretation? Why would that be the case? I imagine that savvy liberal Catholics could craft arguments that they could plausibly claim are more in line with tradition in the same way that some liberal Protestants have argued that their positions are more in line with scripture. What I find so funny about this situation is that so many of these dissenters were previously the types to loudly proclaim that the church is not a democracy (which is true) but are now theological populists.

    • Avatar George Palantine says:

      You are correct that some traditionalists approach being a protestant sect, who declare the Pope and the magisterium are irrelevant – what matters is simply their personal opinion on things. There is indeed a smallish sect that believes they are the real church, and the church of Vatican II and thereafter is a false church. They are wrong and repulsive.

      But that is not really where the criticism of Pope Francis is coming from. For the most part, opposition comes from Catholics who are entirely comfortable with Vatican II, and do not think their personal decisions are in any way authoritative. What troubles them is that the Pope seems to be coming right up to the line of heresy, but carefully wording things so that he does not cross. But at the same time, he seems to encourage his followers or the laity to cross the line. It seems to be a very clever sort of deception which of course the pope should never engage in. Deception and trickery and legalism never should be the tactics of the pope.

      Those who increasingly oppose Pope Francis are those that know Catholic Doctrine, including Vatican II, very well. They know that some of Francis’s pronouncements are troubling, in that they seem to overturn previous Catholic doctrine. This can not be done, and anyone who understands the Development of Doctrine understands this.

      The Amazon synod Instrumentum Laboris is very troubling, because it seems to endorse weird pagan activities, the notion that the church must learn religious ideas from the native peoples, it seems to endorse weird tree worship or nature worship activities, etc. Some have noted the resurrection of liberation theology in its rambling nonsensical statements. Its tone and substance is very non Catholic. So people are legitimately wondering what in the world is a Catholic pope associating himself with this bizarre stuff.

  5. Avatar Peter Murphy says:

    Brilliant article. What concerns me is how such an article is received by those within the Church who are opposing Papal authority and/or promoting disobedience to the Pope. Maybe it is by denial. Maybe it is in ignorance. History is full of such schismatic movements and, sadly, this may be a way forward for these ultra-conservative ‘Catholics’ in the world today. There are obvious similarities with the formation of the ‘Old Catholic’ church, founded in the 1870s in response to opposition to changes in the Catholic Church, primarily Papal Infallibility. Maybe the Old Catholic church might provide a pathway for current disaffected Catholics. One thing for sure, their behaviour is loud and scandalous but, thankfully, represents only an extremely small part of the Church. I recommend WPI to my many friends and associates. Thank you for your vigilance.

    • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

      It’s interesting… I wonder when a prominent member of the clergy will finally make the leap and break communion with Francis. I see the current rebellion as an extention of the radical traditionalist movement (SSPX, sedevacantism, etc), and the most annoying aspect of their movement is their insistence that they are the true Catholics, Catholics loyal to the pope are heretics, etc.

      • Avatar jong says:

        Dear Mike,
        Pete Vere is a former SSPX member, I just want to ask if there is a truth in this series of articles written by TIA & TCW and there’s a link to another website who is a personal witness that SSPX is tied up to Freemasonry. No wonder why they always try very hard to project it to Vatican II to disguised themselves and deceived their followers.
        Please see this numerous link, they even seen Lefevbre priestly ordination as invalid as the one who ordained him is a Freemason Bishop, so his consecration as Bishop also is invalid as he is not a valid priest.
        I don’t know if Pete Vere had already written an article in other site on this issue, can you share a link. Thanks.
        link;
        Why Mr. Marcel Lefebvre was Never a Priest or Bishop http://todayscatholicworld.com/lefebvre-invalid.htm

        Was Msgr. Lefèbvre a Freemason?
        https://www.traditioninaction.org/Questions/B999_M140_Lefeb.html

        There’s a numerous article link in that series of article, and really it somehow added to my personal reflection on Blessed Ab.Fulton Sheen that when he prophesied that “satan will established a counterfeit church” even the priest in that Church had a questionable priestly vocation & ordination. The scary part of this realization is, to whom they are offering the Latin Masses before Summorum Pontiifcum if they are not in Full Communion with Rome at that time even today? all those Latin Masses violated the Canon of the Mass in the Eucharistic Prayers, as I recall the important words of Cardinal Oulette to remind Ab.Vigano on celebrating & pronouncing the Name of the Holy Father in Eucharistic Prayers to offer the Holy Mass as one united sacrifice to God in the Name of the Pope the Vicar of Christ.

        “Dear brother, how much I wish that I could help you return to communion with him who is the visible guarantor of communion in the Catholic Church. I understand that deceptions and sufferings have marked your path in the service to the Holy See, but you should not finish your priestly life involved in an open and scandalous rebellion that inflicts a very painful wound to the Bride of Christ, whom you pretend to serve better, while causing further division and confusion among the People of God. How could I answer your call except by saying: stop living clandestinely, repent of your rebelliousness, and come back to better feelings towards the Holy Father, instead of fostering hostility against him. How can you celebrate Mass and mention his name in the Eucharistic Prayer? How can you pray the Holy Rosary, or pray to Saint Michael the Archangel, or to the Mother of God, while condemning the one Our Lady protects and accompanies every day in his burdensome and courageous mission?”
        http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/cardinal-ouellet-writes-open-letter-to-archbishop-vigano

        Is SSPX the “counterfeit church” prophesied by Blessed Ab. Sheen, as he foreseen the event that Vatican II Council will create a division among the Catholic prelates,clergy and laity. The SSPX separated and established their own church and from the mouth of Ab.,Lefevbre he requested an “autonomy” an independent church resembling “catholic tone only” but not under the authority of the Vicar of Christ. Therefore it is only church that resembles catholic tone but with No Pope and Living Church Magisterium.

        I cannot see any “counterfeit church” that would fit in the description of Blessed Sheen who resembles a “catholic tone only” maybe the Sedes but it also originated from the SSPX. I can see now the reason why Dr.Marshall wanted to unite the Rad Trads into one clan of opposition. The recent great article of Mike Lewis calling some catholic oppositionist as JP2 catholics is new to me.

    • D.W. Lafferty D.W. Lafferty says:

      Thanks Peter. I think the comparison to the Old Catholics is accurate. And you’re right . . . it is only a small number of very vocal Catholics. The silent majority, who we don’t hear much from on social media, seem to love Pope Francis.

    • Avatar George Palantine says:

      This shows that papal defenders fundamentally do not understand what the debate is about. Those who oppose the pope do not in the least oppose papal authority. What they oppose is the misuse of the papacy to advocate for changing Catholic doctrine on the sly, without expressing these changes in official magisterial documents and pronouncements. If the pope wishes to change something, he needs to do it in an official magisterial document, not casually in a speech, or by misdirection by a private letter to a group of bishops from one country, or by having his surrogates make statements. He cannot change doctrine by changing the Catechism, because the Catechism is simply a summary of magisterial teaching, it is not magisterial teaching itself.

      You have to wonder why Pope Francis insists on never making an official pronouncement, but rather hints at things in footnotes, says things in speeches, changes the Catechism, etc. All designed to mislead the public as to what the weight of his pronouncement really is.

      So quite simply IF the pope decides to reverse Catholic teaching in an official magisterial document, we have a grave crisis, since Pater Aeternis says that the pope merely preserves Catholic doctrine, he does not reverse it or simply alter it. He simply does not have the power to do so. That is why Pope Francis appears to always do things by misdirection. It looks like he wants to change things, knows he cannot, then decides to fool people by making quasi magisterial statements which have no effect at all on the magisterium. This provides him with plausible deniability.

  6. Avatar H. Thomas Augustine Liu says:

    “But when Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I [Paul] opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned.” (Galatians 2:11)

    Where is the place for that in your ultramontanism, Mr. Lafferty?

    “He may still be called ‘the pope,’ but he will be shackled.” –Frankly I do not see the problem with such an arrangement. Leaders are not free, not if they are servants. Responsible monarchs are always chained down, usually by the exacting demands of unity and continuity. The Holy Father, though, is not only held down by these; he is the chosen custodian of the one Deposit of Truth by which all mankind can be saved. He, like all of us, will one day stand before the truly supreme Judge, his lot heavier because he has more duties to answer for. Is it logically impossible for him to benefit from warning and criticism from time to time? Or are there better persons to offer them than the Cardinals, his appointed advisors?

    I agree with Mr. Lafferty that many critical remarks against the Holy Father have been irreverent, and others plainly absurd. But the piece leaves the impression that the sole and appropriate alternative is absolute, arbitrary power without criticism. More nuance is in order.

    • Avatar jong says:

      H. Thomas Augustine Liu
      “But when Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I [Paul] opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned.” (Galatians 2:11)
      This is the favorite passages of all who wanted to justify their disobedience, opposition, rebellion and resistance to Church Authority esp. to Pope Francis.

      I have only one simple question to you, can you name me who among the Dubia Cardinals, Dissenting Bishops & Theologians and all dissenters that you can boldly proclaim their “spirituality & holiness” are in the level of St.Paul holiness & docility to the voice of the Holy Spirit? Can they say to themselves “it is no longer I who lives but Jesus too? I don’t think so..

      Ok, how about reading St.Paul letter to all Dissenters who embraced “disobedience & resistance” to the Vicar of Christ a God-ordained servant?
      What can you say about the passage below?
      “Every [a]person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except [b]from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore [c]whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”(Romans13:1-2)

      Now tell us, what is the fate of those who “resist” the Pope according to St.Paul?

      The problem is your interpretation of Galatians2:11 is absolutely wrong, why? St.Paul did not “ACCUSE” Peter in that passage, the Holy Spirit had inspired St.Paul to “CONVICT” the wrong behavior of Peter and not for teaching any error or heresy.
      The Holy Spirit “convicts” not “accuse”, who is the accuser in the bible?
      When one “accuse” their brethren much more a God-ordained servant, whom they are imitating?(Read Revelation12:10) .. Accusing,judging and condemnation are the works of the devil and Satan is the Great Accuser in the bible.

      • Avatar George Palantine says:

        The answer is to be found in Pastor Aeternis, which tells us that the Pope cannot change Catholic doctrine. This is a council talking, not just idle talk. Your position is that the Pope, since he is guided by the Holy Spirit can deny the bible, or could ignore each and every item in the creed. Your position is not tenable.

  7. Avatar Ed says:

    People do seem to disagree in good faith about the authority of the popes. To my mind the following is correct:

    Pope’s formal teaching: Authoritative, sometimes infallible.

    Everything else a pope does: Instructive (we hope), but not authoritative, certainly not infallible, sometimes badly misguided.

    Whether that justifies public and intemperate criticism of a reigning pope is another matter. Personally I’d much prefer the Church’s dirty laundry not to be aired in public, but then senior churchmen do have a duty to reassure the faithful that it isn’t the 1970’s again.

    I think there is a great danger in saying that you have to be loudly in favour of the current pope in order to count as a good Catholic. We’ve had bad popes before and I daresay we’ll have more in the future, so it is at least logically possible that the current pope may not be that great himself.

    Personally I think Francis is a mixed bag, though he’s hard to make out.

  8. Avatar Peter Aiello says:

    I think that if Catholics understood that infallibility also applies to anyone who has the Spirit of Truth, which includes lay people, they would get less upset every time Pope Francis says or does anything (see Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium 12). He is one of many. God is the one who actually knows those who are His. Ecclesiastical rank doesn’t determine this.

    • Avatar jong says:

      Peter Aeillo
      WPI already addressed your embraced confusions in interpreting Lumen Gentium12 for nth time. It seems to me that the spirit of truth??? that is guiding you is also the fake holy spirit that guides the bible alone faith of some of our bros/sis.. It already produces 33,000 infallible interpreter, ooops sorry I was mistaken, it’s now 45,000 and were projected to become 55,ooo in five years time. Is the Spirit of Truth the author of confusions & divisions?

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        How do you believe that Lumen Gentium 12 fits into the discussion on infallibility? Anyone who has the Spirit of Truth has supernatural discernment in matters of faith.

      • Avatar jong says:

        Peter Aiello
        I pity you, kindly read back your own posted comment claiming individual “infallibility” citing LG12. and now you are singing a different tune.
        You have the freedom to discern the Truth, but the Truth was deposited to the One,Holy, Apostolic & Catholic Church(1Timothy3:15) and can only be interpreted by God ordained servants who have a teaching authority coming from Christ.
        Who ordained and gave you a teaching authority?
        The voice of Peter is the Voice of Christ.(Luke10:16), can we say the same with you?

  9. Avatar Wendy Field says:

    Tradition and Liberal are wrong labels for the divisions in the Church. The division is between orthoxy…fidelity to the Pope and Magisterium…and disobedience; humility and pride. True Tradition is what is handed down from Peter through the Popes, guided by the Holy Spirit. When you go against this and replace it with your own ideas, then you are a “protestant”…..and no longer a Catholic.

  10. Avatar jong says:

    Peter Aiello
    I pity you, kindly read back your own posted comment claiming individual “infallibility” citing LG12. and now you are singing a different tune.
    You have the freedom to discern the Truth, but the Truth was deposited to the One,Holy, Apostolic & Catholic Church(1Timothy3:15) and can only be interpreted by God ordained servants who have a teaching authority coming from Christ.
    Who ordained and gave you a teaching authority?
    The voice of Peter is the Voice of Christ.(Luke10:16), can we say the same with you?

  11. Avatar jong says:

    carn
    I will give FACTS and not opinion. What did the Dubia Cardinals et,al & Rad Trads channel told their confused followers & viewers in last year Youth Synod, the Church with regards to homosexual issues? they are very noisy criticizing a lot of things that the Youth Synod will approve.
    What happen? I remember the famous word LGBT, all the Rad Trads are claiming it will be included in the document, but what happen? They are all wrong in their RASH JUDGEMENT.
    Here’s the Official Vatican Document link(http://www.synod.va/content/synod2018/en.html), read it and tell us, if any among the criticism & rash judgement they had made before the Youth Synod for Vocational Discernment ever happen. They are all wrong and committed rash judgement and it is a mortal sin because their action and intention was display in full and publicly.
    Now, they keep on repeating the same mistake, what if all their criticism & rash judgement again and again will not happen on the Amazonian Synod?
    And ofcourse, certainly it will not happen,why? The Final document from the Amazonian Synod outcome will have to pass thru the Wisdom of the Church united to the Pope the Supreme Guarantor of Faith. What is the 2000 years Tradition? The Church united to the Pope is guided by the Holy Spirit it cannot err.
    Have you ask yourself why the Rad Trads since Day1 thru the Council of Media established by satan human cohorts as Pope Benedict XVI revealed in Feb. 2013, I mean the synchronize attack all over the media & social media platform to paint a bad picture of the Vatican II Church and dignity of Pope Francis, what is their ultimate goal?
    The Council of Media are continuously cooking lies and deceptions since Day1 and waiting and waiting for the right time their opposition numbers increases and their followers getting deceived to march towards Vatican to shout in unison, “Pope Francis resign”, all this noises boils down to one thing they want the ouster of Pope Francis and take over the Chair of Peter for them to politically appoint a Pope that will become the Anti-Pope. Proof?
    1. Filial Correctio was petition to call Pope Francis resignation and it failed miserably as their evil intention was exposed using Donum Veritatis guidelines that they ignored.
    2.The Dubia Cardinals failed too, why? Because, during Filial Correction, Amoris L. was not yet an approved Magisterial Teaching but during the time when the Dubia Cardinals openly expressed their contradiction, sorry for them the Argentine College of Bishops submitted an interpretation & guidelines that raises the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis to a level of authentic Magisterium and even the CDF approved it.
    3. The TRUTH & FACTS, is, all the Rad Trads lies & deceptions were exposed and their accusations failed., but did they stop? NO!..Here’s comes Ab.Vigano accusing Pope Francis without providing a single proof, and all the Rads Trads are noisy again all over media & social media. What happened to Ab.Vigano’s accusation? After all the noises of the Rad Trads, Ab.Vigano’s lies or false accusation were discovered by the Media itself. Did Ab.Vigano admitted his lies and fabricated accusation on Pope Francis? No, sadly he still continue up to now criticizing & accusing Church Hierarchy up to Pope Francis despite of the proven FACTS that he LIED in his original testimony.
    What is the chanting of Rad Trads to Ab.Vigano, he wants him to be their Pope. Will they politically appoint Ab.Vigano to Papacy if they succeed in ousting Pope Francis? But sorry for them it will not happen as Pope Francis is a Luminous Pope, the Light of Christ that clothe Pope Francis will just blind them easily, even Satan cannot go near Pope Francis as he was deeply devoted to St.Joseph the terror of demons and had already invoke again the St.Michael’s prayer and Sub tuum praesidium, the wall of protection of Pope Francis is too much for all the Satan human cohorts to penetrate. “Sanctity is stronger than scandal” (Pope Francis)

    Read this latest Lifesite News article, wherein straight from Monsignor mouth they wanted to march straight to St.Peter, what is the purpose?https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/theologian-stalinist-methods-with-velvet-gloves

    I hope you you take time to analyze all the FAILED attempts of the Council of Media to oust Pope Francis since Day1 as some of them who spread the lies that Pope Francis is not the True Pope were now proven wrong by the numerous testimonies of Pope Benedict XVI himself. But still the arrogance of the Rad Trads once again are in full display as they contradicted even Pope Benedict XVI himself. So clearly no explanation will satisfies their rebellion,opposition and disobedience as they even proud to embrace the evil attitude of “recognize and resist the Pope” forgetting that this will lead all of them to eternal damnation as St.Paul teaches clearly in Roman13:1-2. Do not be deceive. My Jesus mercy.

    • Avatar carn says:

      “I will give FACTS and not opinion.”

      “They are all wrong in their RASH JUDGEMENT.”

      To show that, you would at least have to quote the people supposedly making rash judgement.

      “Read this latest Lifesite News article, wherein straight from Monsignor mouth they wanted to march straight to St.Peter, what is the purpose?https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/theologian-stalinist-methods-with-velvet-gloves

      He discloses the purpose, so why don’t you just quote him?

      “Let us run and try and mend the situation, first and foremost teachers and students of John Paul II, before it is too late. Everyone to St. Peter’s!”

      Some situation is to be mended.

      Which situation?

      ““It seems right to infer that, after the next synod [on the Amazon], Jesus Christ will be declared outdated, because it seems that the Amazon and some other ‘European regions,’ no longer need him for salvation, because they are fine as they are,” said Bux, who has openly criticized the Oct. 6-27 meeting as an attempt to “create another church” by “demolishing” the true Church from within.

      “Meanwhile,” he added, “the ‘moral theology’ of marriage and family desired by the Lord, which John Paul II defended and spread at great personal cost, is declared outdated.” ”

      That supposedly heresies are spread within the Church and more specifically within the JPII institute.

      You know what one would do if one were fact minded?

      Considering:
      a) whether what Bux claims are heresies actually are heresies; and
      b) whether there are indications that these are spread in the Church and/or the JPII institute.

      That is far more relevant than whether the choice of words of Monsignor Bux is bad or not.

  12. Avatar Manuel Dauvin says:

    There is a scene in Soloviev’s “tales of the antichrist” that the conclusion if this article reminds me of.
    “Below, however, in the middle of the hall, straight and immovable, like a marble statue, still in his seat sat Pope Peter II. All those who had surrounded him were now on the platform. But the diminished crowd of monks and laypeople who remained below moved nearer and closed in a dense crowd around him. And one could hear the subdued mutter issuing from them: “Non praevalebunt, non praevalebunt portae inferni.” (Latin for: “the gates of hell will not prevail”).

    With a startled look cast at the immovable Pope, the Emperor again raised his voice: “Dear brothers and sisters! I know that there are among you many for whom the most precious thing in Christianity is its sacred tradition — the old symbols, the old hymns and prayers, the icons and the old rituals. What, indeed, could be more precious for a religious soul? Know, then, my beloved, that today I have signed the decree and have set aside vast sums of money for the establishment of a world museum of Christian archaeology in our glorious imperial city, Constantinople.

    “This museum shall have the aim of collecting, studying, and saving all the monuments of church antiquity, more particularly Eastern church antiquity; and I ask you to select tomorrow from your midst a committee for working out with me the measures which are to be carried out, so that modern life, morals, and customs may be organized as nearly as possible in accordance with the traditions and institutions of the Holy Orthodox Church.

    “My Orthodox brothers and sisters! Those of you who view with favor this will of mine, who can in their inner consciousness call me their true leader and lord, let those come up here.”

    https://www.goodcatholicbooks.org/antichrist.html

  13. Avatar L Daily says:

    Bishop Strickland published the first Vigano letter on his diocesan website in same morning it was released and commanded every priest in the diocese to include it in the weekend bulletin. I called the USCCB communications office that morning to ask if Strickland received approval to endorse Vigano, and the coordinator was clearly shocked and knew nothing about it. It seems that Strickland was part of the EWTN media coupe.

    Dawn Eden Goldstein is shedding light now on recent incidents of EWTN media’s advocating against the Pope with calculated misquotes. We must be vigilant.

    • Avatar Marthe Lépine says:

      After reading your comment, I tried to find Ms. Eden’s posts or stories about EWTN, without success. Could you give a, or some, links, please

    • Avatar Jude says:

      So the bishop has to clear his actions with the USCCB?

    • Avatar George Palantine says:

      You do not understand how authority flows in the church. The USCCB is NOT a body that has authority over individual bishops. it is merely a body that can coordinate activities of the bishops. It has no authority to approve or condemn anything at all that individual bishops do. Actually, individual bishops are the direct successors of the Apostles, and are responsible to Christ and the Pope alone. The USCCB has very little power at all.

      Any individual bishop may decide to teach his flock what he decides to teach. Vigano leveled some serious charges, and Catholics should know about such things. Did you report bishops who allowed James Martin to teach in their dioceses? I doubt it.

  14. Avatar Jim the Scott says:

    One has to marvel at the two irrational extremist sides in this whole debate. On one side you do have a group of “Pope Francis can do no wrong & is the greatest thing since sliced bread & there can never be any principled criticism of the man” lunatics vs the “Pope Francis is the anti-Christ, never does a single good thing, and any mistakes he makes somehow vindicates the errors of the SSPX or Sede crowd or whatever lunatic Radtrad cult I belong too”.

    Well FFFFFFFuuuu……fudge the lot of you.

    Mark Shea and Steve Skojec are two sides of the same coin as is Lifesite and this website.

    Nutjobs. Is there any hope for the future? Well yes (Matt 16:18). I have not lost my faith in the Church or the Faith. But I have lost faith in my fellow Catholics. They are all freakin nuts!!!!

    • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

      Jim, I think your characterization of this site is incorrect.

      For one thing, the stated purpose of this site is to advance the mission and vision of Pope Francis. We also make every effort to remain faithful to the magisterium. What you will find here, therefore, is faithful analysis of Pope Francis and Church teaching, as well as reflections and other writing that’s consistent with that mission. When one of our contributors believes that a criticism of Pope Francis is unfounded or unjust, he or she will address it on this site. Likewise, if a public figure promotes a position on the papacy or magisterium that’s inconsistent with the Church’s teaching or Tradition, we’ll point that out too.

      We do not propose that criticism of the Holy Father on prudential or disciplinary matters is illegitimate. Many, if not all, of our contributors have (from time to time) disagreed with Francis on some of his decisions. The purpose of this site, however, is not to amplify those criticisms. Typically, in such cases, the contributor will remain silent on the matter, at least on this site.

      But our purpose here is to present the Pope’s side of the story, and to refute those whose criticism is unjust or isn’t “principled.”

      • Avatar Jim the Scott says:

        Mike Lewis

        >We do not propose that criticism of the Holy Father on prudential or disciplinary matters is illegitimate.

        I will hold you to that and maybe I will change my mind.

    • Avatar L Daily says:

      “… as is Lifesite and this website (are two sides of the same coin).” Only if you can’take tells lies from truth. A challenge: stop watching EWTN and reading right wing Catholic websites for one month. Read only the daily scriptures and Pope Francis’ daily homilies. See what happens. I’ll bet the ‘confusion’ will clear away.

      • Avatar Marthe Lépine says:

        For info to the readers: I would like to add that it is very easy to find the scriptures of the day: There is Bishop Barron’s daily comment on the Gospel of the day, with a link to the bishops’ conference Web site, and one can subscribe to either one or both. There is not much excuse not to start these readings…

      • Avatar Jim the Scott says:

        L Daily,

        You are a moron & here is the reason why.

        > Only if you can’take tells lies from truth.

        If you have this omnipotent power to do this I would like to see it. For me reason and evidence move me.

        > A challenge: stop watching EWTN and reading right wing Catholic websites for one month.

        So I should look at only ONE SIDE of the issue (yours) and look at nothing else? Yeh the Radtrads tell me the same and you are no different then they. How entertaining!

        >Read only the daily scriptures and Pope Francis’ daily homilies.

        Well I would dispute his homilies on the Death penalty for being inprecise and seemingly contrary to the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI & St Pius V and other Pope. They have enough ambiguity to be interpreted in an orthodox manner but liberal heretics still falsely claim the Pope has taught the Death Penalty is intrinsically evil.

        Any Sola Scriptura and Sola Franchesco don’t seem like Catholic doctrines to me.

        >See what happens. I’ll bet the ‘confusion’ will clear away.

        I doubt it. You seem very confused and inconsistent. You would make a good Radtrad. Mindlessly dogmatic and partisan. Pox..houses..etc

      • Avatar Jim the Scott says:

        You statements are beyond unconvincing & here are the reasons why.

        > Only if you can’take tells lies from truth.

        If you have this omnipotent power to do this I would like to see it. For me reason and evidence move me.

        > A challenge: stop watching EWTN and reading right wing Catholic websites for one month.

        So I should look at only ONE SIDE of the issue (yours) and look at nothing else? Yeh the Radtrads tell me the same and you are no different then they. How entertaining!

        >Read only the daily scriptures and Pope Francis’ daily homilies.

        Well I would dispute his homilies on the Death penalty for being inprecise and seemingly contrary to the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI & St Pius V and other Popes. They have enough ambiguity to be interpreted in an orthodox manner but liberal heretics still falsely claim the Pope has taught the Death Penalty is intrinsically evil. That is intolerable and it undermine Pope Francis own authority. He should correct that mistake by clarifying the issues.

        For example Pope Benedict XVI (who is against the DP & called for it’s world wide abolition) said as CDF chief under Pope St John Paul II & late threw his CDF chief as Pope that Catholics are allowed to disagree with the Pope on the application of the DP & that such disagreement was not on the same moral level as dissent from the Pope on Birth Control or Abortion etc.

        Is that still valid? Or is it not? The thing is Pope Francis has not clearly said so and that is itself a problem. Also I don’t appreciate being called blood thristy and wanting to kill people by certain Radlib Catholics for asking this question.

        Thus Sola Scriptura and Sola Franchesco don’t seem like Catholic doctrines to me.

        >See what happens. I’ll bet the ‘confusion’ will clear away.

        I doubt it. Yer advice such as it is seems very confused and inconsistent and it looks to much like being a good Radtrad and not a good Catholic.

        I’ll do a hard pass then.

    • Avatar Marie says:

      Jim- I’ll gladly wear the name lunatic and nut. I do think Pope Francis is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I pretty much thought the same of JPII as well. I admired Pope Benedict, but feel bad that some only recognize the teachings of his that they want to support, much like the liberal Catholics do towards Pope Francis. In both instances, it exposes their limited, conditional faith.

      We don’t have to think any of them are the greatest, we are only required to assent to the teaching they put forth regarding faith and morals. I’m just confused why you would call someone a lunatic for following their faith, and admiring the Vicar of Christ who clearly lives by the teachings he professes. Odd indeed.

  15. Avatar Jim the Scott says:

    Mike Lewis

    >We do not propose that criticism of the Holy Father on prudential or disciplinary matters is illegitimate.

    I will hold you to that and maybe I will change my mind.

    • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

      Jim, 3 quick things:

      1) We moderate comments due to an unbelievable amount of sedevacantists and trolls who try to post here. Generally, we allow critical comments, unless they get out of hand.

      2) You may absolutely hold me to my statement about papal criticism, but keep in mind that just because a criticism is on prudential matters doesn’t mean I’ll let it slide. I admit, I actually LIKE Pope Francis and think he’s pointing things in the right direction. For example, I like Francis’s Holy Thursday changes. If someone doesn’t, I’ll defend that decision even though I agree that it’s not a serious doctrinal question, and that people who disagree with me on this aren’t bad Catholics.

      3) One of your comments WAS held in the moderation queue because you called another commenter a cruel name. Not because of your positions. Please be respectful.

      • Avatar Jim the Scott says:

        @Mike Lewis

        I will repost L Daily without the insults.

        > You may absolutely hold me to my statement about papal criticism, but keep in mind that just because a criticism is on prudential matters doesn’t mean I’ll let it slide.

        That makes no sense. Since the Pope, any Pope is completely fallible on perudent matters if by “won’t let it slide” you mean just not allow it to be posted. If you mean you will argue the point then I am OK with that. I welcome that.

        >I admit, I actually LIKE Pope Francis and think he’s pointing things in the right direction.

        I want to like him and sometimes he does things I love. I don’t hate him and I don’t dislike him even if I fail to feel “like” for him if he does something I believe foolish. I have no patence for jerks who hate him & slander as they give honest critics a bad name.

        For example, I like Francis’s Holy Thursday changes. If someone doesn’t, I’ll defend that decision even though I agree that it’s not a serious doctrinal question, and that people who disagree with me on this aren’t bad Catholics.

        3) One of your comments WAS held in the moderation queue because you called another commenter a cruel name. Not because of your positions. Please be respectful.

        I will try to be nice. I post that right after I gave some New Atheists a pounding on another thread. I am always default in combat mode.

        Always…..

      • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

        I didn’t mean I won’t allow such opinions to be posted. I mean I might argue the point, if I feel strongly enough about it.

    • Avatar L Daily says:

      There are no “sides”, Jim. Respectful obedience toward the Vicar of Christ, even in times of doubt, is not optional if you are Catholic. Sincere questions and serious disagreements can be addressed in private counsel and prayer.

      Focusing on scripture and the words of the Holy Father might break the addiction to rightwing media driven dissent that has gripped so many. If that makes me a moron in your eyes, so be it.

      • Avatar Marie says:

        I’d wear that proudly! I find your comments very thoughtful and insightful.

      • Avatar George Palantine says:

        If the Pope changes longstanding teaching, such as abolishing the death penalty in all circumstances, there is a very serious problem, since there are many biblical passages that have upheld the death penalty, and the church has never before said it was impermissible in all circumstances. It is long settled teaching that the death penalty is allowable, at least in limited circumstances. Therefore, for a pope to oppose the bible, and long standing catholic tradition is a very, very odd thing. And it must be questioned.

        In short we owe obedience to the pope, but what sort of obedience do we owe to a pope who, for example, says that Christ is not the son of God? You can see there are two principles in opposition in such a case. The idea that obedience to the pope is unlimited, no matter what the pope does, cannot be sustained.