“This destruction begins in the interior and ends when the Lord says: ‘That’s enough.” There will come a day when the Lord will say: ‘Enough of this world’s appearances.’ It’s the crisis of a civilization that believes itself proud, sufficient, dictatorial and which ends thus.

(…)

Do we live as Christians? It seems we do, but in reality our life is pagan . . . when one enters in Babylon’s seduction, and Jerusalem lives like Babylon. There is a wish to do a synthesis that cannot be done. And both will be condemned. Are you a Christian? Do you live like a Christian? Water and oil can’t be mixed; they are always different. It’s the end of a contradictory civilization, which says it’s Christian but which lives as a pagan.

There are tragedies, also in our life but in face of them, it’s necessary to look at the horizon, because we have been saved and the Lord will come to save us. And this teaches us to live the world’s trials not in a pact with worldliness or with paganism, which leads us to destruction, but in hope, detaching ourselves from this worldly and pagan seduction and looking at the horizon, while waiting for Christ, the Lord. Hope is our strength: let us go on, but we must ask this of the Holy Spirit”

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Pope Francis

Homily at Casa Santa Marta, Nov 29th, 2018

Pedro Gabriel

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.

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17 Responses

  1. Tony Correia says:

    What Pope Francis says here is so true. But then why does he in Amoris Leticia allow a loophole for this living in adultery to be able to receive the Holy Eucharist? This is a departure from Catholic Doctrine and it is a sacrilege.

    • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

      Not really. The doctrine of mitigated culpability for grave sins is pretty much settled doctrine. There is no “loophole”, that’s a wrong way to look at it. What we have is a very orthodox way of facilitating the access to the Eucharist to people who are not in mortal sin, so that they may receive the necessary grace to deal with their situation. It is the exact opposite of settling with the world, it’s reaching out into the world’s mess to save it

      • Pat says:

        Come on. Does the pope, does the church of 2018 even believe in mortal sin any more? or Sanctifying grace?
        I don’t mean is it still in a book on a shelf somewhere that hasn’t been expunged yet, I mean do they still believe it? Is it still taught? I really wonder.

        • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

          Why yes, Pope Francis does believe in mortal sin. But then again, if you actually read Amoris Laetitia and if you actually knew the Pope you constantly criticize, you would know that

        • Christopher Lake says:

          Pat,

          In his time as the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis has spoken very clearly and forcefully about Satan and Hell. He has also spoken very clearly and forcefully about the real possibility for even (or, perhaps, especially!!) professing Catholics and other Christians to go to Hell, *if* they claim to love Christ but live lives which show little to no evidence of that claim.

          Now, why would the Pope talk about Satan and Hell, and the danger of going to Hell, if he does not believe that there is actually sin which leads to Hell? The answer should be obvious. He *does* believe that there is sin which leads to Hell. Therefore, he warns us about the danger of going to Hell. He has done this numerous times.

          Pope Francis on the reality of Hell: https://www.lastampa.it/2018/04/05/vaticaninsider/francis-words-on-hell-the-eternal-abyss-of-solitude-MCvxt5bPV3jDozO1foKzMO/pagina.html

          Pope Francis on the reality of Satan, and how to deal with him: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope-francis/mass-casa-santa-marta/2018-05/pope-francis-santa-marta-devil.html

          • pat says:

            Maybe, the question is deeper than that. Does Francis, does the church of 2018 (he did not create it) believe in objective truth? In hell that is a reality and not just an analogy, that is useful for some kind of preaching, but not for others. Or that truth matters or can be known. We are back to the “all you need is love” religion of the 70’s again.

            I asked if he believes in mortal sin… that’s not the same as asking if he believes in hell, either. This is a question worth exploring. Do we still believe in Sanctifying grace? which can be lost by mortal sin while one is alive or not? If we do, what does it mean? A lot of things were fading into obscurity over the last 50 years… Francis is not helping, and seems not to care. If one does care, one is a divider or a rigorist. For example, either hell is real or not. Either the church knows this with certainty or it does not. Wanting to know which it is does not make one an enemy.

          • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

            The Pope believes in mortal sin
            The Pope believes in Hell as a reality, not as an analogy
            The Pope believes in objective truth

            It is interesting that your reaction to a quote where Francis actually says what you guys think he should say is met with this kind of reaction: “well yeah, of course he said X, but does he actually teaches Y?”

            That’s what you have done continually. You’ve done it to the OP quote. You’ve done it in reply to my comment and Christopher Lake’s. And you will continue to do so

            How many times must you be wrong about what the Pope teaches until you recognize that it’s not the Pope who is wrong, but your preconception of him?

            You’re not above that 2018 Church you decry so much. The 2018 Church is a Church which is mostly disobedient to the Magisterium of the Popes. So don’t talk as if you were above all that, trying to solve things, as if you were not a part of the problem. The way you deal with the papal rebukes to your position (“I have been called X, how can the Pope say that? He must be wrong”) is very typical of the 2018 Church indeed.

      • carn says:

        Correction:

        What we have is a very orthodox way of facilitating the access to the Eucharist to people [who committed grave matter] and [who] are not in mortal sin [due to not being fully culpable of commiting that grave matter in the past, which makes it a venial sin (CCC 1862),] and [who have at the end of confession has in his mind resolve to commit the grave matter again while intelectually being aware about it being grave matter] and [who in spite of this intellectual awareness and the resolve to commit the grave matter again, which is always at least a venial sin, fulfill the requirement of CCC 1451: “Contrition is “sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.”” in having intent not to sin again although having resolve to commit something being at least a venial sin], so that they may receive the necessary grace to deal with their situation. It is the exact opposite of settling with the world, it’s reaching out into the world’s mess to save it.

        While i see some glimmer of chance to wrap my head around the idea that this does still work out in case such a person can out of at the moment not resolvable weakness not act differently, i see something like zero chance to understand why someone considering the above reasonable would not have great compassion and lenience towards those who call such an argument wrong.

        Cause there are quite a few things in there hard to understand; if i would propse such a thing i would not blink once if every single US lawyer, both secular and canon, and a lot of non-US lawyers, both secular and canon, would call my idea nuts; and i would not hold it against them, cause if one is trained in legal thinking one can easily without own fault end up with some sort of mental thinking structure that is an insurmountable weakness and obstacle for accepting that the above is non-contradictory.

        • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

          I have no problem with someone who might find concerns with this approach. I do have problems with people who claim the Pope has no right to adopt this approach, who say he is promoting heresy and/or confusion, and who are using this disageeement with the Holy Father to mount a campaign to undermine him, even undermining the concept of papal primacy in the process.

          • carn says:

            “who say he is promoting … confusion”

            I do not see how it is not a legitimate concern that this might cause confusion:

            “the resolve to commit the grave matter again, which is always at least a venial sin”

            AND

            “together with the resolution not to sin again”

            The suggestion that someone could at the same moment in time both have resolve to commit a venial sin again and have the resolution not to sin again, especially not commit that venial sin again, is at first glance directly confusing, as it seems at first glance scream contradiction.

            Now maybe at second, third or xth glance that contradiction disappears.

            But anything which at first glance looks like a contradiction has obviously potential to cause confusion.

            And thats what i cannot wrap my head around, apparently this was well thought out by competent theologicans BEFORE AL was published; why didn’t anyone bother to think about how to reduce the impact of this at first glance confusing issue?

            Why was anyone suprised that this might be criticized for being confusing or even in violation of the principle of non-contradiction(*)?

            (* And from that the opening of the can of worms of the other things you mentioned is a very small step; cause even God in His almightiness is – as far as i am aware – not in the habit of violating the principle of non-contradiction regularly; hence, when a mere Pope would seem to violate it, there would seem to be legitimate reason to simply say that he is not allowed to do that and that his actions in this respect are without effect, to be resisted, etc.)

          • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

            It is less confusing than people who talk about “confusion” all the time are willing to admit. I did not need to have a second or a third glance, I got it at the first time I read it. This is because what the Pope wrote is actually very well anchored in sound principles of moral theology and is actually applied widely to other sins besides sex with a divorced and remarried spouse (that is why the language of “opening up a can of worms” never stuck with me, the can of worms was already opened, and the worm of the D&R was among the few who were not out of the can)

            On the other hand you bring up a good point. You say that when the Pope is spreading confusion, that it is legitimate to say his words are without effect and to resist him. No, it is not so. It is not correct to say you can resist a Pope’s teaching if you find it confusing at first glance. Because then anyone can claim “confusion” as a justification to resist the Pope (The ability of humans to obfuscate what is clear is astounding)

            Which is what is happening right now. And which is the reason why I have a problem with people who claim that the Pope is spreading confusion. I firmly believe that the majority of the confusion spread on the AL issue is caused, not by the Pope, but by those who constantly rail against “confusion.” Because they eschew every single attempt, both by the Pope and by apologists, to clarify the document in ways not in line with their own terms. And many do so, because they *need* the alleged confusion to justify their disobedience with a Pope they don’t like.

          • carn says:

            Why are laypeople like you or Walford trying to tackle this 2 years after AL was published, instead of some clerical heavyweights publishing something a few weeks or months after AL, that explicitely describes the at first glance contradiction and discussing in detail why it isn’t one?

            Instead we have someone supposedly close to the Pope using verbatim “Theology is not #Mathematics. 2 + 2 in #Theology can make 5.” as an argument in defending AL; how could one in full knowledge of the at first glance violation of non-contradiction ever end up using “2+2=5” as defense of AL? If one has critics being concerned about something at first glance being a violation of non-contradiction, one should never do this; this is the most optimal way to reinforce the perception that there is a violation of non-contradiction and that one does not care.

          • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

            When an atheist site triumphantly proclaims that there are contradictions in the Bible, it is not the Pope’s job to stop everything he is doing and writing an essay about how to reconcile those supposed contradictions. Usually, you see lay apologists doing so online (or priests)

            The Pope has said that AL is in line with previous teaching. He has pointed us to the correct interpretation. For a Catholic that should suffice. But many do not accept any of the clarifications the Pope has issued. In fact, they will use everything in their power to undermine to Pope’s clarifications and remain on the status of “confusion”

            In this regard, they have already proven they will not accept the Pope’s clarifications anyway, so why keep clarifying?

            This is when lay apologists kick in. The usual exasperation at the sight of having me or Walford or others defending AL is usually based on arguments that would make apologists unnecessary for anything… just have the Pope clarify everything! Why have apologists?

            We, the apologists, do this for those who are legitimately confused, because the regular channels which used to forecast reliable Catholic information have started a mediatic campaign against the Pope and are spreading confusion. For those caught in the cross fire and who seek for intellectual justifications for what is happening, this is where I and Walford and all the others come in

            Of course, if someone is not willing to concede the point of our apologetics simply because we are not the Pope, why come here in the first place? We cannot help people who will just come here and say “you’re laypeople, not the Pope, so why should we listen to you?” But even this attitude shows at least a bit of resistance to having the confusion dispelled.

            Finally, this conversation is off topic relating to the OP’s quote. I would like this thread to not be derailed any further

          • carn says:

            Your claim that you understood at first glance all the implications is rather questionable, as you failed at first glance to note correctly what i calimed:

            “You say that when the Pope is spreading confusion, that it is legitimate to say his words are without effect and to resist him.”

            I never claimed that; my words were: hence, when a mere Pope would seem to violate it [the principle of non-contradiction], there would seem to be legitimate reason to simply say that he is not allowed to do that and that his actions in this respect are without effect, to be resisted, etc.

            Not confusion, but violation of non-contradiction would make resistance to some extent legitimate.

            If a Pope would declare that “2+2=5” and “2+2=4” and would ask me to submit to his teaching, it would be legitimate for me to resist that request.

            Pope just doing something, which might confuse, would be no reason to resist him.

            The are other issues i have with your replies, but let’s stuck with the interesting thing:

            “This is because what the Pope wrote is actually very well anchored in sound principles of moral theology and is actually applied widely to other sins besides sex with a divorced and remarried spouse (that is why the language of “opening up a can of worms” never stuck with me, the can of worms was already opened, and the worm of the D&R was among the few who were not out of the can)”

            Please provide an example for a penitent having at the end of confession both sufficient intent not to commit a certain confessed venial sin again for the confession to be valid, but has already resolve to commit exactly that venial sin again within the next week at a time and place he and another catholic, who also has intent to not commit the venial sin again, but who also has resolve to commit it again, decide upon.

            and/or

            Please provide at least an example for a penitent having at the end of confession both sufficient intent not to commit a certain confessed venial sin again for the confession to be valid, but has already resolve to commit exactly that venial sin again within the next week at a time and place he decides upon.

            I cannot come up with any, cause all the examples i can think of going in that direction, would be examples regarding which time and place of repeating the venial sin is mostly not the penitent’s decision or not at all.

          • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

            You may question my understanding of the document (and it’s implications) at first glance all you want, but that does not in any way make it false. I was there, I understood it at first glance, and everything the Pope has said and done has only served to confirm my reading. I was there and you weren’t, so if you don’t believe it’s on you, not me. However, your disbelieving does not change the truth.

            Your attempts at gaslighting or making my reading on that regard questionable simply increase my resolve not to continue this conversation further. Which I will proceed with doing from this comment forward, especially since I have specifically asked for the thread to not keep going off-topic

            As for your arguments:

            1. The distinction between “confusion” and “violating the principle of non-contradiction” is is a distinction without a difference. It assumes the Pope is capable of violating that principle on a magisterial teaching instead of assuming that someone who claims the Pope has violated that principle is wrong. Which was exactly my point when I talked about “confusion”.

            The Pope has specifically said his teaching are in continuity with that of his predecessors. That suffices. I am sure that there are a lot of atheists claiming that believing in a One and Triune God is believing that “2+2=5”, but that does not give them justification to “resist the Pope” on that teaching. It just makes them wrong.

            As for the 2+2=5 canard, I have already spoken about it at length here

            https://wherepeteris.com/225-2/

            2. As for the examples you ask, they are everywhere. For every sin we apply the concept of the three-fold criteria for that sin to be mortal. If the person has mitigating factors so that their culpability is diminished, they are not in mortal sin. If they are not in mortal sin, they may receive communion.

            That’s it. Period.

            This is the rationale applied for every confessional for almost any other sin. And this is the doctrine.

            You keep saying that these people are “resolved” to commit venial sin, as if these people were not torn and anguished, wanting not to sin, but seeing themselves as unable, due to their circumstances, to proceed otherwise (not to say that they could not, but that they do not see themselves as capable of acting in any other way).

            So yeah, on those situations, the priests may give Communion to them, not to burden them any more and to help them receive sacramental grace to overcome their situation. This is standard practice everywhere for almost every other sin.
            ********
            So, if you don’t have any other comment pertinent for the OP, this discussion is over. Thank you for your contribution

  2. carn says:

    Regarding the quote by Pope Francis (to directly comment upon it), this part is very irritating:

    “Do we live as Christians? It seems we do, but in reality our life is pagan . . .”

    Who is that “we”?

    All baptized Christians and/or Catholics? Unlikely.

    Nobody observing the average baptized Catholic – and that does not exclude myself – would ever have the idea that he/she lives as a Christian/Catholic. That is already sufficiently clear from the majority of Catholics not attending or attempting to attend mass regularly.

    And also strongly indicated by voting patterns; if Catholics vote nearly identical to non-Catholics and /or non-Christians at least their political “life” is likely to be non-catholic/non-christian.

    If “we” would mean the ones actually physically present at Santa Martha, it would be quite damning for the hierarchy that a majority of them fail to live as actual Christians. It would in a sense make the protestant claim that Rome is nothing Christians should build on an inch more plausible.

    So no idea who is the “we” he is talking about.

    “It’s the end of a contradictory civilization, which says it’s Christian but which lives as a pagan.”

    Which civilization he is talking about? Europe? Europe only managed to note in the preamble of its core treaty, that it draws from the religious heritage; so Europe does not even acknowledge God much less the christian one.

    Maybe the south American civilization could be called christian. Only republicans in the US still consider the US a christian nation.

    So the whole second paragraph is of the type i often encounter with Pope Francis, which is characterized by me being mostly or totally at loss about what he is talking.

    The third paragraph of course one can agree to; its just that in my personal impression a relevant part of the Christians trying – often in an imperfect way – to resist making a pact with the pagan world does perceive a number of things Pope Francis says and does as not helpful in their attempt to resist a pact with the pagan world.

    And it is my personal impression, that some of those baptized, which are eager to make a pact with the pagan world perceive a number of things Pope Francis says and does as helpful for their goal of forming a pact with the pagan world.

    So while the intent behind the third paragraph is nothing to criticize, my personal impression is, that the Pope’s words and actions are lacking a bit in that regard. Of course my personal impression might be wrong; after all part of what Pope Francis says does not make sense in my ears, see e.g. paragraph 2 above.

    • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

      I hope you understand this kind of over-analysis which obfuscates the clear meaning of the Pope’s teachings are one of the reasons why he won’t answer the dubia, or why answering the dubia would really not do any good to those who pose them.

      Instead of asking who the “we” on that quote is, just try to see if it applies to you. If not, great. If yes, act accordingly. That’s what a Catholic does. It’s as simple as that.

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