Back in 2017, when I began planning this website, many of my fellow Pope Francis-supporting friends weren’t entirely enthusiastic about my idea. After all, why should I give any attention at all to the pope’s detractors? Doing so, they asserted, would give credence to their claims and conspiracy theories, as well as their faulty understanding of the Magisterium and papal primacy. Wouldn’t it be better to simply ignore them and let them fade away into obscurity?

More recently, especially with our pieces on the recent letter signed by Aidan Nichols and others (here and here), I was asked why we would give attention to such a ridiculous attempt to accuse the pope of heresy and to have him deposed. Even internally among the writers for this site, there were discussions about how we should respond to the letter, and whether it deserved any response at all.

My response, as it has been since we launched the site, has been that the task of responding to the many attacks on Pope Francis and his teachings is not for everyone, but someone has to do it. While there are many outstanding writers, theologians, and others who have done a tremendous job supporting and defending the Holy Father from time to time, there are very few websites dedicated to addressing the criticisms and attacks on him, especially from a position that strives to be orthodox and faithful to the magisterium.

So here we are.

Why do we address the attacks on Pope Francis? Because this is an issue that affects real, ordinary Catholics. Last week, DW Lafferty referred to a phenomenon he called the “Anti-Francis Vortex.” He writes:

“I say all this not as a call for an intensification of the culture war within the Church, but as a simple plea for sanity. Those who have entered the anti-Francis vortex are not stupid or irredeemable. I have studied conspiracy theory in an academic context, and I know that it can grip people of even great intelligence.”

Most of us know people in our families, parishes, and social circles who have bought into this intense, anti-Francis ideology. It’s even more extreme on social media, where the veneer of anonymity allows people to express their fear and hatred in the most outrageous ways.

Still, no one is irredeemable, as DW reminds us. Those who are seeking a well-reasoned, balanced, and faithful response to this papacy are welcomed here with open arms. And we’re committed to continue this work for as long as we can.

Those who follow the site closely have probably noticed that our level of content output has fluctuated at times over the last year and a half, as family, work, and personal responsibilities have impacted our writers’ schedules; we are all volunteers, and any donations we’ve collected have gone back into the maintenance and promotion of our website.

I can’t tell you how many times readers have emailed us, commented, or sent us messages thanking us for our work, describing us as an “oasis” in a Catholic world that seems like it’s been turned upside down. We are grateful to you; you let us know we are making a difference.

We’re also thankful for our new readers. In the past two months, our readership numbers have increased dramatically — another sign of the impact we’re having. We want this growth to continue.

On that note, we ask for your continued prayers for the success of this site.

Additionally, we are encouraging any talented writers who might be interested in contributing to the site to reach out to us via direct message on Facebook or Twitter or through our contact page. (For those of you who don’t already follow us on Facebook or Twitter, please do so by clicking on those links.)

Finally, we’d be appreciative if you could spread the word about us by telling friends and sharing our site on social media.

Let’s do what we can to support the Church and our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

May God bless him and keep him.


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Mike Lewis is a writer and graphic designer from Maryland, having worked for many years in Catholic publishing. He's a husband, father of four, and a lifelong Catholic. He's active in his parish and community. He is the founding managing editor for Where Peter Is.

Why we do what we do

39 Responses

  1. Rhonda Santoro says:

    I’m a new reader thankful to have found you through a FB comment that was the only Francis supportive comment in the whole post. Thank you for being here.

  2. Daniel Shaughnessy says:

    I am very grateful for the work you are doing on this website. Prior to this past lent I was caught in the grip of several anti-Francis “news” outlets. Thankfully, I felt called to detach from all news media during the 40 days of lent. When Easter came I was able to reevaluate my position and explore new perspectives on Pope Francis’s pontificate. Your site was (and continues to be) instrumental in this process. Keep up the great work!

  3. Jane says:

    Thank you so very much for this site. Personally, I have added it to my email signature, and I introduce it to as many email groups as I can. I am not on FaceBook, but my hope is that any of my friends and aquaintances who are on FaceBook and like this site, will send this link to everyone!

    And we have to remember, “For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible; for those who do believe, no explanation is necessary” . . . . . sometimes. Sometimes folks are truly on the fence, truly wondering, etc. And this site gives great hope and information to help . . . along with alot of grace!

    When I joined back in November of 2018, there were 166 members subscribed. Now there are 205! ! ! ! And may that number grow by the hundreds and thousands.

    I love too that this site is orthodox in your beliefs, completely Catholic in your approach, and 100% supportive of humbly and obediently submitting to Our Holy Father! ! ! Thank you. I am so grateful you exist.

    LifeSite has now started claiming that Pope Francis is waffling on the contraception teaching. So, here we go! ! Lots of work to do 🙂

    Because the voices that are shouting at us on the internet against our Holy Father, we have to shout out our voices even LOUDER in support of him, I think! It’s like we’re at a football game. We aint going to let our opponents’ fans out-cheer our TEAM’S!!!!

    Thank you again and God Bless you 🙂

    • Jane says:

      I just wish there was an ‘edit’ button on here! Basically, I proof-read my comments before posting, but I miss things sometimes! So, here is my correction for the last paragraph:

      “Because the voices that are shouting at us on the internet against our Holy Father are so loud, we have to shout out our voices even LOUDER in support of him, I think! It’s like we’re at a football game. We aint going to let our opponents’ fans out-cheer our TEAM’S FANS!!!!

    • Mike Lewis says:

      Yes, we have over 800 likes on facebook and over 300 twitter followers in addition to our subscribers. But our day to day traffic has gone up considerably.

      We have also received more mentions from anti-Francis sites and social media users, which has driven up traffic. I think it bothers their consciences that someone can both support the pope and orthodoxy. They seem to think you can only choose one or the other.

      • jong says:

        Dear Mike Lewis,
        I always mentioned before to all Trads channel in their comment section whenever I got into arguments and asking critics to show proof of their accusation.
        Your aticle on Amoris Laetetia, CCC2267,Stephen Walford, Sola Traditio and Arch.Lefevbre help me a lot in having confidence that all the Vatican II Teachings and Vatican II Popes are guided by the Holy Spirit.
        As the saying goes in the midst of darkness only one candle is enough to see the light of hope, and this is wherepeteris stands tall against all Rad Trads channel..your credible and inspired writing easily defeats the 2 hours of non-sense talking of Dr.Marshall TnT entertainment and discussiping show.
        May all the good hearted Trads find wherepeteris channel to know the Truth.
        Godbless and may Mams Mary pour out more graces and wisdom to all your good writers.S&IHMMP4us.Amen

      • Mike Lewis says:

        Thank you, Jong!

  4. Patti Doberneck says:

    I came upon your website accidentally and have a question regarding your mission to defend Pope Francis while remaining true to orthodoxy. Just curious, do you deny the life of the unborn? Do you defend the Church’s teaching that homosexual activity is wrong?

    • Mike Lewis says:

      This site indeed supports the teachings of the Church on marriage, sexuality, and the sanctity of life. Just as Pope Francis does. If you search our archives, you will come across various articles on those topics.

  5. ONG says:


    I remember I congratulated with the site by saying it was an excellent apologetics’ site for the Magisterium and that I would have promoted it further.

    That being said, I still am hesitant to promote it blindly, (just for promoting it), unless, as I hope I have clarified through my comments, it addresses specific issues to specific posters/commenters, besides the very fact of defending Peter’s chair, but also to explain WHY, it would be “logical” to follow him, stay in his barque, for security, not only for one’s own growing in the faith, but also for learning to being able to “transmit” it to others.

    All of these opinions outside, might have an apparently argument at first sight, but when analysed in depth, they only are hot air, misconceptions, disinformation, etc., and very often they are far removed from the “essence” of the Gospels.

    We must hear the claims, identify where the “missing links” reside, and work diligently out how to address that “specific” deficit(s), in order to always “build bridges” and not “walls”!

  6. Christopher Lake says:

    Welcome to everyone who is just finding this site! There is truly a wealth of helpful articles to read here on so many topics– and yes, it is very much possible to be an orthodox Catholic and a supporter of Pope Francis! Francis *is* an orthodox Catholic, and I say that as one who, only two years ago, was being increasingly influenced by the growing “Francis resistance” within the Church. Finding this site, and spending more time with actual Papal writings, including (but not at all excluded to) those of Francis, helped to lead me away from that anti-Francis ledge.

    Being a supporter of Pope Francis *is naturally, logically part of* being an orthodox Catholic, and vice versa, no matter how many Catholics pundits/commentators/theologians say otherwise. As Pope, he is the supreme, authoritative interpreter of both Scripture *and* Tradition within the Church, and he is the visible sign of unity that helps to keep the Church together. Where Peter is, there is the Church, and at this time, Pope Francis is our “Peter.” Thanks be to God for him! I also thank God for the helpful witness of this site!

  7. Katherine Yost says:

    Thank you for defending the beauty of truth in a calm, fair-minded and grace-filled way. I found my way to your site because I was so shocked by the accusations against the Holy Father – I googled “defends Pope Francis” to see if ANYONE out there was defending him. I had spent considerable time tracing beyond each accusation to the truth by following links back to the original documents. I believe this is necessary because people of good will are open to the truth and need support in seeing it.

  8. Anne Lastman says:

    Thank you so much for this website. I now really don’t feel so lonely.
    I have publically defended HH Pope Francis since his election.
    I commented on my website in September 2017 and even before. I have lost long time friends and previous supporters of my work because of my stance but I have been happy to be found in his strong capable leadership.
    So thank you for making a place where I know that it’s safe.
    If you want to read my September post of my defence which even refers to Fatima then it can be found on my website at
    Again i thank you and bless you

    • jong says:

      Dear Mam Anne Lastman,
      Thanks for your link, you had a spirit filled website and many thanks for your effort in defending the sanctity of life and also reaching out to the victim mother’s of abortion.May God contnue to bless your site.
      I had read one of your article “The Pieta, the Love of Heavenly Mother”, because i love the Pieta’s image. In one of my deep prayer reflections our Christian Journey starts with entrustment to Mama Mary like what the Abba Father did to His only begotten son and in the hour of our death our life must end in the loving & merciful hands of Mama Mary too.From Madonna image to Pieta is the path of our christian journey, from “womb to tomb” Mama Mary will not leaves us, until we hear Her loving & sweet voice at the moment of our death…”My child congrats, you have made it to Heaven…let me now carry you to God’s Paradise.Godbless

      • Anne Lastman says:

        Hi Jong for your kind words. I have been doing my work for 23 years. Very difficult at times but a most beautiful work. I have since added counselling of sexual abuse loss and grief (adults) i went into this because I found this to be contributing factor in multiple abortions and i write and speak about this publically
        I have found the Holy Father’s Amoris Laetitia a beautiful document and the disputed chapter 8 helped with a client who needed help with second marriage. The Holy Father speaks of the ideal and I was able to speak with het about the ideal, sacraments and finally helped her with annulment. With that completed a 3 1/2 year counselling journey.
        The Holy speaks of pastors ( and people like me) to get close and the individual see and understand. When there is this accompaniment then there is Mercy and Grace. Ive seen this over many years.

        Oh by the way I havent stopped blog just not enough time in day. A

  9. Chris dorf says:

    How is it bet one group of people can say statements are heretical and another group of people claim that the same statements are Orthodox? What is it that can be viewed in 2 different ways?

    • carn says:

      I think it has to do with different use of words and different way of understanding words.

      Not as a comparison, but as a help to point what i mean, consider speeches/texts of politicians; one regularly sees that some people claim that some speech/text is convincing, well-worded, clear, strong, while other say the exact opposite of the same text/speech; that of course has to do with political preferences; but also with how people understand things and their general worldview; that is reading the same statements they conclude differently what the statements mean/express.

      Not an identical divide but a divide with some similarities i think exists and/or arose and/or got stronger among Catholics.

      E.g. when some people from “Team Francis” (used for simplification) publish some text, it is not unusual that “fans” of the Pope react along “well reasoned”, “great”, etc., while “non-fans” of the Pope react along the opposite lines. And not (only) because there is the tendency to cheer the own player and trash the player from the other “team” – but really because when honestly evaluating the text they arrive at differing evaluations.

      I see no real cure.

      Even no way how to avoid it for myself; however i mentally turn and toss aroung my perspective, there are some texts which fans of Pope Francis laud as top quality and so on and i just cannot see it.

      Like starring an an autosterogram which seems to have two images encoded and i am aware of only one and some other person is also only aware of only one, but a different one, and however much i contort my eyes i just cannot see it.

      • M. says:

        I think it’s because we need to pray to be able to understand eachother. We need to ask the holy Spirit to enlighten our hearts and help us to understand the other, and be open to His promptings.
        I don’t think it is helpful for those who are faithful to the magisterium to use code words to refer to those who are not, because this closes the mind and makes it unable to accept those promptings of the Holy Spirit that may come. Such words as “Francis haters” and so on, are not helpful for dialogue, because we have to assume the best intentions of those we disagree with, if at all possible. I am guilty of not doing so.
        But what is good for the goose, is good for the gander… so those who do not trust the current magisterium, also should not refer to those who do, as “Team Francis” articles defending the pope as “Francis Apologetics” “Red pilled versus blue pilled” and all these other terms that divide people into factions of “just right” versus “just wrong.” I would love to try to write article that is genuinely trying to see the perspective in the most positive light possible, of those I so strongly disagree with. It would be hard. I think Where Peter Is, is doing such a great job of maintaining their views forcefully without being close-minded or uncharitable. I would like to see more engagement with the absolute *best* arguments of those who don’t trust the current magisterium.

      • M. says:

        edit to add- *even more engagement* because you definitely do engage with the best arguments.

  10. Jane says:

    I actually started to defend Pope Francis back in 2013 when folks were already railing about him. But I felt so strongly about defending him BECAUSE I was becoming upset over the attacks and railings I had been hearing against Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II while they had been popes! So, there seems to be nothing new under the sun, except that these railings seem to be much more loud.

    I have found prayers and quotes too that show that every pope gets railed against by someone or some group somewhere in the world.

    So, I am very happy that this site continues to remain steadfast in humble obedience to the Vicar of Christ on earth. God Bless you 🙂

  11. M. says:

    Thanks for this website, it is a balm in Gilead. Without your sure and charitable writing, I would feel so alone. Where Peter Is has helped me, like Christopher, to step away from that anti-Francis ledge. When all your friends are going there, and they think you are crazy, it is hard to be the only one who stands up for the pope. I want to specifically thank you for pointing out errors or possible underlying reasons for the anti-pope mentality in other websites without being at all nasty or uncharitable, but also not being “namby-pamby.” One thing I especially love here is the complete absence of sarcasm, and the sneering tone that so many Catholic sites have taken on of late that just is painful to see.

    I also notice that the comments section while we don’t always agree with eachother, has respectful dialogue where you can have a respectful debate- and is void of insults and nastiness. God bless you for it, because it proves you are not just trying to drive people to your site, but are interested in spreading the truth and beauty of the gospel. Thank you for your work.

  12. Jeliza says:

    I’m new here but have been reading for a few weeks. I love this site and I love Pope Francis. Thank you for staying faithful to our Holy Vicar of Christ and being an oasis in this battle! I had almost given up on being able to find Catholic sites that truly supported him. I find this incredibly heartbreaking.
    M. I really like your comment- agree with loving the lack of sarcasm …there’s just way too much of that, and way too much harsh anger and judgment everywhere online now! Amen!
    God bless all of you!

  13. carn says:

    Since i do not want to spoil the fun of the “cheer for WPI”-mood in this comment section:

    “, but someone has to do it. … , especially from a position that strives to be orthodox and faithful to the magisterium.”

    Your intent is good; replying to critics of the Pope from a position faithful to the magisterium is in itself without flaw, i think. May good come from this.

    Good luck and strong faith if one day you might come along non-reassuring thoughts of why websites defending the Pope from a position faithful to the magisterium are so rare.

    Maybe i am going to grate less on your nerves in the future, since some comments from others the last day gave me some interesting thought, which maybe helps resolving part of what grates my nerves about this whole mess.

    • M. says:

      “Good luck and strong faith if one day you might come along non-reassuring thoughts of why websites defending the Pope from a position faithful to the magisterium are so rare.”

      I find what is difficult is that when we ask you to engage with us regarding your arguments, you rarely do so, but give more of the same type of comments that tend to go round and round new questions, and are not very clear. It is frustrating because I see in your comments a desire to figure out what the truth of this situation is. And yet, it seems like you dismiss comments that might challenge your position in favour of making the kind of comment you made above. As a fellow member of this site I appreciate you because you are not disrespectful, per se, but it feels like you find it easy to dismiss/ignore the question that if the pope is not your “rock upon which the Church is built” then…who is? If not the current vicar of Christ, it has to be someone. Who will be your magisterium? John Henry Westen, yourself, some cardinal, a previous pope? Nobody at all? The Holy Spirit, like the protestants, who seems to inspire individuals with totally different interpretations of scripture/tradition based maybe on personal preference? I doubt anyone here has escaped “non-reassuring thoughts” about why there seems to be a huge apostasy among (previously?) self-proclaimed faithful Catholics, which was probably already a fairly small group. ( a lot of Catholics don’t believe in and practice all the church teaches, after all) What is the main determiner of a so-called faithful Catholic, in your opinion? I also wish you could articulate clearly what it is that “grates on your nerves about this whole mess?” Other Catholics? The personality of the pope? Or could it be the inability of any of us, yourself included, to have perfect clarity and all the answers, packaged nicely in black and white paper? I am sorry if I sound crabby, but I really wish to understand, and after all, you sound crabby too. I personally would be sad if you did not comment here- an echo chamber is not what I am looking for. There is room for disagreement, within the bounds of not dissenting from church teaching. May we embrace the idea that Mother Theresa of Calcutta gave to John Cavanaugh- the idea that what we need is not clarity, but trust in God. Show me a person with perfect clarity, and I’ll show you a liar.

      • carn says:

        ” I also wish you could articulate clearly what it is that “grates on your nerves about this whole mess?””

        Uncertainty about:
        – how to handle some issues bordering on and/or being intrinsic evil, especially in some situations in which i must take care not to appear as a total nut to some other people, who would consider anyone nut who cares about intrinsic evil;
        – how to interact with some members of the hierarchy, who seem to consider anyone caring about intrinsic evil too much to be a bit strange;
        – that i might have to somehow handle members of both “church camps” in an adequate way with the added problem that what people form one camp say is often hard for me to understand correctly (to put this probably hard to understand point a bit figuratively: imagine if you had to hold a speech before among others an audience consisting of rep and dem politicians, strict pro-lifers and planned parenthood leadership and your topic would be “policy proposals regarding abortion and contraception” – and the goal is that everyone will at least offer honest polite applause afterwrads, while nothing you say may be against Church teaching and while during prior speeches from members of the respective groups you barely understood what they were talking about, except that they disagree strongly with each other; not good situation; better to at least understand their reasoning and what they say, before your speech);
        – how i am to understand Pope Francis and apply what i understand to the aforementioned issues (insofar as i should), as i am likely misunderstanding him often and as he will not get around to answering the Dubia; and
        – that he didn’t answer them.

        “the question that if the pope is not your “rock upon which the Church is built” then…who is? ”

        Pope Francis is the rock. But a rock, that is at least not very comprehensible for me, which is a problem; and it might have flaws; but they are probably not relevant for me, if there are some.

        “What is the main determiner of a so-called faithful Catholic, in your opinion?”

        Believing the creed, believing in the real presence, readiness at least to kneel (cause otherwise i have to doubt believe in real presence) and being skeptical about targeted killing of innocent and defenseless humans, both born and unborn, would be sufficient that i would not object if such a person claimed to be a faithful catholic; i might still doubt it, if the person misses a few important things (for example thinks that we did not have valid popes since some point in past), but i think i should be generous; i already think i exclude many with these criteria.

        “Or could it be the inability of any of us, yourself included, to have perfect clarity and all the answers, packaged nicely in black and white paper?”

        I do not mind grey and having to think for myself. But the issue about grey is, that it is meaningless if if black and white are undefined; without definition of black and white, all grey is the same. And as i probably should not define black and white for myself, i need some help there; and a Pope not answering a question, whether there is or isn’t absolute black, is not exactly of help.

        “ignore the question”

        I usually try to avoid ignoring questions; but sometimes my answers do not get through.

        “I personally would be sad if you did not comment here”


        But i must avoid using the above mentioned uncertainty issues as excuse for not acting; so somehow i have to put them behind me.

      • M. says:

        It all seems very mysterious, and I admit you have me curious. Well it sounds like the kind of thing that you might have better luck resolving with the help of a spiritual director, than on a website comments section. I find it hard to understand what you are getting at. But in any case, some specific examples would help to be able to understand. However, I understand that a comment box is not a great place to reveal personal issues and problems, so it just seems like maybe, trying to get answers in the wrong place, might be the source of the things that grate on your nerves here? I don’t know. Keep talking, though- hopefully something will help.

        Oh by the way- I am apparently not a faithful Catholic according to your criteria, because as eastern Catholics we do not kneel, except at certain times during Lent- I just thought you might find that sort of amusing. For myself, I wouldn’t presume to know what makes a “faithful Catholic.” I hope I am one, but I can’t be sure, of course. But I personally find it odd when people describe themselves that way, since to me, being faithful means accepting that one is, in a sense, not very faithful…that only God is faithful.
        The dubia were worded in such a sneaky way.

      • carn says:

        “Oh by the way- I am apparently not a faithful Catholic according to your criteria, because as eastern Catholics we do not kneel, except at certain times during Lent”

        I knew i was setting a bit too hard criteria; though i can somewhat limit my fault by claiming that “readiness to kneel” was more meant as being in principle willing, if it is required, even if not actually done. There are people who would walk straight out of the Church if the priest indicated that one should kneel.

        “I find it hard to understand what you are getting at.”

        There is a sort of language barrier right in the midth of catholics and christians; I must be able to communicate with people from both sides; me not understanding Pope Francis (both his words and actions) so often is a sign that i still do not get the language of one the “camps” well.

        Which frightens me, cause misunderstanding is so easy and yet i should avoid it, if i end up having to interact with the from my perspective foreign language “camp”. It would be some much nicer, if all the words of Pope Francis made sense to my ears, cause then i think i would have easier time to find the right words to get through the language barriers i might face when i have to interact with people from the foreign language “camp”.

        See this:
        “The dubia were worded in such a sneaky way.”

        Can’t see anything sneaky from my POV; somehow the same words sound sneaky for you, which do not sound sneaky for me.

        What if i have a polite meeting with some bishop, try to explain some ideas in what i consider honest and good words, and he hears sneaky words, cause he is in the to me foreign language camp?

        “spiritual director”

        He can offer little more than encouraging words, cause he is also in my language camp and has problems understanding some stuff his bishop says.

      • ONG says:


        OK, I read the rest of the comments here now.

        For the moment, just one sentence stood out and caught my attention:

        //There is a sort of language barrier right in the midth of catholics and christians;//

        Forget the part about the “language itself” for now, but were you saying:

        1. that there is a *barrier* between two or more people EVEN IF they speak the same native language, i.e. their mother tongue?

        2. What is for you the difference between Catholics and Christians?

  14. Joaquin Mejia says:

    Thank you for this site! It helped me love Pope Francis again. I am so happy for that.

  15. Marie says:

    Thank you so much for this site. I cannot begin to tell you how much it has helped me! It is wonderful to see the humility in those with so much knowledge. I am so grateful, and despite many anti Pope Francis sites, his beautiful messages shines through, and gives us a glimpse of what the world could be, if only…… Please keep up your fantastic job! I remain hopeful that one by one you will continue to convert those who mean well but have lost their way, like almost all of us have at some point in our lives.

  16. Ashpenaz says:

    I appreciate that you allow progressives like me in on the dialogue. We, too, are Catholics who want to understand Pope Francis better! 🙂 I think it’s important there are forums where different sides can engage each other respectfully and learn from each other. Thanks!

    • Christopher Lake says:


      I appreciate, too, very much, that you have not been not insulted, or shut down, or blocked and kept out of conversations, here at WPI. (Not that I thought those things would happen here– this site is a wonderful example of charity in dialogue.) Too many Catholic sites do not encourage, or even allow, the kinds of dialogues that happen here, and that is very unfortunate. I appreciate that all of us can join the discussions here and learn and grow together. It has definitely been beneficial for me and continues to be so. Thanks for continuing to read and comment here!

      • Christopher Lake says:

        Sorry, Ashpenaz, I meant to type, “…that you have not been insulted…,” as opposed to “not been *not* insulted,” hehe! Very different concepts there, and I’m glad that WPI models the former, rather than the latter! 🙂

  17. M. says:

    Carn I reply down here, I hope you see it. There was no reply link under your comment.

    I understand what you mean about a language barrier. Even with people in the “anti-Francis” camp who are writing in their mother tongue- I find we do not understand eachother. It is even harder with you, because I assume German is your original language, so maybe that is why it is hard to understand what you are saying- although your English is really good, still, somethings get lost in translation. Do you think there is a way that we could begin to understand one another? I hope so. I very much want to stay in communion with the “anti-Francis camp.” But I find, when I defend the pope, most may judge me so harshly that it becomes quite difficult to stay friends. Maybe, I am just too sensitive.

  18. carn says:

    Some reply seemingly went to limbo, but questions deserve answers:


    ” but were you saying:

    1. that there is a *barrier* between two or more people EVEN IF they speak the same native language, i.e. their mother tongue?”


    “2. What is for you the difference between Catholics and Christians?”

    Depending upon which denomination we talk about, i see different differences; with protestantism there are relevant differences regarding sacraments, tradition and papal primacy; with orthodox it is also papal primacy but also the filioque and to some extent the division is sort of political.

    “Do you think there is a way that we could begin to understand one another? I hope so. I very much want to stay in communion with the “anti-Francis camp.””

    I might not be a average representative of the “anti-Francis camp”.

    In general, i think it is not really possible in online communications to get really through the barrier. Cause the best way to avoid misunderstanding would be, if in every step of any discussion the procedure would be:

    1. first side says something;

    2. second side states in own words what first side said;

    3. if first side confirms that second side got it right, proceed with 4; otherwise proceed with 2 (even if that meant it is the dozenth time to go back to 2)

    4. second side says something;

    5. first side states in own words what second side said;

    6. if second side confirms that first side got it right, proceed with 7; otherwise proceed with 5 (even if that meant it is the dozenth time to go back to 5)

    7. go to 1

    That is tedious at best.

    Aside from that as a general rule, one should ignore the impression one has from the other side; cause that impression could be wrong due to misunderstanding.

    “But I find, when I defend the pope, most may judge me so harshly that it becomes quite difficult to stay friends.”

    I know that this can be the case. Just yesterday someone suspected me in LSN comment section to be Soros paid to spread lies.

    If i ever could sent bills to all those peoples, regarding whom i have been called out in online discussions for being paid by them, i would get really rich; nuclear lobby, pharma lobby, abortion lobby, Putin, Trump, Orban, the EU, the USA, Russia, the Rich, christian fundamentalists; and now Soros. 🙂

    I just try to take the vitriol not seriously. Online communication does somehow lower civility standards nearly everywhere.

    • ONG says:

      I read your comment first today.
      More questions:

      Why are there to be so many sides?
      Why do you have to make so many algorithms for selecting what each side says?
      Can’t you find at least ONE common factor to which all sides indistinctly ought to adhere for full unity?

      That’s what I meant earlier with a standard measure or standpoint/ point of view, i.e. the *firm position from where you observe what’s happening around you*, and stay there without moving.

      How could one apply “this system” in the other post “Sentire cum Ecclesia” to select among the divergences that appear among some commenters?

      PS: I’ve also considered your autostereogram analogy, although I would use other similar examples to express the same idea.

      • carn says:

        I am not sure, that i understood each question as it was meant.

        “Why are there to be so many sides?”

        There I could only guess and that not very well. The split in different churches has to do with unwillingness to accept authority; but i think that would be insufficient.

        The many sides in many discussions, which often hardly understand each other, is i think to the numerous unspoken, maybe unthought or maybe even unwordable implicit assumptions everybody constantly makes.

        A certain side/camp will have some certain common unspoken assumptions; as they share them, them not being spoken does not hinder the inner-camp communication.

        But when one camp communicates with another, which does not share the unspoken assumption, the message might come across as something totally different, is some unspoken assumption not shared between the two camps is critical for the meaning of the communicated message.

        The most simple example: “us”; one will often hear someone, especially politicians talk about “us”/”we”; few ever bother to define who that “we” is; and this is not just about some rightwing racially thinking politicians, e.g.:

        “On Memorial Day, we remember all those who gave everything for something greater than themselves. It’s up to us to not simply reflect on their sacrifice but to honor it with service of our own—and by living out the values they fought for.”

        Obama relies there on unspoken and maybe even unwordable assumptions so that “us”/”we” has understandable meaning. But people receiving his message might have other assumptions and thereby understand the message different than Obama intended.

        “Why do you have to make so many algorithms for selecting what each side says?”

        I presume you mean the above described steps with “algorithms”.

        Because its the only way i am aware of to at least bring to light if there is an unpsoken but for the message critical assumption.

        E.g. I cannot know from my point of view whether Obama meant with “us”/”we”: all US citizens; all patriotic US citizens; all inhabitants of the US; all legal inhabitants of the US; all mankind; etc.; if i would ask back: “So your statement is that all US citizens do/should remember all those US soldiers who gave their life for their country on this day?” and he would reply “yes”, some of that uncertainty what he means with “us”/”we” and also “they” would be reduced (note: this might be in this case superfluous, cause former US President tweeting about US Memorial Day implies all that for everybody; but if it doesn’t only asking would help).

        “Can’t you find at least ONE common factor to which all sides indistinctly ought to adhere for full unity?”

        Regarding Catholicism, the creed and that disputes are settled by papal decision, to which decision all sides must submit.

        But that common factor is gone at latest since some reactions from middle-European bishops in respect to Humanum Vitae, cause these bishops demonstrated that one need not submit even if Rome has spoken.

        Also, this requires that if there is some dispute, that at some point in time some papal decision happens, which is communicated such, that all parties can intellectually understand what the decision is. That can be helped by answering questions, even uncomfortable ones.

        “How could one apply “this system” in the other post “Sentire cum Ecclesia” to select among the divergences that appear among some commenters?”

        No idea.

  19. Chris in Maryland says:

    The recent WPI article suggesting that there is some sort of conspiracy hysteria causing Catholic faithful to criticize Pope Francis seems like gaslighting, whether or not it is intended to be gaslighting.

    • M. says:

      huh??? Gaslighting means something like “to purposely manipulate someone using psychological methods into questioning their own sanity.” That is quite the charge to drop and go…can you explain?

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