Pope Francis talks at the weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Sept. 28, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Remo Casilli

Is the pope Catholic? Francis dismisses critics of his teachings

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis is firing back at foes of his efforts to make the Catholic Church more open and pastoral in its ministry, telling an interviewer that "they are acting in bad faith to foment divisions.”

The pontiff’s lengthy interview in Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian hierarchy, was published Friday (Nov. 18) and followed days of news coverage of demands by four hard-line cardinals who have grave concerns about Francis’ approach.

The four say that focusing on ministering to people in their particular circumstances is eroding the church’s doctrinal absolutes and that Francis must dispel any ambiguities or face serious consequences.

The four critics, led by U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, a Rome-based prelate and longtime opponent of the pontiff’s policies, had written privately to Francis in September.

They asked the pontiff to state whether passages in a landmark document on ministering to families that he had issued in April could be interpreted to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in some cases.

On Monday, the cardinals went public with the letter because they learned that Francis was not going to respond to their demands that he answer five specific questions about the document, an exhortation called "Amoris Laetitia," or “The Joy of Love.”

READ: Cardinal Burke insists he is serving Francis, not opposing him

The cardinals said he had to answer their questions in order to clear up their doubts about whether the document undermined the church’s teaching on sin and the permanence of marriage.

Then in an interview published Tuesday in the National Catholic Register, Burke raised the stakes by saying that if Francis did not offer a clarification, the next step would be to make “a formal act of correction of a serious error” -- a phrase that some believe is tantamount to accusing the pope of heresy.

Avvenire's interview with Francis focused largely on ecumenism and Catholicism’s relations with other churches.

But the pope also took the opportunity to push back against his critics -- he did not name them -- who view the faith through the lens of “a certain legalism, which can be ideological.”

“Some people -- I am thinking of certain responses to 'Amoris Laetitia' -- continue to misunderstand,” Francis said. “It’s either black or white (to them), even if in the flow of life you have to discern.”

Asked about critics who accuse the pope of “Protestantizing” the Catholic Church -- an objection often raised by conservative Catholics in the U.S. -- Francis said, “I don’t lose sleep over it.”

He insisted that he is following the model of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s that set the church on a path to internal reform and greater engagement with the world.

“As for opinions of others,” he said, “we always have to distinguish the spirit in which they are given. When not given in bad faith, they help with the way forward. Other times you see right away that the critics pick bits from here and there to justify a pre-existing viewpoint; they are not honest, they are acting in bad faith to foment divisions.”

“You see right away that a certain ‘rigorism’ is born out of a lack of something, from a desire to hide inside the armor of one’s own sad dissatisfaction,” he said.

The papal document "Amoris Laetitia" was Francis’ summation of two extraordinary Vatican meetings of the world’s bishops, held in 2014 and 2015, that sought to reorient the church’s approach away from a focus on doctrinal formulations and the reiteration of rules and toward accompanying people in difficult or unusual circumstances.

But the document has become a flashpoint for an increasingly open struggle between old guard hard-liners and supporters of Francis.

One of the three American prelates that Francis is to elevate to the rank of cardinal on Saturday -- along with 14 other churchmen -- pushed back against Burke’s campaign in unusually strong language, calling the effort “troublesome.”

Cardinal-designate Joseph Tobin, who is going to head the Archdiocese of Newark, told The Tablet of London that “Amoris Laetitia cannot simply be reduced to a question of ‘yes or no’ in a specific pastoral situation.”

He said that the challenge by the four cardinals “is at best naive.”


  1. Mr. Gibson can you at least make an attempt to appear objective in your “journalism?”

  2. “He insisted that he is following the model of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s ” Why not just follow Jesus?

  3. Can’t respond with reason or logic, so he refuses to engage on substance and claims those who won’t just roll over are “not honest” and act with “ill-will” and may perhaps be mentally unstable. Classic ad hominem. Sad.

  4. “Legalism” is a buzzword used by anti-nomians. This pope is a heretic. Yes he is.

  5. PS. According to Bergolio’s (lack of) logic, a thrice married Catholic version of Donald Trump could waltz up to communion with his supermodel wife and stepkids! Who cares about the old wife, right? Gee, let’s make him a lector, children’s catechist, and extraordinary minister! It’s mercy! The Pope is trying to change God/Christ’s words. He’s a heretic, pure and simple. DraintheSwamp, Vatican style.

  6. Ambiguity is so much less comfortable than absolutism.

  7. a thrice married Catholic version of Donald Trump could waltz up to communion with his supermodel wife and stepkids!
    Ever hear of Newt Gingrich? Frank Schubert?

  8. Wherever the Pope speaks it seems to lack substance. I have a little handbook called, ‘Praying the Rosary with Pope Francis’ and after each mystery it has his words from a homily. I find them lacking in any kind of depth. My wife likes it though so it may just be me. Nevertheless, I’m uneasy about it.

  9. The “Pope” can dismiss whatever he wants but he is not following the teachings of the Catholic church and we all know it.

  10. You are right Edward, I was angered by those who would sink to such depths as to label PF a heretic… thus I have self deleted my “cheap shot.”

  11. “Burke raised the stakes by saying that if Francis did not offer a clarification, the next step would be to make “a formal act of correction of a serious error” — a phrase that some believe is tantamount to accusing the pope of heresy.”

    The very height of pretension… a poor excuse for a Christian thinks he is more Catholic than the pope… maybe he should get a real job and step outside of ecclesial welfare for a change.

  12. You best get yourself to confession lady or it will be hell to pay for you… shame on you for disparaging the holy father in a public forum!

  13. Perhaps not as you remember it Mr Lockwood, but there is one thing the Cardinals should remember: they are men under authority. They’ve taken vows of obedience. To talk openly as Cardinal Burke does creates scandal for the church, and must be corrected. Further to accuse your peers of heresy is something you can get away with, but to accuse you superiors of such is seditious and a broken vow. So much more so when accusing your ultimate earthly superior. This is one teaching Pope Francis’ two predecessors made sure all clergy understood. Those who could not keep their vows were encourage to leave, so should these four.

  14. Who ever called “newt” a Catholic??? Bergolio has now legitimized Newt, Trump and Giuilani. He’s going to legitimize pro-abort nutjobs next. No denying it.

  15. “You see right away that a certain ‘rigorism’ is born out of a lack of something, from a desire to hide inside the armor of one’s own sad dissatisfaction,” he said.
    May God continue to bless the Holy Father.

  16. Proverbs 18:2-3 Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.

  17. Look up anti-nomian. He’s against the very Gospel words of Christ on marriage.

  18. LOL!!! A liberal referencing “obedience”. Next thing we’ll see is liberals reading canon law! Hilarious. Bergolio is a heretic who is against Scripture aka Divine Law. Christ said marriage is indissoluble. End of story.

  19. Every man, a sinner, rich or poor, needs to save his own soul. Not rely on “Tim Kaine” or some narcissistic SJW. Get a clue. I know plenty of drunks and pot smokers who are poor, gee, maybe God disapproves of sin? A: read gospel, yes He does disapprove.

  20. The Pope is the one creating the scandal and as recently stated if the Pope does so this must be brought out to the practicing Catholic – the Pope can’ t just say whatever he wants – there must be Catholic teaching supporting it and that is where this Pope is in error.

  21. No vow dispenses from the demands of the truth, the natural law, or justice. No vow obliges anyone to acquiesce in or participate in sin. Nothing you say about “obedience” is of the slightest relevance to the “four Cardinals.”

  22. Newt Gingrich is validly married, in the Catholic Church.

  23. Newt Gingrich is a Catholic, and is validly married, in the Catholic Church.

  24. “These four, however, while all are recognized for their authoritativeness, have no operational roles, either for reasons of age or because they have been dismissed.
    And that makes them more free. It is no mystery, in fact, that their appeal has been and is shared by not a few other cardinals who are still fully active, as well as high-ranking bishops and archbishops of West and East, who however precisely because of this have decided to remain in the shadows.” Vatican reporter Sandro Magister.
    “Vaticanist Marco Tosatti of La Stampa believes that the submission of five questions or “doubts” about Amoris Laetitia that four cardinals sent to the Pope in September and which he has declined to answer, may be a motivating factor behind Francis’ decision this year. Tosatti asserts that the dubia, although not made public when the Pope decided against holding a pre-consistory meeting of cardinals, were going to be “resubmitted” during the gathering, “not only by the signatories of the request for clarification, but also perhaps by other cardinals, eager for a decisive word from the Pope.” It’s a situation, he added, the Pope probably “preferred to avoid.”” NC Register

  25. Matthew 19:9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
    Mark 10:11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.
    Luke 16:18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

  26. Certainly the pope is not infallible, even in matters of doctrine, Catholic arguments to the contrary not withstanding. However, I am not particularly troubled by the path chosen by the pontiff, though I acknowledge the Christian right of the cardinals in question to question the pope, if for no other reason than to obtain clarification. This is primarily an issue to be resolved within the precincts of the RCC; Protestants and other Christians do not really have a dog in the fight, at least until such time as other Christian endeavors and activities are imperiled or impacted by this internecine battle.

  27. We are incapable of saving our own souls, that is why Jesus died on the cross; He is the Savior who through His Magnificent Sacrifice purchased our Salvation via His shed blood. Further, I know many wealthy and healthy who are reprobate in their lives and behavior, circumstances in this present world are no sure indication of one’s spiritual estate.

  28. Draining the swamp Vatican style would effectively jettison everyone *except* PF… you have a vile tongue young lady, I hope you realize that you epitomize everything that is wrong in the Roman church today!

  29. Free will. Catholicism 101. Abuse your free will and go to Hell.

  30. Thank you. I’ll too will stick with God/Christ, not heretic berg olio

  31. Scott, throughout history there have been bad Popes. A few had illegitimate children etc. A few were heretics. Bergolio is a bad pope. It has and can happen. Study history.

  32. Vile? So, what do you think of homosexual pederasts? That have bankrupted many archdioceses because of $ettlements paid to victims? Drain the Swamp!

  33. Didn’t know that. Now it doesn’t matter anyway. Anything goes according to bergolio. Polygamy should be OK next, if everyone involved has a “conscience” about it. Sodomy too.

  34. Christ is a fundamentalist. Read his words about marriage in the Gospel. He also told the adulteress: go and sin no more. Cupich and Bergolio say, go and sin some more if your little “conscience” says so.

  35. I know all about the bad popes but Francis is not one of them… what you are really saying is he is not into elitist, religious fundamentalism as you are. What you likely object to is his emphasis on essential gospel tenets and not the dominion theology of yesteryear which was acceptable (and effective) during medieval times but is no longer. Please grow up and allow your faith to mature beyond 3rd grade catechism… and if you want to study history I recommend starting with any scholarly work that might help you understand the political and cultural influences which came to bear on ancient Rome, and how the papal office was a convenient offshoot of the Roman emperor to begin with.

  36. Yes vile, on this point we agree… however PF’s immediate predecessors are even more culpable than he. The entire curia can go IMO, they wouldn’t understand servanthood if it rose up and bit them in the a$$.

  37. I think the same thing of them that I think of heterosexual pederasts, as wells as purely pederastic pederasts, both of which comprise the majority of pederasts. I think even less of people whose business has been to cover up pederasty in the church, as they have done for at least a thousand years.

  38. This interpretation altogether misses the mark of Christ’s two greatest commands to love Him and our neighbors as ourselves… not to mention, “we all fall short,” or didn’t you know that… so time to remove the plank from your own eye before you think about disparaging others, especially the leader of the visible church universal.

  39. The sins of all of those men occurred under the two previous popes.

    The sins of the Catholic Church occurred under all of the previous popes.

  40. Amen to that Ben, and yet OLPHGI is dissatisfied that PF won’t cower to the careerist clerics who did (and do) all they can to shelter the perps so as not to cause scandal to “Holy Mother Church.”

  41. The words “whited sepulchers” come to mind, but then, I’ve noticed that the one thing far right religious people lack is a sense of irony.

  42. Luther also said: “Divorce and remarriage? Meh … No big deal” :-/

  43. ” Those who could not keep their vows were encourage to leave, so should these four.”
    Asking 5 simple questions wouldn’t seem to me to violate one’s oath of obedience. Doesn’t this oath (Which Pope Francis also took) demand obedience to Tradition?

    … But I have to ask what it is you want them to leave? The Church? It seems the mercy door slams shut quickly with some people!

  44. You are wrong! Fraternal correction is one of the inbuilt correction mechanisms of the ecclesial hierarchy. The earliest example of it is St. Paul correcting St. Peter about eating with the Gentiles, when he “withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed” (Galatians 2:11). St. Paul was always hard-hitting when he disagreed with anyone and you can be sure he would have shown St. Peter all the four corners of the room and made a big, big mess, if he had refused to give in.

    By the way, since when are theological liberals so hierarchy-friendly? Where were they when Benedict XVI was Pope, and where were their admonitions to subject to papal authority when Paul VI published Humanae Vitae? That they are suddenly so obedient now to Francis the Merciful only exposes their hypocrisy.

  45. Hateful use of pejorative attack terms like “legalistic, fundamentalism, rigidity, etc” is typical conduct for anti-nomian heretics. Pope Francis doesn’t have a high IQ imho. He isn’t even clever enough to hide himself when he scolds and dictates. He’s the least educated pope in over a century.

  46. 90% of the abuse was clerical homosexual pederasty, not heterosexual.

  47. Sin? Who are you to judge? God is merciful! God loves Republicans, He loves all.

  48. “Go and sin no more.” — Christ

    It’s not complicated. Leave it to Bergolio to muddle Christ up. Bergolio and his ilk Cardinals deliberately produce voluminous and wordy works and documents to confuse and deceive.

    I’m sticking with Christ. Simplicity is something Bergolio doesn’t understand.

  49. I’m permittedto judge righteously. It takes precedence.

  50. Actually, Luther rejected the Traditional Truths of the Catholic faith – just like Bergoglio is doing right now. Oh BTW, Bergoglio loves the Lutherans as theological equals. And he praises Luther. Coincidence? I think not.

  51. You have no grasp of Church discipline at all.
    Scandal in the Church is created when we deviate from the Magisterium, to which we are all required to give primacy of place.
    Note well the following from the Dogmatic Constitution “Pastor aeternus” of Vatican I (1869-70) – “The Holy Spirit was not given to the Roman Pontiffs so that they might disclose new doctrine, but so that they might guard and set forth the Deposit of Faith handed down from the Apostles.”
    Jorge Mario Bergoglio seems to have missed that portion of his mandate. It appears his sycophants have as well.
    God reward the four Cardinals for their fortitude, and preserve them from the aberrant vindictiveness they are sure to soon suffer.

  52. I do not discount the precept of free will, however, as a present evangelical raised as a Catholic, I’m not bound by Catholicism 101. Hell is definitely a certainty for those who reject the saving grace that Jesus purchased on the Cross for us, alternatively we cannot purchase our own salvation via the avenue of free will, or the exercise of good works. Good works are an evidence of salvation but not a precursor to it. For we are saved by grace through faith, and not by works lest any man should boast. The metaphysics and mechanics involved in the mystery of free will and election through predestined grace are beyond me, but I will claim no credit for the salvation that comes to me through Christ Jesus. Peace.

  53. I don’t usually borrow another’s reply verbatim (on a different forum), but this one strikes a subtle nuance that needs to be shared with the black-and-white naysayers of PF’s pastoral directive (copyright laws do not apply in a public forum such as this):

    With regard to the first question: Latin is supposed to make things more clear, not less clear. The expression more uxorio is vague. Does it refer only to the question of whether a couple is having sexual relations (physically). If that is what is meant, say so. The second marriage in itself creates, by definition, a marriage-like relation in some sense. That is taken for granted. But what exactly does more uxorio add to it? If it means that the couple is having sex, then it is obvious that the Church does not approve having sex with someone who is not your spouse (This follows directly from the sixth commandment) and there you have the answer to question one if you believe also in the permanence of marriage, as the Church does, even Cardinal Kasper. And you don’t have to bother the Pope about it. It is furthermore, not the Church that prohibits adultery, but the decalogue. The question is a no-brainer. But the question of adultery is not reduced to the question of sex. Our Lord insisted on that with his doctrine about adultery of the heart. So things are more complicated. Legalists do not accept the complications of life. They want to tie everything up in neat packages. They want to be able to grill people about sex, and then go back to their rectories and their fine wines and cigars, and forget about pastoral accompaniment which seems much too messy for them. Secondly the four cardinals speak of Pope John Paul II admitting the divorced and remarried to communion under three conditions. But what happened to the Church’s practice of not allowing the divorced and remarried to communion? Are we speaking here of an exception here or of the rule, seen in closeup? But in fact the four cardinals are misrepresenting FC. John Paul II presents the practice of the Church: non admission of divorced and remarried on one hand, and of reconciliation through the sacrament of penance on the other. In the sacrament the grace of God intervenes. The couple enters by the grace of God into a new category. It is no longer merely divorced and remarried, but divorced and remarried and touched by God’s grace. This creates an exception to the rule which does not destroy the rule. Pope Francis does the same thing but gives us a broader view of the workings of grace by using the concept of mitigating circumstances. This is good Catholic theology and is opposed to the legalist/rigorist interpretation which reduces everything to rules.

  54. But he never actually addresses the criticisms or answers sincere questions as to why a lot of what he says is out of sync with what has always been taught by the Catholic Church.

    There is a major problem of theological consistency in a Church which has always proudly held firm to theological consistency, even when not popular. It will take a lot more than a cult of personality around Pope Francis to adequately address the concerns and answer the questions.

  55. Your way of thinking is just a few short steps from ISIS… In your view, PF does not “measure up” with the most narrow, rigid interpretation of scripture (and tradition) one can muster. Label him a heretic and insist that he must be reckoned with. God demands it, it must be done… so how and what are the means to do it… Hmmm? Hate and vitriol consume you. You are enslaved by it. All because the man doesn’t worship your golden calf in the same manner as you.

    If you treat your pope in this manner, how do you treat your neighbor or “least of these?” We will all sit in judgment one day, I sure wouldn’t want to be in your shoes!

  56. Your expertise on Luther appears to overlook his contempt for the canon of Holy Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Magisterium, the seven sacraments and the veneration of the Saints.
    He had a particular hatred for the papacy. The only person in this theater of the absurd I might think could be contemptuous of the papacy is Jorge Mario Bergoglio and the cadre he rides with.
    Luther was an unbalanced individual. His “movement” has produced nothing but a mendacity that is the fare of choice among the fraudulent.

  57. Can we assume that if four Cardinals PUBLICALLY issued a similar letter, gave interviews, and suggested that John Paul II or Benedict were perhaps uttering heresy, you would feel the same way? That this would cause no scandal, i.e.,cause no believers to question the Church’s teaching? And don’t sing me the song about the Magisterium being eternally unchanging; it has changed in the past and will certainly change again in the future. Don’t forget, the cardinals chose this Pope; it must be of God, right?

  58. See comment above. As to being hierarchy-friendly, I don’t recall any cardinals, among whom there must have been a few liberals, PUBLICALLY suggesting that Benedict or John Paul II were mistaken, even heretical, though they might have thought so. I don’t even recall any archbishops or bishops, among whom many were certainly liberals and likely deplored the Church’s rightward swing, bringing this kind of scandal on the Church. Instead they were hunted down and pushed to side by those popes. But in all things they were obedient to their vow.

  59. Why don’t you ask the liberals Francis’ two predecessors pushed to the side or drove out of the Church? While you’re at it why not ask yourself why there are so few priests under 60 years old in the Catholic Church.

  60. You need to get out more. Visit a Lutheran Church. It is the height of arrogance to suggest that their faith is somehow unreal or that God’s love isn’t great enough to include them too.

  61. I worked in a pronounced ecumenical environment in Manhattan for ten years. Rest assured there is only contempt for Roman Catholicism amongst the inhabitants of protestantism.
    There is stated no limitation on the love of God for anyone in my comments. The fact that you would perceive such affirms me in the perception that while you have word recognition working for you, comprehension is lacking.

  62. “His “movement” has produced nothing but a mendacity that is the fare of choice among the fraudulent.” Certainly a loving thing to say. Again I say get out more. I’ll be attending a community Thanksgiving Service this evening. I’ve never seen any contempt. Maybe that’s only in Manhattan.

  63. They throughly undermined Church teaching by their theology and “pastoral” practice, which is what modernists always do and that’s exactly what Bergoglio likes in them. Modernism was called the “synthesis of all heresies” by Pope Pius X. The real scandal is that modernists and liberals are present in the Church at all. They have no legitimate place there and should be thrown out.

  64. There was no absence of public contempt for Pope Saint John Paul or for Pope Benedict. As is common with the heterodox it was manifest with the smirk, the wink the nod. Anxious to retain their safe space, the dog collared played the game, waiting for exactly this moment in time.
    Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict, adhering to the Magisterium, provided no opportunity for the heterodox to challenge their conformity to it.
    The Magisterium does change, in the sense that we go ever deeper into the unfathomable truths of the Faith revealed in Holy Scripture. Going deep never involves relinquishing the truth for a feigned “pastoral” outreach which only leads to indifference to mortal sin. Going deeper does not include the evisceration of doctrine leaving
    only the chrysalis of the Catholic Church to be inhabited by parasites. Going deeper does not consist in the metamorphosis of Catholicism into a diluted theism well on its way to uber secular materialism.
    Rouse yourself and abandon the absurd. Cut and paste confections might work at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. They have less credence amongst those who are not low-info laity. We haven’t been waiting for two thousand years for the fraudulent reform of unintelligible Bergoglianism. As Pope Benedict spoke a decade before his election, the Holy Spirit always inspires, men do not always listen. The Sankt Gallen Mafia appears to have had its way.

  65. You live in the erroneous zone. Danneels, Schoenborn, Bergoglio, et al., adhered to heresy all their clerical lives. They did articulate it in private. They conspired to bring their confection to bear upon the Church. You have little familiarity with clerical life.

  66. Ask the liberal on the Chair of Peter — who elevated him to the episcopate while he concealed his heterodoxy?

  67. That’s why they invented the circular firing squad. Too bad Jesus wasn’t so discerning. There were 5 Catholic churches and a Catholic High School in our small town when John Paul II came to power. Now there is only one and one priest, no more nuns, and no high school. The priest tells me it was because they let lay people have church councils. Do you agree? As the president elect would say: sad.

  68. It is because of the Second Vatican Council whose documents were poorly written, intentionally. Its work left to be interpreted by “theologians” who had abandoned Roman Catholicism for their own notions. Avail yourself of scholarship on the topic.
    Roberto de Mattei, H.J.A. Sire and Romano Amerio are invaluable.

  69. Are you suggesting that the College of Cardinals made a mistake? That they are not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit? That somehow these bad actors could fool the cardinals (with Benedict looking over their shoulders)? (Or did they keep quiet because they were obedient.) Are you suggesting that the Magisterium is capable of making a mistake? That it’s all political scheming? Isn’t that suggestion one that would bring scandal, doubt, in the minds of believers?

  70. I suspect his diocese was doing fine when he was elected. It’s we North Americans with the problem. Vocations have been declining for 40 years; you can’t hang that on Francis. Let’s see… who were the popes during those years? Oh and don’t blame Vatican II; those popes did everything they could to undo what John XXIII did. It just made matters worse.

  71. Your small town lost its priests and Catholic infrastructure because after Vatican II Modernism reigns supreme in the Church. The Vatican II Church has no serious vocations and it doesn’t have the spiritual power to energize the faith. It is completely fake and JP II was just a symptom of it. His wild ecumenism destroyed the relevance of Catholicism. Everybody was fine, whatever religion you had, and even if you had none you were deemed to be an “implicit Christian”, according to Rahner, one of his theological favorites.

    The only places where Catholicism flourishes today is where traditionalists have made their impact. SSPX seminaries have doubled their vocations in the last decades. This is the real contrast with the spiritually dead Church of Vatican II. If it is permissible to give a link , then view this for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgOS9m-SBHg

  72. I take a different tack. The Church has only survived for 2,000 years because it has learned to slowly carefully adapt. It does it by incorporating the divergent and adjusting accordingly. That’s why we have religious orders that differ so much from one another. There have been only two major splits. No other institution has been able to pull that off. Most institutions don’t last a generation. Here’s a puzzle for you. Look up probabilism; it’s an official teaching, but you might only find it in a footnote. Many have tried to remove it or down play it, but still it’s there.. Why?

  73. Ah, now we see. So St John Paul II was part of the problem. Instead of reversing the innovations of Vatican !! as I thought, he was in fact promoting them. All those priests and nuns that were leaving just didn’t understand. But then, as you say, they weren’t the right sort anyway. Perhaps if those used to be Catholics in the SSPX sent us a dozen priests and a like number of nuns, everything would be wonderful again. They can do that, can’t they? I’m sure our bishop wouldn’t mind. Here’s hoping all our problems have been solved.

  74. My neighbors are Hispanic, Polish, white-American and Filipino. I get along with them fine, because they aren’t hate-causing progressives. They’re normal cool people.

  75. Agreed: “Hell is definitely a certainty for those who reject the saving grace that Jesus purchased on the Cross for us.”

  76. I am permitted to admonish the sinner. Christ said no divorce. Therefore I admonish Bergolio for refusing Christ’s command!!!!

  77. Homosexual pederasts greatly outnumber heterosexual versions by %. The disorder of homosexuality is tied to the disorder of pederasty.

  78. As note dpreviously, Pope Benedict spoke a decade before his election, the Holy Spirit always inspires, men do not always listen. The Sankt Gallen Mafia appears to have had its way.
    The Holy Spirit is a work in each of our lives continually.
    Are you listening?
    Do you heed?
    Do you exercise your free will for good and ill?
    You are playing a game here. Play by yourself.

  79. If you think this pope has set out to cause hate and division you need to have your head examined. The irony here is he wants God’s people to *focus* on gospel essentials, and the whited sepulchers can’t seem to grasp this basic concept of Christian worship and brotherhood (or sisterhood if you prefer). I challenge you to go back and review the pope’s writings and consistent message… Love the Lord and Love your neighbor… Don’t judge… Accompany sinners… Encounter one another and let the Joy of the gospel shine through. The only way you can possibly find “hate” in PF’s message is if you worship another gospel and/or another God, which is entirely your prerogative, but if that is the case I would hesitate to call myself a Catholic/Christian… might you be more content finding yourself a new religion to practice?

  80. That depends on your bishop. A pro-homosexualist heretic such as Cupich, or a cultural-political correct deceiver like Wuerl, would have nothing to do with the SSPX. But all this is only a matter of time, since the Vatican II Church is dying. The more progessive they become the sooner their humanistic pseudo-religion will be over. Within a generation the overwhelming majority of priests in France, for example, will be traditionalists.

    No, not everything will be wonderful again just by sending your town a dozen priests and nuns. The most important thing is a true revival of the faith and its practice in all its details. This can be done for a part even by lay people: Learning and studying the Cathechism, the commandments, the elementary doctrines of sin, judgment, heaven and hell, mortal and venial sin, the natural and divine virtues, and especially the importance of being a sanctified people for God, truly converted to Him and set apart from the wickedness of the modern world, living in chastity, honesty, and holiness. For, as the Apostle says: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God” (I Corinthians 6:9).

  81. No game here. I’m deadly serious. I just don’t agree. I’ve given 42 years to the Church and sacrificed much. I’m still giving, gladly. I know my Lord and trust that as Julian of Norwich said, All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. I shall continue to pray for the Church and those who make their home in her.

  82. Lots of explanations for that, but not yours.

    As I said, every one of these moelsters is a catholic priest, as is every one of their enablers, and this has been the case for at least 1000 years.

    And no, it’s not tied to homosexuality. Not at all. In the real world, 80-90% of the victims are female,and half the time, it is their heterosexual fathers that are the perpetrators.

    That’s a fact, not your fantasy about homosexuals corrupting your church. For anyone who knows anything about the subject– and I do– it’s obvious that the church has corrupted homosexual men.

  83. Why must we atheists school you believers? Jesus said no divorce except for adultery.

    He also said to pray in private, not in public. So much for your great cathedrals.

    He also said……

    Well it doesn’t matter what he said, does it? It only matters if he agrees with you. Which he always seems todo, on every subject.

  84. Evolution of Church dogma got it this far and to continue existing it will need to continue evolving.

  85. Apparently no one has yet asked the companion question: Does he live in the woods?

    (Professional smart-aleck. Do not attempt.)

  86. Ahh. The sweet smell of dissent. I said 40 years ago no Jesuit would ever be Pope- I was wrong. But predictions that any Jesuit Pope would have detractors – easy

  87. Pope Francis appears to be rather emotionally immature. He sees requests for doctrinal clarification as personal attacks and responds with hostility.

  88. Then you should know the 4 cardinals are following it…and scripture.

  89. You conveniently omit the fact they privately addressed their concerns to the pope, per scriptural requirement. It was his refusal to even acknowledge them that they now have not only the right but the responsibility to go public – for the good of souls.

  90. He’s sounding frighteningly like the Progressives in America. So very similar. Talk of tolerance, compassion and mercy is buttressed with divisive name-calling.

  91. I don’t thing a newspaper interview and suggested threats count at “privately addressed”. Is causing the believer to doubt the teachings of the Pope good for their souls? Actually that’s the definition of scandal.

  92. Fabulous. Thank you. Precision is beautiful especially when it also addresses the complexities of life rather than oversimplifying for a smaller certainty.
    Mary Rakow, novelist This Is Why I Came

  93. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I have to say this about the Pope I have listen to for 3 years has always spoken of forgiveness, love , mercy for the poor,sick less fortunate. He gave me hope for a dying world full of hatred and greed. I am not Catholic but came darn close after 50 years as protestant. That speaks volumes in my world. ? Peace .

  94. Thank you Selena B., peace to you also… can you believe the vitriol these “Catholics” are hurling at their presumed “leader?” As a Protestant, you must be real impressed with that…not! Sorry you had to see it here!

  95. No sorry needed. It shows what the PF..s’
    Has to contend with. Goes along with the way of the worldly thinking today…” UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL.” We are falling… God find favor in you and broaden your territories. Peace ?..

  96. Our theologians tell us that being Catholic is an everyday choice. It is true that being born in a Catholic family does help, but that is not everything. The Holy Father is inviting people of goodwill to reflect, discern and embrace their Christian calling through daily acts of mercy, compassion, humility, solidarity, sacrifice and sharing. Reports say people across the Universe and from different religions and cultural backgrounds are thrilled with the soothing and healing message of the Pontiff. Long live Francis.

  97. “Why don’t you ask the liberals Francis’ two predecessors pushed to the side or drove out of the Church?”
    I’m asking the one who made the silly statement

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