Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò listens to remarks at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual fall meeting on Nov. 16, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Doubts about Viganò's accusations aside, Pope Francis needs a better response

(RNS) — It is hard to know what to think of the bombshell dropped by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who released a scalding letter on Sunday (Aug. 26) calling on Pope Francis to resign. Viganò, the former Vatican ambassador to the United States, claims in the letter that Pope Francis knew that recently resigned Cardinal Theodore McCarrick abused seminarians when he was a bishop in New Jersey but nonetheless didn't punish the cardinal.

The 7,000-word document also accuses about a dozen Vatican cardinals who served in the papacies of John Paul, Benedict and Francis of being part of the coverup.

It might be easy to write Viganò off as a disgruntled employee. He was denied the job he sought under Pope Benedict XVI — president of the governorate of the Vatican City State — and was sent to the United States as papal nuncio, or representative to the U.S. government and the American church. In a 2012 memo to Pope Benedict, which was leaked to the media, Viganò complained that he was being exiled because he had made enemies trying to reform Vatican finances.

Nuncio to the United States is no minor job, but the head of the Vatican government normally becomes a cardinal.

Viganò became even more unhappy with his job as nuncio after the election of Pope Francis, who ignored his recommendations in the appointment of bishops. And although most nuncios to the U.S. later become cardinals, it became clear that he was never going to get a red hat.

It is worth noting that many of the people Viganò accuses are the same people with whom he had conflicts in the Vatican.

Nor is this the first time Viganò has criticized the pope. He joined Cardinal Raymond Burke and others in criticizing the pope's document on the family, "Amoris Laetitia," because they thought it diverged from orthodoxy.

Disgruntled employee? Yes. But many whistleblowers are disgruntled employees.

What is more damning are questions about Viganò's own record regarding the American sex abuse scandal. During legal proceedings against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a 2014 letter from Viganò was uncovered in which he told an auxiliary bishop to limit an investigation against the local archbishop and to destroy evidence.

Viganò was certainly not known for transparency and accountability while he was nuncio from 2011 to 2016, but now he presents himself as a born-again defender of the abused.

In the letter, Viganò goes after many former and current officials in the Vatican, including the three most recent secretaries of state: cardinals Angelo Sodano, Tarcisio Bertone and Pietro Parolin. Other Vatican cardinals he alleges knew about McCarrick's abuse include William Levada, Giovanni Battista Re, Marc Ouellet, Leonardo Sandri, Fernando Filoni, Angelo Becciu, Giovanni Lajolo and Dominique Mamberti.

Given how the crimes of Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionairies of Christ, were ignored during the papacy of Pope John Paul II, some of what Viganò says sounds possible. But no evidence is presented.

Interestingly, John Paul escapes Viganò's criticism. Viganò implies that McCarrick’s appointment to Washington and as a cardinal was the work of Sodano “when John Paul II was already very ill.” Yet McCarrick was appointed archbishop of Washington in 2000, five years before John Paul died. Was John Paul a puppet during his last five years in office? And if McCarrick’s abuse of seminarians was so widely known in John Paul’s curia, it is hard to believe that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger did not know. Did he tell John Paul?

Viganò claims that Re told him that, sometime between 2009 and 2010, Pope Benedict told McCarrick to stop living at a seminary, saying Mass in public, traveling and lecturing.

But there is no evidence to support the claim that McCarrick was sanctioned by Pope Benedict. McCarrick continued to celebrate Mass, travel and lecture throughout the papacy of Benedict. And on his many visits to Rome, he stayed at the North American College, the residence for U.S. seminarians. Anyone who thinks Benedict would tolerate such disobedience doesn’t know Benedict.

Pope Francis, flanked by Vatican spokesperson Greg Burke, listens to a journalist's question Aug. 26, 2018, during a news conference aboard the flight to Rome at the end of his two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)

Viganò claims that he told Pope Francis on June 23, 2013: “Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests, and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.” Since Pope Francis allegedly did not listen to him then, Viganò thinks he should resign.

Viganò released his letter as Pope Francis was wrapping up his visit to Ireland. Journalists asked the pope about it during the press conference on the plane headed back to Rome.

"I will not say one word on this," the pope said, according to a New York Times video. "I think this statement speaks for itself, and you have sufficient journalistic capacity to reach your own conclusions."

"When time will pass and you'll draw the conclusions, maybe I will speak," said Francis. "But I'd like that you do this job in a professional way."

Of course, many headlines read: “Pope refuses to respond to accusations of coverup.”

The pope was correct to encourage journalists to examine the Viganò document to see what is true and what is not. The press conference was not the place to do a line-by-line critique of the document. Many reporters have in fact examined the document and found its claims wanting.

But what about Viganò's claim that he told the pope about McCarrick?

Since the pope is the only other witness to this encounter, only he can verify or deny what Viganò said, and refusing to answer that question does not enhance his credibility. The pope's media advisers should have told him so immediately after the press conference and responded to the reporters with a clarification before they filed their stories.

The answer could have been, “No, he did not say that to the pope.” Or, it could have been: “Yes, he did say that to the pope, but there is no record of the alleged sanctions by Benedict. The pope disregarded the accusations because Viganò had a history of unsubstantiated accusations. And remember, it was Francis who told McCarrick to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance and took away his red hat.”

Reporters, like most people, like the pope, but they also have a job to do. The Vatican should not make it difficult.

Just as every diocese in the United States needs to do a full and transparent account of clerical sex abuse and each diocese’s response, so too the Vatican must disclose what it knew, when it knew and what it did or did not do. Nothing less will begin the restoration of credibility to the Catholic Church.

(The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.)

Comments

  1. Fr. Reese, you have been a journalist covering the Catholic Church for a long time. What did you know, hear, or suspect about Cardinal McCarrick? What other credible rumors have you heard about compromised clergy and prelates? Looking back, do you wish you would have done anything differently in how you chose not to pursue such stories?

  2. A well-written article that affirms what many others have written about Vigano and the many axes he has ground over the years against his enemies. There is simply no explanation as to why Vigano chose this particular moment to drop his “bombshell” when he had access to information about McCarrick for at least a decade. By failing to sound the alarm during the time period in which he was the Papal Nuncio he implicates himself, along with JPII and B16 far more than he does Pope Francis. He is, to put it bluntly, not credible. He is, it is looking more and more, nothing more than a disgruntled ex-employee acting out in revenge towards the person who fired him. This sort of trash-talking happens all the time in the “real world.”

  3. These issues festered during JPII’s papacy.. no matter what happens to Francis, his accusers and others — is it still appropriate that he remains a Saint?

  4. I agree that Pope Francis seems blind to the fact that we will no longer take a prelate’s word that he hasn’t been involved in a cover-up. He seems to think of himself more as “primus” than “inter pares,” and to dismiss laypeople as well-intentioned but uninformed. I don’t see any alternative to his recusing himself from a thorough investigation, and resigning if it turns out that he was part of a cover-up. What the Church needs now is credibility, not gullibility.

  5. Well you have to remember that the hierarchy in fact turned to lay pscyhologists, psychiatrists during the 70s and 80s and actually listened to their opinions regarding homosexual behavior.

    Psychiatrists and pscyhologists then – even in their own DSM – categorized homosexuality far differently than it does today.

    It’s not a just act to use today’s opinion from psychologists/psychiatrists today to beat up the hiearchy of yesterday who were consulting the very different opinions from yesterday’s psychiatrists/pscyhologists!

  6. It’s not a just act to use today’s opinion from psychologists/psychiatrists today to beat up the hiearchy of yesterday who were consulting the very different opinions from yesterday’s psychiatrists/pscyhologists!

  7. Vigano’s intentions don’t matter. The truth content of his statement is all that matters.

    Let Dinardo get permission from Francis to show the unredacted articles.

    Stand by for missing emails, broken servers and phones, missing visiting logs.

    Hillary-tactics to be seen soon.

    1. Attack the whistleblower.
    2. Get rid of the evidence
    3. “..have no recollection of the events”.

  8. I agree that there needs to be a complete accounting for what happened. That is different from the ideological hit job by Vigano with the usual suspects helping things along. (It all smells of the work of a certain Cappa Magna loving alt-right Cardinal.) It is crystal clear that McCarrick wasn’t under any “sanctions” during Benedict’s papacy.

    Pope Francis would be wise to create a lay panel to produce a report on the worldwide church’s failings and produce recommendations. Let’s get it all out there at once rather than these drips and drabs. However, he shouldn’t be getting down in the mud with a disgruntled former employee and his hateful supporters. It diminishes him and his office and elevates trivial wingnuts and Internet quacks who should be ignored. Francis should have his supporters do battle for against the nuts trying to discredit him while he works on the main problem. My concern is that he still appears oblivious to the main problem. Of course, the nuts trying to overthrow Francis are the ones who want to bring the Catholic Church back to the 1950s, where the laity were servants and priests could abuse children with impunity and without having to contend with things like the press or civil authorities or grand juries.

  9. They removed it from the last DSM.

    They were part of the problem, and should not be anywhere near the solution.

  10. No, Satan and his angelic cohorts managed to get out of Heaven.

  11. There are plenty of explanations as to why Viganò chose now to make his accusations.

    For example: now that the fire has spread, he will be actually listened to.

    The “He is, to put it bluntly, not credible.” mantra is coming from the advocates for gutting the teachings on homosexuality, divorce, abortion, birth control who are watching their Great Argentine Hope take on water and begin to sink.

    Viganò is at least as credible as Thomas J. Reese, S.J..

  12. But the liberals love psy/psys and it’s time someone calls them on it….they change their opinion by the hour.

  13. When the latest guidance came out on suitability for ordination, specifically and unequivocally banning the ordination of homosexuals, the first thing the USSCB did was set up a task force with a heavy dose of mind mavens.

    The fix was already in.

  14. “Of course, the nuts trying to overthrow Francis are the ones who want to bring the Catholic Church back to the 1950s, where the laity were servants and priests could abuse children with impunity and without having to contend with things like the press or civil authorities or grand juries.”

    Yes, just ignore the squadron of Vatican II-loving liberals who are actively fighting to protect their own beloved pedophiles, deviants and active homosexuals in the priesthood.

  15. I don’t think that anyone thinks that pedophiles should be in the clergy. I am all for closeted gays, red pill boys, and others who are immature sexually and emotionally not being priests. However I am totally fine with openly gay men being priests.

  16. Vatican II-loving liberals

    I can appreciate the aversion to the treacly triteness of post-Vatican II liturgical music, but if you had even the slightest understanding of the enormous historical impact of that council and the many reasons it had to occur, you would be embarrassed to utter such a statement that reveals your ignorance far more than it manages to land a sneer against your enemies. Have you ever watched JFK’s funeral? It was a low mass and it was a liturgical mess. From a historical perspective, the liturgy was long overdue for a major reform in order to reclaim its ancient roots and its ancient meaning. You can debate the implementation of Vatican II all you like, but if you claim to love the Catholic Church, Vatican II is something that needed to happen.

  17. Wow, so just about everyone here is going the route of dismissing Vigano rather than letting this unfold. I think there are so many here that are caught up with the same biases against traditional priests they refuse to even entertain that what he wrote could be true. Francis does not have a good track record regarding this crisis and all his statements are becoming foolish unless he acts to remove all those accountable. Come on people can we at least be open to the truth where ever it goes.

  18. You can say that it was implemented poorly, and in many cases I would agree with you, but to say that it was never implemented is just bizarre.

  19. You know why the Council was never implemented. It was the HOMOSEXUAL CABAL!!! They’re everywhere, you know….

  20. Actually was is bizarre is your touting Vatican II giving the example of the revised liturgy, and yet the documents of Vatican II itself called for minor revision and mandated that Latin be preserved.

    In fact John XXIII established an academy to advance Latin which, of course, disappeared after his death.

    I repeat, too bad it was never implemented.

  21. Fair enough.
    While I would certainly reject any claims of ignorance regarding the matter, I probably am taking for granted what shouldn’t be – that snide references to ‘Vatican II’ should indeed be understood to mean the (often grotesque) abuses that arose in its wake, not the actual council itself, which was a perfectly legitimate council inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit like all others throughout Church history.
    For those of us who’ve grown up in it’s aftermath, and who have suffered through the ridiculousness of liturgical free-for-alls and an endless parade of individuals who use the phrase ‘the spirit of Vatican II’ as a catch-all for whatever garbage they can dream up, the critique is simply shorthand; we know what we mean when we say it. But perhaps others don’t.

  22. Elag – Old Bob tried to leave one of his turds on my site a while ago. Now he’s banned. Sigh….trolls are so DUMB.

  23. These Sodomite Pretend Bishops and Priests must be removed. Vigano is telling the truth. These evil men must not be allowed to remain in the Priesthood.

  24. I have never ever posted or attempted to post at www-aggiornamento-net, ignorant b-tch.

    And that epithet is kind.

  25. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò will be remembered as the man who saved the Church from the sodomite mafia.

  26. Of course you’d actually have to have read the documents of Vatican II to make an assessment.

  27. I’m an ordinary, practicing, lay Catholic who happened to live in Washington, D.C., from 2007 to 2014, and even I heard rumors about McCarrick’s abuse as far back as 2008. I find it extremely hard to believe that any bishop was oblivious, but most especially Cardinal Wuerl. Vigano had to have heard the rumors, given that he lived in the heart of DC, with his nunciature a short walk from the Archdiocese of Washington offices. However, based on everything I read, it seems that his relationship with Francis was so acrimonious and fractured that, if he informed the pope of McCarrick’s abuse as alleged, it’s not far-fetched to think that Francis would have dismissed it as the ranting of a disgruntled bishop with an agenda. That’s no excuse for Pope Francis, but it at least explains how they could both be viewing the encounter from completely different angles.

  28. What I do not get about you guys is your obsession with other people’s sex lives. It really is very sad.

  29. When you wrote “Sodomite”, were you referring to homosexuals? How do you know that “Vigano is telling the truth”?

  30. While a worldwide report would be informative, Vigano has made a serious charge against Francis and others, and his accusations must be thoroughly examined for veracity and accuracy. Any report must be shared with the church-at-large and must not be redacted. I appreciate the Francis papacy, but we must “let the chips fall where they may”. The pope and all of us deserve this fact-finding and reporting.

  31. Perhaps our fellow blogger has no (satisfactory) sex life of her own??? My cathedral vicar would tell parishioners at weekend masses of a certain subset of Catholics who were fixated on the lives of others. He suggested they had no lives of their own. Sad.

  32. Ever considered changing helmets? (HINT: You need to.)

  33. “…yet the documents of Vatican II itself called for minor revision and mandated that Latin be preserved.”

    “In fact John XXIII established an academy to advance Latin which, of course, disappeared after his death.”

    See “Pope’s Latinist pronounces death of a language” at https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1540843/Popes-Latinist-pronounces-death-of-a-language.html.

    See Christopher Ferrara’s “Sacrosanctum Concilium: A Lawyer Examines the Loopholes” at http://salbert.tripod.com/SClel.htm.

  34. “He is, to put it bluntly, not credible.”

    Given the ax-wielding tone of his letter, Vigano doesn’t *seem* credible. He’s made assertions but provides no evidence.

  35. Yes. It is a homosexual issue within the Priesthood. Watch the video. That guy spells it out pretty clearly. Please don’t try to minimize this. Don’t defend and cover for evil.

  36. This article is so misleading.
    1) the supposed destruction of evidence by Vigano, in another case has been addressed already by Vigano and clarified, he asked for a letter with wrong information to be retracted and rewritten and for a change in the investigation process.
    2) Vigano doesn’t think the Pope should resign because he thinks so, he thinks the Pope should resign because the Pope ignored abuse
    3) The author uses as evidence that McCarrick wasn’t disciplined as the fact that McCarrick ignored it. The fact of Benedict’s discipline of McCarrick has been verified by Benedict himself and also another Vatican Embassy employee.
    What kind of terrible misleading article is this???

  37. When that certain subset of ‘Catholics’ has been abusing and harming young men and disorienting the Church for decades, they need to be identified by all of us and removed from the Priesthood.

  38. It is pretty clear that the supposed attempt to come to terms with the modern world at VII has resulted in the ongoing destruction of the Church. This is because the syllabus of errors were not ‘suggestions’ but were based on protecting doctrine, and the world had no intention of meeting the Church half way and with good faith.
    It always surprises me that though VII is claimed to be only a pastoral council, it has acted like a new starting point in the history of Christianity.
    Tradition is enduring because it successfully addresses issues, problems and needs over time. The abandonment of tradition in the Church as the reference point, especially under Pope Francis, is destroying the institution and stifling the message.
    Of course this is all predicated on the extreme arrogance of the clergy in the 1960’s to the present, thinking they can do whatever they want with the patrimony of the Church, if you can stand before God and change the Mass, the sacraments, and ignore the moral teachings, why not also be so bold as to expect others to be your play-things to feed your lusts?
    This period of history will be seen for what it is, faithless, licentious, evil.

  39. Evidence?
    Benedict himself said he disciplined McGarrick and also an embassy staff (witness to the meeting relaying to McGarrick the fact that is being disciplined) has confirmed his letter as true.
    That covers the main assertions, the rest he said is documented in the Vatican archives and at the embassy.

  40. It is a screed against liberals and gays. I got through one page of it and thought gross. What exactly does Fr. Martin have to do with anything about McCarrick? Martin is a Jesuit priest who writes books. If Vigano had stuck to reporting on child sex abuse and if he had one ounce of credibility on the subject, I would care. I do not now. This is an attempt by the alt-right to get rid of the pope and bishops they don’t like and get back to the important work that Benedict was doing – making sure that the congregation only sees the priest’s back during the Mass and shoving gays back into the closet and women back into the kitchen.

  41. I’ll be honest with you Maggie. When folks would say rumors about the existence of a “Gay Mafia” that supposedly helped Pope Benedict to “retire” (wink-nudge), I thought all that talk was merely paranoia, alarmist and conspiracy-theory.

    But now I’ve changed my mind. Way too much dirty laundry has been exposed in America, Ireland, Chile, and even Italy, the Vatican home base. There are networks out there. Very bad networks. A mafia in lavender.

  42. I believe Viganò. I have lost confidence in Pope Francis.

  43. Maybe it is my legal training. But it seems to me it is only when and if the Pope denies the allegations; that Vigano’s veracity becomes an issue, to be considered along with other evidence,

    It does seem to me unlikely that as sophisticated of an insider as Vigano was, that he would be dumb enough to make allegations which he knew could be blown out of the water with one word by Pope Benedict!

  44. Whether good or bad, and you can call it a cabal or not, but the priesthood has become a gay profession — like fashion designers. Not all priests are gay or course, but probably a majority and the vast majority are not abusers. But, in the modern world much is made of the contribution of a gay culture. This culture has inevitably changed (and will further change) the priesthood and the Church and its dogmas and morals– made it more like the modern world — for better or worse depending upon your point of view.

  45. How can anyone doubt the accusations of coverup when we look at all the actions and life of pope Francis…? Pope Francis has lost all of his credibility (thanks be to God).

  46. So, are you going to apologize for calling Monica an ignorant b*tch? I see you conveniently edited that out of your original post. If you are a gentleman then prove it – man up, and apologize for being a d*ck.

  47. Consider who the writer of the article is, and then understand that this is just a hit piece to protect Francis from criticism.

  48. Relevant…to liberal idiots, perhaps.
    America Magazine and Anthony Ruff. Oh, that’s precious!

  49. You certainly sound as if you’ve had first-hand experience.

  50. Monica is an ignorant b*tch. The truth deserves no apology.

  51. Yeah, I noticed some of these things too. I think it’s worth noting Vigano’s comments on his alleged coverup of sex abuse in the American church.

    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/08/27/archbishop-vigano-responds-to-criticisms-of-handling-of-2014-nienstedt-investigation/

    The commentary above makes it sound like Vigano asked for evidence of the abuse to be destroyed, which is not the case.

    I don’t find it convincing that because McCarrick continued doing the things Benedict supposedly told him not to do, that that means there were no sanctions. Bishops ignore Popes pretty frequently, from my understanding.

  52. Speaking of bad responses, did anyone see what this Bishop Cupich said?

    “The Pope has a bigger agenda. He’s got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the church. We’re not going down a rabbit hole on this.”

    Talk about tone deaf… The world is outraged that the Catholic Church has covered up for abusers for decades, but according to this bishop, there are bigger fish to fry, like talking about the environment.

    He then went on to play the ethnicity card…“they also don’t like [Francis] because he’s a Latino.” The nerve.

  53. Poor, persecuted you. The gay mafia is so powerful that god himself can’t do a thing about it.

    Or alternatively…

    Just another antigay bigot talking to another virulently antigay bigot and pretending to be persecuted.

  54. Clearly, the abuse scandal is not a rabbit hole. For the Church, resolving or not resolving the abuse scandal has existential consequences. Cupich’s statement (assuming it is being accurately reported) is a good example of the Church politicians on both sides preparing to fight to protect their own power. For the first time, a hierarchy knife fight to the death will be open to the public. Hopefully, they will destroy each other, since neither side seems serious about doing anything concrete about the abuse scandal and, more importantly, its victims.

  55. Thanks. Yes, what I posted was an excerpt. In the larger interview the bishop says that the Pope can’t answer each and every accusation in Vigano’s letter in an interview on a plane. Yes, very true. But the Pope does need to address the most important question about whether he knew about McCarrick and did nothing. Cupich saying he doesn’t have to answer that, which is really a yes or no question, because that would distract him from talking about the environment is tone deaf.

  56. Yes, we need a reputable investigation. I don’t trust any of the bishops to do the right thing at this point. They all seem to be using the scandal as a way to damage their ideological opponents.

  57. “the rest is documented in the Vatican archives and at the embassy”

    And the Vatican is going to give an independent investigation open access to those documents in the archives and at the embassy? Or do we take the word of the Church oligarchs who have proven themselves to be liars for the last few decades?

  58. Jeffrey – the “gross abuses” did not start after Vatican II, if you are referring to child sex abuse. The abuses were going on for a long time before. Read what was happening in Ireland at the Magdalene Laundries. What was happening in the treatment of Native Americans and the deaf here in the U.S. and in Canada. What was happening in the orphanages and schools in Australia. And, don’t think it wasn’t happening in other periods in the history of the Catholic Church in Europe. There was a time when the Church turned sex abusing priests over to the civil authorities – but that was before the church lost its’ so much of its worldly power.

    I don’t happen to consider the changes in the Mass, the experiments with music, to be bad. I think it was long since past time for the Mass to become encultured into localities, rather than the praying in foreign tongues we had before. But, to each his/her own. Latin Mass is available for those who want it. Enjoy.

  59. If a bishop who was presented with sworn testimony that a coverup of sexual abuse happened under his dicoese, said in response “I’m not going to say a word about that”…..how long would it take for SNAP to burn down his door?

  60. I’d like you to explain the ancient meaning of the mass and what had to be changed.

  61. “There was a time when the Church turned sex abusing priests over to the civil authorities …”

    Not really.

    When the Church had functioning courts in Europe, it never turned priests over to the civil authorities.

    Canon Law requires that if evidence of a crime is committed, and the courts in the country are properly functioning, evidence of crime should be reported to the authorities.

    It does not provide that access to the Church’s own records be provided, and in particular it protects the Seal of Confession.

  62. A little perspective:

    “It’s as if the Borgias and the Medicis had Twitter accounts,” said Christopher Bellitto, a professor of church history at Kean University, in Union, New Jersey. from NCR https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/who-archbishop-carlo-maria-vigano

    This is a factional battle going on in the Vatican and in the power structure of the worldwide church. There have been factions fighting within the Church since the times of St. Peter and St. Paul. It is just that in the past there was not a free press, which mattered little because few people could read. There was no radio/tv/internet with the fights going into the mass public so that millions could take sides and change sides rather than the few powerful in the Church along with the kings and princes who would take sides for their own power reasons. This was all hidden from view in the past and a battle between elites.

    Not sure who to call the “elites” anymore – the bishops/cardinal/popes of the Church and similar positions in other large religious organizations, along with the wealthy and the politically powerful??? But, the elites do not operate in their own private world any more. There are all the plebeians, hoi polloi, commoners, serfs, the rank-and-file, commoners – including the Catholic laity – who raise their voices now and are taking sides.

    So, Fr. Reese has a good point about Pope Francis needing a better response. The entire Church needs a better response to a great deal. I hope Francis holds on and takes whatever is the next step in opening honest dialogue and transparency in actions the Church takes.

    One more thought. I don’t think Francis should resign over the McCarrick scandal. If you think he should, there are a whole lot more who were in the know who should also resign, cardinals and bishops who should lose not just their jobs but their honorific titles. More, that includes Benedict XVI and JPII and a lot more because it isn’t just McCarrick who abused children or seminarians. So any who knew of any other bishop/cardinal who behaved as McCarrick did and said or did nothing should also be forced to resign, or if retired retroactively have their titles removed, or posthumously if they died, oh, in the last 1000 years. Be fair.

  63. the “subset” meaning those who abuse most certainly need to be removed from any position in the catholic church . to be clear many confuse that “subset” with others . it is the action of abuse that is evil . it is not a person’s orientation that is a problem .

  64. on the one hand, floydlee, you speak of a gay mafia . on the other you speak of the dirty laundry–i assume you mean the abuse scandal .

    those are two different things you know . confusing them only makes it more difficult to solve the problem of rooting out those guilty of abuse .

  65. “… just about everyone here is going the route of dismissing Vigano….”

    because vigano’s story seems to be unraveling within days of his telling it .

  66. Fully agree. If journalists follow up on the pope’s suggestion to examine the matter, I suspect they’ll conclude Vigano lacks credibility and simply had an ax to grind for personal disappointments about not getting a coveted post in Rome and a red cardinal’s hat.

  67. The AB’s last name is “McCarrick”. So far, assertions. We need documentation.

  68. “The [John Jay] researchers conclude that there is no causative relationship between either celibacy or homosexuality and the sexual victimization of children in the Church. Therefore, being celibate or being gay did not increase the risk of violating children. So, blaming the clergy abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on gay men or celibacy is unfounded” (Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP, professor of psychology at Santa Clara University and adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/do-the-right-thing/201105/the-new-john-jay-report-clergy-abuse-in-the-catholic-church).

    No, it’s not at all “a homosexual issue within the Priesthood [sic].” It’s scapegoating.

  69. I sometimes wonder if Jesus might have been gay — a celibate gay, of course. Seeing as how the Lord especially reached out to the “have nots” of his time and place (tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes, the poor), I don’t think we can exclude the possibility.

  70. Will the NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER be “eating crow” when all is said and done? Can’t rule it out.

  71. It would appear that “R.A. Bob’s” reply — “It is irreversible” — is correct.

    That said, there is a related question, to wit, Is canonization itself an infallible act of the pope? The question apparently does not admit of a conclusive answer. See, for example, http://www.ncregister.com/blog/pat-archbold/are-canonizations-infallible-yes-and-no. On the other hand, see https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/07/so-canonizations-infallible-or-not.html. It should be noted that these two web sites are very conservative in their orientation. While the former site gives the more popular understanding of canonization as an infallible act of the pope, the latter site gives the contrary view of a prelate associated with the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, which (to quote Wikipedia) “is the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church (apart from the Pope himself, who as supreme ecclesiastical judge is the final point of appeal for any ecclesiastical judgment).”

    The subject of infallibility raises the question of *ecclesial reception*. All church doctrine is ultimately *proposed for reception* to the faithful. If a (proposed) teaching is not *received* by the faithful, it may be it needs more time and/or better articulation for eventual reception, or it may be the teaching was never infallible (or, in the case of non-infallible doctrine, legitimate) in the first place. The pope proposes; the church disposes.

    In light of the Pennsylvania attorney general’s report, not to mention JPII’s well-known friendship with prevert cleric Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, I suspect JPII’s canonization will remain a point of contention between progressive and reactionary Catholics for years to come.

  72. If they have that orientation, they have no business in the Priesthood. They must be removed. They have done enough damage to innocent lives. They are double minded. They lead double lives. The destroyers and those who cover for them must go. Enough.

  73. Most of this site excuse Sodomites and try to twist things to justify the sin.

  74. Just a bunch of BS. If it is male on male, it is homosexual. Just Homosexuals and their supporters twisting things to cover for their twisted fecal matter perversion.

  75. “how long would it take for SNAP to burn down his door?”

    Because the laity of the diocese only know how to “pray, pay, and obey”???

  76. “there were a whole lot more who were in the know”

    Maybe the question is, “Who (if anybody) was not in the know?”. Once Fr. Tom Doyle went public in 1985, if there was any Church official who was not in the know, it was by his own choice.

  77. I don’t know where your getting your information but it is far from unravelling.

  78. Exactly. The Jesuit Order should have been disbanded long ago. Nothing but double minded destroyers now. They are so far off course from their original mandate.

  79. Also, he feels aggrieved that Pope Francis didn’t take his suggestion and promote his fire-breathing nutter friends to Chicago or give them red hats.

  80. So why the hatred of the messenger by the left, particularly from the named cardinals?

  81. So, disgust at unpunished predators, pedophiles and sleazy Vatican bureaucrats is now classified as ‘FEAR’?
    Well, if it makes narcissistic liberals feel better about themselves…

  82. You are wrong Fr. Reese. Get your facts right before writing. McCarrick was sanctioned by Pope Benedict.Also, read what actually happened a the Minnesota meeting from Vigano. By the way, if you one of the homosexual priests, you need to resign immediately. We will not tolerate such men among the clergy!

  83. Of course Thomas Doyle (not Father for quite some time) then proceeded to compound the problems, attack the Church, and make filthy lucre by doing so.

    So much for that “reformer”.

  84. John Jay report COMMISIONED BY BISHOPS, who are infested with sodomites. Yeah that is a trustworthy report… not.

    Most of the victims are teenage males, whom sodomites love to target and groom. It is filth and you support it. No use trying to dialogue with a disoriented mind. Keep on supporting predators. Disgusting and diabolical !!!

  85. Fr. Martin is a confused pro-homosexual leaning Priest. He is leading many astray and fails to confront the truth that the majority of the sex abuse scandal involved homosexual abuse.

  86. Our obsession is with the homosexual sex abuse scandal and the victims. and the continuing cover-up of this abuse by claiming that it was a pedophilia scandal.(less than 5% involved pedophilia and of course even one is an abomination!)
    If we don’t confront the exact cause of this we will never find peace and reconciliation for the victims and our church.

  87. “fixated on the lives of others”
    You bet we are. On the lives of those teenage boys and young men who were abused by homosexual Priests! Shame on you!

  88. As my grandchild would say “are you serious”? Hospitality to gays and lesbians who want to live a chaste life of course but to those who refuse to accept and want to promote sodomy, no, absolutely no!

  89. He is caring for gay Catholics who have been harmed by the Catholic Church. One of my good friends in high school came out as gay in high school and was bullied in school including being called the f*word in front of teachers and was disinherited by his father. Many other LGBTQ+ Catholics have similar stories. Fr. Martin is being a good pastor toward them.

  90. Gay doesn’t mean sexual abuser. Most gay people are normal just like most straight people are.

  91. While I agree the majority of homosexuals are not abusers the majority in this scandal were.

  92. I disagree. He is making the situation worse by affirming their unnatural lifestyle instead of helping them find peace and healing through a ministry which assists them in turning their life over to God. As for your friend, I sympathize with anyone who was abused by these homosexual Priests and truly hope they seek the truth and God will set them free.

  93. Nice try but the origin John Jay report, before it was “whitewashed” by the concluding one, identified 81% male abuse with 5% pedophilia. Of course the revised one unbelievably concluded that it was “the culture and access to altar boys”! It was and is a homosexual sex abuse scandal. Just look at McCarrick and his teenage victims.

  94. First, my friend wasn’t “abused” by homosexual priests. He wasn’t molested by anyone. He was bullied by teens from rich conservative Catholic families and was disowned by his pious Catholic father. This was done by laypeople under the guise of being good Catholics, similar to you and Church Militant and other far right Catholics.

    Second, gay people cannot “pray” the gay away. They are who they are. I believe that LGBTQ+ people should be allowed to marry and that their lifestyle is perfectly acceptable. Fr. Martin doesn’t even go that far; he just thinks that they should be respected.

  95. First pardon me for being mistaken. I’m sorry he was bullied and I’ll take your word for it that the so-called conservative Catholic families shunned him and he was disowned by his pious Catholic father. I would like to hear the father’s side of this though but if true it’s unfortunate that the father doesn’t understand unconditional love and always love the sinner hate the sin. Perhaps he’s a conservative in name only. But how many Christians are “bullied”, who lose their businesses and forfeit all because they want to uphold their religious liberty and are forced to violate their religious beliefs which of course, doesn’t make it any less tragic for your friend.

    Second, I believe with God’s help all things are possible and of course respect is demanded, but it goes both ways.

  96. I’ll stick with the professional researchers’ conclusions. Your comment clearly reflects homophobia.

  97. I, too, think heterosexual as well as homosexual clerics should be faithful to their religious vow or secular promise of celibacy. I’ve no problem with optional celibacy or same-sex marriage. (And I’m a 70-yr-old heterosexual divorced father and retiree of nearly 19 years.)

  98. “You bet we are.”

    You misunderstand. No one approves of clerical sexual abuse. No, I was referring to the tendency of folks (like you, perhaps?) who tend to stick their noses into the private and moral lives of other adults.

  99. While the report was, as you’ve noted, commissioned by the bishops, it was prepared by professional social scientists and others with no official or unofficial connection to the Church of Rome. They had, in other words, “no dog in this fight”.

    Suggestion for you & “Mercydivine”: Try to leave your expressions of bigotry out of your comments. To not do so undermines your claims.

  100. Your underlying feeling is FEAR of change in the Church. Not even liberal and progressive folks approve of sexual abuse, etc.

    BTW, you mention “narcissistic”. Reminds me of Trumpsky.

  101. I don’t see “hatred of the messenger [Vigano] by the left.” I see questions about the credibility of the archbishop’s claims. Let’s face it: Vigano, his letter notwithstanding, is upset that he didn’t get (a) a posh Vatican job and/or (b) a cardinal’s red hat. Can he support his claims, or are they mere allegations? Time will tell.

  102. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    You are allowing your raw feelings of bigotry to cloud your thinking and expression. Not recommended.

  103. If what you say is true – and it’s not – you’d hear calls for “show us the records”.

    But you don’t. You’re insincere; you have “folds”, other motives interleaved.

  104. “You…You’re, you…”

    Ah, accusations of a FEARful homophobe. I have no agenda. I want a thorough investigation of Vigano’s assertions, and I want a public unredacted report of findings.

    You don’t know me, and I can’t picture you in my circle of open-minded friends and acquaintances.

    I say, Let the chips fall where they may.

  105. Now the real Joseph comes out. No longer the (faux) intellectual, but a want to be bruiser.

  106. Get thee back into they hole, anonymouse.

  107. There was a time when organisation such a SNAP and Forward in Faith were demanding exposure and resignations from bishops, cardinals and popes. Such organisations celebrated the demise of Cardinal Law and Bishop Finn. Why has this changed? Why are the liberal-modernist organisations now seemingly protecting the hierarchy? A hierarchy that is patently failing to live according to their vows and the example of Christ. A hierarchy that is patently failing to protect children and young men. And why is the traditionalist wing, once so fervently protective of the hierarchy, now apparently hell-bent on bringing the Pope and numerous bishops down?

  108. Homosexuals are now prohibited from entering the Priesthood. Even Pope Francis confirmed this. However optional celibacy while only a discipline is still, I believe, contrary to what Jesus wanted in the Priesthood when he told the disciples they had to leave everything to follow him and found his Church. Of course many former ministers who have entered our church and have been married and want to become Priests are allowed, but only in that limited circumstances which I agree with.

    As for same-sex gender confused unions, redefining the institution of marriage with their counterfeit marriages, it is contrary to the “natural law” and an assault on marriage and family,

  109. Another fallacy. Who cares what others do as long as no one is getting hurt. Live and let live but it goes both ways. And who is sticking their noses into other people’s private and moral lives? Isn’t it those who “demand” people accept and promote same-gender confusion which is contrary to their religious beliefs, and cause them to lose their businesses and livelihoods because they refused to violate their religious liberty. Please…..

  110. Please get off your soapbox. Live your life, and let others live their lives. You reactionary right-wingers have a strong tendency to complain about the lives of others. MYODB.

  111. Gays are not “prohibited from entering the [presbyterate].” Conditions were laid out previously, and Francis has not modified them. See https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2018/05/24/pope-doesnt-want-practicing-gays-in-seminaries-reports-say/. What you asserted is erroneous.

    Jesus, contrary to your historically uninformed opinion, did not set up any kind of (quote) priesthood (endquote). Jesus wasn’t a “priest”, either “high” or “low”. If you disagree, find anyplace in the four canonical gospels (CCC-125) where Jesus identifies himself as a (quote) priest (endquote); waste your time looking. In the remaining New Testament scriptures, find a single place where Jesus’ followers identify him as a (quote) priest (endquote). You will find only one place, namely, HEBREWS, which proves nothing about Jesus’ self-identity. On the other hand, in the Gospel you will find Jesus identifying himself as a “prophet”. In a few other N.T. writings, you will find the writers likewise acknowledging him as a “prophet”. In James 5:14, you will find a reference to “presbyters of the church”. Presbyter and priest have different meanings; they are not the same.

    Vatican II retrieved the term ‘presbyter’ from ancient church history. In his article on women’s ordination (which I recommend you peruse), author Robert Egan quotes the late Canadian theologian Bernard Lonergan: “The meaning of Vatican II was the acknowledgement of history” (https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/why-not ; free access). The main theme of Vatican II was ecclesial renewal. Church historian Christopher Bellitto comments on conciliar “renewal” and “reform” language used in the twenty-one general/ecumenical councils of the church: “[A] simple comparison of reform and renewal language [over roughly two thousand years]…reveals 113 examples of reform language in the ecumenical councils’ documents, compared to 86 examples of renewal language. But 63 of the latter examples, nearly 75 percent of all uses of renewal language at ecumenical councils, are found in Vatican II documents alone.”

    In comparing Trent with Vatican II, Bellitto discovered the following:

    + Reform language was used 30 times at Trent, but only 9 times at Vatican II.

    + Renewal language was used 7 times at Trent, but 63 times at Vatican II. However, an interesting twist: “Trent’s use of renewal language did not foreshadow Vatican II’s sense of aggiornamento.” At Trent, 3 uses dealt with the matter of justification, 2 with mere renewal of prior legislation (strict enclosure of nuns; return of episcopal dignity to its proper status), 1 with restoring the regular meeting of provincial councils, and 1 with a reminder to bishops to visit annually with monasteries, abbeys, and benefices for which they had oversight, assuring that “anything needing renovation or restoration is repaired” (C. Bellitto, RENEWING CHRISTIANITY: A HISTORY OF CHURCH REFORM FROM DAY ONE TO VATICAN II, Paulist Press, 2001).

    The AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, Fifth Edition, offers the following:

    + Reform = To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; to abolish abuse or malpractice in.

    + Renew = To make new or as if new again; restore.

    + Restore = To bring back into existence or use; re-establish; to bring back to an original or normal condition.

    Same-sex attraction does not reflect “confus[ion]”. It reflects normal attraction in all its facets just like opposite-sex attraction: physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, etc. Medievalists do not have the final word on “natural law”. The concept has been, and is, evolving in understanding and application.

    Please demonstrate knowledge of the subject-matter. Distinguish fact from fiction, history from doctrine. As Joseph Ratzinger wrote more than fifty years ago, “[f]acts, as history teaches, carry more weight than pure doctrine” (J. Ratzinger, THEOLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF VATICAN II, Paulist Press/Deus Books, 1966, p. 16). When there’s a conflict between sources, historical facts trump church doctrine.

  112. from every source i can find .

    and it is near totally unraveled .

    but it made the papers big time and that is all that matters to some folks . the lingering innuendo is a powerful thing in political games .

  113. if you mean an orientation to abuse children, then we of course agree . that is of course a popular use of the word orientation . it was not the what i meant though . but i did not write clearly .

    the problem is that many confuse the issue focusing on those who are sexually active while priests, but active in a mature way with other consenting adults . there is a canonical problem with that, but not a scandal problem .

  114. “Hospitality to gays and lesbians who want to live a chaste life of course but to those who refuse to accept and want to promote sodomy, no, absolutely no!”

    Hmmm……………..I recall Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 2:13-17, and Luke 5:27:32. I also remember Matthew 7:1-5 and Luke 6:37-42.

    But, of course, you’re a bigot and conveniently overlook Matthew 6:9-15, not to mention Matthew 5:43-48.

    Then we have the scriptural fact that Jesus nowhere mentions sex between persons of the same sex, not to mention what we know today to be a much more complicated reality, namely, sexual orientation. Jesus approved of slavery, but today we condemn it.

    Jesus attached — and still attaches — no conditions to hospitality. Of four passages dealing with forgiveness, Jesus mentions repentance only once. Luke 15 demonstrates God’s unconditional love, “no strings attached”.

    Eat your holier-than-thou, sanctimonious crow.

    “Mercydivine”. What an inappropriate moniker you’ve chosen.

  115. “While I agree the majority of homosexuals are not abusers the majority in this scandal were.”

    Social scientists who examined the matter in-depth concluded gays were NOT abusers in the majority of cases.

  116. Fully agree. “Mercydivine” (what a misnomer!) is simply blind to facts and his/her own bigotry.

  117. “I believe with God’s help all things are possible and of course respect is demanded…”

    No, you don’t. Furthermore, why would God change what God created in the first place, to wit, differences in human sexual orientation? Using your approach, we should conclude God intended slavery to be a permanent institution.

  118. So Thomas Doyle has been defrocked?

    Read my lips, sir: Don’t — you — wish?

  119. “McCarrick was sanctioned by Pope Benedict.”

    So, you have an “insider” connection at the Vatican? Pray tell, document your assertion.

  120. “…(thanks be to God).”

    Please: Do not insult God. You’re very close to taking the Lord’s name in vain. See Matthew 5:33-37. The issue is presence or absence of evidence, not what God may think. We don’t know what God might know about this matter.

  121. The evidence is overwhelming (read “The Lost Shepherd”, “The Political Pope”, “The Dictator Pope”). If you still don’t want to see….

  122. The evidence is overwhelming nd growing each day. And we do know what God thinks about this matter: people who abuse children should have better be thrown in the ocean with a millstone around their neck (and we can add: also those who covers them), Mark 9, 42.

  123. There’s been an accusation by Vigano against Francis. An accusation is not evidence. God would not approve of lying by Vigano if investigation of the matter reveals no coverup by the pope.

  124. It is not only Mgr. Vigano. Since day one of this pontificate pope Francis has sown confusion and division. He created a chaos in doctrinal and moral sense (the death penalty, the objective irregularity of homosexuality, contraception, the existence of hell, cohabition, intercommunion and other ecumenical topics, the jurisdiction of a pope to change the Catechism, etc.). He is governing the Church in a way that is completely alient to the papacy. That is why I thank God that now, because of this covering of abuse, he has lost his credibility. The accusations are obviously true because it is simply unthinkable that pope Francis and all the other bishops and cardinals did not know… absolutely unthinkable!

  125. “Since day one of this pontificate pope Francis has sown confusion and division.”

    What’s wrong with “division and confusion”? Conflict is part of any organizational life. The question is how to deal with it? Vatican II was about ecclesial renewal, i.e., getting rid of a lot of the institutional “stuff” that had nothing to do with the Gospel. Francis has promoted the Gospel and, in so doing, has made life uncomfortable for a lot of Catholics (including a good many hierarchs) who got what they wanted under two popes interpreting Vatican II in minimalist fashion (JPII and, later, B16 actually went against the conciliar fathers by reinstating the Tridentine liturgy even though the conciliar pope, Paul VI, made clear in November 1969 that implementing the New Rite was “an act of obedience” to the council.

    JPII taught the death penalty was morally licit only when the state could not assure public safety within existing penal settings. Francis has taught the death penalty is not licit under any circumstances (I have misgivings about his revision, but I see it as a challenge to civil governments to enact much needed improvements in this area).

    As for homosexuality, Jesus said not a word about it. Furthermore, we know much more about the subject of same-sex attraction than ever existed in Jesus’ time. If we’re going to insist on “obeying Scripture” about condemning same-sex relations, we must insist on “obeying Scripture” in reinstating human slavery. Jesus approved the practice although he taught that “beating” or “severely beating” slaves was legitimate only when situations warranted. The Church of Rome upheld the practice for nearly two thousand years by recourse to both natural law (philosophy) and divine law (revelation).

    What’s wrong with contraception including NFP? Jesus said nothing about it, and clerics faithful to their religious vows and secular promises have no first-hand knowledge of the subject. As long as a particular contraceptive method is not abortifacient, there is no reason to condemn “the pill” or other means. It’s long past time for the hierarchs to *listen to* the laity. Adult learning by definition is a two-way street.

    You mention “the existence of hell”. See https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/signs-times/pope-francis-and-hell. I’ll simply add that JPII opined years ago that hell is a “state of being”, not a place. The old truism comes to mind: “We make our own hells.” Luke 15’s third parable is particularly relevant: The younger son eventually finds himself in the hell of his own making. It is the father (God) who “finds” his son and restores him to “life” (v. 32).

    As for cohabitation, I don’t approve of it because I think it is self-defeating in most cases, but I agree with Francis who has concluded that a truly pastoral minister will meet people where they are and accompany them on their journey toward God (a journey we all make, btw, in our inherent brokenness). Let’s not forget the lesson from Luke 5:27-32 and 19:1-10. I recommend “Tax Collectors and Sinners” at http://www.crivoice.org/tax.html.

    What’s wrong with intercommunion? Our faith is Christianity; our particular tradition is Catholicism. Our primary identity is Christian: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4:1-6 and 1 Cor 8:6). The best way to break down human — and religious — barriers is to come together. Often enough in such settings, Christians discover they have more in common than previously thought. If Jesus prayed for his followers’ unity (John 17:20-26), what better way than intercommunion. Yes, Christians will have different understandings of the sacrament, but they all will trace its origin to the Last Supper when Jesus gathered his disciples together to break bread and drink cup. Intercommunion can generate discussion among Christians.

    What do you have in mind about “other ecumenical topics”? Jesus wants us to be one. Let’s not forget, too, that Jesus was a Jew, never a Christian, much less a Catholic.

    Are you disputing the pope’s “jurisdiction…to change the catechism”??? Such a challenge is not Catholic!!!

    You contend, “[Francis] is governing the Church in a way that is completely alient [sic] to the papacy.” You apparently are unacquainted with church and papal history. The earliest bishops of Rome, i.e., “popes”, exercised no authority over their fellow bishops outside the Rome province. Indeed, if a bishop of Rome were to intrude into the affairs of a distant bishop and his diocese, that bishop might very well have replied, “Mind your own business!” Vatican II reintroduced episcopal collegiality. This practice is far more “traditional” than papal supremacy. The best example of this continuity today is Orthodox Christianity, which is just as old as Roman Catholicism. As the late theologian Bernard Lonergan (quoted by Robert Egan) observed, “The meaning of Vatican II was the acknowledgement of history.” In his RENEWING CHRISTIANITY: A HISTORY OF CHURCH REFORM FROM DAY ONE TO VATICAN II, church historian Christopher Bellitto demonstrates how Vatican II was preoccupied with ecclesial renewal, i.e., the challenge to make the church “new again”. No other general/ecumenical council, according to Bellitto, focused on renewal like Vatican II.

    As to what the pope and other bishops knew and when, I’m going to suspend judgement until investigative reporting uncovers the facts. As I’ve written before, “Let the chips fall where they may.”

  126. Well, if you like the way pope Francis governs the Church, this alienating way (sorry, my mother language is not English), then I understand your comments. They shows perfecly clear the factual schism that has become evident under pope Francis (it is not his fault; the schism already existed but he is the perfect representative of what I call this modernistic church, that – in my view – is completely heretic. But maybe you have no objections against heresy..?). We will see how this all ends….

  127. I understand your frustration, but it is based on beliefs and opinions not supported by church and papal history. There’s no “heresy” in Francis’ pronouncements. Are you, by any chance, a member of the SSPX or FSSP movement(s)? Are you, by any chance, a sedevacantist?

    (your English is fine)

  128. Francis is not “lost”. All popes have been political. JPII and, to a certain extend, B16 were “dictator popes”. (In the latter case, they were authoritarians. With respect to clerics and others under their thumb, the last two popes were dictators.)

  129. No, I am not a member of SSPX nor of FSSP and I am not a sedevacantist either. I am a simple parish priest in Europe. I was ordained in 1989 under John Paul II and he was – and is – my exemple of a true priest, pastor and teacher. I believe – since Amoris Laetitia – that the teachings of pope Francis are heretical and diametrically in opposition to Veritatis Splendor and Familiaris Consortio. And these encyclicals of JPII were a perfect wording of Church teaching about morality and specifically about marriage and sexuality. So I do believe that pope Francis is lost, but I acknowledge that he is the valid pope. And, by the way, I don’t think I suffer many frustrations. I think we are living the end times and Mary will triumph. So why would I be frustrated?

  130. Thank you for sharing some of your background. I’m a layman who formally left the Church of Rome nearly 12 years ago because of B16’s reactionary behavior. I’m age 70 and retired. My mother was Protestant. One of my great uncles was superior general of a Catholic religious congregation in Rome. Two of his nephews, my dad’s cousins, also were presbyters and, like him, seminary teachers more than 60+ years ago. I remain Catholic by tradition, if no longer “Roman” in formal affiliation.

    By definition, Amoris Laetitia is not “heresy”, which canon 2089 defines as “the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same.” Like Amoris Laetitia, neither Veritatis Splendor nor Familiaris Consortio are infallible pronouncements. I won’t get into the technicalities of canon law since I have no background in this field. There are plenty of online pieces pro and con about Francis’ teaching. I support it.

    All church doctrine must ultimately be consistent with, or not opposed to, Jesus’ life and teaching in the four canonical gospels. This requirement is indirectly acknowledged in CCC-125, to wit, “The Gospels are the heart of all the Scriptures ‘because they are our principal source for the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word, our Savior'”. This acknowledgement is based on DV-18: “It is common knowledge that among all the Scriptures, even those of the New Testament, the Gospels have a special preeminence, and rightly so, for they are the principal witness for the life and teaching of the incarnate Word, our savior.” I do not subscribe to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, but I do remind my fellow Catholics that the four gospels constitute the “gold standard” for all church tradition and canon law.

    In light of the above (and while I acknowledge Jesus’ teaching on divorce), I also remind you of Jesus’ preference for mercy — “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13). Jesus was also quite practical — “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:23-28). Jesus’ preference for mercy is based, as you may recall, on Hosea 6:6: “For it is loyalty that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” As the USCCB commentary for Matthew 9:13 states, “If mercy is superior to the temple sacrifices, how much more to the laws of ritual impurity.”

    I’m reminded that the name ‘Jesus’ means “God saves”, not “God saves if”. I embrace the doctrine of universal salvation, which has never been condemned by the Church of Rome (I distinguish between this doctrine and the doctrine of apokatastasis, which, so far as I know, past Christian/Catholic writers have not embraced). Of four gospel passages dealing with the subject of forgiveness, only one — Luke 17:3-4 — mentions *repentance*. Luke 15’s three parables portray only the prodigal son asking forgiveness. What is telling is that his request for forgiveness was practiced while still in a far-away land, i.e,, his personal hell. The father, who knows his son inside and out, ignores the lad’s expression of repentance by ordering preparation of a feast. As the father tells his older son, “But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found” (v. 32). We tend to think the sinful son found his way back home, but this verse and v. 20 tell us otherwise. Being “lost” in sin, the son — like the sheep and the coin — was unable to extricate himself from his hell. God did the “heavy lifting”. We cannot save ourselves. God’s love is unconditional, “no strings attached”.

    I mention all these passages because I’ve seen Francis stress the Gospel in his ministry, especially in his focus on God’s preference for mercy. We cannot earn mercy. It is freely given; it is pure gift. I’ll admit that my understanding does not accord in some respects with official Catholic teaching, and, to be clear, I place canon law — Raymond Burke notwithstanding — far down the list of what’s important when all is said and done. However, I think my position is solidly in accord with the Gospel = “good news” of our salvation. The Gospel must be the basis for ecclesial renewal if our goal is to make the church “new again”. Reactionary Catholics fought efforts at renewal, and JPII and B16 lent their support. Now we have a pope back on track with Vatican II. Elsewhere on this blog thread, I included the following information from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_of_Vatican_II:

    “On 25 July 1967, Pope Paul VI said in a sermon to the Catholics of Istanbul at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit:

    “‘The recent Vatican Council reminded us that this progress is based first of all on RENEWAL OF THE CHURCH and on conversion of heart. This means that you will contribute to this progress toward unity in the measure in which you enter into the SPIRIT OF THE COUNCIL. An effort is demanded from each of us to revise our customary ways of thinking and acting to BRING THEM MORE IN CONFORMITY WITH THE GOSPEL and the demands of a true Christian Brotherhood” [6][7] [caps for emphases].”

  131. You write:- “That is why I thank God that now, because of this covering of abuse, he [Pope Francis] has lost his credibility. The accusations are obviously true because it is simply unthinkable that pope Francis and all the other bishops and cardinals did not know… absolutely unthinkable!”
    As you say, it is unthinkable that the truth about McCarrick was not known. And yet you have focused your attack entirely on Pope Francis – who is, in fact, the only Pope who has publicly disciplined McCarrick.
    What did your beloved John Paul II do, about “this covering of abuse”? Answer: He contributed to it. He promoted McCarrick and even made him a Cardinal.
    And what did Benedict XVI do about it? It seems that no-one really knows, and that Benedict may have forgotten. Some reporters are now repeating the rumour that there was nothing in writing, nothing definite, and that all that Benedict did was to request McCarrick to keep his head down, if he’d be so kind, and that this admonition wasn’t even communicated to the people in the USA who would need to know it, to ensure its observance.
    It is you – allegedly an ordained priest – who is “sowing confusion and division” here.

  132. Mutually I thak you for your personal story. I think we are familiar with each others arguments. I just want to react to one of your points, a rather key point, namely the focus of pope Francis on mercy. I think the concept of mercy of pope Francis has nothing to do with the biblical meaning of mercy. The ‘mercy’ of pope Francis is in fact permissiveness. I have a great devotion for the Divine Mercy of Sister Faustina and I always celebrate with joy the Feast of Divine Mercy. But when we read the diary of Sr. Faustina and we read the sermons of pope Francis about mercy, I think it is difficult to deny thet we are reading about two different realities. The mercy of pope Frances resemble more the mercy of Marten Luther. An heretical concept! Of course the mercy of God is unconditional, but when people don’t want to accept this mercy, even God is powerless because He does not impose His mercy. And to receive His mercy, acknowledgement of sin and repetance are necessary.
    Let’s keep one another in our prayers!

  133. Mark, I am always willing tot dialogue with everyone, but this dialogue must have a certain level of respect. I miss that totally in your reaction so I will not give a substantive answer.

  134. No you are not at all willing to dialogue.
    And it is because you have no answer to my comment.

    And you, of all people, are lecturing me about “a certain level of respect”? That is laughable.

  135. Peter doesn’t wish to ‘dialogue’ beyond his own fixed ideas (peculiarly based though they are).
    Should we be merciful towards him? I’m mulling it over.

  136. Yes, we should be merciful towards him. I welcome disagreement since it gives us the opportunity to refute what is claimed — and to keep our exchanges lively :o)

  137. Regarding mercy, the online USCCB edition of the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH defines it as “[t]he loving kindness, compassion, or forbearance shown to one who offends (e.g., the mercy of God to us sinners) (1422, 1829). See ‘Works of Mercy’.” The catechism’s two references do not expand on this definition.

    Sr. Faustina, on the other hand, presents an understanding of divine mercy at odds with that found not only in the USCCB definition but also in the Gospel itself ( http://www.ncregister.com/blog/joseph-pronechen/what-jesus-says-about-divine-mercy). We must remember that the church considers so-called “private revelation” as binding only on those persons to whom it has been given. As CCC-67 states, “Throughout the ages, there have been so-called ‘private’ revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church. Christian faith cannot accept ‘revelations’ that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such ‘revelations’.” A nice overview of “forbearance” may be found at https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-forbearance.html.

    As you’ve noted, Faustina and Francis present different interpretations of mercy. I think the papal understanding is consistent with divine revelation in scripture; I do not embrace the sister’s presentation of what Jesus purportedly told her. More than fifty years ago, my Catholic high school classmates and I read Erich Fromm’s THE ART OF LOVING (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_Loving). What I remember most is the observation that true love consists in extending oneself for the benefit of the other with no expectation of anything in return. Fromm’s description of love is remarkably like that of Jesus in the Gospel. If mercy is an element of love, and if God’s love is unconditional, there can be no divine preconditions attached to God’s mercy. Luke 15’s three parables demonstrate God taking the initiative to find sinners “lost” in sin. Luke 5:27-32 comes to mind.

    Finally, you write, “Of course the mercy of God is unconditional, but when people don’t want to accept this mercy, even God is powerless because He does not impose His mercy. And to receive His mercy, acknowledgement of sin and repe[n]tance are necessary.” I disagree with the popular notion that people are free to accept or reject God’s mercy. Simply put, one who sins is not “free” (I reject the idea of so-called “free will”). The sinner, by definition, is “lost” in the moral wilderness, i.e., “distant country” mentioned in Luke 15:13. It is God who finds sinners and restores them to life (v. 32). While God, as you’ve noted, “does not impose His mercy,” is it humanly possible to reject the source of divine mercy, i.e., Love itself? I think not. While you acknowledge that God’s love is unconditional, you simultaneously introduce a precondition, namely, the popular idea that a sinner must first repent. Therefore, God’s love is not unconditional. The sinner must take the first step. I once embraced this notion — but no more. Instead, I’ve come to appreciate a healthier understanding of God’s forgiveness: It is God who makes one’s repentance possible in the first place. God forgives, thus healing the sinner. It is only then that a sinner can express repentance. In the eucharistic liturgy, we thank God for all we’ve been given — including mercy and forgiveness.

    Years ago, I participated in an ecumenical discussion group sponsored by a Lutheran pastor and my Catholic pastor who had recently retired from his position as founding president of a local Catholic college. The Lutheran pastor, in responding to a question, clarified that genuine faith produces good works. If faith is a gift as we Catholics believe, then ultimately it is God who makes good works possible in the first place. As the good sisters taught us kids years ago, we *are* Jesus in responding to people in need. We do God’s will (Matthew 25:31-46). Vatican II enlarged this understanding when the conciliar fathers taught that the Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways among all peoples, regardless of their religious beliefs: “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions [i.e., Hinduism and Buddhism]. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men” (Nostra Aetate-2).

    Based on the above, I cannot embrace the private revelation of Sr. Faustina because it contradicts divine revelation in the four canonical gospels. JPII was fond of canonizing people, and maybe Faustina merited such an honor. I don’t know, but the Deposit of Faith takes priority if nothing else.

  138. Oops — I overlooked your view that JPII is “[your] example of a true priest, pastor and teacher.” It was JPII who did nothing in response to repeated complaints coming into the Vatican about Maciel’s sexual victimization of Legionary seminarians et al. In fact, JPII thought quite well of this prevert cleric (see, for example, https://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/world/americas/01maciel.html, and https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/opinion/dowd-a-saint-he-aint.html). A true pastor would prioritize safety of children, condemn the behaviors of a notorious perverted cleric, and prevent the guy from carrying out further ministry in the Church of Rome. By favorably receiving Maciel, JPII taught that maintaining the church’s reputation and preventing scandal were more important than protecting children. Believing in universal salvation as I do, I think both JPII and Maciel are with an all-loving God whose mercy endures forever and requires no preconditions. At the same time, however, being a “saint” and being a “Saint” are not the same. I think Francis canonized JPII (and John XXIII) to placate reactionaries and progressives in the church and try to promote peace in the church. It was a political but regrettable decision. Sad.

  139. Dear Joseph, you will understand that time is lacking me to go into all you have written. It is obvious that our interpretation of Scripture and Tradition fundamentally difer. But again, let us keep each other in our prayers. We know – at least I believe so – that everything will evenually come to the light. May God bless you.

  140. You ban people who cut your feminist nonsense apart. You can’t debate so you call everybody a troll.

    Your husband needs to slap you back to reality.

Leave a Comment