So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Are some right to hope for a brief pontificate?... and other questions.

More than a feeling?

Reuters reported in March of this year that Pope Francis indicated that his pontificate might be a brief one [Reuters].
Pope Francis said in an interview published on Friday (March 13th) he believes his pontificate will be short and that he would be ready to resign like his predecessor rather than ruling for life.
In the long interview with Mexican broadcaster Televisa, released on the second anniversary of his surprise election (According to Cardinal Danneels, Pope Francis' election was not really a surprise. If Danneels' comments are to be believed, the word 'orchestrated' might be a better choice to describe Francis' ascension to the throne of Peter.), Francis also said he "did not mind" being pope but would like to be able to go out in Rome unrecognized for a pizza.
"I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief - four or five years, even two or three. Two have already passed. It's a somewhat strange sensation," he said, according to a Vatican translation from Spanish.
"I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time," the Argentine-born pontiff said. [Reuters: Friday, 13/3/2015]
Renewal Interrupted?

Many who rejoiced in the example and agenda of Pope Benedict XVI were unsettled and disappointed when Benedict retired. Many of the same have been holding their breath during this current pontificate.
  1. Q. Will Papa Francesco retire in office like his predecessor, or die in office like nearly all other popes? A. Other than God, no one knows for certain.
  2. Q. Are we permitted by God a pope who is shaking up the Church in a way that is leading to a kind of change not imagined nor appreciated by the progressive (heterodox) cardinals? A. Given Papa Francesco's popularity with the self anointed "progressive" crowd, a popularity which is blinding them to the facts, they might be in for a rude awakening. Their fawning over what they imagine to be "their man in Rome" is likely to be turned completely upside-down the closer they pay attention to what he's said about the nature of marriage and human sexuality, for starters. Pope Francis recent comments confirm, yet again, that he is attempting to shift the delivery of the narrative, not the content, by using language that progressives understand (e.g., "spirit of") but redefines the vocabulary merely to draw them closer to the centre Who is Christ. Such an approach carries severe risks, not the least of which is the creation of serious misunderstanding about the nature of doctrine. (Francis' theologically awkward off-the-cuff statements [located at bottom of linked page] have created considerable confusion in the past, confusion that required sustained effort on the part of Vatican media consultants to contextualize Francis' comments.) Unfortunately, too many prelates associated with the Synod think that a change in practice does not affect doctrine, nor are the same capable, it seems, of appreciating distinctions between one kind of discipline (commandment) and another (custom). Some proposed changes hosted by influential cardinals and bishops would deny the doctrine (commandments/teaching) of Christ. That well educated senior clerics have missed the a fundamental relationship between doctrine and discipline, i.e., that one cannot contradict the other, is as shocking as it is angering for those who rightly depend upon the successors of the Apostles to be entirely clear and to speak in continuity with the received teaching of the Church.
  3. Q. By allowing Papa Francesco to be elected to the Office of Peter that has enabled him to set his agenda for the Synod on the Family, is God using him to set a trap for unfaithful prelates to step into? A. It seems so. Heterodox prelates pulled all kinds of (failed) stunts to marginalize opposition to their agenda. By so doing, they have exposed themselves for all to see. To complicate matters further, the proponents of heterodoxy now accuse "conservatives" (i.e., the orthodox) of spreading news that the Holy Father is suffering from a brain tumour [source]. Given that the orthodox have made every attempt to communicate with openness and transparency called for by the Holy Father while others (i.e., the "progressives") in the Synod organizational team and the Vatican media have made attempts to misrepresent the content of discussions and manipulate proceedings, the charge against the faithful bishops rings hollow and is more likely an attempt by someone given to the behaviour of a Danneels or Forte to undermine the authority of the orthodox while bolstering their own fading characters.
  4. Are tradition-minded Catholics right to be concerned about the apparent spontaneously changing rules of the Synod which tended to favour heterodox positions? A. Only insofar as the corrupt acts of certain Synod insiders carry the risk of poisoning the perception of the Synod and possibly swaying some to embrace faux-mercy of a kind promoted by Cardinal Kasper. As one Cardinal commented last year, once skewed information gets out it's virtually impossible to correct the record. Most tradition-minded Catholics probably do not require a reminder that God protects the pope from teaching error with regards to faith and morals. A schism might develop between some errant bishops and the Church. That would be tragic, but God has a way of bringing great goodness out of tragedy. To wit, the Counter Reformation.
  5. Q. What purpose did all the apparent confusion at the Synod serve? A. As mentioned above, the confusion appears to be an opportunity for heterodox prelates to "out" themselves and expose their malfeasance, thus subverting their influence.
What can I do?

Enlist Blessed Pope Paul VI's intercession for Pope Francis. Blessed Paul VI understands better than anyone what a pope faces when defending the Faith against attacks foreign and domestic, i.e., pressures from the world and opposition from within the Church. Contrary to his experts' advice and a world of opposition, Blessed Paul published the prophetic Humanæ Vitæ. Deo gratias!
Introducing the sheep... .

The reason behind the provision of the list below does not concern speculation about who might be the next pope. The list communicates favourite prelates who are faithful and true to the Holy Gospel and who have demonstrated zeal for the Church in the face of stiff opposition from inside and outside the Church! It is by no means a complete list.
  • Cardinals Sarah, Burke and Pell
  • Archbishops Chaput and Gądecki
  • Cardinals Erdo, Ouellet and Müller
Unlike Cardinal Danneels who, contrary to conclave rules and the mind of Christ, claims to have been part of a group of prelates who engineered Francis' ascension to the papacy, the men recognized above are examples of virtue and are heros for speaking up for orthodoxy.

Let us give thanks to God for the faithful witness of men of whom we can be proud and who we can call true sons of the Church.

Introducing the goats... .

In addition to Cardinal Danneels, some other clergy have some splainin' to do. The following men have made it clear they are not capable of defending Catholic teaching. Their comments frequently lead to much confusion among Catholics.
  • Archbishop Paul-André Durocher: advocate of the ordination of women to the diaconate. When his statements are compared to those of Abp Gądecki of Poland, Durocher's comments are inadequate to the task of authentic catechesis and evangelization. Abp Durocher, more Anglican than Catholic, reduces doctrine to mere perspective [link], which is to say mere opinion. Open that gate and there go the faithful sheep. That is, the sheep who have no time for heterodoxy.
  • Cardinal Kasper: advocate for Holy Communion for divorced and remarried couples (i.e., couples who have not received a decree of nullity). That is, he advocates for the blessing of adultery.
  • Cardinal Baldisseri and Archbishop Forte: Robert Royal expressed concern that “there are 10 people who are going to write the final report,” and among these 10 are Cardinal Baldisseri, who was the chief organizer of last year’s scandalous synod and Archbishop Forte, “who is the author of the notorious midterm report last year.” The difficulty not mentioned is that, despite the obvious unsuitability of Baldisseri and Forte, the bishops who will be writing the report have all been selected by Pope Francis. [source]
  • Archbishop Cupich: tolerance for all except pro-lifers and advocates of Christian marriage [link]. Abp Cupich has made it clear that he places "pastoral sensitivity" above doctrine. Ergo, any mercy he extends to those who have alienated themselves from Christ's Church is a false mercy, a mercy that in effect blesses sin, a mercy that is really a promotion of a gradualism of the law.
  • Fr. Thomas Rosica: rebuked by Cardinal Napier for biased press briefings [source].
Pray for Pope Francis. He needs our prayers.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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