The amount of questionable or outright heretical statements of the Unholy Father has reached such dimensions that it discourages amateur bloggers like your truly from creating a section dedicated to the collecting of Francis’ heretical statements, divided by category, for the benefit of those who want to learn Catholicism the right way and avoid the pitfalls of this pontificate.
It is, therefore, always very useful when a blogger posts a little collection of flowers – or rather, carnivore and poisonous plants – from the treasure trove – or rather, landfill – of Francis’ more or less official statements.
He also points out to the impossibility that everyone – even his close friends – conspires in giving the wrong account on the Pope’s mindset and intentions, without being ever rebuked or corrected by the man himself.
The result is, as Mr Skojec very pointedly says, that “there is simply not a shred of evidence that Pope Francis wants to disabuse people of the notion that he both believes and said these things”.
I add to this that even more than this is happening: Francis’ hammering on “these things” is so insistent, so obvious, and so shameless that, on the contrary, he is launching the very clear message that the faithful are not allowed to have any doubt about what he thinks, even if he will not formally state it. I cannot explain otherwise the barrage of interviews and other statements – some of first, some of second, some of third hand – that always follows the … lack of correction concerning the latest scandal.
Francis gives heretical interview (off-the cuff comment, etc.) number one. Father Lombardi says to the press he doesn’t really mean it, and does not mean to be a heretic. There is no word of Francis to disavow the heretical interpretation of what he has said. After a short time, another interview or statement follows, with exactly the same content. Father Lombardi says you should not read too much into what the Pope says. The process starts again.
In the end, the whole planet understands. Only the Pollyannas don’t.
Deacon Nick Donnelly, the author of the very successful blog “Protect the Pope” (mentioned several times on this blog, and therefore good) has been “asked to observe a period of prayer and reflection”. In English, he has been silenced.
After the Deacon’s wife (unofficial name: “Protect the Deacon”) smartly posted that the deacon was not just, say, ill, but had been requested to be silent, the Diocese of Lancaster had to make a statement and confirm the ugly truth: yes, they asked him to be silent.
Why did they do that? Because, being Catholic, the Deacon was clearly being “uncharitable”, “untruthful” and “divisive”. At least, this is how I read the following line from the diocese’s statement (emphasis mine):
[…] it was also confirmed that the Bishop asked Deacon Nick to use this pause to enter into a period of prayer and reflection on the duties involved for ordained bloggers/website administrators to truth, charity and unity in the Church.
I can well imagine this is only the first of a long list of blogs run by ordained bloggers to be shut down par ordre du mufti. The Church of Mercy will probably have no mercy with ordained Catholic bloggers. They will be made to be silent every time that the bishop is ready to acquiesce to pressure from above, or all too willing to exert the pressure himself.
Very sad. Still, I hope the Deacons’ wife will continue to post. Even in Francis’ nuChurch, women cannot be ordained. Therefore, the bishop has no power to order her to be silent, and it can’t be ordered to the deacon that he orders to his wife that she be silent.
The role of the women, you know, and all that. Very V II.
Still, in this “protect the Pope” matter there is something very ironic.
By silencing orthodox Catholics, the bishop of Lancaster is keeping faith with the blog’s statement.
He is protecting the Pope.
Father Z has posted a link to this very interesting blog about Mass attendance and more specifically the attitude of many priests toward it. The blog is very good, his author possesses that mix of saying it straight but not being overtly controversial which is the mark of the excellent priest.
I was particularly caught by the author’s opinion that “the eucharist is all-important to most every priest” but at the same time “the element of obligation strikes many priests as well as their parishioners as an outdated and immature notion”. I find it a remarkable exercise in mental gymnastics to understand the first but manage not to understand the second. It is every bit like saying that one fully believes in Patriotism but considers desertion an acceptable option.
For a priest, the aggravating circumstance is added that the very first of the “precepts of the Church” is “to hear Mass on Sundays and on holidays of obligation”. Of all people, a priest should know. It is indicative of the times that many priests just do not get elementary facts like the precepts of the Church. I am tempted to blame the horrible formation in the seminaries (which certainly plays a role), but I do not think that this is the whole truth.
In my experience, at the root of the fact that many priests do not stress fundamental truths of Catholic life is another element: cowardice. This I found, in my experience with priests during my younger years, to be the dominant feature of the category. The assertive and fearless priests were something I had only read about (say: Father Brown) or seen on TV (say: the unforgettable Don Camillo); until very recent years, when by the grace of God the contact with the Brompton Oratory finally put me in contact with the reality of priests not afraid to say it straight.
I blame this collective cowardice for the decline in Mass attendance and, unavoidably, the decline in the feeling of Christian values in the West.
If you think it too hard to tell people that they must attend Mass, it is only a matter of time until many of them skip Mass because they must do something else. If people start skipping Mass more and more often, the constant exposure to Catholic doctrine will slowly but surely fade away. When this happens, “alternative religions” will, in time, start taking form in their brains and extraordinary assertions like “I am a Catholic, but….” (insert here some disagreement with a point of doctrine) are going to be the consequence. At this point Catholicism doesn’t shape the faithful’s life anymore, but it is shaped by it. Say hello to cafeteria Catholicism.
The total failure of Catholicism in stemming the tide of secularism in the West is the result of the total failure of the Clergy in properly transmitting Catholic values. Bad teachers create poorly prepared students, teachers who do not even insist on class attendance create catastrophically prepared ones. At the root of this is the desire to be “liked”, not to be in conflict with the world, not to be considered “uncharitable”, “reactionary”, “backward”. Say it in one word: at the root of this is cowardice.
I do am hopeful, though. The seminaries are slowly producing a better clergy, more orthodox and more assertive; the public opinion is starting to react (witness the strong opposition to euthanasia in Italy or the bitter polemics in Spain); the future generation of priests will produce a better generation of faithful in the pews and from there to the ballot the step is very short. But we need our priests to tell it straight. We need to recover old values, re-appropriate orthodoxy, rediscover our religious and cultural roots savaged by Vatican II.
Starting from Mass attendance.