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More awakening to the predominate ultramontanism? May 12, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, episcopate, error, General Catholic, history, Papa, sadness, scandals, sexual depravity, Society, the return.

I have long believed – and I think many tradition-loving Catholics share this belief – that there has been a dangerous derangement of Catholic understanding of the nature and role of the office of the Chair of St. Peter.  What are often termed “conservative” Catholics or “neo-Catholics” generally seem to have a very ultramontanist view, a view that the Pope can virtually do no wrong, and should certainly never be criticized or even really questioned.

I have sadly lost some readers over this divide.  I have tried to be very measured in my questioning and/or criticism of Pope Francis, but even some of my milder pieces were just too much for some folks.  Some people simply cannot stand to see the Pope questioned.  But this is really a process of denial and an exaggeration of the office of the Papacy that is very dangerous both to individual souls and the Church at large.

Maybe under Pope Francis some folks are starting to see the light? I see that Fr. Z had a post last Friday that linked to another post, at the The Week, which argued that Catholics need to get over the widespread papolotry that exists in the Church today.  It’s a very good piece, and has a number of quotes that are worth sharing.  At the very least, I think it provokes thoughts that should be deeply considered by all those who strive to be faithful Catholics. Some key quotes:

“Most Catholics are completely unprepared for a wicked pope.” [I think this is a true statement.  Now, some may try to argue that we haven’t had any wicked popes, but that argument is really a non-starter.  But let’s carry on a bit]

“Catholics must learn to resist their popes — even Pope Francis.  Too many are becoming party apparatchiks” [This certainly applies to the professional Catholic crowd who are dependent on the good graces of the bishops to maintain their income.  In fact, I would say these guys – and some of the key ones are quoted in the article – are the ‘keepers of the flame’ for the reigning ultramontanism]

……” the bulk of their [conservative Catholic] commentary about Pope John Paul II in relation to the child-abuse crisis or Pope Francis when he goes off-script seems based on the idea that the pope is irreproachable.” [Pretty much.]

“The Catholic Party eclipsing the Catholic Church has a distorting effect on the world’s perception too. If the loudest and most prominent orthodox members of the church in the media treat the pope like a party leader and are so quick with clever-dick rationalizations of the massive changes to the practice of the Faith over the past 50 years, why should they be surprised that the world conceives of the doctrines and dogmas of the Faith as mere party planks or mutable policy, to be exchanged, updated, or abandoned as the times change?” [And hence we see the massive divide between the pre- and post-conciliar Church.  Two different Churches?  I am not prepared to say that, but exaggerated ultramontanism only serves to help perpetuate the divide!]

“And why should they be surprised that even their co-religionists fail to understand the Faith? In truth, the most salient fact of contemporary Catholic life in the West is the way it is pervaded by the pattern of saying things and then acting as if something else were true.” [Care to argue with that?]

Catholics conditioned by the last 50 years of life in the church are totally unprepared for the eventuality of the pope or a papally approved Synod (i.e., a governing council) issuing a “policy” that flatly contradicts church teaching. For many of them, many good men, it will just be a new party line. Or perhaps, more insanely, they will claim, in an Orwellian turn, that the new policy was always the church’s real policy.” [Yes, but a good number will fall away.  The shock will be too much, the change too severe.]

There are many more such good quotes.  The piece closes by arguing for faithful Catholics to use their voice to verbally chastise/correct any Pope or Synod that seems to undermine the Faith by arriving at some “policy” that has the effect of obliterating Dogma.  I know, for many, that will be a discomfiting recommendation.  But perhaps we should sincerely examine why it is so discomfiting, instead of dismissing the suggestion out of hand.  And perhaps if we had greater familiarity with Church history, we might find that there have certainly been times when the faithful have been more than a little confrontational with the hierarchy over some matter of Dogma.

Prayer for guidance and always doing what is God’s true will for us is absolutely vital right now.  It is so easy for self-will and our preferences to masquerade as virtue.  This is a very dangerous time.  I need to pray more, but also better.


1. Pseudodionysius - May 12, 2014

What a coincidence. John Lamont’s very interesting talk he have at Society of Hugh of St Cluny is now up and I’m very curious what your friends familiar with the topic area think of his take on the defect in the Jesuit understanding of obedience in the counter reformation age and to what extent this is still prevalent amongst the laity.



Pseudodionysius - May 12, 2014

“have” should be “gave”. Silly auto correct…

2. Anon One - May 12, 2014

Using the terminology “Catholic Party” and “Catholic Church” reminds me of how the sedevacantists use the terms “Catholic Church” and “Conciliar Church” to refer to two different Churches to explain their twisted ecclesiology. This nomenclature is interesting because the members of the Catholic Party share something interesting with sedevacantists: their beliefs put both of them outside of the Church (either formally or practically).

3. Palmetto Papist - May 12, 2014

For me one of the greatest problems we have is twofold: First, everyone’s opinion is now broadcast to the world; we don’t keep our criticisms more private. Second, the culture is no longer Catholic, so that just criticisms are used as weapons against the Church, rather than for renewal. I am a great fan of Dante. His criticisms are withering, but they are not directed solely against the Pope, and he explicitly pays homage to the office of Peter. The modern situation may be unique in Church history.

4. greatpretender51 - May 12, 2014

I hope you don’t feel guilty about losing readers over your criticisms of Pope Francis. That this Papacy is already an unmitigated disaster should be plainly obvious to anyone who doesn’t have their head buried in the papolotrist sand. I wonder what these people would have done during the Arian crisis?

Lynne - May 13, 2014


tantamergo - May 13, 2014

No, it’s not guilt, but it’s not like I’m happy over it. But I’ve never written this blog for the sake of having a large audience. Hence my half-hearted efforts at editing and blog administration!

5. Baseballmom - May 12, 2014

Does Michael Voris fall into this category? What are your thoughts? It is getting tougher and tougher to accept his decision to be “hands off” regarding the Pope.

greatpretender51 - May 12, 2014

I think he clearly falls into this category, perhaps at least because of his links to Opus Dei (his bankroll partner is a member), perhaps from being just plain misguided. They also refuse to criticize the Novus Ordo as an instrument of destruction – in fact, their reaction to such criticism is really just irrational fanaticism.

JTC - May 13, 2014

Speak of what you know.

Michael Voris has no “Opus Dei links.” He is not and has never been a member of Opus Dei. He also has no “bankroll partner,” Opus Dei or otherwise. And the comprehensive piece titled “Weapons of Mass Destruction” cannot be construed as a defense of the Novus Ordo, nor can the current series “Sleight of Hand: Reception Deception” which excoriates the practice of Communion in the Hand be judged “Novus Ordo friendly.”

It is true that a member of Opus Dei helped him start RealCatholicTV.com but, with the change of name to ChurchMilitant.TV, all business relationships with this individual ceased entirely. Present behaviors cannot be blamed on non-existent relationships and influences.

I guess when you don’t like someone it’s just too easy to allege irrational or unworthy motives to whatever they do. But the facts of the matter are rather inconvenient to your allegations.

Michael Voris doesn’t, and won’t, criticize the Pope publicly, and he has explained his reasons for this rather thoroughly and publicly in several Vortex episodes and a lengthy written statement.

Why do you, or anyone for that matter, need Michael Voris to tell you what you clearly already know? If you don’t already know that the Pope has said or done something questionable, even scandalous, how are you better for hearing about it? If you do already know, then how are you better for anyone telling you what you already know? What we all really need to know is how to be faithful Catholics within the state of crisis that we see in the Church today, regardless of the fidelity of the shepherds. And this Michael Voris does very well.

Michael Voris fully subscribes to everything expressed in this sermon preached locally: http://www.romans10seventeen.org/audio-files/20131020-Christ-is-the-Point.mp3 The Pope can and should be criticized if circumstances warrant, but it’s debatable whether such criticism should be aired so publicly that it tempts people to consider being Catholic in a manner that is not in communion with the Church but is, rather, some alternative to the visible Church under the Vicar of Christ. Ubi Petrus ibi ecclesia is still true, even when a given Petrus has been or is a bupkus.

We’ve had some pretty bad Popes in the past. None has changed dogma. None could. None can. If Our Lord is to be believed, Pope Francis can’t and won’t, either, even if he doesn’t believe all that the Church teaches himself.

Don’t project on to Pope Francis, or Michael Voris, mindless assumptions that simply reinforce your prejudices. There is room to disagree over strategic decisions, but you don’t have to create straw men and pretend to do battle with them, unless intellectual masturbation is your thing.

greatpretender51 - May 13, 2014

Spoken like a true sycophant, JTC. Well done.

skeinster - May 13, 2014

Ad hominems. Always impressive.

tantamergo - May 13, 2014

Please. I’m not saying one has to criticize or question the pope. Some simply will not feel, in conscience, able to do so. Michael Voris has very specific reasons for not engaging in much criticism (in fairness, there has been some, if muted) related to how he views his apostolate and the fact that his audience, constantly shifting, consists in a lot of people just awakening to the crisis in the Faith. He fears – rightly or wrongly – that engaging in criticism of the Pope could either/both turn people off to his broader message/send people into a crisis of Faith from which they may not recover. He fears the latter more than the former.

It’s an editorial decision that I may not fully agree with but don’t have much problem with. I teased Michael once in a post over that but, really, it’s sort of his call to make.

My blog is more about preaching to the converted/solidifying already solid people, so I feel I have more freedom to criticize. That’s one excuse.

Molly - May 13, 2014

“He fears – rightly or wrongly – that engaging in criticism of the Pope could either/both turn people off to his broader message/send people into a crisis of Faith from which they may not recover. He fears the latter more than the former.”

Tantum, this is very well-put and true, I think.

I have witnessed this personally in my family…as I learn and share more about traditional Catholicism, with small-c catholic family members, if I do not choose my words carefully, they react and wonder why moving closer to the Church is even worthwhile (when they hear me criticize what they see as normal). Yes, I’m working on my message and delivery, and holding my tongue if I cannot speak charitably and lovingly. But for those who aren’t ready to hear what many of us (i.e. readers of traditional Catholic blogs) are ready to hear, then hearing criticism of Pope Francis does not move them close to the Church, but farther away.

(And this is a shame, I agree – that so many have moved away from the Magisterium, that to be told they SHOULD obey doctrine is very radical to their ears.)

So I think it’s very very important to consider our audience when we speak about the Church and Pope Francis. I realize this may come across as pandering to the lowest common denominator. But if we do not choose our words carefully, can we accept the possible consequence of sending people into a crisis of Faith? I think not.

Tantum, yes, your blog is about preaching to the converted/solifidying already solid people, and we, your regular readers, are grateful for your work! But of course, unless you somehow restrict access to your readers, or like Fr. Z, require registration to comment, it’s hard to control the comment box section. So you must also be responsible in choosing your words carefully, and as I know you do, exercise good oversight on comments.

Baseballmom - May 13, 2014

Thanks for your comments. I really was just asking the question…. Did not I tend to stir up a hornets nest… Appreciate your thoughts on this.

tantamergo - May 13, 2014

No, I like Michael, but I’m not 100% in line with this course at CMTV. I’ve seen some apologizing for the Pope that has been almost silly or egregious, and some attacks on the pope’s critics that have been similarly a bit hard, but whatevs. Still love Michael, he’s doing great work, even if we finally found an issue that we don’t agree on 100%.

6. Lynne - May 12, 2014

When just about everything is leeched out of Catholicism except for “Jesus is your buddy”, all you have left is the Pope. Father Z has realized that maybe you can’t read Francis through Benedict. Maybe he’ll realize he was wrong about the SSPX, too…

7. Steve - May 12, 2014

His Holiness is a tremendous Culture of Life Pontiff…a man of true peace.

Pope Francis has again and again promoted holiness, family, authentic marriage and pro-life teachings.

He is destined to become our great Humanae Vitae Pope.

Pope Francis, more than any Pontiff in my memory, has exhorted Jesus’ True Flock to beware of Satan…resist Satan…flee evil.

Pope Francis’ strong pro-family witness is need more than ever as we face the following reality in regard to the Culture of Life that has engulfed the world…

…this is what we face…

A college football player who has declared publicly his homosexuality was drafted this past weekend into the NFL.

The player in question, on national television, embraced and planted a…well, eschewing the graphic…he kissed his “boyfriend”.

A former NFL player criticized the network that transmitted the live event. Said player did not criticize the player’s sexuality…merely that children were watching and it was unnecessary to have televised the graphic kiss.

For that, the lives of said player and his children have been threatened with death.

A current Miami Dolphins’ player reacted negatively to the promotion of sodomy that has surrounded the homosexual player in question.

For that, the Miami Dolphins fined their player in question.

Said player has also been banned from team activities until he has completed social conditioning “training” designed to address his refusal to have marched in lockstep with the pro-sodomite agenda that has opposed the Culture of Life.

Wow! Frightening!

Dare to oppose the Culture of Death and be prepared to be fined…get ready to undergo conditioning training.


That is just within the National Football League.

Imagine that which awaits you and I?

I am opposed to the Novus Ordo liturgical revolution that Popes Paul VI, John Paul II (don’t know whether John Paul I would have continued the Novus Ordo), Benedict XVI and Francis have promoted.

But I appreciate and love the above Popes.

Despite certain differences (liturgical, for example) that some folks may have with Pope Francis, let us at least acknowledge his tremendous support for and promotion of the Culture of Life.

We need to rally around Pope Francis (and our orthodox bishops, priests and religious) if we hope to confront effectively the persecution (physical, financial and additional ways) that has been unleashed…and will worsen…against God’s Culture of Life believers.

Pope Francis, our great Culture of Life, Humanae Vitae Pope needs our prayers and support…

…and we need him…desperately!

Peace to our Holy Father, Pope Francis.


8. Christopher Ekstrom - May 12, 2014

We’ll put; CRISTO Rey is the founder & head of the Roman Catholic Church. Full stop.

tantamergo - May 13, 2014

Correct, and I never mean to imply or say otherwise.

9. Steve - May 12, 2014

Dear Lynne, in the spirit of peace I disagree with your understanding of Pope Francis as a mere “Jesus is your buddy” Pontiff.

Yes, Jesus is our “buddy”…our merciful friend and Savior.

But time and again, Pope Francis has made it clear that Satan is real and is determined to lead unto into Hell.

Pope Francis has made it clear that the world offers us a Throwaway Culture…The Culture of Death.

Pope Francis has praised pro-life Catholics (and others). His Holiness walked with March for Life participants.

Pope Francis has called direct attention to Humanae Vitae.

Pope Francis has exhorted us time and again to flee Satan.

Pope Francis has exhorted us to embrace Jesus Christ.

If all that makes him a simple “Jesus is your buddy” person, then good for Pope Francis.


Lynne - May 13, 2014

He has also said that perhaps Mary felt deceived by God because of her son’s sufferings. Is that in keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church? NO, it is not.

He has also said we obsess(?!) about abortion and same-sex marriage…

The list could go on and on. If you are a regular reader of this blog then those 2 items are not surprising. Houston, we have a problem.

tg - May 13, 2014

True, Lynn. Pope Francis also spoke more like a Catholic (especially about the devil) when he was a cardinal in Argentina.

10. irishsmile - May 13, 2014

The Catholic Church has had somewhere in the number of 55 anti-popes. Additionally there have been very iffy popes like Honorious, Liberious and the Borgias (father & son). Pope Francis has chosen Cd. Kasper as his close personal Theologian. Kasper unfortunately is crediting a statement to Francis along the lines that 50% of marriages are invalid and additionally a very iffy statement regarding birth control. I will feel relieved if and when Pope Francis refutes these comments by Kasper. Silence adds to Catholic confusion.

Baseballmom - May 13, 2014

I would love to hear or read a clarification on Kaspar’s very questionable interview comments. I am not holding my breath.

Branch - May 13, 2014

I do not think clarification will be forthcoming because, as is evident to me, and contrary to what I believe is the assumption behind the hope that clarification will come, there is truly not much divide, if any, because the views of Kasper and those of Francis.

11. Kevin Shook (@DFWSHOOK) - May 13, 2014

A couple thoughts come to mind regarding the current Pontificate:

1. Shortly after his election, it was apparent to me that Francis was not the theologian that Benedict is. I think that Francis speaks “off the cuff” often; maybe too often. He has become the “sound-bite” Pope in a way that neither Benedict nor St. JPII would ever have been. This is not entirely his fault – much of that lays at the feet of our current culture in which any message that takes more that 15 seconds to hear and comprehend is ignored. My thought has been that we get the leader that we deserve. As Pope Francis said earlier to seminarians in Rome today: ” . . the church has a lot to do to ensure homilies are under 10 minutes and done well ‘so that people understand’ the word of God.” Sound bites, bumper stickers and memes are all that we can handle today.

2. My experience is that the people who are most excited about Pope Francis overwhelmingly are those “lapsed” Catholics who stopped going to Mass years ago. While highly praising Francis or sharing via the internet photos of doves landing on the Pope, unfortunately none them (so far) have the intention of returning to Mass any time soon.

3. That being said, I will continue my daily prayers for the Pope, for the conversion of friends and family, for the repentance and remission of my sins and the complete conversion of my heart.

Kevin Shook (@DFWSHOOK) - May 13, 2014

Re Item 2: By “My experience” I mean people that I know personally. Not people who have commented earlier on this blog or any other blog.

12. Steve - May 13, 2014

Pope Francis’ Pontificate is a disaster, according to certain Catholics.

If Pope Venerable Pius XII have lived during the days of the Internet, certain Catholics (Traditionalists) would have attacked said Pope daily (via the WWW) for his radical liturgical reforms (with Father Bugnini front and center)…having opened the door to Catholic participation in the Ecumenical Movement…promotion of the United Nations…relaxation of the Communion fast…having opened the door to tinkering with the Good Friday Prayer for Jews…

More than a few Traditional Catholics have attached the “disaster” label to Pope Saint John XXIII’s Pontificate.

The same applies to the respective Pontificates of Venerable Paul VI and Saint John Paul II.

Check out the archives of Angelqueen and Rorate Caeli in regard to Pope Benedict XVI’s Pontificate.

One said web sites, Traditional Catholics dismissed Pope Benedict XVI repeatedly as the same “modernist” who attended Vatican II dressed in a suit.

Said Traditionalists attacked Pope Benedict XVI’s Assisi celebration…for having overthrown the Traditional Good Friday prayer for Jews…for his ecumenical activities…for his unwavering promotion of the Novus Ordo and Vativcan II.

Even when Pope Benedict XVI resigned the Papacy, more than a few Traditional Catholics declared that that was the “modernist” Pope’s plan to destroy the Papacy.

Search for said posts at Rorate Caeli’s archives.

I sometimes wonder whether my brother and sister Traditional Catholics are ever happy.

skeinster - May 13, 2014

Why, no. No, they’e not…

Never miss a chance to let the perfect drive out the good.

This is what the local priest was explaining in the sermon we’ve referenced. There is an ideal Church in some of our minds. It does not exist- it is a fantasy. We have to deal with the Church as it is. Both the left and right, if you like, are guilty of this idealization, but in different ways.

The three virtues we Trads need most, imho, after years of observation and lived experience: humility, patience and fortitude.

LaGallina - May 13, 2014

I’m with Steve here. I too wonder whether you sour-puss, cry-baby whiner Traditionalists, er, I mean, brothers and sisters in Christ are ever happy. Things are great. If you don’t believe us, just plug your ears and sing real loud. (We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord… Feel better now?)

And come on, felt banners get a lot of bad rap, but they are really soft. And who doesn’t like a little Simon and Garfunkle in Mass now and then. Incense makes me sneeze. The teenage girls wearing low cut dresses and super-short miniskirts for Confirmation was fantastic. It makes me realize that we don’t have to be perfect. Just come as you are.

And if none of that cheers you up, remember in two short years we will be celebrating the Protestant Reformation with our other brothers and sisters, the Lutherans. I’m putting my bets down now that maybe I’ll get to see Luther canonized in my life time. Things are so bright…

skeinster - May 14, 2014

I see I could have been clearer: self-criticism does not mean the endorsement of bad things others are doing.

If I was harsh, for which I apologize, it is the result of two decades of watching us derail our own best interests by our own actions, over and over again. In spite of the admonitions of our priests, we often continue to be proud, contentious and abrasive- when it serves no real purpose.

13. Steve - May 13, 2014

Lynne, in regard to Father Zuhlsdorf being “wrong” about the SSPX…

Is the Society correct when it claims that the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches heresies?

Pope Saint John Paul II invoked his Apostolic Authority when he declared that the CCC is a sure and certain guide to Holy Mother Church’s teachings.

Who is correct? The Holy Catholic Church or the SSPX?

By the way, the One True Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has made it clear that the SSPX can regularize its status at any time.

I have paid attention since the 1970s to the Society. I have appreciated much that the Society has offered to Catholics.

Unfortunately, they refuse to adhere to the Holy See’s rules.

Therefore, they do not exercise legitimate ministry within the Church.

Lynne - May 13, 2014

The SSPX and its bishops are guilty of neither heresy, apostasy nor schism. They have never been accused by the Church of any of these things. If they were not in communion with the Church they could never have been *excommunicated*, nor could that have been lifted by the pope. It is a priestly society of apostolic life that had its constitutions approved at the diocesan level in 1970 (not by Lefebvre), then shortly thereafter revoked with any explanation. They continued to operate as if the approval was still in effect, which puts them in an irregular canonical situation. In a separate event, a bishop of the SSPX consecrated other bishops without Apostolic mandate which earned him, an assisting bishop, and the four men consecrated a penalty of excommunication, which was lifted 21 years later.

14. Mary Griffin - May 13, 2014

It is interesting that you base this entire post on a secular article. You like this guy’s opinion because he agrees with you and gives you a reason to resist what you don’t like in the church. How about quoting scripture or the saints? What do you do with John 13:20 or Luke 10:16? Yes, there have been bad popes, but never once has a pope misled the church in teachings of faith or morals.

If Our Lord wanted perfect leaders in the Church, he could have used angels. Instead, he has chosen to use sinful human beings. It has worked for 2000 years. Yes, there have been problems and crises, but the Holy Spirit has never once left us. I guess you think He has now abandoned the Church, and it is up to people like you to protect us because the Holy Spirit simply can’t do it.

My loyalty is not to the person of the pope. My loyalty is to the office of the pope which was instituted by Jesus Christ. I believe His Words that the gates of hell shall never prevail. It has been true for 2000 years. I don’t see why our present time is any exception.

Seems to me that you are trying to make a case for being your own Magesterium. I believe that is called Protestantism.

Daniel Brooks - May 13, 2014

According to you, popes can never teach error. Then what do you do with John XXII? He taught that souls of the blessed departed do not see God until after the Last Judgment.. before AND after being pope.

The simple fact is that the pope does not teach infallibly all the time. Only when the authority of his office is explicitly invoked and are held in the traditions that have been handed down to us, by spoken word or epistle.

I urge you to read Mortalium Animos and then assess the Assisi prayer meetings. Then tell me that popes never are in contradiction with the Magisterium.

tantamergo - May 13, 2014

I also don’t base my entire concern regarding ultramontanist Catholics on this one post. There were so many responses, I haven’t replied to many, but even Fr. Z thought the post I linked worthy of commentary, so perhaps I’m not too far gone. But I have written about this subject a number of times in the past. Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote, in a sense, an entire book about this problem, The Devastated Vineyard, which while categorizing all the problems in the post-conciliar Church, was also an extensive defense of…..you guessed it, criticism of the Church/papacy.

Ultramontanism has long existed in the Church but, for a variety of reasons (mostly good), it really exploded after Vatican I. This was largely in response to the pressures on the Church and the rather unusual fact that the Church from ~1780-1958 had an unusually strong run of popes. Popes who were incredibly holy and prudent and rarely, if ever, gave even a hint of scandal.

Unfortunately, that run was rather contrary to the overall history of the papacy. There have been a number of destructive popes. I’m not talking about anti-popes, I am talking about people who were clearly, unarguably the pope. Liberius, Honorius, Alexander VI, John XXII, and a whole slew of renaissance era popes were scandalous in a number of regards. And people criticized them. From the earliest Church through to the reformation (another huge cause of ultramontanism, as people sought, quite rightly, to rally around the pope), many, many Saints criticized pontiffs mostly privately but also publicly at times. Those Saints were often joined by many lay people.

I’m not saying people should, or must, criticize any pope. I do think people who can should honestly look at their belief system to see if they constantly seek to bend over backwards to explain away or minimize any scandalous/imprudent/untoward statement of action by a pontiff, and maybe ask themselves whether doing so is really about saving souls or about something else.

The author made a very salient point when he described how much more visible and communicative popes of today are than their predecessors. Papal statements used to be relatively rare and very carefully vetted. Pontiffs, for a variety of reasons, rarely left Rome. Now we have every off the cuff or minor utterance of a pope blasted out to the world. Part of that is simply due to the change in culture and technology, but it also has much to do with how Pope Saint JPII revolutionized the conduct of the papacy, turning it into a very much more public and PR-oriented role.

I have seen commenters opine that they see absolutely nothing but sunshine and blue skies with Pope Francis. Some of these folks may be able to bend their wills into pretzels to accept something as “always being taught” that is dramatically counter, at least in practice, to the Doctrine of the Faith. I cannot. I’m not saying Pope Francis is going to do or permit such, but there are certainly signs. Many, many signs. There are also contrary signs. But those contrary signs may simply be part of the whole process.

We’ll see. I suspect we’ll know much more in about 6 months. The Synod will decide all, but I am surprised there are people who can emote that there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about, when we have repeated statements from cardinals and others closest to the pontiff, entrusted with critically important positions, and sometimes given effusive praise, that are most troubling indeed. A really good priest I know is very concerned some of the “bend over backwards to explain everything away crowd” will snap if practice is changed surrounding bigamists receiving Communion (and whatever else), because they are not so much grounded in the Faith, as they are in a cult of personality centered on the papacy. He may be way off base, but we’ll see soon.

Having said all the above this is a very personal matter, and a very touchy one as well. It is very easy to go off one’s nut when one starts down the path of allowing oneself to question even the Supreme Pontiff. And maybe I’m just committing grave sins of pride when I do question. I pray not. But I certainly recognize the threat doing such poses, and try to be very wary. It is very possible to scandalize oneself out of the faith by being a constant critic.

Lord, have mercy on all of us. Strengthen our faith!

15. mariaangelagrow - May 13, 2014

Reblogged this on mariaangelagrow.

16. Steve - May 13, 2014

Lynne, I am very familiar with the SSPX. I have followed SSPX developments from the 1970s to date.

They have placed themselves in an irregular canonical situation.

The SSPX, as the True Church has taught, does not exercise a valid ministry.

The Holy Catholic Church has offered the Society time and again the wonderful opportunity to enjoy 100 percent peace and regularization with the Bishop of Rome.

Unlike, for example, the FSSP, the Society has refused to enter into agreement with the Holy Father.

The SSPX lives in a dream world as it is determined to insist that Rome accept the SSPX as is.

The SSPX claims, for example, that Vatican II teaches errors.

The Society claims that the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches heresies.

Does anybody in his or her right mind believe that the Holy Catholic Church would accept as is a Society of priests who claim that Holy Mother Church teaches errors and heresies?

As Pope Benedict XVI declared, along with much good, the Society suffers from serious errors and deficiencies.

Therefore, the Society of Saint Pius X does not exercise a legitimate ministry within Holy Mother Church.

May the Society of Saint Pius X come to its senses.

May Bishop Fellay simply obey Holy Mother Church via an agreement with Pope Francis.

The SSPX will then obtain regularization from the Apostolic See.


17. Lorra - May 13, 2014

May the Church which is supposed to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church come to its senses. And soon.

18. Kurt - May 13, 2014

legitimate redistribution of what I own to people who have shown they can’t make good use of earnings

19. Fr Anselm Marie - May 13, 2014

The concept that the Pope interacts directly with every Christian in the world is a thoroughly modern innovation.

Traditionally, the Pope is the bishop of Rome. That is the flock he cares for directly. Other flocks are cared for directly by other bishops, who, to do so properly, should be in union with the Pope, not replaced by him.

If anyone has a responsibility to fraternally correct the Pope when he errs, it is the bishops.

As faithful Christians, we do better to pray for the Church, that God may grant her peace and protection, unity and guidance throughout the world, together with His servant, our Pope, and our Bishop; and all orthodox believers who cherish the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

Daniel Brooks - May 13, 2014

Father, what of canon 212?

Can. 212 §3 They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals.

Is this not also the duty of the Church Militant?

skeinster - May 14, 2014

Well, it depends.
There are a lot of qualifiers in that statement.
If we can measure our comments against the list and honestly think we’ve fulfilled it, then fine.
But how many internet comments even begin to come up to the guidelines posted in this canon?

Daniel Brooks - May 14, 2014

Sure, I understand what you mean. Although I wasn’t meaning to apply this to comments in comboxes.

Fr Anselm Marie - May 14, 2014

Besides all the “qualifiers” in the referenced canon that describe the conditions under which expression by the Christian faithful can be considered legitimate, it is worthy of note that what may thus be expressed are “views”, “sententiam” in the Latin text, a term which is rendered “opinion” in another translation, and of which skeinster’s “comments” is a remarkably good rendition.

Skeinster is also perspicacious to wonder just how many views/opinions/comments can actually qualify as legitimate. And even so, legitimacy renders views/opinions/comments neither obligatory nor authoritative.

The errors that have for the past five centuries deformed the Christian faith in the name of reform, emanate from an obscured awareness of the nature of apostolic authority. It is the Sacrament of Holy Orders that gives bishops not only the supernatural power to teach, to rule and to sanctify, but also the authority and obligation to do so: exclusive power, authority and obligation, delegable as faculties only to those who share in the Sacrament.

In the 16th century, it was arrogant monks and priests and kings who elevated their views/opinions/comments to the level of apostolic authority. Today, the internet has replaced the door of Wittenberg’s All Saints’ Church and countless more disputations the theses once nailed there.

Incidentally, it may be also be enlightening to notice that only two (§207 and §209) of the twenty canons comprising the introduction and Title I of Book II of the 1983 CIC (§§204-223) have any precedent in the 1917 Code. The rest are innovations.

20. skeinster - May 14, 2014

Yes, Father.
My concern is that if we’re going to engage in criticism or prophecy we do it correctly.

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