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We Have the Pope We Deserve – And There Are No Easy Outs June 20, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Christendom, episcopate, Francis, General Catholic, manhood, mortification, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.

I could not agree more with this post by Rorate.  Francis is a chastisement the Church has, tragically, horribly, but also richly deserved through apostasy, open acceptance (and practice) of a whole panoply of sins, and a general failure of all the virtues.  Francis didn’t just fall from the sky.  He was elected by a Church hierarchy that sprang from a Church laity that is largely given over to worldliness, comfort, ease, and sloth.  The Church has been slouching towards Gomorrah for over 100 years, and the hierarchy simply began to reflect that fact more and more as the 20th century ground on.

I’m out of time for the day, but I doubly agree with Rorate below – a tiny slice of the Church excepted (which, I pray, includes all the readers of this blog) – Francis is a punishment quite richly earned, and one from which such false “panaceas” as sede vacantism or similar intellectual pretenses provide no real escape (I add emphasis and comments).

……Many conservative, traditional-minded Catholics are so weary of the weekly, frequently even daily, shocks provided by this Pontificate that they look for easy ways out. Perhaps the Pope is not the Pope. Maybe Benedict XVI is still the Pope. Maybe Benedict XVI never truly resigned: even his Secretary and current Prefect of the Papal Household, Abp. Georg Gänswein, provided some leeway for this theory by implying the existence of a bizarre papal diarchy…….. [I’ve engaged in a bit of speculation from time to time regarding wiggle room for some future, orthodox pontiff to “deal with” Francis, but that was really idle speculation and probably not the most helpful thing I could have done.  The thing is, we can allow ourselves to fall into pretty dangerous places if we get too twisted off on the idea of the pope being not valid, or whatever.  I advise great caution and humility, and will try to practice same better myself.]

…….We deserve Francis. What is missing in many souls is a typically Christian attitude: resignation. It was not the Holy Spirit who chose Francis, that is not how conclaves work. But God has certainly allowed it, and he has allowed it to continue, and he will allow it until He deigns it necessary to end his Vicar’s time here on earth, as He does to each one of us.

Other than resignation, missing from many spirits is the notion of collective justice — and collective punishment. We have sinned, we have grievously sinned. So many Catholics have been for long immensely unfaithful to the Apostolic tradition they have received, to the pure doctrine that was passed on: is it surprising that from this soil arise unfaithful hierarchs? What is surprising is not that we have Francis as Pope, but that it took so many centuries for us to have a Pope like him. As it is known, the Popes who were considered “bad” and “appalling” in Catholic history never dared touch the deposit of the faith, or to mollify this deposit so it would fit into contemporary mores; they may have been personally immoral, and their example caused great scandal and grievous consequences, but their utterances on matters of faith, moral, sacraments did not themselves cause scandal (the examples of such were so rare as to be counted on a couple of fingers).
We deserve Francis. King Josiah was the exception, and Judah was punished before and after him: was there not a single just man in Judah under King Amon? Was not Jeremiah alive and warning of dangers under King Zedekiah? Yet even the just were punished on this earth, collectively, by what God allowed to happen: irreverent kings, leaders who acted as if God did not exist. The just were subjected to upheaval on this earth, but it profited for their eventual eternal life: as Dante wrote in the Inferno, “O Supreme Wisdom, how great is the perfection / that you show in heaven, on earth, and in hell / and how justly you spread your virtue!
We deserve Francis. The Catholic faithful on earth in this moment in history deserve him — and deserve worse, so be prepared. [Two thoughts on this line: one, there is always a worse alternative, and, two, where sin abounds, Grace abounds the more]  We will bear it because we must bear it, because this is what God has prepared for us. If you hope for something better, then the answer is prayer, and fasting, and almsgiving, the personal work of each one for one’s own final perseverance, and the teaching of the truth of the Gospel, especially to one’s children. [I think it important to note, also, pointing out errors when they arise, no matter from whence the arise, and doing our best to repudiate them] One day, a new Josiah will arise to sit on the cathedra of Peter in Rome. Yet even afterwards, new chastisements and exiles will remain part of Catholic life, in this Church founded by “the Just who died for the unjust” (I Pet 3:18).

I would add a bit more. Rather than gloom and doom, which is so easy to give into at times (I stand guilty as charged), we could perhaps rejoice that God has chosen us to live at this time and place, to suffer through this horrific period of the Church’s long history?  This is indeed a very special kind of suffering to endure, and something we should perhaps reflect on as being a gift as well as a curse.



1. Joseph D'Hippolito - June 20, 2016

I’m sorry but I’m sick and tired of this rhetorical excrement that faithful Catholics (no matter how few they might be) “deserve” an incompetent like Francis. I heard this said when the clerical sex-abuse crisis broke at the turn of this century: “We deserve the bishops we get,” by none other than that expert in theological insight, Mark Shea. Really? Catholic parents, let alone Catholic children, deserve to have bishops who will protect clerical predators — and their own reputations and extensive financial assets? That idea is more than sadistic and cruel. It’s a blasphemous abomination.

I also disagree strongly with the idea that the only proper attitude is resignation. No it isn’t, not by a long shot! That attitude reflects the blind deference to episcopal authority that deeply (and far too frequently) pervades the Catholic psyche. No, we fight! Yes, we use prayer as a weapon, as God commanded. But we also call a spade a spade. We demand that the whole procedure for vetting bishops, let alone Popes, be changed so that careerists and intellectual fashionistas aren’t rewarded. That change must include input from theologically well-informed lay people.

Having said all that, I do agree that Francis is the natural consequence of a Church leadership that long ago — long before Vatican II, the Enlightenment, the Reformation or the Great Schism — sacrificed its spiritual patrimony on the altar of power, wealth, secular prestige, political influence and institutional arrogance. You think Francis is the only spiritually corrupt Pope in Catholic history?

A holy, righteous God has had it with the shenanigans of those who claim authority in His Name yet abuse it to enrich themselves. Maybe Catholics will get the message when ISIS invades Rome and beheads not only Francis but also the old queens in the Curia.

Yes, I am angry. No, I don’t care what anybody thinks.

Mrs. Maureen Avila - June 20, 2016

I agree with Joseph , paragraph # 1 above that the “got what we deserve” thing is a stretch to put it mildly and sounds a bit like a kid taking the blame for a abusive father who beats his wife.

I disagree with Joseph , paragraph #2 that any change for the good re vetting Bishops or prospective popes could be put into place while Bergoglio is in office. It seems the College of Cardinals needed weeding out before the last Conclave..and it is likely to get worse during this pontificate, and since it is the Cardinals who do the electing, we could quite possibly get an even worse pope.

Joseph D'Hippolito - June 21, 2016

Maureen, thanks very much for your support. I agree that Francis will not make any changes to the vetting process while he is Pope. He’s appointing whom he wants to lead the Church (cf, Cupich) after his demise, so you could well be right that a worse Pope will follow.

2. Camper - June 21, 2016

Really, I think this is a bit much. Trads in the Church do not deserve a monster like Francis. St. Augustine had a checkered past, but he did great good. Maybe even he would have been a better Pope than Francis.

Tantumblogo - June 21, 2016

We’re not even 1% of the Church. Shoot, we may not even be 1% of the practicing Church, let alone the “cultural Catholic” Church. 1.4 billion “Catholics” and maybe 1 million trads. Do the math. We’re 1/10 of 1%. Even if only 10% of that 1.4 billion kinda sorta accepts the Faith in some sort of way and tries to practice it (and that may be exaggeration on my part), we’d still be much less than 1%!

And then I would argue, maybe we trads aren’t as holy as we (and I certainly include myself in this) sometimes like to think. IF we were, maybe the Church wouldn’t be in quite the shape its in.

3. DFW boonies Catholic - June 21, 2016

My first reaction when I heard who was elected ? “A Jesuit. From Latin American. Oh no.”

P.S. I remember reading a brief profile of him (Bergoglio) and other papabile before Benedict XVI was elected. My red flags went up even then. I prayed, please not Bergolgio. What can I say ? I prayed years ago about him and didn’t get what I wanted.

DJR - June 21, 2016

My first reaction when I heard who was elected ? “A Jesuit. From Latin American. Oh no.”

LOL. That was my first reaction as well, but in the reverse.

When the result of the election was announced, I had never heard of Cardinal Bergoglio, but when I heard he was from South America, I said, “Uh-oh.”

Then when I heard he was a Jesuit, I nearly fainted.

4. Dennis Hogan - June 21, 2016

The system for vetting priests, bishops, cardinals, and popes is flawed and will probably continue to be so. History has shown that to be the case and current experience resonates the same.
The best course the lay Catholic can take is to pray, to remain faithful to long standing traditions, act with charity, and be wary of wayward clerics.
It’s my contention that the strength of the Church is the man or woman in the pew living a life faithful to Christ’s teachings. It’s not bishops, councils, popes, or the Vatican bureaucracy. Collectively, they have failed us time and time again.

5. Branch - June 21, 2016

Given your view on sedevacantism, I’m wondering what you think of what some are calling “resignationism.” Ann Barnhardt wrote recently:

“It is now clear to me, and I feel it morally incumbent upon me given my position to publicly state that I believe Jorge Bergoglio, “Francis” to be an Antipope, never having been canonically elected, and that Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI is still the Roman Pontiff.”

6. Margaret Costello - June 21, 2016

Hmmmm…I can see this making sense but then I can’t. Yes, we deserve Francis collectively for the utter evil that has been committed. But this frame of mind focuses primarily on the laity and negates the hierarchal structure and increased graces that come with Holy Orders. How can it be the laity’s fault for producing such horrific clergy, being “bad soil” as the editorial notes, when the laity are only as good as the Shepherd’s that lead them? What comes first here…the laity or the clergy? The clergy actually. For the clergy have the higher set of graces, power and authority. The laity are but sheep who follow. So if you have bad laity it’s because you had bad clergy first. Bad shepherd’s equal bad sheep. And then bad sheep produce the soil for bad shepherds. What about all of the good and holy young men who were turned away from the seminaries? All the good priests who were persecuted and relocated?

I was born into this chaos…spiritually starved, abused and unformed…having taken my Catholic culture away and thrown into the godless, hedonistic, materialistic secular culture instead. It was only having to go thru the nine circles of hell that I found the truth, beauty and sanity that is Tradition. Do I deserve Francis? In my opinion, the only people who deserve Francis are the evil clergy who did this…and yet it seems they are being given their gift and mecca in spades.

My Catholic mind says I deserve all the punishments God gives me because I am a sinner…and an awful one in the past. But another bit tells me that the enemy always likes to accuse the brethren. So it’s not the perverted, evil, sodomite, modernist fault that Francis is in office…no, no, no…it’s the faithful Catholic who has been blindly following their wolves in shepherd’s clothing like every sheep does.

I think we have lost the reality of the power, authority and true influence of the Catholic hierarchy in this world. The Catholic Church runs the show spiritually…the hierarchy wields all the spiritual power on Earth. The blame lies on the clergy, for the all the prestige and honor they are given only exists because of the enormous power, authority and duty/responsibility they hold in their hands. We are seeing what it looks like when that power and authority are handed over to Satan himself…being reminded of the fact the clergy are playing fast and loose with spiritual atomic energy. Toddlers in a nuclear power plant…or more like drunk sodomites.

God bless~

Joseph D'Hippolito - June 22, 2016

Excellent points, Margaret. Also, don’t forget what Michael Rose wrote in “Good-Bye, Good Men” : Candidates for the clergy who came from seriously devout families were repelled by the nonsense going on in the “pink palace” seminaries. The fact that such seminaries exist (and have existed, for who knows how long) points the finger directly at the clergy and hierarchy!

“We are seeing what it looks like when that power and authority are handed over to Satan himself…”

That reminds me of what Satan told Jesus in the vision that Pope Leo XIII ostensibly had in 1884, the one that motivated him to write the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Satan asked for about a century to destroy the Church and the power to dominate those who would devote themselves to him. Jesus, according to the vision, granted Satan that power.

Tantumblogo - June 22, 2016

They were also kicked out.

But I don’t look askance and hold myself blameless for the state of the Church. Am I as holy and just as God desires me to be? Are any of us? If not, then we can consider whether we might have a certain share of the blame for the crisis afflicting the Church. Even in the 13th century, at the very height of the Age of Faith, God sent St. Vincent Ferrer on a mission to literally stop the end of the world, because souls had grown cold and weak in faith. And these were people who fasted on bread and water for all of Lent and Advent and who endured incredible penances for even relatively minor sins, to mention just a few things! And yet they were held accountable not only for the Church but the entire world by God.

Of course, as 4 million words and 6 1/2 years of my efforts indicate, there is much to criticize. But virtue starts at home.

Margaret Costello - June 22, 2016

How can the 13th century be at the height of the Age of Faith and yet be so cold and weak as to merit the End of the World? My wonky brain doesn’t get that:+)

Although I do recognize that as far as fasting and penance goes, we are soooooo soft. Granted we are soft in other ways too…but then it again it was the hierarchy who told us that fasting and penance weren’t required anymore. Boy are they wolves or what!?

God bless~

7. Magdalene - June 21, 2016

I had heard of Bergoglio who in Argentina was against the TLM. There had been a couple of items about him over the years and none complimentary unless, of course, you are a modernist Jesuit with a certain agenda.

BUT I cannot help but think of the time written of in Genesis when Abraham bargained with God such that if only TEN righteous people could be found in Sodom and Gomorrah that the towns would be spared for their sake. Now I cannot say if 10 people would have been 1/10 of 1% or not but don’t we have at least 1% of true faithful even in these wicked immoral times? For the sake of the faithful, Lord!!!

8. Ann Malley - June 21, 2016

Sorry, but blaming the laity is over the top – as usual.

The shepherds are tasked with leading and given the graces to do so. It is the creep of modernism and the synthesis of all errors that used to be declared anathema from the Pope that is now somehow, magically, considered progressive growth wherein “we” can now be more merciful than Christ that is the problem.

Sheep are gonna follow. Leaders are gonna lead. So let’s call out the leaders for being cowards and inuring the sheep to do as they darned well please for fear of Jerusalem and the cross.

Garbage flows downhill. Especially when those at the top attempt to redraft garbage as good food.

Margaret Costello - June 21, 2016

Agree. I forget what Pope/Saint/Clergyman who said that the laity have NO BUSINESS in missions, evangelization or the conversion of infidels, heretics, Jews etc. That the clergy alone had been given special graces to convert and the formation in theology to handle all of the questions. Look at the Traditional Catholic past. Who converted the heathen, the Indian, the schismatics, the heretical sects? It was priests specifically trained and sent by their superiors. It was the St. Francis Xavier’s, the Father Smet’s whose job it was to convert all nations. And they did so beautifully:+)

I think we need to train our minds to question every little bit of info that comes out of such a infested, evil, demonic heirarchy. If they tell us it’s OUR job to evangelize the world, going against 2000 years of Tradition and historical fact, then I’m gonna bet they are spewing their weakling, modernist drivel again…making us yet again do their jobs while we pay them to destroy the Church and live out their homo fantasies.

I’m not saying we don’t have to know the faith or be ready to share the reason for our hope. But we need to recognize that the clergy, yet again in this area, are trying to slothfully pass the buck.

I do agree with Rorate in one sense, though. Although this is a horrific time in Church history…it is also an immense opportunity for us little laity to shine for our beloved Lord…to the shame of the clergy who had been given the grace and mission to do so instead. They are missing out on their crowns…they are being handed to us, if we but take up the cross:+)

By the way, where are the missionary priests? No, not the ones who play it safe by going to Catholic parishes that invite them. The ones that used to NOT play it safe…going into strongholds of evil and paganism and facing the devils, giants, and enemy face on? Where are the priests on the street? I know there is one Trad priest who walks in the streets in the Midwest at times…but where are the rest? Playing ecumenism footsy while souls tumble into hell?

At this point, 99% of what this hierarchal Church tells me I’m just going to assume is a demonic lie and the truth is the opposite. Let us take this once in an existence opportunity and usurp the glory of the clergy by fighting for Our Lord and His Bride:+)

God bless~

Tantumblogo - June 21, 2016

As I stated in the post, the “we” is not so much the most convicted, involved Catholics possible, i.e., probably many readers of this blog, but the 2 billion odd other self-described Catholics over the past century-plus who have embraced every manner of immorality, pleasure-seeking, doctrine-rejection, and general apostasy.

But at the same time, am I being the Saint I am called to be at all times? Do I not enjoy a few “innocent” pleasures? Do I not at times shirk my duty? Am I really giving my all every minute of every day to be the greatest Saint I can possibly be? Are any of us?

To the extent that we are not, there is a certain sense of collective guilt for the state of the Church today. If there is a widespread weakness among trads, it’s a tendency to spiritual pride of the kind spoken of in St Luke xviii:9-14.

Margaret Costello - June 21, 2016

I guess I’m pointing out that even those 2 billion over the past century who embraced immorality and apostasy didn’t do so without the help of the immoral shepherds they were following. It is the fault of those shepherds that the majority of Catholics are hedonistic materialists. The sheep were just being what they are, sheep. And if their shepherd led them into hedonism, that’s where they went too.

I’m also thinking of my own (and your) generation who were born into this chaos and were clueless and either malformed or unformed.

With the saints as examples I don’t think any of us think we do all we can every minute of the day. I’m not saying we are saints or that Trads don’t have pride issues. I’m saying that it’s not pride to point out the truth i.e. that the clergy are to blame with this and that we’ve lost a sense of the true power behind the hierarchy.

I am all for opportunities to grow in humility but truth comes first. Even if just happens to get me off the hook for once:+) God bless~

Ann Malley - June 22, 2016

Those “Catholics” who have supposedly embraced every manner of immorality are the very same who are not being taught, correct, chastened or expelled by the lawful authority right there in their parish.

The reason? Often it is money and the desire to maintain the “Church” itself. That is a building and position of power and influence that, despite what is said, is demonstrably exerting its authority to pervert, distort, distract, and destroy the very rock upon which it draws any authority at all.

So, yes, the sheep have gone bad. But that, again, goes right back to the authority that either affirms said bad actions or does not. That is why there is this crisis of Fatherhood. That is leadership. It isn’t easy to correct, to be firm, to stand fast in the face of weeping, wheedling, coercion, and the temptation to go along to get along. Much like parents who just get their kids a lock for their door and let them get drunk and sex it up at home.

It is not spiritual pride to call out the reality of myriad fatherless families – that is parishes with NO male head. No father. So, yes, “Trads” if you like are prone to spiritual pride. This is true. We are all prone to pride. But the reality is that we have only what graces we do by God’s design. By His predilection in granting us the ability to see while others do not and seek excuses – like blaming hapless sheep who could and should have been roundly corrected b their pastors.

You don’t browbeat a laity to do the priest’s job while he all too often stands about undermining what you say by preaching something else under the banner of lawful authority. That’s like blaming the kids for being kids. Sorry. Doesn’t fly. Why? Big sis can try to model purity for little Janie all she’d like but if Mom and Dad openly deride her by saying rigidity is the only heresy, guess what? Janie isn’t going to listen to Janie, but rather join the official lesson of browbeating those who are shouldering responsibilities they shouldn’t have to.

That’s why the raising up of Saints – like Joan of Arc – is often meant to shame the shepherds and get them back to the business of doing the job they’ve been shirking.

If we’re going to try and get back to the lawful male headship as outlined in previous articles, then we absolutely must state that the buck stops at the feet of the authority.

Margaret Costello - June 22, 2016

Well said, Ann:+) And you nailed it with the lack of true Fatherhood. And that we have lost the right perspective when it comes to authority which is no surprise seeing that we dumped altar and throne hundreds of years ago and think “We the People” are the authority instead.

I think God is letting this chaos hit in His mercy to show us the only place true authority and thus Fatherhood begins: Him. Pope Francis is just an object lesson of what happens when you mess with Fatherhood and authority…how important it is. Hopefully we all learn that lesson and quick:+)

God bless~

tg - June 22, 2016

I like what you wrote.

9. Kathleen - June 21, 2016

God’s Justice is PERFECT.


God allows His people to inflict chastisement upon themselves when it is JUST.


Seriously, I’m baffled about the protests.

Yes, there always are sheep among the goats. Wheat among the weeds.

But when the goats and weeds get out of hand we get a big dose of Justice.

And that’s what it is — JUSTICE.

And yes it means we need to do more and do better.

Which includes resigning our wills to GOD’S WILL in this and offering up all we can to merit mercy for us, our loved ones, and the Church.

Tantumblogo - June 21, 2016

Thanks Kathleen. I’m glad someone got my point, probably because you made it much better than I.

Ann Malley - June 22, 2016

…and yet the wrath of God is that which comes down when the lawful authority that is supposed to correct as the sheep grow doesn’t do his job.

Kind of like Mom warning that you’ll get a whollop when Dad comes home if you misbehave. Well, in this instance, Mom’s been of with the pool boy sipping margaritas by the pool. Any attempt to get her help in correcting the utter chaos in the house is dismissed with, “Don’t bother me.” or “If you interrupt me again I’ll whip you. Now scram, trouble maker.”

God is not blind. He will not be mocked. And those sheep who have honestly tried amid the predictable chaos will be treated in accordance with His mercy. The reason being that God understands we are weak creatures and that we need sensory corrections, lessons, etc in order to properly learn and grow correctly. That’s why the Sacraments are outward signs. That’s why we have priests at all, to preach and tend. God is not going to beat the intentionally broken reed or quench the smoking flax that has been prevented from growing to the point of a burning fire by design.

Am I saying that Catholics shouldn’t try to perfect themselves in their state in life? No. I’m just saying that grace builds upon nature and God doesn’t expect miracles from us – even from “Trads”. That misunderstanding of personal perfection is what often gives rise to pride and the idea that “we” can do more than others. In reality, we are limited to doing the best that we can just like everyone else with what we have received. Part of our perfection is being pinned to the chaos, much like Christ on the cross, and just begging forgiveness for the entire debacle that has the priests pretending that God isn’t God or else putting Him to the test by telling his followers to either shut up or fly down and work some miracle to prove yourself.

“…Which includes resigning our wills to GOD’S WILL in this and offering up all we can to merit mercy for us, our loved ones, and the Church.”

Well said, Kathleen. And often the most grotesque suffering is to look at the reality of our own shortcomings and beg God’s mercy to fix them for we are, in many instances, so woefully incapable.

10. Mrs. Maureen Avila - June 22, 2016

I agree that God’s Justice is perfect…but not always exercised as
such in this world, but at the particular judgment of each soul at death and at the final judgment of all at the end of time. Even when people are afflicted with suffering as a punishment for sin in this world, no one but God knows ,without a special grace of knowledge, which people are being punished for their sins and which ones are suffering for some other reason; according to Padre Pio.

In the worst of times, God raises up great saints, not the false prophets.

11. Peter - June 22, 2016

Do we also have the clergy we deserve? They are such willfull failures as shepherds for the last two generations, individually and collectively, that “a great majority of catholic marriages are invalid” (and given the state of the church these days the Holy Father may actually be right in his rather rash speculation). Widespread invalidity of marriages would be the fault of the priests and bishops and yes, I blame them all individually and collectively.

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