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The Head-Slapping Criticism of Pope Francis

October 1, AD 2013 116 Comments

The criticism coming from the self-identified “loyal opposition” Catholics in the media who feel obliged to fraternally correct the Holy Father is perplexing to say the least. It is shocking that declared faithful Catholics label Pope Francis a Modernist heretic, and then bewail the burden of it. Others dislike his personality and humility, and just want to air their annoyance publicly. But this antagonism, it’s like slapping your head with your hand — unhelpful and downright painful because a body needs its head.

In 1990 then Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, presented Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian to journalists in a press conference at the Holy See, asserting a “two-fold rule” for dialogue between the faithful and the hierarchy. “When there is a question of the communion of faith, the principle of the ‘unity of truth’ (unitas veritatis) applies. When it is a question of differences which do not jeopardize this communion, the ‘unity of charity’ (unitas caritatis) should be safeguarded.”

For doctrinal questions, the faithful should unite in seeking truth. For divergent opinions on non-infallible matters, the faithful should unite in charity. Disagreements with the hierarchy should be handled with discretion. Out of respect for the “People of God” the one acting as theologian is supposed to “refrain from giving untimely public expression” of discordant opinions.

If a Catholic is opposed to the Holy Father’s (or a priest’s or bishop’s) teaching, he or she should either 1) take the concern privately to a priest or bishop who will decide whether to take it to the Holy See, or 2) remain prayerfully silent trusting that “if the truth really is at stake, it will ultimately prevail.” If the difficulty is not resolved even after seeking private resolution, the faithful “should avoid turning to the ‘mass media’ …for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders service to the truth.”

Apparently some Catholics have troubled feelings about Pope Francis, but personal sentiments are simply not more important than the unity of the Church. Further, loyal opposition is not a model in the Church, it is a “model of protest which takes its inspiration from political society.” By sowing division in the media rather than privately seeking recourse appropriately, the critics form a “parallel magisterium” of their own in conflict with the Magisterium of the Pastors.

If only they knew how much this head-slapping criticism from insubordinate hands hurts the body of Christ.

Hello, and thank you for reading. I am a wife, mother of seven, and joyful convert to Catholicism. I write from my office in a 100-year-old restored Adirondack mountain lodge. Read more about me here, with pictures. Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. "Like" my Facebook page Science Was Born of Christianity to follow updates about my book. God bless you!

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  • benedict1


    Absolutely right on the mark! You have stated clearly the feelings that many, many of us have. This constant nagging, jabbing and picking at every word Pope Francis utters is creating a morass of discontent and uncertainty. It also has led to some very rude, crude and nasty comments from the dissenters that have no place in a civilized discussion. Personal insults and hurtful remarks have, unfortunately, become the hallmark of much Internet debate. An awful state of affairs.

    The Pope has the hardest job in world in my view and needs the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job and the constant presence of The Holy Spirit. Tough bill to fill.

    Further on “loyal opposition”–as this concept developed in parliamentary politics in Europe it came to clearly mean “we are the out guys, we need to keep jabbing your weak points so that when we get back in power, we will change it!” All these strident voices and armchair quarterbacks, the ‘hot stove’ theologians, are they going ‘take over and fix’ the perceived mistakes of the Pope? Replace him, so to speak? Sounds like protest to me, from which, of course, comes Protestant. Easy to slide down that slope and look where it’s gotten us in the past 600 years.

    I hope this is post of yours goes viral among. A lot of people need to read and think about this.

    Thanks again for clearly, concisely and cleanly stating the issue.

    I think not.

    • AugustineThomas

      So your guys’ unified Church that Francis is bringing, means kicking out several hundred million of the most faithful Catholics?

      This sounds about as authentic as Jose’s humility or the non-Catholic God Jose worships.

      • nannon31

        Could you give evidence for several hundred million traditionalists who are of the type that like you quickly hurl around the word ” heretic”. I’m thinking the number is more like 1569 and they are all on the internet.

        • AugustineThomas

          Latin Mass is always full of young familes. Novus Ordo usually has really old people and half naked people who look like they came from a leftist church.

          “Traditionalists” are usually more orthodox so they don’t feel the need to talk about the proclivities of certain Catholics for heresy.

          That doesn’t mean they’re ok with it.. It means they’re trying to live the Truth so that “traditionalist” congregations keep growing while the heretic congregations keep withering.

          (I know there are plenty of Novus Ordo Catholics who aren’t so fascinated with heresy–just most of them are there and unfortunately have retaken control of the Church. There aren’t many “spirit of Vatican II” catholics who aren’t getting really old like Jose Bergoglio though and my generation isn’t so fascinated with leftist heresies. Most the Catholics from my generation actually prefer BXVI over Francis, believe it or not–the orthodox anyway.)

          • nannon31

            Familiarize your self with numbers. The US has c.60 million Catholics…96% of whom use birth control according to the usccb. That makes the Latin Mass population far below your hundreds of millions …even worldwide.

          • blessedx4inTX

            I am praying for you to find God’s peace. You come across as angry in almost every post. We can disagree in charity…can we not?

          • Mooknino

            Jorge not Jose maybe you’re more of a racist than a traditionalist. If you’re so “orthodox” than join the Orthodox Church.

    • Philip Sieve

      Certainly, we can get rude, but, behind it all, we are stressed out by all this controversial stuff he keeps saying off the cuff! It’s like a slap in the face for all who try to fight evil and carry out the message to convert. We feel abandoned by Pope Francis, because the dialogue between us and the others sounds one-sided, where we aren’t being heard by him, it feels. Certainly, we should understand others and reform ourselves as much as society, but not opposite of the works of charity, as confused and non-Catholics think he’s saying we should do (despite how media corrupts the message is a problem , the fact is, they do).

      • blessedx4inTX

        I too, dislike having to constantly defend things that are being misconstrued. But in recent days I have seen wonderful articles even in the MSM that accurately portray what has been said, noting a stylistic change rather than a theological/moral one. I do think it prudent to wait on and trust the Holy Spirit. I feel certain now, that just as always, we are not abandoned. God has a plan we may not understand, but HE will correct what needs correcting. Blessings~

      • MarcAlcan


  • benedict1

    Edit my previous post. Last line, “I think not” should be removed. Doesn’t belong in that spot.

  • nannon31

    I think Stacy was referring to a man whose influence is beyond the internet onto TV….he appeared on ewtn.

    I skimmed the controversy but the area discussed is fraught with facile fault finding. John Paul II stated in one of his books that there are non Christian cultures wherein explicit conversion away from their culture and away from their religion is not plausible, not probable…even if possible. How so? Conversion is a long process excepting Saul/ Paul and the Jews of Christ’s generation who had the preparation of really knowing Isaiah etc. and especially the prophecies of Deutero Isaiah which made them in God’s eyes responsible for recognizing Christ quickly…and that quick process does not obtain amongst today’s gentiles wherein it is a longer process with no biblical enculturation and cannot even begin in families wherein expulsion from all family is the price of leaving e.g. Islam. A muslim person who travels away from family to a Western University might discover Christ because they have time and space and he or she is bound to leave Islam morally. But he had the luxury of distance whereby the process of neutral encounter and long conversion could begin. His brother who remained home in Saudi Arabia say…never had the free, non dangerous space wherein the long process could begin. The latter are the majority of muslims and the ones Francis is really thinking of.
    I think John Paul II also would say somethings to some muslims that sound like indifferentism but is really not. It’s the recognition that among non violent muslims, those who see the violent passages of the Koran as restricted to that original time and place, there are values and actions that can be encouraged in them ( alms, prayer and fasting e.g.) which Francis may encourage because he knows from being 76 years old…that most of his muslim hearers are not going to have even the space in which to convert which is longer for modern gentiles then these quick conversions of Jews required by Christ of His Jews. True Christ seems to require fast converting of the whole world in Mark “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”. But then as centuries passed the Church accumulated baggage like the Inquisition that Paul did not carry as he preached to Athenians…and now, add sex abuse….and modern man has reasons for taking long to convert since Christ warned that you know a tree by its fruits. Modern Popes understand this….John Paul issued several apologies related to such things.
    But that’s our “reading in”… based on our own pharisaical tendencies. God is long suffering in the biblical phrasing ( Aquinas noted God doesn’t really suffer in Heaven now) but it means He works with each person. Heck He told Abraham in Gen.15:16 that the Amorites had another 400 years before He would doom them by the hands of
    Joshua etc.
    I think the modern Popes are very pastoral and understand tons about the unbeliever and how in some cases, we might realistically hope that his partially true religion may have to suffice in his context. The good Samaritan is the best known parable of Christ and is about the goodness of a heretic who intellectually rejected the Christ prophecies of all the prophets after Moses.

    • nannon31

      Eliminate the following sentence from my post mentally since I voude a few sentences it was connected to:
      ” But that’s our “reading in”… based on our own pharisaical tendencies.”
      void that.

    • Stacy Trasancos

      Yes, he’s one of them. When I told him he shouldn’t say those things he told me to “put my big girl pants on” and debate him. No thanks.

      The point is — he shouldn’t be saying those things. The end.

      • nannon31

        That’s why Rome should appoint a Phd. in Dogmatics at the Vatican who patrols the internet, TV, newspapers etc. and issues warnings, rebuttals etc. at a Vatican website. But such a Visitor, so to speak, should also note how an Ecumenical Council can override most encyclicals….not as their being wrong but as their being incomplete which even an Ecumenical Council can be in its wording according to Yves Congar.
        It might happen someday.

      • AugustineThomas

        Anyone who disagrees with you should just shut up forever right? No debate! (You guys sound more and more like your real pope, Pope Obama, and his leftist flock every day!)

        • nannon31

          You are involved in sins of the mind and tongue. Stacy is virulent against abortion ( count her kids) as God will show you as He shows you your sins right after death. He’ll ask you how much research you did into Stacy prior to linking her to Obama. You’ll have a very faint answer.

          • AugustineThomas

            If she’s such a champion of orthodoxy, what makes here feel the need to go after the orthodox instead of people involved in the wholesale slaughter of children?

          • blessedx4inTX

            I think she is just calling for charity. I never took anything she said to be a condemnation of anyone, really. Just a call to not tear one another down. We’re supposed to be on the same side afterall. +JMJ+

        • Stacy Trasancos

          I like a good debate just fine, but if the first question isn’t answered, it’s a waste of time to argue beyond it. The first question is whether a lay person who opposes the Pope’s teaching ought to publicly call the Pope a heretic, or ought he to prayerfully consult a priest in private. The first is an act of cowardice, arrogance, grandstanding, and division; the latter is an act of faith and humility in seeking unity.

          Also, when someone begins with name-calling and says you are “such-and-such” unless you debate me, that is a blatant admission that the person is desperate and already knows he can’t win an argument on legitimate grounds.

          • rodlarocque1931

            That is not traditional Catholic thinking –

            The Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J. († 1621), wrote a treatise on the Papacy which was used as a basis for the definition of the limits of papal infallibility which was made at Vatican I. He wrote as follows:

            “Just as it is lawful to resist the pope that attacks the body, it is also lawful to resist the one who attacks souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is lawful to resist him by not doing what he orders and preventing his
            will from being executed.” (De Romano Pontifice, Lib. II, Ch. 29)

            The evidence is all around us, clearly the policies of the post V2 popes are destroying the Church.

          • George Cameron

            This statement, “The evidence is all around us, clearly the policies of the post V2 popes are destroying the Church”, is one of the most arrogant statements I’ve heard in a long time. This ‘opinion’ is stated as if it were fact. Does this mean that the soon-to-be Saint John Paul II is part of the destruction of the Church? I think I’ll stay on the side of a Saint.

          • rodlarocque1931

            The empirical evidence of the decay of the Church since Vatican II is both completely documented and evident for all to see. Go to and see their dispatches episodes. They have taken the statistics from the Catholic Almanac that has been published each year by the American Bishops. What is shown is the complete retrenching of the institution, a retrest into obsurity and intenral confusion and thus irrelevance.

            In addition the book “Index of Leading Catholic Indicators”, my Kenneth Jones also shows the complete auto destruction of the church.

            Here is a link to a review of that book by Pat Buchannon:


            Here are a few tid-bits for you to consider:

            Priests. While the number of priests in the United
            States more than doubled to 58,000, between 1930 and 1965, since then that number has fallen to 45,000. By 2020, there will be only 31,000 priests left, and more than half of these priests will be over 70.

            Ordinations. In 1965, 1,575 new priests were ordained in
            the United States. In 2002, the number was 450. In 1965, only 1 percent of U.S. parishes were without a priest. Today, there are 3,000 priestless parishes, 15 percent of all U.S. parishes.

            Seminarians. Between 1965 and 2002, the number of
            seminarians dropped from 49,000 to 4,700, a decline of over 90 percent. Two-thirds of the 600 seminaries that were operating in 1965 have now closed.

            Sisters. In 1965, there were 180,000 Catholic nuns. By
            2002, that had fallen to 75,000 and the average age of a Catholic nun is today 68. In 1965, there were 104,000 teaching nuns. Today, there are 8,200, a decline of 94 percent since the end of Vatican II.

            If you still think the evidence is not overwhelming that the Church is about to self-destruct you are in denial my friend. Even Coca-cola corporation restored classic Coke once they saw that people didn’t react to their new ‘better’ product.
            Too bad that this new people hasn’t caught on, he still thinks that the patient will be cured with mega doses of the poison,, (which is modernism).

          • Stacy Trasancos

            The Church is not a corporation or a political organization.

          • rodlarocque1931

            But it is an earthly kingdom and as such is subject to analysis just like any other organization of humans.
            I know it is truly frightening to consider the sad state the Church has fallen into, but I often wonder what organizational psychologists would think of how the leadership is reacting to the decay — my guess is that in such a radical unprecedented situation, they either fight back or stick their head in the sand and cultivate denial.
            Few have effectively tried to fight back, perhaps a handful of bishops, the most famous of which was Archbishop Lefebvre, but the rest were in total denial until Pope Benedict himself used the term ‘crisis’ back in 2006.
            Now of course this pope is in denial again, but an even more frightening form, he no longer seems to accept the same indicators of success that the Church has traditionally used to determine its health, eg. conversions etc.
            We are in a big BIG mess my friends, once we realize that, and abandon the failed project of accomodating the world, which Our Lord already warned us about – that they will hate us – the sooner we can begin a restoration of the temple of God and by offering the Godhead true and honourable worship, bring grace upon the earth and with it peace and the salvation of our souls.

    • steve5656546346

      Pastoral words are not possible at the level of the Pope (or Council for that matter). Because the whole world is listening in: what is pastoral to one is damaging to another.

      Statements of truth can be stated universally, but neglecting key parts of the truth for pastoral reasons is best left to individual priests, religious, and laity on one-to-one conversations.

      • rodlarocque1931

        yes pastoral messages are for pastors on the ground, the Holy Father has to speak in generalities.

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  • melanie jean juneau

    It seems to me that Pope Francis was apponted by God to remind the Church to come back to the basics, to our foundation in Christ. The pope wants to bring us back into balance in our spiritual life. Our first love, our main focus is to allow God to love us, love Him in return and treat others with the same mercy and forgiveness as we receive from Christ. When a Catholic focuses solely on ranting about the evils of one issue, he becomes angry and resorts to fighting his way, without Love

    • Stacy Trasancos


    • blessedx4inTX

      I’d like to add that each Pope has been a gift to the Church in his time. They’ve each given us different lessons, on which we should build and continue to grow. We lose NOTHING of the truth imparted, and gain new insights/perspectives with each new papacy. JPII gave us the “Theology of the Body,” while Benedict XVI gave us the “Year of Faith.” Francis encourages us to take internalize those and learn to live the lessons in LOVE. To paraphrase a much beloved saint : Preach the Gospel at every moment…use words if necessary.

  • Brian Sullivan

    The oddest thing to me is that those who were generally supportive of Pope Benedict XVI and critical of his critics have so quickly forgotten and become critical of Pope Francis.

    • nannon31

      If you read the Sep.26th post of the referred to blogger of “Harvesting the Fruit etc.”, he dislikes all four Popes previous to Francis but commends Benedict at least in the area of the Latin Mass and one other area. But that blogger aside, the Latin Mass is why some on the trad mode, favor Benedict and dislike Francis due to Francis correcting a Franciscan group in that area of interest…Latin. I had six years of Latin from the Jesuits and I don’t favor the Latin Mass but am glad those who do like it can access it if they have a quorum. Some of them want more than that I think. Some want it universal again throughout all Masses and that ship has sailed…but such people are holding a bad hand after the card game is over and will probably die holding it.

      • Jonas Vilimas

        Yes, this is very much like all jesuits (although, you were jus taught by them). Let’s put all those catholics, who want to pray, the was the generations and generations prayed, into ghettos, and never let them worship freely. As for our dear pope Francis, those two interviews indeed balance somewhere on heresy. Yet today in Asisi he proclaimed very clear and truly orthodox message. He simply proclaimed the Truth. However, not in the interviews.

        • nannon31

          Stay around. I need someone self righteous and insulting who makes more writing mistakes than I do.

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  • benedict1

    Stacy: Another thought: it seems the critics have missed Pope Francis’ main message entirely. I think there is a very strong foundation in his comments of the lessons of Luke 15, Jesus ate with sinners, the parable of the lost sheep and one of the most powerful lessons in The Bible in my view, the prodigal son returns. To paraphrase Our Lord, “…I came to heal the sick, not the healthy…..”

    We are all sick chicks. When I joined the Church after many years of sinful, pagan existence it was 2002, the height of the latest round of priests preying on young men. I could have looked at that and said, “Not me! I’m not mixing myself with these sickos.” But, then what would I have lost? A chance at salvation, redemption of my sinful life, a chance to come clean in Confession and start the clock ticking again, keeping time to a different lifestyle, devoted to The Trinity and The Only Son. Who would have been the chump? I would have been the lost sheep again.

    I have heard all the strident noise about gays, pro-choice zealots, criminals, et. al. I condone none of those behaviors. But, many seem to be quite ready to just slam the door on them, objectively disoriented sinners, mortal sinners. Horrible.

    But then I look around me in Church and what do I see? I know a lot of people there who have come back from the same miserable existence, who have devoted themselves to The Church and it’s founder, Jesus. The doors could have been closed to them too. If we really believe the message, we must find away to bring all who come with a sincere heart and soul committed to repentance and a holy lifestyle, to the extent that any sinner can. To me that is what Our Holy Father Francis is saying.

    Didn’t mean to go on like this so please forgive me, all of you. I feel very deeply about this. No hand reaching out to the prodigal son, then no benedict1 typing this. Q. E. D.

  • Jeff_McLeod

    Thank you Stacy.

    I am a lifelong Catholic, so none of this is new to me but it is still painful to watch.

    Church Militant has an itchy trigger finger and they need to knock it off.

    My theory is that Americans especially have been trained like dogs to salivate at a political fight. Our dumb political categories do not apply. A wholly different mindset is required. On matters of difference outside the realm of De Fide doctrine, the correct answer is to listen and presume honest intentions.

    We are supposed to be an example to the world. As the great Joe Jackson (former keyboard player for Elvis Costello) sang: “if two hearts can’t beat as one, how can a billion souls survive?”

    • AugustineThomas

      You only know of people who play horrible pop music to quote..

      This is exactly why people are afraid of heretics retaking control of the Church.

      • nannon31

        Soooo….you are implying you have no pop music in your CD collection…no Steely Dan ( his “Do It Again” replicates Sirach 33:5 perfectly: ” Like the wheel of a cart is the mind of a fool,
        and his thoughts like a turning axle.”). No Rolling Stones ( Their “Beast of Burden” replicates Sirach 9:2 perfectly: ” Give no woman power over you to trample upon your dignity.”).

        • AugustineThomas

          Nope. When I was a child, addicted to pornography, that kind of stuff got me going.
          Now I find it nauseating.

          Lately I mostly listen to Benedictines of Mary and a lot of Gregorian Chant.
          I’m not possessed of the demon that convinces people one can be Catholic and love music which runs completely against it–you worship sex or you worship God. There’s music for worshiping sex, called pop music, and music for worshiping God which you should look into.

          • nannon31

            Neither song I mentioned would move anyone toward lust. Many rock songs have zero to do with lust. We are not converting very intelligent populations like the Japanese partly because of what you just illustrated…exaggerated fear of a neutral culture ( rock) that can be used well or ill. Aquinas’ research into pagan Aristotle would have bothered you had you lived in 1266 but a later Pope applauded it as having a precedent in the Jews taking gold and precious raiments from Egypt as they left.

  • Jeff_McLeod

    I think Pope Benedict XVI trained us and re-catechized us well. I personally take my catechetical marching orders from him; if anything, I am guilty of imitating him.

    But my heart and my soul are with Pope Francis. How about we let him teach the truth that he knows first hand, and let those of us who were inspired by Pope Benedict XVI teach solid doctrine now that we know how? Or did we forget out of disappointment and hurt feelings? Without Pope Benedict, we just don’t know how to fight doctrinal wars with the pagan world? Is it that silly?

    Or do we quit and run away now that Pope Francis is on a different page of the Catechism? (he is: there are four major sections of the catechism: Francis is on sections 3 and 4, while Pope Benedict was on 1 and 2).

    Are we little infants who don’t know what to do now that Pope Benedict has retired?

    We are all the Body of Christ. We have many gifts. Why are the catechists giving up simply after seeing Pope Francis is covering a different quadrant of the spiritual world?

    • AugustineThomas

      You’re pretending “multiculturalism” is Catholicism.

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  • AugustineThomas

    Funny how angry it makes heretics.

    Let me explain to you something about humility: humble people don’t go around telling everyone how humble they are and getting all the leftist heretic yes men to agree because they falsely believe he can secularize the Church and then threatening to defame anyone who disagrees with you about your “humility”.

    I pray for Pope Francis, that he starts being the Pope of the whole Church and stops, for good, telling us what Jose the South American leftist Jesuit thinks about those bad old orthodox Catholics.. The Jesuits used to be the soldiers of orthodoxy, now they’re wannabe leftist infiltrators.

    • nannon31

      You just sinned by calling diverse people heretics in two ways. A. You don’t have an intention based on Love in using the word heretic or the accusation. B. You are going against the warnings of Augustine and Thomas that one should not use the term about anyone who has not been challenged formally by the Church and then remained obdurate thereafter.
      Hence if your internet name is composed of their two names, they..Thomas and Augustine… in fact would be ashamed of you…Summa Th. 2nd Pt. of the 2nd Pt. Quest.11, Art.3. reply to obj.3. Augustine was against the death of heretics…Aquinas was for it but he now humbles his mind to a later council on the matter.

      • nannon31

        Correction: article 2 not article 3.

      • johnnyc

        I don’t think the Pope would be very happy with you. You mentioned sin.

        • nannon31

          You must be posting from work.

  • Lora

    Well stated Tracy! Thanks for your thoughtful writing!

  • steve5656546346

    The Church is not an ideological organization, but rather based upon truth.

    It appears that you think that if we are loyal, we will engage in spin, dissemble, rationalize in “support” of the Pope–and wait for him to return our call… But God is truth: he doesn’t need our ideological type of loyalty.

    When good things have happened in the Church recently, it has often because the faithful have said, “enough is enough.” The most dramatic example of that was the scandal. Our sons (mostly) would still be being molested if we had continued to proceed as you seem to want us to do.

    • ranger01

      But hey, who am I to judge?

  • steve5656546346

    All truth is God’s truth. The truth is that the Pope needs to stop this papacy-through-media-interviews. If there really are all of these translation problems, then he needs to find a different venue where he controls the translation. Such as, oh I don’t know, and encyclical?

    • nannon31

      I disagree. Francis knows that if one percent of one percent of the world’s Catholics read encyclicals, you’d be lucky. I’m hoping Francis goes further and makes more of a mess because Christ did just that when He said people must eat His flesh and drink His blood…disciples found it a “hard saying”…

      Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
      Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
      For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
      Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
      Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.b
      This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
      These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
      The Words of Eternal Life.*
      Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
      Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?
      What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?*
      It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh* is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
      But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.

      Seems like Christ made a verbal mess to sort out those who believed and those who didn’t. If Francis goes even further and goes on TV debates with intelligent adversaries, he would be doing that which will eventually happen anyway. The abysmal numbers on obedience to Humanae Vitae would have been very different if Pope Paul VI would have come out of the artificial safety of a writing room and debated Karl Rahner and Bernard Haring on TV. Our document only approach is simply a non working paradigm. Presidents and CEO’s now face tough tv reporter opposition. That’s the only venue now admired….and it was Christ’s who never hid in writing at all but was constantly in the vulnerable public venue.

    • rodlarocque1931

      He is being strategic, he knows that he can’t get away with half the things he says if he went through the normal channels of communication. The Holy Spirit just won’t let a pope officially advocate heresy, so what does he do? He uses the megaphone of the media to change the spirit within the church, weaken what little of orthodoxy remains among the faithful and give the Church a new appearance, one that is not the Catholic Church, but a false Church, the apostate Church.
      We have been living through these times for a while now. Pope JP2 himself, kissed the Koran and asked St John the Baptist to bless Islam, a false religion,,, that shows you how proud these modern popes are and how bold they think they can act.

      • nannon31

        No…it shows you John Paul II did zero research on the Koran before he kissed it just like he did zero research on whether the death penalty deters future murders before he changed the catechism. Both are sins of hubris but not of heresy.

        • rodlarocque1931

          well i think we can agree that both of those actions were imprudent and reckless at best. Certainly worth a subsequent papal condemnation.

      • Martin Mc Dermott

        I wonder what that says of Bishop Fulton Sheen then.

        Mary would be the bridge between Christianity and Islam.

        The worst thing happening to the Catholic Church is Americans. Everywhere online we have to listen to you lot day in and day out.

        You make everything about your pithy sick politics.

        Get over yourselves for God’s sake and everyone else’s. All big mouths wherever you go. Just a pity you could not make them a little bigger and swallow yourselves up for good.

        • nannon31

          I prefer Medallions of Lobster in Aspic Nicoise, thanks.

        • rodlarocque1931

          I am not American.
          Also I have no political Agenda but the restoration of the Church so it can proclaim the truth to the Nations, those that hear, great, those that don’t fine.
          Oh, I do have one political cause I support, that is that the Holy Father finally consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with the Bishops of the World as specifically requested by Our Lady of Fatima.
          Our Lady seems to be interested in politics, and she too seems to have not cared much for communism.

  • Barbara Elena Monzon

    As a traditionalist, i am just about sick over all the nonsense regarding Pope Francis. I am sick of the armchair theologians, armchair Popes, the experts on every little language nuance they can concoct. While i attend the TLM, i cannot say it enough that these malcontents, these unchristian people are damaging our church through calumny and hubris. How many people are coming to the church through francis? How many will come through these ugly comments from those catholics who decide to be PROTESTANT about everything? I have a nagging suspicion that many of these complainers are also racists and some of these hatreds have really to do with an Argentinian Pope.

    • blessedx4inTX

      I agree with everything except your last sentence. I detest race-baiting of ANY kind.

    • rockanne

      It’s interesting you say that. I don’t think it’s racism but much of this has to do with the fact that he sees things from a Latin American perspective still. A lot of “Americans” seem to think what they see at Churches in the US is a global Church issue. The problems in Latin America are not the same and the way the Holy Father speaks makes a lot of sense for a lot of places and people in Latin America. The Church in Latin America does have a prevalence of people talking the talk but not walking the walk for one thing. And I think that makes some people here (in the U.S.), who are rarely or never challenged in that area, bristle.

    • ranger01

      Criticism = racism, closet racism, a little racism.
      LOL, try doing better than that.
      But then, who am I to judge?

  • rodlarocque1931

    When a pope is flirting with heresy he must be resisted…

    The theologian Juan Cardinal De Torquemada O.P. († 1468) expressly related the duty to resist a wayward pontiff.

    “Although it clearly follows from the circumstances that the Pope can err at times,
    and command things which must not be done, that we are not to be
    simply obedient to him in all things, that does not show that he must not be
    obeyed by all when his commands are good. To know in what cases he is to be
    obeyed and in what not, it is said in the Acts of the Apostles: ‘One ought to
    obey God rather than man’; therefore, were the Pope to command anything
    against Holy Scripture, or the articles of faith, or the truth of the Sacraments, or the commands of the natural or divine law, he ought not to be obeyed, but in such commands, to be passed over.” (Summa de Ecclesia)

    Pope Adrian VI († 1523) stated that “it is beyond question” that a pope can “err in matters touching the Faith”, he can “teach heresy” in decrees. He also stated “many Roman Pontiffs were heretics”.

    “If by the Roman Church you mean its head or pontiff, it is beyond question that
    he can err even in matters touching the faith. He does this when he teaches heresy by his own judgement or decretal. In truth, many Roman pontiffs were heretics. The last of them was Pope John XXII († 1334).” (Quaest. in IV Sent.; quoted in Viollet, Papal Infallibility and the Syllabus, 1908).

    Closer to our own time:

    Venerable Pope Pius IX († 1878) recognised the danger that a future pope would be a
    heretic and “teach contrary to the Catholic Faith”, and he instructed, “do not follow him.”

    “If a future pope teaches anything contrary to the Catholic Faith, do not follow him.” (Letter to Bishop Brizen)

    The theologian, Francisco Suarez S.J. († 1617), said likewise.

    “If the pope gives an order contrary to right customs, he should not be obeyed; if he attempts to do something manifestly opposed to justice and the common good, it will be lawful to resist him; if he attacks by force, by force he can be repelled, with a moderation appropriate to a just defence.” (De Fide, Disp. X, Sec. VI, N. 16)

    The Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J. († 1621), wrote a treatise on the Papacy which was used as a basis for the definition of the limits of papal infallibility which was made at Vatican I. He wrote as follows:

    “Just as it is lawful to resist the pope that attacks the body, it is also lawful to resist the one who attacks souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is lawful to resist him by not doing what he orders and preventing his
    will from being executed.” (De Romano Pontifice, Lib. II, Ch. 29)

    A pope “who attempts to destroy the Church” is not to be obeyed but “it is lawful to resist him by not doing what he orders and preventing his will from being executed.”

    Council Vatican I (1870) defined that a pope has no power or right to come out with new
    doctrines or to change the Faith which has been handed down from the Apostles but only to maintain and preach it.

    “For the Holy Ghost was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might,
    by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles.” (Pastor Aeternus, cap. 4)

    A pope has the right to do nothing but to maintain the true Catholic Faith, exactly as it has been received. If he attempts to do otherwise, he is to be denounced and opposed along with all the doctrinal innovations he attempts to impose on the Faithful.

    The ideology of “my Pope right or wrong” leads to tyranny and the post Vatican II popes have all acted as tyrants in one way or other:

    -thinking they have the right and luxury to change the Mass to update it to the modern world, when in reality the liturgy is something received, fostered and developed, not ripped apart and ‘fabricated’ by masons, protestants and modernist clerics.

    -thinking that they can contradict past popes on the relationship between the Church and the state allowing the true religion to be put on the same level with every false doctrine.

    -thinking that they can play fast and loose with representatives of other religions in spite of clear condemnations of their predecessors for centuries.

    -thinking that the Church can abandon Thomism in favour of modern philosophy that renders the very concept of truth as subjective.

    -etc etc

    My friends, we need to be worried, very worried, because the great apostacy is coming, when Our Lord returns will there be any faith left in the world?

    • nannon31

      Can you give the Church’s definition of heresy while being careful to mind canon 749-3(c) as you do. Then show in a manner that would hold up in a Vatican court how Francis is heretical. If you are going to ascribe infallibility to any of the encyclicals related to modernism and indifferentism, prove that they are in fact infallible at least by reference to an internationally published author not lesser.
      I thoroughly disagree with Francis and his two predecessors on the death penalty but there is no heresy in their mistake…nothing on which faith hinges.

      • rodlarocque1931

        I don’t know if Francis is a formal heretic or not, but he is certainly flirting with heresy because he is giving the Church’s enemies the sticks they need to beat the few remaining orthodox Catholics and institutions left in the world.

        The previous popes anti-modernist teachings and those on the relation of Church and state are part of the Church’s ordinary magisterium. Even IF they have not been formally considered infallibile, they should be given more consideration because of the number and consistency of these teachings.

        In addition, any teachings that follow these pronouncements should be consistent with them, not contradictory, which is what appears to be the case.

        What I am really getting at is that the post V2 popes have exagerated the idea of papal infallibility and think they can do whatever they want. They can’t.

        Vatican I (1870) defined that a pope has no power or right to come out with new doctrines or to change the Faith which has been handed down from the Apostles but only to maintain and preach it.

        “For the Holy Ghost was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles.” (Pastor Aeternus, cap. 4)

        • nannon31

          We agree on some things. But Francis’ words on Islam may simply be John Paul’s insight that in some cultures like Islam, real conversion cannot even begin because the very reading of a book about Christ is punishable by death…or its emotional equivalent…family ostracizing of the person beginning to read. God only holds people responsible for converting if they not only began a study of Christ but proceeded through a middle and then a concluding phase. Where cultures make even the beginning dangerous so that the middle never happens, then wise Popes will simply affirm those groups in that part of their erroneous religion that has validity…like helping the poor or fasting. Christ cured an heretical Samaritan leper without asking him to change his position on the non canonical nature of Isaiah but did urge him to show himself to the Levitical priest which he did ( and the cure depended on it). Thus Christ affirmed obedience on the Samaritan wherein he could but did not demand the improbable ( that he would agree to the proper canon).

          • rodlarocque1931

            If, as you say, a cultural system keeps people from even considering Christianity, then isn’t it the job of the Pope to condemn that aspect of that culture?
            That would seem to me to be the logical action to take, not just ay that they can find some grace in their erroneous religion.

          • nannon31

            No….it is not his job because such a comment would be incomprehensible to the people in those cultures he is concerned with…but would make us feel better. But it is not about us. There is a lot of condemning comments that Christ didn’t make…ever…but we could imagine them in retrospect. Why didn’t He tell the cured Samaritan leper that he was wrong rejecting the prophets, wrong believing that Mt. Gerizim was God’s chosen place? Instead Christ noted that the Samaritan heretic was the only one of ten lepers to return and thank him
            for being cured. Christ rebuked the Samaritan woman at the well on marriage behaviour but He would have offended you and I (as conservative Jews) if we overheard His Pope Francis comment to the woman
            about Mt.Gerizim versus Jerusalem…” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
            22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
            23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”
            That is a Pope Francis moment from Christ. Christ sounds
            like He is saying that future worship is entirely interior. Were there blogs at His time, they would have taken Christ to task.
            Christ left out imaginable condemnations and said things that could be taken wrongly.

  • Priscilla

    I agree that it is important to hold a unity of charity. Unfortunately that has not been the case throughout the papacies of Paul VI, John Paul II or Pope Benedict. The liberals in the Church tore them to shreds in the media. It is precisely because of their behavior in those papacies that doctrines of the Church have become so ignored by many Catholics. I did not hear many people complaining about the unity of Charity that was needed then. Where were their voices?
    After we are suffering the effects of a multitude of Catholics who no longer value the Church’s voice on matters, the current pope has an approach to handle this situation that many fear will further escalate this problem. Charity should always be at the forefront of any concerns of the magisterium. If that had been practiced throughout the last few decades, we would not be in the situation we are in today.

  • old school

    you’re absolutely right. the arrogance and criticism of many so called concerned brothers and sisters in the faith reminds me quite a bit of the attitude of some politicians in the US. a wise priest told me one time, when there is disputes in the church, always follow the Pope.

    • blessedx4inTX

      My grandmother (and mother) always said to “look to Rome.” :)

    • Strife

      Uhm….. really bad advice. You’re apparently unaware of Church history, because there were some truly horrible popes: Murders, adulterers, thieves, heretics and on and on.

      Behold the pitfalls of elevating the human papacy beyond it’s mortal limitations:

  • Joanne

    Thank you! Thank you! Enough said.

  • Chris

    Stacy, your point about speaking to the media is well taken. Interestingly though, there seems to be a campaign underway in the media, evident since the day after the end of the conclave, to brand those who would disagree with Francis as “haters” (from an interview on EWTN). This model of preemtive demonization of potential opposition also seems to take its inspiration from political society.

    Like it or not, there is a battle being waged between truth and deception. Many well intentioned and influential Catholics will emphasize the importance of unity and with a sense of loyalty and growing zeal set out to defend the Church from what they perceive to be destructive discord. However, unity should not be paced above the truth, as true unity cannot be achieved at the expense of truth.

    Each individual is called to discern the truth, not to blind obedience. The history of the Church shows that God has called on individuals to speak out in defense of the truth, most often and in the most crucial times in seemingly unconventional, unpopular and controversial fashion.

    At this point, the debate about Francis has moved beyond attributing confusing statements to media distortion and / or a clumsy communication style. While he at times says great things, in recent interviews he appears to be promoting a different doctrine altogether. Just after his election, the early and open celebrations by Masonic lodges and excommunicated theologians should have been cause for consternation for most Catholics … yet were swept under the rug by influential Catholic pundits for fear fomenting disunity. They now seem to make more sense.

    Everyone should read Catechism chapters 674, 675 and 676 to begin to understand what is unfolding now. Every individual will have to make a choice between truth and compromise. The individuals who choose truth will comprise the Church, the Body of Christ on Earth, which will seem to disappear altogether until He returns to defeat evil. We will not know true peace and unity until He does so. Until then, He gives us the opportunity to choose Him and demonstrate our love for Him…we do so by respecting the truth at all costs.

    Mathew 10:34 “Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword”.

    Revelation 1 [16] And he had in his right hand seven stars. And from his mouth came out a sharp two edged sword: and his face was as the sun shineth in his power. [17] And when I had seen him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying: Fear not. I am the First and the Last”

    • Stacy Trasancos

      “Her [Mary's] ten principal virtues are: deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom.”

      I’ll strive for that.

      • VelikaBuna

        That is kind of hard to do running a controversial blog?

        • ranger01

          Yup, can not happen. You’re kidding yourself.

  • tj.nelson

    Beautifully stated. thanks.

  • dpharisee2010

    Waste of your time to be convincing me to dislike the new pope. If he is not talking, one would say, we got a dumb pope. If he is not acting, we say, he is too old to be a pope if he has no concern at all, he is contented and lazy, Let him say what is in his mind (freedom of the press). Let him be the person that he is and express himself. It is all up to us to know what is true and what is not using the grace we received at baptism. Overall, I do TRUST in the HOLY SPIRIT and this is why I am not afraid of whatever his intent that people here are worried about and do not take any offense of what comes out from his mouth.

  • George Cameron

    Right on Stacy!!! You said it perfectly! Some so-called Catholics seem to forget that Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ. He is Peter. Unfortunately, in the United States, we’ve become so accustomed to our independence that we feel that we have the right to complain about every little thing that doesn’t go our way. That’s why there are thousands of different Protestant churches; everyone wants to be the Pope. My mother used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing”. For those who feel that publicly airing their grievances with the Pope is productive and useful, I would recommend the Litany of Humility prayer.

  • Daniel O’Connor

    I agree with you, Stacy. But we must also concede that Pope Francis himself urged those who see problems with him to criticize him publicly about it… “Thank God I haven’t lost that yet have I? And if you ever see that I have, please tell me; tell me; and if you can’t tell me in private, tell me in public, but tell me: “Look, you should change! Because it’s obvious isn’t it?”” – Pope Francis

  • Eric

    I’ve been vetting this new Pope for a time now which in itself took me by surprise. the fact I felt I needed to vet a Pope worried me. First off if so humble then why is he the opposite of humble? One other thing really bothers me as well. It is the fact that every time this guys speaks the “TRUTH” we have to translate the TRUTH. It is very disturbing how he says one thing one day it hits the news cycle everyone remembers the first news. Then the next day it’s translated to mean something else. I know the media has it’s role but this guy is batting 100 percent in confusing the so called truth he speaks on very important issues. My opinion on this Francis is that he is a deep believer in moral relativism who will destroy the church.

    • Strife

      Yep. I’ve never seen a pope who us so proud of his humility. And I’ve never heard a pope’s message that needed eight layers of translations and 12 layers of loose interpretation – and still end up as a theological Rorschach test where everyone tires to perceive objective “truth” through their own subjective lens.

      Something is very very wrong in Rome.

  • EnTeaJay

    What really concerns me is his off-the-cuff remarks that the liberal media pounce on and celebrate as an 180 degree turn from “that old fogey” Benedict XVI, as an embracing of gay lifestyle, gay marriage, of a shelving of the Church’s call to evangelize non-Catholics, abortion, euthanasia, etc., if you don’t believe me, read the New York Times, Time, Huffington Post, Politico, the US broadcast TV stations, etc., etc., without even mentioning the foreign media. Sad situation which all might just be a case of foot-in-mouth disease.if it weren’t so, tell me why the Vatican has seen fit to fire off pages and pages of “clarifications of the Pope’s remarks” in the recent months?

  • Sonia

    It isn’t wrong to comment on some of the statements of Pope Francis, as they are not infallible teachings. There are necessary criticisms that may be made, especially if the motivation is the salvation of souls or other selfless reason. It isn’t disloyal to do so.

    There is a fire of purification that occurs, by a grace of God, in which we see our sins/condition before God. There are unimaginable sufferings of this purification, but it is a grace. No one who experiences it can ever be the same, and no one who experiences it can ever remain silent in the face of questionable statements about, for example, questions of serious sin. Why? Conscience compels us so that no soul should be deceived by untruths or partial truths or uncertainty about the penalty for sin. What one cannot not endure a few moments of, one would not wish upon another. I will never be silent while the Pope issues vague statements that might mislead, or says things which don’t appear to be fully true. I would rather accept the strong disapproval of a majority of catholics than be unfaithful to God and the truth, because I will be held accountable. “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person with more”

  • Daniel Turski

    Stacy, I was happy and excited to come across your blog. I’m a former seminarian turned financial consultant, and I was fortunate enough to earn a Masters Degree in Philosophy in Rome, as well as obtain a certificate in Science and Faith, sponsored by the STOQ project. So the fact that you can appreciate science at its finest without forgetting how it fits into a theological context gets me pretty psyched. One of my professors wrote his doctoral thesis on the works of Stanley Jaki. I recently wrote about Pope Francis, as well, in my own blog: All the best!

    • Stacy Trasancos

      YAY!!! Learning philosophy in Rome? Must have been awesome! Great article on Pope Francis. Was your professor Fr. Paul Haffner?

  • Jean

    Say ….. where did my comments from last night run off to? I was nice. Perhaps you just didn’t appreciate someone with a different view?

    • Stacy Trasancos

      Oh Jean, never! I don’t mind a different view. I’m so sorry. Since I use Disqus (which usually is great) I’m somewhat at the mercy of that system. Let me check on it. If it’s gone, I hope you won’t mind retyping it. Again, so sorry!

      • Jean

        Stacy, it’s OK and I already forget what I said so I can’t repeat it if I tried :). I do agree I need to reign in my lips a bit because Jesus told Mutter Vogel once not to ever criticize a priest (much less the pope). Instead we are to take our concerns to the Lord and pray for them. However, it is a little difficult sometimes when your are already deeply immersed in a cultural war and seemingly losing on every front, and your own leader comes out and says things that seem to appease or affirm the enemy. Nothing like throwing the troops into disarray.

        • Stacy Trasancos

          I couldn’t find your comment on Disqus. Ack! I know what you mean about the culture wars.

          • Jean

            OK I must not have submitted it properly. Thanks and sorry.

  • VelikaBuna

    This is the age of debating, and it is such a waste of time. Arguments on all sides are persuasive, yet what is the truth?

  • Strife

    The entire argument against this pope from me (a self-identified “loyal opposition” catholic) is that he is continually clouding up the doctrines and Truths of the faith with moral relativism. And that moral relativism is exactly what this article uses to validate the moral relativism of this pope. So here we are. No clarification. Advancing uncertainty. Truth laid waste by the mere whims of personal feelings in a secular age that is already guided by the false compassion of sentimentalism.

    So who exactly is converting to this message? And what exactly are they “converting” to? The answer of course is a fallacy, because the only “converts” who are receiving this pope’s message are the moral relativists who now believe the Church’s immovable Truths have now moved over to the moral relativism of their new-age “wisdom” of all things tolerant and feel-good. There is no longer any need for the cross to redeem sinners of their sins….. There is only false compassion for sinners by tolerating their sins. And that has never been a premise of Truth in the Scriptures.

    As G.K.Chesterton said – “Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls; but they are the walls of a playground. Christianity is the only
    frame which has preserved the pleasure of Paganism. We might fancy some
    children playing on the flat grassy top of some tall island in the sea. So long
    as there was a wall round the cliff’s edge they could fling themselves into
    every frantic game and make the place the noisiest of nurseries. But the walls
    were knocked down, leaving the naked peril of the precipice. They did not fall
    over; but when their friends returned to them they were all huddled in terror
    in the centre of the island; and their song had ceased.”

    More and more I wonder – did the Holy Spirit tell Benedict to step down in order to let the haughty intellectual clerics have it their way. Often, the fish rots from the head down, and I wonder if the Holy Spirit is letting the Church burn itself out from the Papacy down, while at the same time, from the humble faithful laity in the pews, Our Lord strengthens it back up. Because this is exactly what has happened through every dark period in the Church’s history.

    False light can fool most of the people most of the time, but Truth will always guide the faithful all of the time. And Truth does not change with time or trends.

    “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” – G.K.Chesterton

    • Stacy Trasancos

      Strife, I do understand, and I love that Chesterton quote. Thank you! Here’s what I told a liberal media critic about Pope Francis, just another perspective.

      • Strife

        I appreciate your perspective Stacy, but it seems to embrace the false dichotomy that immovable Truth is the antithesis to movable compassion.

        If Christianity is to move the compassions of the fallen – it must move them towards the immovable Truths of doctrines. If not, then what exactly is the point of “conversion”? To what is one “converting” towards? This pope feels it necessary to move the doctrines as the primary way of moving the compassion.

        We live in an age of narcissism that values the self-satisfied good feelings of self above all else. There is no Cross in that. And there is no Cross in this pope’s message. His “wisdom” is as cheap and disposable as any modern new-age motivational speaker in the culture of secularism. Just compare his words with any of their’s – you’ll be amazed at how they compliment one another. And that should tell you all you need to know.

  • Sonia

    If one were allowed to feel the fire of purgation, while alive, for just a few seconds, which is an inexpressible suffering and an unbearable mental anguish that penetrates and self-convicts,, that person could not be silent while Pope Francis says the wrongful things he says-lest any soul be misled by his words, deceived, and suffer unbearably for not having heard the truth. Does it matter that he says many wonderful things, while other statements seem stunningly wrong? It does not negate the need for criticism of the untruths/partial truths/unclear statements that he has made. It is necessary that he speak the truth for the sake of souls.

    • Strife

      Yep. Our Lord never compromised the horrible immovable Truths of sin for the sake of people’s fragile feelings.

      Behold the Compassion of His Cross:

      “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.”

      - Matthew 5:27-30

  • Jeff

    I liked your article Stacy, it was refreshing to read. I found myself remembering what Jesus said as I read some of the comments it generated, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” I guess those who are quick to criticize the Pope and label him a heretic have to ask themselves, “Is Francis the Vicar of Christ by the will of God, or not?”

    • Strife

      Uhm, you’re apparently unaware that Paul had to publicly correct Peter over his papal foolishness:

      “But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.” – Galatians 2:11-13

  • sparrowhawk58

    I see where Stacy is coming from, but just as we’re asked to “love the sinner, hate the sin,” can’t we too “love the Pope but hate what the Pope reportedly says”?

    Pope Francis’s “Jesuit interview” was distilled in the popular media to one point: contraception, homosexuality and abortion are minor issues. I think the Pope was trying to say that a Christ-centered life, and an improved relationship with Jesus, will make all those things minor issues because we will be acting out of love and therefore following Christ by not aborting our children and by cultivating loving and fruitful marriages. I don’t judge people in gay relationships, I don’t wonder if my friends use contraception, and I view women who have abortions as victims (though their aborted children are more tragic victims).

    But the “takeaway” message–that those things are okay and we who have a problem with abortion should just shut up and accept that the definition of murder is just a matter of opinion–has really damaged the Church.

    President Obama, who is the most pro-abortion president in history, and who doesn’t even think third-trimester abortion should be limited– has embraced this interpretation and has become a champion of this pope. I am sure that’s good news to the administration of Notre Dame who conferred honors on Obama and let him lecture graduates on accepting differences in their view of abortion, while pro-life demonstrators on that “Catholic” campus were arrested and harassed.

    We who view abortion as the worst human rights abuse of our generation–maybe the worst of all time–would have appreciated some reinforcement from the Pope. Instead, at my own parish, the homily on the Sunday following his comments subjected parishioners to the popular spin: don’t worry about abortion! Some very fine people have abortions!

    Yes, and some very fine people were slave owners too–I’m not being ironic. That is not the point; the point is, what about the slaves? What did they get to say in the matter?

    Because the Pope has done very little to clarify his comments, he has undermined those of us who work tirelessly to speak for the voiceless.

    If he wants to make statements that are so disastrously misinterpreted, and then declines to address those misinterpretations, then I cannot support him.

    I stand with the Church against Her enemies.

    Unfortunately, sometimes the Enemy is already within the gates.

  • Ben

    I’m shocked by the slander and libel being hurled at the Pope by fellow Catholics. I’d think that many of the commentators weren’t cloest Protestants!
    Christ was viciously attacked for dining with sinners. I guess the Pharisees never departed? I just can’t get over the vitriol.
    However, I beseech God to forgive me, a sinner constantly in need of his mercy. I pray for you all as well.

  • Ben


  • Ben

    I have to say, it seems that many traditional (and well meaning) folks are disturbed by Roman centralism. Perhaps the Orthodox were right after all to protest and reject Roman imperialism; the Orthodox were disturbed by the filioque and crossing left to right.

  • MarcAlcan

    The question is: Are the criticisms correct?
    I have been going through several discussion boards and guess what? The criticisms are spot on. The concerns are very real, the dangers are very real.
    What I take heart in is the Lord’s promise. In the meantime, we have to live through this and pray more for the Holy Father.

  • disqus_NvJwtmmluz

    After reading this, I feel so, so, so marginalized. I don’t feel welcome in the Catholic Church anymore. The truths I learned in Catholic School as a child have been turned inside out, upside down, and I can’t find the 4 marks of the Church anymore to identify her as the true Church of Christ.

  • paul

    What is worrisome is about once a week the Pope says something new and controversial that then requires others to try to explain what he really meant. Hopefully the Holy Spirit is guiding him along some new path that will bear fruit down the road. In the meantime I think we need to be watchful and discerning.

  • Jeff

    I agree with paul. Let’s be “watchful and discerning,” and let’s not be judgmental and
    quick to jump ship. We must remember that Francis is the Vicar of Christ by the will of God, and if we’re not careful, “…perhaps you may find yourselves fighting even against God.” Acts 5 38-39.
    So like MarcAlcan said, “pray more for the Holy Father.” We receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and
    Divinity of Christ at every Mass. We need to take that to heart, pray, and trust in Our Lord and his decisions, even if we don’t understand them completely.

  • Jeff_McLeod

    St. Thomas Aquinas teaches a theory of the human passions that is relevant today. He said that we recognize the emotion called “anger” as a particular situation in which we perceive that our ability to attain the object of desire is thwarted by a difficulty.

    St. Thomas would urge us to examine the assumptions underlying our anger. If the anger is justified, so be it. But if it is not, rethink your situation.

    I apply this to the anger surrounding Pope Francis and his presumed caving in to the enemies of the Church.

    I ask: is it true that our ability to attain the object of our desire (to attain eternal life in the Beatific vision of God) has been thwarted by the statements of Pope Francis?

    I won’t answer that question, only you can.

    We have to be very careful not to get angry because a theoretical someone might not attain eternal life because a theoretical misinterpretation of Pope Francis might cause them to form a false conception of the incarnation.

    Do you see what I mean? By all means, be angry when your government forces you to violate your religious conscience. Be angry when your government tells you this is no longer a Christian nation.

    But for heaven’s sake, literally, give our Pope the latitude he needs to encounter those who are searching, and who are ignorant, who have been lied to by their college professors; he is a master of doing so, in the way he knows best!

  • Jeff

    Jeff_McLeod, a voice of reason and clarity. Thank you.

    • Stacy Trasancos

      He always is! Yes, thank you both.

  • P M

    Pope Francis says, “Each one of us has his own vision of the Good and also Evil. We have to urge it [the vision] towards what one perceives as the Good.”
    This ‘head slapping criticism’ as you call it is no more than traditional Catholics conforming with the pope’s own thinking and advice. The supremacy of conscience isn’t only for liberals and atheists.

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