There’s a reason we refer to life in the Church Militant as “mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.” No one ever said it would be easy.
Although this has ever been the case, it seems rather clear to me that the children of the Church in our day are living in astonishingly difficult times.
Many of the underlying causes which make the present situation in the Church the struggle that it is have to do with events past; things that have been said and done that cannot, properly speaking, be erased, but only condemned and corrected by a future Pontiff, should the Lord in His goodness deign to provide such a shepherd.
My interest lies in taking a closer look at the here-and-now; at those things that future generations of Catholics will one day look back upon as those “events past” that served to accelerate the crisis, and of these none is more pressing than the behavior of the present-day Bishop of Rome.
“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30)
With this in mind, Catholics in our day are facing a serious dilemma: To borrow a phrase from the Sound of Music, how do you solve a problem like Francesco, a pope who by any reasonable measure scatters, by word and by deed, with stunning frequency?
Sure, some will be quick to point to the pope’s immense popularity as evidence to the contrary. He was, after all, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for a reason.
What papal apologists of this sort fail to realize, however, is that it is precisely because he is not a gatherer; i.e., one who calls the lost sheep into the solitary fold of salvation, the Catholic Church, that the world so admires Pope Francis.
In other words, while it is probably true that people who might otherwise ignore the voice of the pope are now listening to Francis, the problem lies in what they are hearing.
Since ascending to the Chair of St. Peter, not only has Pope Francis done much to confirm those outside of the Church in their error, he has actively encouraged them to stay exactly where they are.
In the course of just last week alone, the Holy Father addressed the Catholic faithful saying, “Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.”
Most well-catechized persons recognized the contradiction immediately since he who shies away from the reality of the Catholic Church as the unique custodian of valid and absolute religious truth has most certainly already renounced the Faith.
Just days earlier, Pope Francis gave the world a truly stunning example of what scattering the flock looks like as he saw fit to encourage Muslims to hold fast to the Qur’an and their Islamic “faith,” assuring them that doing so will help them overcome life’s difficulties.
In a moderately healthy age, a statement such as this would spark outrage on the part of those who call themselves Catholic, and yet, apart from a relative handful of commentators, it went practically unmentioned.
Unmentioned, however, doesn’t necessarily mean unnoticed…
I have little doubt that any number of bishops (and even cardinals) are dumbstruck in horror by the near steady stream of offenses against Our Lord that have been broadcast from Rome since Jorge Bergoglio took to the papacy.
And they are wondering, even if only in silent prayer, how do you solve a problem like Francesco?
How indeed does one stand with Our Blessed Lord at this moment in time when His Vicar, with the Keys to the Kingdom in one hand, so often scatters with the other?
Under ordinary circumstances, standing with Christ and His Holy Catholic Church would entail defending the pope in the face of his detractors; now, however, it all-too-frequently means becoming a detractor of papal rhetoric in order to defend Catholic teaching.
The problem extends even so far as the Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, a 50,000 word tome, the majority of which reads more like the personal diary of a Protestant Peace Corp worker than an official instrument of the Sovereign Pontiff.
So lacking is this exhortation in Catholic substance that Cardinal Burke publicly stated that it can’t even be considered a part of the papal magisterium, ultimately conceding, “I haven’t quite figured out in my mind exactly how to describe it.”
And we’re not simply talking about style points here either; but rather statements that cut straight to the heart of the Church’s mission, like the bewildering suggestion that pagans, a people without the benefit of Baptism, are influenced by the operations of sanctifying grace. (cf EG 254)
So again I ask, how do you solve a problem like Francesco?
The first thing we must realize is that we cannot solve a problem like Francesco, a pope whose words and deeds are all-too-often reflective of the disease that took hold of the Body of Christ in earnest some fifty years ago; the same that after a brief period of remission under the previous pontificate is clearly advancing in severity today.
Ultimately, only the Divine Physician Himself can solve this problem.
And yet, one also understands that sitting idly by in the meantime isn’t the answer either, and so the dilemma endures, causing one to question just exactly how best to respond.
Can it really be said that we’re gathering with Christ if we remain silent while offenses are heaped against Him? Does the answer change if the Vicar of Christ is the offending party? Is it possible to refute the pope’s words and deeds in defense of Our Lord without appearing to attack the person of Peter’s Successor?
These are, as I said, astonishingly difficult times, and so we shouldn’t necessarily expect simple answers.
As someone who works in Catholic media, holding to a policy of “reverent silence” in the face of that which clearly conflicts with Catholic teaching, especially when it comes from the pope, is way closer to complicity in the act of scattering than I am willing to get. Others obviously disagree.
Is it sometimes difficult to defend the Faith tactfully under such circumstances?
Sure, I probably fail far more often than I care to realize, but one is either with the Lord or against Him; there is no neutral position. I’d rather cross the line to stand with the Lord, than stand in silence like Adam while His people are being deceived by His Vicar.
All of that said, there are a few things that should be common to all who struggle to respond to the challenges inherent to the present situation.
First, we must examine our motives often, seeing to it that our primary desire is to confront those offenses committed against Our Lord, as opposed to being moved to lash out on our own behalf in light of the hardships that we ourselves endure as a result.
Secondly, firm in this conviction, it is right that we should experience suffering in the knowledge that Our Lord is being deprived of His due, and so we must offer reparation, consciously joining that suffering to His Cross, that doing so might be redemptive for the Body of Christ.
Thirdly, we must focus on objective realities; not subjective judgments. For instance, what concerns us is whether or not a particular act is objectively grounded in truth; we are not called to judge the condition of the actor before God.
Lastly, we must pray and fast for the pope, asking the Lord to grant him the grace necessary to serve the Church according to His will in all things.
Well reasoned and well-said.
‘ Is it possible to refute the pope’s words and deeds in defense of Our Lord without appearing to attack the person of Peter’s Successor?’
Yes, rebuke the error while remaining charitable.
“The world is on the verge of a frightful abyss … Men must prepare themselves for suffering such as mankind has never seen.” Pius XII Christmas message to the Cardinals
“For We intend to speak of the riches stored up in this Church which Christ purchased with His own Blood, and whose members glory in a thorn-crowned Head. The fact that they thus glory is a striking proof that the greatest joy and exaltation are born only of suffering, and hence that we should rejoice if we partake of the sufferings of Christ, that when His glory shall be revealed we may also be glad with exceeding joy.” Mystici Corporis Christi, Pope Pius XII, 1943
It is a confusing time to be sure. I just listened to MIchael Voris on ChurchMilitant.tv and he polls young Catholics out braving bitter cold in the March for Life. Half of them said the Catholic Church is not superior to other churches. I think it was a third that said homosexual relationships were okay and also a great percentage approved on contraception. These are the most stellar of our young and yet they hold such beliefs shaped by the world.
What to do? I no longer listen or read much of what the Holy Father says. I know my Catholic faith and facilitate courses in my parish to help others to know it. It is sad when we cannot look to our Vicar of Christ but there it is. I place him in God’s hands because….who am I to judge? Well, I can judge misinformation, etc.
Louie V wrote : ” I have little doubt that any number of bishops (and even cardinals) are dumbstruck in horror by the near steady stream of offenses against Our Lord that have been broadcast from Rome since Jorge Bergoglio took to the papacy.”
Hopefully I’m wrong and your correct Louie, but I think the apostasy is sooo complete that the only Bishops that are “dumbstruck in horror” belong to the SSPX, CMRI and a small handful of others.
No one is appointed a Bishop by Rome unless he is a card carrying modernist. The future looks bleak, Michael Voris just did a Vortex on the huge generational meltdown that will be hitting the church in the next decade.
We are facing the near extinction of the Catholic Church around THE WORLD within 20 years if trends continue.
What to do about Francisco ??? How about publicly and loudly accuse him of heresy, and demand he resign, so that just maybe for the first time in 60 years we can have a Pope that is an actual Catholic ???
The world loves Francis because he makes no demands on any one. A “Who am I to judge” mentality—just follow your conscience—even atheists can go to heaven—proselytizing is “solemn nonsense”—-and the list goes on and on. Even a pope cannot each the faith if he doesn’t have it. In less than one year, he has done more damage than Martin Luther—at least he left the Church!!!
Remnant Army get ready for the great battle!!!
I have taken to sitting in a corner with my fingers in my ears when the Bishop of Rome speaks. It causes great anxiety, to have people ask me what I think of the new Pope. What do you say, I’m embarrassed? Confused? Angry? Resigned? WEARY? For help in what to say I turn to people that I used to count on for cutting to the chase, clear, firm, truth without apology. What do I find… silence. Not a word, not one word about the total confusion coming from our new Pope! Still ready to hammer every bishop, lay person, professional Catholic on all kinds of dreck that is going on but never the Bishop that could make a real difference! Never a word on the FFI persecution, never a word about Latin Masses being shut down. If you’ve seen Church Militant’s early CIA reports, they were riveting… then the report on Freemasons was released it was bland as overcooked oatmeal. … has the church of nice invaded Church Militant?
Excellent post, xglsc! Michael Voris is a “company man” when it comes to this Pope and Vat.2!
What to do when a mutineer becomes the Captain?
Louie said: ‘holding to a policy of “reverent silence” in the face of that which clearly conflicts with Catholic teaching, especially when it comes from the pope, is way closer to complicity in the act of scattering than I am willing to get’.
Exactly, shutting up after his blithe ‘abortion obsessives’ comments most probably led to months of women easing their consciences on the wake of those words by going to the slaughter house, just like the ‘who am I to judge’, easing the consciences of gay marriage advocates on the wake of those words – this wake is supposed to be coming from the Barque of Peter, but instead it’s like it’s coming from satan’s speed-boat. It’s not for nothing that after he called abortion ‘horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day…a crime against humanity’ even though all of this was merely in the context of a ‘throwaway culture’; it’s not for nothing that secular media divas felt betrayed and suddenly turned on him.
as Gnocchi and Palmaro wrote, ‘Simon has overthrown Peter’.
I don’t want to stand before the Lord and have to explain why I stood with the Peter that denied him, while others looked on. I don’t want to leave a wake of appeased consciences behind me like this ‘simon’, is because it looked like I was supporting him in his utterly bizzare make-it-up-as-you-go-along-magisterium.
His ‘exegesis’ of the Faith, of scripture, his appalling attack against the sinlessness of both Christ and Our Lady with those pretend and liar ‘teachings’…
I pray for his ‘conversion’ everyday; I’ve lost count of the rosary beads that have slipped under my fingers praying for those he has harmed. What to do? He wants to ‘convert’ the petrine ministry.
The dove incident is so fitting. He’s throwing those living the Truth of the Church to sin. Does he mean to? That matters to God, but should we care? the results are the same.
Where are the Masses being held for the unity of the Church, for the conversion of this Pope? no where, because, after all, he’s wearing the fisherman’s ring.
The saints of the middle ages could be scathing in their rebukes and chastisements of the hierarchy, including the Pope. Have Catholic’s become so insipid in the Faith that they do not fear God, but fear the Pope?
I agree with your assessment 100%. We will only rid ourselves of this calamity known as “pope” Francis once ALL the bishops (and I include the conciliar bishops here) of the world who still cling to the catholic faith will unite with one loud, clear voice and proclaim Francis a heretic and apostate. God Bless.
I think you hit the nail on the head here:
“The dove incident is so fitting. He’s throwing those living the Truth of the Church to sin.” Do you mind if I tweet this quote on my twitter account?
Louie writes: “what concerns us is whether or not a particular act is objectively grounded in truth; we are not called to judge the condition of the actor before God”.
To understand when we can and cannot judge another I suggest the example of the Sixth Commandment. Only God can know if a man entertains adulterous desires in his heart (cf. Matt. 5:28), but a man can judge one who publicly commits adultery (cf. Mark 6:18).
The distinction is made clear in a much-mentioned movie farce in which an adulterous man caught in flagrante delicto by his wife calmly gets up, dresses himself, brazenly asks his wife “What?”, “Where?”, “Who?”, “What woman?”, and by the end, has her offering to make him dinner.
When a pope is on video openly recommending the reading of a book that, among other things, claims Our Lord did not die on the Cross (Surah 4:157), then you have a full-frontal assault on the forgiveness of sins through Christ alone.
Don’t let us play the brow-beaten wife in this scenario.
Mr. V wrote:
“I have little doubt that any number of bishops (and even cardinals) are dumbstruck in horror by the near steady stream of offenses against Our Lord that have been broadcast from Rome since Jorge Bergoglio took to the papacy.”
This is at the heart of my anguish and sense of abandonment – the countless betrayals to Our Lord which have been non-stop for the last 10 months from both Pope and prelates. …it is indeed quite horrific that we have come to this…
Saluto and Dumb Ox, brilliantly stated comments both. thank you.
I am in the middle of a book that I’d put off reading for over a decade, but knew that someday I would pick up. It is the revealed blueprint for what we are seeing unfolding all around us today. It is no-doubt familiar to most who read this blog, but for those who don’t know the title, GET IT….READ IT….have your eyes fully opened, and be steeled. “Windswept House” (and for those who have read it, don’t give away the ending….I’m only at the mid-way point…though I think I can pretty well guess it just by what is going on before our eyes). Whatever anyone has to say about Malachi Martin, it cannot be denied that he was D.E.A.D. ON in this book of not-so-much “fiction”. Some of the particulars are off by a papacy, but the general is spot-on and applicable. Get it today!
In the “Blessed are the peacemakers category”, I bring you Francis Watch:
Well worth the 2 hours. It gets really good at about the 60th minute. Excellent observation about who runs the Church in the US. And very insightful about what “bursts the bishop of Rome’s zipper”.
Louie, precise and to the point.
That being said, I must disagree with Thumbs.
We may not judge the Sovereign Pontiff, only another Pontiff may.
However, we may concede that Pope Francis is quite possibly an anti-pope.
He MAY not actually be Pope.
That does not mean that we may be sedevacantists (or even sedeprivationists), and we must at least recognize him as such until we have absolute proof (again, judgement given by a future Pope and Council); but until that time, we sin not and are in no moral quicksand to at least HOLD OPEN THE POSSIBILITY that Francis is not actually pontiff.
I know this may seem to only add to the conundrum, but acting and proceeding with this in mind (and in the face of a reasonable and certain doubt, wherein we may only go so far and no more), we may at least know that, despite what is revealed down the road, we did our duty at the time by doing what is expected of us by Our Lord:
that which is in front of us – our daily duty; and not being overly concerned about that which is beyond our competance to control or influence.
Only Our Lord may do this, and He will in His good time.
Edu, tweet away.
Dumb-ox thanks for the apt scripture comparison.
God bless and keep us all in His merciful care.
God bless your apostolate, Louie.
S.Armaticus; thanks for the excellent radio link.
In the 5th and 6th centuries, our Irish saints told the Pope of the day where to put his opinions and his views. As time goes by, I feel more and more compelled to tell this Pope where to put his opinions and his views.
St Patrick, St Brigit, St Columba and all Irish saints, pray for our conversion, from the pope down to the most unimportant pew potato!
Saluto: My pleasure.
From where I sit, it appears that the restoration of the Bride of Christ needs “all hands on deck”. Even though I do not share the good Father’s and H.E.’s view on the Ionnian/Pauline papal line, I thank God that they are there to correct and clarify the errors of the modernists.
St. Thomas Aquinas, ora pro nobis.
Magdalen, the young are thirsty/starving for true teaching. That is why they believe those things! Until I read Humanae Vitae, there wS so much I didn’t understand. It transformed my life! I was 23 at the time. Since then I only continue to be more glad and see more reasons not to use contraception. We have to help them to know this joy!
Saluto, I am sure some are insipid, but I also fear a large majority are simply ignorant in the Faith. I sometimes forget how little solid instruction most Catholics get because I frequent sites like Louie’s that provide so much solid information, and I think to myself, “How come every Catholic doesn’t see these issues?” And then I realize most Catholics simply don’t seem to care about learning their faith – it is mostly a cultural artifact for them.
Susan: couldn’t agree with you more. I have re-read Windswept House and it is exactly like perusing a daily news piece about what Francis is doing; er, I should say dismantling. What Malachi couldn’t know before his death (and remember he was a Jesuit who knew the 3rd secret and the infiltration of masonry) is that while they (the ecclesiastical enemies that have gained power within the Church) wanted to use the “Resignation Protocol” on JPII, they were forced to wait until the next pope, Benedict XVI, and diabolically used it on him. But just like in the book, they know that they have very little time left for the ‘prince of this world’ to ascend to the Throne of the Savior, if they are to be successful in what they think will unseat God and usher in the reign of His enemy. In this, they have unfortunately succeeded in finally raising the false prophet to the Throne of Peter. There is only one assignment for the false prophet: to ensure and usher in the reign of the antichrist.
@c.matt: I guess only those close to the bishop know how much he knows about what he’s doing. The attrition through ambiguity approach, however, is a weapon that modernists use to confuse the heaven out of people and it seem to work like a charm.
“And we’re not simply talking about style points here either; but rather statements that cut straight to the heart of the Church’s mission, like the bewildering suggestion that pagans, a people without the benefit of Baptism, are influenced by the operations of sanctifying grace. (cf EG 254)”
## Stated like that, the suggestion is in accord with Catholic teaching. Context is everything.
Here’s my Spanish translation for an Argentine blog:
(Louie, hope you don’t mind).
Steve: You’re absolutely right. Though there’ve been really bad times in the Church throughout history, there is something UNIQUELY sinister about these times….everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is on fire. I fear they have their men at the top now, even and most importantly within the Church; that book hit like a punch in the gut…a total reality check. We are certainly in uncharted waters….it will be amazing to see the Holy Spirit in action in the days to come. May He be with us in the coming days of tribulation.
Your bewilderment at the “suggestion that pagans, a people without the benefit of Baptism, are influenced by the operations of sanctifying grace. (cf EG 254)” suggests that you are not aware of two passages in Lumen Gentium 16 and Gaudium et Spes 22. Because the text in EG 254:
Non-Christians, by God’s gracious initiative, when they are faithful to their own consciences, can live “justified by the grace of God”, and thus be “associated to the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ”.
is consistent with this passage in LG 16:
“Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life.”
and with this passage in GS 22:
“All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way.(31) For, since Christ died for all men,(32) and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery.”
Susan: please also note that whenever Malachi refers to his purposely “unnamed” cardinal of Centurycity, he stated in a later interview that he is referring to Joseph Bernardin. But why did he have to be so clandestine? Because Bernardin is the priest that was named by the girl as the perpetrator in the “enthronement” ceremony in 1963 connecting Rome with the Mother Chapel (of satanists) in South Carolina. For those who haven’t read the book, this is the key link Malachi gives us as to who is involved in this treacherous blasphemy against Our Lord and His Church. As the continuing revelations of the Chicago scandal are opened for all to see, please also remember that both the Roman Catholic Faithful group and Randy Engel, whose writings can be found on Renew America, document Bernardin’s homosexuality, as well as pedophilia involvement.
The point? It is quite frightening today to hear American Catholics recall fondly Bernardin’s so-called ‘legacy’ and have even made a worst connection for us to contemplate: that Francis reminds them of Bernardin!
In this, please look up a telling photo op between Francis and Monsignor Ricca, a known homosexual, outed by Chiesa magazine for being caught with a for-hire boy toy,who just happens to now run the place where the bishop of Rome calls home. But don’t let it bother you, it just be a co-inky-dinky (coincidence).
Lou, you ask how to solve the problem, I’ll tell you how: and its not my opinion but one of a Doctor in Canon Law, who told me that it is the common opinion among Canonists. That in questions of heresy and madness, it is the right of the College of Cardinals to judge the matter and if finding that the pope is a pertinacious and manifest heretic or mad, to declare the finding and ipso facto remove the man from the office.
To accomplish this, the laity need only to petition the Dean of the College to act, and if he will not, petition the cardinal who is under him in sensiority. It is sufficient that a majority of the College meet, and they decide where…