Should Papal Office Have Time Limit?

Should Papal Office Have Time Limit?

The Catholic Church should not have “leaders for life” in its ranks, otherwise it would risk being like a country under dictatorship, Pope Francis said on Friday.   Pope Francissmiles

Francis, 78, has said before that he would be ready to resign instead of ruling for life if he felt he could not continue running the 1.2 billion-member Church for health or other reasons.

“Let’s be clear. The only one who cannot be substituted in the Church is the Holy Spirit,” the Argentinian-born pontiff said in an address to some 30,000 people at an inter-denominational rally of Christians in St. Peter’s Square.

“There should be a time limit to positions (in the Church), which in reality are positions of service,” he said in an address that was in part prepared and in part extemporaneous.

Making clear his comments were not confined to the clergy, Francis added: “It is convenient that all (positions) in the Church should have a time limit. There are no leaders for life in the Church. This occurs in some countries where a dictatorship exists.”

In February 2013, Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict, became the first pontiff to resign in 600 years.

In an interview with Mexican television last March, Francis said what Benedict, now known as Pope Emeritus, did “should not be considered an exception, but an institution.”

But in the same interview he said he did not like the idea of an automatic retirement age for popes, for example at 80.    Source


Seems Pope Francis equates leadership for life with dictatorship. Is he right? 

Comments (142)

  • Summa

    God help us.

    July 6, 2015 at 12:00 am
    • editor

      Or, more urgently, perhaps, God help HIM!

      July 6, 2015 at 12:11 am
      • Summa

        But it’s just so very appallingly incredibly bad with bells on.
        Sorry that is an understatement.
        What he is doing, is setting up a system that allows for pious future Popes to be ousted, legally.

        July 6, 2015 at 12:37 am
      • sixupman

        Just as my parish priest has been ousted after sixty plus years of service. – Canon Law when it suits them!

        July 6, 2015 at 8:59 am
      • mastersamwise

        I don’t really see that. I think this is a case of connecting two statements for a sensational outcome. He said some positions should have time limits. He didn’t specify the Papacy. He said papal resignations should be an established institution or norm but doesn’t want a mandatory retirement age.

        So taken all together, his position is that some positions in the Church should have term limits, there should be no age limit for the Pope, and Pope should be able to retire without the world freaking out.

        July 27, 2015 at 8:27 pm
  • Benedict Carter

    The man is utterly barking. I so want him to teach some clear, explicit outrageous heresy so we can get rid of the buffoon.

    July 6, 2015 at 10:43 am
    • mastersamwise

      So wish for your brother to fall into sin? Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer and anyone who says “you fool” is liable to Gehenna.

      July 27, 2015 at 8:28 pm
  • John Kearney

    I must admit that from loyalty I do try to support this Pope whenever I can, but more and more he sounds like someone in a job that does not suit him. He lacks diplomacy and skill. He surrounds himself with admirers who treat him like their puppet as he struggles and his inability to judge people makes him a soft target for the modernists who as we know are more interested in politics than religion. He is becoming more lost every day and perhaps his idea of not having a job for life in the Church is his way of preparing to leave. One can hope.

    July 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm
  • westminsterfly

    I don’t think the Papal office should have a time limit. This smacks of importing secular employment law culture into the Church, which was very fashionable in dissenting circles in the ’80s and ’90s, when so-called ‘Catholic’ groups – all now defunct – like the National Conference of Priests and the Network for Lay Ministry were busily trying to secularise the priesthood and clericalise the laity, and campaigning for all sorts of employment laws and rights for priests, and for ‘lay ministers’ in the Church.

    According to this report, Pope Francis has arrived at Quito in Ecuador and is ‘expected to focus on poverty and the environment’. If this report is accurate, I think he would do better to focus on the messages of Our Lady of Good Success given at Quito. Nothing could be more timely.

    July 6, 2015 at 1:49 pm
  • Summa

    Truthdigger of the Week: Pope Francis

    They spelt weak wrong

    July 6, 2015 at 2:26 pm
  • Therese

    I’m against this in principle, but would make an exception in his case.

    July 6, 2015 at 2:45 pm
    • Fidelis

      Me, too !!!!

      July 7, 2015 at 11:37 am
  • Frankier

    Does this mean that he canonised a couple of dictators not so long ago?

    The truth is that all so called leaders are dictators within a couple of days of their appointment. Even wee Nicola, who would love to be another Angela Merkel.

    July 6, 2015 at 3:06 pm
  • Alex F

    This is great news! Does this mean that Papa Bergie and all his octogenarian hippie pals are on the road to the retirement and we don’t even have to wait for the all to snuff it?

    Seriously though, there is a serious point here. If the Church were working as it should be, I would not be completely against the pope retiring in principal. Popes are almost always elected at an age when most people are retired. The population has increased considerably in the past century, and the population of older people is much higher today than it has been at any time in history and this has given rise to many age-related problems and illnesses that we did not see in the past. We saw this with Pope John Paul II who suffered from Parkinson’s disease for many years before he died. Would it not have been better for him and the Church if he could have stood down earlier? It used to be said that the pope was in perfect health until he died, according to the Vatican hierarchy, but hey won’t get away with that these days.

    I say “if the Church were working as it should be.” At this point in history She is not. It seems that we have a pope and hierarchy who have set themselves to devaluing the office of the papacy and I fear that this suggestion is part of that process. Under Francis we have seen many of the trappings of the office dumped in favour of populism, whilst not being slow to use the full authority of the office when it suits, such as dispensing with the normal process of canonisation.

    By suggesting that the papacy should have a time limit seems like an attempt to the make the papacy a position like any other office of state such as a prime minister. The pope is a head of state and government, but it is much more than that. But sometimes Francis himself gives the impression that he does not believe that.

    July 6, 2015 at 6:46 pm
    • mastersamwise

      “if the Church were working as it should be…” Holy Mother works exactly as God ordained and preserves her. To say otherwise would diminish the protection of the Holy Spirit and would be heresy.

      July 27, 2015 at 8:30 pm
      • editor


        I think you will find that people often use the term “the Church” when they really mean “churchmen” and nobody with a brain in his or her head could accuse the contemporary churchmen identified by Alex – “the Pope and hierarchy who have set themselves to devaluing the office of the papacy” – of being guided by the Holy Spirit. That, my friend, would be blasphemy.

        Whatever “spirit” was guiding Pope Francis when he told atheists and Protestants they needn’t convert to the Catholic Church, that they’d be saved anyway if they did some good in the world, it sure wasn’t the Holy Spirit.

        Here endeth the lesson… for now…

        July 27, 2015 at 10:49 pm
      • mastersamwise

        “…he told atheists and Protestants they needn’t convert to the Catholic Church, that they’d be saved anyway…” See, that is either being deliberately misinformed, acutely ignorant of basic theology, or just feel like slandering people you don’t particularly like. It is almost as if you WANT to find something wrong.

        1. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience…” This is perfectly consistent with the Teaching of the Church. The Law of God is written in the hearts of all men such that a contrite and sincere–you must note the qualifiers or be dishonest–appeal to conscience can only lead to good. To say otherwise would be to say that even with sincere contrition, man cannot do good would be heresy. Indeed, the whole notion of graces of conversion are based upon the presupposition that the will of man need only grace to be directed toward good and that sincere contrition will always receive God’s mercy. That is so established in Catholic theology, I wonder at you forgetting it. Yes, an atheist can do good, but it is not efficacious, that is it does not increase his graces without Faith so they reallly just serve the purpose of his conversion.

        2. “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!” This is so basic, I am genuinely surprised you need reminding. To say that Christ did not redeem the whole human race would mean that he redeemed only a select few. The Council of Trent, as you may recall, addressed the error of John Calvin already. Salvation on the other hand is reserved for those who receive baptism. The Pope didn’t say Salvation; he said redemption. If Christ did not redeem mankind, what did he redeem?

        3. And so I think this desire to root out witches and heretics by stringing together unrelated phrases is absurd. You claim they are devaluing the office of the papacy. There really is no evidence of that. Just that the Pope wishes that popes should be able to retire without stigma or the world freaking out and that some positions should have term limits. There is a bishop in a nearby diocese who moves his priests around every 6 years so that no priest stays in any one parish for more that 6 years. He believes that there has been a tendency among his priests to be invested in one parish to the point that they are not willing to leave and go where the bishop will direct. In previous years, priests had been outright rebellious and used their congregations as allies in a fight with the bishop. The Pope’s point is well taken because there is a danger staying in one office too long. You begin to be familiar and lose sight of the greater mission.

        4. If I did not have faith that the Sacrament of Orders does not confer upon the Successors of the Apostles such graces to be sufficient for them to lead the People of God in orthodoxy, what point is there in believing in the rest? It all falls apart at that point. If we cannot trust that Christ had a plan for this and set up this Sacrament, this sign of grace for the leaders of his Church so that Hell could not prevail against it, then remaining Catholic is pointless. At the very least we should do away with the title of Apostolic. It would be meaningless.

        July 28, 2015 at 12:05 am
      • editor


        … “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. I want people to find Jesus in their own community. There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.” Pope Francis I Read original report, in full, here

        “Neither sanctity nor salvation can be found outside the Catholic Church. It is a sin to believe that there is salvation outside the Catholic Church.” Pope Blessed Pius IX

        Well? Who’s right? They can’t both be right… One of the above popes is in error. Which one is it?

        July 28, 2015 at 12:32 am
      • mastersamwise

        Well, how much authority does lunchtime conversation have? Personally, I can totally see why he personally is not interested. If you recall his comments to the Latin American bishops in Brazil for World Youth day, it is clear that he thinks THEY should be converting people. In the context of a meeting of religious leaders that has, historically, been for the purpose of showing moral solidarity in an ever increasingly atheistic world.

        As for latter Pope, I think his statement, also containing questionable magisterial authority, was better expressed by the Council Fathers in Lumen Gentium.

        July 28, 2015 at 12:59 am
      • Athanasius


        Where there is true divine charity there is always a burning desire to convert souls in darkness to the true faith, it’s called holy zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Note that it was the principle driving force of the Apostles from the moment the Holy Spirit descended upon them on that first Pentecost.

        Not being interested is a sign of indifference, and we know what Our Lord says to the indifferent in Apocalypse: “I wish you were either hot or cold, but because you are neither hot nor cold I am ready to vomit you out of my mouth.

        As for the Pope meeting with the leaders of other religions for the purpose of showing moral solidarity in an ever increasingly atheistic world, here’s what his predecessor Pope Pius XI had to say in the matter in his Encyclical Mortalium Animos:

        “…Nevertheless, when there is a question of fostering unity among Christians, it is easy for many to be mislead by the apparent excellence of the object to be achieved. Is it not right, they ask, is it not the obvious duty of all who invoke the name of Christ to refrain from mutual reproaches and at last to be united in charity? Dare anyone say that he loves Christ and yet not strive with all his might to accomplish the desire of Him who asked His Father that His disciples might be “one”? (John 17:21). Did not Christ will that mutual charity should be the distinguishing characteristic of His disciples? “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” (John 13:35). If only all Christians were “one,” it is contended, then they might do so much more to drive out the plague of irreligion which, with its insidious and far-reaching advance, is threatening to sap the strength of the Gospel. These and similar arguments, with amplifications, are constantly on the lips of the “pan-Christians” who, so far from being a few isolated individuals, have formed an entire class and grouped themselves into societies of extensive membership, usually under the direction of non-Catholics, who also disagree in matters of faith. The energy with which this scheme is being promoted has won for it many adherents, and even many Catholics are attracted by it, since it holds out the hope of a union apparently consonant with the wishes of Holy Mother Church, whose chief desire is to recall her erring children and to bring them back to her bosom. In reality, however, these fair and alluring words cloak a most grave error, subversive of the Catholic Faith…”

        July 28, 2015 at 2:59 am
      • mastersamwise

        Meanwhile, in the same Encyclical…

        “Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is “the root and womb whence the Church of God springs,” not with the intention and the hope that “the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government.”

        It would seem the Pope was not against dialogue, but against compromise. I, as the Fathers of Vatican II promulgated, agree that there is one Faith and that it is uncompromising. Pius does not discourage dialogue; otherwise the Anglicans would never have come over. Indeed, cardinals such as Marx are in direct violations with the restrictions placed on ecumenicism in Nostra Aetate.
        “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.(4)

        The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral…”

        This is consistent with Pope Pius’s exhortation and Justin Martyr’s modus operandi. There is one Church and cardinals such as Marx reject the teaching of the Council by promoting what is bad in these religions and secular ideologies. Those who truly seek Truth will find Christ and therefore his Church, just as Pius, Francis, and the Council Fathers said.

        “Not being interested is a sign of indifference…” Not necessarily. I am not interested in economy of Belarus, but I am not indifferent to it. Word choice is important.

        July 28, 2015 at 4:35 pm
      • Fidelis

        Nobody’s against “dialogue” that seeks to get converts. That’s the difference between the previous popes and the modern ones. Pope Pius XI wanted converts, he wasn’t meaning for us to learn from other religions and churches. That’s what the modern popes mean by “dialogue”.

        July 28, 2015 at 11:12 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Should we reject what is true in other religions?

        July 29, 2015 at 2:50 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        What is true in other religions that is not found in the Catholic religion?

        July 29, 2015 at 4:10 pm
      • Athanasius


        “Should we reject what is true in other religions?”

        The real question is: Should we reject “other religions,” knowing that there is only one true religion established by God for the salvation of souls?

        The Catholic who answers no to that question is a heretic who is void of true divine charity for his neighbour lost in the darkness of religious error.

        There is only one religion that pleases God and bestows grace on men, says infallible Catholic dogmatic teaching (extra ecclesiam nulla salus). Hence, any grace that comes to non-Catholics or non-Christians of good will comes through the Catholic Church, whether known to the recipient or not. As the old teaching states: “they may be saved IN their false religions but not BY their false religions. Reject that and you have rejected the Faith.

        July 29, 2015 at 4:46 pm
      • Fidelis

        You are a very slippery customer. I’ve read editor’s direct quote from Pope Francis, which is unmistakeably saying he doesn’t want any Evangelical Protestants to convert to the Catholic Church, and before that you saying she is misinformed or ignorant of basic theology because she said the Pope didn’t want Protestants to convert, and then when she provides a direct quote from him saying exactly that, you say it doesn’t have any authority! You are a very dishonest person. You then go on to say the Pope told the Brazil bishops that they should be converting (probably because of the vast numbers of Catholics converting to Evangelical Protestantism!) as if that makes his first statement about not wanting converts, all right.

        Doesn’t it bother you at all that this Pope contradicts himself on this important matter? I want popes to be calling for converts all the time, not saying one minute nobody need convert and the next minute the bishops should get converts (if he did say that, I never heard it or read it).

        I really struggle with your posts. You bang on about the importance of words, but IMHO you don’t make proper sense half the time, NOI.

        July 28, 2015 at 11:09 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Unmistakably? The verb used was “interested” and in the context that he spoke them, I am inclined to agree. In the context, trying to convert a hardened evangelical at a meeting to show solidarity on social issues like abortion and the persecution of Christians would undermine the greater effort. The author of the piece made an interesting confession thought. “We do that as a natural and important role of our calling. In places where Evangelicals are marginalized, having this official connection allows us to raise issues and ask for responses we would never otherwise get…When Rome loses her way…we all lose.” Take that admission there and you see the importance of the Pope’s lack of interest. Getting evangelicals to the table has been the patient work of nearly 80 years. Now, when Rome provides the Rock which they carelessly threw from their foundations, they timidly grab on. The Anglican conversions happened much the same way. We had good relations and signed plenty of papers declaring common beliefs in articles such as human life, the traditional family, and ordination. When all three, in rapid succession, were snuffed out for the Anglicans, they defected to Rome.

        So no. When they come to us to lend our moral support issues such as abortion and Christian persecution, I think we should refrain from debating. But if they seek truly Jesus in their community, then they will go the way of the Anglicans where whole parishes convert.

        In the strictest sense, the Pope’s comment has no authority. For example, if he were to say to the same people, “I am not interested in preserving Caravaggio’s art” could we take that as an official censure of the artists work? Of course not. At most, it is Magisterium cathedrae magistralis or the teaching of a particular theologian which is neither infallible, nor authoritative if even that. Cardinal Michael Sheehan’s “Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine” or Cardinal Avery Dulles’ “Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith” for some good explanations about what is magisterial and what is not.

        July 29, 2015 at 7:58 pm
      • sixupman

        Not only a troll but a Pendantic troll !!!!!!!!

        July 29, 2015 at 8:06 pm
      • mastersamwise

        You know, St. Athanasius was accused of much the same thing when he dared to profess that Christ was homoousios with the Father. Exactness and scruples are supremely necessary in theology. The difference between the Christological definitions of the Copts and the Eutychians relies on the meaning of mia verses mono respectively. Call me pedantic all you like, but, as the lawyers who lurk here would admit, words are everything. Misspoken words can throw a whole case.

        In any case, I think you look overlong at my spec because you seem to be perfectly willing to judge a person’s orthodoxy on one or two statements. Isn’t that excessively concerned with minor details.

        You may object that there are many more but, as I have asked and not received more than the quotes Editor provided, I can’t testify to them and they are, for the present discussion, irrelevant.

        July 29, 2015 at 8:51 pm
      • editor


        No, MSW is not a troll, he’s the real thing. My apologies to him for assuming the worst – I’m (yet again) a very bad girl.

        What he IS, however, is almost as troubling; he’s a papolatrist. We’ll need to help him, Sixupman – well….?

        you in? 😀

        July 29, 2015 at 9:16 pm
      • editor


        I really think you ought to stick to gardening. Theology is really not for you, Honey Bunch.

        None of us thinks that the Pope’s daft statements on planes or over lunch is “magisterial” or “authoritative”. That’s a given.

        Nor is it “magisterial” teaching that representatives have to be sent to participate in Orange festivals culminating in a viciously anti-Catholic march in Glasgow, but it’s a matter of concern when the Archbishop thinks it’s a good idea. Similarly, when the Pope spouts nonsense, it’s a tad embarrassing to say the least. However, given your penchant for language, allow me to emphasise that “embarrassing” is the least of our worries. There is a wee bit of concern in hearts and minds faithful to Catholic teaching when they hear a pope making certain unqualified statements such as “proselytism is a sin” or “atheists will get to heaven anyway” blah blah (scrub the “blah blah” as they are not explicit enough in the dictionary sense of what I am trying to say…”)

        These sorts of remarks from Pope Francis, you see, show us what HE believes – at least at that moment when he’s on a plane or having lunch with Protestants. That’s the problem. We know he cannot – in his wildest dreams – impose his anti-Catholic opinions on any of us. Looks like he is going to have a bash at it at the forthcoming Synod, though, but it won’t work. We’ll all be praying for him, although we’ll pass on sending him a spiritual bouquet – prefer to avoid being mocked and ridiculed by popes if I can help it.

        However, look, Sugar Plum. If you are happy (and I choose the word carefully) with this pontiff, enjoy the ride.

        Before you commit yourself to being a FOF (Fan of Francis), however, I suggest you take a look at the extract from the April editorial in Christian Order which I’ve posted on the October Synod/Schism thread and see if you agree with me that Pope Francis and his merry men would benefit from a perusal of it ahead of the Synod. Answer me on that thread, though, please and thank you.

        July 29, 2015 at 8:15 pm
      • mastersamwise

        “A spokesman for the Glasgow Archdiocese said: “The Archbishop (Philip Tartaglia) was invited to participate and declined. However a representative of a Catholic lay movement will go along as an observer.” Well, the Archbishop saw the prudence in not going, but also saw the prudence in sending a representative to observe. Diplomatically, it makes sense. If your enemy invites you someplace, send a feeler to see if it is safe. Obviously, it is not. I doubt there will be a response to the invitation next year.

        “certain unqualified statements such as “proselytism is a sin” or “atheists will get to heaven anyway”

        You seem to have neglected to provide the quote where he said “proselytism is a sin.” I can point to several articles where he is quoted saying “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense.” Can you send me the link to where he says it is a sin?

        Also, can you send me the link where he says “atheists will get to heaven anyway?” You gave me that one quote where he says “Given that — and this is the key point — God’s mercy has no limits, if you go to him with a sincere and repentant heart, the issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience. Sin, even for those who have no faith, is when one goes against their conscience.” I don’t see where he says that “atheists will get to heaven anyway” so please send me a link.

        Unless you mean the quote where he says, “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists.” In which case I would point out that the Redemption of Christ is a separate action from the Salvation of each person. The latter is made possible by the former, but to say Redemption is the same as Salvation would go the way of the Pelagians or the Calvinist, depending on your interpretation of the elect.

        As for the Synod, my bishop has already made his and his brother bishops’s opinion known along with their colleagues in Poland. It would not be the first time the Patriarch from Antioch rebuffed the Patriarch in Rome.

        July 29, 2015 at 9:25 pm
      • Petrus


        There was no “reply” button on Master’s post below so this comment is for him.

        Sin is NOT going against conscience. That’s absurd. There’s plenty of people whose conscience tells them it is not sinful to use contraception, have an abortion, co-habitate etc. Sin is when we disobey the divine laws of God which are written in the hearts of all men.

        We must always remember that a conscience must be informed.

        July 29, 2015 at 9:57 pm
      • editor


        We have a bit of crossed wires here – I thought I was quoting YOU when I quoted “proselytism is a sin” or “atheists will get to heaven anyway”- oops! I intend to give up speed reading and writing for Lent. In the meantime, bear with me, please and thank you! Having said that, I’ve absolutely NO doubt that Pope Francis holds to both opinions! Smile!

        Re: Orange-Fest…

        I notice that you quote an unnamed source (probably the anti-Catholic Herald Scotland) as saying the archbishop declined to attend the Orange-Fest celebration but would send a lay representative – when the Orange Order boss is quoted (in the majority of reports on the matter) he divulges that the archdiocese was sending TWO representatives along. Anyway, trivial – the key thing is, your excuse that the archbishop was being “diplomatic” in sending representative(s) to an anti-Catholic event (where, in case you don’t know, the Pope is called all sorts of awful names) is truly astonishing. Pontius Pilate has met his match, at last. Diplomacy, one very well known nun once said “stinks”.

        Not sure where you are in the world, but here it’s time to hit the hay…

        Sweet dreams!

        July 30, 2015 at 12:36 am
      • mastersamwise

        I do not see how mistook those quotes for mine. I went back through my posts to make sure and I am quite certain I never made such comments. Seeing as I have yet seen a quote from the Pope containing those words, I cannot see how you can be doubtless.

        To Petrus, I offer the testimony of the Fathers.

        “The fact that a man slips into accidental sins demonstrates the weakness of his nature; for to our profit God has permitted our nature to be susceptible to sinful occurrences. For He has not thought it good to make the soul superior to these occurrences before the second regeneration. It is profitable for the soul to be susceptible to accidental sins because this pricks the conscience. To persist in them is, however, audacious and shameful.” Issac the Syrian

        “God forbid that I should condemn anyone or say that I alone am being saved! However, I shall sooner agree to die than to apostatize in any way from the true Faith and thereby suffer torments of conscience.” Maximos the Confessor

        “Therefore I am condemned, wretch that I am, therefore I am doomed by my own conscience, than which there is nothing in the world more rigorous.” Andrew of Crete

        Or if you are a Thomist, the Angelic Doctor.

        “I answer that, Properly speaking, conscience is not a power, but an act. This is evident both from the very name and from those things which in the common way of speaking are attributed to conscience. For conscience, according to the very nature of the word, implies the relation of knowledge to something: for conscience may be resolved into “cum alio scientia,” i.e. knowledge applied to an individual case. But the application of knowledge to something is done by some act. Wherefore from this explanation of the name it is clear that conscience is an act.

        The same is manifest from those things which are attributed to conscience. For conscience is said to witness, to bind, or incite, and also to accuse, torment, or rebuke. And all these follow the application of knowledge or science to what we do: which application is made in three ways. One way in so far as we recognize that we have done or not done something; “Thy conscience knoweth that thou hast often spoken evil of others” (Ecclesiastes 7:23), and according to this, conscience is said to witness. In another way, so far as through the conscience we judge that something should be done or not done; and in this sense, conscience is said to incite or to bind. In the third way, so far as by conscience we judge that something done is well done or ill done, and in this sense conscience is said to excuse, accuse, or torment. Now, it is clear that all these things follow the actual application of knowledge to what we do. Wherefore, properly speaking, conscience denominates an act. But since habit is a principle of act, sometimes the name conscience is given to the first natural habit–namely, “synderesis”: thus Jerome calls “synderesis” conscience (Gloss. Ezekiel 1:6); Basil [Hom. in princ. Proverb.], the “natural power of judgment,” and Damascene [De Fide Orth. iv. 22 says that it is the “law of our intellect.” For it is customary for causes and effects to be called after one another.” ST Prima Par, Q79, Art. 13

        July 30, 2015 at 3:24 am
      • editor


        Replying to your post at 3.24.a.m. 30 July….
        (Note, folks that the reply button disappears after a certain number of replies – we’ve run out with MSW so all we can do is scroll up to the first available reply button and our response will appear somewhere below the post to which we are responding.)

        Obviously I wasn’t quoting what you’d actually said – I was rattling off from memory what I thought you’d said. Heavens, you may be on the ball when it comes to literal definition of words, but logic sure ain’t your field of expertise!

        July 30, 2015 at 9:14 am
      • Therese

        Well? Who’s right? They can’t both be right… One of the above popes is in error. Which one is it?

        Ooo me, pick me!

        Choose the one who was Pope when the Church was flourishing; you know the drill: lots of vocations, lots of baptisms, convents full etc, etc etc.

        a. Pope Francis I
        b. Pope Blessed Pius IX.

        Absolutely no prizes for getting the right answer, it’s too obvious.

        July 29, 2015 at 2:56 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Well if that is the case, why not Alexander VII? IF the litmus test is merely how many people you have, then any pope pre-reformation must be better than both right? I would like to see THAT cause for sainthood.

        Also, why do you call Pope Pius IX a blessed?

        July 30, 2015 at 3:24 am
      • editor


        Pope Pius IX was beatified on September 3, 2000.

        July 30, 2015 at 9:10 am
      • mastersamwise

        Can a heretic, as some have said, beatify someone?

        July 30, 2015 at 11:42 am
      • Athanasius


        Yes, he can. Do not confuse the office with the person who holds it.

        July 30, 2015 at 1:09 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Can a heretic be Pope then?

        July 30, 2015 at 3:42 pm
      • Athanasius


        “Can a heretic be Pope then?”


        July 30, 2015 at 6:44 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Actually, according to canon law, heresy is a crime as well as a sin, complete with interdicts for the commission. Gratian, Suarez, and Bellermine make cases for how the Pope could be a heretic but none of them include scenarios where he retains the ecclesiastical authority of the office so that includes canonizations.

        July 30, 2015 at 7:08 pm
      • Athanasius


        A lot depends on whether the Pope in question is a material or a formal heretic. There is a great difference between the two in terms of culpability.

        As to any action taken by subordinates in the case of a heretic Pope, St. Robert Bellarmine concurs with St. Thomas in the matter and distinguishes for us between legitimate resistance and forbidden judgment. He writes:

        “Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff who aggresses the body, it is also licit to resist the one who aggresses the soul or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and preventing his will from being executed; it is not licit, however, to judge, punish or depose him, since these are acts proper to a superior.” (De Romano Pontifice, lib. 2, chap. 29, in Opera Omnia[Paris: Pedone Lauriel, 1871], vol. I, p. 418).

        July 30, 2015 at 10:32 pm
      • mastersamwise

        “So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow.”
        But there is no difference in terms of canonical censure.
        Anyway, even Bellermine doesn’t really believes it is possible and puts it as a hypothetical. The theological authorities at this subject, so to speak, all say it is only a hypothetical.
        I find it seriously ironic that you Romans are making all of these speculations especially since our bishops raised these objections at Vatican I

        July 31, 2015 at 11:51 am
      • Petrus

        There’s no reply button above, so I reply to our friend here.

        Your quotes regarding conscience simply describe the nature of conscience. They do not, in any way, show that sin is to go against conscience. Goodness, if words are everything in the legal world, remind me never to hire you if I’m up in court!

        July 30, 2015 at 8:01 am
      • mastersamwise

        On the contrary, if the nature of conscience is the “natural power of judgment,” or the “law of our intellect” then it is logical to conclude that to sin must invariably go against conscience since all men by virtue of their intellect have been endowed with the Natural Law.

        Let’s return the discussion to the original context. The Pope said, “God’s mercy has no limits, if you go to him with a sincere and repentant heart, the issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.” Now, IF a person has contrition for their sins and a desire to repent, isn’t THAT conscience telling them to go to God? Isn’t it the natural power of judgment and the law of their intellect telling them that their conduct is bad?

        Now, IF someone were to be in such a state of contrition and repentance, wouldn’t it be sinful to rebuff those pricking of the goads so to speak and return to sin? With the knowledge that you are wretched and need absolution, isn’t ignoring that sinful as you are rejecting the grace God is giving you to convert?

        July 31, 2015 at 8:36 pm
      • Athanasius


        You speak of ignorance of basic theology here. But what theology are you referring to,Traditional or Modernist? I fear you may be a disciple of the latter, for you certainly have a knack of turning once-clear Church teaching into ambiguous double-speak.

        First of all, you will not find anyone on this blog who denies that God’s mercy is infinite and that He is ever ready to receive the sinner who comes to Him with a sincere and contrite heart. Nor will you encounter anyone on this blog who denies that the law of God is written in the hearts of all men.

        What we will take issue with is your, and apparently Pope Francis’, method of applying those truths in a way that the Church has never taught nor countenanced.

        First of all, the infallible dogma ‘extra ecclesiam nulla salus’ applies to all men, meaning that all men of good will must seek to enter the Catholic Church if they would save their souls in eternity.

        As Pope Gregory XVI states in his Encyclical, Mirari Vos: “With the admonition of the Apostle that there is ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph. 4:5), may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself who said ‘He that is not with me, is against me’ (Luke 11:23), and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith
        whole and entire…’ ”

        Now there is a complimentary doctrine of the Church which states that those who die in “invincible ignorance” of the true religion can be saved by the infinite mercy of God, assuming fidelity to the divine law written in all hearts. The doctrine further states that although such persons were not physical members of the Church in life, they would most certainly have embraced the true faith had it been made manifest to them. In this sense such souls are considered to have died united to the Church in spirit.

        But note well that Invincible ignorance by its very definition means absolutely no human possibility of discovering in life that the Catholic religion is the only true religion. The doctrine does not apply to those who have all the means of discovering the truth but who either fail to seek it or reject it. Hence the Church’s near 2000-year divine mission to prosyletise souls and win them to the truths of the Catholic religion, a Tradition based on the Lord’s own Commandment to teach all nations, which Pope Francis by his own admission abhors. Proselytism is a sin, says Francis!

        Like you, our Holy Father is now preaching the new Gospel of the superiority of conscience over truth, little understanding that consciences can be seriously misinformed.

        Here again is the Traditional Magisterial condemnation of so great an error, this time from the Encyclical Quanta Cura of Pope Pius IX writes: “They do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our predecessor, Gregory XVI, an insanity, viz., that
        ‘liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed in every rightly constituted society’…But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching liberty of perdition.…”

        I trust you now clearly see the error of Pope Francis when he addresses non-Catholics in a non-specific way, confusing redemption and salvation as though the two were independent of each other. They are not.

        At the Last Supper, Our Lord, holding up the chalice before the Apostles said: “This is the chalice of my blood which shall be shed for you and for many, unto the remission of sins”.

        Note that Our Lord DID NOT say “for you and for all,” as the pan-Christian liberals who constructed the New Mass made Him say.

        When Our Lord said “for you and for many” it didn’t mean that His Precious Blood could not save all men. Rather, it meant that not all men would accept the Redemption offered to them through the Church He was to establish by His Blood for their salvation.

        As for Popes retiring, I’m surprised that you even attempted to offer a defence for such unheard of behaviour. The Vicar of Christ is not a CEO of a company who gets to step down when he thinks he has given enough of his time and energy to the firm. No, when he accepts that divinely instituted office he accepts it unto death. That’s the Tradition of the Church since St. Peter to John Paul II, the latter having borne extreme pain in his last years as Pontiff but who nevertheless refused to comply with the suggestion of some close to him that he should retire. “Christ did not come down from the Cross”, said he “neither will I come down from mine”

        Now, just for the record, Pope Benedict XVI DID NOT RETIRE, HE ABDICATED!

        His own words at the time were “I renounce the Papacy”, not ‘I retire from the Papacy’. These words are crucial to understanding exactly what Benedict was telling the Church. He is a clever man who chose his words quite deliberately.

        Hence, it is quite false for Pope Francis to declare, as he has, that Benedict initiated an institution of retirement for Popes. Completely untrue!

        There has never been a retired Pope in the Church. There have been two abdications for very pressing reasons, but never a retirement. This is entirely novel and it is designed to undermine the authority of the Office of the Supreme Pastor of the universal Church. No Catholic can ever accept so damaging a novelty, which greater and holier Popes of the past would never have countenanced in a million years.

        As to your last paragraph, in which you claim that the Pope has all the necessary graces from Our Lord to lead His Church in orthodoxy. This is again correct, but you fail to weigh the very real possibility that particular incumbents of the Chair of Peter may not, in fact, make use of that grace, rather following their own lights.

        If you examine all the most destructive changes in the Church since Vatican II you will discover that not one of them was implemented with infallible Magisterial authority.

        From ecumenism to the New Mass to universal Communion in the hand, etc. All these damaging novelties have been implemented and maintained by non-infallible statements, often contradictory of Traditional Papal teaching, and by personal theological opinion or outright disobedience. None of it, not one single Modernist change, can be reconciled with past teaching and practice, and that’s why the teaching of the Popes and Councils of old are never referenced in respect to the reforms. You need to open your eyes and see the difference between Papal infallibility and Papal impeccability, the latter being a heresy. It is not given to Popes to alter in any way, directly or indirectly, the deposit of faith handed down.

        There are precedents for Popes of the past who put the faith in danger by their words and actions, if not by the scandalous personal lives they lived. Indeed, it is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles that St. Paul, a subordinate of St. Peter, “resisted him to his face, because he was to be blamed”.

        Then there is the case of Honorius I, posthumously condemned and excommunicated for having placed the purity of the holy faith in grave danger of corruption by his cowardice in the face of heresy.

        So this idea that Popes cannot fail in their duty before Our Lord, yes even corrupting the faith by holding and expounding personally-held heretical ideas, is simply a nonsense.

        Our Lord is always with His Church, against which the Gates of Hell will never prevail. But the divine promise does not preclude the possibility that from time to time one of his Vicars on earth, mere mortals after all, will not deny Him or fail His Church in a catastrophic way.

        I’m afraid to say that Pope Francis with his revolutionary ideas is one who is presently giving the greatest scandal to the Catholic faithful.

        Every word and action of His Holiness from the very day of his election seems to be calculated to undermine Traditional Catholic teaching and open the Church up to a new vision of religion, one which is more world-friendly and completely contrary to everything that was taught before.

        From washing the feet of Muslim women on Maundy Thursday to declaring the Church of old as being “narcissistic and closed within herself” to unqualified and dangerous declarations concerning the salvation of non-Catholics and non-Christians, not to mention his programme of mercy which apparently no longer demands sorrow for sin and firm purpose of amendment. No one who is familiar with the Church’s 2000-year teaching and mission could possibly defend Pope Francis in this his so-called “new evangelisation”.

        Yes, the grace of Our Lord is always there for him, that’s why we must pray ceaselessly for the Pope. But let us not pretend, in light of a huge weight of evidence to the contrary, that Pope Francis is already a Pope of great fidelity to what has been handed down. He is anything but.

        Read again the Papal statements I’ve quoted and ask yourself why Francis’ voice is so different from theirs. Either they were wrong or he is wrong. I know who I’m siding with.

        July 28, 2015 at 2:34 am
      • editor


        I received a very thought-provoking post from another blog in my inbox just now – speaks for itself about the contemporary Vatican, Popes and “theology”
        Click here to read…

        July 28, 2015 at 11:06 am
      • Athanasius


        A very insightful article indeed, and very well written. I was particularly struck by the author’s use of the term “Shadow Synod” to describe a recent gathering of representatives of the German, French and Swiss Bishops’ Conferences in the the lead up to the October Synod.

        This is precisely the tactic the liberal Rhine group employed to great effect during the Second Vatican Council, gathering together frequently in places like Fulda, Germany to discuss their destructive agenda and make preparations for the various assaults that were subsequently made on Catholic doctrine. It’s history repeating itself, except this time many more people know what’s being attempted.

        The other thing that struck me from the article was how the German theologians in particular have been influenced by the deviant theology of “We are Church,” particularly the Jesuits. It’s not accidental that Pope Francis himself, though not German, has frequently used this abhorrent phrase “We are Church”. It’s like they’re saying that there is no divine institution, just a gathering of believers whose faith changes with the times. Truly scandalous and extremely worrying.

        July 28, 2015 at 11:31 am
      • editor


        Thanks – I agree about the article, and realise I really ought to have posted it on the October Synod thread, so I’ve now done so, for posterity (not that posterity’s ever done anything for me!)

        July 28, 2015 at 2:19 pm
      • Christina

        Athanasius, thank you for another brilliant post! When I find myself shocked/saddened/despairing at some of the modernists’ posts on this blog and am quite literally lost for words and struggling to find them, you, or another theologically-erudite blogger finds them and strings them together at top speed in succinct and flawless prose! Am I jealous? Yes! Seriously I daily thank God (and his glamorous handmaiden) for Catholic Truth and the blog.

        I’d just like to add a thought about MasterSamWise’s last numbered paragraph: 4. If I did not have faith that the Sacrament of Orders does not confer upon the Successors of the Apostles such graces to be sufficient for them to lead the People of God in orthodoxy, what point is there in believing in the rest? It all falls apart at that point. If we cannot trust that Christ had a plan for this and set up this Sacrament, this sign of grace for the leaders of his Church so that Hell could not prevail against it, then remaining Catholic is pointless. At the very least we should do away with the title of Apostolic. It would be meaningless.

        It was precisely that confusion between the sufficiency of grace in ordained souls and its efficacy in each individual ordained soul that led us hapless sheep, forty-odd years ago, into Novus Ordo-Land, uncritically accepting every error and novelty that our priests imposed on us, while they, equally confused in so many cases, accepted the errors and novelties of their superiors. ‘They are ordained. God is guiding them to do what He wants’.The word I always heard to silence questions was ‘obedience’, and, of course, the idea that we must obey willy-niilly was born of just such a thought as that implicit in the above MSW paragraph, namely that the graces of Ordination are presumed to be efficacious in every case. The promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church, surely every catechised child should know, refers to the final battle, not to the alarms, incursions and skirmishes along the way. Our Lady of Fatima pray for us.

        July 28, 2015 at 3:51 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        Well said. What MasterSamWise thinks about ordination graces would mean that Martin Luther did the right thing by going into schism in the 16th century!

        July 28, 2015 at 4:09 pm
      • Athanasius


        You greatly underestimate your own contributions to this blog, while over-inflating mine. That last paragraph of yours was as clear and Catholic as it gets. Very concise. Thank you.

        July 28, 2015 at 8:27 pm
      • mastersamwise

        What I have spoken is plainly written in the Fathers. Justin Martyr’s argued that the good deeds of pagans stem not from their paganess, but from the Divine Logos. Being one who has study basic patristics, you are no doubt familiar with this?

        Still more, Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor himself, says in in his Summa that all men seek the good and are aided by grace to attain it. So both the patristic and scholastic traditions of the Church prove that the Pope did not err when he said that atheists could do good, provided they are guided by a sincere and contrite conscience.

        “Rather, it meant that not all men would accept the Redemption offered to them through the Church He was to establish by His Blood for their salvation.” Is this an objection or merely an affirmation? I agree. The Pope most certainly agrees. It does not change the fact that Christ redeemed the atheists such that, with sincere and contrite hearts, they can do good and perhaps come to know God.

        As regards to the question of redemption, the Doctor responds well again. “Since, then, Christ’s Passion was a sufficient and a superabundant atonement for the sin and the debt of the human race, it was as a price at the cost of which we were freed from both obligations.” ST III pars, Q. 48, Art. 4.

        Indeed, if men were guided by their consciences as God intended, then we would see a marked increase in converts.

        “With the admonition of the Apostle that there is ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph. 4:5), may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever.” Indeed, but how do you maintain that those who receive baptism according to the matter and form from someone of a different religion? How do you deal with the fact that, while they are in heresy, Protestants who baptize with the proper matter and form are validly baptizing into the Christian faith? Since the heresy of the Donatists has been refuted, it is pointless to address their heresy. Internal disposition does not affect the efficacy of the Sacrament. This is established teaching. So by virtue of the Sacrament, they have been saved and that must be admitted. For if not, then we must reverse the censure of the Donatists which is absurd.

        As a nota bene, I would prefer if you followed the wisdom of the Council Fathers and said “Catholic Faith” instead of “Catholic religion.” Words are important. There are many religions. there is one Faith.

        “…Pope Francis by his own admission abhors.” It would help your argument if you would refrain from hyperbole. If this were a court of law, speaking as a legal professional, I could ask you to provide evidence that he explicitly said he abhors it. Otherwise, it is merely a personal interpretation and we all know how damaging those can be.

        instead, let us treat with the facts. The facts, as the OP and Editor pointed out are that the Pope made certain statements to certain people. Now, I have already questioned the magisterial authority of those statements. Indeed, by even the most lack scrutiny, the remarks have no doctrinal or canonical weight as I am sure, being a scholar of the doctrines and laws of the Church, would observe and admit readily. So where is the issue? Since it holds no weight so to speak, it is hardly heresy.

        “No, when he accepts that divinely instituted office he accepts it unto death.” Hence why we call him Pope Emeritus. There is nothing in the canons or even the tradition of the Church that the Pope retains the office of Pope after abdication except nominally, let alone the power exercised through that office. It is a curious case and we should probably update the canons on it. The last time a Pope renounced the office, they no longer functioned as the Supreme Pontiff i.e. no longer acted with the rights and responsibilities of the Supreme Pontiff. Under the current canons–the canons regarding Papal Abdication haven’t changed in centuries–an abdicated pope could not, say, call a council or issue infallible dogma.

        “…but you fail to weigh the very real possibility that particular incumbents of the Chair of Peter may not, in fact, make use of that grace, rather following their own lights.” So you would say that it is possible for Hell to prevail over the Papacy? I admit they may make mistakes, act imprudently, or say controversial things during lunchtime conversations. But I must, under pain of heresy, reject the notion that the Pope could not only be a heretic, but actually teach it. It would give the orthodox too much of a case for your sensibilities I wager.

        “If you examine all the most destructive changes in the Church since Vatican II you will discover that not one of them was implemented with infallible Magisterial authority.” Most destructive? “From ecumenism to the New Mass to universal Communion in the hand…” Since you list these three, I can only treat with them so bringing up more charges at this point would be absurd and no court would allow it.

        I fail to see how recognizing that there are other religions, that these religions share some beliefs with us, that it is profitable for us to enter into solidarity with those who share these beliefs in the face of such widespread atheism, and that there remains one Faith of Jesus Christ through which and from which all good things these religions believe comes is such a novel idea. Again, I turn back to the Fathers. Justin Martyr, by your scrutiny, would never have shown how Platonism finds its fulfillment in the Divine Logos. Nor would Augustine have praised the pagan authors. Aquinas would have reject Aristotle. Francis of Assisi would have cursed the Muslims, not told them who Allah really was. If this is truly your scrutiny, then which political party do you align with, if you do at all. Either way you chose, you have to associate with people who do not agree with in order to affect some greater change. Do you automatically compromise your own beliefs and convictions in the Catholic faith for voting for a Baptist because he is against abortion?

        As for the revisions to the Roman Missal, are you aware that Gregory, without consultation or direction of a Council as happened in Trent with Pope Pius V, made changes to the Roman liturgy. Even after Trent and Pius’s constitution of Quo Primum, Pope Clement VIII made changes to the Roman Missal without any consultation or review. The same happened again under Pope Urban VIII. Even Pope Pius X made changes via a mere motu proprio. So it would appear that Papal changes to the Roman Missal are quite common and fully within the right and prerogative of the Pontiff to do. So you cannot say that the Pope had no right to make changes. Thus, you must be objecting to the changes themselves per se are heretical. You have not provided the proofs for that.

        As for “universal communion,” this can be said in many ways so I need you to clarify that charge.

        Peter did not commit heresy as you suggest the current Pope has but was weak. Honorius I also was guilty of weakness, not of heresy. Neither was a heretic for weakness. In both cases, the Church was preserved. The Gentiles were welcomed and the Monothelites condemned. In both cases, and indeed every historical case, orthodoxy was upheld in spite of the weakness of the Pope. One could argue the Pope Leo’s “great care” in responding to Luther aided the heresy. Yet, Trent prevailed in orthodoxy.

        “even corrupting the faith by holding and expounding personally-held heretical ideas, is simply a nonsense.” Show where this has actually happened. You have shown weak popes but no pope that has corrupted the Faith. THAT is heresy. The Faith is incorruptible. There is nothing the Pope could do, if it were possible, to corrupt it. That is bold faced heresy if you are not being hyperbolic.

        “I’m afraid to say that Pope Francis with his revolutionary ideas is one who is presently giving the greatest scandal to the Catholic faithful.” I think Boniface VIII probably did more to scandalize the Chair of St. Peter than Francis. Seriously, if Francis is causing the greatest scandal, you obviously haven’t heard of “cardinal-nephews.”

        “Every word and action of His Holiness from the very day of his election seems to be calculated to undermine Traditional Catholic teaching and open the Church up to a new vision of religion, one which is more world-friendly and completely contrary to everything that was taught before.” Every word? So when he prays the Angelus, he is trying to undermine Tradition? Stop exaggerating. It isn’t helping your case. Redefine your terms please.

        “From washing the feet of Muslim women on Maundy Thursday…” You do know that there is no rubric for this even in the older missals, right? The earliest recorded example was the Pope washing the feet of 12 sub-deacons and 12 poor people. It doesn’t specify the religion or the sex of the latter. Even the Caeremoniale episcoporum uses the word hominum when it says the bishop must wash the feet of either 12 canons or 12 poor men. Hominum can and has been interpreted throughout Church history to mean men in general as in those of mankind, and not specifically those of the male sex. I think, instead of quibbling over words, we sit down and make the rubrics firm and do away with the foot washing during Holy Thursday liturgy.

        “declaring the Church of old as being “narcissistic and closed within herself.” I went to school in New England, to a Catholic Liberal Arts college on the traditional side. The Mass was according to the 1962 missal and modesty was the watchword of the proctors and RAs. We had a few non-Catholics there as well. One thing that struck me about the sub-culture–I say sub-culture because they were active in their separation with the non-Catholics and any who associated with them–of self-proclaimed traditionalists was that they were not very concerned with doing anything except the liturgy according to 1962. When trips were planned to sing Vespers at the veterans hospital on behalf of the people suffering there, the self-proclaimed traditionalists did not deign to go until the breviary used was switched from the post 1962 version used by the Catholics in England–that is where the choir director and organizer of this trip hailed from–to the 1962 edition that they consented. Tell me, what does that tell you about those self-proclaimed traditionalists? I personally found it revolting. It reminded me of St. Paul. All the Latin, incense, and brocade in the world will be as filthy rags without Love. I am sincerely curious as to what you make of it.

        “declarations concerning the salvation of non-Catholics and non-Christians, not to mention his programme of mercy which apparently no longer demands sorrow for sin and firm purpose of amendment.” I believe we already answered this in our discussion on redemption unless you can point to another quote.

        “No one who is familiar with the Church’s 2000-year teaching and mission could possibly defend Pope Francis in this his so-called “new evangelisation.” On the contrary, I was educated by some of the most traditional professors Catholic education can offer and I still find it easy. It should also be noted that the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization is a dicastery of the Roman Curia whose creation was announced by Pope Benedict XVI, not Pope Francis.

        You talk of either/or in regards to which pope is right or wrong as if our understanding of doctrine can never change. If that were so, Trent was pointless. The Fourth Lateran Council should have been sufficient. It shouldn’t be one Pope’s lunchtime discussions verses another’s Apostolic Letters and Encyclicals. That is placing apples against oranges and intellectually dishonest. Instead, take all that every Pope has said and look at it first in light of Sacred Scripture, ALL the Councils of the Church, the Church Fathers, the Doctors of the Church, and the witnesses of the Martyrs IN THAT ORDER. You may find something edifying. I don’t know. That is God’s business.

        July 28, 2015 at 4:08 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        It seems odd, reading your long comment defending Pope Francis, that so many cardinal and scholars are very concerned about Pope Francis. I wonder why, if he is not really saying anything untoward.

        You wrote: “if Francis is causing the greatest scandal, you obviously haven’t heard of “cardinal-nephews.”

        That reminds me of the comment in Catholic Truth, August newsletter, about the difference between sexual scandals and apostasy (and I suppose heresy as well).

        We should not confuse human weakness and sin with those two scandals.

        All else I would say is that none of the Fathers of the Church have ever said that it was good to encourage people to stay outside the Church as long as they do some good. There would have been no need for martyr deaths if that was true.

        July 28, 2015 at 4:16 pm
      • mastersamwise

        “none of the Fathers of the Church have ever said that it was good to encourage people to stay outside the Church…” Neither did the Pope. Tell me, if a person’s conscience, as the Pope said, is sincere and contrite, would he not be led to Christ? Isn’t that what Pope Pius IX said? “if these latter (the separated brethren as he puts it) humbly beg light from heaven, there is no doubt but that they will recognize the one true Church of Jesus Christ and will, at last, enter it, being united with us in perfect charity. ” Words are important. To ignore the words, “sincere” and “contrite” are grave errors.

        July 28, 2015 at 4:40 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        Pope Pius IX has never said that the separated brethren can be saved if they just stay in their own religion, which is what Pope Francis said. I copied something Pius IX did say from the CT website just now:

        “Neither sanctity nor salvation can be found outside the Catholic Church. It is a sin to believe that there is salvation outside the Catholic Church. Pope Blessed Pius IX

        That’s very clear. Pope Francis has never said anything like that, he just keeps on giving the impression that all religions lead to God.

        July 28, 2015 at 8:19 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Neither did Francis. He said they were redeemed, not saved. See ST III pars, Q. 48, Art. 4

        July 28, 2015 at 10:11 pm
      • Athanasius


        Your playing with words again. There is no difference between redeemed and saved, as you should know. Pope Francis certainly knows the truth of it. He said what he meant, which is that souls don’t have to be converted to the Catholic religion as long as they are faithful to conscience within their own particular “faith tradition.” All his words and actions, even before he was Pope, testify to his belief in the efficacy of other religions.

        July 28, 2015 at 10:34 pm
      • Fidelis


        I am guessing that MasterSamWise is playing with words all right, trying to catch us out, as if we don’t know that Jesus “redeemed” the human race, by his death but that we won’t be “saved” unless we are members of his Church and keep the commandments etc. I think it’s splitting hairs, we all know that but wouldn’t normally bother to make the distinction in a conversation. I had to think what he was going on about until it hit me. I’ve been reading his posts and he likes to play with words, did the same with “faith” and “religion” – we belong to our religion, but have faith in Jesus is the obvious difference but who says I’m going out to buy a plain loaf, we say I’m going out to buy a loaf or bread. I’m sorry, but I don’t have much time for this sort of splitting hairs. I find it very distracting in a discussion. It’s a bit too showing off for my liking.

        July 28, 2015 at 10:59 pm
      • Athanasius


        Yes, I completely agree with you.

        You too, Crofterlady.

        July 28, 2015 at 11:48 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Athanasius, to say there is no difference between Salvation and Redemption is heresy. That is so plain, I am actually shocked you would say it. Redemption was the satisfaction Christ gave for the Original Sin. Salvation, as Trent Sess. VI, v-vi explains, is the process of what we in the East call Theosis or the process of be. It is precisely because of the Redemption of Christ that the process of Salvation is possible at all. This is not mere opinion, this is what the Fathers of Trent plainly wrote in the above referenced section. It is undeniable.

        Also, Fidelis, if I am splitting hairs over the difference between redemption and salvation, should you not accuse the Council Fathers of the same? Or, as is the case, is there some confusion among some as to the nature of redemption and consider both redemption and salvation to be reserved for a pre-ordained few?

        I do not speak with my own authority but that of the Council Fathers. “But when the Apostle says that man is justified by faith and freely,[44] these words are to be understood in that sense in which the uninterrupted unanimity of the Catholic Church has held and expressed them, namely, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God[45] and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification. Trent Sess. VI, viii.

        “Now, they [the adults] are disposed to that justice when, aroused and aided by divine grace, receiving faith by hearing,[21] they are moved freely toward God, believing to be true what has been divinely revealed and promised, especially that the sinner is justified by God by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…” Trent Sess. VI, vi.

        So justification comes through Faith and the gift of Faith is only possible through Christ’s redemption. To say that the act of redemption is identical in all respects except nominal–as you point out Fidelis with your comments about bread–with the process of Salvation would be absurd for a number of reasons.

        I do not know of the troll that Editor speaks of nor am I a troll. If I am a troll for presenting what is clearly taught by the Fathers of Trent, testify to the wrong. Otherwise, why do you strike me?

        July 29, 2015 at 3:38 pm
      • crofterlady

        mastersamwise and LOTR fan ( I guess) I think you are a priest. Anyway, get real and as the politicians say nowadays, wake up and smell the coffee.

        July 28, 2015 at 11:46 pm
      • editor


        I don’t know whether MSW is a priest or not, and I frankly don’t care.

        From the get-go I wondered if he was our troll back, this time, with his real identity and avatar.

        The sheer volume of his comments and the trick of not answering key questions, while repeating his various claims, leads me to think that my initial gut feeling is correct.

        In which case, avatar or no avatar, priest or no priest, if he continues in the same way, pushing wrong information, quotes from previous pontiffs out of context, and refusing to acknowledge the truths put before him here, he will find himself being moderated and ultimately, if necessary, trashed.

        I’m not going to be near my computer for much of today, but will check back asap and will act then. No warnings. I’m done with warnings. If I return to a stack of the same old same old from MSW, he will disappear more quickly than the sun in a Scottish July.

        Isn’t this weather AWFUL?

        July 29, 2015 at 11:18 am
      • Fidelis


        There is so much in your comment that requires answering but I’m singling out this one remark for now, where you say:

        “You talk of either/or in regards to which pope is right or wrong as if our understanding of doctrine can never change. If that were so, Trent was pointless”

        That’s incorrect. My understanding is that Councils of the Church are called when some heresy needs to be quelled or some error corrected. That’s why Trent was called, to quell the errors and heresies of the Protestant Reformers. It’s not per se to help us understand doctrine better. It was because the Mass was under attack by the Protestants within the Church – we call them dissenters these days LOL! – that Trent pronounced on it.

        Vatican II is the only Council that has ever been called for “pastoral” reasons, when there was no error or heresy to quell, and when the major error of the 20th century, Communism, was not condemned, by agreement with the Communists!

        I’m interested to read your answer to Margaret Mary about why you think so many scholarly people, including important cardinals such as Cardinal Burke, and Bishop Schneider, are concerned about Pope Francis. The famous pro-life priest, Fr Linus Clovis was so concerned that he told a pro-life conference in Rome “we have to go public with this.” So, there must be very good reason why so many educated people, including priests, bishops and cardinals, are worried about the things Pope Francis is saying and doing.

        July 28, 2015 at 4:27 pm
      • mastersamwise

        “My understanding is that Councils of the Church are called when some heresy needs to be quelled or some error corrected.” Not so. The Church calls councils for many different reasons. For example, the Council of Vienne was called to disband the Knights Templar. The Second Lateran merely confirmed what was in Lateran I and addressed the marriage of priests and vestments. Vatican II, as anyone who was actually at the Council could tell you, must be seen as the second half of Vatican I, which was interrupted by the Siege of Rome.

        Burke never said he was concerned. In fact he said he would be obedient. ““I’m not resisting Pope Francis, because he’s done nothing against doctrine. I don’t see myself at all in a fight against the pope. As a cardinal, I just try to be a teacher of the faith.”

        People without Faith worry. Only people without Faith lack the trust in God to worry.

        July 28, 2015 at 5:29 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        “People without Faith worry. Only people without Faith lack the trust in God to worry.”

        That’s a very judgmental statement. You’re on about people choosing their words carefully, maybe you should take your own advice. I do worry about plenty of things, that just means I’m human, not without Faith.

        July 28, 2015 at 5:36 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Judgment? If you are liable for judgment is the Scriptures that judge you. I stated merely what Christ did: to worry is to lack faith. If your own conscience tells you that you are such a person, then it has nothing to do with me.

        July 28, 2015 at 6:22 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        I don’t remember Christ saying anything of the sort. He did say “do not worry about tomorrow, what you are to eat, drink, wear” etc because our Heavenly Father will provide… but he didn’t say “you lack trust in God” if you worry. I took that as reassuring us and encouraging us not to worry but that’s different from saying you lack faith if you worry. If I’m wrong, please quote him verbatim.

        July 29, 2015 at 4:09 pm
      • editor


        Vatican II, as anyone who was actually at the Council could tell you, must be seen as the second half of Vatican I, which was interrupted by the Siege of Rome.

        Where, O where, does it claim, in any formal Vatican II statement – from Pope John XXIII’s opening address to the last full stop in the conclusion of the last document… where does it claim that Vatican II is the “second half of Vatican I”? Gimme a break.

        On the contrary, Pope John XXIII is at pains to stress that this Second Vatican Council is entirely different from every preceding Council. If you haven’t read his opening address to the Council, I urge you to do so without delay. If my memory serves me correctly, and it’s not renowned for so doing, I must confess, he only mentions Vatican I in passing, in the same sentence as he mentions the Council of Trent, and that in a forlorn attempt to demonstrate that Vatican II stands in the great tradition of the Church’s Ecumenical Councils. Out of his own mouth is he contradicted, however, as he makes superhuman efforts to stress that this Council will be about “updating” the Church to fit into the modern world. He is condemned out of his own mouth by such ludicrous claims as the Church will no longer condemn error, will present instead the (by now infamous) “medicine of mercy” – as if Holy Mother Church had been lacking in mercy until he came long with his mad hatter idea for a (by his own admission) completely unnecessary Council. As I say, read his opening address – all of the above is confirmed there – I mean, my memory’s not THAT bad. I’ve read that blessed speech often enough over the years.

        I always laugh at the memory of the “medicine of mercy” comment and the ensuing sentiment to the effect that “people will come to see for themselves that God’s law is the best and right way forward” because I can’t help imaging the outrage if the police were to say the same thing; “let’s not condemn crime or go in search of criminals, let’s trust the people to come to realise themselves that breaking the law is a bad idea…” Gimme, please gimme, strength.

        Now, I’m paying a flying visit to the blog right now but wish to disabuse you of a couple of things; firstly, your insistence that words are of ultimate importance in our debates. Nope. You imply that you are a lawyer. We have plenty of legal minds on this blog, just in case you’re wondering. I almost had one myself, but tossed a coin. Long story, don’t ask. However, you, my friend, are not the only legal eagle on this blog, so beware, I mean be aware of that fact. To return to my “wordy” point, however…

        Words, as I say, are not of ultimate importance because, in a debate anyone can make a slip of the tongue or hit the wrong key on the keyboard. What IS important are the facts. And you, dear MSW, are very short on the facts, while very well stocked up on mis (if not “dis”) information.

        As for this nugget from you (which I see MM has already singled out for remark) I have a couple of well chosen words to offer for your perusal, myself.

        You write:

        People without Faith worry. Only people without Faith lack the trust in God to worry.

        I reply:

        I have faith, I sometimes worry (about the likes of your good self and how to make you see sense, for starters). However, I don’t lack the trust in God not to worry. If I didn’t have faith, and really did lack trust in God, I’d worry all the more… You have to laugh.

        If you really ARE a lawyer, MSW, you won’t be defending me on a murder charge. Trust me on that… I’ll look for someone with a clear mind, not a good grasp of the Oxford Dictionary when I’m charged with aiding and abetting Athanasius in a robbery.

        See you outside the Bank of Scotland at the agreed branch and time, Athanasius. Don’t be late…

        PS MSW I’m still awaiting your response to my post (4.38pm) asking for quotes from Pope Francis upholding the essential nature of the Church for salvation – chop chop!

        July 28, 2015 at 7:43 pm
      • mastersamwise

        “It is but natural that in opening this Universal Council we should like to
        look to the past and to listen to its voices whose echo we like to hear in
        the memories and the merits of the more recent and ancient Pontiffs, our
        predecessors. These are solemn and venerable voices, throughout the East and the West, from the fourth century to the Middle Ages, and from there to
        modern times, which have handed down their witness to those Councils. They
        are voices which proclaim in perennial fervor the triumph of that divine and
        human institution, the Church of Christ, which from Jesus takes its name,
        its grace, and its meaning….The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that he sacred
        deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more
        efficaciously. That doctrine embraces the whole of man, composed as he is of
        body and soul. And, since he is a pilgrim on this earth, it commands him to
        tend always toward heaven. The salient point of this Council is not, therefore, a discussion of one
        article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has
        repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians,
        and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all.

        For this a Council was not necessary. But from the renewed, serene, and
        tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and
        preciseness, as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent
        and First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of
        the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a
        formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the
        authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through
        the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought.
        The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing,
        and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that
        must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary,
        everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium
        which is predominantly pastoral in character.” From the opening address. The point where he mentions Vatican I is quite important as it makes clear that no doctrinal definitions are being made here. Those were already decided. That is why Cardinal Dulles, Benedict XVI, and other learned theologians take Vatican II to be a continuation of the work laid out in Vatican I. Updating is a poor choice of words and does not accurately express the sentiment. “Effectively communicate” would be a better term or, still better, as John XXIII himself put it: “the way in which it is presented.” If there are lawyers here, they will agree that, when presenting a case, part of their case depends upon how to present the evidence to the judge/jury. The facts may be plain as day but the way they are presented have a profound importance on the people you intend to convince. Admitting that your opponent has some points right leaves you, rhetorically speaking, the ability to show that those points are all they have. For example, I can say to a baptist, “yes you have the sacrament of Baptism right, but have you considered what the effects of it must be based on our agreed definition? Again, Justin Martyr and St. Paul did the same thing to the Stoics.

        Words are of severe importance when you consider that the Protestant case for rejecting the papacy rests on the interpretation of the masculine verse the feminine case of the Greek word for rock. I will show you. What is the difference between a Faith and a Religion?

        July 28, 2015 at 10:09 pm
      • Athanasius


        Oh yes, the Modernists who hijacked the Council knew well the importance of words. It was by a particularly ambiguous formation of words in the texts of the documents of Vatican II, those “time Bombs” highlighted by the late Michael Davies and others, that the liberals infiltrators in the Church were able to alter the Catholic religion beyond all recognition. Yes, the Modernist certainly knows the power of words when pronounced with a double meaning.

        I’m so pleased, however, that you recognise the non-doctrinal nature of Vatican II. It was a purely pastoral Council that was never meant to touch the doctrines of the Church and has therefore been used illegitimately to impose reforms that are not Catholic. We may rightly reject these dangerous novelties then and cleave to the old faith in its entirety. It is they who go along with all the doctrinal and theological changes who are in danger of schism with the Church.

        By the way, I seem to recognise your particular style of writing. Have you been on this blog before under a different name?

        July 28, 2015 at 10:23 pm
      • Michaela


        You are quite wrong about Councils of the Church. They are normally only called to deal with major problems, usually a heresy which needs to be corrected. In fact, in his opening address, John XXIII acknowledged this by saying this Council (Vatican II) would not be doing this – it was only concerned with applying the Gospel to the modern world not correcting any heresies. He acknowledged that.

        You also wrongly claim that the Council of Vienne was called to disband the Templars but that was only one of three or four problems dealt with at that Council, a reform of public morality being another one.

        Also the Second Lateran Council was not only called to confirm Lateran I. It’s main purpose was to deal with the problems caused by the schism which followed the death of Pope Honorius II. Yes, it dealt with (condemned) the problem of married priests, but again that was only one of many issues dealt with by the Second Lateran Council.

        It is useful, however, to compare the state of the Church at the time of the Second Vatican Council with what happened after it, because the usual reason for having a Council – to fix problems – didn’t exist. The Church was thriving, vocations and converts pouring in, religious houses flourishing, new schools and churches being built everywhere to cater for growing Catholic populations.

        Maybe future popes will learn by John XXIII’s (and Paul VI’s) mistake, and stick to calling Councils only to fix problems. Vatican II was a unique Council in that it wasn’t need to fix problems but actually caused problems!


        July 29, 2015 at 4:54 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Well, what about Lateran III? It dealt with restricting papal election to the cardinals, condemning simony, and introducing minimum ages for ordination. Truly, it was not doctrinal but administrative or, dare I say it, pastoral.

        What about Lyon II? It dealt with an attempted reunion with the Eastern churches, approval of the Franciscan and Dominican orders, a tithe to support crusades, and conclave procedures. Besides that first point, I really don’t seem much doctrinal matters being discussed.

        You seem to be under the impression that, prior to Vatican II, the Church was all hunky-dory, that there was no inkling of the upheaval to come? I wish I could believe that. I WANT to believe that. I sincerely wish that it were true. I wish I could believe that there were not Bugninites running around trying to make reforms. I shudder to think what might have happened if they had been able to work in the shadows of Curia posts, rather than openly at a Council where their propositions would be on record. I wish I could believe the Church was in a better state.

        July 29, 2015 at 8:34 pm
      • editor


        I’m guessing that you rely for your information on Modernist sources, where every effort is made to normalise Vatican II and its aftermath.

        Here’s the Catholic encyclopaedia on the third Lateran Council – clearly, like every other Council, it was called to deal with religious/moral issues, error, schism, NOT merely “administrative”. They could have done that by phone, email and text… Oh wait… 😀

        Listen, even Pope John XXIII and Paul VI made no attempt to pretend that Vatican II was “normal” or in any way comparable to previous Councils. Indeed, Paul VI famously exclaimed that it had turned out so differently, was supposed to be a new springtime but was dead of winter, (NOT verbatim, I’m paraphrasing because I’m starving and need to be outa here in five minutes.)

        So, stop trying to prove that Vatican II is no different from other Councils. That’s patent nonsense.

        There can be no argument that the Church prior to Vatican II was strong and getting stronger and well… our Scots Bishops have just declared Scotland a mission country and Ireland has just voted for same-sex “marriage” so you tell me, if the Church is strong and getting stronger AFTER Vatican II – rhetorical question, no-brainer…

        July 29, 2015 at 9:10 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Editor, can you check the Catholic Encyclopedia the First and Second Councils of Lyon, Fifth Council of the Lateran, and Council of Florence and tell me what heresy they were called for. Not what they ended up discussion, but what they were called for.

        I admit Vatican II is unique, but who ever laid down in the canons that councils had to be called only when everything was falling apart? That is one of the reasons the reformation was so bad. The Pope at the time didn’t think it was necessary as they burned Churches in Germany. Where is your condemnation of Pope Leo X?

        July 30, 2015 at 3:43 am
      • editor


        I ALWAYS check the Catholic Encyclopaedia so if you want to double check, go ahead. I’m too busy to waste time chasing straw Councils. So to speak. It’s irrelevant – you appear to acknowledge yourself that Vatican II has been a disaster for the Church and will one day be in the same category as Constantinople II with popes saying “just don’t talk about the Council”!

        Your fixation on trying to justify Pope Francis’s scandalous behaviour and comments is misguided and your strategy of trying to find like-minded popes and Councils from history is equally misguided. Utterly pointless in fact.

        Somewhere you ask me to “condemn” (I THINK is the word you used!) Pope Leo X – I believe the Catholic Encyclopaedia describes his pontificate as “unfortunate” for the Church. That’s putting it mildly.

        But allow me to say here what I have said so often about people like your well-intentioned but entirely misguided self; papolatrists, strangely, have no problem in identifying and condemning bad popes from history. That’s never an issue with them. What they cannot bring themselves to do, is to recognise bad popes in the contemporary Church.

        I’ll be away from my computer quite a bit today but may I remind bloggers that we have an important thread on the forthcoming Synod and this one has really gone off topic and is a more general conversation on whatever MSW takes into his head!

        I suggest that – unless there is more to say about whether the papal office should have a time limit, which is the topic, not whether this or that Council was called for this or that reason, we turn our attention to the other thread. I’ll be doing that on my return, so those who wish to continue to discuss with MSW are obviously free to do so. I’m switching to the new thread. A new blogger has posed a very interesting question on that new thread, which I think is a tad more important than the reason for calling the Second and Third Lateran Councils et al!

        July 30, 2015 at 9:35 am
      • editor


        Cut out the blarney. Name ONE Father of the Church who states clearly and unambiguously that the Church of Christ is not necessary for salvation, that as long as people are “good” they will be saved. I’m waiting.


        Quote even one clear and unambiguous statement from Pope Francis explaining the essential nature of the Church for salvation. If you can further find an exhortation to ALL to enter and/or remain in the Church, that will be a bonus, but remember, the impossible may take a while, miracles we expect at once… or something like that!

        July 28, 2015 at 4:38 pm
      • Athanasius


        With respect, I believe I responded to your original comments factually and concisely. I provided Papal teaching in response to your quite obscure personal opinions, yet you have come back with other lengthy comments that just muddy the waters all over again.

        We all know full well that Pope Francis said a lot more than you claim he said (see editor’s earlier quote, for example), and that, contrary to your assertion, his status as Vicar of Christ adds great weight to his public statements.

        Besides that, you misquote St. Thomas Aquinas and you quote St. Justin Martyr out of context in a desperate bid to draw a parallel between the teaching of the Fathers and Doctors and the present Pontiff. There is no parallel, not even remotely.

        Pope Francis, for example, has consistently railed against proselytism, calling it a sin. Yet, this has been precisely the divine mission of the Church since its foundation, “to go teach all nations.” Yes, even the Fathers and Doctors were proselytisers. So Pope Francis has spoken against the very reason for the Church’s existence, which is to teach and preach Christ Crucified to those who are in darkness, seeking to win their souls to the only true religion, the only true faith. Instead, the Pope teaches that faith (a divine virtue) is subordinate to conscience (Reason). Therefore Faith is secondary to Reason, the claim of the French Revolutionaries and the great error of the Modernists who assert that faith springs from within man (immanentism).

        Why else would he often say “we are Church” instead of we are members of Christ’s Church, the divine and Catholic institution. “We are Church” is a term coined by Modernists to undermine the divine institution. It is based on a perversion of Our Lord’s words that where two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in the midst. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens to Catholic doctrine wherever this perverse term takes hold.

        As for Vatican II following on from Vatican I, you must be joking! Vatican I was a dogmatic Council, not a pastoral one, and it altered nothing of the faith handed down. The only similarity between these two Councils is that they both have “Vatican” in their title.

        July 28, 2015 at 8:06 pm
      • spudeater

        My reckless streak has got the better of me once again and I’m going to stick my oar (well, it’s more of a paddle really as I can only stretch to owning a coracle) in this exchange. You see, I believe I’ve cracked the way of thinking that lies at the heart of Master Samwise’s statements so permit me to attempt to crudely summarise it like so –

        The papal pronouncements based on two millennia or so of Church teaching contained within your replies are all well and good and certainly have their place but the key fact to remember is that they were OF THEIR TIME. The wind, however, blows where it wills and no one knows from whence it comes or where it goes. If, therefore, the Holy Spirit chooses to lead Pope Francis in a new, exciting and thoroughly 21st Century direction, who are we to judge?

        (I hope that’s not an inaccurate or unfair summation).

        July 28, 2015 at 11:20 pm
      • Athanasius


        I would go so far as to say that your observation is inspired!

        July 28, 2015 at 11:50 pm
      • crofterlady

        Athanasius, when I am depressed about the state of the Church, you inspire me. Thank you.

        July 29, 2015 at 12:08 am
      • Athanasius


        What a kind thing to say. God bless you.

        By the way, the cheque is in the post!!

        July 29, 2015 at 12:27 am
      • editor

        See the difference between us, Crofterlady? When I’m inspired, Athanasius depresses me. 😀

        July 29, 2015 at 11:20 am
      • Athanasius


        “See the difference between us, Crofterlady? When I’m inspired, Athanasius depresses me.”

        I’m sure you can handle a once in a blue moon depression. Smiley face X 3.

        July 29, 2015 at 11:34 am
      • mastersamwise

        Actually that is a tremendously inaccurate and wildly unfair summation. You essentially put me into stereotypes you have no way, at present, of verifying. To suggest that I believe Papal Magisterium is good only in the time that it is promulgated is a gross exaggeration and unilaterally unfounded. My way of thinking is this: the Papal Magisterium is not confined to the reign of three or four “good” popes but each pope must be taken as a part of a larger whole in the long line of Papal teaching. The Papal Magisterium itself is a division of the Church’s Magisterium and is therefore subject to it as well. Instead of picking and choosing what Papal, Conciliar, Patristic or whatever Magisterium fits their particular view of how things should be, it has to be taken as a whole, even if it seems confusing and conflicting.

        July 31, 2015 at 8:45 pm
      • mastersamwise

        You provided a single quote from a single Encyclical. But I believe we are in the weeds too much.

        1. Explain how a contrite and sincere conscience can go in any other direction except to God.

        2. Explain how private lunchtime conversation carry doctrinal weight or are more scandalous than Pope Leo X’s apparent indifference to the Reformation and his fidelity to the ideas of Erasmus in Exsurge Domine. Why did Leo X say this: “Therefore we can, without any further citation or delay, proceed against him to his condemnation and damnation as one whose faith is notoriously suspect and in fact a true heretic with the full severity of each and all of the above penalties and censures. Yet, with the advice of our brothers, imitating the mercy of almighty God who does not wish the death of a sinner but rather that he be converted and live, and forgetting all the injuries inflicted on us and the Apostolic See, we have decided to use all the compassion we are capable of…Therefore let Martin himself and all those adhering to him, and those who shelter and support him, through the merciful heart of our God and the sprinkling of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ by which and through whom the redemption of the human race and the upbuilding of holy mother Church was accomplished, know that from our heart we exhort and beseech that he cease to disturb the peace, unity, and truth of the Church for which the Savior prayed so earnestly to the Father…We enjoin, however, on Martin that in the meantime he cease from all preaching or the office of preacher.” Effectively, a cease and desist order, not excommunication or barring from the sacraments.

        3. Proselytism is convincing someone of your point of view via argument. Evangelism is convincing someone of your point of view via witness. Proselytism is what the Roman Jesuits did to the St. Thomas Christians in India: attempting to quash liturgy and tradition coming from the Apostle himself. Proselytism is what you Latins did to the Maronites, making them more Roman and abandon their liturgical and traditional heritage. We do no call the Gospel writers the Four Proselytizers. They didn’t out to convince people with clever arguments. They testified to what they saw. St. Paul, when he goes before the governor of Judea, does not make a case for why the Jews are wrong but testified that he had seen the Christ. But there is something greater at work. The word euangelion is proclaiming the Good News, not merely getting new comers as prosélytos suggests. Indeed, the word prosélytos does not appear whereas euangelion and its derivatives occur multiple times, commonly translated as “gospel” such as in Matthew 4:23. So, according to Scripture, there is a greater case to be made for the evangelization or the proclaiming of the Gospel being the mission of the Church rather than the bringing in of new comers. You may cite Matthew 28:19,20 as evidence that we are indeed to bring in new people. I do not disagree that souls must be won, but I would say that the object of the Church is to make disciples i.e. those who are students of Christ as the word suggests rather than just new comers. For that is all a proselyte is, both in Judaism before Christ and Early Christianity. Indeed, to go by the Scriptures and the Fathers, more emphasis is placed on evangelizing than gaining proselytes. The latter word occurs only when the writers refer to those Gentiles who are converts to Judaism. Going by the Scriptural definitions and the lack of exposition by the Fathers as to the necessity to proselytize, it is clear from reason and Divine Revelation that the Divine Mission of the Church is not to proselytize. Indeed, unlike the proselytes of the Jews who would more or less adhere to the Law, the Church seeks the total conversion of the disciple. You have said elsewhere that words are not important. Tell that to the opponents of Homoousia. Words matter very much. A diphthong can change a meaning drastically.

        July 29, 2015 at 6:51 pm
      • Michaela

        So, why didn’t Pope Francis say “I don’t want to proselytise you, because that would just make you newcomers to the Catholic Church, but I do want to evangelise you, so I hope you will become Catholics, soon.” ?

        Why didn’t he say something like that to make clear he wasn’t disowning the importance of conversions?

        All over the internet, there are articles and reports praising Pope Francis for not wanting people to convert to Catholicism. He’s never come out to say “that’s not what I meant, here’s the meaning of proselytise, I didn’t mean that, but I do want people to become Catholics Why didn’t he say that?

        July 29, 2015 at 7:09 pm
      • mastersamwise

        “All over the internet, there are articles and reports praising Pope Francis for not wanting people to convert to Catholicism.” All over Christendom there were people praising the Emperor for banishing St. Athanasius. I tell you, St. Athanasius gained more support in exile than he ever did in the open.

        “Why didn’t he say something like that to make clear he wasn’t disowning the importance of conversions?” Why didn’t Pope Leo XIII clarify the following statement so as to ensure that people didn’t think he was advocating a welfare state? “The richer class have many ways of shielding themselves, and stand less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of the poor have no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State. And it is for this reason that wage-earners, since they mostly belong in the mass of the needy, should be specially cared for and protected by the government.” Rerum Novarum, 37. You know this is where people got the idea of “preferential option for the poor?”

        Because the Papacy is not stagnate. It does not operate by one pope saying one thing and then after he dies we promptly forget about it. One thing I wish they would bring back is the use of the royal we. It did not simply signify that he was a head of state, the chief prince of the Church, but that he spoke not just as himself but as the Papacy. He spoke from an office firm in continuity. Pope Leo XIII didn’t need to clarify because Pope Pius XI, forty years later, would release Quadragesimo anno. It was not the time and it was not the pope. Indeed, looking at history, it is clear that only Pius XI could have picked up where Leo XIII left off.

        July 30, 2015 at 1:23 am
      • Athanasius


        I definitely recognise your style of writing from past exchanges on this blog, just can’t quite remember the details of dates and threads. What name did you previously blog under?

        July 29, 2015 at 7:58 pm
      • mastersamwise

        This is my only account. I am sorry but that is the truth. I do not know who you are referring to.

        July 29, 2015 at 8:42 pm
      • Confitebor Domino

        Evangelism is convincing someone of your point of view via witness.

        Incorrect. ‘Evangelization’ is the declaration of the Good News. That’s what the word means in the NT and no-one considered it necessary to change its meaning for about 19 centuries. Then some protestant sects started to redefine it as ‘witnessing’. In the aftermath of Vatican II this perversion of the word’s meaning caught on amongst the revolutionaries within the Catholic Church.

        And, of course, you are correct to say that the whole point is to make new disciples – that is to gain converts, also called proselytes. In other words, evangelization and proselytizing are the same process seen from slightly different viewpoints.

        But why keep things simple when you can sow confusion as all good modernists love to do?

        July 29, 2015 at 8:44 pm
      • editor


        Game, set and MATCH !

        July 29, 2015 at 9:00 pm
      • mastersamwise

        All quotes taken from the Douay Rheims
        John 1:7 “This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him.”

        1 Peter 5:1 ” The ancients therefore that are among you, I beseech who am myself also an ancient and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as also a partaker of that glory which is to be revealed in time to come.”

        I see, so what you are saying is that we aren’t supposed to emulate John or Peter?

        “The future pope was the lead author of a 2007 document by the Latin American bishops calling for a “grand continental mission,” in which the bishops conceded that taking the continent’s Catholic identity for granted often meant that the Church hadn’t worked hard enough to take good pastoral care of its people…None of this is to say that Francis wants to fight fire with fire, launching some sort of anti-Evangelical/Pentecostal crusade.”

        So for the Pope, from his experience in vitriol of Latin American religious disputes, does want this proselytism:

        But this evangelization:

        July 29, 2015 at 9:44 pm
      • Athanasius


        Once again you quote out of context.

        John 1:7 refers to the testimony (witness) of St. John the Baptist that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. “Witness” in this text is clearly meant to express evangelisation (proselytism) from the point of view of eyewitness, which ties in perfectly with the preaching of St. John the Baptist.

        The same applies to your quote from Peter 1:5. St. Peter speak of witness in terms of being an eyewitness to historical events. He does not use the word ambiguously as a means of undermining evangelisation (proselytism).

        You’re cunning, I’ll give you that!

        July 29, 2015 at 11:34 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Athanasius, as I pointed out to Confitebor Domino, the only places, if we use Scripture, where proselytos occurs is when the authors describe Gentile converts to Judaism, not converts to Christianity. So strictly speaking, since the mission of the Church is not to convert Gentiles to Judaism, the proselytism has to be right out. Taking the contemporary meaning and inference to the word, I would direct you to for a prime example.

        July 30, 2015 at 2:54 am
      • Confitebor Domino


        [In reply to your post July 29, 9.44 pm, to which I can’t reply directly as the ‘reply’ button doesn’t appear there.]

        Neither of the citations you offer involve the verb εὐαγγελίζομαι or any of its derivatives. There are many examples to choose from but here is a typical one:

        ”And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many… “ (Ac xiv:20)

        I’m not for a moment suggesting that a life of witness isn’t necessary (though that can take a wide variety of forms). Rather I’m suggesting that it is positively (and deliberately) confusing to pretend that it’s the same thing as evangelization. A necessary adjunct yes but not the same thing.

        I don’t understand your purpose in offering a link to a nasty and ill-informed protestant site but it does explain a lot that you read such nonsense.

        As for the Orthodox it’s true that they have a correct understanding of ecumenism – the return of the lost sheep to the ‘one true fold of the Redeemer’ (Newman) – but unfortunately they are under the mistaken impression that it is their schismatic structure to which Newman’s phrase refers!

        July 29, 2015 at 11:23 pm
      • mastersamwise

        The only places, if we use Scripture, where proselytos occurs is when the authors describe Gentile converts to Judaism, not converts to Christianity.

        I would agree with that statement on the different but adjunct nature of evangelism. Would the evangelization of St John had been possible if he had not been a witness i.e. one willing to testify? I certainly don’t mean the word the way a Protestant does, desperate for some meaning to his religion not realizing he can find it simply enough.

        The purpose for linking to Jack Chick is to counter pose the efforts of proselytizing verses the efforts of genuine evangelization. I can speak from experience that more ground is gained with the Orthodox by discussing patristics over lunch and attending Vesper services. There is a lot of mistrust, especially in that quarter and I don’t blame them.

        July 29, 2015 at 11:47 pm
  • Frankier

    The population of every age is much higher than it has been in history but I don`t know if the number of the new born is, owing to the slaughter of the unwanted.

    We are always hearing about the old outnumbering the young but what can you expect when a large majority of the young are being denied access to the world.

    There were plenty of illnesses in the past that weren`t officially recorded and families looked after
    their elderly parents. Now it is rammed down our throats on a daily basis that people are living longer. meaning the elderly outnumber the young, so that we will all be ripe for the picking when euthanasia is introduced.

    July 6, 2015 at 8:37 pm
    • Alex F

      You reap what you sow. There is a disproportionate number of older people because the generation that is today in its seventies and eighties were the first to use contraception. The selfish attitudes of people today to thwart the gifts God has given them in return for a middle class lifestyle comes back to punish us when those children they did have don’t want to know them.

      That said, people are living longer. Scripture describes the age of a man as three-score years and ten. If you reached the age of seventy you were considered to have lived a long life. Retirement age in the UK is currently sixty-five for men. It was set at that age after the Napoleonic Wars for veterans because hardly anyone lived to that age. Today, if someone dies before sixty-five people say they have died young. It is not unusual to meet people in their eighties on the golf course.

      This is a good thing. But it has brought about its own challenges. The increased age has not brought about an increase in youthful health. People still have the same average amount of healthy years as they have always had; in fact, we possibly have fewer healthy years because our lifestyles are more unhealthy. Not many of us would have confidence in a seventy-five-year-old doctor, policeman or teacher. They may have a lot of experience, but we could not depend on their fitness for the job, unfortunately. Pope John Paul was a contemporary of people like Thatcher and Reagan, who both had Alzheimer’s disease. Whatever we might think of their politics, it is inconceivable that either might have been in office until they died, and yet it was demanded of the pope.

      July 6, 2015 at 9:28 pm
      • Alex F

        I’ve just had the most awful thought that if Pope Francis doesn’t retire, and with modern healthcare, we could in theory be stuck with him for another twenty years!

        God help us indeed! 😮

        July 6, 2015 at 9:41 pm
      • Frankier


        We are being brainwashed today and I think you have fallen for it slightly.
        There are plenty of elderly people still managing to do jobs that the
        young of today would baulk at. They aren’t all being shuffled around nursing homes although the media loves to portray that.

        When I left school, which certainly wasn’t yesterday, I started work as a Trainee Marketing Officer with the NCB. There was a man of 80 years of
        age weighing brick and coal lorries. He had to carry a round ball (56 lbs)
        from the end of the weigh arm to the beginning every time a lorry was weighed.

        Another elderly man, an Irish Catholic of 83 years of age, hand-sawed
        old railway sleepers into 8″ lengths before splitting them up and bagging them for the mine managers’ fires. They were given these along with
        limitless amounts of free coal as part of their salary.

        Other men of similar ages still worked as blacksmiths, joiners, engineers
        wagon repairers, etc.

        My own father was extremely disappointed when he had to leave his job as a plate layer in his 76th year owing to the industry running down.

        Nowadays, young men are doing jobs that would have been considered unmanly in those days. I myself used to carry a1cwt bag of cement under each arm when I worked in the construction industry and 32 bricks (2cwt) in a hod, now no one would be allowed to attempt to lift 1 bag unless it weighs only 24 kilo.

        Even council workers don’t have to bend to lift a piece of paper from the ground during their clean-ups. And they complain now about obesity.

        Nobody will tell me that people are fitter now than before. An old medical book I have states that ” you rarely get manual workers suffering from heart problems”. That is certainly not the case now.

        Again, when I was young I knew more centenarians than I do now.

        There are people, no doubt, who would probably be dead if it wasn’t for the advances in medicine but there are a lot more now that require that medication than they did in the past.

        Galloping up and down seafronts won’t prolong lives. You just need to look at most retired athletes to see if the benefits are long lasting. I still believe the continual (daily) brainwashing from the media going on about the cost of looking after the elderly has ulterior motives.

        A large percentage have to pay for their care through the sale of their
        hard earned properties. We never ever hear complaining about the cost of abortions, free contraception, sterilisation, vasectomies and their reversals or the cost of keeping prisoners in jails.

        Because someone reaches the end of their working life it doesn’t mean
        that they stop contributing to society. They are still taxed on everything they buy or earn and it isn’t returnable

        July 7, 2015 at 12:52 am
      • Christina

        Hear, hear Frankier. If I had anything to do with the pay-scale on this site you’d shoot to the top (Ed. won’t reward you for this one – she’s much too young (and glamorous).
        Seriously, there is a lot of sinister stuff in the media, obviously aimed, as you suggest, at preparing the population to accept euthanasia, possibly eventually compulsory euthanasia. Take the proliferation of ads and programmes dealing with ‘dementia’, not to mention those unspeakable elderly puppets on a loan company site. If I were a young person watching this stuff every day, I’d be thinking that everyone over 70 is ga-ga and a drain on the tax-payer. I wish, Alex, that I could find a 75 year old GP, and I am certain that if a primary school were opened, with teachers all over 75, it would turn out 11 year olds who were all literate and numerate, who could hold a pen and pencil correctly and do neat ‘joined-up’ writing, who had read a selection of children’s classics and modern children’s literature, who knew about the ancient Greeks and Romans, and had been thrilled by tales giving an overview of the history of Britain and of the geography of the world. I could go on – nature study, painting, composing poetry that rhymes and scans, and, if it were a Catholic school, a cover-to-cover knowledge of the Penny Catechism, Catholic prayers and hymns, and a sound preparation for the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. I’m sure one or two of the staff would manage the games and PE as well – but not I! IT? ? Er…………😕

        July 7, 2015 at 12:05 pm
      • Clotilde

        Well said Christina.

        You have it in one! Let’s open a school with you as teaching head! Joined up everything including writing!
        Our generation were never bored we didn’t know the meaning of the word because we were too busy reading or playing games we invented without tablets and iphones.
        I could still turn a skipping rope!

        July 7, 2015 at 5:23 pm
      • Christina

        OK then. And if you can still turn a skipping rope you can do the games and PE😁😁😁😁!

        July 8, 2015 at 9:11 am
  • spudeater

    Whilst admittedly I cannot claim to have ever seen the job description for the position of Pope, I am nevertheless reasonably sure that it is the shortest in the employment world at a mere six words – Feed My Lambs, Feed My Sheep.
    At the age of 78 and having only one lung, it’s perhaps not surprising that the current Holder of the Office has not for the first time made statements relating to artificially curtailed papal reigns. It’s difficult to know whether these remarks originate from a firm and long held belief that the Papacy should not be a lifelong position for the Holder or whether they have germinated in Francis’s mind solely over the relatively short time that he has had to bear the solemn and sacred duties that come with being the Vicar of Christ.
    Either way, it’s undeniable that whilst being Pope demands significant reserves of both spiritual and physical energy, the former are vastly more important than the latter. Perhaps Pope Francis wouldn’t feel so weighed-down if he spent far less time and effort flying halfway across the globe to say Mass before 1m or so (mostly) immodestly dressed Filipinos or to attend World Youth Day where it’s doubtful if even one of the young participants ever returns home having made any resolutions along the lines of ‘I must start saying the Rosary every day, I must read the lives of the saints, I must attend Mass more devoutly’ and instead, invested more time and effort revising the implications of his job description and benignly ‘dictating’ to his Flock at every opportunity as advised by St.Alcuin – ‘To feed the sheep is to support the believers in Christ from falling from the faith, to preach and exemplify our preaching by our lives, to resist adversaries, to correct wanderers.’

    In short, what the Sheep desperately need is not a peripatetic but a pastoral (in the best sense of the word) Pope

    July 6, 2015 at 8:45 pm
    • crofterlady

      spudeater, absolutely. And on the topic of WYD: 3 of our children went a few years ago and were scandalised. It seems most of the young people were certainly NOT Catholic in their behaviour and hadn’t got a clue about Catholic beliefs.

      July 6, 2015 at 10:32 pm
  • bencjcarter

    Excellent comment Spudeater. Less of the celeb Pope doing the rock concert tour and more of the … well …. Popes we had before that **** Council.

    July 6, 2015 at 9:26 pm
  • Athanasius

    The words of Pope Benedict XVI to the Consistory of Cardinals in February 2013 were “I renounce the Papacy,” not ‘I resign the Papacy’.

    It seems Pope Bergoglio is lost to the distinction between abdication and resignation. Any old politician or boardroom boss can resign, but only royal thrones can be renounced. Benedict XVI understood this distinction very well and declared accordingly.

    By stating that no office in the Church is for life, Pope Francis in fact is attempting to erase almost 2000 years of Sacred Tradition. Even by Modernist standards this is quite incredible and completely unjustifiable. From the very earliest times the clergy, from the Pope down, died in office. It would have been foreign to the mind of the Catholic clergyman at any time in history up to Vatican II to consider the possibility of retirement from the work assigned him by God.

    Even Pope John Paul II, committed Modernist that he was, when encouraged to retire at the height of his last illness, said: “Christ did not come down from the Cross, neither will I come down from mine”. It is just a great pity that the same Pontiff upheld during his tenure the thoroughly novel practice of obliging prelates and clerics themselves to offer their “resignation” from office at age 75, the first step to de-supernaturalising the sacred offices of the Church.

    Pope Francis is now taking that error to new heights by insisting that no office is immune from this new humanist view of the Church. No wonder lightening struck the cupola of St. Peter’s barely hours after Benedict consigned the Church to the disaster of a Jesuit Papacy, another phenomenon that no prelate before Vatican II could ever have contemplated happening. And the crisis just deepens and deepens, though not for much longer!!

    July 6, 2015 at 11:12 pm
    • mastersamwise

      “I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.”

      Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commisso renuntiare ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.

      He renounced the Petrine ministry and called for a new conclave to select a new Pontiff. He declared that upon Februrary 28th, the See of Rome would be vacant. Are you going to quibble over the authority of the decree or merely the wording he used? Certainly he has made his intent clear.

      July 27, 2015 at 8:38 pm
      • Christina

        MSW has said, in order of appearance on this insert-riddled thread:

        July 28th, 4.35pm: ‘Word choice is important’.
        29th, 8.51pm: ‘Words are everything. Misspoken words can throw a whole case’.
        28th, 4.40 pm: ‘Words are important. To ignore the words ‘sincere’ and ‘contrite’ are grave errors’.
        28th, 10.09pm: ‘Words are of severe importance’.
        29th, 6.51pm: ‘Words matter very much’.

        27th, 8.38pm: ‘Are you going to quibble over the authority of the decree or merely the wording he used?’


        July 30, 2015 at 4:10 am
      • mastersamwise

        Does the question shock you? Do you deny that there is a difference between heresy and poor word choice?

        July 30, 2015 at 11:46 am
      • Athanasius


        There is a recent excellent article on Rorati Caeli in which Pope Francis’ closest friends and advisers are unanimous that every word and action of his is very carefully calculated. Pope Francis is no buffoon, he’s a highly educated Jesuit.

        July 30, 2015 at 1:12 pm
      • Athanasius July 30, 2015 at 1:18 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Based on my church’s and the other churches of our tradition experiences with Jesuits, I too am apprehensive of a Jesuit in charge.

        But what is all this ” closest friends and advisers” talk? You would think this was a celebrity gossip magazine. I am just amazed how you have taken phrases and words then spun them into narratives of heresy and secret evil. He doesn’t use the words I would use, but then again, I am not Pope. Nor could I be even if I weren’t married, under the current canons. You Romans made sure of that.

        Regardless, he has said them and he is the Pope. What are we going to do about it? Buy into the secular narrative that he said atheists are going to heaven OR explain to the secular world what Redemption means? It is your choice. As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord. The Lord put the bishop of Rome in charge. I hope he does change the Church’s outlook on the modern world as Rorati Caeli writes. The modern world needs the Church to remind them of what they forgot.

        I will give you an example. Our church has long been suffering in our home country–I am part of the diaspora–from religious and political persecution. About the same time we stopped repeating our anathemas and began offering olive branches to forget some 1800 years of distrust and hatred, the church bombings decreased a little. Of course, that has changed now with the wars.

        July 30, 2015 at 4:32 pm
      • sixupman

        “Should Papal Office Have a Time Limit?”

        More to the point, should this conversation twixt “masterwise”, et al have a time limit?

        July 30, 2015 at 4:39 pm
      • editor


        I’ve already asked bloggers to move to the new thread, from which MSW has, whether deliberately or not, succeeded in putting on to the back burner. I’m done with this thread, and I advise you to do the same.

        July 30, 2015 at 5:53 pm
      • Athanasius


        You’re the one who says that words are of the utmost importance. Well, read the words again and deny that Pope Benedict, in using “renounce”, clearly intended to abdicate, not retire. You cannot talk your way around the obvious. Pope Francis is absolutely wrong to suggest that Benedict XVI created a new institution of papal retirement. He did no such thing, as his own words very clearly demonstrate.

        July 30, 2015 at 9:35 am
      • Christina

        Words are of the utmost importance, MSW insists repeatedly, until it suits his troll-like arguments to ignore them.

        July 30, 2015 at 10:11 am
      • mastersamwise

        If we are going to be truly precise, the word he said was renuntiare which is often translated reject, revoke, or retract. The word for abdicate is abrenutiare. So if we take him by is actual word and not the translation of the press, then he clearly intended to reject, retract, and revoke the papacy.

        Also, I was the one who said retirement. The Pope said the following. “In general, I think what Benedict so courageously did was to open the door to the popes emeritus. Benedict should not be considered an exception, but an institution…” I will admit my speech was careless. But, taking the Pope’s words about desiring more pope emeriti, we can look at the word emeritus which, in modern speech, is used to describe one who has retired from a post, typically academic or clerical. Words, after all, are important.

        So if Benedict’s declaration made him Pope Emeritus, and the word emeritus means one who is retired, then the declaration that he rejected the Papacy caused him to be retired.

        July 30, 2015 at 4:43 pm
      • Athanasius

        Francis insisted on ‘Pope Emeritus’ for Benedict, Cardinal Ratzinger (his true title now before Our Lord) did not wish it but went along with it. Pope Francis was laying some very clever ground well ahead of any of us.

        July 30, 2015 at 6:50 pm
      • mastersamwise

        Actually, the descion to call him emeritus came before even the conclave convened.

        So if there was any decision making, it happened while he was still Pope and Francis was still in Argentina. But if you have evidence of the contrary, please provide it.

        July 30, 2015 at 7:16 pm
  • editor

    Pope Francis is already preparing the ground for the forthcoming synod, Part Two. Am I misreading this, or is he actually suggesting that God will miraculously makes us all see that the Cardinal Kasper proposals for recognising second unions and same-sex unions, are really necessary? Is THAT the miracle to which he refers below? If so, then, while (like Therese) I do not agree in principle that there should be a time limit on the papal office, I’ll happily make an exception in his case. Let him renounce, resign, whatever – just go!


    The point of the meeting, known as a synod, is “to mature a true spiritual discernment and find concrete solutions to the many difficult and important challenges families must confront in our times,” Francis told the crowd in his native Spanish. “I ask you to intensify your prayer for this intention so that what still seems to be impure to us, to scandalize us, or frighten us, God … can transform it into a miracle,” he then exhorted them. “Families today need this miracle,” he added to his prepared text. Source Emphasis added.

    July 7, 2015 at 12:09 am
    • Summa

      Editor, that’s exactly what he is saying.

      Unfortunately, the odds are stacked in his favour to push through the Heresy.

      The problem with modernists is largely, not because they are willingly evil, but that they are blind and deaf to understanding the Truth, as a result of a career formation imbued in liberalism.

      This is often worse than being up against a malevolent.

      July 7, 2015 at 12:18 am
      • editor


        the fact that these Modernists hold high office within the Church, means that, however it came about, “career formation imbued in liberalism” or whatever, they are culpable for their failure to safeguard, nurture and teach the Catholic religion, to pass it on as it was handed down to us from the Apostles.

        The grace of their office was and remains available to them. That they choose to reject it in favour of “liberalism” will not go well for them at their judgment. They cannot claim invincible ignorance. They are culpable up to their eyeballs – as culpable as any medical doctor who allows himself to be led astray by quack theories instead of ensuring that he was properly educated in his chosen profession, and capable of giving his patients the very best of care.

        July 7, 2015 at 12:39 am
      • Summa

        I won’t take issue with your culpability statements. Yes they are culpable, because they refuse to examine the alternatives that are in front of them. That is there only hope, because even though they are blinded by formation, they are not immune to change through an examination of the Faith. This culpability extends to their suppression of the SSPX in the community whilst they happily promote ecumenical services.

        July 7, 2015 at 12:47 am
      • Athanasius

        No matter what Pope Francis intends by this Synod, the Holy Ghost will not permit any formal overturning of dogmatic moral teaching. That much we know for certain. The best these worldly innovators can hope for, then, is a nod and a wink to leave the moral latch off the back door in the dioceses and parishes of the world!

        It’s a bit like the Communion in the hand ruse. Introduced subversively and spread everywhere despite the (weak) opposition of the Popes. Same with extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Eventually, the average Catholic, uninformed and largely indifferent, comes to believe that these abuses are Church teaching when, in fact, the opposite is true. Maybe the Kasper train will go down the same road, but it will never be formally sanctioned at Synod II. They seem to forget that Our Lord is still in charge of His Church!

        July 7, 2015 at 1:05 am
      • Fidelis

        I think that’s the fear, as we know the teaching cannot change but they can make it look like it’s changed by allowing people who are living together and in same sex unions to go to Holy Communion. That’s the sign of unity in the faith. If they are allowed to go and we hear in sermons that by going to Communion we show our unity of belief, then the impression is given that there is no sin involved in sexual unions outside marriage. The next step will be to give them blessings in church is that is not already happening, which wouldn’t surprise me.

        July 7, 2015 at 11:41 am
      • Summa

        The prophetic Michael Davies in 1992

        The doctrine of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ was thus rejected by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council in favour of the Constitution of the United States, a country in which “the majority of men have thrust Jesus Christ and His holy law out of their lives; . . . where Our Lord and His holy law have no place either in private life or in politics,” a state which has become”nothing but a multitude, which is its own master and ruler.” There is no realistic possibility of the repudiation of Christ’s Kingship in Dignitatis humanae ever being reversed. This sublime teaching is not sacrosanct in the Church of the third millennium, but the non-infallible teaching of Vatican II most certainly is.

        July 7, 2015 at 11:45 am
  • Spero

    I agree that a formal denial of the Church’s moral dogmatic teaching will not come about at the Synod in October.
    However, even now, with the Pope’s infamous comments, daily homilies, appointments made and meetings with everyone apart from traditional Catholics, the heresies that were skulking in the shadows are now strutting their stuff in many parishes.
    There is a conviction now that the Pope himself believes what many lay people and clergy have been agitating for covertly, and in St. Andrews and Edinburgh under Cardinal O’Brien, not so covertly, for the last thirty years, or more.
    Mass goers want above all to seen as ‘nice’; saying people should be refused anything puts one in the ‘ not nice’ category.
    Add to this a complete ignorance of the faith and why it teaches as it does, and the Catholic Church in the mainstream will soon be barely recognisable…….. Except for a divine intervention.

    July 7, 2015 at 5:49 pm
    • editor


      A spot on synopsis of the sorry state of the Church today. Well said.

      July 7, 2015 at 11:53 pm
  • Benedict Carter

    And that’s coming, Spero.

    July 7, 2015 at 7:17 pm
  • Christina

    I’m still reeling from what this Pope seems to have said in Ecuador. Is the report by any chance a case of media manipulation? We really need to know what is behind the ellipsis in the fifth paragraph of the report. Does anyone now how to get it?

    July 8, 2015 at 10:14 am
  • Christina

    Or ‘know’ even!

    July 8, 2015 at 10:15 am
  • escriva josemaria

    I think pope francis was right the papal office should have limited times , because once you get old you can not have the strength to rule the entire catholic church

    July 11, 2015 at 2:09 pm
  • Athanasius

    Escriva josemaria

    That’s why there are Curial Offices in Rome and Cardinals and bishops all over the world, so that the Pope doesn’t have to run things all by himself. The Church managed just fine with that setup for nigh on 2000 years, so Pope Francis is plain wrong. The whole matter arises from a loss of supernatural faith and therefore too much emphasis being placed on the strength of the human body. Our Lord supplies all necessary spiritual and physical strength to those He places in office, o ye of little faith!

    July 11, 2015 at 3:25 pm
  • Laura

    IMHO the sooner this pope’s term of office comes to an end, the better. He’s one absolute disgrace.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

    July 18, 2015 at 9:44 pm

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