Vatican Protocol & Doctrine – Linked?

Vatican Protocol & Doctrine – Linked?

The Vatican Secretariat of State had specifically looked into changing the protocol, at Pope Francis’ request. As it turned out, the protocol was applied for the first time on the occasion of the visit by Argentina’s new President Mauricio Macri to the Vatican, where he attended an audience with Pope Francis on Saturday 27 February. From now on, Catholic heads of state in irregular marital unions will be able to meet the Pope along with their spouse and the latter will also be able to appear in official group photos when gifts are exchanged. Until today, in such cases, the husband or wife had to wait in another room and the Pope greeted them separately at the end of the audience. 

Pope Francis hugs US gay couple at the Vatican embassy, in 2015
Pope Francis hugs US ‘gay’ couple at
the Vatican embassy, in 2015

 Argentinian journalist Elisabetta Piqué was the first to announce the change in protocol in an article published by daily newspaper La Nación

 Secretariat of State sources confirmed to Vatican Insider that this change is in force as of now and applies to all Catholic heads of state on official visits to the Vatican. According to traditional protocol, only in cases of Catholic heads of state – being spiritual children of the Church – did the “regularity” of a marital state need to be take into consideration respecting Canon Law. 

 Argentina’s new President Mauricio Macri and his third wife, Juliana Awada, were the first to experience this change in etiquette. The decision was taken in light of something that occurred two years ago when a Latin American head of state who had married his wife in a civil ceremony met the Pope who then greeted the wife in a separate location. That was when he started thinking about changing the protocol that had been in place until then. In a statement about remarried divorces during his interview with journalists on the return flight from Mexico on 17 February, Francis said: “The key phrase used by the synod, which I’ll take up again, is ‘integrate’ in the life of the Church the wounded families, remarried families, etcetera.” The change in protocol is a small step in that direction.  Source


The feeling out on the street these days is that Pope Francis will come perilously close to making one of his many errors binding on Catholics – perhaps his assurance to Protestants and atheists that they needn’t worry about salvation, no need to convert,  or perhaps his confusing messages about marriage and the family (all shapes and sizes acceptable) or similar. The feeling out on the street is that this is likely to come about soon, and will provoke some major activity, either through the concerned members of the hierarchy or by direct divine intervention.  This news of a change in Vatican protocol seems to support the voices on the street. IS this a significant change, or does it really not matter that much?

Comments (90)

  • Fr Arthur

    The Holy Father speaking the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, the Vatican court which mainly deals with marriage annulment cases, said on 22nd January 2016:

    “Therefore, the Church, with a renewed sense of responsibility, continues to propose marriage in its essentials – offspring, good of the couple, unity, indissolubility, sacramentality – not as ideal only for a few – notwithstanding modern models centered on the ephemeral and the transient – but as a reality that, in the grace of Christ, can be experienced by all the baptized faithful,”

    The teaching is clear and consistent, as is his desire to integrate people, who cannot receive Holy Communion, in the life of The Church, including its worship at some level. As he said on the plane from Mexico in February: “This is the last thing. Integrating in the Church doesn’t mean receiving communion.”

    March 5, 2016 at 5:32 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      None of that changes the fact that it is absolutely wrong to meet people who are living together outside marriage or in homosexual unions, as if there was nothing wrong with that. This Pope is constantly contradicting himself, saying one thing one minute and the opposite the next, just exactly what Pope Saint Pius X said was the practise of modernists.

      This change of protocol sends the signal that it really is acceptable to have sex outside marriage. It’s truly shocking.

      March 5, 2016 at 7:04 pm
      • Constantine

        The queen doesn’t even need to wear black nowadays when meeting the pope at the Vatican.

        March 5, 2016 at 9:48 pm
      • editor

        We know. That’s not quite in the same league as cohabitees and those in other adulterous partnerships being included in meetings and photos. Think about it.

        March 5, 2016 at 10:01 pm
      • Constantine

        This WAS a significant change, the rest doesn’t really matter that much.

        March 5, 2016 at 10:12 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        I can actually agree with you. It was a significant change. The point is that The Vatican isn’t making judgements, and imposing archaic dress rules, on an Head of State because it recognises they are representing a Country and not their personal morality, or views, in honouring The Vicar of Christ, and The Church, on behalf of their nation, in visiting The Holy See. He is saying in name of The Church I welcome you, and I salute the people and nation, including its Catholics, that you represent.

        To snub them is to snub the nation they represent.

        That is why, significantly, the first to benefit from the latest protocol change is The President of Argentina, the home state of The Pope. The President of Argentina was elected by the people. Chinese leaders are not. I say that because only recently The UK gave a State visit to The Leader of China, where they have only just “relaxed” the one child rule, and where freedom for Christians are limited, and where things most of those who post here recognise as genuine Human Rights are denied. People will recall, too, Blessed Mother Teresa, was lambasted by Mr Hitchen for mixing with immoral world leaders precisely because she had to try to get them to open the door to welcome Jesus Christ, and help her to serve Christ in the poor and marginalised.

        The protocol must also be read in the light of the fact that The Bishop of Rome reiterates, at every opportunity, Church teaching on Marriage. For example see what The Pope said on January 22nd to The Roman Rota, which I quoted at the head of this thread.

        It is also wrong, misleading, and unfortunate, to illustrate a thread about the protocol for welcoming an Head of State with a photograph of Pope Francis welcoming private individuals. It is unlikely a photograph of the President of Argentina, and his “wife” is not available.

        March 6, 2016 at 6:00 am
      • Michaela

        I take it you are not a real priest?

        Would you please tell us if you are a priest, because, if so, I am totally scandalized by your inability to see the connection between changing this protocol and the Pope’s clearly stated intentions at the Synod of the Family, to find a way of allowing adulterers to receive Holy Communion, which, if he does, means he is guilty of heresy (and blasphemy).

        Please tell us if you are a real priest or if “Fr Arthur” is just a username.

        March 6, 2016 at 8:25 am
      • Fr Arthur

        Please see the first comment on this thread quoting The Pope: The teaching is clear and consistent, as is his desire to integrate people, who cannot receive Holy Communion, in the life of The Church, including its worship at some level. As he said on the plane from Mexico in February: “This is the last thing. Integrating in the Church doesn’t mean receiving communion.”

        March 6, 2016 at 12:59 pm
      • editor


        I’ve just deleted my previous response to you here, because, although I’m unable to go into details, I now have verification that Fr Arthur is, in fact a priest. I think we can tell from his comments so far, that he is not what we think of as a “traditional” priest, but he is a Catholic priest, so my apologies for wrongly stating otherwise.

        March 6, 2016 at 6:15 pm
      • Petrus

        This issue of the Vatican “snubbing nations” is a red herring. Nations, as well as individuals, have an obligation to keep God’s law, as well as individuals. Yours is an attempted defence of the indefensible.

        March 6, 2016 at 8:46 am
      • Fr Arthur

        The UK is not a Catholic Country, and many Christians of other traditions do not accept Catholic Teaching. Catholics are disproportionally, relative to their number in the nation, are massively over represented in our Prisons. Many Catholic Priests have done serious harm, but The Queen, as Head of State, afforded to The Pope, that is The Catholic Church, all that is normal for a State Visit in 2010. Was The Queen wrong?

        March 6, 2016 at 1:08 pm
      • Athanasius

        Fr. Arthur

        There is no such thing for a faithful Catholic as “other Christian traditions”. There is the Catholic Church, the true Church founded by Christ Our Lord, and there are heretical and schismatic sects. So, there is only one Christian Tradition, not many. Christ is whole and entire in His Mystical Body, not dismembered and spread around. The suggestion is blasphemous!

        I concur with Michaela, you are clearly not a Catholic priest.

        Ed: Athanasius, as I’ve now explained to Michaela, “Fr Arthur” IS a Catholic priest. More than that, I am not at liberty to say, except that he is clearly not what we consider to be “a traditional” priest – let’s see if we can change that!

        March 6, 2016 at 3:46 pm
      • editor

        Well, thank goodness you’re on OUR side. What would it be like if you were anti-Catholic?!

        March 6, 2016 at 6:16 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        I am not sure I understand what you mean by that. I have stated what The Pope has said about The Sacrament of Marriage and how he opposed Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried. On January 22nd when he spoke to The Roman Rota he also ruled out Gay Marriage. He said “there can be no confusion between the family willed by God and any other type of union.” I am the only one here actually quoting authentic Church Teaching from The Pope, and not looking for hidden meanings, or denying such facts.

        March 6, 2016 at 6:23 pm
      • editor

        No, you are the only one here who is ignoring facts – notably, the fact that Pope Francis speaks with forked tongue.

        He is on record with his permissive views on just about everything – and the fact that he sometimes says the opposite is, as we’ve all pointed out to you more than once, merely clear evidence that he is an outright modernist.

        Here’s some background on him – read it right through to see if you think the final synod document (a heck of a long time in coming) is likely to re-state Catholic teaching on marriage OR leave open the possibility of allowing Communion for the “remarried” after divorce. Click here to read the concerns of Cardinal Burke about the views and beliefs of Papa Francis on marriage. Seems he doesn’t believe in letting dogma get in the way of “pastoral care” (but then anyone who doesn’t know that by now, shouldn’t be out with their mother’s apron strings attached.)

        March 6, 2016 at 6:41 pm
      • editor

        You, are, as ever, way off beam. It’s these globe-trotting popes who are wrong. They should stay in the Vatican to do their job, not hobnob around the world watering down the Faith in the interests of diplomatic relations. Gimme strength.

        March 6, 2016 at 6:28 pm
      • Constantine

        Well, they should have stuck with Italian popes, aka the Archbishops of Milan. Cardinal Carlo Martini was the most grieveous loss of all.

        March 6, 2016 at 11:20 pm
      • Therese


        I understand you’re just having a larf, but do explain how this WAS such a significant change, whereas the pope greeting adulterers and sodomites as pals “doesn’t really matter” that much. I’m dying to hear.

        March 6, 2016 at 7:14 pm
      • Constantine

        Comment deleted.

        March 6, 2016 at 11:06 pm
      • Athanasius


        I’m all for a bit of banter like everyone else, but there are times when, with respect, it is misplaced. We are discussing here very serious matters pertaining to our holy religion and the salvation of souls. Not a subject for levity.

        I suspect that if you really took an interest you could present some interesting points for discussion. Why must all your contributions be of the short variety of no real substance?

        March 6, 2016 at 11:40 pm
      • editor


        Constantine’s comments, short or long, will now be vetted before any more are published on this blog.

        March 7, 2016 at 2:04 pm
    • Athanasius

      Fr. Arthur,

      You are correct to highlight those words of the Pope as perfectly consistent with Traditional teaching. However, it was remiss of you not to acknowledge at the same time that Pope Francis has also weakened the same moral teaching with statements and actions that are at best confusing and at worst downright heterodox.

      This was the dangerous mindset that Pope St. Pius X warned of when he said that one moment the Modernist says something perfectly consistent with Church teaching and the next he says something perfectly heterodox.

      I advise you to read the works of St. Pius X if you hope to understand the enigma that is Pope Francis.

      And one final thought. When Elton John is calling for his canonisation, having previously advocated that the Church be wiped from the face of the earth, you know that there is something seriously wrong at the top of the Church.

      March 5, 2016 at 7:51 pm
    • RCA Victor

      “Integrate” – aye, there’s the rub. Another word foreign to the Catholic lexicon, to be used to sneak into the “pastoral” realm of acceptance some behavior equally as foreign to the Catholic Faith, and therefore sinful and offensive to God (except, of course, for the laughable “god of surprises”). This Pope may fool some, but not all.

      March 6, 2016 at 12:40 am
    • Petrus

      I think this is baloney to be honest. Can there really be integration without Communion? No, the Pope is playing a game here and knows exactly what he is doing. He is desensitising the Catholic world to adultery. Softening up the ground. He is one dangerous individual.

      March 6, 2016 at 7:01 am
  • Spero

    Look, I know this isn’t as serious as the changing of practice associated with doctrine, but at a lesser level, the changing of protocol, in a way, is lethal. And it is so, precisely because it insinuates: it results in headlines such as this post.

    Before we know it, the full weight of what this means, of what this Pope is intending to convey to us, is a goer: assimilated: accepted. The new protocol implies that second, third marriages are absolutely fine with him. And if with him, who are we to ……….

    And Catholics the world over will pick up on that switch, and run with it.

    March 5, 2016 at 6:29 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      “The new protocol implies that second, third marriages are absolutely fine with him. And if with him, who are we to ……….” LOL!

      I agree – it is the implying that it is OK to “remarry” after divorce or to cohabit that is so completely appalling. No wonder so many young people can’t see any need to marry. Now it seems the pope thinks the same way!

      March 5, 2016 at 7:07 pm
  • Therese

    Pope Francis: CINO.

    March 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm
    • Margaret Mary



      March 5, 2016 at 7:07 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    This is unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. So, news from the Vatican: Holy Matrimony is no longer a Divinely instituted Sacrament which was instituted to be a permanent, faithful and fruitful union, but a free for all, where all sorts of ‘unions’ are recognised by the Pope. I could help but notice in that photograph of the Pope embracing (and being kissed by!!!) that ‘gay’ couple, there was a portrait of the great and holy Pope Pius XII in the background. I wonder what he would have thought about his successor? That, my dear friends, is rhetorical! I honestly wonder why I became Catholic, and given the overwhelming heresy reigning in the Church, the Protestantisation of the Church and the blindness and apostasy of the faithful, I sometimes wonder if we are in the true Church. I’m sorry, but that’s how I feel.

    March 5, 2016 at 7:45 pm
    • Misha

      I feel exactly the same after almost 7 decades and a constant kick in the teeth with every passing week when we see this kind of stuff…I was at the Gonzaga lecture a week ago and Lord Alton praised the current Pontiff to the heavens and missed the Zika virus/Belgian nuns and of course the Emma Bonino events. I left at the interval.

      March 5, 2016 at 8:03 pm
      • editor


        Lucky you, being allowed admittance to the Gonzaga Lectures. I was banned, along with a couple of our (elderly) readers a few years ago. Our parting shot as we were chucked out: “if this new “liberal” Catholic Church is so broad, how come there’s no room in it for us?”

        Door slammed. See if we care… 😯

        March 5, 2016 at 9:50 pm
      • Misha

        Banned, seriously? I though we lived in a Free Society gained for us by Battle of Britain Spitfire Pilots and a land free for heroes to live in?

        Dambusters music and all that jazz.

        March 5, 2016 at 11:03 pm
      • editor


        Yes, banned very seriously. And our crime? Well, in my own case, I listened closely to the speaker – a Sister Gemma Simmonds who came up from England, wearing a tartan outfit for the occasion, the occasion being to spout heresy to her gullible audience in Glasgow. I remember thinking “if only she’s paid half as much attention to getting the theology/ecclesiology right, as she’s spent in making sure she got her (Scottish) outfit right, there’d be no problem.

        Anyway, having listened to her baloney without interrupting her in any way, I then put up my hand to ask a question at the designated time. I began by congratulating her on her public speaking skills, before going in for the kill. I pointed out, as tactfully as I could muster, that what she had said about this or that (can’t recall the details) was not in harmony with the Church’s teaching etc. At no time did I raise my voice or be in any way rude to her. The man with the microphone, however, quickly moved on and – needless to say – she did not give a satisfactory response to my question. Anyway, that was the sum and substance of my contribution to the evening.

        So, imagine my surprise when, at the end, a couple approached me and the woman said that, since I’d identified myself as a teacher, all she could say was that she wouldn’t be happy if I were teaching any of her family. I was astonished, and said so. I asked her to specify what it was that I had said, that she thought was incorrect or objectionable. Her reply? Well, her reply was to admit that I’d not said anything that was not right, but that Sister was a visitor to Scotland and I had made her feel unwelcome. I mean, COULD you make this stuff up?

        In the case of the two elderly gentlemen chucked out with me, one of them had spoken to Sister Gemma at the end and pointed out her heresy (or one of them) and she lectured him for pointing his finger (people do that when they are caught out – they focus on some mannerism like that, as if it matters. Numpties.)

        The other gentleman was thrown out just because he was with the first gentleman!

        On the plus side, the three of us settled down to drown our sorrows in a nearby hostelry. The Diet Coke was lovely!

        March 6, 2016 at 12:02 am
      • Misha

        As you say it borders on a Monty Python sketch and would be funny if not so tragic….Image over substance is the modern way….oh BTW worth a Google on a subject called Neural Linguistic Programming….de rigeur these days…the New Black…adverts for “Practioners” in this black art of clever brainwashing (£90k SALARIES ETC) and used by employers TO CHANGE EMPLOYEES BEHAVIOURS! I sometimes wonder if the stuff we are seeing viz “Interviews” on planes, MSM, Vatican stuff as in Fr. Federico Lombardi buoying up of the recent travesty on the infamous Belgian nuns story (reinforcing as truth that which some thought as an urban myth) and the Bonino scandal plus some coming out of the Synod is actually NLP being used in full force..just a though.

        March 6, 2016 at 8:35 am
    • editor


      Well, it’s a pity that you wonder that. As already pointed out on another thread, nobody is bothering their heads about the much more “anti-Semitic” Anglican prayer for the Jews while bullying and badgering Rome to delete our much less forceful prayer, and the reason for that is simple. Everyone and their granny knows perfectly well where the Truth is to be found. As Cardinal Newman said: “The Catholic Church IS the Christian dispensation.”

      Not Anglicanism, not Presbyterianism, not Methodism or any other Christian-type group. The Catholic Church IS Christianity. That’s why it is being savagely attacked by diabolical forces at the present time.

      We do keep telling you to join up the dots, CC, but your repeated doubts suggest that you can’t see it yet. Quito, Fatima – God has sent His mother to warn us, to prepare for this onslaught, and so it strikes me as extremely odd for any informed Catholic – especially a convert who presumably has investigated, prayed and prepared in some depth before becoming a member of Christ’s Church, the Church Militant, a baptised and confirmed Soldier of Christ – to doubt it now, at this stage.

      But then, as they say in your neck of the UK woods – it takes all sorts 😉

      March 5, 2016 at 9:58 pm
      • Faith of Our Fathers

        Ed you answer in the only way that there can be an answer . I don’t know how many Thousands of Protestant sects there are ,but the one in our neck of the woods is commonly called The Church of Scotland ( or The Kirk for short) . In the 1970s I was working in one of these Halls and became friendly with the Minister and we used to have banter back and forth . One day it became serious and questions of Faith came up . He asked me some pertinent ones and I answered him back,then it was my turn . I asked him if he had a Christian Degree in Theology which he said he had .I then asked him why he was a Protestant Minister –Silence–he knew that Christ said to Peter “upon thy rock I will build my Church”alas for him Christ never said any of these words to The Moderator of The Church of Scotland.

        March 5, 2016 at 11:15 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        Dear Editor,

        Believe me, Ed, I DO believe and know the Catholic Church to be the True Church founded by Jesus Christ, and our Church is the Sign that has been contradicted through the centuries because it espouses eternal truth. The dots are well and truly joined up, and I do my level best to point out the apparitions of Our Lady at Quito, Fatima and Akita (though I draw the line at Muddy Gorge) and the errors of Vatican II, where ecumenism, interreligious unity, religious freedom etc are concerned. I apologise for wondering about the Church given what I know, but given our dark times, there are many more than me who think like this.


        Duly Reprimanded,


        March 6, 2016 at 11:58 am
      • editor


        Duly absolved!

        March 6, 2016 at 6:53 pm
  • Misha

    I went to see Lord David Alton and a chunk of the lecture was devoted to plugging a book for Rabbi Jonathan Sacks !

    March 5, 2016 at 10:39 pm
  • Misha

    I was looking forward to this lecture too, especially with the Zika virus/Belgian Congo/Bonino stuff hot off the press, but it trailed off and Sacks book front cover seemed to keep popping up on the overhead projector with somewhat glowing reviews from his Lordship.

    March 5, 2016 at 11:00 pm
  • christiana

    Well I am not quite so sure on this one. This is an adjustment to a diplomatic protocol for the reception of political heads of state. To accept one half of an illicit Union, usually I imagine, the man, and leave the “scarlet woman” in the cold is not really acceptable. Both or neither would be better. Unfortunately changing the rules out of courtesy does at the same time perhaps give the impression that the Pope accepts the situation but I am not sure that it does. I imagine we all have friends who are in second marriages. Would we only invite half of the couple to our homes? Common courtesy would demand that we treat both with love and respect not give either the cold shoulder wouldn’t it? Perhaps it would be better if heads of state who are in this situation were invited to attend without their partners coming at all rather than leave the woman outside during the audience.

    March 6, 2016 at 8:34 am
    • Petrus

      Christiana ,

      Actually, I would never formally acknowledge a couple who had entered into a second marriage. This means they would never get a formal invitation to my home and I would never refer to them as a married couple. I have work colleagues who have invited me to second “weddings” and I have always refused.

      However, this is not the same thing as a Pope formally recognising a common law “husband and wife” as a married couple. Whether it’s diplomatic or not, defending God’s law, upholding the Traditional teaching of the Church, is way more important than diplomatic visits to the Vatican. I mean let’s face it – these visits are pointless anyway. World War III is not going to hang in the balance based on whether of not Pope Francis recognises the President of Here, There and Everywhere’s bit on the side!

      I think those who seek to justify this scandal, do so because they don’t really see defending Traditional Marriage as very important. Human respect and maintaining friendship is way more important than God’s law!

      March 6, 2016 at 8:56 am
      • Fr Arthur

        I guess you are proved right if we ignore the universally accepted view that Pope John Paul helped bring about the collapse of The Soviet Union/Communism, and that Pope Francis helped bring about These men, and their diplomatic ties, clearly never achieved anything.

        March 6, 2016 at 4:12 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        I have just realised part of my original text is missing. It should read:


        I guess you are proved right if we ignore the universally accepted view that Pope John Paul helped bring about the collapse of The Soviet Union/Communism, and that Pope Francis helped bring about the reconciliation between Cuba and The USA. These men, and their diplomatic ties, clearly never achieved anything for the good of humankind.”

        March 6, 2016 at 7:07 pm
      • editor

        Fr Arthur,

        Communism is anything but dead. Far from it. In any case, it is a myth that Pope John Paul II is responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union/Communism (think: whatever happened to all those KGB agents – are they out of jobs or still working at the top of government in Russia?)

        It is ironic that so many people think that Pope JP II rid the world of Communism while making excuses for the same Pope failing to believe Our Lady’s promise to convert Russia sufficiently to make the Consecration of Russia in the prescribed manner (and thus truly end Communism).

        And now we’re hearing that Pope Francis helped bring about “the reconciliation between Cuba and the USA”. That’s a new one on moi.

        But, have I missed something? At a time when the Church is suffering the worst crisis ever in its history, we need a pope to focus on saving souls not improving international relations. I mean, are popes supposed to be doubling as politicians and inter-governmental diplomats?

        Who was it said: “Give unto Caesar…”?

        March 6, 2016 at 7:20 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        It would be truer to say that Pope Saint John Paul helped bring about the fall of the Iron Curtain, and the collapse of The Soviet Union, rather than the end of Communism. You can, I am sure, google to get reports on the role Pope Francis played in Cuba, but, you will easily discover, that is one reason Cuba hosted the meeting you felt uncomfortable about.

        I hope, too, you will take my word for it, but on your own blog, regularly commentators, sometimes praised by you, have praised President Putin, and said that he has been maligned in the west. That view was never challenged by you, or others. If that is true, then there is clearly no need for further change in Russia. (You may recall that a recent report said about 8 people have been murdered in The UK at his, President Putin, behest.)

        March 6, 2016 at 7:28 pm
      • Athanasius

        Fr. Arthur,

        In fact, the Glasnost and Peristroika (openness and restructuring) ushered in by Gorbachev was not what everyone thought. A weak and liberal Western Europe was ripe for the next move in the Communist plan for global domination. When the Berlin Wall came down it did not signify and end to Communism in Russia. Rather, it meant that Communism was expanding anew, like a smiling assassin, into all the former Christian nations. If you examine closely the aggressive atheistic spirit that has taken hold on the governments and peoples of the Western European nations since the so-called fall of Communism in Russia, there is only one conclusion that can be reached, and it is not that Communism is defunct!

        Communism is primarily identified by its aggressive atheism, in particular it’s hatred for all things Christian, especially the family. Our Lady of Fatima said that the errors of Russia would spread and consume the world and that is precisley what has happened in our time. Pope John Paul’s efforts did not weaken Communism in any way, they rather facilitated the expansionist plans laid out in the minutest detail by Lenin all those years ago and followed to the letter to this day. The USSR was at serious risk of collapse in 1989, not least financially. It had no option but to move to the next phase of expansionism. And it has paid off. Russia is now one of the most powerful and militarily dangerous countries in the world, with sadly not a single noble Christian country left to counter its threat.

        Our Lady said it would be used by God as an instrument of chastisement on the careless and neglectful nations of the world. Well, so far that prophecy is 100% accurate. Socialist Democracy is just Communism by any other name.

        March 6, 2016 at 10:08 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        If you think communism, and atheism, is ripe in the world then how do you account for the problems of the poor, and dispossess, and the rise of many religions other than Catholicism in the world. I have no read one commentator that says that Mr Gorbachev was not the real deal by the way. Mrs Thatcher would not have lightly said “I can do business with him.”.

        March 7, 2016 at 5:30 am
      • Misha

        Vladimir Putin is a serious stateman unlike the schills we have today, so far he has prevented a Third World War being manufactured (several times) by Obama, Netanyahu, Hollande, Phil Hammond and previously William Hague and their ilk on Iran, Ukraine and other places as the Military Industrial Complex INVENT new enemies to sell their wares to and organise coups to remove the governments of other countries that THEY wish to run instead of the people of those countries. If they were altruistic they would have removed Mugabe years ago,but he has nothing of value. We live with deconstruction in speech parroted by the media as in :- Moderate rebels (who only murder Christians moderately) and PARTIAL ceasefires. Putin seems more Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury….his latest statement is “as regards the Syrian rebels, it is up to God to judge them, however I will be sending them to God”….The west decided to usurp the government of Syria (Assad is no more a despot than so many other despots out there) as they did in the Ukraine Russia is now being demonised by their stand on the Winter Olympics at Socchi and by daring to challenge the Gay Agenda…so they should have the World Cup hosting taken away and banned from further Olympics, (all because of the Putin anti-gay stance) and while we are at it start a Third World War with them. The Iran nuclear caper was all trumped up and surprisingly Putin is about the only serious world leader who is against abortion.And finally while Elton John wishes to “sort out Putin” over the Gay Agenda, will he pop in to sort out the Saudi King and drop by all the Gulf states as well and put them right,calling in to Iran on his way back? We have World Wars orchestrated for profit and over greed and jealousy..The First World War docu-drama in 2014 on the BBC had a scene where King George V said to his Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey “Sir Edward, FIND me a way to go to war with my cousin Kaiser Wilhelm !”…Queen Victoria was their grandmother…Putin so far has spoiled the many machinations of the political elite in marching the West to war, which this time is unwinnable and would be the biggest loss of human life on this planet and an extinction event…..they current talk is “use of strategic nukes” as if they they are merely hand grenades.

        March 7, 2016 at 9:10 am
      • Fr Arthur


        I assume you have no access to news broadcasts. However, for simplicity you will see that on this very thread The Editor has written about the crimes of Putin.

        However, just to tell you more Russia is currently experiencing sanctions because of the illegal occupation of The Ukraine, and Putin is suspected of war crimes, in support of Assad, in Syria. Further an official report, published recently, states that there is evidence Putin has had eight political opponents murdered in the UK.

        March 7, 2016 at 1:46 pm
      • editor


        You say “Putin seems more Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury” Well your perception is flatly wrong. Putin is no more “Christian” than any other gangster.

        Putin is a ruthless gangster. Google “The truth about Putin” and you will find plenty that shows him to be anything but “Christian”.

        And may I remind you that this blog is a forum for discussing the crisis in the Catholic Church. Do not bring party or international politics into it, please and thank you. When such matters are pertinent, we discuss them here. This thread is to discuss the relationship between Vatican protocol in papal meetings and photographing sessions with those in adulterous unions, and the teaching of the Church on the indissolubility of marriage. Please stick to that, as any further political speeches will be deleted.

        March 7, 2016 at 4:20 pm
      • Athanasius


        One of the great tricks of Marxism is to keep its own house free from pollution while spreading pollution everywhere else.

        Here’s something that might change your opinion:

        Russia’s Role in Internet Child Pornography

        Priest Calls for Action Against Child Pornography

        VATICAN CITY, MARCH 20, 2011 ( – The founder of a protection agency actively battling pedophilia and child pornography is calling for better ways of policing Internet sites, especially in certain countries, that proliferate these crimes.

        Father Fortunato di Noto, head of the Italy-based Meter Association, made this appeal on Wednesday when he held a press conference at the headquarters of Vatican Radio to release a 2010 report on pedophilia and child pornography.

        The report noted that 57% of Internet servers discovered by the association that manage the traffic of child pornography are found in European countries, with 38% in the Americas, 4% in Asia, 0.40% in Africa, and 0.27% in Oceania.

        In Africa, 100% of these sites are located on servers in Libya. In the Americas, 94% of the sites are in the United States, 2% in the Dominican Republic, 2% in Ecuador, and 2% in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

        “In regard to Europe,” Father Di Noto reported, “Russia has 99% of the domains, and the remaining 1% is divided between Italy, Liechtenstein, Ukraine, Rumania, Slovakia, Germany, Holland, Greece and Belgium.”

        He continued: “In Asia, Hong Kong dominates (50.1%), whereas the rest is divided between India, China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam.

        “Nor are child pornography domains lacking at the other end of the world. They are in the Cocos Islands (an Australian territory with less than 600 inhabitants in the Indian Ocean), and Tonga and Tuvalu, an archipelago of atolls midway between Hawaii and Australia.”

        The priest observed that this shows that wherever there is no appropriate legislation to fight against the circulation of material of this type, the only instrument that can be relied on is to ask the server providers to darken the criminal images.

        He explained that this job that is even more complicated because of the fact that some countries such as Russia and the United States offer platforms of anonymous service, where thousands of sites come together and are thus able to evade the controls.

        Fighting crime

        Nonetheless, Meter has been working on several initiatives to fight these crimes and raise awareness among Internet users.

        From April 25 to May 1, the association will sponsor a week for Children Victims of Violence, Abuse and Indifference.

        It also runs a national hotline for aiding victims and giving telephone consultations. The association provides a forum for Internet users to report suspicious activity, and partners with the Italian authorities in charge of policing the Internet to bring criminals to justice.

        The association is actively involved in prevention, education and information, carried out through the organization of 68 congresses and meetings centered primarily on the topics of the Internet and the new media.

        Father Di Noto affirmed that “Meter is at the service of the Church, of the Pope, of the bishops and of the dioceses in what concerns the ministry for pre-adolescents, adolescents, young people in the educational realm and support in new forms of exploitation and abuse, in addition to itineraries of faith in the light of the hope that is revived.”

        The association, which collaborates with groups in France, Austria, Switzerland, Brazil and Paraguay, has been called on several times in the last eight years to speak in various Italian dioceses and other groups.

        Episcopal vicar

        Father Di Noto emphasizes the need to establish an “episcopal vicar for children” in all dioceses.

        This proposal, he said, does not seek the creation of more figures or offices, will give “a clear and evident sign of how the Church loves children.”

        The priest stated: “I often wonder why in parish pastoral councils or in the dioceses there is a youth ministry but not one for children. Therefore, we should reinvent our way of carrying out pastoral work.”

        Father Di Noto asserted that the real challenge is to enable “the victims who have lost hope to come out of the tunnel of silence and find their dignity again, a dignity that has been darkened precisely by those that more than anyone should protect and love them: fathers and teachers.”

        “Because,” he added, “I can guarantee to you that when God hears the cry of children, there will be no Church that can resist, no society that can resist, because it will be God who will cry out for them; and there won’t be a conscience that can be placated, because God will get furious in his mercy.”

        “No one should remain silent here,” Father Di Noto said. “All should go out to make a cultural revolution.”

        March 7, 2016 at 7:51 pm
      • Athanasius

        Fr. Arthur

        With respect, you are very naive if you believe that Communism as an ideology cares about the poor and dispossesed. Is this what you see in China and North Korea, for example? No, concern for the poor is merely the carrot it dangles to gain a foothold amongst the proletariat. It is a point of historical fact that Communism has had international banking systems behind it since 1917.

        Take a trip down memory lane and research the straights to which the peoples of the USSR were reduced before the great “conversion” under Gorbachev. The Communist countries were bankrupt and the people were starving and brutalised in exactly the way Pope Pius XI predicted for all nations subjugated by that evil system.

        Understanding what Communism is and how it works is crucial for all who would save Christianity from its fratricidal programme.

        The first thing to note is that Communism is fully adaptable to any economic and political system, its primary aim being to destroy Christianity and all God-given authority on earth. Once you grasp this, you’ll understand that it was not for idle reasons that the Popes called the system “diabolical”.

        Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in the late 80s you will have noticed how every formerly-Christian nation in Western Europe has gradually become more and more hostile to Christ Our Lord and His teaching, not to mention the Commandments. All manner of moral evils have taken root in our once-noble Christian countries with everything being turned on its head so that that which was once good is now bad and that which was once bad is now good and praiseworthy. Wicked legislation has been enforced without consultation to the great detriment of family life and those who oppose the evils are threatened with prison and punishment.

        It may also interest you to know that long before Vatican II, Communism promoted religious ecumenism. Yes, the USSR, while brutally persecuting Christians within its own borders used every opportunity at the international level to promote “dialogue” and “cooperation” amongst the world’s religions. They did this in the sure knowledge that such mixing of religious truth with error is certain to end in confusion and loss of religious faith amongst the masses. How right that assumption was! They couldn’t get to the Christian nations at that time, so they promoted a system that they new would weaken Christianity from within and prepare it for eventual neutralisation. This is the process we see being completed before our very eyes today.

        They made no secret about their plans, you can still find their proud predictions from decades ago online.

        I strongly advise a read of Pius XI’s Divini Redemptoris, here:

        March 7, 2016 at 7:32 pm
      • Faith of Our Fathers

        Let’s not beat about the bush here . When the Iron Curtain fell like it or not Europe became more open.Also since the 80s there have been great strides in Science and if you don’t believe me then you must believe Mr Stephen Hawkings -Richard Dawkins ,and a host of other Atheistic Scientists who in their quest to find The God Particle and destroy Planet Earth to say that there is no God has been dramatic .I was speaking just a few weeks ago to a Lapsed Catholic who stated to me that SCIENCE has proven that there is no God and that Jesus Christ was some figment of someone’s imagination .Now this thinking along with the Satanists who crawl the Internet has also gone a long way in watering down the Faith.Imean now there is a so called new religion of The Universe I E you just wish for something like a new car and Hey Presto it arrives at your door . Of course in all of this wishful thinking The Universals don’t say that you have to keep up with the monthly payments. What am really trying to get over is that so called Modern thinking has eroded the Faith to those who wish to believe in it . Just last week a well known Atheistic Scientist was on the T V and he actually said for life to have begun on Earh was a miracle,the mind boggles but obviously not his.

        March 7, 2016 at 5:38 pm
      • editor

        Fr Arthur,

        You are very wrong to say that I have never challenged praise of Putin. Far from it. I’ve described him as a “gangster” on more than one occasion. I have no recollection of allowing any praise of him to go uncorrected, but if you can point me to any such comment, giving the topic thread, and if possible the date, I’ll take a look asap and respond.

        Yes, people have been murdered on the orders of Putin, including any journalist who dared to question his regime. So, there is no way that I would participate in, or leave uncorrected, any praise of Putin on this blog – be assured.

        March 6, 2016 at 10:11 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        I didn’t say you have never challenged Putin personally. I said you have not challenged regular commentators you sometimes praise, who have spoken highly of him, and said he is falsely maligned by the west.

        March 7, 2016 at 5:26 am
      • editor

        That’s either because I haven’t seen them or perhaps any reference to Putin was a side issue which didn’t register with me. Much as I try to keep on top of this blog, I am guilty of not noticing everything – whether good or bad.

        March 7, 2016 at 9:20 am
      • Fr Arthur

        May I refer to the post by Misha, on this very thread, canonising Putin.

        March 7, 2016 at 1:41 pm
      • editor

        Fr Arthur

        I have just this minute seen and responded to Misha’s comment.

        March 7, 2016 at 4:22 pm
      • Fr Arthur


        With regards “Give unto Caesar….” historically many who have occupied The See of Peter have engaged in Diplomatic efforts on a large scale, and not least, and more recently Benedict XV, and Pius Xll in relation to two World Wars.

        March 6, 2016 at 7:38 pm
      • editor

        Fr Arthur,

        I think input into preventing or ending world wars is on a rather different scale from what we are witnessing today; globe-trotting popes are now an industry.

        March 6, 2016 at 10:12 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        For speed, alone, I gave the two examples I did. There are others throughout history. In many places The Church in a particular nation has revived, or been strengthened because a Pope has been on a pastoral visit. I am pretty confident that Jesus, and St Peter, travelled widely to share The Good News too.

        March 7, 2016 at 5:33 am
      • editor

        The globe-trotting as pope celebrities is a modern phenomenon. And I cannot remember any of these contemporary papal visits which could be described as reflecting the Catholic vocation (let alone papal duty) to spread the Faith.

        Indeed, on his first visit to the UK, I remember the shocking prohibition placed by the English cardinal on Pope John Paul II, to NOT preach about contraception while in England. He complied. While north of the border he did make a reference to Catholic teaching on the family but, how appalling that he put diplomacy before the truth, while in England.

        March 7, 2016 at 9:23 am
      • lupine22

        Who was that Cardinal in 82..(Hume?)

        March 7, 2016 at 7:08 pm
      • editor

        Yes, Cardinal Hume.

        March 7, 2016 at 11:42 pm
      • Christina

        Petrus, just curious. Would you invite into your home 1. an unmarried couple who live together, and 2. a couple married in the Church (in a mixed marriage), after which both joined the Wee Frees and brought up their children in that heretical sect? I ask because it seems to me that such couples are in broadly the same sort of moral wilderness as second ‘marriage’ partners.

        March 7, 2016 at 11:03 am
    • Fr Arthur

      Christiana if spouses normally accompany the Leader, of whatever nation, it wouldn’t help to say leave them behind.

      March 6, 2016 at 4:14 pm
  • christiana

    I hear what you say Petrus and I suppose it does look as though I am attempting to justify this scandal. I have a younger brother who married young to a girl whom we all thought would be a disaster and so she proved to be. After about twenty very unhappy years he left her and ‘married’ a delightful lady and they are extremely happy together. Should I refuse to invite them to my home? My brother no longer practices as a Catholic of course. My other brother died young. It is a sad situation and I know that my brother knows I do not agree with divorce and remarriage. I am afraid I leave the judgement to God and welcome them both, and love them both. My sister in law is one of the kindest people I know.
    Look at the wonderful story of the woman at the well. Our Lord was clear that he knew that she was in an irregular Union but he still engaged with her with love even though he told her that she was wrong. He asked her for water flying in the face of Jewish custom which would have demanded that he shun such a person.

    March 6, 2016 at 10:21 am
    • Petrus

      I don’t think it’s for me to say what you should and shouldn’t do. Personally, I would never refer to the lady in question as my “sister in law”. I wouldn’t stop them from coming to visit but I wouldn’t ever extend any invitation or do anything that would be seen to be acknowledging the adultery (attending anniversary celebrations etc).

      March 6, 2016 at 12:24 pm
    • Petrus

      I don’t really think using the story of the woman at the well cuts the mustard here. Our Lord could read the woman’s soul and called her to conversion. In no way did He simply ignore the irregular situation.

      March 6, 2016 at 12:30 pm
      • Misha

        Everything in my ‘umble opinion right now coming from the Vatican is like a “tutorial in Neuro Linguistic Programming”…we are being reprogrammed to rethink the previously unthinkable. Hence the sound bites, the Alitalia Shepherd 1 plane one liners (who am I to judge caper)…..yes the call sign of the Papal Plane is Shepherd1 and this is akin to the Hollywood nonsense as in AirForce1…..and THEN we are told to STOP OBSESSING ABOUT ABORTION!

        March 6, 2016 at 3:12 pm
      • lupine22

        And the “Powers that Be” rail against those who refuse to be REprogrammed…and this is not conspiracy theory stuff..just Google this and you could paper the walls with this new psychobabble…from the Named Person stuff to the demonising of so called Schismatic Ultra Orthodox anti semitic SSPX to communion in the hand, to divorce (sorry, annullments) to obsessing about abortion, to celebrating (sorry, Commemorating) Luther and so it goes on.

        March 6, 2016 at 3:22 pm
    • Fr Arthur

      Christina. You give a good example of love in action, and a further one of how dialogue, and a personal encounter with Jesus, can bring about change.

      March 6, 2016 at 4:16 pm
      • editor

        What change? We’ve all got these kinds of situations in our families and I’m sure we are all as courteous as we can be in the circumstances, but, in my own situation, when a co-habiting relative of mine appeared to be close to death at one point, not that long ago, he refused my suggestion that he send for the priest.

        There’s obviously no point in handing our relatives and friends excuses to blame the Church for their own choices, but showing what YOU consider to be “love in action” doesn’t necessarily lead to “dialogue” and “a personal encounter with Jesus” – especially the key encounter which can only take place in the Confessional.

        So, let’s not go for the superficial emotional approach, please and thank you.

        March 6, 2016 at 6:33 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        I think I was, rightly, speaking of the dialogue that happened at The Well, when Jesus encountered The Samaritan Woman. The question of how an individual faces death, is surely up to them. You, in good faith and conscience, offered to get a priest. Your relative had a right to decline that offer, even if you, and I, might wish they accepted the offer.

        March 6, 2016 at 6:40 pm
      • editor

        Fr Arthur,

        While – so far at least – I’ve disagreed with most, if not all of the content of your comments, I have now discovered that I owe you an apology for declaring, above, that you are not a priest. I now know that this is not the case, so I apologise for any offence caused.

        I am really astonished that you think my relative had a “right” to decline the offer to get a priest to come to see him when he appeared to be at death’s door.

        Do any of us have the “right” to refuse God’s saving grace? I mean, I know we have free will and that means that we are physically free to refuse the Faith – but morally free? The “right”?

        I can’t see it. In fact, I remember the story told in the life of one of the great saints (so “great” that I can’t remember which one!) who attended the death bed of a man who had lived a most sinful life and who didn’t want his wife to send for the priest. When the priest arrived, the man shouted at him to go away and this refusal went on for some time, with both priest and wife trying to persuade him to confess and receive the Last Rites. In the end, the priest moved towards the door, stood at the door for a moment and looked back at the man in the bed. The man snarled a final time, asking him what it was the priest was looking at, he was fed up asking him to go away.

        The priest replied that he had been at many death beds when he was certain that the soul was saved and would go to Heaven in due course. This, he said, was the first time that he was certain the soul was destined for Hell.

        Thankfully, the man gave in and died having repented and received the Last Rites, but what if that priest-saint had decided that it was the sick man’s “right” to decline God’s saving grace, even as he was about to meet Him at his Judgment?

        March 6, 2016 at 7:08 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        I am not sure but I believe The Church teaches that “the only sin that cannot be forgiven”, is to resist, or deny, The Holy Spirit in such circumstances. Further, in terms of free will, which is central to our understanding of humanity, that means a person may indeed refuse the offer of a priest. I think I ended my comment by saying it may not be what you, or I, would wish.

        March 6, 2016 at 7:12 pm
      • diamhuireduit

        is surely up to them.
        And THIS from a priest! Shame.

        March 7, 2016 at 2:23 pm
      • Christina

        Fr Arthur, please distinguish between Christiana and Christina in your posts. Its all in the eye!

        March 7, 2016 at 11:07 am
      • christiana

        Sorry Christina that we keep getting mixed up. If I had realized that there was such a similar name I would have chosen something else. I would be happy to change to Elizabeth if that would help if I knew how to do it!

        March 7, 2016 at 12:38 pm
      • Christina

        Christiana, no, I’d hate you to do that. The problem is that some bloggers are careless, and there’s really no excuse for that since ‘kris-tee-AN-a’ and ‘kris-TEEN-a’ look and sound completely different from one another. Word-blind muppets😬!

        March 7, 2016 at 10:05 pm
  • Athanasius

    Fr. Arthur,

    I also concluded wrongly that you were not a priest. In my defence, my conclusion was reached, perhaps hastily, on your original comment which, shall we say, was not exactly the most objectively truthful presentation of Pope Francis’ mixed messages to the Church. Clear declarations on the Church’s moral teaching are always most welcome from the Successor of St. Peter. Contrary ambiguous statements elsewhere, however, serve only to confuse and divide the Church. There is no question that Pope Francis has caused great confusion and division by this means since his election. And that’s just being perfectly honest, which the Pope himself said he respects from subordinates in regard to his views and actions.

    Now, resisting the known truth, despair and final impenitance are those sins called sins against the Holy Ghost that Our Lord said will not be forgiven. Resisting the known truth is what the Pharisees were guilty of, and others after them. Despair of God’s mercy was obviously Judas’ downfall, not his betrayal. And final impenitence is to refuse up to the last breath the mercy of God. People may have the free will to go down so deadly a road but they can never be said to have the right to do so. No one has the right to offend God.

    The confusion that exists today between free will and freedom of conscience has so skewed the truth that now almost everyone declares it an inalienble right for all to hold and spread whatever opinions they consider to be true. This Modernist doctrine, which appeared in Catholic teaching with Vatican II, but was formally condemned before, is most deadly when it is applied to religion, for it accords rights to both truth and error and results in the Church’s perennial teaching on religious tolerance being twisted into religious freedom. It is the gravest sin against charity to confirm our neighbour in their religious errors on the grounds that they are free to choose whatever religion seems best in accordance with conscience, provided they do so honestly. This perverse notion eradicates the Traditional teaching of the Church that individual conscience can be, and often is, badly formed. While none of us has a right to force others to alter a badly formed conscience by force, we are nevertheless duty bound by our Catholic faith to attempt to correct error. What we must never do is condone religious error as legitimate in the eyes of God. Such a mindset is destructive of the true religion and Church established by God for the salvation of souls. In this regard, the ecumenical movement together with these inter-religious initiatives of recent decades are a great lie based on a blurring of the distinction between free will and freedom of conscience, and consequently religious tolerance and religious freedom.

    The Church has always upheld the former but condemned and proscribed the latter in her formal teaching, that’s why nothing pre-Vatican II is ever cited in support of this conciliar innovation.

    March 6, 2016 at 9:29 pm
  • Elizabeth

    Testing change of username from Christiana to Elizabeth!

    March 7, 2016 at 6:01 pm
    • jimislander

      Its working 🙂

      March 7, 2016 at 8:29 pm
    • Christina

      Now I feel really bad – see my post above. I honestly couldn’t understand why folk didn’t take more care! Anyway, now I’ll have to find something else to nag about 😡.

      March 7, 2016 at 10:15 pm
      • Elizabeth

        No worries! I don’t mind in the least.

        March 7, 2016 at 10:23 pm
      • editor

        Don’t feel bad Christina – I actually agree with Christiana/Elizabeth that it is less confusing now that she has changed her username. And I’m delighted to have an “Elizabeth” among us – that was my beloved mother’s name.

        March 7, 2016 at 11:37 pm
  • Therese

    change of username from Christina

    Are you two playing head games? If so, they’re working…….

    March 7, 2016 at 11:09 pm
    • editor

      Oops! That was my fault. I did the test email – I’ll go in and add the “a” to Christiana right now! And I’ll bold the “a” for good measure!

      March 7, 2016 at 11:35 pm
  • Christina

    Ah well, a rose by any other name……..

    March 9, 2016 at 10:39 pm

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: