Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Time To Turn In My Traditionalist Card?

In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis entitled one section, "No To Spiritual Worldliness."  The Holy Father defined "spiritual worldliness" as follows (paragraph 93):
Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being. It is what the Lord reprimanded the Pharisees for: “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (Jn 5:44). It is a subtle way of seeking one’s “own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:21). It takes on many forms, depending on the kinds of persons and groups into which it seeps. Since it is based on carefully cultivated appearances, it is not always linked to outward sin; from without, everything appears as it should be. But if it were to seep into the Church, “IT WOULD BE INFINITELY MORE DISASTROUS THAN ANY OTHER WORLDLINESS WHICH IS SIMPLY MORAL.”.  [emphasis mine]
Pope Francis is telling us that spiritual worldliness is counterfeit spirituality. It looks like it is from God, but it is actually from the world, which means it is from Satan. This is pretty heavy stuff. This paragraph is actually summarized in one verse of the Bible: II Corinthians 11:14 - "Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."

So how can we tell the difference? When do we know whether spirituality is from God or from Satan? As Pope Francis tells us, spiritual worldliness can look like the real thing because it is "based on carefully cultivated appearances." So we know we can't go by appearances. Something may look divine but in actuality it could be diabolical.

In the next paragraph (paragraph #94), Pope Francis writes:
This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings. The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.
Prometheus stealing fire from the gods
What in the world is "self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism"? Taking it apart: self-absorbed, of course, is someone whose main interest is himself, who is basically looking inward and not outward towards God or his fellow man. "Promethean", according to the dictionary, means "creative; boldly original." In mythology, Prometheus defied the gods and stole fire from heaven and gave it to humans. Therefore, to be "promethean" in the sense that Pope Francis uses it, means to take for ourselves what belongs to God. "Pelagianism" was the heresy of denial of original sin and man's ability. apart from God, to choose good or evil. When the Holy Father talks about "neopelagianism", he means someone who believes they can choose good or evil without the guidance of the Magesterium of the Catholic Church and, by extension, without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Father ends this sentence with "those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past." Instead of listening to the Church, they listen only to what they want to hear, only to those things that please them, and block everything else out.

Therefore, "self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism" is basically a Catholic who has made himself his own Magesterium, deciding for himself what is right or wrong in the church, and what is important and not important, completely disregarding the teachings of the Church's Magesterium. Pope Francis is warning us that this can actually take on the appearance of true spirituality because it is using the forms of spirituality without the substance, and therefore can be very deceptive.  This spiritual wordliness, as the Holy Father warns us, is self absorbed and not really concerned about Jesus Christ or others.

Another phrase used by the Pope which needs definition is "anthropocentric immanentism." Anthropocentric means "Interpreting reality exclusively in terms of human values and experience." Again, as being used by the Pope, this means interpreting things according to our own reasoning and excluding the teachings of the Magesterium. Immanentism means "being within the limits of possible experience or knowledge." In other words, immanentism means that we don't need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who works through the Catholic Church, to lead us into truth. I would interpret this to mean that those who are guilty of anthropocentric immanentism are those who believe that they have the capability, apart from the Magesterium of the Church, to decide what is of spiritual value and what should be rejected.

Pope Francis, in the next paragraph, not only speaks of those with an "ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy" but he also warns of another attitude which appears to be the exact opposite but is actually just the other side of the same coin.  It is those whose "spiritual worldliness lurks behind a fascination with social and political gain, or pride in their ability to manage practical affairs, or an obsession with programmes of self-help and self-realization."

From paragraph #95:
This insidious worldliness is evident in a number of attitudes which appear opposed, yet all have the same pretence of “taking over the space of the Church”. In some people we see an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people and the concrete needs of the present time. In this way, the life of the Church turns into a museum piece or something which is the property of a select few. In others, this spiritual worldliness lurks behind a fascination with social and political gain, or pride in their ability to manage practical affairs, or an obsession with programmes of self-help and self-realization. It can also translate into a concern to be seen, into a social life full of appearances, meetings, dinners and receptions. It can also lead to a business mentality, caught up with management, statistics, plans and evaluations whose principal beneficiary is not God’s people but the Church as an institution. The mark of Christ, incarnate, crucified and risen, is not present; closed and elite groups are formed, and no effort is made to go forth and seek out those who are distant or the immense multitudes who thirst for Christ. Evangelical fervour is replaced by the empty pleasure of complacency and self-indulgence.
Christianity is not about feeling good, it is not about self esteem, it is not about validating our own personal beliefs and desires. It is about being brutally honest with ourselves and allowing the Holy Spirit to purge us of our sinfulness, which is anything we put before God, including and most especially our pride.  It is about emptying ourselves of ourselves and making room for God to work in and through our lives.  And certainly it means listening to those in the hierarchy of God's Church who have been placed there by the Holy Spirit.  

Pope Francis is strongly cautioning us that too many in the church are putting their own form of spirituality - as good as it may look on the outside - ahead of true spirituality.  St. Paul stated it well in II Timothy 3:5 - "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof."

In the next two paragraphs of his apostolic exhortation, Pope Francis describes what results from those who pursue spiritual worldliness:
96. This way of thinking also feeds the vainglory of those who are content to have a modicum of power and would rather be the general of a defeated army than a mere private in a unit which continues to fight. How often we dream up vast apostolic projects, meticulously planned, just like defeated generals! But this is to deny our history as a Church, which is glorious precisely because it is a history of sacrifice, of hopes and daily struggles, of lives spent in service and fidelity to work, tiring as it may be, for all work is “the sweat of our brow”. Instead, we waste time talking about “what needs to be done” – in Spanish we call this the sin of “habriaqueísmo” – like spiritual masters and pastoral experts who give instructions from on high. We indulge in endless fantasies and we lose contact with the real lives and difficulties of our people.
97. Those who have fallen into this worldliness look on from above and afar, they reject the prophecy of their brothers and sisters, they discredit those who raise questions, they constantly point out the mistakes of others and they are obsessed by appearances. Their hearts are open only to the limited horizon of their own immanence and interests, and as a consequence they neither learn from their sins nor are they genuinely open to forgiveness. This is a tremendous corruption disguised as a good. We need to avoid it by making the Church constantly go out from herself, keeping her mission focused on Jesus Christ, and her commitment to the poor. God save us from a worldly Church with superficial spiritual and pastoral trappings! This stifling worldliness can only be healed by breathing in the pure air of the Holy Spirit who frees us from self-centredness cloaked in an outward religiosity bereft of God. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the Gospel!
As a "recovering traditionalist" of sorts, I have been confronted and castigated by more than one fellow traditionalist whom I have confided my doubts to.  If I raise questions and express concerns about some of the leaders of the traditionalist movement, I am basically told that I don't care about the Church and that I support all those who are trying to destroy the Church.  I have learned the hard way that in the eyes of many traditionalists, it is anathema to give open and public support to the Pope and/or the bishops.  Many traditionalists feel it is not only their right but their duty to openly and harshly criticize the hierarchy, all the while claiming they are loyal sons of the Church who pray for the pope.

Instead of humbly reading Evangelii Gaudium and asking themselves if it could possibly apply to them and/or if there is something they could learn from the Holy Father, many have instead jumped all over this document and mocked it. Their reactions have sadly validated the statements of the Holy Father.

 A prime example of this is from Christopher Ferrara, a self-proclaimed traditionalist who completely rejects all things post-conciliar in the Church.  It is his opinion that the years since Vatican II have been, without equivocation, a complete disaster for the Church and we should turn back the clocks to the pre-conciliar time.  Ferrara wrote an article for the Remnant Newspaper, a far right traditionalist newspaper, in which he excoriates Evangelii Gaudium and its author, Pope Francis, referring to the document as "A Progressivist Dream on Paper". If you would like, you can read his entire article HERE, although I warn you that you may feel the need to take a shower afterwards. His description of the apostolic exhortation is as follows:
For all its talk of a more open-minded conception of the Church’s mission, EG is a narrow-minded document, rooted in parochial, seventies era Latin American prejudices against the Church universal. Francis writes from the blinkered perspective of a reformist mentality that refuses to concede the indispensability of what the post-Vatican II “reforms” insanely suppressed: the Church’s Latin liturgical tradition, her intrinsically militant opposition to error as a sign of contradiction in the world, her essentially monarchical constitution as a reflection of the kingship of her divine Founder, and her very existence as a fortress against the Adversary.
Instead of leaving his prejudices behind in Buenos Aires along with his Pinocchio Mass and his lighting of the Menorah—a symbol of the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem—Francis would like to impose his outmoded parochial progressivism on the entire Church.
In reading the above statement from Chris Ferrara, the words of Pope Francis come to mind: "those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past."

Ferrara continues in this vein when he writes the following in regard to Pope Francis' warning, refusing to seriously consider the statements made by His Holiness and instead, mocking the Pope's words:
With the laughably wordy prejorative “self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism,” Francis likewise accuses others of what he is guilty of. Prometheus is the Greek deity whose intellectual pride leads to his theft of fire, which he gives to man, and his eternal punishment by Zeus, while Pelagius is the heretic who taught that men are saved not by grace but by their own efforts. Nothing examples “promethean neopelagianism” better than Francis’s “dream” about “transforming everything,” or the hubristic, brutally imposed post-conciliar program of man-made “renewal” in a vainglorious attempt to please a hostile “modern world,” including a fabricated liturgy whose fruits are declining Mass attendance, widespread boredom, growing apostasy, sacrilege and banality. Traditionalists, on the other hand, trusting the Church rather than men, simply hold fast to precious traditions preserved for centuries by the Holy Ghost, which the promethean neopelagians of “renewal”—including Francis—insist on substituting with their clumsy and vulgar human contrivances.
Tellingly, Francis has nothing to say about the plague of neo-modernism that has spread throughout the Church since the Council, undermining Church teaching, making a mockery of the liturgy, and animating radical dissent in every nation. Rather, he continues to condemn as cold and faithless ideologues traditional Catholics who, in the midst of the ruins, have taken refuge in the few edifices still standing after fifty years of a “renewal” even he admits has never happened. This is unheard-of behavior for a Pope. And Francis behaves this way knowing full well that the various traditional societies and orders are practically the only places where the Church is experiencing robust health.
Ferrara displays the victim mentality of too many traditionalists.  He makes the following statement, "As we can see, it is Francis who “analyzes and classifies others,” deriding traditionalists—but only them—as neopelagian, self-absorbed, superior to others, intransigent, insidiously worldly, ostentatious, elitist, narcissistic and authoritarian."  As I have shown above, Pope Francis is discussing liberals as well as ultra conservatives, and says they are both guilty of spiritual worldliness. But Ferrara, displaying the self absorption warned of by Pope Francis, sees everything only in terms of himself and how it affects him.

Instead of carefully and humbly reading the words of the Holy Father, Ferrara engages in mockery and insults against the Holy Father and all who support him:
From our perspective, however, the most serious problem with EG lies in what we suspected was coming: a cocksure presentation of an outmoded ecclesial progressivism, long since shown to be a total failure, as a bold new prescription for the Church.
* * *
Like the liberal media, both modernists and their neo-Catholic enablers are over the moon about EG. Michael Sean Winters of National Catholic Reporter exults: “At times, the text is lyrical, like an aria. At other times, it has all the accessibility of a recitative. Either way, it is a song.” Say it loud and there’s music playing. Say it soft and it’s almost like praying. Comments like these are a sure indication that EG has little to do with concrete Catholic teaching and very much to do with a new papal personality cult.
Francis sings his progressive song with voluptuous abandon: “I dream of a ‘missionary option’, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.” Haven’t we already been there and done that? It was called something like “the renewal of Vatican II.” Does the Pope seriously propose a massive do-over of this disaster?
* * *
The lyrics of the Song of Francis resonate with the platitudinous cant of the reformist avant-garde of forty years ago. Francis’s dream is precisely what—in EG—he criticizes in the thought of others: “empty rhetoric, objectives more ideal than real (EG 231)…”
* * * 
If Francis were to succeed in implementing his “dream,” it would be the final triumph of the ruinous novelty of “collegiality.” And if it happens, we can be certain that the neo-Catholic papalators will continue to perform their paradoxical role of undermining the papacy by “blindly and indiscriminately defend[ing] every decision of the Supreme Pontiff,” to quote Melchior Cano, theologian of the Council of Trent. They will defend even the Pope’s decision to attack his own authority. Catholics of this mentality, to quote Cano, “are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See—they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.” (Quoted in Weigel, Witness to Hope, p. 15). 
In this entire article, Ferrara makes only one positive statement about Evangelii Guadium, and even that is made in a snarky, insulting manner:
In a document of 50,000 words spanning 223 typeset pages—straining the hortatory genre beyond all reasonable limits—one would naturally expect to find a good deal of orthodox Catholicism; and that is there. Francis is, after all, the Pope, even if he doesn’t like to call himself that and refuses to add the traditional pontifical “P.P.” to his signature on this or any other document.
Ferrara does not make one positive comment about the Pope in any way.  There is nothing uplifting, nothing beneficial, nothing to aid in spiritual growth to be found in this article by Chris Ferrara.  Once again, his bombastic writing literally demonstrates and proves the truth of the Pope's words:  "those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying."

Ferrara paints a picture of Pope Francis as one who hates everything that is traditional Catholic, most especially the Traditional Latin Mass.  And yet, it was reported in the same newspaper in which Ferrara is writing, The Remnant, that His Eminence Dario, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on October 26, 2013 during the pilgrimage of the people of Summorum Pontificum to Rome. You can read this article HERE.  In fact, the editor of The Remnant, Michael Matt, made a video with Dr. John Rao praising the pope for this Mass, which you can watch HERE.  I talked to a priest here in New York who was at that Mass, and he praised the Mass as well. Since this Mass was celebrated at the chair of St. Peter, it could not have been done without the express permission of Pope Francis, who seemed to have no problem with it.  So is it the Mass that the Pope takes exception to, or is it the attitude of far too many of the people, such as Chris Ferrara, who take part in these Masses?

Too many who are attached to the Traditional Mass seem to be at war with the rest of the Church, and Pope Francis is warning them that they are putting their souls in peril.  It is no coincidence that all sedevacantist groups have been formed by "traditional" Catholics.  These groups are the ones described by the Pope as those "who would rather be the general of a defeated army than a mere private in a unit which continues to fight".  Just recently, Cardinal Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, confirmed that the Society of St. Pius X, supported by many Traditionalists, is in formal schism, meaning that their sacraments are invalid. It is very dangerous for a Catholic to set himself in opposition to the Vicar of Christ because you are putting yourself on a potential path to separation from the Church, and that, unfortunately, is true for many of those who call themselves traditional.  

Traditionalists need to stop attacking the Church.  They need to calm down.  Yes, we have problems in the church, just as there have always been problems.  The answer has never been to attack the hierarchy of the Church, and most especially never to attack the Pope.  He needs our prayers, not our constant criticisms and belittling as Chris Ferrara does in this article.

Ferrara ends his article as follows:
Our readers know how hard The Remnant has tried to put the best face on Francis’s seemingly endless torrent of crowd-pleasing utterances. The Editor has even counseled against “piling on” the Pope. But this circus has gone far enough. I hereby exercise my God-given right to protest the Pope’s abuse of his office, which reopens wounds that were slowly healing—thanks to Pope Benedict—reignites the very divisions Francis professes to deplore (cf. EG 98), and degrades the Church’s image, to the world’s delight, with the spectacle of a Pope publicly hectoring and humiliating his own sheep for nothing more than their fidelity to Tradition.
Chris Ferrara never, at any point in this article, tries to understand what the Pope is saying. He gives no clarification whatsoever to the Pope's words. The whole thrust of the article is to belittle and demean His Holiness and the document he wrote, basically telling his readers to ignore Pope Francis. Ferrara's words do nothing to unite the Church but on the contrary, his words cause great division among Catholics and engender animosity towards the Holy Father.

The section following "No To Spiritual Worldliness" in the pope's document is entitled, "No to warring among ourselves!" This is actually a continuation of the Pope's thoughts in which he discusses the end results of spiritual worldliness.

From Pope Francis:
98. How many wars take place within the people of God and in our different communities! In our neighbourhoods and in the workplace, how many wars are caused by envy and jealousy, even among Christians! Spiritual worldliness leads some Christians to war with other Christians who stand in the way of their quest for power, prestige, pleasure and economic security. Some are even no longer content to live as part of the greater Church community but stoke a spirit of exclusivity, creating an “inner circle”. Instead of belonging to the whole Church in all its rich variety, they belong to this or that group which thinks itself different or special.
Someone recently sent me an article entitled, "Letter of Saint Athanasius to His Flock."  You can read the entire article HERE. St. Athanasius was a great warrior against the Arian heresy in the fourth century. This terrible heresy had taken over a vast majority of the Church at that time. Traditionalists, according to this article, now see themselves as modern day Athanasius, fighting against the terrible heresies in the Church, including and maybe especially those coming from the Pope. These traditionalists see Magesterium of the Catholic Church as their enemy.  As this article says,
Another point the Arian crisis brings out is that Catholics true to the traditional faith may have to worship outside the official Churches, their parish churches and even to avoid them as schools of impiety. It proves that Catholics may even have to suffer false denunciation and excommunication for their beliefs as St. Athanasius suffered:
This is exactly what Pope Francis is warning against.  This is the work of the devil to separate brethren, leading some to believe that they are special and that they will be the ones to save the Church from herself.  They believe they may have to do this by actually physically separating from Mother Church, which they feel has fallen into apostasy.  Every statement uttered by the Pope or the bishops, every event, every document published, is filtered through this distorted belief, as can be seen in the article by Chris Ferrara.

Pope Francis reaches out to them with love and concern:
100. Those wounded by historical divisions find it difficult to accept our invitation to forgiveness and reconciliation, since they think that we are ignoring their pain or are asking them to give up their memory and ideals. But if they see the witness of authentically fraternal and reconciled communities, they will find that witness luminous and attractive. It always pains me greatly to discover how some Christian communities, and even consecrated persons, can tolerate different forms of enmity, division, calumny, defamation, vendetta, jealousy and the desire to impose certain ideas at all costs, even to persecutions which appear as veritable witch hunts. Whom are we going to evangelize if this is the way we act?
Could anyone point to Chris Ferrara's screed as a tool of evangelization?  Or could the article about St. Athanasius be used to evangelize?  Again, these examples point to the truth of Pope Francis' words, "It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity."

As long as people turn away from the Pope and listen to the poisonous venom coming from "traditionalists" like Chris Ferrara, we will continue to see more and more division in the Church, and I truly fear a great schism may happen with traditionalists at the center of it.  I think Pope Francis has this same fear.  In fact, it has actually already started to happen, as can be seen with the numerous groups already in schism.

Pope Francis exhorts us to turn away from our differences with one another and to allow the love of the Holy Spirit fill our hearts:
101. Let us ask the Lord to help us understand the law of love. How good it is to have this law! How much good it does us to love one another, in spite of everything. Yes, in spite of everything! Saint Paul’s exhortation is directed to each of us: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21). And again: “Let us not grow weary in doing what is right” (Gal 6:9). We all have our likes and dislikes, and perhaps at this very moment we are angry with someone. At least let us say to the Lord: “Lord, I am angry with this person, with that person. I pray to you for him and for her”. To pray for a person with whom I am irritated is a beautiful step forward in love, and an act of evangelization. Let us do it today! Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the ideal of fraternal love!
Coffee cup sold by Father
John Zuhlsdorf, which he earnestly
needs to rethink
The Traditional Latin Mass is beautiful and can be a source of great grace and holiness. But too many in the Church have used it as a weapon to turn others against the Magesterium of the Church and to cut them off from the Church itself. This most certainly is not true of all who are devotees of the Latin Mass. However, just speaking from personal experience, I have met only a handful of self-proclaimed traditionalists who do not harbor some level of suspicion and wariness concerning the Magesterium of the Church. The spirituality of many who call themselves traditionalists, as Pope Francis warns us, "hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church." but, in the words of Pope Francis, as good as it may look, this spirituality is not seeking the Lord’s glory but human glory.

Pope Francis is not just "another guy" with an opinion. He is the Vicar of Christ, Christ's representative on earth. Notwithstanding the calumnious statements of many, Pope Francis is not an enemy of the Church who wishes to destroy us. He has been chosen and led by the Holy Spirit to guide the people of God. Our Lord tells us that the Pope has the authority to loose and to bind. That means we need to listen to him, not just looking to put down everything he says and does, but to listen with humble and sincere hearts, because not to listen to Christ's Vicar is to put our eternal lives in peril.

Where Peter is, there is the church... he who is not with the Pope is not with God, and who desires to be with God must be with the Pope.
Sister Lucia of Fatima


  1. Uh, no, the Holy Spirit does not choose who is to be pope. The Sacred College does that. There's a wide, very practical, and very consequential distinction there.

    1. uh, perhaps there are some from hoboken (after all, it is a far suburb of brooklyn) who haven't heard the great chant while entering the conclave! (with apologies to hoboken)

  2. Your post is meticulously thought-out and written.

  3. The comment by Louis C Gasper, above, provides ample evidence for what you've written.

    As someone who's studied mental illness in depth, many traditionalists, as well as charismatics, show traits more in line with neurotic and hysterical phenomena than spiritual or mystical ones.

    Alas, all this does is allows secular psychologists and sociologists to extrapolate from these distortions, a norm for all Christians. They are very visible as dysfunctional, and so play into the hands of those who want us out of the public square, but based on that dysfunctional sample.

    The pharisee was simply the neurotic of the first century who needed to be just as visible as, like their modern-day counterpart, they're desperately seeking affirmation.

    1. I'm going to bet that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, while still prefect of the CDF, knew more about Catholic doctrine than either of us, but he agreed with Gasper's comment above. See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2013/02/does-the-holy-spirit-pick-the-pope-ratzinger-didnt-think-so/.

      Also, it's very unimpressive to play amateur psychotherapist under the assumption that anyone who disagrees with you must be mentally ill. Cut it out.

      Even in protecting the Church from potentially heretical teachings by a Pope, it seems unlikely that the Holy Spirit does violence to the Pope's free will. Certainly a Pope can privately believe heresy; presumably he can intend to teach heresy in a binding fashion; yet he cannot actually teach it. This is not the conflict it might seem to be: "Who breathing his last, returns to the earth; that day all his planning comes to nothing." (Psalm 146:4, NAB)

    2. You are getting into very dangerous ground here when you try to decide which pope has been picked by the Holy Spirit and who has not. The fact remains, as Catholics we owe allegiance to whomever sits in the Chair of Peter. There is nothing in Church authority or scriptural authority that gives us any out.

      As Pope Benedict said in the interview, "Probably the only assurance he [the Holy Spirit] offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined."

      The article you cited to explains that Pope Benedict was not a very good administrator, and cited the example of the debacle after he lifted the excommunication of the SSPX bishops. Papal infallibility does not extend to administrative decisions, only to faith and morals and only when done ex cathedra.

  4. when the ultra-t's leave the church, they don't take the tradition with them, there are plenty of us around who love the church....and it's richness.
    i've never been asked what "card" i have....... let us be catholic & proud of our catholic household of faith. the bark of Peter is large enough for so many......

    1. Thank you for that Father. I love the Extraordinary Form of the Mass but I am devoted and obedient to the entire teaching magisterium of the Church. Deo Gratias!

  5. Hi I just nominated you for a Sunshine Award:


  6. Generally I agree with this article as far as avoiding being our own magesterium but at the same time we want to protect the faith of millions of traditional Catholics. Many millions have already left the Church, whether completely or just not believing in it anymore (Catholic In Name Only). Many of the more traditionally minded Catholics I know have fully returned after the allowance of the TLM via the FSSP. It is brought them back from being lukewarm to weak Catholics, to strong faithful Catholics. We need to be paying attention to what is happening to the TLM in Rome with the apparent blessing of the Pope? Did you know that Padre Pio was being persecuted by the Church in 1960 and 1961 with the apparent blessing of the then Pope. Popes can make mistakes in governing the Church. We have had some VERY bad Popes over the centuries. The Pope is not Christ and he is not the Holy Catholic Church.

    Yes, he is the vicar of Christ. We can follow him without agreeing with everything he does. Apparently his handling of the FFI is quite harmful to the faith of many, even outside the FFI. The destruction of a fast growing order with of over 400 friars with 55 houses does not display the type of love and gentleness Pope Francis displays in public. Even the secular press is starting to take notice as the 'Libero' Italian newspaper article at http://www.liberoquotidiano.it/news/politica/1380943/Socci--i-credenti-perseguitati-dai-cattoprogressisti.html.
    You can see a translated version at http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/01/antonio-socci-in-vatican-there-is-new.html.

    Yes, we must always be loyal to our Church and our Pope, but that doesn't mean we have to like some of their actions. One by one TLM masses are being 'discontinued' in Rome. The TLM was never allowed in Pope Francis's diocese. (A side note is that his diocese of Buenos Aires had one of the highest levels of Catholic leaving the Church in South America.) Remember, under Pope Pius VI we had no legal TLM in the US, it could happen again. I think it is important that the hierarchy understand our concerns and realize the negative effect on the faith of millions of Catholics. I already know several Catholics that are having their faith shaken by all of the sudden changes that seem to point to opposite points of view by two different Popes, Pope Benedict loved tradition and encouraged the TLM and Pope Francis who seems to hate tradition and the TLM. Which Pope was guided by Holy Spirit? Yes, we can learn from both Popes, but we must protect the faith of ourselves, our children, and our fellow Catholics.

    The only Catholics I currently know that believe all the teachings of the Catholic Church are traditional Catholics. The know only one non-traditional Catholic that believes the Churches teaching on contraception, most don't believe in Purgatory, most don't believe it is a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday, etc. So all traditional Catholics are bad because they prefer the TLM to the Novus Ordo while all the regular Catholics who don't believe Catholic teaching are good. Why hasn't the Pope said anything about these Catholics?

  7. Good post but let's be VEEERRRRRRRYYYYY Careful.

    The CDF did not say the SSPX sacraments were invalid. You can go receive their Eucharist and its a valid Eucharist. Now granted, unless there's a really good reason, you are sinning in doing so, because the sacrament is ILLICIT.

    Now when it comes to things like confession, marriage (I know) and confirmation (I think but please don't quote me) the sacraments are INVALID because they lack jurisdiction. If one genuinely was ignorant of this fact, the Church supplies jurisdiction in that one time only event. Yet everyone going to the SSPX knows where Rome stands on this.

    This was an otherwise good article, let's not give your foes an easy layup.

    Me, I'm a traditionalist who can't stand most traditionalists. Then again Chrysostom said most of his audience was going to hell, even amongst faithful Catholics. Being faithful to the Magesterium while loving our traditional liturgies and devotions is a lonely walk, but it's nowhere near as lonely as it used to be.

    Just my thoughts
    Kevin Tierney
    Associate Editor, Learn and Live the Faith
    Catholic Lane

  8. Bravissima!


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