Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Papal Posse a/k/a Papal Hanging Mob Once Again Slanders Pope Francis

We are told there are very few things that are sure in this life.  The old joke is that we can only be certain of death and taxes.

But now we can add something else to the list of certainties in life.  It is 100% guaranteed that every time Pope Francis speaks and most especially, every time he gives us a papal document, the Catholic trads/conservatives will be there to condemn the Holy Father.

The latest round of virtual papal lynching has been triggered by the release of the Apostolic Exhortation, GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE, "A Call To Holiness." One so-called Catholic website/blog after another has agreed that while there may be good parts in it, it is really just another attempt on the part of Pope Francis to condemn his critics. Gaudete Et Excultate is like a nice, juicy steak laced with arsenic, and should be treated as such.

Raymond Arroyo

EWTN and the Papal Posse a/k/a Papal Hanging Mob, consisting of Fr. Gerald Murray and Robert Royal led by Raymond Arroyo (a/k/a Pee Wee Herman), has once again led the way in accusing Pope Francis of trying to destroy the Catholic Church with this Apostolic Exhortation.  And once again, the Papal Hanging Mob have used their favorite techniques - defamation, mischaracterization, misquotes, manipulation, slander and outright lies - to attack Pope Francis.  Truly, the Papal Hanging Mob is the walking definition of defamation, which is:
Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person's reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.
Here is the video:

The discussion/attack on the Pope concerning the Apostolic Exhortation starts at about 7:00 into this video.  I am not interested in reviewing the attacks on the Pope regarding the Chilean matter. It is only more of the same.

Arroyo starts out with his description of the document, immediately setting up prejudice in the minds of the viewer:
[The Apostolic Exhortation] was released on Monday and it calls all people to holiness.  It reiterates and reinforces some of the Church's core beliefs about holiness, sanctity and the spiritual life [here it comes] while also seeming to take aim at some of the Pope's critics in the Church.
Arroyo then turns to Robert Royal:
Your take on this.  Give us the fly over on this Exhortation and then we will dive into some other particular moments.  It is called Rejoice and Be Glad. It's to focus everyone on sanctity, holiness.  Your thoughts. 
Royal responds following Arroyo's lead in instilling doubt and suspicion into the minds of the viewer:
I wrote a column this week at which I regretted that because of the divisions that have gotten even worse under this papacy, when he puts out a document that is largely good like this, we can't read it without suspicions, or we can't read it without controversy. . .
The Papal Hanging Mob completely embrace their contempt for Pope Francis.  They find it impossible to say anything good concerning the Holy Father without interjecting defamation and accusations.

At this point, Royal and Arroyo have a little discussion about how viewers complain they are either too hard or too soft on the Pope.  Then Arroyo makes this amazing statement:
Don't shoot the messenger!  I'm not the Pope.  All we do is cover this.  . . . Look, we all love the Holy Father.  I think viewers of this program do.  It is up to us to respect him enough to take the words and evaluate them in a context of the times and of the moment.  If we look the other way for portions and pretend we are not seeing it, we're letting that audience down and we're not being, to my mind, good Catholics.
It is amazing that he can say with a straight face, "we all love the Holy Father."  To Arroyo, love means criticizing and condemning the Holy Father every chance he gets.  Arroyo and the Papal Hanging Mob love the Holy Father the same way the religious leaders of Jesus' time loved the Lord. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Royal then defends his statement that there are divisions in the Church, never accepting blame that he is a major cause of that division, but basically putting it on Pope Francis, as Arroyo did:
Whether we like it or not at this point, because of the divisions in the Church (talks about upcoming conference in Georgetown about divisions, and says that proves others see the division and he does not just have a "bone to pick with the Holy Father").  There is a serious division now.  And it comes to the fore even when he is trying to deal with a relatively non-controversial subject like holiness.
Arroyo then turns to Fr. Gerald Murray and actually praises the document saying "Parts of it almost reminded me of Mother Angelica's spirituality.  Very practical at moments.  He uses the beatitudes to illustrate how to be holy and he clearly states our mission in Christ.  Your impression overall of this Apostolic Exhortation."

Murray then makes a statement which unintentionally reveals exactly what he is all about and why he has such a problem with the Holy Father.  Murray tells us that "we are not there just to console people with charity".  This is Murray reading his own interpretation into the document as well as into the Gospel:
Well, I enjoyed the parts that deal with the supernatural life, that in fact, our mission is not simply to be a worldly provider of goods.  We're not just there to console people with charity.  We're there to bring them to love God, and to do that we have to love God ourselves.  And that the love of God is in the first place a gift of His Grace that we respond to.  So that part I liked.
Murray feels love is not about "consoling."  The trads really hate anything to do with kindness or empathy.  We have this from Msgr. Pope, "Kindness Is Not the Same As Love."  And another from Fr. Jerry Pokorsky, "Being Nice Isn’t Good Enough."  And yet, Jesus Christ was constantly consoling people in the Gospels, especially when He told us that "I did not come to judge the world but to save the world" (John 12:47) and "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest" (Mt. 11:28). This is obviously not the gospel according to Fr. Gerald Murray or any of the trads/conservatives.

Fr. Murray does state his belief that our love for God is a gift of His Grace.  But sadly, everything that follows belies this statement.

Murray continues now with his attack:
But, I got to the sections where the Pope deals with what he calls neo Pelagianism, and I just said to myself, wait a minute! What's going on here? Then there is another section on neo Gnosticism, and as we will discuss right now, these are in my opinion, very serious problems in this document because he seems to be defending the controversial parts of Amoris Laetitia by lashing out at people who don't agree with him. I find that very, very troubling.
Arroyo then "helps" Murray by reading the passage. Except, of course, we get an edited version of the "passage" that omits a very important section:
Not infrequently, contrary to the promptings of the Spirit, the life of the Church can become a museum piece or the possession of a select few. This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting. The Gospel then tends to be reduced and constricted, deprived of its simplicity, allure and savour. This may well be a subtle form of pelagianism, for it appears to subject the life of grace to certain human structures. . . . only to end up fossilized… or corrupt.
As a side note, the fact that Arroyo had this quote ready to go tells me that the Papal Posse have actually reviewed and rehearsed their "discussion" in advance of the show, following a very definite script.  None of this is from the heart.  Interestingly, Arroyo does not tell us where we can find this paragraph.  Further, notice the elipsis after the word "structures".  Why would Arroyo omit that part of the paragraph?  This is very deliberate editing done by Arroyo.  

Here is the actual quote from the document, with the omitted section in red:
Not infrequently, contrary to the promptings of the Spirit, the life of the Church can become a museum piece or the possession of a select few. This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting. The Gospel then tends to be reduced and constricted, deprived of its simplicity, allure and savour. This may well be a subtle form of pelagianism, for it appears to subject the life of grace to certain human structures. It can affect groups, movements and communities, and it explains why so often they begin with an intense life in the Spirit, only to end up fossilized… or corrupt. [Par. 58]
The paragraph following this quote clarifies the Pope's statement even more:
Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channelled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace. Saint Thomas Aquinas reminded us that the precepts added to the Gospel by the Church should be imposed with moderation “lest the conduct of the faithful become burdensome”, for then our religion would become a form of servitude. 
We are not given grace as a result or reward for our obedience.  We are given grace to enable us to obey in the first place.  Grace comes first followed by obedience. That is why Pelagianism is so dangerous.  Pelagianism is the belief that man is capable of good works on his own without grace.  The Holy Father is warning that this belief actually destroys grace and separates us from God.  But the "quote" given to us by Arroyo does not allow us to see the true meaning of the Holy Father's words,  If we were allowed to see the entire passage Murray would not be able to make the following statement:
It seems to me he is talking about those who object to what he wrote in the eighth chapter of Amoris Laetitia, where it says in some cases, people who are in invalid second marriages can be given Holy Communion while remaining in those adulterous unions. And for me, you cannot categorize obedience to the 10 commandments as a defect. And it is not a museum to say that what Christ said 2000 years ago is what I believe today. In fact, human structures are not the matter here when it comes to the Sacramental life of the Church. The Church has taught solemnly that the Seven Sacraments were given to us by Christ. So was the moral law, so was the natural law. That was part of God's Creation. So, when I hear the Pope more or less stigmatizing people who say, Why are we changing what St. John Paul II told us to do, that's not the way we should be doing things. If there are legitimate reasons why the Pope thinks his point of view about giving communion to the divorce and remarried can be defended on the basis of Catholic doctrine and tradition, state them so that we can have a dialogue. This seems to be a discussion end to where he basically with invective stigmatizes those who don't agree with him and, as you say, we love the Pope. I respect and love the Pope and pray for him all the time. But I think honesty, we have to say Holy Father, when we think you've made a mistake, charity demands we tell you that.
There is absolutely nothing anywhere in the document that even begins to suggest this false accusation, and certainly there was nothing in Arroyo's quote to suggest such an accusation. This is false and slanderous innuendo on the part of Murray.  You have made a mistake, Fr. Murray, and charity demands we tell you that.

Arroyo never does give us the section about Gnosticism.  For the sake of the readers, here it is:
36. Gnosticism presumes “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 Holy Father continues:
37. Thanks be to God, throughout the history of the Church it has always been clear that a person’s perfection is measured not by the information or knowledge they possess, but by the depth of their charity. “Gnostics” do not understand this, because they judge others based on their ability to understand the complexity of certain doctrines. They think of the intellect as separate from the flesh, and thus become incapable of touching Christ’s suffering flesh in others, locked up as they are in an encyclopaedia of abstractions. In the end, by disembodying the mystery, they prefer “a God without Christ, a Christ without the Church, a Church without her people”.
If Fr. Murray would read and meditate on this passage, he would understand how wrong he is think that knowledge alone can free people from their sins.  He would realize that he, as a human being, does not have all understanding and does not have all the answers.  He would stop blaming sinners and realize that they are prisoners of their sin who need to be freed by the mercy and forgiveness found only in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  He would understand that the definition of a Christian is not one who can recite doctrine but rather, one who loves.
40. Gnosticism is one of the most sinister ideologies because, while unduly exalting knowledge or a specific experience, it considers its own vision of reality to be perfect. Thus, perhaps without even realizing it, this ideology feeds on itself and becomes even more myopic. It can become all the more illusory when it masks itself as a disembodied spirituality. For gnosticism “by its very nature seeks to domesticate the mystery”, whether the mystery of God and his grace, or the mystery of others’ lives.
Gnosticism, like Pelagianism, exalts the self above God because these beliefs presuppose that human beings have everything they need within themselves.  These two dangerous beliefs lead us to trust in ourselves, belittling the need for grace.  These beliefs lead us to think that we have all knowledge and understanding.  We are then filled with the most deadly of all spiritual cancers - pride.

Arroyo, following the script, then asked Robert Royal to discuss the Pope's use of the term "rigidity of structures"  "As you raised in your piece, are Catholic universities, social service groups, are they rigid, fossilized?  Is that who he is talking about?"  That question could be readily seen for the canard that it is and easily answered just by reading the passages of the document which I quoted above, in which the Holy Father explains that the "human structures" to which he refers are not physical institutions but rules and laws set up apart from the Grace of God.

But, of course, we don't get that. Instead, we get Royal's false spin.  He actually claims that the reason for these passages is not concern for people's souls, but that this is nothing more than "self defense" on the part of Pope Francis.  Notice how he further prejudices the viewer by criticizing not only the substance which he falsely reports, but even the Pope's writing, calling the sections "very, very poorly written and they are not really first rate thinking on these subjects."   
As I agree entirely with Father [Murray], this seems to be a self defense, and the odd thing about it, quite apart from the philosophical and theological problems, both the Gnostic and Pelagian sections, I think are very, very poorly written and they are not really first rate thinking on these subjects.  But quite apart from that, if we step back for just a second, we look around the world, and I'm sure all of us visit various countries in the world, is it true that at this moment in the history of the Catholic Church that the problem is rigidity?  I think it is exactly the opposite.  In fact, we've got scores of colleges and universities that churn out students who have maybe gone to Catholic schools their whole lives, have gone through four years of college and know virtually nothing about the faith and therefore respect very little in terms of rules about marriage, confession, go to Communion.  It seems on a large scale that it is the exact opposite of what he is trying to present.  Maybe at some point in the past there was this rigidity, 
As you can see, Royal believes that knowledge is the key to everything.  If only people understood more, then they would be better Catholics.  He seems to know nothing about the nature and working of Grace and how vital Grace is to our spiritual comprehension.

Being cute in regard to Royal's statement "Maybe at some point in the past there was this rigidity", Arroyo quips,  "When?  1940?" Again, this little statement is an attempt to falsely accuse the Pope of not being in touch with the reality of the Church, and instead the Holy Father is just on his own mission to demonize anyone who disagrees with him.  

Royal continues with his false accusations:
But certainly now, and this is not even a Catholic thing, if you look around the secular world, people talk about we are living in a world that is post truth.  We are living in a world that is utterly chaotic, that has no fixed principles.  As as I said in the column, to want to hold on to some fundamental Catholic dogma is not to be rigid.  It's to be sane, to seek sanity in an utter chaos of the modern world.  
The above statement by Robert Royal shows why the Papal Hanging Mob and all of the rest of the conservative/traditional groups do not understand Pope Francis or the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, of course, dogma and doctrine are essential to the Christian life.  Pope Francis has never said anything that is in disagreement with that.  However, dogma and doctrine of and by themselves will not bring "sanity in an utter chaos of the modern world."  Only God Himself can do that. We can obey God with our outward actions.  The Pharisees in Jesus' time were expert at that.  But our outward actions mean nothing if our hearts have not been changed.  And our hearts can be changed only through Grace, which we cannot earn in any way but is given as a free gift.

Back in 2015, Pope Francis stated the following in an Angelus message, which you can read HERE:
In his Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis said that merely obeying the rules isn’t enough to make us holy, but that if we truly want to serve God our conversion has to be deeper, changing the heart. 
It's not exterior things which make us holy or not holy, but it's the heart that expresses our intentions, our choices and the desire to do everything out of love for God,” the Pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square Aug. 30.
External attitudes are the consequence of what we have decided in the heart, not the contrary: with external attitudes, if the heart doesn't change, we aren't true Christians.”
Obedience apart from a changed heart is meaningless. Pelagianism believes, contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ, that human beings are capable of changing their hearts by changing their actions. This is the mortal error against which Pope Francis is warning. The Papal Hanging Mob seem completely unable to comprehend this concept.

Pope Francis continued his 2015 Angelus message:
Pope Francis based his reflections on the day’s Gospel reading from Mark, in which the scribes and Pharisees criticized Jesus and his disciples for not following the tradition of “purifying” themselves by washing their hands before meals or when coming from the market.
Jesus’ response that “you disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition” has a strong prophetic tone that fills us with admiration for him, the Pope said.
“We feel that in him there is truth and that his wisdom frees us from prejudice,” he noted, but cautioned that Jesus’ words aren’t aimed for just the Pharisees, but are also meant to put us on guard.
With these words Jesus warns against the belief that a simple external observance of the law is enough to be considered a good Christian, he said.
Certainly we cannot live a Christian life without proper doctrine and dogma. But obedience apart from a changed heart is meaningless.  Is human pride your motivation, or is it the Love of God?  Is obeying doctrine producing love in your life, or are you merely standing in judgment of all those who do not measure up to your standards?  As St. Paul said in I Cor. 13:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
The Papal Hanging Mob and all those criticize Pope Francis would seem to have no understanding of this passage from St.  Paul.  That is because, whether they realize it or not, they feel rules are more important than people.  With all of their constant criticism, we never hear any compassion or empathy from them for those who are struggling with sin.  When they talk about the divorce and remarried, they seem to have no interest whatsoever in the suffering that these people are enduring, the hard decisions they have to make.  Whenever they stand in judgment of gay people, they have no concern at all for the heavy cross under which these people struggle.  The Papal Hanging Mob and all those like them just see sinners who need to either change or go to hell.

Robert Royal has correctly stated that "We are living in a world that is utterly chaotic, that has no fixed principles."  Yes, but why is that?  Because we are living in a world that does not know God and does not know His Love and Mercy.  If we want people to obey God, to adhere to doctrine, we need to motivate them to go to the One who can make that possible.  Standing in judgment and condemnation will not accomplish that goal.  That is what Pelagians and Gnostics do.  Judgment and condemnation serve the devil, not Jesus Christ, because it drives people away from the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus Christ called people, he reached out to them with love, not with dogma.  He did not judge them.  He forgave them.  That is how they came to realize they were sinners in need of a Savior.  People are not drawn to condemnation.  People are drawn to love.

The Papal Hanging Mob has made dogma and doctrine into human structures, and has made obeying God a burden.  They portray God as a being who is only looking to condemn whenever you don't measure up to his standards.  When you understand that, then you understand this statement by Pope Francis:
Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channelled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace. Saint Thomas Aquinas reminded us that the precepts added to the Gospel by the Church should be imposed with moderation “lest the conduct of the faithful become burdensome”, for then our religion would become a form of servitude.
Jesus Christ said His disciples would be known by their love.  There is no love in the Papal Hanging Mob nor in any of the Catholic blogs/websites that I have read which stand in condemnation of Pope Francis.  They are all lynching mobs who do not serve Jesus Christ or the Gospel.  They need to read this Apostolic Exhortation prayerfully and carefully.  Or it is very possible they will one day stand in front of Jesus Christ and hear the words, "I never knew you.  Depart from me."

I will be reviewing more of this Papal Hanging Mob broadcast in future posts.


  1. Catholic in Brooklyn, why hasn't Michael Hichborn appeared on EWTN since 2009? Why hasn't Michael Voris EVER appeared on EWTN?

    1. You would have to ask EWTN. Voris is a fringe element and overtly hateful. No mainstream organization would want to be associated with him.

    2. Catholic in Brooklyn, can you imagine a secular community college allowing Michael Voris on campus for a speaking engagement?

  2. In my opinion God is testing the faith of conservative. In the future there might be a conservative pope who will test the faith of librerals.

  3. Catholic in Brooklyn, hold your nose and go to the following URL:


    1. Good for the Cardinal! Arroyo and the Papal hanging mob need to be called out and censored by Church authorities. They are destroying the faith of untold numbers of people.

    2. Catholic in Brooklyn, go to the following URL and weep:


    3. Voris calls the bishops shameful. Mikey really needs to take a good look into the mirror. Talk about living in your own reality. No one is nore shameful than Voris.


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