New Papacy: “You Two Art Peter…”

In conversation with a gentleman after Mass yesterday, I was astonished  that anyone would give any credence to the ridiculous notion of an “expanded papacy”, as described in an interview with Archbishop Gänswein, so I dismissed this very pleasant gentleman’s worries.  In fact, I considered it so ridiculous when first reported, that I discounted the idea of publishing a thread on the topic. By chance, then, although there’s no such thing, really, I came across Fr Ray Blake’s blog on the subject and could not believe that he sees this (unless I’m misunderstanding him) as a development of the papal office. He is widely regarded across the internet as an “orthodox” if not quite “traditional” priest. Read his two posts below on the subject, copied here for ease of reference, and then tell me if I’ve gotten hold of the wrong end of the keyring – because, it seems clear to me and to moi, that “Thou art Peter” means what Christ said: “Thou are Peter, and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind (and loose) on earth shall be … in Heaven” (Matthew: 16:18ff) 

It’s certainly true that one thing is “expanding” – the novelty list; the New Mass, New Rosary, New Catechism, New Canon Law, New Canonisations, New Morality, New Dogma of Infallibility, and now a New Papal Office –  apologies if I’ve omitted anything – I should be elsewhere even as I hastily type this, so feel free to add any novelties I’ve overlooked in my haste – but now, to Fr Ray Blake’s articles…

His resignation has changed the Papacy, more than any other event could have done. It has ‘de-mystified’ it. It has taken away the sense that the Pope is in some sense a sacred person, rather than a human being, brilliant or otherwise, fulfilling a sacred role.

His resignation has changed the Papacy, more than any other event could have done. It has ‘de-mystified’ it. It has taken away the sense that the Pope is in some sense a sacred person, rather than a human being, brilliant or otherwise, fulfilling a sacred role.

Expanding Papacy Part 1                        

Archbishop Georg Gänswein’s recent remarks are always interesting, his recent interview is of particular interest. Gänswein, like his master Pope Benedict, is a subtle creature and should not be underestimated. I have always admired Ratzinger, especially as over the years his thought has developed.It is unlikely that Gänswein speaks with out Ratzinger knowing what he will say. 

It is fascinating what Gänswein says about the two rival groups before the last Conclave, it is also fascinating what he leaves us to speculate about the election of Pope Francis in the light of these rival factions.

People have been pondering what the Archbishop meant by an ‘expanded Papacy’. I think that we need to start with Pope John Paul’s Et in Unum Sint  88ff – a document which seems to be as much the work of Cardinal-Prefect Ratzinger, as Pope Wojtyła. It recognises the role of the Pope today. it goes beyond the teaching of Vatican One’s Pastor Aeternus, where the Pope is seen as the locus of the authentic Church, and the ultimate judge, or rather definer. of where authentic Christianity ends and heresy begins. It is role well suited to a non-travelling Pope, with a limited staff, whose concern was essentially doctrinal, with a Secretariate of State, whose role was essentially concerned with relationships Catholic princes, and few other Cardinal’s with a tiny staff who held particular offices.

Mass communications above all have changed the role of the Papacy, today he is no longer the prisoner of the Vatican. We are more likely to be familiar with the image, actions and words of the Bishop of Rome than we are with our own Bishops. The Pope is no longer ‘just for Catholics’, he has another role, that of pre-eminence not only among Christians but among ‘faith leaders’ too. As a ‘world leader’ he has a moral authority which goes beyond that of any other leader.  He is also the head of one of the largest and most active NGO in the world.

I think Benedict has always wanted to reform the Papacy, it is not unconnected with his attempt to reform the Liturgy. His writings recognise the rootlessness both in scholarship and tradition of Paul VI’s liturgical reforms, which rather than being a popular movement was something imposed from above through Papal authority. Vatican II, I am sure he welcomes but he has spoken and written about the Council of the Documents and the Council of Media. He has spoken of course of two hermeneutics, of rupture and continuity. Most especially in regard to the liturgy the Papacy itself has been the source of the hermeneutic of rupture, a rupture in the liturgy would for Benedict be a rupture in the entire fabric of the Church.

My personal feeling is the Archbishop is right that neither Vatileaks or conspiracies were responsible for Benedict’s resignation, his devotion to Pope Celestine, his his symbolic leaving of his pallium on his shrine happened as early as April 2009, in retrospect it was an obvious sign of his intention to resign. I am sure his increased tiredness and difficulty in walking hastened it somewhat.

His resignation has changed the Papacy, more than any other event could have done. It has ‘de-mystified’ it. It has taken away the sense that the Pope is in some sense a sacred person, rather than a human being, brilliant or otherwise, fulfilling a sacred role. It strikes me as being highly unlikely that Pope Benedict was blind and deaf to “the so-called St. Gallen group” that included “Cardinals Danneels, Martini, Silvestrini or Murphy O’Connor”, what is perhaps interesting is that the Archbishop should mention them by name, and it is unlikely that he was unaware of who was their preferred candidate and where he would take the Papacy.

So what are we to make of the idea of an ‘expanded’ papacy? I cannot help see that it is significant that in the light of Amoris Laetitia and the confusion that it has created that Archbishop Gänswein should point out that the Pope Emeritus is still alive and able to comment, albeit by his choice through the Archbishop. The ‘expanded papacy’ is presumably a reference to the fact that as long as Benedict is alive Pope Francis has to take his legacy into account. In the past once a Pope was safely in his grave his successor had the freedom to make use of his predecessor’s legacy as he wished, this is not an option for Francis. Benedict still has the capacity to cry out from his cloister, as we have seen recently over a misrepresentation of his words about Fatima.

Gänswein, by this speech has rather clearly shown himself to be one of the chief custodians and defenders of the Ratzingarian legacy. It is not by chance that he reminded the world that Ratzinger was elected after his sermon on the evils of Relativism. Perhaps when Pope Benedict is dead we will see what those who keep legacy which has perhaps grown rather and will grow rather than fade, will do and are capable of doing.

Posted by Fr Ray Blake    Source     

With a chatterbox former-Pope giving daily interviews with Scalfari or some other journalist of choice, or just picking up the phone and sharing his ideas with anyone in the world he wants to - well this produces a very interesting slant on an 'expanded papacy'. Not only will the Cardinals in the future be electing a Pope but also someone who might in just a few years become an ex-Pope.

With a chatterbox former-Pope giving daily interviews with Scalfari or some other journalist of choice, or just picking up the phone and sharing his ideas with anyone in the world he wants to – well this produces a very interesting slant on an ‘expanded papacy’. Not only will the Cardinals in the future be electing a Pope but also someone who might in just a few years become an ex-Pope.

Expanding Papacy Part 2 

I am sure Archbishop Ganswein used the term ‘expanding papacy’ to mean simply a changing or developing papacy: de facto the Papacy has changed since the First Vatican Council. De facto Pope Benedict’s resignation was the key change. Ganswein describes Benedict as homo historicus, quite what he means I don’t know but Benedict has the clarity of vision to see what is likely to happen in the future. I am sure he expected the St Gall mafia’s candidate to be elected. I am sure he understood the inevitable confusion that would result. I am sure he would look beyond his papacy to the next and beyond. One of the principles that seems to be at the basis of Benedict’s thought is that truth will triumph, because Christ is truth.

Benedict has introduced the idea of a Pope not dying in office, he himself promising obedience retired to a Vatican monastery and has rarely broken his silence. The important question is not what Benedict will do but what would Francis do if retired or was forced from office. Presumably he would not retire to life of prayer but probably become a curate in some poor South American parish, would he remain quiet? It is highly unlikely, and probably impossible for him.  

With a chatterbox former-Pope giving daily interviews with Scalfari or some other journalist of choice, or just picking up the phone and sharing his ideas with anyone in the world he wants to – well this produces a very interesting slant on an ‘expanded papacy’. Not only will the Cardinals in the future be electing a Pope but also someone who might in just a few years become an ex-Pope.

John Paul set down strict rules about forbidding lobbying amongst Cardinals, human nature would suggest this unreasonable. I am sure wherever two are three Cardinals are gathered, and they have kicked their shoes off they start talking about who is likely to be the next Pope, and who is likely to vote for who. For the good of the Church it would be irresponsible not to do so. In the same way I am sure any conversation between Cardinal is a bit like a job interview – with the under-riding idea of will this man be a suitable next Pope.

I think one of the things that could well develop is a fixed term papacy, an expectation that the Pope will retire after five or six years or when he has reached 80 or 85 he will become a former-Pope. Would it be possible that with two or three pope’s emeritus around they develop a particular role, as advisers to the reigning Pope? I rather like the idea of retired Popes Home with popes  in vary states decrepitude eager to advise their successor, whilst they scheme and skype friends in the media, some maybe doing an occasional television interview or ‘going viral’ on the net.

Posted by Fr Ray Blake  Source

Comments invited… 

48 responses

  1. That’s very disappointing, coming from Father Ray Blake. I’d have thought he would know better. There can only be one pope, and an undivided papal office. The Archbishop who said this, giving the impression it is what Pope Benedict intended by resigning, is causing scandal by pushing this idea.

    • Michaela,

      You’re not on message! According to Fr Blake “The Pope is no longer ‘just for Catholics’, he has another role, that of pre-eminence not only among Christians but among ‘faith leaders’ too. As a ‘world leader’ he has a moral authority which goes beyond that of any other leader. He is also the head of one of the largest and most active NGO in the world.”

      This is what the Church has come to; we’re not just to watch the liberals and outright heretics but the “orthodox” clergy as well, who see the Pope as just the head of an NGO. Just where do people turn these days for true Catholicism?

  2. Editor,

    With regards to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich’s: “I saw also the relationship between the two popes” prophecy.

    Perhaps there is more than one correct interpretation.

    Archbishop Gänswein made this startling remark at the presentation of a new book on Benedict’s pontificate at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome May 20,

    Archbishop Gänswein … said that Pope Francis and Benedict are not two popes “in competition” with one another, but represent one “expanded” Petrine Office with “an active member” and a “contemplative.”

    Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich’s: “I saw also the relationship between the two popes. . . I saw how baleful (harmful) would be the consequences of this false church. I saw it increase in size; heretics of every kind came into the city (of Rome). The local clergy grew lukewarm, and I saw a great darkness…”

    Hmmm…. “baleful” – “heretics of every kind” – “false church” – “great darkness” – “lukewarmness” Makes you think, doesn’t it?

    And Francis is going to join the celebration of one of the greatest heretics ever to afflict Holy Mother Church….. and lets not forget the horrors perpetrated against the Blessed Sacrament at Assisi by two post conciliar popes.. I’ll stop here, since I sense anger on the horizon.

    • Gerontius,

      There cannot be two conflicting interpretations – one must be false, or misguided, surely? A misinterpretation, in fact.

      According to this article The “two popes” of Catherine Emmerich’s prophecy does not refer to the situation today, although the parallel between the two popes currently living in Rome is being applied all over the internet. As the author of the linked article argues, it does not appear to be a correct interpretation…

      For the record, I have always found it difficult to post a comment on Fr Blake’s blog and when I tried this morning to comment on his articles above, it again proved to be a waste of time. Call WordPress all the names you like, folks, but it’s better than many others, which are far more complicated at the sign in stage. I will try to email him this link, as I don’t like the idea of seeming to be “talking behind his back”! Well… I’m not TOTALLY uncharitable… at least not when there’s a chance I might get caught 😀

  3. What this reveals is that Pope Benedict was no traditional pope, as if we didn’t know already.

    People go on about Francis but the reason we have Francis is because of Pope Benedict’s weakness and his ultimate betrayal of throwing in the towel.

    There can’t be an “expanded papacy” – any Catholic should know that there is only one “Peter” not two.

  4. Josephine,

    I agree entirely. I put some comments to that effect on Fr. Blake’s blog. I also pointed out to him that Benedict did not “resign”, he abdicated. The difference is day and night and should be obvious to him. I further corrected his assertion that Benedict recently corrected a misinterpretation of his words regarding Fatima, which was a reference to Fr. Dollinger’s revelation.

    What I said in effect is that Benedict’s signature was not on that anonymous Vatican statement, the written style of which does not match his more genteel manner of speaking and writing. In addition, Benedict XVI would not call his friend a liar in public, as that statement did. So the statement is porbably just the customary bile that comes from the haters of Fatima inside the Vatican when they get frightened.

    As for Benedict himself, he was by no manner of means a Traditional Pope, as Fr. Blake and others seem to believe. He certainly deserves credit for his rehabilitation of the ancient liturgy, but it should not be forgotten that he also continued John Paul II’s Assisi scandals, which is reprehensible. And people seem to forget also that he holds theological poisitions to this day which are at odds with Traditional Church teaching, such as separation of Church and State. It seems also that very few remember that the young Fr. Ratzinger’s name was on the Holy Office list of “those suspected of heresy”, and that he was firmly in the liberal camp during the Council. He has modified his liberal views somewhat sonce then, but he has not recanted his liberalism.

    Right up to his abdication Benedict showed himself to be an innovator. Liberals can’t leave anything of the old faith untouched and this so it was Benedict’s parting gift to create this so-called “expanded Papacy”, which would be laughable were it not so scandalous. There can be no such thing as an expanded Papacy. That sacred office is what Our Lord made it, and what it has remained for nearly 2000 years since, namely, the preserve of a single occupant who is Christ’s Vicar on earth. That sacred office cannot be expanded or otherwise altered. I have never accepted this “Emeritus Pope” rubbish. Benedict XVI abdicated and that was the end of him as Pope. That he goes around wearing white garments and using the title “Emeritus Pope” does not alter the fact that he is not Pope in any way shape or form any more, not even in the “Emeritus” sense, which is a complete nonsense.

    • Athanasius,

      I’ve just paid a flying visit to Fr Blake’s blog and there is nothing from you there (assuming you signed in as “Athanasius”). It is a moderated blog, so maybe will appear tomorrow, but given the content and tone of the majority of the comments I skimmed just now, yours would be out of step, so may not see the light of cyberspace. If you kept a copy, feel free to publish it here.

      • Martin Blackshaw’s comment is there this morning. It is very good but so far nobody has replied to it. It’s “one to watch” as they say – LOL!

        • Michaela, I’ve just looked through for Martin Blackshaw’s post and it’s not there now. Deleted? I agree it should be published here. I don’t usually look at Fr. Blake’s blog, and reading through those comments has reminded me why. Thank God for Catholic Truth

  5. Editor,

    My first impression of Fr. Blake’s piece is not entirely negative, though there are certainly plenty of the usual ludicrous post-Conciliar statements in it. In fact, I think it contains a few disguised barbs aimed at Pope Francis! However, since I have to play three Masses this week,(the Fatima Statue is coming to town) I need to go pick some service music…so, in somewhat of an Alfred Hitchcock-style, I will leave you in suspense until I have more time to think over it….hey, at least I’m not going pubbing and clubbing!

    • RCA Victor,

      I may have read it too quickly, and have not had time to re-read, but I don’t recall any “barbs” – I was surprised that Fr Blake appears to be very “sympathetic” to Papa Francis. However, I await your enlightenment.

      In the meantime, the rot deepens in Rome. As reported in this One Peter Five article, women’s ordination campaigners, have been getting to talk to officials [i.e. useful idiots) in the Vatican – you know, like thee and me would NEVER be allowed in a million years – so now the whole nonsense of women in dog collars has been re-ignited.

    • RCA Victor,

      The only thing I could see in the first article that might be thought “barbed comment” is this one:

      “The ‘expanded papacy’ is presumably a reference to the fact that as long as Benedict is alive Pope Francis has to take his legacy into account. In the past once a Pope was safely in his grave his successor had the freedom to make use of his predecessor’s legacy as he wished, this is not an option for Francis.”

      It’s ambiguous though and could be read as a general point, not getting at Francis.

      I suppose Fr Blake has to watch his words as he is still a diocesan priest, so maybe is being careful. Saying that, however, he doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with this pope, which is amazing – I’m making that observation just based on this article about “expanded papacy” so maybe if I get time to read other posts on his blog will think differently.

      Whatever, the idea of an expanded papacy is a non-starter.

  6. Editor,

    I meant to say that I notice Catholic Truth is not listed on Fr Ray Blake’s blog – he has a motley assortment of sites on his list but not CT. I wonder why?

    • Nicky,

      We’re not popular for a number of reasons and not included on any lists, except the lovely Damsel of the Faith.

      It’s partly because of my/several bloggers’ attendance at SSPX Masses and partly because we’re unimportant, unknown people, one and all. Our names are not up there in lights in cyberspace, sob, sob. Still we get along fine in our little neck of the woods here, as I hope you will agree!

  7. The post is under the name of Martin Blackshaw, not Athanasius, and it’s right there on Fr. Blake’s blog. And excellent it is too.

  8. Thanks Crofterlady, Editor, et al. I should have mentioned that I had posted under my own name. I made two posts, one on each of the “Source” links in Editor’s introduction to this thread. I’ll go see if the other one has appeared yet. I thought Fr. Blake might have responded since it was to him that I directed my comments. Oh well!

    • Athanasius,

      Yes, your comment appears under your own name on the second thread Expanding Papacy 2, but not on the first. Excellent comment, which I’ve copied to post below, for the record (no, not for RCA Victor, just for the general record!) 😀

      Dear Fr. Blake,

      Once again I find myself having to take issue with you, respectfully of course.

      Benedict XVI did not introduce the idea of a Pope not dying in office, as you assert. As far as I’m aware, there have already been two abdicated Popes in Church history. Therefore, Benedict XVI is merely an addition to that number.

      Archbishop Ganswein’s use of the term “expanded Papacy”, as well as his reference to Benedict XVI as “Homo Historicus”, should therefore be read as yet other examples of the kind of nonsensical statements we Catholics have become accustomed to since the Council.

      Don’t misunderstand me, I am grateful to Benedict XVI for the good things he did for Tradition as Pope. But I do not subscribe to the false notion that Ratzinger the theologian is fully orthodox. We have to remember that as a priest/peritus at Vatican II he was firmly in the liberal camp and did much to undermine the integrity of the Traditional Catholic Faith. While he has certainly modified many of his liberal views since then, it would be entirely mistaken to claim that he has renounced liberalism. To this day I believe he still holds to the condemned principle of separation of Church and State, for example, amongst other questionable things. And let us not forget his perpetuation of the Assisi scandal.

      It should not surprise us, then, to learn that the young Fr. Ratzinger’s name was once inscribed in the Holy Office list of “those supected of heresy”. Perhaps this “Homo Historicus” is one that Archbishop Ganswein would not be so keen to remind us of.

      The fact is that these post-Council innovators can’t leave anything alone. It seems to be in them to want to alter everything, to appear before men as the most insightful of prelates blessed by God above their fellows (predecessors). Benedict’s abdication was not the stuff of legend. It was an act that opened the Church up to a dangerously extreme liberal being placed on the Chair of Peter and the Papacy being forever tarred as just another executive position that may be “resigned” at will. It was actually a very great scandal.

      The Papacy does not expand, retract, or otherwise develop. It is exactly what Christ Our Lord instituted and maintained for almost 2000 years up to Benedict XVI. What Benedict did undermined that divinely established office, not expand it.

      I think it worth recalling here that when John Paul II was encouraged to “resign” at the height of his last illness, he said: “Christ did not come down from the Cross, nor will I come down from mine”. It is a great pity that Benedict XVI took a different view of things. 6/6/16 2:54 pm

      • Thanks, Editor. Pity about the other comment not being posted. It seems Fr. Blake is selective right enough!

        • Athanasius, if you have a copy of that second comment, please post it here. We’ll then be able to assess just HOW selective is Fr Blake.

          • Editor,

            Regrettably, I typed the other response in real time on Fr. Blake’s blog so have no copy of it.

            The gist of it, though, was that Benedict did not “resign”, he abdicated. The formal declaration has him saying “I renounce the Papacy”, not ‘I resign the Papacy.

            I suggested that it is about time Catholics stopped repeating parrot fashion this liberal Vatican line that Benedict resigned. I further suggested that the former Pope should not be wearing white and allowing himself to be called “Emeritus Pope”. No such office or title is possible in the Catholic Church. The Papal office is unique, a divinely instituted office that permits only one occupant at a time. It is patently ludicrous to suggest that a Pope may “resign” and still call himself “Pope Emeritus”. The entire business stands in stark opposition to sacred Tradition and greatly undermines the unique authority of the Petrine See, turning it into a secular-type executive post that provides for an emeritus retirement at a certain age. That’s not what Christ Our Lord instituted and well these liberals know it.

            • Well said, Athanasius.

              I must train myself not to say “resign”.

              Mind you, we must remember that St Catherine of Siena did call on a pope to resign if he wouldn’t/couldn’t do his papal duty, but then she was a woman and what do we they know? 😀

              • Editor

                I suspect St. Catherine probably called on the Pope to abdicate, but that some modern writer on her life changed it to “resign” so as to be more in keeping with the times. Resignation from employment and/or office, whether clerical or lay, was unheard of in St. Catherine’s day as far as I know.

                • Well, given that she was given to talking about priests who “rot the Church”, I wouldn’t put anything past her. She was some wummin!

                  Anyway, you’re right – to avoid the growing trend to treat of the Church as just one more NGO and the Pope as just one more CEO, we ought to avoid “resign” and speak only of “abdication”. I will do my best not to slip up in that regard. But I must warn you, my memory is not as good as it used to be. And my memory is not as good as it used to be …

        • That’s a great letter, Athanasius and I saw it on Fr Blake’s blog. I hope it, and RCA Victor’s comment below, makes him re-think his position.

  9. Editor (and Nicky),

    First, the whoppers – I’ll get to the intriguing statements later.

    1. “Mass communications above all have changed the role of the Papacy, today he is no longer the prisoner of the Vatican.” There are two serious errors with this statement: first, that anything in the secular world could “change” the Papacy in any way (this is actually a fundamental error of Vatican II and liberalism). Second, the implication that a Pope who faithfully fulfills the duties of his office without the mindless political traveling/groveling that occurs today could be considered a “prisoner of the Vatican.”

    2. “The Pope is no longer ‘just for Catholics’, he has another role, that of pre-eminence not only among Christians but among ‘faith leaders’ too. As a ‘world leader’ he has a moral authority which goes beyond that of any other leader. He is also the head of one of the largest and most active NGO in the world.” First, the meaning of the first statement should be: it is the Pope’s job to preach, teach and legislate the ongoing and expanded means for the Church to convert non-believers. However, I seriously doubt that is what Father Blake meant, and it certainly isn’t what Pope Francis intends!! Second, the Pope is not a “world leader,” but the Vicar of the Ark to another world, the world of eternity. (“My kingdom is not of this world.”) However, it could certainly be said that the Conciliar Popes have indeed reduced their office to that of a “world leader” – thus uncrowning themselves as they have uncrowned Our Lord. Third, previous Conciliar popes may have had some varying degree of moral authority, but one of the most disturbing things about Francis is that he has completely surrendered it, and in fact revels in his lack of it! Finally, to reduce the Church to the status of a United Nations NGO is, as someone has already pointed above, shameful….but this is actually what Francis has done. Why Fr. Blake affirms this disgrace is beyond me.

    3. “I think Benedict has always wanted to reform the Papacy, it is not unconnected with his attempt to reform the Liturgy.” This statement is outrageous even without attempted justification, but in the paragraph that follows, Fr. Blake provides no justification at all, neither evidence for Benedict’s desire to reform the Papacy, nor for the alleged connection between that and a reform of the liturgy.

    Finally, the very last sentence of the article is not English – there is something missing, though I couldn’t say exactly what. (“Perhaps when Pope Benedict is dead we will see what those who keep legacy which has perhaps grown rather and will grow rather than fade, will do and are capable of doing.”)

    One gets the impression from this article that Fr. Blake is not a very clear thinker…

    On to the intriguing statements later….

    • RCA Victor,

      That’s a superb analysis. You have just demolished the whole thing. I can’t wait for the “intriguing statements” analysis! LOL!

      What really hits me looking at Fr Blake’s blog, is the way the commentators are all of one mind in agreement with him. How few of them really think like Catholics. It’s just amazing.

  10. Regarding the “intriguing statements” in this article, I might have to reconsider my opinion that Fr. Blake is not a very clear thinker, because it occurred to me that, being painfully cognizant of his precarious position as a diocesan priest (i.e. subject to the whims of a no doubt “liberal” party-line bishop), he might be constrained to disguise his criticisms with heavy camouflage, as well as with statements which appear to endorse the party line. Much like those visual exercises in discernment we had as children in the American public school system, where we were given sketches to be colored in with our crayons as we tried to find 10 birds, or some such creature, hidden amongst the foliage. Or like those “I Spy” children’s books, which are much more elaborate exercises with the same purpose.

    At any rate, “I Spied” the following:

    1. Nowhere, that I can see, does he overtly endorse Archbishop Ganswein’s heretical idea of an “expanded Papacy.” His covert attempts to support it (if indeed that is his purpose) fall considerably short, e.g.:
    *”Archbishop Georg Gänswein’s recent remarks are always interesting, his recent interview is of particular interest.*” [faint praise at best]
    *”People have been pondering what the Archbishop meant by an ‘expanded Papacy’. I think that we need to start with Pope John Paul’s Et in Unum Sint 88ff*” [but he fails to explain how we should start there, instead dwelling on Pastor Aeternus]
    *The paragraph beginning with “Mass communications above all have changed the role of the Papacy, today he is no longer the prisoner of the Vatican,” in which he attempts to imply (but fails, as I pointed out above) that the idea of changing the Papacy is not new, and is a natural result of worldly exigencies.
    *”I think that Benedict always wanted to reform the Papacy” – another statement which he fails to develop, as I also pointed out above.
    *”His [Benedict’s] resignation [sic – it wasn’t a resignation, as Athanasius already pointed out] has changed the Papacy” might be taken as an affirmation of Ganswein’s position, but Fr. Blake immediately uses this to claim that Benedict’s act “de-mystified” the Papacy – in other words, it appears to me that Fr. Blake wants us to think that Benedict’s act was actually a blow against papolatry (“It has taken away the sense that the Pope is in some sense a sacred person…”)

    2. Meanwhile, back in the Subtle Department, we have these:

    *”It is fascinating what Gänswein says about the two rival groups before the last Conclave, it is also fascinating what he leaves us to speculate about the election of Pope Francis in the light of these rival factions.” [Thus opening the door slightly to those who claim that Francis isn’t the real Pope.]
    *”It strikes me as being highly unlikely that Pope Benedict was blind and deaf to “the so-called St. Gallen group…” “…and it is unlikely that he was unaware of who was their preferred candidate and where he would take the Papacy.” [This isn’t a comment about Benedict’s desire to change the Papacy, but it may well be another indirect reference to the validity of Francis’ election.]
    *”So what are we to make of the idea of an ‘expanded’ papacy?” [This is not a Ganswein endorsement either. However, it seems to me that this whole paragraph, and dare I say most of the article, is a subtle and well-disguised questioning of the validity of Francis’ election, and the confusion that has ensued. “Benedict still has the capacity to cry out from his cloister.” Cry out about what? About the ongoing heretical, blasphemous and irresponsible statements and actions coming from Bergoglio, perhaps?]

    Finally, I noticed the header picture on Fr. Blake’s blog, a picture of Pope Francis sitting very alone in a chair in a meeting room, while behind him, and nowhere near him, is a group of Cardinals and other clergy having a discussion. The impression this picture gives is of a Pope very isolated and alone. Now why would Fr. Blake want to give that impression?

    • RCA Victor,

      For the life of me, I cannot see how you arrive at your conclusions about the extracts you cite. I just cannot see it, any of it. If [Fr Blake’s] words mean anything, we have to take them at face value. I’ve certainly no intention of spending my precious time searching for a benign meaning in his writings. Say what you mean and mean what you say,is the key. If he’s writing in smoke signals, I’m outa here. Life’s too short. In any case, frankly, my beloved RCA Victor, I don’t for a second believe that you have correctly interpreted his articles. Sorry, but you won’t get to Heaven if I don’t keep you on the straight and narrow path that leads to… Scotland (are you SURE you can’t make it to our Conference?!)

      Fr Blake is, I’m sorry to say, a (very nice, I’m sure) typical modern priest with a willingness to allow/offer the TLM but his name is not associated with the traditional “movement” at all, as far as I know – he seems to be a member of the “foot in both camps” brigade. So worry not about him being prudent to keep on the right side of his bishop – he is unlikely to be considered a threat to the “liberal” establishment, because the infra-structure of Vatican II seems to be in place in his parish – with some limited provision of the TLM in addition.

      I’ve no idea why he chose that “lonesome” picture of the Pope – perhaps because it’s one of the few where he’s not wearing a red nose, or a fireman’s hat or a sombrero – who knows?

  11. Editor,

    I understand, so I’ll just sum up my long-winded analysis with this: if Fr. Blake’s article is an endorsement of Abp. Ganswein’s statement about Pope Benedict’s intentions, it sure is a strange way of endorsing it. Or this: I don’t see much of anything in his article to take at face value, so he is either incoherent, or deliberately obtuse!

    As for a trip to Bonnie Scotland, if you add enough zeroes to my paycheck, will that pay for a plane ticket?

    • RCA Victor,

      One of the hallmarks of the Modernist, remember, is precisely his ambiguity.

      If Fr Blake didn’t agree with the concept of an expanded papacy, he should have said so in words of one syllable, not left our super intelligent bloggers (and your good self!) to try to read between the lines and work it out figure it out 😀

      About those extra zeroes – if only! We’d LOVE to fly you over, but I think the long journey would damage your arms… 😀

      It’s the way I tell ’em !

      • Editor,

        Good point. I only have one previous “experience” with a Father Blake production, a column he wrote years ago on proselyting homosexuals in public. I don’t really remember the details, but the gist was that he had a good idea, but essentially ruined it with caveats. I wrote him to tell him so, but of course never received a reply. One gets the impression that as soon as he rocks the boat every so slightly, he puts his hands back in his pockets and denies ever touching the boat!

        Meanwhile, working on booking a seat on the next Space Shuttle….I might need my arms to keep playing the organ….

        • RCA Victor,

          “One gets the impression that as soon as he rocks the boat every so slightly, he puts his hands back in his pockets and denies ever touching the boat!”

          Hilarious! Well said!

          Off topic for a moment…

          I thought of you when driving home from town this afternoon, and tuned into the Radio Scotland news programme. They were on the streets of Glasgow asking people’s opinions on Hillary Clinton as next US President – unfortunately I didn’t see them or I’d have offered my opinion, with stars and stripes on…

          Anyway, the sheer ignorance of the populace at large is astounding. One after another gave her the thumbs up, with about one exception – all women, I’m ashamed to say, since that was the angle ‘Is it good to have a women President even if she’s useless’ was the gist of it to which most replied “yes”! Incredible. Even the couple who said they didn’t know anything about her thought she ought to be President just because of her female gender. Reminded me of the discussion show (again Radio Scotland) prior to the election of Barack Obama when they enthused till their eyes shone (not that I could see that on radio, but you’ll get my literary drift) and one actually said that it would clearly be a case that America is “still racist” if he didn’t get elected. I mean, where did these idiots go to school? How did they get to be “commentators” and “broadcasters” let alone newspaper columnists and TV news reporters/presenters? I mean, how?

          On topic again (if only to set a good example!)

          I think it’s bad that Fr Blake did not reply to you – for which accept my apology on behalf of the entire population of the United Kingdom. He’s not only a Catholic priest but an Englishman (I presume!) so that’s not on… One doesn’t NOT reply to one’s correspondents… does one… er… not?

          • The almost inevitable choice of Hillary Clinton and the likelihood of her opponent being Trump are deeply depressing and worrying. I recall waiting in the immigration queue at Newark some years ago just after Bush had been re elected and getting into conversation with an American. I asked him how it could be that a nation that has Harvard, MIT, Yale etc could not produce more impressive presidential candidates. How could they elect someone like Bush? He replied courteously saying ” Ma’am, no one with an ounce of common sense would put himself up for election. Lives are dissected in an attempt to unearth scandals, families are pressurised, and all they want to do is see you fail.”

            It would take a true visionary to have the courage to take it on and if we look around the world I cannot think of a single leader who has the charisma and integrity required. I suppose in time gone by leaders were not scrutinised about their private lives and morals etc but just got on with their public office, eg Churchill.

            And whichever way the referendum goes I think we are in for a rocky ride here too. I sometimes think I would like to gather all my family up and relocate to New Zealand! Though no doubt there are problems there too.

            Take no notice of my ramblings here, I am in a somewhat dismal mood tonight!!

              • Editor and Elizabeth,

                I’m in the middle of a book called “The Church and Her Enemies,” by Father (I think he was a priest, that is) Michael Muller. It was written during the reign of Pius XI. The longest chapter by far is the one on Freemasonry, which actually takes up most of the book.

                In this chapter there is a section called “The Hammer of Freemasonry,” which describes their change in tactics after the French Revolution, from the sword to the “hammer.” I will run out to my car later and retrieve the book and type up some extensive quotes from this section, as it explains the cause of the abysmal ignorance of the populace, the ongoing bankruptcy in leadership and statesmanship, along with many other features of cultural decay…

                • RCA Victor,

                  My heart was racing when I read: “I will run out to my car…” thinking you were heading for the airport to come here for the Conference after all… then you struck a merciless blow with: “…later and retrieve the book…”

                  I WILL forgive you… it’ll take time, but I will 😀

                  And I WILL pay attention to the quotes you post in due course, I really will… to make up for my nonsense!

  12. Editor and Elizabeth,

    My apologies for the delay: it took me a while to recover from all that pubbing and clubbing…so, from “The Masonic Hammer” section of the above book:

    “Freemasonry, aided and paid by the State, now [post-French Revolution change in tactics] took possession of the high-schools and universities. There the professors, agents of Freemasonry, boldly taught, without stint and hindrance, that Christianity was but a childish superstition; and they inculcated with these abominable doctrines those who were to be the future government officers, generals, professors, and even members of the clergy. The schoolmasters, in their turn, taught these infamous sophistries in the lower schools, and even in the seminaries…To entrap Catholics more easily, they establish certain benevolent societies, whose chief leaders are considered practical Catholics, but who, are in reality, decoys to draw innocent Catholics into the Masonic snares, under the specious pretext of good. Freemasonry introduces, also, means of corruption, and increases the incitements to it, in theatres, ballets, and novels, so as to plunge persons into shameful vices, and thus deter them from the reception of the Sacraments. The next step is to take the education of the children and youths from the clergy, and to instill into them the principles of infidelity, in State or public schools. And what are children without religion?…Again, Freemasonry uses infidel journalism to circulate its doctrines among the people, – doctrines calculated to sap alike the altar and the throne; to carry on a war of extermination against every holy principle, against the welfare and the very existence of society; to spread among the people the worst of religions – the no-religion, the religion which pleases most hardened adulterers and criminals, the religion of irrational animals, a religion of licentiousness, cruelty, and vice; the substitution of the reign of the passions for the calm and elevating influences of reason and religion; to bring about a generation without belief in God and immortality, free from all regard for the invisible, – a generation that looks upon this life as their only life, this earth as their only home, and the promotion of their earthly interests and enjoyments as their only end; a religion that looks upon religion, marriage, upon family and private property, as the greatest enemies to worldly happiness;…in other words, a generation that substitutes the devil for God, hell for heaven, sin and vice for virtue and holiness of life….Indeed, bad newspapers are now among the greatest evils of the world. But it is the fitting chastisement of apostate nations that they should be governed by newspapers, instead of by the prophets and the saints. They are the only teachers that such nations deserve.

    And on it goes!

    • RCA Victor,

      Thank you for going to so much trouble to type that piece on freemasonry. Until I started following this blog I confess I was ignorant of the evil of this organisation. I knew Catholics were forbidden to be masons and that it was secret but beyond that I just considered it to be a “club” for businessmen and the police! While reading more and this extract in particular I began to think that one could substitute Satanists for free mason in every line. If they did actually plot and then carry out their plan to secularise society, well they have succeeded. I know a few men who are masons and to me they have come over as public spirited people, very generous, doing a lot for charity etc. I would find it hard to credit that they would be part of such a pernicious society.
      Clearly I know nothing!

      • Elizabeth,

        Freemasons are, tragically for them, Satanists. However, it seems that the lower degrees of the lodge are not aware of this. They are attracted, as you’ve pointed out, by the civic responsibility lure, the patriotism lure (but I wonder how they explain the EU as “patriotism”??) – and then, if they are selected to advance to the higher grades, they are gradually inducted into the overt worship of their god, who is Lucifer.

        If you have a chance, look up John Salza’s writings on Freemasonry (he is one of the frequent speakers at traditionalist conferences, a lawyer, and a former Mason). He also has an apologetics website: http://www.johnsalza.com/p/apologetics-101.html

  13. The concept of an expanded papacy is sheer nonsense.

    The Archbishop spoke, and wrote, like a would be groupie at a pop concert. Sheer sycophantic nonsense in adulation of his two bosses. If only Pope Emeritus Benedictus had roundly, and speedily, publicly slapped him down as he rightly did in relation to false claims about him and the Third Secret of Fatima.

    If only Francis and Benedict had the courage to sack [him]. He has clearly been over promoted.

    • If the Archbishop has been over-promoted, what does that say about Cardinal Bergoglio, LOL!

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