Jesuit Superior: Pope “not the chief of Church” – he’s the Bishop of Rome…

Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, superior general of the Jesuits, said in an interview Monday that Pope Francis consciously calls himself the Bishop of Rome, instead of using grander titles.    

“Very frequently we forget that the pope is not the chief of the Church, he’s the Bishop of Rome,” Fr. Sosa told EWTN in an interview Oct. 15.

“As the bishop of Rome, he has another service to do to the Church, that is, to try to [bring about] the communion of the whole Church.”

By convoking the youth synod, taking place in Rome Oct. 3-28, Francis is exercising his role as pope by bringing together a group “of his own peers” to make a “contribution to the communion of the whole Church,” Sosa said.

“Fr. Sosa is certainly correct to say that the pope is the Bishop of Rome, but it would be a mistake to infer from that title that the Holy Father is merely ‘first among equals,’” Chad Pecknold, Associate Professor of Theology at the Catholic University of America, told CNA.

Pecknold told CNA that popes often and correctly speak of their “brother bishops,” but that the Petrine office is unique.

The pope “holds an office of supreme authority over every bishop in communion with him, and of course over the faithful too. It isn’t a charism of dominance but of paternal care – the popes traditionally use the title ‘servant of the servants of God.’”

Sosa said that because Pope Francis feels each bishop is responsible for his local church, this synod, in which Church leaders come together to discuss and decide church affairs, is an expression of dialogue and communion between all of the bishops.

Pecknold agreed that the world’s bishops are each truly invested with the authority to govern, teach, and minister to their own dioceses. But a bishop’s ministry must always be done in union with the pope, who, he said, “is the visible center of communion for the universal Church.”

“The worldwide college of bishops exists in what the Church calls ‘hierarchical communion’ with each other and with the head, the pope. When the we talk about authority of the college of bishops to teach or lead, the Church is always careful to emphasize that this is only possible in union with the pope, who is the head of the college,” Pecknold explained.

In his interview, Sosa also explained that the collaborative work of the synod is a work of discernment, something he said was very important to Pope Francis. The Jesuit superior said that although the concept of discernment is a key feature of Jesuit spirituality, the act of listening to the Spirit has been a part of the Church’s for a long time.
“Discernment is the way that this communion [of the universal Church] can be made and how the Church will find the structure to reflect a Church that is open to that synodality,” Sosa continued.

“Because the Church is supposed to be governed not by men but by the Spirit. So [the Synod of Bishops] is not a kind of parliament, where you have to have a majority or minority, but we all together try to listen to the Spirit. And that’s what discernment teaches us to do.”

In comments to journalists Oct. 16, Cardinal Louis Sako I, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, echoed this point: “The synod is not a political parliament, is a synod of fathers, teachers,” he said. “What can we give, what can we offer the young, the faithful?”

The Synod of Bishops, which was established by Pope St. Paul VI following Vatican Council II, was created to continue the collaborative effects of the council fathers.

The Code of Canon Law defines it as a work of “collaborative assistance” to the pope’s ministry, and stresses that it exists to “foster unity” among the bishops, including with the pope. It also states that the synod is itself a creation of papal authority, deriving its legitimacy not from the bishops attending but from the pope who called them to the session. Whether a synod session’s conclusions are deliberative or consultative is explicitly up to the pope, who decides how much of his own authority to delegate to it.

In this sense, Pecknold told CNA, it functions nothing like a parliament.

“Parliaments are political, legislative bodies,” he said.

“The Synod of Bishops exists to foster unity and to give the pope the benefit of their counsel. In that sense, their job isn’t to pass this resolution or block that one – it is to work together to advise the pope as best they can, and that is a work of communion and service, not confrontation.”  Source

Comment:

Pope Francis DID emphasise, right from the beginning, from his words on election delivered from the Vatican balcony, that he was Bishop of Rome… He has, it seems, sought to play down his papal role.  So,  the question has to be… does it matter?  Shouldn’t we applaud his humility in shying away from all things Petrine?  

Youth Synod: Pope Trashes Tradition

Vatican City, Oct 3, 2018 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis began the Synod on young people Oct. 3 with a homily calling for the Holy Spirit to renew hope and dynamism in the Church.

Hope can “broaden our horizons, expand our hearts and transform those frames of mind that today paralyze, separate and alienate us from young people,” said Pope Francis.

The Synod of Bishops commenced its fifteenth ordinary general session with Pope Francis asking to begin the assembly “anointed by hope.”

“Hope challenges us, moves us and shatters that conformism which says, ‘it’s always been done like this,’” he continued.

In a historic first, two bishops from mainland China are participating in the Synod of Bishops due to the Holy See’s provisional agreement with China on the appointment of bishops in September.

One of the bishops at the synod, Bishop Giuseppe Guo Jincai of Chengde, was among the seven bishops recognized by the Vatican on Sept. 22.

“The communion of the entire Episcopate with the Successor of Peter is yet more visible thanks to their presence,” the pope said as he welcomed the delegates from China.

The Synod of Bishops is taking place over three weeks from October 3-28 and will focus on the themes of young people, the faith, and vocational discernment.

“Hope asks us to get up and look directly into the eyes of young people and see their situations,” said Pope Francis, “This same hope asks us to make efforts to reverse situations of uncertainty, exclusion and violence, to which our young people are exposed.”

More than 300 participants are gathered in Rome, including clerics and religious, as well as 49 auditors, among them 36 young people from five continents.\

“May the Spirit give us the grace to be a memory that is diligent, living and effective, that does not allow itself from one generation to the next to be extinguished or crushed by the prophets of doom and misfortune, by our own shortcomings, mistakes and sins,” Pope Francis prayed.

“Rather may it be a memory capable of enkindling our hearts and of discerning the ways of the Spirit,” he continued. “With this attitude of docile listening to the voice of the Spirit, we have gathered from all parts of the world.”

“The Holy Spirit will be the first to preserve, to keep alive and relevant, the memory of the Lord in the heart of his disciples. It is the Spirit who ensures that the richness and beauty of the Gospel will be a source of constant joy and freshness,” he said.   Source – Catholic News Agency

Comment:
“Hope challenges us, moves us and shatters that conformism which says, ‘it’s always been done like this,’” [said Pope Francis]  

What’s that, if not trashing Tradition?  Look at what happens when we STOP doing what has always been done… confusion, chaos and scandal by the bucketful.

I get the feeling that young people are going to be short-changed by this Synod, to put it mildly.  What do you think?  Will they come away from it, excited that they face the challenge of changing themselves, the challenge of holiness… or will they leave in a rebellious spirit, determined to change Christ’s Church, to fashion it in a way that allows them to live in conformity to the spirit of the world – totally opposed to the Holy Spirit, which Pope Francis invokes so freely to justify his calls to challenge Tradition, to, effectively, challenge Christ, Himself?  

Jesus or the Church? 

New video in our series Thinking Through Catholic Truth (updated 18 July, 2018)

If you can think of other arguments to convince lapsed and non-Catholics about the divine roots of the Church, please share your thoughts below…

Happy Easter! But what is Pope Francis celebrating if Hell does not exist?

V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.
Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.

R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,

For he whom you did merit to bear, alleluia,

V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.

Has risen as he said, alleluia.

R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

Pray for us to God, alleluia.

From the  Editor…

As well as being the usual facility to exchange Easter greetings, we might use this thread to discuss what on earth Pope Francis makes of Easter, since, apparently, according to recent reports, he thinks unrepentant souls just “disappear” – they don’t end up in Hell. What on EARTH is he celebrating this weekend, if there is no Hell?  Why Good Friday?  Why the need for the Saviour? What IS Christian salvation if not salvation from the eternal punishment of Hell?  Read the following report, taken from the Rorate Caeli website which will leave you wishing, as it leaves me wishing that Papa Francis would “disappear” – like, yesterday! 

From Rorate Caeli…

“THERE IS NO HELL” — new Francis revelation to atheist journalist just in time for Good Friday

In another informal interview with Italian atheist journalist (and founder of liberal newspaper Repubblica) Eugenio Scalfari, published today, Pope Francis reveals that “hell does not exist”.

His exact words below (full interview behind paywall here, most important excerpt below):

Title of the interview: “It is an honor for me to be called revolutionary.”

Excerpt on hell:

[Scalfari:] Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?

[Francis:] “They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”  Source – Rorate Caeli

And then … click here to see what happened next.  

Comment:

Was Pope Francis misquoted?   Before you answer that, read this Catholic World Report  including the following comment underneath: I can’t believe people have not caught on yet. It is likely that Pope Francis told Scalfari that there was no hell. The fact that he said at other places and times that their IS a hell does not matter. What the Pope says changes from time to time. If Scalfari found it a stumbling block to believe in hell, then the Pope would have no trouble telling him there is no hell. The Pope was “accompanying” Scalfari, trying to move him closer to the church. If this involved the POPE denying or altering doctrine, then so be it. When Scalfari is ready to accept the idea of hell, the Pope will re-introduce it. It will appear again. What we just saw was the Pope’s idea of how to lead someone into the church. You deny or alter doctrine, if necessary. Then, when the person has accepted the fundamentals, you move the goalposts again, hell re-appears, and Voila! Now, the critical thing is that the POPE is endorsing this approach. Truth is situationally relative for the Pope, and he will say whatever he needs to say to get to his goal. He is flexible. Doctrine does not matter. So Germans want to give communion to divorced and remarried and bless gay marriage. Who cares? Not the Pope. So maybe Jesus did not rise from the dead. Who cares? Not the Pope.” 

Well… Was Pope Francis misquoted? 

2018: The Year of Formal Schism?

THE REMNANT UNDERGROUND: Headed up by Bishop Athanasius Schneider and two other Archbishops from Kazakhstan, a total of 6 bishops and 1 cardinal have now signed a statement of opposition to the pope-approved interpretations of Amoris Laetitia that non-repentant public adulterers can return to the sacramental life of the Church. This is revolution and counterrevolution in a Catholic Church in total crisis. Plus, looking ahead to October’s Synod of Young People in Rome—will the Church deep six Humanae Vitae? Will the Vatican give the green light to so-called ‘gay unions’? Finally, an old Jimmy Stewart movie, “Call Northside 777”, includes a sobering reminder of what it used to mean to be Catholic–something Pope Francis would do well to consider.

Comments invited… 

2018: The Year of “Saint” Pope Paul VI?

From Vatican Insider

In a special issue entitled “It will be the year of Paul VI Saint”, the weekly magazine of the diocese of Brescia,

La voce del popolo, writes that on 13 December, theologians of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of Pope Montini, after a first free go-ahead had been given by the medical consultation of the Vatican Congregation itself. At this point it is necessary that the cardinals of the Congregation and, finally, the Pope express themselves on the same miracle.

The miracle regards the birth of a girl from Verona called Amanda, who in 2014 had survived for months despite the fact the placenta was broken.

Pope Francis beatified his predecessor on 19 October 2014, concluding the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.

“Rumors are so insistent and the next steps so fast to take, that everything indicates 2018 as Blessed Paul VI’s canonization year”, writes the diocesan newspaper of Brescia. The last official stage took place last December 13 in the theological commission. The miracle attributed to the intercession of John Baptist Montini about the healing of a fetus in prenatal age in 2014 was approved. The expectant mother native from Verona, at risk of miscarriage, a few days after the beatification of Montini in Brescia, went to the Sanctuary “delle Grazie”, to pray to the newly beatified Pope.

Subsequently, a child in good health was born. After the doctors and theologians’ recognition, there are still a few more steps to be taken: the passage in the commission of cardinals, the final approval of the Pope and that of the Consistory with the official announcement and the definition of the date. But at this point, it is more than a hope. The month of October could be the right one. From 3 to 28 October in Rome, the 15th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on young people will be celebrated and will gather in the Vatican prelates from all over the world. What better opportunity to canonize in front of such a large portion of the College of Bishops, the other pontiff, after Saint John XXIII of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council? It will most likely take place on one of the first three Sundays of October, even if the most accredited date today seems to be the 21. Indeed, sooner or later, in 2018 Paul VI will be Saint! We praise the Lord to Whom we entrust the year that will come”.  Source

Comment:

Is this yet another questionable canonisation to come – the creator of the new Mass, in fact, a saint? Really? Or is this simply the latest attempt to “canonise” the Second Vatican Council and its scandalous aftermath?