Pope Francis: Merciful or Authoritarian?

My own research has shown that this incident occurred at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and that it was Cardinal Gerhard Müller himself who now has to obey these peremptory new orders. Additionally, I was able to discover that the three priests involved are, respectively, of a Slovakian-American, French, and Mexican nationality. (One of my sources is a friend of one of these three theologians.) However, the last of these three might now, after all, be able to remain a little longer in his current position at the Congregation.

Let us now consider some of the specific details of what Marco Tosatti himself has perceptively gathered for us. He starts his article with a reference to Pope Francis’ usual rebuke of the Roman Curia at his Christmas address to the Curia and detects the pope’s obvious anger in his words and gestures. When looking over to the Curia itself, however, Tosatti perceives something else than a reciprocal anger to be present among the curial members: “It is not about their resistance, but about their fear, their discontent, and a kind of feeling that belongs to another context altogether.”

Tosatti then refers to a credible source who told him several recent episodes occurring at the Vatican. Two of them appear to be of great importance and might also give us some additional glimpses into Pope Francis’ own authoritarian methods as well as his somewhat indirect way of ruling the Church. But, we should now first concentrate on the new personnel matter at the Congregation for Doctrine, which Tosatti himself says is “decisively sadder.” Here is Tosatti’s report:

“The head of a dicastery has received the order to remove three of his employees (all of whom have worked there for a long time), and it was without any explanation. He [the Prefect] received these official letters: “….I request that you please dismiss ….” The order was: send him [each of them] back into his diocese of origin or to the Religious Family to which he belongs. He [the Prefect of the Congregation] was very perplexed because it was about three excellent priests who are among the most capable professionally. He first avoided obeying and several times asked for an audience with the pope. He had to wait because that meeting was postponed several times. Finally, he was received in an audience. And he said: “Your Holiness, I have received these letters, but I did not do anything because these persons are among the best of my dicastery… what did they do?” The answer was, as follows: “And I am the pope, I do not need to give reasons for any of my decisions. I have decided that they have to leave and they have to leave.” He got up and stretched out his hand in order to indicate that the audience was at an end. On 31 December, two of the three [men] will leave the dicastery in which they have worked for years, and without knowing the why. For the third, there seems to be a certain delay. But then, there is another implication which, if true, would be even more unpleasant. One of the two had freely spoken about certain decisions of the pope – perhaps a little bit too much. A certain person – a friend of a close collaborator of the pope – heard this disclosure and passed it on. The victim received then a very harsh telephone call from Number One [i.e., the pope]. And then soon came the dismissal.” [emphasis added]

In this passage, Tosatti piercingly speaks about an “autocratic fever that seems to have broken out in the Vatican.” [my emphasis] And he concludes his report with the following words:

“Thus it is not so astonishing when the atmosphere behind the walls and in the palaces is not really serene. And one may now ask oneself what kind of credit this fact gives altogether to all the elaborate and sustained fanfare about mercy.” [my emphasis]

Thus Tosatti adds another piece of the puzzle concerning Pope Francis’ manner and methods of governance through which he seemingly aims at removing – or marginalizing – orthodox prelates, priests, and laymen from positions of formative influence in the Vatican.

Moreover, with specific regard of the Congregation for Doctrine, another source had told me the following, more than a month ago:

“One source in Rome says that all those who work for the Holy See are afraid to talk about anything for fear of being chopped because of the presence of informants everywhere. He compared it to Stalinist Russia. He said two priest friends of his, good men, have been fired from the CDF because they were accused of being critical of Pope Francis.”

This same Rome source, who is personally very honest and well informed, reports that these two priests here mentioned (who do not seem to be the same ones who are involved in the recent three personnel cases) fear that they will not be the only ones to be removed. They see their own removal to be just the beginning of a “massive overhaul” [my emphasis] within the Doctrine Congregation, “not unlike what happened recently to Cardinal Sarah’s Divine Worship Congregation.” (Here we might be reminded of the fact that it was Marco Tosatti himself who had earlier called these recent changes at the Congregation for Divine Worship a “Purge.”)

We have also recently reported about the pope’s earlier decision to remove the members of the Pontifical Academy of Life, which is widely known for its strong stance in defense of human life. Here is what one well-informed source had reported to me then about this incident:

“At the end of 2016 the Pontifical Academy for Life was closed and all its members dismissed. The Academy will be reconstituted in 2017 with new statutes and the Academy will be repopulated. The process for naming new members of the Academy is not known.”

We also have repeatedly reported on the atmosphere of fear that now increasingly permeates the Vatican, as did a recent report from the co-founder of LifeSiteNews.

During this forthcoming year of 2017 – the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima – may the Blessed Mother increasingly be our help and our trustworthy refuge. May she help us with those graces we shall need to defend the truth more fully and to manifest Christ’s love, as well, even in the face of fear.  Source

Comments invited… 

Papacy: Elect One Pope, Get One Free?

You MUST read these Catholic Truth newsletter. If you want to be a good pope, read them...

This box contains all my copies of the Catholic Truth newsletters, Francis. A MUST-read, if you want to be a good pope…

I’m finding myself getting short on patience, to put it mildly,with those who keep telling me that “Benedict is still pope” – having me choking on my morning tea – and, as if that’s not annoying enough, I get regular emails containing the same message from the other side of the world. Anything, rather than accept the fact that it is perfectly possible for a pope to be a bad pope. I mean, we’ve argued the Sedevacantist  theory to death, now we’re faced with more Theology For Dummies thanks to the rise of  Benevacantism…  Is there no end to it?  

Anyway, when I complained to Athanasius about this annoyance, he emailed as follows, and subsequently gave permission for me to use his pearls of wisdom to kick start this discussion: note: Pope FRANCIS is the pope, a terrible pope, no question about it, and while we will certainly permit those of a different view to express their opinion, allow me to say at the outset that we are not about to go round in circles with this. The purpose of this thread is to nip this nonsense in the bud, so anyone who doesn’t “get it” reasonably quickly, can expect to be erased from the face of this blog, in due course. Be warned! No more Mzzzz Nice Gal!

ATHANASIUS WRITES…

Below is Pope Benedict’s declaration of Papal Renunciation with highlighted words showing that he renounced both spiritual and pastoral aspects of the Papacy and then confirmed this by speaking of the election of a new SUPREME PONTIFF, where “Supreme” means over everything, not shared. He even stated that he was renouncing the ministry entrusted to him by the conclave and we know that was the Petrine ministry in all its aspects. These conspirators are just trouble making schismatics. 

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects.  And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

Comments invited…  

Pope’s Sinister Suggestion: Are ‘Rigid’ People Guilty of Living Double-Life?

How many times will I have to say "don't be rigid"?!**!

How many times will I have to say “don’t be rigid”? There are still Catholics who want to keep the Commandments! For Goodness sake!

Don’t be too rigid.      

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis warned against this natural tendency, and reminded how God wishes for us to be good and merciful, during his homily today during his daily morning Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta.

The Holy Father drew inspiration from today’s Gospel reading according to St. Matthew, which tells of when Jesus, who was teaching in the synagogue, healed a crippled woman and in doing so, ignited the anger of the righteous.

“It is not easy to keep to the path indicated by God’s Law,” Francis noted.

Jesus’ action, the Jesuit Pontiff pointed out, provoked the fury of the leader of the synagogue who was “indignant that he had cured the woman on the Sabbath” because Jesus violated God’s Law by doing so on the Sabbath day which is set aside for rest and worship. Francis also recalled how Jesus called the synagogue leaders ‘hypocrites,’ and how Jesus often referred to those who followed the Law too rigidly by this name.

To Make Us God’s Children

“The Law,” the Pope said, “was not drawn up to enslave us but to set us free, to make us God’s children.”

“Behind an attitude of rigidity, there is always something else in the life of a person,” the Holy Father said. “Rigidity is not a gift of God. Meekness is; goodness is; benevolence is; forgiveness is. But rigidity isn’t!”

Often, Francis added, rigidity conceals the leading of a double life, or it can have to do with something pathological.

Francis also commented on how those who are both rigid and sincere often are afflicted with difficulties and suffering, which is because they lack the freedom of God’s children.

“They do not know how to walk in the path indicated by God’s Law,” the Pope said, adding, “They appear good because they follow the Law; but they are concealing something else: either they are hypocritical or they are sick. And they suffer!”

Prodigal Son

Recalling the parable of the Prodigal Son in which the eldest son, who always behaved well, was indignant with his father because he rejoiced when the youngest son, after having led a life of debauchery, returns home repentant.

This attitude, the Pope explained, shows what is behind a certain type of goodness: “the pride of believing in one’s righteousness.”

“The elder son,” the Pontiff said, “was rigid and conducted his life following the Law, but saw his father only as a master. The other put rules aside, returned to his father in a time of darkness, and asked for forgiveness.”

Difficult Balance

“It is not easy to walk within the Law of the Lord without falling into rigidity,” he underscored.

Pope Francis concluded, praying for all those who think that by becoming rigid they are following the path of the Lord.

“May the Lord make them feel that He is our Father and that He loves mercy, tenderness, goodness, meekness, humility. And may He teach us all to walk in the path of the Lord with these attitudes.”   Click here to read the original Zenit report

Comment:

There surely has to be a path somewhere between “rigidity” and “false mercy”…  In any case, seems to me that the Pope doesn’t understand the difference between being “rigid” about man-made or secondary rules, and adhering faithfully to God’s essential, natural moral law.  And what about his narrow (if predictable) interpretation of the Parable of the Prodigal Son?  Poor elder brother gets it in the neck again. No mercy for him!  Nor is the Pope’s list complete of what “the Lord” loves:  missing is fidelity, yet God loves fidelity – and, indeed, Christ teaches this in His Parable of the Prodigal Son… through the relationship of the elder son and the Father!  Pope Francis missed that bit! Over to you – what does the Pope mean by not being too “rigid” – do we interpret the fasting laws more liberally (I mean, where to go with a “fast” that is only an hour long anyway?) or is he talking about one or other – or all – of the Ten Commandments?

And what’s this about “rigid” people possibly living a double life?  Correct me if I’m wrong, folks, but, to date, all the scandalous reports of double living within the Church have involved “liberal” types,  who could not be described, in a million years, as being “rigid” about keeping God’s moral law.  I, for one, object to be characterised as a hypocrite, and suspected of living a double life,  on the grounds that I believe the Ten Commandments are binding on us all.  What about you?

Pope seeks “new ways round” Anglican Schism – leave it to the God of Surprises!

From The Telegraph 5/10/16…

Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury have publicly pledged to press on towards the full reunification of the [  ]  Catholic and Anglican churches – while admitting they “do not yet see” a  solution to differences over the female clergy and sexuality.

pope-justinwelbyThey insisted they were “undeterred” in their desire to heal the split between the two churches which emerged amid the convulsions of the Reformation, which began 500 years ago next year.

In a joint declaration in Rome, where they led prayers together, they spoke of decades of progress on reaching common ground on the major areas of disagreement but acknowledged there were still “serious obstacles” to full communion.

These, they acknowledged, include the ordination of female clergy in the Church of England and other Anglican provinces, a move viewed by
[ ]  Catholics as a fundamental breach with its teaching that bishops follow in an unbroken line of male succession from the original apostles.

While we ourselves do not yet see solutions to the obstacles before us, we are undeterred.

 They also singled out “more recent questions regarding human sexuality” – a deliberately vague reference to the controversies especially within the Church of England over the possibility of effectively blessing same-sex marriages and gay bishops.

Crucially, however, they signalled that they would seek new ways around their theological differences, saying they believed God would “open new doors”.

They also urged their respective clergy to join forces on the ground, making the most of the “certain yet imperfect communion” the two churches already share.

And, strikingly, the Archbishop, the Most Rev Justin Welby jointly led the service with a female priest, his interim chaplain the Rev Julia Pickles, by his side. [all emphases added]     Read more here

Comment:

It’s that word again – “new”.  We’ve had the new Mass, new rosary, new catechism, new code of canon law, new morality, new philosophy of Catholic education and now, predictably, new ways round schism.  We’ve had New Labour, now we have New Catholic.  

IS there any way round the Anglican schism, now that they have women “priests”, and with the official approval of same-sex “marriage” on the horizon.  Well?  

American Editors Accuse Pope Francis

Your Holiness:

The following narrative, written in our desperation as lowly members of the laity, is what we must call an accusation concerning your pontificate, which has been a calamity for the Church in proportion to which it delights the powers of this world. The culminating event that impelled us to take this step was the revelation of your “confidential” letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires authorizing them, solely on the basis of your own views as expressed in Amoris Laetitia, to admit certain public adulterers in “second marriages” to the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion without any firm purpose of amending their lives by ceasing their adulterous sexual relations.  PopeFrancispensivecropped

You have thus defied the very words of Our Lord Himself condemning divorce and “remarriage” as adultery per se without exception, the admonition of Saint Paul on the divine penalty for unworthy reception of the Blessed Sacrament, the teaching of your two immediate predecessors in line with the bi-millenial moral doctrine and Eucharistic discipline of the Church rooted in divine revelation, the Code of Canon Law and all of Tradition. [from Part 1]

Click here to read all three parts of the Letter & Liber of Accusation at Catholic Family News. The page opens at Part III, with links to Parts 1 & 11.

 

Comments invited   

 

3/9: Feast of Pope St Pius X…

Joseph Sarto was born in Riese in Venetia on Jun 2nd, 1835. He was successively curate, parish priest, Bishop of Mantua, patriarch of Venice. He was elected Pope on August 4, 1903.  As chief pastor of the Church he realised to the full the value of the liturgy as the prayer of the Church and spared no effort to propagate the practice of frequent and daily Communion. In his encyclical Pascendi Domini Gregis, he exposed and condemned the modernist heresy with force and clarity (1907). He died on  August 20, 1914 and was canonised on May 29, 1954.  (From 1962, Missal, Feast of St Pius X, Pope. Confessor)

PopeSaintPiusXfaceblackandwhite

Comments invited, with a suggestion to pray to this great Pope-Saint for the present Modernist Pope, Francis. 

Benedict on “Providential” Pope Francis

Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict have expressed appreciation for the friendship that has grown between them on the occasion of the publication of Elio Guerriero’s biography of Pope Benedict XVI. Both popes clearly value their friendship for the support and encouragement that it brings to them both.  

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, right, hugs Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica during the ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year, at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. Pope Francis pushed open the great bronze doors of St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday to launch his Holy Year of Mercy, declaring that mercy trumps moralizing in his Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Benedict XVI, right, hugs Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica during the ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year, 2015.  (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

 

Pope Benedict XVI on Pope Francis

Pope Benedict XVI spoke about his friendship with Pope Francis in a rare interview with  his biographer Elio Guerriero, published in La Reppublica (paraphrased by CNA):

“Speaking about Pope Francis, Benedict said that obedience to his successor “was never in discussion,” but that since Francis’ election, a feeling of “deep communion and friendship” has arisen between the two.

“At the moment of his election I experienced, as many, a spontaneous feeling of gratitude toward Providence,” he said, explaining that after having two Pope’s from Central Europe, “the Lord was turning, so to speak, his gaze to the Universal Church and invited us to a more extensive communion, more Catholic.”  [emphasis added by Editor CT]

Benedict said he was deeply moved by Pope Francis’ “extraordinary human availability to me” from the beginning. He noted how immediately after Francis was elected, the new Pope attempted to call him at his residence in the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae monastery. Having failed to reach him, Francis called again right after greeting faithful from the balcony of St. Peter’s, this time succeeding. Pope Francis “spoke to me with great  warmth,” Benedict recalled, noting that since that day “he has given me the gift of a wonderfully paternal-fraternal relationship.”

Not only does Francis frequently send “little gifts” and personal letters to Benedict, but he also makes sure to visit his predecessor before embarking on every major trip he takes:

“The human benevolence with which he treats me, is for me a special grace of this last phase of my life for which I can only be grateful. What he says about availability to other men, are not only words. He puts it into practice with me. May the Lord in turn make him feel his benevolence every day. This I ask the Lord for him.”

Pope Francis on Pope Benedict XVI

John L. Allen has provided excerpts from Pope Francis’s preface to Elio Guerriero’s biography of Pope Benedict XVI:

“His discrete presence and his prayer for the Church are a continual support and comfort for my service. Who better than him can understand the joys, and also the difficulties, of service to the universal Church and the world of today, and be spiritually close to the one called by the Lord to carry that weight? For that reason, his prayer is especially precious, and his friendship especially appreciated.”

About there being two popes in the Church

“Since they love each other, it’s a beautiful novelty. In a certain sense it expresses in a particularly clear way the continuity of the Petrine ministry, without interruption, like links in a single chain forged by love. The holy people of God, on the path, have understood this very well. Every time the emeritus pope has appeared in public, at my invitation, and I was able to embrace him in front of everyone, the joy and the applause of those present has been sincere and intense.”

On the continuity between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI

“Everyone in the Church has a great debt of gratitude towards Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI for the depth and balance of his theological thought, always in the service of the Church, up to the highest responsibility; the contribution of his faith and culture to a magisterium capable of meeting the expectations of our time was fundamental. The courage and determination with which he faced difficult situations have shown the way to react with humility and truth, in the spirit of renewal and purification.”

The loving mercy of God is “the most urgent message of a Church reaching out, even to the peripheries, of a world marked by conflicts, injustices and disrespect for the human person. The entire life of thought and works of Joseph Ratzinger has aimed at that end, and in the same direction, with the help of God, I’ll try to continue.”

Comment [EWTN]

The role of the successor of St Peter has been described as one of the loneliest jobs in the world. The pope alone bears ultimate responsibility before God for the universal Church:

“The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power.” (Lumen Gentium, 22).

For any man occupying the throne of St Peter this realisation must at times be a great burden. It is good that Pope Francis has Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI close at hand supporting him in prayer and friendship.  Source

Comment

Clearly, those who claim that Pope Benedict must be concerned about the statements and actions of Pope Francis are plain wrong.  He actually sees the Francis pontificate as “providential”, apparently in the sense that this is a good pontificate.   At Catholic Truth, we were never under any illusions about Pope Benedict.  We spoke out to highlight his errors, just as we comment on the many errors of Pope Francis. But where do the reports of Pope Benedict’s ongoing  support for and pledge of unconditional obedience to Pope Francis leave those who consider Benedict to have been a faithful pontiff who must be suffering through the Francis pontificate?