Browse Our Articles & Podcasts

Book Review: Phil Lawler on the Pope as The Lost Shepherd

Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock
Philip Lawler
Gateway Editions
256 pages
$25.79 Hardcover; $14.99 Kindle

A book that is already drawing the attention of international media despite a publication date nearly two months out (at the end of February) is Phil Lawler’s upcoming work, The Lost Shepherd. How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock.

The Lost Shepherd  (disclosure: I received a free advance copy in order to prepare this review) is yet another book offering a critical look at Pope Francis and his current reign over the Catholic Church. Previously, two other books have taken a similar approach: first, George Neumayr’s The Political Pope. How Pope Francis is Delighting the Left and Abandoning Conservatives; and second, the pseudonymous writer Marcantonio Colonna’s recent book The Dictator Pope. (Another big book in the same vein will arrive in March of 2018, with New York Times’ columnist Ross Douthat’s To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism.)

Sandro Magister, the Italian Vatican specialist, recently discussed Lawler’s forthcoming book. As he puts it, Lawler is

one of the most authoritative and balanced Catholic writers in the United States. He was editor of “Catholic World Report,” the news magazine of Ignatius Press, the publishing house founded by the Jesuit Joseph Fessio, a disciple of Joseph Ratzinger. And today he directs “Catholic World News.” He was born and raised in Boston. He is married and the father of seven children.

Before we look at Lawler’s criticisms of Pope Francis in more detail, therefore, it should be stated that arguably the greatest importance of Lawler’s book does not lie in its newness of approach or in its originality of argument; rather, it is significant because Lawler is a prominent and well-respected Catholic conservative – that is to say, a Catholic who is not known as a stringent traditionalist, and thus, not an obvious or easily-dismissed papal critic. Lawler makes clear in the book that he identifies with the teaching of the two previous popes, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, and that he considers them still to serve as a bulwark against some of the devious and specious developments in our times. It is, for example, Lawler’s view that one should approach the Second Vatican Council through Benedict’s “Hermeneutic of Continuity,” which implies that all of the 1962-1965 Council’s teachings can and should somehow be reconciled with the 2,000 year-old traditional teaching of the Catholic Church.

Such a perspective should stand as a counter-argument against those who claim that resistance to the “reforms” of Pope Francis is mainly “Lefebvrist” or “traditionalist” in origin. Andrea Tornelli, a confidant of the pope and journalist for La Stampa’s Vatican Insider, recently put it this way:

Philosopher Rocco Buttiglione had said this, commenting on the “correctio filialis” which accused Pope Francis of propagating heretical teachings: “at the origin of many doctrinal criticisms against the current Pontiff there is also the opposition to his predecessors and ultimately to the Council”. And now this observation finds further confirmation in a book signed by Enrico Maria Radaelli, who critiques Joseph Ratzinger’s theological thought and his fundamental work “Introduction to Christianity”, and has been endorsement [sic – endorsed] by theologian Antonio Livi, former professor of Lateran and signatory of the “correctio”. I don’t know all the other signatories of the correctio – Buttiglione said last October – Of those I know, some are Lefebvrians. They were against the Council, against Paul VI, against John Paul II, against Benedict XVI and now they are against Pope Francis. [emphasis added]

On the contrary, what may become the most prominent book taking a critical look at Pope Francis has now been written by a non-traditionalist Catholic, as it were! My own husband, Dr. Robert Hickson, as a matter of fact, first memorably encountered and debated Mr. Lawler in 1985 when the latter had come to Christendom College to deliver a laudatory talk about Pope John Paul II and the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops’ 1985 Relatio Finalis (20 Years after Vatican II),  which was an encomium of the Second Vatican Council itself, as well as of its twenty-year aftermath. (Of some significance is that that document was drafted by now-Cardinal Godfried Danneels.) My husband – then a Professor and Head of the Literature Department at Christendom College – challenged Mr. Lawler (as well as Christendom Philosophy Professor Russell Hittinger) – and with it the Council – concerning some of its problematic aspects. He then questioned whether the College effectively wished to “preserve the revolution of the Second Vatican Council,” and he added that he believed that parts of the teaching of the Council cannot be reconciled with the Church’s tradition, especially about religious liberty, syncretism, and indifferentism, and about grace, a sincere but erroneous conscience, and about the very nature of the Church (de Ecclesia).

We hope that this debate will be continued in good Faith with Mr. Lawler at some point in the future. Having taken the opposite position in that earlier debate, let us now honor him for his courage in taking such a stance on the current crisis in the Church.

For many readers of OnePeterFive, Lawler’s book will serve mostly as a review of what we have also reported closely over the course of this papacy, and it moves step by step. Lawler’s book is organized along a chronology – starting with the election of Pope Francis and his first programmatic writing —Evangelii Gaudium — and later describing the two Synods of Bishops on the Family and  the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia. It also deals with different problematic themes of this papacy, such as Pope Francis’ reform of the curia, his statements about contraception, the gender issue (the famous “she who is a he” statement!), Islam, environmentalism, and more. He ends the book with the discussion of whether a pope can be wrong and what the response of the clergy and laity could now be.

In the following, we shall not recapitulate Lawler’s — in many ways very painful — depiction of the trajectory of revolutionary papal steps, but we shall concentrate on the assessments and the criticisms that Mr. Lawler presents along the way. As he puts it at the beginning of his book:

I did my best to provide assurance—for my readers and sometimes for myself—that, despite his sometimes alarming remarks, Francis was not a radical, was not leading the Church away from the ancient sources of the Faith. But gradually, reluctantly, I came to the conclusion that he was.[….] I found I could no longer pretend that Francis was merely offering a novel interpretation of Catholic doctrine. No, it was more than that. He was engaged in a deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches. [emphasis added]

As many of us then reported, Francis’ own theological adviser, Archbishop Victor Fernández, had made it clear already in 2015 that the pope was aiming at an “irreversible reform.” Here is how Lawler comments on this matter. After talking about how loyal Catholics, trying to maintain their Faith, had under the previous popes the further “support of the Vatican,” he continues, saying:

No longer. Francis has reopened the debate about the continuity of Catholic teaching. His supporters see him as the liberator of the spirit of Vatican II, bringing permanent change to the Church, while his critics protest that the Church cannot alter its fundamental doctrine.

And further:

The pope’s closest advisers have stated on several occasions, Francis intends not only to change the Church but to lock in the changes. Archbishop Victor Fernández, a fellow Argentine who helped the pontiff draft his first encyclical, remarked in 2015, “You have to realize that he is aiming at reform that is irreversible.”

Comments Lawler:

For Catholics who have weathered two generations of confusion and conflict, clinging to beliefs they hold precious, the prospect of ‘irreversible change’ along the lines suggested by Fernández is horrifying.

When dealing with Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s removal from his position as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in July of 2017 – as an example of how the pope is dealing with those who stand in the way of his intended “irreversible reform” – Lawler sees a “striking reversal of roles.” He says: “It was not the stern German ‘inquisitor general’ but the smiling Argentine pope – supposedly the embodiment of mercy and compassion – who demanded unquestioning acquiescence to his authority.” These words make it clear that Phil Lawler is past the point of trying to attenuate or mince words. He comes back to the pope’s manner of dealing with critics within the Vatican when saying:

From early in his pontificate, Francis showed no patience with officials of the Roman Curia who questioned his policies. As tensions heightened, morale plummeted in Vatican offices. Reports circulated in the Italian media – too many to be ignored – of staff members called before the pope for reprimands because of unguarded remarks in private conversations. The pope demanded immediate dismissal of three clerics on the staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, angrily refusing to give an explanation and insisting that he had the authority to insist on obedience.

With regard to some of the close advisers of the pope, Mr. Lawler also has some strong words to say. The record of the new President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, is “troubling.” He is responsible “for a shocking sex-education guide that featured explicit images, instructed children in sexual techniques, and encouraged discussion of sexuality without reference to the Church’s moral teaching.” One other adviser, Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga of Honduras, “has not been a conspicuously successful pastor at home.” While the number of Catholics in his diocese were plummeting, Maradiaga was “the epitome of the ‘airport bishop’ that Francis denounces, jetting around the world to deliver speeches rather than tending his flock.” The German Cardinal Reinhard Marx “has, like Maradiaga, presided over the collapse of the Church in his own diocese.” Pope Francis, says Lawler, “longs for ‘a Church that is poor, for the poor.’” But: “He would not find that Church in Germany.” Lawler proceeds to show the immense material wealth of the German Catholic Church — a wealth amassed amidst a “mass exodus from the pews.”

Lawler also speaks about the pope’s constant denigration of loyal Catholics. This seems to be one of the aspects of this papacy that is most offensive to Lawler. As he puts it at the beginning of his book: “Every day I pray for Pope Francis. And every day (I am exaggerating, but only slightly), the pope issues another reminder that he does not approve of Catholics like me.” Lawler describes the pope’s speech at another place as follows:

[E]ven a cursory reading of the pope’s daily homilies reveals harsh rhetoric, stinging rebukes, and angry denunciations such as we have not heard from a Roman pontiff for generations.

Additionally, Lawler touches upon the matter of the “Sankt Gallen Mafia” (the title of a sub-chapter of his book), although he does not come to a clear conclusion himself as to whether it unduly influenced the election of Pope Francis or not. As the author puts it:

Maybe there was no active conspiracy or illicit campaign for the election of Bergoglio. Maybe three different cardinals – Danneels, Murphy-O’Connor, and McCarrick – exaggerated their own roles in the process for the sake of a good story. But there can be little doubt that a group of liberal prelates saw the Argentine cardinal as their best hope for changes in the Church.

Lawler shows there to be a certain lack of seriousness in the pope when he asked Cardinal Christoph Schönborn after promulgating his post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia as to whether it was “orthodox”, and for showing himself “comforted” after a positive response from the Austrian cardinal. Lawler comments:

It is to be expected that Francis consults  Schönborn, one of his close advisers and a respected theologian. But he apparently sought assurance of his writing’s orthodoxy after the document had been issued. Publishing the document first and soliciting opinions about its doctrinal soundness later bespeaks a dangerously insouciant approach to the integrity of the Faith. [emphasis added]

Finally, let us turn to Lawler’s more fundamental discussion on the “Limits of Papal Authority,” the title of one of his other sub-chapters. Lawler makes it clear that “when he [the pope] speaks on questions of faith and morals, there are some things the pope cannot [may not] say.” The author gives an example:

The Pope cannot say that 2+2=5. Nor can he repeal the laws of logic. So if the pope makes two contradictory statements, they cannot both be right. And since every pontiff enjoys the same teaching authority, if one pope contradicts another pope, something is wrong.

Applying this principle of non-contradiction, Lawler himself concludes, as follows:

Thus if Amoris Laetitia contradicts Veritatis Splendor and Casti Connubii – earlier papal encyclicals, which carry a higher level of teaching authority – the faithful cannot be obliged to swallow the contradiction. [emphasis added]

In the context of some statements issued by Rocco Buttiglione, the Catholic philosopher and defender of Amoris Laetitia, Lawler makes this principle of non-contradiction clear when he states:

Thus, Buttiglione assumes that a couple should remain together, even in an illicit marriage, for the sake of their children. But that assumption contradicts the understanding of marriage set forth by a previous pontiff. In his 1930 encyclical Casti Connubii, Pius XI, quoting St. Augustine, wrote that the marriage bond is so sacred that “a husband or wife, if separated, should not be joined to another even for the sake of offspring.”

It is our hope that the excerpts presented here give our readers enough of a sense to see that the Catholic Church has in Phil Lawler a loyal and morally earnest Catholic layman willing to take a lucid stance in confronting an all-too-insouciant (and often abrupt) pope for his being a “lost shepherd” and for “leading the sheep astray.” May Lawler’s book help to open the eyes of many well-meaning Catholics who still have illusions about this pope, especially for the sake of their salvation and the salvation of their children.

218 thoughts on “Book Review: Phil Lawler on the Pope as The Lost Shepherd”

  1. Wow, ” the pope is a lost shepherd & he’s leading sheep astray ”
    I’m not reading this book , I think it may be too depressing.
    Well now we know that we can find CDL Maradiaga at the airport?

    • I remember 1968 well. FRS Charles Curran & Ricahard McBrien were starting their rebellion against Humanae Vitae at CUA (Catholic University of America ) & Notre Dame!
      Now its1968 all over again!
      FR Chiodi of PAL(pontifical Academy of LIFE) says birth control should be approved.
      Blessed Paul VI must be fuming ………..
      The smoke of Satan has entered the church…
      I often wonder what’s being taught@ CUA & ND today!!!!

      • Well Notre Dame just announced it will cover contraceptives for its employees. This after it aligned itself as a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit against Obama’s contraceptive mandate. Clearly they were hoping to look like they fought a brave but ultimately losing battle. Then–on this issue–in rides the reinforcements via the Trump Administration which assures them victory…..and instead they insist on throwing down arms and surrendering to a DEFEATED enemy!

        For this reason several alumni who are lawyers have sent the school a letter demanding that they either stop covering contraceptives or they (the alums) will file suit against the school for wasting the courts time, falsifying documents, lying about their intention, etc. In the meantime I have given away all my ND gear and am rooting against all of the schools teams.

        I would like to urge the Bishop of Fort Wayne to demand ND stop referring to Catholicism anywhere in it’s name, charters, etc and that he desacralize the church on its campus. They should also–if they have ANY reverence, even if just for tradition–change the name of the school: there is no good reason to insult Catholics by insinuating that the school is somehow in honor of Our Lady.

        • The Bishop of Ft. Wayne is my former Bishop, who visited his old Diocese after his successor passed away-presumably at the invitation of some parishioners to head home to Pennsylvania to watch a game that had some ratings implications for ND football (there’s a lot of idiots that couldn’t sent foot on campus as student, much less on the field as a player that run around with Note Dame jackets) and he gave a sermon acknowledging that he receives innumerable complaints, but that he has very little actual authority.

          • Hog wash. The Holy Cross Brothers serve at the pleasure of the bishop. The bishop could throw them out on their behinds. Period.

          • Perhaps Bishop Rhoades would be gratified for this information. The seventh anniversary of his installation is in a few days.

    • Okay let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

      Maybe he is there to give confession to the passengers just in case their plain is hit by another 911?

      Maybe he is there to console possible victims in case the airport is hit by a bomb.

      Maybe it’s alzheimers and he keeps going to airports because he can’t find the right plane.

      There’s always an explanation you know.

  2. I have lately thought (after forcing myself to go through the actual documents of Vatican II) that liberals and conservatives make the same mistake about it. We mistake “Vatican II” with “The Spirit of Vatican II”. In actuality, the liberals did not get what they wanted out of the council, nor from Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, but just declared the Spirit of Vatican II and went ahead and did what they wanted to do anyway.

    After this generation has passed away, someone will have to find this ruined vineyard, rebuild the walls, salvage and replant the vines, cultivate, irrigate, built the watchtower, fertilize and weed, remove the goats and the insects.

    • There is no mistaking that every document of Vatican II contains errors in one form or another. Anyone who claims otherwise is deluding themselves. Even Our Lord claims it was NOT the work if the Holy Trinity nor guided by the Holy Spirit.

      • “Even Our Lord claims it was NOT the work if the Holy Trinity nor guided by the Holy Spirit.”

        Huh?? Where in Scripture are you seeing that?

      • Not to compare Vat II documents to scripture, but every heresy can be drawn even from scripture if you try hard enough. The Devil can quote scripture or Vatican II documents for his own purpose.

        Personally, I accept that they have ambiguities and “time-bombs” throughout. But frankly Vatican II or not, I’m looking at the 1960’s and this was going to happen, one way or the other.

        I’m just thankful Vatican II didn’t happen in the 1970’s.

    • We got the Novus Ordo, although, from Pope Paul VI. And this was most detrimental to our Catholic identity within the Church.

      • I can’t argue with that, although I will offer my take on what happened.
        My understanding was that:

        1. That was in no way part of Vatican II, just liberals wanting it.
        2. It was presented as an experimental rite for situations like missionary territories unable to cope with the full on latin experience, but was applied like a stampede of crazy longhorns everywhere.

        That makes it a good illustration of what happened: Vatican II calls for a minor possible exception for a very specific case, similar to the Dominican Rite which already existed. A mob shouting “Spirit of Vatican II” completely ignores Vatican II and does what they want, which kills the missions and the religious orders and drives 1/2 the Catholics out from the Mass. Attendance goes from 75% to 25%, and a large portion of those 25% are as much or more zombies than they were before. The New Mass did not increase “actual” or “active” participation, unless you were a tambourine player, liturgical dancer, or puppeteer.

        There is a story ( I can’t confirm) about Paul VI when preparing a papal medal had it struck showing him as naked being bucked off by an angry horse. I think he was a studious, gentle, man, who tried to walk a fine line, and was knocked off of it. And now the liberals will try to knock off his last accomplishment, Humanae Vitae, which has been PROVEN to be right. Everything predicted came true.

        This is not expected to be easy.

          • At the very least, he acquiesced to it. Or he directed it as an attempt at appeasement for the sake of maintaining unity with the “Spirit of Vatican II” liberals.

            Paul VI was known as the first travelling pope, probably because he couldn’t stand to be in the Vatican anymore. Perhaps a reed, bent by the wind.

  3. As a ‘revert’ to the Catholic faith, I find I have no where else to go but stay in and fight for ‘holy mother church,’ the way she was in all her beauty! I was stunned when I came back to the church to find her stripped of her Catholic roots, priests acting as if they are in a Comedy Cafe telling jokes up at the pulpit, drinking bottled water as they sit up at the alter and many other sacrilegious moments to numerous to mention. One older fill in priest last summer, was bringing his dog to church and when I confronted him as I was leaving, he got highly offended. I stopped going there for ‘so called, mass. I continue to pray……..

  4. Another book that Catholics who just show up for Mass on Sunday will never read or hear about. Only if mainstream would talk about it, but wait they love PF. Sorry frankly I’m tired of all the talk. He is preaching to the choir.

    • Oh yeah, we got a new pope now, right? Didn’t the other guy quit? What was his name……. John Paul… wait, he died. It was the one after him. He quit, then he died…..or was it the other way around? I can’t remember.

      Someone help me here…………

          • Weakness is such a a bad quality of a leader, and fear of disunity would rank up there as well, in my estimation.
            But, old age and physical ailments can compromise one’s ability and make one vulnerable, along with
            monsters lurking at the back door.

          • Paul VI did his job in doing all that he could to advance the revolution, succor it, and get the Fathers at the Council to sign all of the documents.

            The idea he was some sort of victim of the revolution is risible

      • PJPII died 4/2/05. I remember because I heard it on the radio in the car while going to church. Also, Father didn’t mention “…our most holy universal Pontiff, John Paul…” in the Liturgy.

        Pope Benedict XVI (BXVI) was elected in April 2005 and resigned in Feb 2013. (Yes, he’s 91. He has the same birthday as my sister-in-law, who is MUCH younger.)

        PF was elected in March 2013.

      • Dear Friend in Christ,

        The temptation we lay people face when commenting on the turmoil of the Francis papacy is to start talking sardonically and carelessly about many popes. For example, John Paul II is a Saint, and if we Catholics don’t take his sainthood seriously, why should anyone take any of the Saints seriously?

        The effect of our off-the-cuff comments — whether we realize it or not — is to suggest to other readers that we are losing our proper reverence for the papacy as a divinely instituted office of the Catholic Church, and that others shouldn’t bother revering the See of St. Peter, either.

        I pray that, in recognizing the evils, false teachings, and corruption that are spreading in the Church in our time, we don’t become so embittered and cynical as to watch our own Faith, Hope, and Charity disintegrate right along with the credibility of the papacy in the eyes of the world. Our job is to love Pope Francis with a sincere love, and pray that he and those he has assembled to carry out his revolutionary program will be delivered from the worldly and diabolical influences that are becoming more manifest, pathetic, and shameful all the time. May God have mercy on all of us sinners.

        • You hit on the core target of the Bergoglian agenda — the dismemberment of the papacy. He is like a retrovirus, infecting the very core of the Church’s immune system and commandeering it for nefarious purpose.
          Indeed, this individual and his legion require our prayer.

    • The temptation we lay people face when commenting on the turmoil of the Francis papacy is to start talking sardonically about many popes. The effect of this — whether we realize it or not — is to suggest to other readers that we are losing our proper reverence for the papacy as a divinely instituted office of the Catholic Church, and that others shouldn’t bother revering the See of St. Peter, either.

      I pray that, in recognizing the evils, false teachings, and corruption that are spreading in the Church in our time, that we don’t become so embittered and cynical as to watch our own Faith, Hope, and Charity disintegrate right along with the credibility of the papacy in the eyes of the world. Our job is to love Pope Francis with a sincere love, and pray that he and those he has assembled to carry out his revolutionary program will be delivered from the worldly and diabolical influences that are becoming more manifest, pathetic, and shameful all the time. May God have mercy on all of us sinners.

    • Who would have ever thought you could have esteem for a nominal Presbyterian in the White House and none for the reigning pontiff.
      And that is rendering it quite politely.

      • Keep quiet and carry on eh..? That’s the spirit. Don’t ruffle any feathers old chap. There’s a good fellow. Just like Jesus (oh, hang on a minute…)

  5. Good for Phil, I am glad he wrote a book on the disaster that is Francis Papacy: but Phil is still only half red pilled. And I don’t need to read The Lost Shepherd (good title by the way), I have been living in the crisis of this Papacy since PF’s first appearance on the Logia, as in long before Phil even noticed anything was wrong.

    I’m glad Mr. Lawler is waking up and hopefully he can help others in his camp do the same, but they have to look to the cause not just the effect.

  6. I pre-ordered yesterday and finally bought a Kindle — got to read “The Dictator Pope.” We have to be responsible and keep on top of this — deeply informed.
    Madness has been let loose in the Church of Jesus Christ.

      • Indeed so in the most revolting situation. A woman who had “transed” to a man married a woman and was given an audience with the Pope and he praised their happy union referring to the woman a he.

        Yes, there are so many details and the devil is always there.

          • This is what I think Ignatius would tell Pope Francis; ” Reflect on this, and not tranny heresy”:
            From the Sermons of Pope St. Leo (the Great)
            2nd for Twelfth-Day.
            Dearly beloved brethren, rejoice in the Lord; again I say, rejoice. But a few days are past since the solemnity of Christ’s Birth, and now the glorious light of His Manifestation is breaking upon us. On that day the Virgin brought Him forth, and on this the world knew Him. The Word made Flesh was pleased to reveal Himself by degrees to those for whom He had come. When Jesus was born He was manifested indeed to the believing, but hidden from His enemies. Already indeed the heavens declared the glory of God, and their sound went out into all lands, when the Herald Angels appeared to tell to the shepherds the glad tidings of a Saviour’s Birth; and now the guiding star leadeth the wise men to worship Him, that from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, the Birth of the true King may be known abroad; that through those wise men the kingdoms of the east might learn the great truth, and the Roman empire remain no more in darkness.
            The very cruelty of Herod, when he strove to crush at His birth this King Whom he alone feared, was made a blind means to carry out this dispensation of mercy. While the tyrant with horrid guilt sought to slay the little Child he did not know, amid an indiscriminate slaughter of innocents, his infamous act served to spread wider abroad the heaven-told news of the Birth of the Lord. Thus were these glad tidings loudly proclaimed, both by the novelty of their story, and the iniquity of their enemies. Then was the Saviour borne into Egypt, that nation, of a long time hardened in idolatry, might by the mysterious virtue which went out of Him, even when His presence was unknown, be prepared for the saving light so soon to dawn on them, and might receive the Truth as a wanderer even before they had banished falsehood.
            Dearly beloved brethren, we recognize in the wise men who came to worship Christ, the first-fruits of that dispensation to the Gentiles wherein we also are called and enlightened. Let us then keep this Feast with grateful hearts, in thanksgiving for our blessed hope, whereof it doth commemorate the dawn. From that worship paid to the new-born Christ is to be dated the entry of us Gentiles upon our heirship of God and co-heirship with Christ. Since that joyful day the Scriptures which testify of Christ have lain open for us as well as for the Jews. Yea, their blindness rejected that Truth, Which, since that day, hath shed Its bright beams upon all nations. Let all observance, then, be paid to this most sacred day, whereon the Author of our salvation was made manifest, and as the wise men fell down and worshipped Him in the manger, so let us fall down and worship Him enthroned Almighty in heaven. As they also opened their treasures and presented unto Him mystic and symbolic gifts, so let us strive to open our hearts to Him, and offer Him from thence some worthy offering.
            (from the Divine Office, Liturgical Press, 1963)

        • If I am not mistaken, their priest in Spain refused to acknowledge this sick and perverse situation. So….these two poor souls asked to meet with your Highness Pope Francis and of course: He did for all the world to know of. Francis’ love fest for this abomination is clear. Who missed his glitzy embrace of homos in DC??? Who did not hear of it? Good Lord everyone knows what his aim is!! May God be glorified in His justice

          • More and more I have come to believe that this is all part of the diabolical.

            But I also believe that this is our punishment for all our sins.

            So really, I cannot complain. The only solution is for me to repent and amend my life.

            I think our own holiness is always the solution to the problem because that is the only thing that God is asking of us. He did not create us to fix the Church.

          • I may have got the wrong person but the Pope praised the “pastor” (and yes I enclose that in quote for I consider him more of a wolf) who “accompanied” this woman to desecrate and do violence to her body so that she can claim to be of the sex she is not. So, if I am not mistaken, the pastor was complicit in the “sex change”.

            The question arises as well as to why these two would have an audience with the Pope and yet the Dubia Cardinals and Muhler is not given the time of day. I say the question but I think we all know the answer.

          • Here is the article from “Daily Mail”, of what I am referring to.
            By Hannah Roberts for MailOnline
            PUBLISHED: 08:02 EST, 27 January 2015 | UPDATED: 10:12 EST

            “Pope Francis has received a transsexual man at the Vatican, in a landmark gesture of acceptance by a pope.

            Diego Neria Lejárraga, a 48-year-old Spanish man who underwent sex reassignment surgery, wrote to Francis last year to tell him that he felt like an outcast from the church
            Mr Neria said that he was rejected by some his fellow parishioners at his church in the western Spanish city of Plasencia, where a priest denounced him as ‘the devil’s daughter.”

            Read more:
            Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

          • Our bdies are temple of the Holy Ghost….why would the Pontiff approve of deviancy?
            By Pope Francis approving of the sex change individual he has both insulted the Holy Spirit and Christ’s Holy Name.
            On the Feast of Holy Name, St. Bernard writes:
            It is not idly that the Holy Ghost likeneth the Name of the Bridegroom to oil, when He maketh the Bride say to the Bridegroom: thy Name is as oil poured forth. Oil indeed giveth light, meat, and unction. It feedeth fire, it nourisheth the flesh, it sootheth pain; it is light, food, and healing. Behold, Thus also is the Name of the Bridegroom. To preach it, is to give light; to think of it, is to feed the soul; to call on it, is to win grace and unction. Let us take it point by point. What, thinkest thou, hath made the light of faith so suddenly and so brightly to shine in the whole world but the preaching of the Name of Jesus? Is it not in the light of this Name that God hath called us into His marvellous light, even that light wherewith we being enlightened, and in His light seeing light, Paul saith truly of us: Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.

            This is the Name which the Apostle was commanded to bear before Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel, the Name which he bore as a light to enlighten his people, crying everywhere The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light, let us walk honestly as in the dayligth, He pointed out to all that candle set upon a candlestick, preaching in every place Jesus and Him crucified. How did that Name shine forth and dazzle every eye that beheld it, when it came like lightning out of the mouth of Peter to give bodily strength to the feet of the lame man, and to clear the sight of many a blind soul? Cast he not fire when he said: In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk?

            The Name of Jesus is not a Name of light only, but it is meat also. Dost thou ever call it to mind, and remain unstrengthened? Is there anything like it to enrich the soul of him that thinketh of it? What is there like it to restore the weakened senses, to fortify strength, to give birth to good lives and pure affections? The soul is fed on husks if that whereon it feedeth lack seasoning with this salt. If thou writest, thou hast no meaning for me if I read not of Jesus there. If thou preach, or dispute, thou hast no meaning for me if I hear not of Jesus there. The mention of Jesus is honey in the mouth, music in the ear, and gladness in the heart. It is our healing too. Is any sorrowful among us? Let the thought of Jesus come into his heart, and spring to his mouth. Behold, when the day of that Name beginneth to break, every cloud will flee away, and there will be a great calm. Doth any fall into sin? Doth any draw nigh to an hopeless death? And if he but call on the life-giving Name of Jesus, will he not draw the breath of a new life again?
            (Divine office,1963)

          • And so if you were Satan with this great hatred for God, and His Mother and wanted to strike at their hearts over and over again……..what would you do?
            Crush His Beloved by going to the jugular…..destroy their purpose to give GLORY to GOD, which is impossible to achieve when they spit on His handiwork of male and female, procreation.

            There is not only a rejection of God, an apostasy, but a growing HATRED for Him and His Mother.
            It has finally manifested itself.

          • I wonder if pope francis read or what…
            Feast of Christmas:
            St. Leo the Great, pope:
            “Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Ghost: Who, for His great love wherewith He loved us, hath had mercy on us and, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, Eph. ii. 4, 5, that in Him we might be a new creature, and a new workmanship. Let us then put off the old man with his deeds Col. iii. 9; and, having obtained a share in the Sonship of Christ, let us renounce the deeds of the flesh. Learn, O Christian, how great thou art, who hast been made partaker of the Divine nature, 2 Pet. i. 4, and fall not again by corrupt conversation into the beggarly elements above which thou art lifted. Remember Whose Body it is Whereof thou art made a member, and Who is its Head, 1 Cor. vi. 15. Remember that it is He That hath delivered thee from the power of darkness and hath translated thee into God’s light, and God’s kingdom, Col. i. 13.”
            (Divine office, 1963 )

      • Well, you see the original was not in Latin, so the translators did not get the correct nuance. lol. Or, wait, it is because he is from Latin America and when he speaks you cannot pick up what he really means. lol Or, you know he is a Jesuit so their theology is such that he is orthodox it just seems heterodox because they are so smart. lol Or, the mean old anti Catholic press is to blame. lol Or, it is because…

  7. Lawler’s book is another straw on back of Pope Francis disastrous and devilish reign which hopefully will end soon. When thinking about how such a person could become Pope we need look no further than the documents and spirit of Vatican. The spirit of Vatican II, as Pope Paul VI so vividly pointed out, was the smoke of Satan.

    Now a Satan figure in the person of Pope Francis has now emerged to further destroy the Church by means of a strategy of Protestantization that coalesced at Vatican II. Vatican II was a catastrophe for the Church and must be abrogated in it’s entirety.

      • “Packing the College, shmacking the College”….

        The Holy Spirit eithers picks Peter (inspires Papal electors to vote for who they think is to be Peter) OR… he doesn’t.

        Peter can be a good or bad Catholic, a rotten bishop or merely a dumbbell.

        He’ s Peter.
        Tu es Petrus… I believe it goes.

        Yes oppose the diabolocal confusion within the Church of the past several generations but keep a sense of perspective kiddies… This is temporary.

        The gates SHALL NOT prevail against Christ’s Church.
        It absolutelty cannot.

        If you fear overtakes your faith in Christ”s promises. Maybe spend a little more ‘Rosary-ing’ and less
        digital word warrior-ing.

        Fast, pray, give alms.
        Perpetual Adoration.

        Be filled with joy, smile and be light of Christ in a darkened world.

        To the would be trolls out there.

        I’ m taking my lovely lady dancing, maybe a smooch or two, a glass of beer and a nice cigar
        a good night sleep, a clean healthy conscience and arise.

        Another day to serve the Lord.

        relax a bit kiddies, you’re on the winning team.

  8. Even though this pontificate disturbs me in so many ways on a daily basis I have a profound peace from the certainty that his agenda, though destructive in so many ways, will ultimately fail. The idea of “irreversible reform” is nonsense. There is nothing to prevent a good Pope in the future reversing Francis’ disastrous changes and working to rebuild from the rubble. The one thing I see that is surely irreversible is the constant decline of the Jesuit Order and the dioceses administered by Francis’ most ardent supporters.

  9. “one should approach the Second Vatican Council through Benedict’s “Hermeneutic of Continuity,” which implies that all of the 1962-1965 Council’s teachings can and should somehow be reconciled with the 2,000 year-old traditional teaching of the Catholic Church.”

    What Vatican II put forward – in areas such as ecumenism, religious liberty and collegiality etc – undoubtedly represents a rupture with the 2,000 year history of the Church. Catholics from 100 years ago would not recognise or accept the Church of today, with the exception of the SSPX and other traditional orders.

    The documents of Vatican II are deliberately written in a way so as to deceive the reader. They aim to appear orthodox and fully Catholic, yet allow sufficient wiggle room to be exploited by modernists .

    A good example is how Vatican II talks of the true church which “subsists in” the Catholic Church. Previously, it was taught that the true Church *IS* the Catholic Church. This wording seemingly innocuous to many, in fact allows for a sea-change in how the Church regards and speaks of the protestant sects for example.

    Another example is how the documents say one thing, then say the exact opposite – this is the hallmark of modernism. To paraphrase an example: Latin must remain prominent in the liturgy, except if you don’t want it to.

    The Popes and others have for decades now clung to the idea that Vatican II is fully in line with Catholic tradition. It can be presented in that way, yes. But it can also be presented in other ways. And that is not tolerable. When we are dealing with the truth, we must have absolute clarity not a pick and mix.

    The documents of Vatican II can and must be revisited and either they must be discarded or corrected (the latter as already suggested by +Schneider).

    With Bergoglio on the throne of Peter, and the modern prominence of clerical ‘gay’ activists (James Martin etc), those who continue to insist there is no issue with what Vatican II has wrought simply make themselves look increasingly desperate and foolish.

    • What is the word in the Latin original of the document for “subsist”? Is this perhaps a bad translation?

      Because if it is exactly as it is in the Latin, then that is a really terrible phrase to describe the reality of the Church.

      Second. From the exact V2 documents, where does it say what you claim: Latin must remain prominent in the liturgy, except if you don’t want it to.

      • Hi Peter,

        1) Regarding the statement “subsists in”: this comes from Lumen Genitum (Paragraph 8) which states the Church only “subsists in the Catholic Church” and many elements of sanctification and truth and found “outside of its visible structure”.

        As for the original Latin, it was: “subsistit in” . (NB: I am by no means a scholar of Latin!)

        2) As for Latin remaining prominent in the liturgy, as stated I was paraphrasing what the document said, but I have double-checked and what I was referring to comes from Sacrosanctum Concilium.

        Paragraph 36, point 1 says “the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites”.

        Then, immediately, Paragraph 36 point 2 goes on to say that use of the vernacular is often of great advantage and may be extended. It says this can be applied to readings, directives, prayers and chants – so everything, really.

        So, two conflicting statements abut one another. Latin is to be preserved but the vernacular may be extended. You cant preserve Latin and extend the vernacular at the same time, so which is it? No clear direction is given and if it is up to the reader then it is clear that there will naturally be divergence in the Church.

        It very much seems to me that the talk of preserving Latin was simply to reassure the Council Fathers, and the mention of extending the vernacular was the key to allowing modernist exploitation later.

        Looking at the state of the Church today, I think my analysis is very much borne out, with Latin completely gone from the modern liturgy* and in most Churches relegated to the status of a wallpaper border, minor decoration on the walls.

        (*maybe some fancier parishes have a good choir which can sing the gloria or creed in Latin, but as I discovered myself this can often be to give a veneer of authenticity to what is a very liberal, dissenting parish.)

        I turn 40 later this month and only encountered significant latin in the liturgy for the first time in 2012, when I started attending the traditional mass, chiefly at the SSPX.

        The genius of the Church having its own language was brought home when I started attending traditional masses when holidaying abroad. Hearing “Introibo Ad Altare Dei” is just the same in Amsterdam as it is in Glasgow. A light came on and I thought “bingo”.

        It is a much better system than scratching around for an English language mass abroad – which is usually the 2nd or 3rd language of the celebrant and much of the congregation and so is of even poorer standard than an English language mass at home.

        • Well that was certainly a bad word to use to describe the essence of the Church.

          However, I don’t see the problem with retaining the Latin in the “dialogues” of the Mass but the readings need to be in the vernacular.
          If Scripture is an integral part of the Liturgy, it has to be something that we can understand. Catholics don’t do Bible Studies so the only place where most hear Scripture is in Church during Mass.
          I must say that I do love the Latin Mass for its reverence. It is beautiful and that it is a worship is evident.

  10. Lawler: “I did my best to provide assurance—for my readers and sometimes for myself—that, despite his sometimes alarming remarks, Francis was not a radical, was not leading the Church away from the ancient sources of the Faith.”

    If he confesses to this, he’s not much of a journalist; this is just more evidence of his persistent neo-conservative Catholicism that has conserved nothing for 50 years — and the papacy of Francis proves it. The next time you meet a self styled “conservative Catholic,” ask he or she what “conservatism” has conserved in the Catholic Church.

    This book review will fly all over the internet. And for what? Lawler has been part of the Father Fessio branch (Ignatius Press connection) of the delusional “Hermeneutic of Continuity” that for decades has most effectively offered to Catholic neo-conservatives the ammunition to fire against Catholics who insisted from 1965 that Vatican II was intrinsic to the problem as was the New Mass. (Fr. Fessio always rejected the point of view of a return to the traditional Roman Missal, instead, he advocated a Mass personally designed by Fr. Fessio.)

    As far as I’m concerned, no Catholic of tradition ought to purchase this book. It offers financial support to the very people who have been most vociferously opposed to those Catholics like Archbishop Lefebvre who actually risked something to oppose what people like Lawler have promoted (and upon which have built their careers). Lawler and his ilk have been and remain part of the problem.

    And to the argument (harbored by far too many) that this book will bring the neo-cons on board and they will finally see the light regarding real causes of the present crisis, don’t fool yourself. The best we can hope for from that crew is a return to the papacies of Papas Montini, Wojtyla and Ratzinger. THAT’S the main reason why this book and the ensuing positive propaganda surrounding it is most disheartening.

    • I do agree with a lot of what you say. Phil Lawler has been part of the problem for a long time. A very long time. Considering it’s taken him well into the fifth year of this parody of a pontificate to recognise that something’s rotten in the Church, he really did appear to have an almost untreatable case of papolatritis. However, if he has now shifted to potentially being part of the solution, I think that fact should on the whole be welcomed, especially if given his high profile he subsequently opens the eyes of many more Catholics to the current malaise – though I agree that is not by any means assured given that the avalanche of stones offered since March 2013 has still not resulted in large numbers of Catholics being propelled into savouring the bread of ‘Tradition’. It may prove counter-productive to the cause of the Restoration for beleaguered faithful Catholics to reject even begrudging vindication from an influential opponent.

      • Lawler’s history provide his revised perspective credence. It has, nevertheless, taken a very long time for him to rouse from slumber.

      • The “opening of his eyes” is not the problem, Weiss. He really has not retracted the Long March into the present Hell that he has supported for decades — especially his adulation of JP II and Benedict XVI. He’s retracted nothing there. When he admits that those papacies and the theological positions that these two men held and disseminated all of their scholarly lives are the logical progression to Bergoglio, I’ll be the first to stand up and applaud. Until then, all he’s really saying is that Francis has taken things too far. At the risk of being a “devil’s tool,” his position is now more dangerous than before. With this book he is lulling rightfully disaffected Catholics into believing that “he was blind but now he sees.” Unless he repudiates 34 years of the shredding of the traditional Faith during the Wojtyla-Ratzinger post-conciliar papal reign, he’s only advocating a return to the “conservative” policies of those two Popes. Disastrous.

          • Thanks, Convert. I know I sound very negative. I actually don’t even dwell on the Bergoglio Papacy anymore. Only prayer and penance provide the answer going forward. But I do get anxious when I see good people being lured into what appear to be hopeful changes of thinking when there’s no indication that’s the case at all. And if Lawler had his way, he’d be just fine with the previous two papacies. THAT’S the problem. At this point, his calling Francis to task is welcomed, but how much intellectual energy did it take to arrive at that perspective? He required the expenditure of far more sweat defending the indefensible papacies spanning the most destructive post-conciliar years of 1978-2012. Be well.

          • This is the problem with all conservatives. Yes, it’s good news that people are waking up…it might be the first tiny steps towards something…if they start to at least admit that something is wrong maybe it will open the door just a crack to digging deeper…but even people like Cardinal Burke….suppose he became the next pope in a backlash against the current situation….still we are only back to Vatican II conservatism. It’s all been unraveling since the Council and until people actually start waking up to that the problem is ongoing.

        • Of course, a logical and dispassionate examination of post-conciliar pontificates inevitably reaches the conclusion that Francis didn’t emerge fully-formed from a meteor crater on the Patagonian pampas. YOU know that and I know that but Phil has taken 4+ years (FOUR PLUS!!) to get some sort of a handle on the present incumbent. I think it’s worth letting him walk before he hopefully breaks into a run – but maybe I’m too easily pleased…or just desperate.

      • Mr. Lawler has quitw backround. I think he could be part of a solution.
        Born and raised in the Boston area, Phil Lawler attended Harvard College, graduating with honors in Government in 1972. He did graduate work in political philosophy at the University of Chicago before entering a career in journalism. He has been Director of Studies for the Heritage Foundation, a member of two presidential inaugural committees; and a candidate for the US Senate. As a journalist, Phil has acted as editor of Crisis magazine. In 1986 he became the first layman to edit The Pilot, the Boston archdiocesan newspaper. From 1993 through 2005, Phil Lawler was the editor of Catholic World Report, an international monthly news magazine. And in 1996, recognizing the power of the internet, he founded Catholic World News: the first online Catholic news service. Phil Lawler is the author of five books on political and religious topics. He has recently completed a new book titled “The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture”. His essays, book reviews, and editorial columns have appeared in over 100 newspapers around the United States and abroad, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe.
        Phil lives in central Massachusetts with his wife Leila and their seven children.
        Or am I giving the background of another Phil Lawler?

    • God bless Bp. Lefebvre. He’s probably looking down from heaven saying

      20 , no 53 years…..when they stopped the latin Mass

    • “The best we can hope for from that crew is a return to the papacies of Papas Montini, Wojtyla and Ratzinger.”

      I understand your skepticism, from a human point of view, concerning “that crew.” From a human point of view, that’s all that’s warranted from “that crew.” But it’s surely presumptuous to presume to limit what we can HOPE for from “that crew.” Hope, of course, has little to do with our plans or our wisdom. We need to hope for much, much more! When God turns things around, we may be surprised (and I’m confident that we will be surprised in many ways) to find that perhaps one or two of “that crew” are somehow, mirabile dictu, involved.

      Maybe it’s time to put aside the grumpy pessimism. OK, so probably this book alone won’t bring the neo-cons fully to their senses. But maybe it’s time to go out and bring back the lost sheep. At least one of them seems to have turned his head towards the sheep fold and uttered a bleat. What should we do? As Hilary White has written on this site and elsewhere, the papacy of Pope Francis has shown the fatuity of the notion of the hermeneutic of continuity with respect to Vatican II. Illusions are being shattered. I sense an opportunity.

      • Sir: I am deep into the 7th decade of my life. Since the 2nd decade of my life I have witnessed this unrelenting spiraling of the Church into a dark abyss. I was present at the beginning of the destruction. I’ve seen every ratcheting downward lurch. I’ve experienced the great expectation that followed the election of Karol Wojtyla to the papacy, and his subsequent 27 year institutionalization within the structure of the Church of the worst “interpretations” of the Conciliar documents of 1965.

        My HOPE is in Our Lord and Our Lady. It is not in these self-described “conservatives” who have watched the same events I have for 50 years and have without pause told me at every turn that Catholics like me were wrong: that the “emperor really was clothed.” I have conversed with them, debated with them and eventually crossed swords with them. Finally, I have followed the advice of the Gospel: I have shaken their dust from my feet. If I had not, I would have begun to imperil my soul by the resentment and the anger to which decades of confrontation begin to give birth.

        I have watched the Fessios, the Lawlers, the Weigels, etc. build careers and fame leading so many of us down the road of believing that certain Church men, particularly Wojtyla and Ratzinger, were geniuses and that they were in reality the captives of the evil forces within the Roman Curia (which they controlled). Only we discovered after reading their writings and the unveiling of history for more than 50 years that these men were the originators and the wet nurses of the very ideology that has infected the Church at every post-conciliar stage of devolution. We watched these popes appoint the very bishops who implemented every plank of the ecclesial revolution. And finally these men completed our victimization by elevating to the Red hat the very men who gave us Bergoglio.

        I will not change my realistic attitude (not pessimistic: this is a crucial distinction; I have not lost HOPE in Our Lord and Our Lady) toward these so-called “conservatives” until they offer evidence as to why I should. To hold any other position is to embrace sentimentalist thinking; Catholics are not irrational.

  11. We have a crackpot and his cadre intent upon turning Roman Catholicism into a crock, and a hierarchy more absorbed by their posteriors than the welfare of the faithful – that is what is left of the faithful after over a half century of no catechesis, inaccurate catechesis, and deliberately erroneous catechesis. We can no longer give any deference to the Vatican II enterprise which succeeded as much as it did by a specious admonition to obedience and submission to
    ecclesiastical authority – but that authority is only operative when it is in harmony with the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ as presented in the perennial Magisterium of the Church.
    We are well beyond that now.
    The best, the brightest and the most deeply virtuous were deceived by this fraudulence but we can no longer pretend that what began boldly, proudly – with contemptible hubris – on October 13, 1962 did not happen.
    “These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be.” – Pope Leo XIII.
    We are sheep without a shepherd, abandoned to wolves.
    No more money for any diocese governed by a coward or a heterodox “bishop.”
    No more money.
    No more silence.

    • I didn’t realize VII began on October 13….. talk about providential…. surely ties in with Fatima, and what Our Lady was warning us about.

      • Oct 13th is also a significant date for freemasonry. Very sobering. I think the warnings include this as well, even if not spoken of specifically..

      • It actually began ceremoniously on the twelfth — but on the thirteenth business began and the entire agenda for the council, prudently planned for two, three years by conscientious and faithful members of the episcopate, was thrown aside by leftist Cardinal Lienart (if I’m not mistaken) on behalf of a legion of northern European “theologians” and members of the episcopate. Its too early in the morning to give the story, but it is easily found on the web, and particularly in Roberto de Mattei’s book “The Second Vatican Council: The Unwritten Story.” Its big, but doable — breathtaking in its comprehensive scope. Its all there. It ain’t pretty.
        And yes, October 13, 1962. Forty-five years from the Miracle of the Sun.
        They have eyes but they do not see. They have ears but they do not hear.
        And this was the crowd that told us to “…read the signs of the times.”
        More the blind leading good men and women of wholesome faith over a cliff for the past fifty-seven years.

  12. I congratulate Lawler on being intellectually honest. I wish the spin artists would follow his righteous lead. I could list the phonies but most know who they are.

  13. What is most disturbing, is that none of this could have happened without the appointments of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Why? Why? Francis make sure his appointments are likeminded (except for the rare orthodox who is immediately neutered).

    • Apparently, they kept the heterodox around them thinking they could be controlled or were basically honest men who loved the Church. Not very smart. Now, the heterodox are in control.

  14. Francis is the Obama of popes. This brings to mind when Obama stated that he was 5 days away from fundamentally transforming America prior to his election. Francis is trying this with the Church but it is not his Church to transform. Our Lord suffered and died for His Bride and the faithful follow him. We see the disaster that 8 years of Obama brought to us and we need to pray for a pope that is like President Trump in that he actually is Catholic and loves the Church and Our Lord.

  15. I take it as a great sign of hope that one of Fr. Fessio’s most ardent disciples is beginning to wake up and see the effects of the false theology that Fr. Fessio and Ignatius Press have been promoting these many years.

  16. Divine irony.

    I note that one of their members just passed away, yesterday, the same day that the title of this book came to our attention…otherwise the Moody Blues might have been importuned to come up with a new collection: “In Search of the Lost Shepherd.”

  17. It is all a mess! I must concentrate on my own personal growth in holiness and the salvation of myself and my family. Not going to get any help from the corrupt, infiltrated Vatican which is peopled by some with evil intent, etc. The Lord will have to deal with His Church and His ‘vicar’.

  18. Francis is pushing a “reform that is irreversible.” Then Mr. Bergoglio is a diabolic genius!
    Who does he think he is? Maybe that’s why he loves Luther!

  19. Thank you Maike for a review of Lawler’s book. I love Augustine but don’t agree on everything he says, here on an adulterous union with children. I would rather seek to convince the D&R to stay together and live as brother and sister. Lawler’s description of a lost shepherd is that and in the heart of my soul more. Let me put it this way. If whomever were determined to destroy the Catholic Church by convincing its members that a new gospel contrary to that of Christ Jesus is consistent with a compassionate merciful God would he assume the precise mechinations of Pope Francis? A program of duplicity completely orthodox and entirely heterodox depending on the moment. Leaving most perplexed and indecisive. If Satan [a hypothetical] were permitted full reign in achieving this end would he choose the present scenario in influencing a Roman Pontiff? This is my great angst and determination to oppose this “lost Pontiff’ who to my perception is on a determined mission,

      • Certainly I’m aware of that. Augustine believed the non baptized went to hell. In 1201 Innocent III in a letter to the archbishop of Arles instructed only those who commit serious sin and refuse to repent are condemned, not the unbaptized who are withheld the Beatific Vision. That is why the Church has not resolved this matter and held to an indeterminate state called Limbo. However the Catholic Catechism 1261 not only upholds Innocent III but adds “they are subject to God’s mercy”.

          • No. They were not baptized with water. How could they assent to baptism? Their salvation was an act of God’s merciful love. When Christ said those who are baptized will be saved and those who refuse lost he refers to adults assenting to or refusing the truth. Not infants. The question then is do you believe unbaptized infants are condemned.

          • Baptism by blood is a traditional belief based on baptism by desire particularly Catechumens who were martyred. Nonetheless you haven’t answered whether you believe infants are condemned to hell if not baptized.

          • I think you are inferring something that Father did not say. He simply pointed out that the Holy Innocents did not die because they gave public witness to Christ prior to their baptism. The Church teaches that they died for Christ because Herod sought to murder the New Born King of the Jews and killed them while trying to do so, but not because the Holy Innocents believed in the New Born King of the Jews and died willfully in defense of their belief.

          • Dear Father. In a fortnight, those who can assist at the Real Mass will hear this about Saint Emerentiana:

            A Roman virgin, step-sister of the blessed Agnes, while still a catechumen, burning with faith and charity, when she vehemently rebuked idol-worshippers who were stealing from Christians, was stoned and struck down by the crowd which she had angered. Praying in her agony at the tomb of holy Agnes, baptized by her own blood which she poured forth unflinchingly for Christ, she gave up her soul to God.”

          • When you say “Real Mass” my sense is you’re referring to the Tridentine Liturgy, certainly a real Mass as well as the Novus Ordo Mass I offer every day. If you deny that I have no further purpose in discussing Baptism of infants with you except you are in my prayers for conversion.

          • O, Father. it is just my florid rhetoric. I refer to The Real Mass and The LIl’ Licit Liturgy ( the one that among other things slaughtered the offertory and replaced it with the meal prayer of the Messias-Deniers).

            It has been said that merely eight words
            This is my body this is my blood is sufficient to constitute a mass (along with the right intentions etc) but The Real Mass is the Holocaust sacramentally represented to us (with its four aspects of Sacrifice) whereas the Lil’ Licit Liturgy is the Lord’s Supper.

            Now, it can not be denied that the vast majority of Catholics (especially Prelature, Priests, and People prefer the Lil’ Licit Liturgy because it is no big deal, right?

            Now try and tell the same people that one can have a traditional marriage ceremony or one can merely exchange vows while they are on Pogo Sticks, hopping across Lake Michigan in the winter while the wind howls and one is likely to hear those intending to marry desire a traditional wedding.

            The above is an extreme example of the result of anthropocentrism that Shadow Church has been propmoting for a very long time…

          • Thanks Spartacus I get your point. The revised Novus Ordo Eucharist Prayer 2 follows the unchanged Latin EP2 I’ve been saying in Latin offering private Mass. Now what you say above may be licit but unlawful [the abbreviated sentence of consecration]. The Church requires that there be separated and specified consecration of the bread [Body] then the wine [Blood]. If a priest were to consecrate just the bread [say he were prevented to continue as happened in France when the priest was murdered by Muslims] it would still be the Body of Christ. And yes I agree with you that anthropocentric attitudes have crept into the Church for some time and are accelerated today during the current Pontificate. All the Vatican talk about Luther, jettisoning Transubstantiation, ecumenical mass is more than dangerous. Needless to say many of us will repudiate and refuse compliance with heresy.

          • O, we agree, there must be separate and specified consecrations but the eight words would suffice.

            W ought to “enjoy” The Lil’ Licit Liturgy for as long as we can until the Ecumenical Mass is deemed normative

          • Unbaptised infants including the many millions of murdered babies do not go to hell or anything
            like it. That is totally insane!

            We do not know GOD save those mysteries HE has revealed to HIS Church that are plainly understood.
            It is OUR intellectual “limbo” that gives rise to such speculation as outlined by the author of the comments
            in your link.

          • OK, then. Well. so ,much for the Infallible Teachings of Dogmatic Councils. It seems you have no need for a Church that teaches because your feelings teach you something else:

            +++++++++++++++++++++++ from the traditional Mass link+++++++++++++++++++

            Those who Die in Original Sin Go to Hell

            The Council of Florence said: “With regard to children, since the danger of death is often present and the only remedy available to them is the Sacrament of Baptism by which they are snatched away from the dominion of the devil and adopted as children of God, it admonishes that sacred baptism is not to be deferred for forty or eighty days or any other period of time in accordance with the usage of some people, but it should be conferred as soon as it conveniently can; and if there is imminent danger of death, the child should be baptized straightaway without any delay, even by a lay man or woman in the form of the Church, if there is no priest, as is contained more fully in the decree on the Armenians.” (Decree for the Jacobites, Denz. 696)

            The Council of Trent said: “And this translation [i.e. this going from the state of original sin to the state of grace], since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written: unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” (Session VI, chapter 4) The Council also says: “If any one should say that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation, let him be anathema.” (Session VII, can. 5)

            It should be added here that babies are capable of the baptism of blood, if they should be martyred. This is the case of the Holy Innocents, whom the Church has always considered to be martyrs, and therefore saints in heaven. But this fact does not in any way distort the meaning of the councils and the Fathers concerning the necessity of baptism, since they are speaking about the normal remedy for sin established by God.

            The Council of Florence also defined, in Session VI, the following: “But the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains.” This same doctrine is found in the Confession of Faith which was given to the Eastern Emperor Michael Paleologus in 1267 by Pope Clement IV, and which was accepted by this same emperor in the presence of Pope Gregory X at the Second Council of Lyons in 1274. The same doctrine is found as well in the Profession of Faith given to the Greeks by Pope Gregory XIII, and in that which was prescribed for the oriental schismatics by Popes Urban VIII and Benedict XIV.


            But now, having killed Limbo, we are just supposed to accept the fantasy that the Unbaptised are saved because we do not think it would be fair if they weren’t saved.

            That’s a hell of a way to run a church….

          • “It seems you have no need for a Church that teaches because your feelings teach you something else”
            Not about “feelings” .
            You are telling me that millions of unbaptised unborn children and infants that die prematurely go to hell
            simply because they were not baptised. And I am telling you that I do not believe that and that’s that.

          • I’m jumping in in the middle here without having read the whole thread, but this is something that I think is really important.

            None of us deserve heaven. None. The idea that there is some injustice, therefore, in any of us being precluded from the Beatific Vision is a fallacious one.

            Christ came to redeem us, but we don’t all make it in. In fact, in His various admonishments He seemed to make clear that it was the minority.

            In John 3:5, Our Lord made unequivocal the necessity of sacramental baptism for salvation. The Church has since expounded on things like the baptism of blood and the baptism of desire, but these are not assured means of obtaining the remission of Original Sin and the indelible character that baptism imbues. They cannot, in other words, be relied upon.

            If we believe that God is all just and all merciful, why would we not trust Him? If it is true, as a number of doctors of the Church taught, that unbaptized babies are precluded from the Beatific Vision, and instead, as the theory of Limbo speculated, were placed in some realm of happiness, devoid of suffering, but not before the face of God, why should this bother us?

            Do we believe it’s unfair?

            Do we think those children are entitled to heaven?

            Did they not bear Original Sin, just as we have?

            If redemption through the sacramental life is not necessary for them, is it necessary for any of us? Why did Christ have to die to establish the Church and the sacraments if this is so?

            I really think we need to move beyond the feeling that this is unfair and look to the fact of whether it is. And I think we need to trust that God knows what He is doing better than we do.

            I hope, for example, that my desire to baptize the child my wife lost in miscarriage three years ago was efficacious, or that my attempt to baptize the remains was. But I don’t know that. And I dare not presume that the child is in heaven, though I may certainly hope that by some means I do not fully understand, he is.

            Ultimately, however, God gave that life, God took it home, and God knows best where it belongs. If we love Him and trust Him we cannot fear such things. We have to know He will do what is good and right — what is best — every time.

          • Fr.RP to Fr.Peter Morello: “I have never rejected the belief in Limbo and I also believe that God is fully capable of saving those souls and bringing them to the Beatific Vision through Jesus Christ in a way that we do not understand.”

            I’ll go with that. Thanks Steve.

          • I think that all fits within the way I look at things — which is, to the best of my ability, the way I believe the Church looks at things — but I just don’t think we can presume this is what happens. But if we can’t trust God on what to do with the children who die, who can we trust?

          • Yes. There is so much mystery to life, to our understanding of God. We experience a terrible beauty,
            a wonderful self-awareness and observance of an awesome World poisoned by the FALL.
            We have been given sufficient knowledge of God to meet our personal duties and are invited to freely choose obedience.

            Much that we don’t know now, will by HIS Grace be revealed, when we part our earthen vessels.

          • Though I empathize with your feelings about the Mass I don’t condone your wrongful feelings. There is no dogmatic teaching on a doctrine of Limbo. The word refers to an indeterminate place .An unresolved question. There is no place in hell where there is not eternal suffering and your response is skirting the question. Again the sole teaching is in the Catholic Catechism as I quoted.

          • It is also true that persons reaching adulthood or at least the capacity to reason who were not baptized are at far greater risk of damnation. Christ’s institution of the Church and the sacraments facilitate salvation. The reason is grace provided to us thru the sacraments enabling us to receive the benefit of His Crucifixion.

          • Denzinger # 493a and # 1526

            Ditching limbo is the limbus of Universalism.

            Now. I am not a sedevacantist but Bishop Sanborn’s logical explication of what must result from the slaughter of Limbo has not yet been answered.

            It can be read at the traditional mass link I posted upthread 16 hours ago.

          • To be fair, the theological speculation and teaching of Limbo was a correction of the belief that unbaptized infants ( and those, who through no fault of their own were not baptized and had reached the age of reason and lived a virtuous life) did not suffer the Pains of Hell because they were innocent of any personal Mortal Sin. I have never rejected the belief in Limbo and I also believe that God is fully capable of saving those souls and bringing them to the Beatific Vision through Jesus Christ in a way that we do not understand.

            I know that you know this, I am simply stating it for those who do not know this.

          • At first amazed although reading your posts I shouldn’t have been at how closely your thoughts are to mine on Limbo Fr. I wrote in my book years back that God who perceives all as omniscient may determine favorably on behalf of an infant in “a way that we do not understand”.

          • Which book is this father as I would like to read it?

            God binds us to His Holy Commandments, but He himself is not bound by anything or anyone other than Himself and the promises He has made based on Himself.

            We are His creation, He is not ours. Amen. I am certain that He will act in accord with His personified Revelation and never against Him, but that does not limit Him to act in accord with our understanding, rather it limits us to act in accord with His Divine Revelation and according to the Natural Law established by Him for all humanity.

          • Good points said here. The book isn’t any ‘great shakes’. Assent to Truth available on Amazon.

          • Thank you good father. In these troubling times, let us keep one another in prayer. Most especially, that we prefer Christ to all else! Amen.

          • I just ordered it via Amazon. Only 10$ and 2$ via kindle!

            PS: Not looking for any great shakes. 🙂 The Truth most Faithful Christians need to hear (or read) is what they already have heard or read but need to hear or read again and again.

          • OK, I wil back off a bit because I love to argue too much. I wil admit that even the old Manual theologians confessed that all was not black and white vis a vis those dying without water, desire, or blood baptism

            Q. What become of young children who die without baptism?


A. If a young child were put to death for the sake of Christ, this would be to it the baptism of blood, and carry it to heaven; but, except in this case, as such infants are incapable of having the desire of baptism, with the other necessary dispositions, if they are not actually baptized with water, they cannot go to heaven; our Savior’s words being perfectly clear and express, “Except a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” John iii. 5. As for what becomes of such unbaptized children, divines are divided in their opinions about it; some say one thing, some another; but as God Almighty has not been pleased to reveal it to his Church, we know nothing for certain about it.


          • “Canon four of Trent’s Canons on the Sacraments in General states, ‘If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation but are superfluous, and that although all are not necessary for every individual, without them or without the desire of them men obtain from God the grace of justification, let him be anathema'”. What we commonly refer to as baptism by blood actually refers to baptism of desire, that was affirmed in Canon 4 at the Council of Trent. That said all and any salvation of Man is accomplished solely by the shedding of Christ’s Precious Blood from the Cross. That includes anyone saved even prior going back to Adam and Eve. In that sense we can say the Holy Innocents were saved by Christ’s Blood.

          • The Baptism of Blood applied to the Holy Innocents is unique in that all other Baptisms of Blood refers to those who were killed prior to Baptism for giving intentional witness to Jesus. As in they were killed while consciously adhering to the Truth of Jesus Christ prior to their Baptism. The Holy Innocents were killed simply because they were there while Herod sought to Kill the Messiah. Indeed they died for Christ, but unwittingly.

        • I was a little glib and lazy in my reply to you. I’m happy to have deepened my understanding of “Doctor of the Church” on this board. Plus, please see my reply to Fr. RP above, for what it’s worth.

        • And Aquinas is a Doctor of the Church and he denied the Immaculate Conception (prior to any Dogmatic Declaration or De Fide Doctrine) and other errors (delayed ensoulment) that he held based on lack of knowledge.

          • Yes, all my point was is that being a Saint doesn’t mean one never sinned and being a Doctor of the Church doesn’t mean every T was crossed perfectly at all times. I hold Saint Thomas and Saint Augustine in the highest regard and defer to their learned theological positions on a regular basis.

            Here is a good brief review of Saint Thomas’ position on the Immaculate Conception.

    • I would qualify the above statement to the D&R who cannot return to their spouses due to circumstances beyond their control, and those who do not have children dependent upon them in their true marriage. If they can return then they must return and if they have dependent children in their real marriage then it is all the more imperative that they return to their spouse if they can.

      • I think there would be a greater chance of the rejecting spouse to receive their husband/wife again if he/she was living alone. I agree with Saint Augustine (in the principle) and think that the bond of marriage trumps being present in a household with one’s illegitimate children (who deserve equal love, but not in that household, imo). Besides, as a commenter noted elsewhere, living as brother and sister could easily amount to an occasion of sin.

        We have come to see the terrible wound that sodomy causes the Church, but the real elephant in the room is heterosexual impurity, by way of its scale in society. Church of Nice, trendy Catholics would typically laugh this off, like they do opposition to acceptance of sodomy.

        • One should not ” pretend to be married” when one is not.
          I agree so much with you Garett.

          It is not just the occassion of sin that is concerning, but it is not living in the Truth, for is it only marital relations that bind a man and woman in matrimony: I think not.
          When one must sneak to another parish to receive the Eucharist, when ” living as brother and sister”, so as to not cause scandal, something seems so very amiss.

          I appreciate the concern for the children from this illegitmate marriage, children are NEVER illegitmate, but what of the children from the actual marriage which took place prior? How do they come to understand the love of their Father in Heaven, when their actually father or mother bind him or herself to another, either physically or in every other way.?

          • Pardon me cs, I am going to firmly disagree on one of your points above.

            Some children are illegitimate, but that does not mean they are guilty for that situation their parents put them in. In the way some children are sadly orphans. Obviously these situations are undesirable.

            The illigitimate child should accept that beginning to his life when he is old enough to understand. He too will receive enough grace from his Heavenly Father for his salvation like everybody else.

            Saying children are never illigitimate is a dreamy, feminine, World Meeting of Families-type thing to say and is part of living the lie that strikes at the definition of family, that is currently too often at sway in the Church and the world today.

          • I think I understood your point Garrett.

            As a mother, who is feminine, but not dreamy, I understand the difficulty a child has when being termed “illegitimate”. Yet, your point, if I am reading you correctly, is that the circumstance of birth cannot be glossed over, so as to minimize the definition of family. I agree whole heartedly.

            Sadly, so many children have had to bear the scars of the misfortune, that is what I was referring to.

          • You’re the best, cs!

            I was perhaps a little hot-headed with my use of the word “feminine”. I’m a little sore right now because lay women seem to be running the show in the upcoming abominable World Meeting of Families this August in Dublin. Check out the hashtag #WMOF2018 on Twitter, for example.

            Yes the stigma associated with one’s parents’ behavior, that inevitably and unjustly reflects on the child is a difficult cross to bear.

          • Your words were important Garrett! It is important for society to understand and hear that a child deserves to be born into a family: a mother and a father. Period. Anything else, is less.
            And so many in the Church try to right what is wrong. Single mothers seem to be the ” thing” right now.
            So very very sad.

            I have heard about this escapade coming to Dublin. I cannot express the words that are crossing my mind right now on this forum. Too many priests have been bulldozed by the femaile laity, in their own parishes and of course in the chancellary. It really is pathetic.

            If I could give our priests one bit of adivse: ” Don’t be so gentlemany with the’ broads’ who are trying to run the Church!” Many good priests are also gentlemen, and respectful to females. Unfortuantely,that qualtiy
            it is used AGAINST them and the Church!

            God bless you and as always, I read your posts with great enthusiasm.

      • “…..Those who do not have children dependent upon them in their true marriage.”

        For the Church to appove of this ” living as brother and sister”, while children from the real marriage are involved is
        bad. And I would go on to suggest, that one cannot PRETEND to act married, be married, when one is not.

  20. Lawler is too late to the party. It’s been burning for 50 years.

    Some of the destruction is abetted or tolerated, intentionally or not, by some of his favorite “saintly” Popes.

    Also, Lawler is very close to Ignatius Press and Fr. Fessio – does he share in the errors and heresies of Balthasar?

    It’s wonderful to finally wake up against Francis. I am still waiting for neo-cons to wake up against John Paul the Small and Balthasar. THEN we will have something good happening.

  21. Divine Irony?

    Ray Thomas, founding member of the Moody Blues, passed away yesterday: Monday, January 8. One of their earliest albums—50 years ago—was “In Search of the Lost Chord.”

    So when, on the same day, the above review of Philip Lawler’s “The Lost Shepherd” appeared, I was struck by the paradoxical fact that, had Thomas not died, it would never have occurred to me that the Moodys might be importuned to do a reprise—“In Search of the Lost Shepherd.” Now, it’s too late.

  22. Thank you for this review of Phil Lawler’s “Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock”. It sounds like it is as commendable as George Neumayr’s “The Political Pope: How Pope Francis Is Delighting the Liberal Left and Abandoning Conservatives”.

  23. It seems to me that Pope Francis does have some useful contributions to evangelization in Evangelii Gaudium and some other discourses, which may have come from the document of the Aparecida Conference of Latin American bishops, and are also based on previous doctrine on the matter. There is an emphasis on the necessity of converting the Catholic in the pew into a real disciple and apostle of Jesus Christ who truly has a personal relationship with HIm, and is willing to evangelize in his family, workplace and the society in general, and thus bring about an end to what PF calls “clericalism”. This would seem to be based on the traditonal idea among Catholics that holiness is for priests and religious and they laity have to “pray, pay and obey”. Of course, Vatican II clearly reminds us of the universal calling to holiness based on our baptism. However, what seems to have happened is that there was a kind of reverse clericalism so that the laity were given liturgical ministries and more prominence at the altar, and little emphasis on evangelizaion and witness in the secular world. One of the jarring things about PF’s way of proposing his teaching is the colloqujial type of language he uses, and the frequent recourse to the strawman fallacy.

    He also insists that the Church should not be self-referential, and go out to evangelize the world. However, with his efforts at radically changing the moral teaching of the Church, proposing for debate questions settled by the previous Magisterium, he has brought about a huge internal struggle within in the Church, which in its turn necesarily makes faithful Catholics feel obliged to defend the perennial teaching of the Church and to engage in debate with dissenters, which one would think is the opposite of what he intended. How could he not have foreseen the huge pushback there was already in the two Synods to the manipulation of the process to push the so called Kaspter proposal, which in reality is the Francis proposal?

    He doesn’t seem to be aware of the limits of the Petrine ministry as expressed by the Vatican I Constitution Pastor Aeternus, and previous popes such as Pius XII and Benedict XVI, to mention some of the most recent. A Pope does not have a mandate to promote and impose “irreversible” reforms in the doctrine of the Church. He may tinker with the Curia and Vatican finances and other such reforms. The erorrs he has promoted will necesarily be rejected and future Popes will return to the Aposotlic Tradition, as such errors cannot stand in the Churh due to the promise of Jesus himslef.

    There are rumors, which I have seen in Internet Portals in Spanish about Pope Francis thinking of imposing on all bishops and priests some kind of profession of loyalty to HIS teaching. If he does this, and it may be a trial balloon at present, unless it is something like the Profession of Faith of the Kazak bishops, he will cause an even greater problem in the Church as it is a foregone conclusion that many thousands of priests will not be find it possible in conscience to sign such a declaration, if it contains his AL and other errors. What will they do with them? Will they Suspend thousands of priests for conscientiously rejecting errors and being faithful to what the Church has always taught? . If he is considering doing this, all we can do is hope that Cardinals in Rome and elsewhere will prevail on him to avoid it as an even worse attempt at remedying the mess he has created. He did state in Rio that he wanted the youth to creat a mess (hacer lío). Why not accept the suggestion of Cardinal Muller and hod a debate among Cardinals regarding the disputed matters. It seems to me that the members of the “Bergoglio Party” (St. Augustine called the Donatist schismatics “the Donatis Party) have so far have only been able to hurl insults and propose logical fallacies in defense of their position.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popular on OnePeterFive

Share to...