“But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.” – Mt. 5:37
Every parent knows the truth about setting an example. Children are perceptive. They’re wired for subtext. They don’t care about what you say nearly as much as what you do. If you say, “No chocolate cake before breakfast” and then reach for a slice the minute they leave the room, they know. They can smell chocolate from a mile away. They will come running from wherever they are, sniffing you out like zombies hunting for brains. Hiding in the bathroom with the fan on so you can eat the cake isn’t just kind of gross, it’s futile. They are on to your hypocrisy, and they are quickly forming the opinion that what you are doing is okay for them too. “As long as I don’t get caught,” they think, “I can have whatever I want. Even if it’s against the rules.”
Do as I say, not as I do, has never been a particularly fruitful parenting philosophy.
Let’s envision a slightly different scenario. Imagine a father who is at home with his children while his wife is away somewhere. He says to them, “Your mother says we can’t have chocolate cake before breakfast.” As he is speaking, he reveals the cake, then begins cutting slices, a conspiratorial look on his face. He begins arranging them on plates. “So you’re not allowed,” he says with a wry smile, handing them over to his giggling little ones, “to have chocolate cake before breakfast.” He passes out forks. “And if your mother asks, you can tell her I told you she said you’re not allowed to have chocolate cake before breakfast.”
The latter scenario, as amusing as it may seem at first glance, is more than just harmless mischief. The father acknowledges that the rules exist and he knows what they are, but then actively ignores them, and in so doing, undermines the authority of his children’s mother. He is telling the children implicitly by his actions that he doesn’t respect his wife or her wishes, and that they don’t need to do so either. He conveys to them that the rules are only for sticklers, and the real fun is to be had by breaking them.
It should be obvious where this will eventually lead.
The same thing holds true when it comes to the example of our spiritual fathers — priests, bishops, and most importantly, the pope. The refrain is often repeated in our public debates about the current direction of the Catholic Church: “The Holy Father hasn’t actually changed any doctrine.” And of course, this is so. But if the doctrines are left in tact and even reiterated from time to time, how much do these things benefit the faithful when they are circumvented by action and insinuation?
We have any number of examples, of which it will behoove us to name just a few:
- Francis’ harsh words about clerical sexual abusers have been noteworthy, and yet he has appointed and empowered men accused of such crimes.
- Francis makes occasional statements about the importance of traditional Catholic teaching on marriage, but he also empowered and praised (the then much-diminished) Cardinal Kasper, thrusting him back into the spotlight and allowing him to push communion for the divorced and remarried, even allowing him to do so in the pope’s name; he stacked the Synod with unorthodox prelates; he personally approved of and maintained the most controversial language in the Synod documents; he publicly scolded the Synod fathers who tried to maintain the Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality; and he even called into question the Catholic teaching on contraception.
- Francis says we must “evangelize” but has notably told others of his disinterest in converting them — even going so far as to discourage Anglican bishop Tony Palmer from conversion to Catholicism when he expressed interest in doing so. (Palmer later died in a motorcycle accident, never having crossed the Tiber.) And then there is this testimony from two American Protestant leaders who met with Francis in Rome:
- Related to the previous point, the pope’s prayer intentions for January, 2016, were shared in a video that strongly implies the idea that all religions are essentially equivalent, and none is superior to another:
- Francis has also strongly insinuated that Lutherans may receive Holy Communion if they search their conscience and pray about it. “Talk to the Lord and then go forward,” he told them. “I don’t dare to say anything more.” Last week, a group of Lutherans in Rome did exactly that, citing his words as the precedent-setting moment.
- He also met, smiling broadly in a very public photo op, with a female Finnish Lutheran bishop known for her support of same-sex marriage, and yet not a word of fraternal correction reached the press. The implication was clear: “I don’t have a problem with what this person is doing, which is why I’m perfectly fine being photographed with her in public.”
- Yesterday, it was announced that the Holy Father will go to Sweden in October “for a joint ecumenical commemoration of the start of the Reformation, together with leaders of the Lutheran World Federation and representatives of other Christian Churches” that will “include a common worship service in Lund cathedral based on a Catholic-Lutheran ‘Common Prayer’.” This despite long-standing prohibitions against such activities, perhaps best encapsulated by the encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, in which he said
…it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ. Shall We suffer, what would indeed be iniquitous, the truth, and a truth divinely revealed, to be made a subject for compromise?
These words and actions, insinuations and images, and yes, even the refusal to use his authority to prohibit or forbid things which must not be allowed, all have an effect exactly like that of the father who gives his children cake for breakfast while parroting the rules laid down by their mother. In fact, I received a message from a reader this morning — a message which included a letter the reader had just written to Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. In it, he wrote (with my emphasis):
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I thank God for your faithful service to the Church. I have derived much joy and comfort from your writings, especially your most recent book, “God or Nothing.”
In your role as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, I wanted to share with you a recent personal experience which I believe provides witness to the immense confusion we are now experiencing in the Catholic Church.
Let me begin with a bit of background. I was raised in the Lutheran faith, but converted to Catholicism about 30 years ago. About that same time, my Lutheran parents divorced. Several years later, my mother remarried a Catholic man, but never converted to Catholicism.
My stepfather was a very faithful man. He treated my mother well. He loved the Eucharist and volunteered regularly as a Eucharistic minister at his parish.
Two weeks ago, my stepfather passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. My family traveled out-of-state to attend his funeral. Much to my surprise, my mother was encouraged to participate in Holy Communion at the funeral Mass, despite the fact she was still Lutheran.
I later learned a priest provided her with several articles in advance of the funeral, making the case for her receiving the Holy Eucharist. I believe one article quoted Pope Francis’ recent response when he was asked about Lutheran reception of Holy Communion. The second was a story about several Lutheran bishops who had recently received Holy Communion during their visit to the Vatican.
I realize Church teaching has not changed on this matter. However, it grieved me greatly to witness my own mother participating in sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion at the prompting of a Catholic priest.
My wife and I have three teenage children. We have worked diligently to raise these children in the Catholic faith. After the funeral, our children asked about their grandmother’s receipt of the Holy Eucharist, wondering if Church teaching had changed its teaching. It saddened me to have to explain to that Church teaching had not changed and that their grandmother had been falsely advised to receive Communion.
I have informed the diocese where the funeral occurred of the situation. I bring this matter to your attention simply to underscore how the seeds of confusion being sown by some Church leaders are leading people into sin.
Again and again, we see it borne out: the absurdity of the idea that because nothing has been explicitly contradicted, asserted, or changed, everything that is transpiring is within the bounds of Catholic orthodoxy.
If that makes sense to you, go right ahead and keep believing it. For the rest of us, there’s reality to contend with.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.
When things look bad and we Catholics start thinking, “Why am I Catholic? Why do I follow all these hard rules? Why do I have to put up with all this sappy music and worship of Us at my local modernist parish? Why can’t I just go to the Lutheran service up the street, where they seem to worship God more than each other?” The answer has always been, “We have the Eucharist”.
Well now they do too.
Doesn’t this just open the door to going to a nice Lutheran service on Sundays and hitting a communion service at the local parish on Wednesday night to receive the Eucharist?
But we know the truth though. Just because they say its the Eucharist does not mean it is. A women can’t be a priest for the same reasons why a man does not get pregnant. Its not natural. It ain’t no eucharist trust me. The Body and Blood of Christ is only truly present in a Catholic or Orthodox liturgy. Not any protestant service whatsoever.
The point is, they can now come to us and receive the Body and Blood of Christ. And we can receive on Wednesdays while we skate off to a Lutheran Service that looks more holy than a Modernist Catholic Community.
They can receive whatever they want at this Lutheran service. Its just a wafer though. And that is a stone cold fact.
And they can receive at a Catholic Mass as well. See?
Yes I do. Bad news all around indeed.
The Modernist church leaders find nothing sacrilegious or blasphemous against Christ when they participate in the prayers and worship of false gods. Why should they be disturbed by giving out Christ’s Precious Body and Blood to anyone who chooses to take it from them?
They teach that Christ’s sacrifice saved all men. Why should anyone be refused to participate in the remembrance of His Sacrifice, (which is really all the Modernist believes the Mass to be?
“Why do I have to put up with all this sappy music and worship of Us at my local modernist parish?”
You don’t — flee that spiritually dangerous protestantizing rite and get ye to the Mass of ages, pronto! There are lots of online resources to help you locate one, and it will be worth the drive.
Certainly. After all, it doesn’t make any difference which “Christian” sect you belong to. They all worship the same God. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you practice the Jewish religion or the religion of Islam. Again, we all worship the same God.
I have a Lutheran building two minutes from my house. I could go there rather than driving 45 minutes one way to a true Catholic Church. Would I? Not even if hell freezed over.
Thank you. A friend called the other day to speak about this and other problems. He has started attending an Orthodox church just to avoid this craziness, and he is a very recent convert. It took him years to get to the point where he was ready to convert, only to have the kneeler pulled out from under him by Pope Francis!
I would hope and pray that you have provided material and resources that teach the true Catholic faith to help convince him/her that is where the only authority of Christ exists.
It is truly disheartening if a person places his/her faith in a man, rather than in Christ.
For what it’s worth:
The Orthodox DO accept divorce and remarriage, and they DO accept contraception.
For me, that’s always been evidence of what happens when you separate yourself from the barque of Peter.
I’m wondering what the ‘dialogue’ between Catholics and Lutherans has consisted of all these years. It seems now that Francis has put all of it aside and now says – hey, let’s not bother with all the differences between us. No more talk about what we share. We are one.
What more do we need to hear and see? I don’t see how we can go back from this place. What pope in future is going to ‘insult’ protestants by taking away their precious ‘eucharist’?
Time to find a traditional priest, a traditional Latin Mass no matter what it takes. They have the press, they have the buildings, and they have the gall and they have the momentum. This apostasy gathers speed while we discuss whether Francis is crazy or just bent on completely remaking the Catholic Church.
Satan is a destroyer. Francis is his tool and has a mandate from his fellow Cardinals to destroy the Church – so it can be built again in Satan’s image. I hate to sound all doomy and gloomy here but we are at the edge of the cliff NOW.
Amen. I want to up vote your comment 100 times.
Thankfully, a traditional priest offering the traditional Latin Mass is not too hard to find, if you know where to look. See., e.g., http://sspx.org/en/community/priories
We are at the edge indeed. The next couple of years will be hellish.
“This apostasy gathers speed while we discuss whether Francis is crazy or just bent on completely remaking the Catholic Church.”
It reminds me so much of these past 7 years under President Obama, and the constant discussions about “Is he just misguided or is he actively trying to destroy the United States?”
I feel like I’m constantly being gaslighted by these people.
To riff off the movie “Blazing Saddles”, “Doctrine. We don’t need no stinkin’ doctrine”. Please Lord, stop this slow motion trainwreck.
My stepmother is a genuine, faithful Lutheran. She recently asked me if it was OK for her to receive the Eucharist at Mass. She said that she had always believed that she couldn’t, but one day when attending the funeral Mass of a dear friend, asked a priest if she could receive since the deceased was a dear friend. The priest, getting all sentimental and pastoral, told her that she could. Another time, she was told no. She is very confused and wants to do the “right thing.” I gave her full Church teaching on the Eucharist. She said that she always loved the Church and her friends call her a “closet Catholic.” My husband said to her that it was time for her to “jump in!” (He himself is a convert.) However, with this further watering down, what would be her motivation to come over? Sigh.
Her motivation should be the motivation of everyone who wants to be faithful to Christ, to follow Him, and to do so means joining the one Church He instituted. There is no other place to please Him and no other faith that saves.
If Pope Francis “allows” Lutherans to receive communion, he does so at their peril and at his own peril even more. It isn’t merciful, because it isn’t possible, to dispense with St. Paul’s admonishment, “do not give what is holy to dogs, nor cast your pearls before swine.”
I seem to remember something about a millstone, too.
It is time for something critical, very important and serious to take place, I was talking to a member of One Peter Five by Twitter today and we believe it is time for the Princes of the Church to begin the warnings to the Pope, we must hope and pray they begin; for the sake of the soul of this current Pope and for the Bride of Christ and us the Faithful, in this article link I am going to share, you will read how and what is done to 1st. Try to bring back the Pope to Orthodoxy and Repentance or eventually leaving the Papacy for preaching in mind, heart and most of all in public that is which is contrary to the Church. http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/1284-can-the-church-depose-an-heretical-pope
I’m afraid there are many princes who agree with what the pope is doing and it seems he becomes infuriated when the faithful among the cardinals correct him.
then the faithful Cardinals should bring with them Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, because he, as we know so far, doesn’t blow his top when Benedict is there.
Try to bring the pope back? Fat chance there. We could say the same about Obama and the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence…in either case, those boys aren’t buying what we want. They have their agenda, and scarily so, they are intertwined if truth be known. Destroy national sovereignty.
Ambiguity, pushing the envelope seem to go with Loyola-ist chameleon territory.
How many Princes of the Church are themselves believers of the true faith? How can we expect the heretics and apostates to convict one of their own?
Not many, Burke, the Polish Bishops, African Bishops, Cardinal Sarah and Muller and Benedict XVI. They, the apostates can’t; but faithful one can & must.
As long as I have my Denzinger, Haydock Commentaries, and Douay-Rheims Bible, he cannot harm me and my family.
I see mention made of Lutherans several times above. Ironically, today Ann Barnhardt has a great piece informing us of just how rotten Martin Lutheran really was. I never knew all that she reveals of his downright demonic teachings. So when you couple that more than illegitimate religion with the Vatican’s easing of the Eucharist for any and all, you have a marriage of evil and good like never before. The circus has come to town You know it when you step in the elephant dung of dialogue of Catholics/Lutherans.
“Being a diabolical narcissist, Luther was obsessed with convincing himself of the grandiosity, superiority, perfection and sinlessness of his false self. Everything he did and said revolved around his need to convince himself that the fact that he, a priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek, espoused to Jesus Christ and His Holy Church, was screwing Katarina von Bora (and apparently also the maid when Katarina “had a headache”) was NO BIG DEAL. This is why Luther despised the priesthood, despised the Eucharist, marriage itself, and preached his satanic heresy of “total depravity”. He had to convince himself that his fornicating was not only no big deal, but also “natural”.”
“This satanic filth is what our lord and savior jorge bergoglio is so enamored of, and openly celebrates. I have a theologian friend who firmly believes and argues very well that our lord and savior jorge bergoglio is, very simply, a closet Lutheran.”
I’ve read many things Luther said and wrote. I even read a fair account of his life written by the late Austrian scholar and Princeton professor, Walter Kaufman. It appears to me that Luther, at the very least, was emotionally unhinged, if not mentally ill.
If you read Ann Barnhardt’s piece I referred to above, you would read that he was more than unhinged….it’s called sin, NOT mental illness.
I don’t believe Francis is a closet Lutheran. I believe he is a Teilhard pantheist.
Worse yet. He is a Freemason working for the Antichrist.
He is bringing to light Vatican II’s false teaching that every religion has some truth in it and is a means of grace and salvation. He also seems to have adopted almost every heresy ever condemned by the Church, as well as the soul and life-destroying theology and philosophies of so many heretics like the pantheist Teilhard Chardin.
Loyola was military. Those in high places who have crossed his Order were and are eliminated.
Thanks Steve. Conclusion: The actions of Pope Francis and the voice of the evil one are the same. The Cardinals have a duty before God to remove this man as soon as possible as that is how they will be judged.
There will come a time when the few faithful prelates will say ENOUGH! and there will be the great schism. Probably this year.
Chocolate cake for breakfast sounds yummy – *in moderation*. Having that, does not imply nothing else more nourishing is being eaten. A diet of large slices, day after day, would of course be crazy.
Turning to other matters – I think that the HF does not see much real difference between Lutheranism and Catholicism. The ecumenical whitewashing of Luther, and the refusal of ecumenists to point out just how very anti-Catholic he was, has not helped. He loathed the Papacy. How many Catholics do that ?
The word for worldwide or universal is a word we’ve used all along — Catholic. The fancy, esoteric word “ecumenical” originally meant “of the household”, not of the whole world.
After the funeral, our children asked about their grandmother’s receipt of the Holy Eucharist, wondering if Church teaching had changed its teaching.
This sentence hit me harder than any other in the essay,
Pope St. Pius X wrote a century ago that “the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country has a complementary religious objective: a One-World-Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world…the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak…”
Doesn’t this describe the pontificate of Francis?
No. Not in any way.
Rich how many bowls did you smoke before saying ‘not in any way?”
If you honestly think Pope Francis is about the business of creating a one world religion to oppress the weak, it’s you who are smoking something. He is all about freedom from oppression.
Oh, and I’ve never once tried pot. Gotta be your thing, I guess.
Exactement lwhite….it is why I stated and related above that Obama and Francis play ball in the same ballpark…they have the same objective, and Obama helps the pope by giving him millions of our tax dollars to bring in the headchoppers. Couldn’t be clearer to me that this is the objective Pius X spoke of…”the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country has a complementary religious objective: a One-World-Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world…the reign of legalized cunning and force,” We see this now in real time.
Dad is great!
Givin’ us some chocolate cake!
It’s got flour, eggs, butter . . . it’s health food!
Found it on youtube …
Sounds like when Conservatives try to “dialogue” with liberals politically speaking. We wind up moving leftward for their approval so as not to look “out of touch” or “bigoted”. Funny how they never move in our direction. Is Francis that embarrassed about traditional Catholic teaching? (OK, dumb question I guess…) Just what we need with the world falling apart: Diluted and deluded Catholicism!
Pius the XI wrote his encyclical before Nostra Aetate.
There has been, and will continue to be development of doctrine.
There is no development of Dogma, and no pope or council can contradict or abrogate the Dogmatic Teaching of a previous pope or Church Council. Vatican II was not a Dogmatic Council and is invalid in any area that it contradicts Dogmatic Teaching (particularly that of the Holy and Dogmatic Council of Trent).
Yes, it was dogmatic. There are constitutions, labeled as such. The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church is a premiere document on ecclesiology.
There is development of doctrine. The dogma of the Incarnation, the hypostatic union, and the Trinity took centuries to get ironed out. It was not something that dropped from heaven. We developed our understanding, and that is reflected in the councils.
The doctrine on ecumenism developed, as well as our view of those who are not baptized: within the declaration on religious freedom, and in Nostra Aetate.
Vatican II cannot be totally Dogmatic because it contradicts previously defined dogmas. Even Pope Benedict XVI (as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) made it clear that Vatican II was only a ‘pastoral council’ as it never defined any dogmas that were not already defined. Vatican II is only binding on the faithful when it reiterates already defined dogmas. No pope or council has the authority to contradict or abrogate previously defined dogmas. You should jump off the modernist (modernism is a defined heresy) and do some honest study of Catholic Dogma and Teachings.
Lumen Gentium is the first time the Church ever took the time discuss who she actually was. Ecclesiology had not been discussed doctrinally. A constitution has the highest doctrinal authority of any document. I have studied. You should assume less often?
You really are stuck on yourself. A ‘constitution’ has no standing as dogma; it is a modern construct never heard of in the ancient history of the Church. God never changes and neither does His Holy Catholic Church. Your study must have been of heretical innovators like Kasper and company.
Anyone who decides to post on a combox anywhere has to have SOME sense of ego, certainly. I would say many of the folks who pat each other on the back here and at places like Crisis are quite full of their own sense of magisterial authority and moxy. Fine. I am still disagreeing.
Oh, and I have a degree in theology from the same university as this blog’s owner.
We must have taken very different classes.
Thank you Mr. Skojec for this very clear example, and its analogy to what the Holy Father is doing with respect to our Holy Mother Church. I have been thinking since before Christmas to write to each one of the Cardinals and bishops who contributed to the books published before the two Synods – Remaining in the Truth of Christ, Christ’s New Homeland, etc. While I had lots to say, I did not know how to write it. I hope I have your permission to print your post, with full attribution to you, ofcourse. (In addition to the text, I will include the link(s) in my snail mail letters). This will cost a pretty penny in postage stamps, but well worth it.
Earlier last year, I read a comment from someone on another blog, ( Fr. Gordon MacRae’s ‘These Stone Walls’ blog) that if enough faithful Catholics write to Cardinals, the cardinals are obliged to act/respond. While that was in relation to another matter, I believe that advice applies to what the Pope is doing as well. I think writing to the Cardinals is the key, rather than writing to the Holy Father.
Thank you once again for providing a very good article for me to mail to them.
Whatever faithful things that Francis mutters is merely throwing a bone to cover the lies as you well expose with your various facts. You cannot trust anything he says, like the Communists and Islam who acknowledge that they can lie whenever it is temporarily expedient. Confusion is from the devil and Francis does nothing to clear it up, as a million people observed in the Filial Appeal, which had no effect on Francis of course.