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Five Words That Would Calm the Storm

In one of the pivotal scenes of the Gospel — one of several moments in which the apostles begin to recognize Christ’s true power — we find Jesus asleep in the stern of a tempest-tossed boat.

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that the ship was filled. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, sleeping upon a pillow; and they awake him, and say to him: Master, doth it not concern thee that we perish? And rising up, he rebuked the wind, and said to the sea: Peace, be still. And the wind ceased: and there was made a great calm. And he said to them: Why are you fearful? have you not faith yet? And they feared exceedingly: and they said one to another: Who is this (thinkest thou) that both wind and sea obey him? (Mark 4:37-40)

This is one of my favorite scriptures. Like so much of what happens in the New Testament, the speech is restrained, the drama of the scene muted. But explore the subtext: at least four of the apostles — Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John — were experienced fisherman, who spent their lives on the water. The storm must have been absolutely ferocious for them to have been so terrified. They turn to Our Lord and find Him sleeping, and they get a bit upset. As they rouse Him with their concerns of imminent doom, He turns and with just three words — “Peace, be still” — he brings the storm to heel.

The Roman Pontiff, whom St. Catherine of Siena famously referred to as “Our Sweet Christ on Earth”, also has the power to calm the raging storm now buffeting the Barque of Peter. It is not the battering of wind and waves that endangers the vessel, but confusion, error, and doubt — and worse, a rapidly metastasizing schism, spreading like a deadly poison throughout the Mystical Body of Christ.

When it comes to the self-made crisis in the Church — the mounting battle over marriage, divorce, remarriage, sacraments for those in objective grave sin, and the question of the existence of objective sin itself — our Holy Father, like the very Christ he is duty-bound to serve, has at his disposal five simple words that would pacify the tempest:

“No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.”

These are, of course, the only answers that a Catholic could ever give to the dubia. There are no other options. No exceptions. No pastoral discernment. No need for verbosity or for yet more nuance.

Distilled down to a crudely simple form, the dubia are essentially as follows:

  1. Can the divorced and remarried who are still engaged in a sexual relationship receive absolution and communion without a change of life?  
  2. Do absolute moral norms still exist?
  3. Does objective grave sin still exist?  
  4. Is the teaching still valid that however much circumstances may lessen an individual’s guilt, those circumstances cannot change an intrinsically evil act into a subjectively good act?
  5. Does the Church’s teaching that an appeal to conscience cannot overcome absolute moral norms still hold true?

These five questions are so simple, their answers so obvious, they require no more than 30 seconds of Francis’ time. (If it would make things easier, the five words could be spoken from the pressurized cabin of an airplane, an environment that seems to stimulate papal loquacity.)

Sadly, the only clarity Catholics now have from their shepherd-in-chief is the understanding that this will not happen. It has been nearly three months since Francis has been presented with the dubia. And what he has made obvious — through his own actions, inactions, and insinuations — is that even if he spoke, he would not answer in this simple, straightforward way. The stakes are just too high. For him to respond to the dubia in the orthodox fashion outlined above would be to undo the work of not just his precious synods, but his magnum opus, Amoris Laetitia.

If, on the other hand, he were to answer the dubia with the answers above inverted — as his exhortation seems to indicate is his thinking on these topics — he would, in essence, be making a public admission that he is a heretic — if we take as the definition of heretic that of St. Thomas: “a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas”.

So he does not answer. He cannot. And yet, not to answer is to answer. 

His silence, however, is anything but stoic. There are those who have been speaking on his behalf, acting like little better than henchmen, saying the things he is apparently afraid to say. Men close to him. Men such as a few of his newly-picked cardinals (or old friends in the curia or in other influential positions in Rome); certain useful prelates in the East; and certain advisers and allies in the media, such as Fr. Antonio Spadaro and papal biographer Austin Ivereigh.

It is this last figure who seems to have taken point in the all-out assault against papal questioners. In an invective-laden and self-indulgent diatribe at CruxIvereigh — who has constructed his own fortification against any personal criticism by successfully suing the Daily Mail for libel — tears viciously into the Four Cardinals and their supporters, impugning their motives and calling them “dissenters” from Church teaching akin to those who rose up during the papacy of John Paul II:

What to them seems entirely self-evident – arguments, logically developed from absolute first principles, backed by a few emeritus bishops, building to a case that cries out to be answered – almost always meets with silence from Rome. At this point there is a reaction of anger and stupefaction which over time coagulates into suppurating resentment.

Some will break off, claiming the one true Church lies elsewhere or nowhere, but most resentfully stay, “clinging onto my faith by my fingertips” as they like to say, or “still a Catholic – despite the pope’s best efforts to drive me out.”

Clinging to the pain of their betrayal, they take refuge in their progressive or traditionalist liturgies and incandescent websites, firing off letters and petitions from lobbies and associations, vainly demanding, as “faithful Catholics” that the pope do this, that, or the other.


Francis can no more respond to the cardinals’ dubia than Benedict XVI could answer a petition to ordain women as deacons: because the Catholic Church has its own mechanisms of development, based on consultation and spiritual discernment.

Put another way, whether it is a conclave or a synod, the Catholic Church likes to lobby-proof its deliberations, precisely to allow the Holy Spirit space to breathe.

Francis cannot answer the cardinals directly  – although he has done indirectly countless times – without undermining that action of the Holy Spirit present in the most thorough process of ecclesial discernment since Vatican II. As he last week told the Belgian Christian weekly Tertio, everything in Amoris Laetitia – including the controversial Chapter 8 – received a two-thirds majority in a synod that was notoriously frank, open and drawn out.

Roma locuta, causa finita, as Catholics used to say. And the case is even more closed this time, because it is the universal Church which has spoken, not just the pope.

To respond to the cardinals would be tantamount to rewinding the clock, to refuting the very process of the synod, in order to rehearse arguments that the synod settled, if not resolved.

Accusations of schism, bitterness, impulsivity, and resistance to the “Holy Spirit” are thereby mixed with the cultivated deception of a “two-thirds majority” that even Msgr. Pinto inadvertently admitted, in a recent interview with Edward Pentin, only came to exist after the rules were changed and the deck was stacked:

Given the clear manipulation at both synods, claiming they were the work of the Holy Spirit has disturbed some of the faithful. I therefore reminded him that the most controversial topics failed to obtain a two-thirds majority in the first synod, and so should customarily have been rejected (the Pope authoritatively instead insisted they be carried over to the second synod). To this, he replied: “Yes, but you bind the Holy Spirit to the two-thirds? That’s a bit special, no?”.

A two-thirds majority is required during a synod to offer reassurance that whatever passes is of the Holy Spirit. Synods also have no authority to change doctrine and discipline, as stated in canon 342 of the Code of Canon Law, but rather to assist the Pope in safeguarding and promotion of sound doctrine concerning faith and morals.

To further argue his point, Msgr. Pinto referred to the “wide consultation” around the synod in the form of questionnaires, and pointed out that for the second synod last year, bishops’ conferences elected synod fathers to participate. He stressed that, for the second synod, every proposition passed by two-thirds. Therefore, for him, the two-thirds majority became an important sign of the Holy Spirit at work, but only when they all achieved the required majority to pass and did not need to be forced through from above.

Pentin, of course, reveals the way the papal cabal rigged the game:

Added to that inconsistency, he omitted to mention that not all the synod fathers were elected at the second synod: 45 were handpicked by the Pope (exceeding the usual 15% limit of total delegates) because most of them supported controversial disciplinary changes in this and other areas. They included Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the archbishop emeritus of Brussels, Belgium, found to have covered up a sexual abuse case.


At the conclusion of the synod, the remarried-divorcee discernment and accompaniment proposition ended up passing a two-thirds majority by just one vote, probably an impossible feat without the 45 unelected delegates and, it is argued, without the omissions in the text. [emphasis added]

It is of critical importance to remember that not a single defender of Amoris Laetitia has attempted answer the dubiaThey can’t, for the same reasons Francis can’t: it would ruin their momentum, embolden their opponents, and reveal their true agenda.

So their arsenal instead consists of threats, character assassination, misdirection, gloating, and scorn. Lacking any honest rebuttal, they are capable only of casting stones. Not one of these papal stand-ins has made an effort to appear concerned with truth; their only observable motive is getting what they want. And what they want will result in not just the complete destruction of sacramental discipline and institutionalized sacrilege, but also a critical wounding of all of the Church’s claims — about Christ, about the Eucharist, about the infallibility of the Magisterium on faith and morals. Opening the door to those cases — however limited — in which the Church would allow those living in manifest grave sin to receive absolution and Holy Eucharist is tantamount to the removal of the cornerstone; a seemingly insignificant piece that brings the entire edifice tumbling down.

This has been the theme of the entire Francis pontificate: it is a non-stop attack on truth, on authority, on the Sacraments, on orthodoxy, on the very ability of the baptized Christian to know right from wrong with certainty and to form his conscience and act accordingly. It appears, in some strange way, to be an attempt to put back the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, to take away from us the belief that we can ever know such things as “good” and “evil” or ever live up to the Divine Law — while planting the doubt that such a law exists at all. It is a bizarre, solipsistic deception, seeming very much like something straight from the mouth of the serpent in the third chapter of Genesis.

Where the popes once named Doctors of the Church, Francis spits invective at “Doctors of the Law.”

Where the Church provided absolute moral clarity in a complex and fallen world, Francis rails against those seeking an understanding of “black and white”.

Where the Catholics of old stood athwart an empire, barbarians, and tyrants, suffering martyrdom before giving a single pinch of incense to a false god, Francis mocks any who are so committed to their faith that they appear “rigid”, deriding them as “fundamentalists” and slandering their desire to live out The Great Commission as proselytism, which, to his mind, is “the greatest sin”.

Already, the moral turpitude enshrined in Amoris Laetitia has already crept out fetid tendrils to pollute other teachings of the Church. Just this week, the bishops of Atlantic Canada released a document “allowing priests latitude to decide whether to give euthanasia seekers the sacraments before they are killed.”

Champagne also referred to the Holy Father’s Amoris Laetitia in explaining the Atlantic bishops’ vision of pastoral care for those contemplating or arranging for assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Amoris Laetitia affirms Catholic teaching while recognizing “there are people who are not yet there,” Champagne said.

Thus when it comes to people who are suffering and contemplating, or are arranging for assisted suicide or euthanasia, “we will welcome them, try to understand and journey with them.”


The Atlantic bishops’ document … also quotes Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, or Joy of the Gospel.

The Holy Father “reminds us that the one who accompanies others must realize that each person’s situation before God and his/her life of grace are mysteries which no one can fully know from without,” the Atlantic bishops write.

“Consequently, we must not make judgments about people’s responsibility and culpability.”

“To one and all we wish to say that the pastoral care of souls cannot be reduced to norms for the reception of the sacraments or the celebration of funeral rites,” they note.

Relativism. All is now relativism within the Church. The intentional obliteration of absolute moral values and the notion of objective grave sin is a gateway to the justification of every kind of evil. The true “Francis effect” is nothing less than the near-total erosion of the Catholic Faith in pastoral practice. And yet this revolution — for it most certainly is a revolt —  is shrouded in cowardice. Its leaders are so accustomed to slinking around in darkness that they cannot bring themselves — even though they control the entire visible hierarchy of the Church — to make bold and unequivocal their heretical aims.

You want to unmake the Church? Say so. Stop conniving like snakes. Be men of action. Stake your claim. Make clear your purpose. See if you really can “be as gods,” triumphant and without the burden of consequence.

Cardinals and Bishops, Priests and Religious, laity of every kind who love Our Lord Jesus and His mystical bride, it is time to rise up together as a unified body and stand our ground. There is no more “wait and see”. There is no more benefit of the doubt, because there is no more doubt. No more trepidation about whether this, at last, is the hill to die on. There are no more hills.

Cardinal Burke, you — and by extension, those courageous prelates who joined you in issuing and supporting the dubia — promised us an act of formal correction in the event that Francis did not respond to the dubia as he should. We are awaiting the discharge of your sacred duty; we are anticipating the revelation to the Church of that which only the successors of the apostles can declare: whether the apparent material heresy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio — thus far accepted by the Universal Church as Pope Francis — is now manifest and obdurate, and whether the faithful have, therefore, a duty not to follow him.

Holy Father, time is running short, but you still have a chance to repent of what you have done. You could yet calm the storm with those five words: “No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” Our Blessed Lord made clear that no other answer will suffice. (Mt. 5:37)

Otherwise, it is only a matter of time before a full-blown schism is upon us — and it will not be one of our making.


Correction: in the original article, we said “not a single defender of Amoris Laetitia has attempted answer the dubia.” While this is true of those who are speaking on behalf of the pope, Rocco Buttiglione did attempt an answer in defense of AL, which we responded to here

136 thoughts on “Five Words That Would Calm the Storm”

  1. Unfortunately, it is more likely that the boat will sink with Francis at the helm. Authentic Faith does not cloak itself behind ambiguity.

      • Hi Jalin – If it was Christ’s boat, Francis wouldn’t be at the helm. He is the Apostate Pope sent to lead the Apostate Church away from Christ and His Sacramental Church by undermining the sacraments. The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, Sacramental Church will not follow him. He was sent to establish Catholi-schism and that is exactly what he is doing. Those who defend, encourage or participate in the sins which offend God most are the Apostates Francis draws into his flock. The Word or the World, the time has come to choose. Jesus returns because Faith is under attack, just as it is now. Stay in His Church.

  2. Francis has already answered by his silence. By allowing Spadaro to go around arrogantly boasting, “The Pope doesn’t provide binary answers to abstract questions,” Francis has essentially chosen to give those of us begging for clarity the middle finger.

    It’s now up to Cardinal Burke and his colleagues to take the next step. The time for formalities and niceties is long past; Francis needs to be called out for the sheer damage he is causing through his deliberate ambiguity.

  3. We really are at the stage where all seems lost, so I cannot understand the further delay in issuing a formal correction as Cardinal Burke said would be the next appropriate move. There is no point in hanging about – it only prolongs the suffering of the CC & gives time to its enemies to throw more confusion into the pile of dross. Best to bring this sordid business to a successful conclusion immediately. PF is not going to respond to the Dubia so the necessary steps must be taken immediately to declare that he is not be be followed (similar to an embargo), and an Imperfect Council called to elect a new Pope. The Curia’s reticence in the matter does not reveal them in a good light – they must get their collective fingers out now & fall into step with the Fab Four & their supporters. We’ve all had enough!

    • I think that they are waiting for the end of the Christmas season, as they don’t want to do this during what is a truly Joyful time in the life of the average believer. I could be entirely wrong, and they are certainly working overtime to cross every t and dot every i, so they may not be ready yet for other reasons that are clear to them. And they could come out tomorrow with the correction. We must abide in Divine Providence knowing that the Good Lord is working out everything for the Good for those who love Him.

      And, as I said a while back with each passing day more of those who were on the fence are moving toward getting off it.

      • I’m sure you’re right. Patience is a virtue very much required at this polnt in time. This crisis has been going on for so long that it is important we don’t lose Hope about which little is spoken of these days.

      • So correct Fr!! It’s hard for us, we are all fallen and imperfect sinners and want the suffering to end as soon as possible, but the Lord Jesus has our back and is in COMPLETE CONTROL of the situation. We remind ourselves of this often in our heads, but our hearts are hurting and want it to end, GLORIFYING Christ in His TRUE CHURCH!! Our problem (at least MY problem) is that the heart and the head are in constant conflict:)

  4. “Francis cannot answer the cardinals directly – although he has done indirectly countless times – without undermining that action of the Holy Spirit present in the most thorough process of ecclesial discernment since Vatican II.”

    Say what now?

    Nobody in his right mind would really believe that.

  5. I posted this to an article by Msgr. Charles Pope in the NCR today:

    Unfortunately, AL cannot be read in accord with the perennial teaching of the Church regarding Holy Communion and the CD&RM; and the need to have a firm purpose of amendment in order for absolution to be valid in the Sacrament of Penance.

    AL clearly contradicts all the above. AL’s so called ‘pastoral practices’ that violate the Constant Teaching of the Church in these areas, which are founded directly on the Teaching of Jesus Christ, cannot be implemented nor followed. Furthermore, any Cardinal, Bishop or Priest that does try and implement them is directly contradicting the Catholic Faith and will be held responsible by God for any spiritual harm done to the Faithful.

    Furthermore, the longer the Roman Pontiff remains silent as people are being actively shepherded away from the Teaching of Christ based on a document that He Himself is responsible for, the more he will be held accountable for by God. Especially since he has been mistreating the men and the maid servants who have dared to speak the Catholic Faith to Him and humbly asked Him to speak it to them and the Church, which is his vocation.

    Pray for Pope Francis, he is getting in deeper every day and it is getting more damaging to the Faithful every day.

    That was for the NCR, I will add here that Pope Francis and all who follow the heresies that he espouses either directly or through his surrogate voices has the Wrath of God upon him/them, if he/they do not repent and speak the Catholic Truth clearly and directly then terrible indeed shall be the judgement he/they shall face.

    • I really believe PF & his supporters do NOT believe in God and fear NO retribution whatsoever. They are not true shepherds as we all know and shouldn’t be treated as such. False obedience to such charlatans must be eradicated. Cardinal Burke please issue the formal correction you promised us – don’t prolong this crucifixion any longer.

      • I have decided that my original post here wasn’t done in prudence, so I have decided to remove it. May God come to Pope Francis’ assistance and make haste to help him. Amen.

          • Exactly. If I showed the image of these faces to children and asked them if they looked angry or happy, which one would they pick? If I showed these images to an adult and them to choose between love or contempt, which would they choose? And this is the normal expression. Occasionally it doesn’t look this bad, but this is the norm.

          • It certainly looks like contempt and scorn to me. However, I have 2 granddaughters whose faces look decidedly miserable when at rest, but when animated are delightful. It could just be that he looks like a miserable old git most of the time because he has not been blessed with the greatest physiognomy.

          • This is true, I know people who often look as grumpy as can be, but when engaged they are very animated. I feel ashamed of posting those pictures, I probably shouldn’t have. It’s just that I have never witnessed what appears to be a hard frown on a priests face when holding the blessed sacrament. Usually its very intent, to be sure but not what looks like an angry frown. Unfortunately, I have seen some priests who look completely disengaged or bored while offering the Holy Sacrifice.

            The truth is I have know idea what is in his heart or mind in those photos, I’m just reacting to the set of his expression. I’m going to delete those photos.

          • That was not meant to be a criticism of you, Fr. RP. I was preaching to myself as much as anybody else as in a recent examination of conscience I realized I had been descending to the level of those with whom we disagree. To be perfectly honest I have been so full of rage and anger at these goings-on with AL and the constant sniping, criticizing and judgmentalism coming from elsewhere, that I have found myself responding in kind and assuming that I can read the hearts and minds of others. Of course I have no more power to do this than does the Pope – two wrongs do not make a right. I think this is going to be a long and dreadful battle that may not be resolved in our lifetimes and it is important that we remain on the side of truth, beauty and goodness for the duration. Our first duty is to save our own souls and it will not help the cause if we win the argument at the expense of our own salvation.

          • Unfortunately, I have seen some priests who look completely disengaged or bored while offering the Holy Sacrifice.

            Oh yes.

            I think if priests will make the effort to be reverent and try to look reverent, it can work outside in.

        • This is the first time I have seen these screen shots of him holding the Blessed Sacrament during the consecration. Only God can move his heart to conversion, which he MOST DESPERATELY NEEDS!! Conversion for him is what I have been praying for for a long time now, and just by looking at these pictures is confirmation that I was correct in my prayers. May God have mercy on him and move his heart to conversion, he is very obviously NOT in love with Our Lord!!

          You are so correct, Fr., that these pictures are EXTREMELY DISTURBING!!!!!

        • Come on guys – you think Our Lord is pleased with this? I would be even more weirded out if here were smiling in every pic of him holding the Eucharist. Do a search of Benedict XVI or any other Pope you can find and the faces are not too dissimilar.

          • Sorry, but that isn’t the case. I have done those searches and Pope Francis’ look is significantly different from theirs or any priests that I remember. Occasionally he does not look so dour but a quick image search reveals that it is the normal look he has when handling the blessed sacrament.
            I understand the extreme reluctance to say anything about this, but I have noticed this look for a couple of years now and every time I see it I am deeply disturbed by it. It isn’t a normal look of concentration or adoration.

          • And with Cardinal Kasper again pushing for communion with Lutherans there shouldn’t be any more equivocation in getting out the formal correction. If they were leaving it until after Christmas, this should spur them into action beforehand.

          • Do you really think Our Lord would approve of judging people by pictures of their faces? Especially the Pope? I’m no rokit sientust but I’m pretty sure that He would not approve and that is a form of judgment one should not engage in. You were better off keeping that to yourself. Traditional Catholics have to be careful as these sorts of superficial judgments is what gets us labeled as pharisees and in some cases I would have to agree with that assessment.

          • I have already removed the photos, which I even said in the original post that I had been reluctant to share based on the thought that I should keep it too myself. However, I knew the moment that I saw the look on Pope Francis’ face when he stood on the Loggia and peered down upon the crowd that the Church was in for a tough time. Looks can and do convey the interior of a man, they can be misinterpreted, but they can also be accurately interpreted. And if you do an Image Search of Pope Francis, St. JPII and Benedict XVI all holding the Eucharist, Pope Francis’ face looks the most disturbing all of the time.

          • Father, would you mind posting a link to the images somewhere? I’m late to this party, and would like to see what everyone is talking about. It would certainly fit with the Pope’s whole “not kneeling” thing when offering Mass or when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed

          • Actually, I do believe He would approve. He gave us these instincts, and the ability to discern. He referenced this in Mt. 6:22-23. For those who are attuned, there’s a great deal to be discerned by looking at someone’s face.

            And as any parent knows, the look your child has on their face while you’re addressing them is often the key indicator of their respect, or lack thereof.

            Let’s not pretend that our eyes are liars, or that we have not been programmed with the subtle but undeniable understanding communicated by body language.

          • Come on now Steve, a little common sense. It’s called ‘charity’ and you will find no such recommendations of such speculative judgments coming from any spiritual writer’s pens, saint or not, Whether the look is judged accurately or not is irrelevant – God does not judge people by appearance nor should you.

            The irony of it all is that the issue right now with A.L. is that it makes judgments of the subjective in the internal forum while you are doing the exact same thing here but in an even more superficial way; by appearances.

            It reminds me of the time I had a debate on an SSPX forum where I was defending the Divine Mercy revelations of St. Faustina. Some people were against it because they said the painted image (which one I do not know) looks ‘creepy’ and like a ‘child molester’ and that was reason enough for them to cast judgment on the whole thing.

            ..not much different going on here.

            p.s. Ever see the pictures of Pope Benedict XVI with that evil snarl? The sede’s have those pictures all over the place to discredit him. I believe Tradition in Action did a whole article on them.

          • I find your rebuttal unpersuasive. Just because you aren’t aware of spiritual writers commenting on what can be ascertained by observing a person’s expressions does not mean it doesn’t exist – nor does it mean it isn’t a valid indicator.

            Further, most spiritual writers would not have lived in such an image saturated culture, where photographs of a repeated expression on the part of a single person would be easy to aggregate. Neither would they be aware of the study of microexpressions or the psychology of body language, etc. We have insights now that might well inform spiritual writers of the present and future in ways that those of the past would simply not have benefited from.

            I can tell a lot about a person by what I see. I knew something was wrong with Francis the first time I laid eyes on him — deeply wrong, and it had nothing to do with what garments he wasn’t wearing or how he greeted the crowd. It was on his face. I have absolute moral certitude that what I saw that moment — the first time I ever laid eyes on him — was exactly what I have seen manifest over the following three and a half years.

            Some people, as has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, have naturally grumpy expressions. I do. But this is not the way I look when I am adoring God or greeting my child or watching a movie or reading a book. My expressions change based on my mental and emotional state. Francis consistently glares at the Eucharist. It is off-putting and observably out of the ordinary, and no amount of concern trolling is going to cause me to back down from that statement.

          • I find your rationalizing of rash judgment unpersuasive. The good Priest understood it wasn’t the best thing and removed the pictures and I think that was a good call (better to err on the side of charity). I think it wouldn’t take a whole lot of persuasion to show just about any Priest (traditional or not) this commentary and for the error to be immediately pointed out. The issue isn’t about microexpressions or the psychology of body language or showing prudence when dealing with someone who can be perceived as a threat for whatever reason – the issue is making that determination based upon a thousandth of a second snapshot of a facial expression of a public figure in which there are literally tens of thousands of such snapshots available for the picking.

            Now just for the hell of it I went and viewed the first couple of videos of Papal Masses that Google spit out and Pope Francis looks like any other Priest during the consecration. If he always snarled and glared at the Eucharist you might have a leg to stand on but as it is it can easily be chalked up to a hemorrhoidal flare up or any other number of inconveniences that a snapshot might capture unawares.

            I know I look pretty upset when going hunting when I have to get up in the early morning – something often triggers diarrhetic cramps under such circumstances and I’m not sure why but if someone were to observer me going hunting they could probably conclude that by my face I really abhor the hunt with such a painful snarl and flashing of teeth – which couldn’t be further from the truth.

          • I’m unmoved. Sell it someplace else. His facial expressions are a sentence, not a novel. His contempt for the Eucharist needn’t be found there – it’s in his thinking, writing, and work. This is just another data point.

          • But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.

          • “It was on his face. I have absolute moral certitude that what I saw that moment — the first time I ever laid eyes on him — was exactly what I have seen manifest over the following three and a half years.”

            I know exactly what you mean. When he came out onto the loggia and I looked into those eyes I had three instinctive reactions which followed in very quick succession:

            1) This is a frightened rabbit who hasnt got a clue what he’s doing.
            2) The curia got their placeman – ain’t no big changes going to happen that they don’t want to happen.
            3) His eyes seem strangely dilated in these bright lights – and they look lifeless – he needs to see an exorcist.

            I was wrong – badly wrong – on the first two counts. On the third I probably won’t find out for sure in this life. The point is though that gut reactions, whether right or wrong, are not “admissible” evidence or even useful in the winning of hearts and minds to the Lord’s side. My gut feeling is that your gut feeling is right, but putting it out in a public forum as fact leaves us open to charges of judgementalism in the same way that Francis is judgemental when he “discerns a bad heart” and condemns some poor priest on mere hearsay gossip that he bought a “saturno”. We ought to be above that sort of thing not least because it gives the devil chance to get into our hearts and souls and confuse our rational judgement.

            Additionally, though, 1P5 is becoming noticeable on the wider Catholic scene and I am sure it will have an important role in the battles to come. It doesn’t serve the cause of truth to give the opposition ammunition that we are a load of “wild-eyed traddies who think we can read souls from photographs”. So my question to you would not be whether your instincts are right or wrong, but whether it is prudent to give them air-time here?

          • I’m already on record saying this. Was before 1P5. Have been roundly mocked for it by Mark Shea, et. al. I stand by my intuition. What I saw on the loggia was a horror; and I’ve seen sufficient evidence that enough other people had the same reaction — many of them, like me, never having seen the man in their lives before that moment — that I believe it to be a signal grace.

            I understand what you’re saying, and I’m appreciative. They attack me all the time anyway. I’m frankly only credible because I’ve been consistently right, not because of any particular virtue I possess. (Inwardly, I feel like Peter, saying, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man…”) I detected the danger of this papacy by instinct. I continue, on various levels, to sense the deceptions and programs being carried out through the same instinct. I don’t know why God has let me see what I see, but I’ll stand on it. Men of faith make for miserable empiricists anyway.

          • Well if Shea has “roundly mocked” you for it, that is probably more reason to stand by your instincts. He seems to be pretty good at picking losers in two-horse races!

          • And by the way, when I see Benedict with the “Snarl”, what I see is a man with a certain (perhaps unfortunate) facial construction. I do not see even the slightest malice behind it.

          • I find this “who am I to judge” from him such a lie. He does. All the time. Furthermore, in the case of discernment, he may be totally against judging to condemn but he is practically pushing you to judge to absolve so that there is no longer sin and hence an adulterer can receive communion. If he really believes who am I to judge then he would not even go down the “discernment” and “accompaniment” path.

      • Whether they believe in God or not I do not know, but from what he has said and written it certainly seems that he does not believe in hell as Catholics understand it. What does he say in AL: “There is no condemnation forever.”? – or words to that effect. And according to his Scalfari magisterium the souls who do not make it to heaven are just annihilated – they do not suffer an eternity of torment. So no, he certainly does not appear to believe in any retribution or punishment and any notion of justice is just swamped by mercy.

        • Well, if you don’t believe in Hell I guess you don’t believe in Heaven either, or a Triune God who can dispense punishment or everlasting happiness dependent on one’s lives. Their ideology is just for this life as none of it complies with the Word of God but of Man. They want the power for themselves replacing the Holy Ghost by PF as everything that comes out of his mouth is supposed to be due to the Third Person’s special enlightenment. They can’t have much brains if they think we are all going to fall for their mercy without forgiveness baloney. What claptrap!

  6. This:

    “Francis can no more respond to the cardinals’ dubia than Benedict XVI could answer a petition to ordain women as deacons: because the Catholic Church has its own mechanisms of development, based on consultation and spiritual discernment.

    Put another way, whether it is a conclave or a synod, the Catholic Church likes to lobby-proof its deliberations, precisely to allow the Holy Spirit space to breathe.

    Francis cannot answer the cardinals directly – although he has done indirectly countless times – without undermining that action of the Holy Spirit present in the most thorough process of ecclesial discernment since Vatican II. As he last week told the Belgian Christian weekly Tertio, everything in Amoris Laetitia – including the controversial Chapter 8 – received a two-thirds majority in a synod that was notoriously frank, open and drawn out.

    Roma locuta, causa finita, as Catholics used to say. And the case is even more closed this time, because it is the universal Church which has spoken, not just the pope.

    has to be one of the worst cases of benighted sophistry I have ever read. This is almost as bad as reading one of Pope Francis’ homilies. So, two Synods=the Universal Church? An Apostolic Exhortation from two corrupted Synods is greater than Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and Every Council of the Church and the Natural Law?

  7. IMO, they are just waiting for Advent and Christmastide to be over, so as to give all a peaceful time of prayer and joy in expecting and celebrating the Lord’s coming. Early next year, we’ll see what happens.

    May Christ Jesus be magnified in all things. Lord, give all involved wisdom to do your will.

    Blessed Advent

  8. PF appears to have little interest in doctrine or dogma or in clarifying what he says.
    He seems to prefer confusion and to depend on perception.

  9. Superb post, articulates what is at stake very clearly, cuts like a cleaver through all the b***sh** obfuscations and jesuitical dodges that PF’s minions and lackees have been pushing.

    I may copy and send it to my Bishop, if I’m not violating copyright.

      • Steve,

        It probably isn’t said enough, but I want to say for myself and all who have been helped by your work and the work of those who support 1P5, Thank You. I know that you do this at great personal sacrifice and that your beloved family has to suffer for your labor and that you suffer calumnies daily for it: let not your heart be troubled, for God sees the work you do for Him and He will vouchsafe your reward and more than make up for whatever suffering and expense that you and your family have endured for the sake of His Holy and Glorious Name and that of His Virgin Bride the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

        In the Love of Jesus Christ,

        Fr. RP

        PS: It is an honor and a blessing to have gotten to know you though this ministry and to be able to call you my brother in Christ. May we soon enjoy a gluten free (and hopefully hoppy) beer together and rejoice in the Thrice Blessed Mysterium Fidei.

      • Has anyone tried to contact Bishop Jugis in the Charlotte, NC diocese? I’m beginning to formulate a letter/packet of documents to send to him and am willing to put heads together with anyone in my diocese before mailing/walking this in to the chancery in the next month or so.

        Also, what if the laity created a google doc that everyone associated with in this forum and other faithful sites could access to provide updates on how their diocese/eparchy are officially responding to the crisis? We could have columns with the name of the diocese, bishop, and the official responses to date if the bishop has been contacted to provide clarity in his role as the local ordinary (assuming most will be unclear at this point save Philly, Chicago, and San Diego). This could provide a rough map of how the bishops are choosing to respond and where the fault lines are.

  10. A poignantly blunt and compelling work, Steve. Thank you for your efforts!

    This isn’t a mere discussion over papal styles, we are in serious times.

  11. For all of us who are deeply distraught by the great harm being done to our Holy Mother the Church and all of her little ones, let us please take comfort in the Fact that God has not abandoned Her nor Her little ones. He is working through this great distress to bring about His Good Will. The Lord God uses everything for the Good of those who Love Him. We all need to bend the knee before His Majesty and Adore Him and implore Him to bring about His Good Will for the Salvation of as Many as is possible. We need to offer Him the tears of our humble and contrite hearts as an offering of love for Him and sorrow for our own sins and the great sins that are being afflicted upon His Virgin Bride and the littlest of His children. We need to remember the promise of the Beatitudes and fully embrace them, especially those that involve sorrow and persecution for the sake of righteousness and His Holy Name for that is the mystical season in which we dwell.

    May God have pity upon us and deliver us from our unjust oppressors. Amen. Alleluia!

  12. without undermining that action of the Holy Spirit present in the most thorough process of ecclesial discernment since Vatican II.

    So sick of the stench of the Second Vatican Council that isn’t even dogmatic.

    • They got rid of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) & replaced Him with PF. When he eventually retires they will replace the Triune God with George Soros. What chancers!

    • When I heard this term on the news yesterday I immediately brought it to bear upon the Bergoglian pontificate. And there is no mistaking it is accurate and reflects the reality of life in Roman Catholicism not only today, but in retrospect — unfortunately — since 1958.

  13. The Pope and his sycophants stand before the world hands raised boldly making vulgar gestures. The depth of contempt he and the Bergoglian cadre hold for the faithful is unspeakable. This is their game and the rest of us can roast.
    If I am wrong, there will be a five word response to the “dubia” that either reflects their disposition in truth, or mendaciously. But no direct response at all is nothing more than a vulgar hand gesture.

  14. I live in the cocoon where my life is being transformed from they ugly caterpillar, hopefully into the “new life”. Dear bishops I need you to accompany me. I want to go to Heaven, but alas, I am so weak! Show me the way through the gospel of Jesus. Please do not fail me lest I be lost for all eternity. My destiny is in your hands. What a grave responsibility!

  15. Thus when it comes to people who are suffering and contemplating, or are arranging for assisted suicide or euthanasia, “we will welcome them, try to understand and journey with them.”

    Sorry, I can’t help but laugh at this. I imagine a Bishop behaving like a chauffeur driving the suicidal to the gates of Hell–all in the spirit of accompaniment for the journey.

    • The question is, are they willing to administer the lethal injection themselves? If not, then how are they accompanying them? Should I accompany the Bank Robber to the Bank and in the get away vehicle? Should I accompany they Jihadi on the way to the terrorist attack and at home afterward? If I am not willing to do the deed than how can I accompany anyone doing what I won’t do based on my own conscience? Am I not contradicting my own conscience by accompanying people in what I consider to be an unconscionable act? If I am truly accompanying them, then I myself must consent to the act and that makes me at minimum a willing accomplice to it. And the verdict for such as those who do so is always and everywhere guilty.

      When did Jesus ever accompany anyone in their sin? Did he not insist that they stop keeping company with Sin and start accompanying Him on the Narrow Way, even by insisting that they themselves take up the Cross?

      The absolute absurdity of Pope Francis’ debased theology is manifest at even a cursory reading of the Sacred Scripture.

      • Of course not. These limp-wristed pansies want praise from the pews and unchurched populace.

        [9] Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son. [10] If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, God speed you. – 2 St. John 1

        • Galatians 1:8: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.”

          Amen, and thus shall it ever be, Amen.

  16. REALITY! The Pope teaches heresy. He appoints like minded Cardinals and Bishops. At every opportunity he removes those who hold the Catholic faith. His damage is immense . We possible face many more years of damage. Through him global warming and immigration of enemies of Christ Are elevated to dogmas. I am not sure I know an orthodox Catholic Preist in my Diocese whose population is about two percent Catholic. Many Bishop and Preist now approve of sodomy or are sodomites themselves. The average pew sitter has no clue,agrees with him, or thinks you are crazy. When the majority of Cardinal and Bishops and the Pope contradict Jesus, where are we? It is almost impossible to minister to family and potential converts when those in authority oppose you. Is there a time when the apostasy is so bad that we must find Christ Catholic elsewhere? When I talk to RCIA I hold to the old faith but it seems futile in our Novus Ordo parish. Help, advice, or thoughts appreciated.

    • Trust in the Lord and call upon His Holy Spirit to help you focus on his two greatest commands. How we treat others is a direct reflection of our love and obedience to Him. Given that actions speak louder than words (i.e., “do unto others…”), treating our neighbor and the “least of these” with love, mercy and compassion is the very ministry that Christ modeled for us during His earthly ministry… may His blessings be upon you.

  17. The other question to be answered: What did Jorge Bergoglio believe and practice at the time of his election by the cardinals in 2013. If he believed in what he is pushing now then can he really be the Pope? Bergoglio did not have an sudden epiphany after his election.

  18. “The true “Francis effect” is nothing less than the near-total erosion of the Catholic “….another example of the Francis effect a parish run by Jesuits with a population of 3,000 families had approximately 30 people attend confession for Christmas…I guess sin is a thing of the past as we have moved on to the era I’m ok your ok and if it feels good do it

  19. Now what is a Catholic serious about his/her faith to do about all of
    this, given that what we have now is a Catholic Church managed by folks
    who don’t believe in the Catholic faith. They are rather Communist
    apparatchiks ridding the Church of anything that would conflict with New
    World Order. Thus the Church is no longer helpful except to administer
    the sacraments (hopefully valid) while constantly inflicting confusion,
    doubt and hopelessness.

    So the question becomes, why not abandon
    the presently corrupted Communist Catholic Church and start attending
    SSPX Catholic Church services? This is what I gather for all of these
    utterly depressing articles. Why not go where hope lies so you can
    fight the evils of Catholic Church from a fort of doctrinal purity,
    spiritual support and be surrounded by people who believe as you do. How about that Steve?

    • Remember Fr. David Nix’s encounter at Holy Hour when he looked directly at the monstrance & directed his annoyance with the CC to the Real Presence? The response was: My Church is being crucified, will you leave Her now?

      St. Peter laid the foundations for Christ’s Church in Rome & along with St. Paul gave his life for it. Both are buried there. The CC is the only institution on earth wth Divine origins & despite numerous attacks upon its structure & authenticity in proclaiming the Word of God, it still exists – although shaken by the Modernist crisis we have endured for so long. The Gates of Hell will not prevail simply because it is God’s Church on earth & He is always in charge. When this crisis comes to an end (I sense we are approaching it) the SSPX & other Traditional Orders will be assimilated fully, but until then we must ensure that we stay with the Mother Church & fight off these Marxist/Masonic/Modernist infiltrators. God wants us to show our fidelity to Him & to Him alone.

      • Thanks for that Ann. I agree. But all of this is a most painful ordeal for some of us and but an easy road to hell for most Catholics. That is the tragedy of it all. Hope God sees fit to get into it soon.

      • Yes I agree Ana. Bergoglio is a bully and a coward and now that the has been stood up to by the Four Cardinals he has nowhere to go except hide and rage under his desk. The Dubia will not go away and with each passing day the judgment of Truth weighs heavier and heavier upon the shoulder of this phoney.

  20. Excellent, excellent piece. I think many people are just beginning to understand the full import of Francis’ seemingly casual words. They mean nothing more or less than a complete rejection of Catholic faith and doctrine. He is attempting to replace this with an entirely different understanding, not only of God and the mystical truths of the Faith, but an entirely different understanding of man and human life on this earth. And it is completely contrary to what the Church has taught for 2000 years, and in fact contrary even to Scripture and Revelation.

    • It’s true that this would solve the immediate problem and spare us the daily insults! But I actually worry that he might die before his heresy is confronted and rejected, because it would then be left unchallenged and unexposed.

      Aside from causing the loss of his immortal soul, the unexposed heresy would go on doing what the VatII “teachings” have done for 50 years: fester quietly and cause deep rot throughout the Body of Christ. I think this is a moment when the immediate heresy not only needs correction, but it needs to be tracked back to its source, which goes beyond Francis himself. Actually, Francis has proclaimed a host of other heresies, such as his Lutheran understanding of justification and even of the Eucharist, so this heresy would be just a starting point. I think his strategy is to overwhelm people with the sheer scope and polymorphous nature of his heresies.

      • For the heresy of Modernism to finally be exposed and destroyed, it needs to have a face, and that face is Bergoglio’s: twisted, scowling, bitter, enraged.
        So however much we would like to see the back of this wicked pope, we probably do need for him to stick around a bit longer. In fact the worst possible outcome now would be for Bergoglio to resign and for another Modernist to be elected Pope, who will not open his mouth but simply let the Begoglian legacy continue to wreak havoc.

  21. undo the work of not just his precious synods, but his magnum opus, Amoris Laetitia.

    No, it would undo the work of 50 years of revolution-within. It would undo the work that his friends and their predecessors have been doing since the Domnincans schemed to get Roncalli on the papal throne to give them the Council they needed to inject Modernism into every institution of the Church. It would end the revolution.

  22. Austen Ivereigh – former Minister of Propaganda…sorry, make that ‘Director of Public Affairs’ for Cormac Murphy-O’Connor when he was Archbishop of Westminster- the same Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor who is a fully paid-up member of the St.Gallen mafia.

    Throw in the fact that Mr.Ivereigh brought out a book in 2014 entitled ‘Francis – The Great Reformer’ (any oblique reference to a certain 16th century German ‘Reformer’ purely coincidental) and I think it’s safe to say that Austen seriously believes we’re all currently living in some sort of Golden Age for the Church.

  23. Cardinal Kasper: Pope’s ‘next declaration’ should allow ‘shared Eucharistic communion’ with Protestants.
    @lifesitenews &

    This request from Cardinal Kasper makes it absolutely necessary for the four Cardinals to immediately issue the formal correction & not wait until after Christmas & New Year as was expected. If they allow the grass to grow under their feet it may well be too late by the time they do get around to it. None of them are Catholic – get them OUT.

  24. “And what they want will result in not just the complete destruction of sacramental discipline and institutionalized sacrilege, but also a critical wounding of all of the Church’s claims — about Christ, about the Eucharist, about the infallibility of the Magisterium on faith and morals.”

    Jorge is Not the Oracle of the Holy Spirit.

    Oracle (def.): a person who delivers authoritative, wise, or highly regarded and influential pronouncements.

    Steve, you are a true Watchman! I am proud of you! WOW!

    This is the MOST AWESOME writing I have ever read! Bravo!!! Steve, You have nailed it on the head!


  25. “Opening the door to those cases — however limited — in which the Church would allow those living in manifest grave sin to receive absolution and Holy Eucharist is tantamount to the removal of the cornerstone; a seemingly insignificant piece that brings the entire edifice tumbling down.”

    “However limited.” Believe me, it won’t be limited. This is the crack in the DAM. You are right, the whole DAM will collapse!
    Remember Bill Clinton’s line: “We want abortion to be RARE and Safe.”
    Yeah 60,000,000 dead babies since’73!
    RARE my foot!

  26. It is not the battering of wind and waves that endangers the vessel, but confusion, error, and doubt

    In this instance this instance, confusion, error, and doubt are the wind and waves.

    But here’s the thing: Christ has already given us the wherewithal to be still and at peace like Him in this churning waters – the perennials teaching of the Church.


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