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Fool Me Twice: Francis, Scalfari, and Our Response to Papal Media

Eugenio Scalfari (source)and Pope Francis (source)
Eugenio Scalfari (source)and Pope Francis (source)

No sooner was the latest bombshell report from Eugenio Scalfari on the musings of Pope Francis translated into English than we had our first noisy headline informing us of a Vatican “denial” of the same. In this latest iteration of the telephone game, Scalfari revealed the contents of a recent conversation he had with the Holy Father about the Synod:

“It is true — Pope Francis answered — it is a truth and for that matter the family that is the basis of any society changes continuously, as all things change around us. We must not think that the family does not exist any longer, it will always exist, because ours is a social species, and the family is the support beam of sociability, but it cannot be avoided that the current family, open as you say, contains some positive aspects, and some negative ones. … The diverse opinion of the bishops is part of this modernity of the Church and of the diverse societies in which she operated, but the goal is the same, and for that which regards the admission of the divorced to the Sacraments, [it] confirms that this principle has been accepted by the Synod. This is bottom line result, the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask will be admitted.” (Translation provided by Rorate Caeli)

As you might imagine, this is creating quite the furor. Despite the fact that more and more Catholics are now waking up to realize what side Pope Francis has taken in the Kasper debate, today’s story is bringing out all the denials and intellectual sophistry we’ve come to expect whenever we get too clear a glimpse of who Francis really is through one of his chosen proxies. Trying to cut through the noise of thousands of Catholics with their fingers in their ears, shouting, “LALALALALALALA!!! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!! LALALALALALAAAA!!!” can be pretty exhausting.

Nonetheless, we’re going to give it the old college try.

There are three basic parts to the common response of the papal positivists to revelations such as these, which we’ll define as follows:

  1. The Denial
  2. The Obfuscation
  3. The Credibility Question

Let’s break these down for greater clarity, shall we?

The Denial

This is the first reaction of many who simply can’t endure the shellacking their (erroneous) understanding of papal infallibility is taking on Francis’ watch. Responses in this category differ, but they’re usually some variation of the following:

“I don’t believe the Holy Spirit would allow the pope to say X!”

“The media always misreports him and twists his words!”

“He was mistranslated!”

“Fr. Lombardi denied that he said it!”

In the case of the latest Scalfari kerfuffle, it’s the last option. The Catholic Herald screamed out this reassuring headline this morning, Vatican denies Pope told Italian journalist that ‘all divorced’ will be admitted to Communion.”

Some of us, feeling thus reassured, will be tempted to read no further. But in fact, the Vatican did no such thing.

Instead, what actually happened was this (with my emphasis):

Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told theNational Catholic Register : “As has already occurred in the past, Scalfari refers in quotes what the Pope supposedly told him, but many times it does not correspond to reality, since he does not record nor transcribe the exact words of the Pope, as he himself has said many times.

“So it is clear that what is being reported by him in the latest article about the divorced and remarried is in no way a reliable and cannot be considered as the Pope’s thinking.”

He added that those who have “followed the preceding events and work in Italy know the way Scalfari writes and knows these things well.”

Let’s dissect this a bit. Fr. Lombardi is making a generalization when he says of Scalfari’s recounting of events, “many times it does not correspond to reality”. “Many times” is not the same thing as saying, “this time.” But by offering a blanket assertion that Scalfari’s reporting is generally not to be trusted, Fr. Lombardi cleverly covers the present episode in this aspersion, making it guilty of inaccuracy by association.

So, no actual denial there.

What about saying that what was reported is “in no way reliable”? Well, that statement derives from the first. “So it is clear…” Lombardi is making an argument that the unreliability of this particular piece of reporting is a consequence of Scalfari’s general (asserted) unreliability. In other words, “This report is unreliable because Scalfari is generally unreliable.” This is what is known as the logical fallacy of argumentum ad hominem – that something a person has asserted is false because the person asserting it has some character flaw, real or imagined. It’s a very common technique in argumentation, and it always falls short of engaging the actual assertion put forth.

Lombardi’s conclusion is therefore derived not from some syllogism, but from his ad hominem attack on Scalfari: the report “cannot be considered as the Pope’s thinking” because Eugenio Scalfari is notoriously unreliable. But not, as you now clearly see, because Pope Francis didn’t say what Scalfari is reporting him to have said. 

My guess would be that Fr. Lombardi actually has no idea what transpired on the phone call. I’ve had sources tell me in the past that poor Fr. Lombardi is often left in the dark by Pope Francis, and then forced to give press conferences with insufficient information. In such a situation, one is left to rely only on clever omissions, mental reservations, and semantic slight of hand.

In sum, this was not a denial – it was misdirectionIf a reporter were to ask Lombardi the question directly, “Can you categorically deny that the pope said to Eugenio Scalfari that the divorced and remarried who ask will be admitted to communion?”, you would no doubt get a very different answer. We’ve seen this before. When it was reported in April of last year that the pope made a phone call to an Argentinian woman who was living in an adulterous second marriage to tell her she could receive communion, this is what we heard from the Vatican on the matter, when pressed:

A Vatican spokesman confirmed the telephone call but would not comment on the conversation’s content.

“It’s between the Pope and the woman,” said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant for the Vatican press office.

Rosica said that any comments made by the Pope should not be construed as a change in church doctrine. “The magisterium of the church is not defined by personal phone calls.”

But that’s Fr. Rosica, I hear you object. We were talking about Fr. Lombardi!

Indeed we were. But I wanted the record to reflect how multiple Vatican press officials were handling the matter. So  here, now, is what Fr. Lombardi had to say:

Several telephone calls have taken place in the context of Pope Francis’ personal pastoral relationships.

Since they do not in any way form part of the Pope’s public activities, no information or comments are to be expected from the Holy See Press Office.

That which has been communicated in relation to this matter, outside the scope of personal relationships, and the consequent media amplification, cannot be confirmed as reliable, and is a source of misunderstanding and confusion.

Therefore, consequences relating to the teaching of the Church are not to be inferred from these occurrences.

Are you starting to see how this part of the game is played?

The Obfuscation

This is the one where people tell you that the thing you just read doesn’t mean what it clearly means. Most often, this happens through some narrow interpretation of what was said that either completely excludes the context or takes something entirely too literally.

In this case, what we’ve seen several times is an obsessive focus on the omission of two words from the pope’s alleged statement: “and remarried.”

This is bottom line result, the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced [and remarried] who ask will be admitted.

Because he didn’t say the words “and remarried” — or at least, because Scalfari didn’t report that he did — objectors are saying that this is totally orthodox; that since divorce itself is not (necessarily) a grave sin without remarriage, he’s not saying anything off-base here.


In the context of a discussion about what was being debated at the Synod, it’s clear that this was a question of those who are divorced and civilly remarried. Otherwise, there’s no point in even bringing this up. It’s not a subject in contention. It already exists in practice. It’s not something that needs to be mentioned in future tense: “will be admitted” as opposed to “already are admitted.”

When it comes to The Obfuscation, all I can think of is this:

The Credibility Question

This is the big one, particularly when it comes to Eugenio Scalfari interviews. But that’s certainly not the only time it comes up. This argument essentially amounts to a game of who are you going to believe, Person X, or the POPE?!?

Every time someone who has met with Pope Francis speaks to the media about what he told them — and it’s invariably something controversial — we hear that they can’t be trusted. “It’s second-hand information,” they tell us. “We shouldn’t believe this unless we hear it from Pope Francis himself.”

Other than the fact that most of these people are sincerely grateful for whatever the pope said to them and have nothing to gain by lying in general, many of them consider themselves his friends – as does Eugenio Scalfari. What kind of person lies about their friend and intentionally damages their reputation if they value the friendship? And what about the fact that these people are saying things about Francis that they believe to be positive attributes? I’ve covered this here and here.

The fact is that Francis is a very, very shrewd man. His Argentinian friends “describe him as a ‘chess player,’ one whose every day is ‘perfectly organized,’ in which ‘each and every step has been thought out.'” He has been described elsewhere admiringly as  “a master tactician” who has made moves “to outflank various groups and people that continue to oppose many of his initiatives”.

If Francis is, as so much evidence now indicates, sympathetic to the agenda to give communion to the divorced and remarried, he must proceed cautiously, but with determination. This would explain why he stacked the deck at the Synod with cardinals who align themselves with the Kasper proposal. It would shed light on the evidence of Synod manipulation. It would make sense of why he rebuffed the 13 cardinals who expressed their concerns. It would help us to understand the noises he’s making about a decentralized, synodal Church. It would explain why he cautioned against a “hermeneutic of conspiracy” and lashed out at those who sought to uphold doctrine within the Synod (which caused some to misconstrue the event as a “conservative victory“).

Francis’ strategic gifts would also explain his preference for using surrogates to advance his most controversial ideas into the public forum. If one understands the strictures on a pope — placed there in large part by the expectations of the faithful, to say nothing of the Holy Spirit — one could certainly see how a man who has been elected to the papacy and wants more drastic change than his position would reasonably allow would benefit from sending his stalking horses into the global media by means of those with whom he has private conversations. The irresistible urge to talk to the press about some exciting or controversial thing the pope has said to a person is sufficient motivation for them to break their silence, but one can only assume that Francis does not discourage this. It’s not hard to imagine him, with a wink and a smile, reminding those individuals with whom he has shared such delicious unorthodoxies that he’s here to ¡Hagan lío!, and wouldn’t complain if somehow the media got wind of the story – all unofficially, por supuesto.

Which brings us back to Scalfari. After two years and multiple — inevitably controversial — interviews, one would think that Pope Francis would steer clear of the curious old atheist editor of La Repubblica, particularly since it has long since been disclosed that when Scalfari quotes a person, he’s reconstructing their interview from memory – hardly a credible journalistic practice.

In March of this year, LifeSiteNews editor John-Henry Westen succinctly summed up the legacy of the Scalfari interviews thus far:

Eugenio Scalfari, the famed atheist, has published a fourth article on a new interview with Pope Francis.  The controversial anti-Catholic’s previous ‘interviews’ with Pope Francis were published also on the Vatican’s website and listed as official interviews with the pope.

However, an October 2013 interview created a firestorm after which the Vatican pulled the interview from their site and Scalfari admitted that his writings are reconstructions from memory, as he does not use a recorder or take notes.  That interview had Pope Francis saying that the “most serious” evils are “youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.”

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said at the time: “One may consider the interview to be reliable in a general sense but not word for word. This is not an official text of the Holy Father.”

The most recent interview, published March 15, is no exception.  In it Scalfari has the pope denying hell.  The article says: “What happens to that lost soul? Will it be punished? And how? The response of Francis is distinct and clear: there is no punishment, but the annihilation of that soul.  All the others will participate in the beatitude of living in the presence of the Father. The souls that are annihilated will not take part in that banquet; with the death of the body their journey is finished.”

The text does not have quotation marks around any of the statements attributed to the Holy Father. Moreover, the Vatican has not published this latest interview on their website.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, English-language assistant to the Holy See Press Office, told LifeSiteNews, “All official, final texts of the Holy Father are found on the Vatican website,” and since they were never published by the Holy See Press Office they “should not be considered official texts.” They were, said Fr. Rosica, “private discussions that took place and were never recorded by the journalist.”

“Mr. Scalfari reconstructed the interviews from memory,” Father Rosica added.

There’s that plausible deniability again.

Like so much else with this papacy, we are perpetually left to discern what about Pope Francis is true and what is false. This growing sense of mistrust toward him whom we should be able to look for clarity and guidance grows wearisome, especially when the reports of disconcerting papal opinions grow in number, with never a word of correction from the Holy Father himself, and are left with only the vague, half-hearted denials fielded from the Holy See Press Office to console us.

Scalfari’s unreliability is a matter of perspective. He is reliably atheist. He has been reliably anti-Catholic. He is reliably committed to his own way of conducting interviews and then reconstructing them from memory – as Fr. Lombardi said in the statement quoted above, those who have “followed the preceding events and work in Italy know the way Scalfari writes and knows these things well.”

Then why dear reader, it is so inexcusable that Pope Francis has given to Scalfari a total of five (by our count) such interviews – particularly when the first one was so blatantly controversial and sparked such scandal and backlash among the faithful. And despite persistent denials that these interviews accurately represent the mind of Pope Francis, we would do well to remember a very important concession made by Fr. Lombardi after the very first one was published:

Pressed by reporters on the reliability of the direct quotations, Lombardi said during an Oct. 2 briefing that the text accurately captured the “sense” of what the pope had said, and that if Francis felt his thought had been “gravely misrepresented,” he would have said so.

This, it seems, is the rhetorical smoking gun. Pope Francis reads what Scalfari writes about him (La Repubblica is his favorite newspaper and he reads it every day) and does not feel that he has been “gravely misrepresented” by any of Scalfari’s reconstructions. In fact, some of those interviews seem to make recurring appearances on the Vatican website, and some have been published in an official anthology of the pope’s conversations with journalists.

What reasonable person could believe that Pope Francis feels any disdain for the way Scalfari represents his opinions in La Repubblica? Where is the evidence that having been burned before, he has made an effort not to be misrepresented again? Five interviews over two years. As someone wrote elsewhere today, “Once is a mistake; several times is a preference.”

There’s an old saying that bears repeating here: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Interpret these interviews however you want, fellow Catholics. I will not to join you in playing the fool.

232 thoughts on “Fool Me Twice: Francis, Scalfari, and Our Response to Papal Media”

  1. I was guilty of credibility question. Then a good friend straightened me out.
    Not only is this a well thought out and well written piece, which should be shared with anyone who cannot see what is going on, but gigantic extra credit for blending in a scene from “Guardians of the Galaxy”. Kudos!!!

  2. You know, for a newspaper reporter, Eugenio Scalfari, is not very good or reliable….at least if we are to believe the Vatican’s official Papal Corrections Team. Really, how stupid do these prelates think we are? Do they even put any limits on the stupidity they assign us? And on their side of this divide, wouldn’t one assume that even the dumbest, least capable interviewee in the world might conclude after all the past “gaffes” with Scalfari that perhaps future scoops ought to be given to someone else, perhaps to someone at least familiar with the use of a recording device. Why is this so hard for Francis to grasp?

  3. When will you all wake up and realize this is the False Prophet in action, who speaks with the tongue of a dragon? No other churchman has been so in the past. That is also why the “half-truth” method is used so often which avoids speaking clearly and definitively on Church doctrine. Recall the “Filial Appeal?” You can also consider this part of his reconnaissance for the coming one world pagan church, particularly with the plausible deniability factor.

    • When will you wake up to realize that whether or not you think Pope Francis is the pope, you aren’t either, and you don’t get to make these determinations on behalf of the Church?

      God will see to His own house when it comes to he whom he has placed over it. Trust Him, and be patient.

      • It is not my personal opinion nor my personal judgment / deduction. Read St. Malachy’s prophecy of the popes for one. Francis is not Peter the Roman. Distinguish between rejecting God’s Prophetic Word and personal interpretation since you’re so well educated.

        However when the great schism comes, and it should within a year (that’s opinion), then the few faithful prelates will denounce Francis. Pope Benedict XVI, the bishop in white in the 3rd secret of Fatima, will be martyred as part of this process.

        So here is a question for you and any who agree that Francis is merely a bad pope. What will you do when (you would say “if”) Francis uses infallibility to approve of sin. Will you obey that or not? Don’t duck the question by saying “it cannot happen.”

        It just goes to show that just as Israel was asleep when the First
        Coming happened, and the New Israel, the Catholics, are mostly asleep
        for the Second Coming, which is well within the lifetime of this
        generation. Fortunately God will provide the Warning, the 6th Seal in
        the Bible, the Illumination of Conscience, to wake people up also. And
        the majority of Catholics then will be former gentiles (Buddhists,
        Hindu, Muslims, Protestants) since a large portion of the apostates will
        be taken away in the great tribulation.

        • RC, it is not being asleep to be wary and watchful of the Holy Father and yet still acknowledge him as holding the office. It is prudent. It is just.

          “When” or “if” what you describe occurs it will be time enough to act.

          • It is prudent for mere human opinion. Repeating God’s Prophetic Word is different. I feel like the webmaster for the prophet Jeremiah or similar. Jerusalem got conquered then, and the New Jerusalem (Catholic Church) will be conquered from within now. Of course it will never die as we remnant will remain faithful until Our Lord returns, which is well within our lifetime. It is THIS generation literally.

          • It is prudent, not only from a mere human opinion, Remnant Clergy, but from the perspective of acting upon what one knows. We have had bad popes in the past. This is objective reality. The Church has been wracked with terrible scandal and crises in the past, too.

            And while you cast yourself as the prophet Jeremiah, others are cast in different roles. Don’t kid yourself that yours is the only spiritually prudent position. You run the risk of letting your own zeal outrun God’s grace, never a good position to be in as we often lose our way.

            So while you proclaim THIS generation, you should also recall that God’s ways and timing are God’s.

            God bless.

          • I am not a prophet, but rather an advertiser of prophets. God’s Prophetic Word is not subject to human prudence or opinion of others who think so. Read the Bible to see how much Jeremiah was accepted. There is no scandal ever to the degree of the current scandal, where a Freemason cleric has usurped the Throne of Peter. We live in a time worse than the Flood, and the punishment will be scaled up appropriately, as Akita says, fire will fall from Heaven and a great part of humanity will be wiped out.

        • “Will you obey that or not?” How would I go about “obeying” in this case? I mean if, say, he were to pronounce sodomoshackups the equivalent of marriage (hardly likely), would “obeying” mean I should chat up some fellow in a local bar? And just how would Francis go about “using infallibility” to approve of sin? You can’t ask the kind of question you pose here without being a damned sight more specific than you are here.

          • Yes. I often ask, and get no answer, just what are we being asked to ‘obey’?
            It will be priests and bishops who will have to toe the new line. That’s where the disobedience will have to come in. Say a Bishops’ Conference decides in Country A that all sodomites can sashay up for Holy Communion any old time. Say a priest in Country A knows this is mortal sin, for both receiver and giver and decides not to go along.
            That’s where disobedience will have to be declared. The rubber hits the road in the priesthood.

          • Yes indeed. That will be the great schism, when the few faithful prelates will officially stand up and say NO to Francis’ heresies. We will then clearly know who is on God’s side and not. It is then the heretics will own the buildings and we faithful will need the catacomb sacraments.

          • As to infallibility, that is a matter of how the statement is declared. One most recent example is the writing of Saint JP2 who said that women can’t be priests. Look up the conditions mentioned at Vatican 1 for this.

            As to exactly how Francis will approach it is not known to me. Based on his announced plans (Scalfari, encyclicals, etc) he could say directly that Holy Communion is allowed for the divorced and remarried, or devolve the decision to local episcopal conferences. Either of which is heretical. My bet is the second option because that would simultaneously reinforce “collegiality.”

            I think all real Catholics would agree that real popes are protected from error when they infallibly announce doctrine. So when Francis appears to do so with the appropriate wording but for a lie, there will be another sign that he is not really a pope, but an anti-pope, who has no protection.

          • He will certainly opt for the second “solution” you mention; that, in fact, is what Scalfari’s tele-interview indicates. But I don’t know how you get from that that he will be thereby indulging heresy. He won’t say anything about giving the Eucharist to public sinners if I assess his acumen correctly, and his silence will leave critics without a canonical leg to stand on.

        • I wouldn’t say Israel was asleep by any means…everyone was looking for the Messiah to save them from the yoke of Rome. They were looking for an earthly King, however, a powerful leader/ warrior to vanquish their enemies. That’s what Judas was probably seeking. We should all be seeking him now, and like the virgins with their lamps filled with oil to meet their bridegroom, so should we be filling our lamps. Frankly, I’m beginning to think all my worry about this pope is taking me away from my duties…I think I’m handing him over to Our Blessed Mother on my watch and let her deal with it.

        • I don’t mind if Francis is the false prophet, the beast, or just another type of either. Heck I don’t mind if he’s just a doozy playing dress up having got bored of stealing from Ann Summers. What I want to know is, when can we start burning heretics? Okay, I’ll settle for locking them in monasteries for the rest of their days, feeding them gruel, and making them read Long Skirts’ poems 8 hours a day, only please Lord, make it soon!

        • Remnant Clergy, Malachy’s “pope prophecies” are not credible. The second half of them have been proven to be fraudulent and the first half are in grave question whether Malachy actually wrote them. Do some research.

          • I’ve wondered if the bishop in white was +Lefebvre, who is often pictured wearing white in his mission days, with the symbolism of him being shot being, well, symbolic of what ‘they’ did to him. Speculation is fun, if nothing else.

          • Pope Benedict XVI, the real Pope, is the bishop in white who will be martyred for defending the faith against Francis, “soon”. Yes, the 3rd secret of Fatima definitely refers to our days.

    • And if Scalfari is such a terribly inaccurate journalist with a reputation for not taking notes or recording stuff, what the heck is he doing working for a newspaper? Does he interview others? What do they say about his methods? Does Scalfari have a record of being challenged by others he’s interviewed and accused of inaccuracy?

      How stupid can this man be? He obviously stakes his reputation on his skill as a journalist. Has anyone picked up the phone to ask Scalfari if what he wrote is true?

      • Scalfari isn’t the problem; the pope who insists on using his column for floating trial balloons, however, most certainly is.

      • No need. Anyone who’s paying attention with an open mind already knows it’s true, because it fits perfectly with everything what Francis has said and done. Those who make excuses for him wouldn’t want to make that call and hear any confirmation.

      • He’s not just some journalist working for a newspaper. He’s the founder of the newspaper! And his reputation is huge. He’s not at all the kind of stupid you are asking about. What he is, is a notorious atheist and contrary to the Church in most things.
        He is not the problem. All that is known. The problem is the decision to do this problematic interviews over and over again. His reputation for relying on memory and not taking notes (deniability!) seem to be more a reason to do the interviews than to stay away from him.

    • Because it is an easy way for Francis to spread his heresies via someone else’s mouth (or pen). What better way than to have one of his many Freemason brothers help him out?

  4. I took the meaning of at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask will be admitted to reflect the promulgation of Mitis Iudex, by which an “immeasurable” number of “unfortunates” can take advantage of the “lack of faith” criteria to have their prior marriages declared null.

  5. Such a tragic waste of time Steve.

    Better to spend it on our knees in prayer and supplications to our Lord, Jesus Christ that we can persevere in the true faith and not end up in either Purgatory or Hell. We also need to turn away from any occasion for sin which in my opinion, is reading or listening to anything the hierarchy of the new church built upon the heresies and hatred of Jesus Christ writes or speaks. Did not Jesus say your “yes” should be “yes” and your “no” should be “no”? Not confusion. Truth is not a consensus of people’s opinions. Not ambiguity. Yes or No.

        • Just because something is awful doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be faced down. Quite the opposite is true, lwhite.

          So while you stick to the apostolate of prayer alone, others are called to the duty to inform and educate AND pray. Different charisms, not better or worse.

          • You made an excellent point. Thank you for it.

            I suppose as a old (age and time) convert from Protestantism, the changes made in the Catholic Church are more disheartening than you can imagine. I truly believe that Vatican II and what has occurred since then was the establishment of a new man-invented religion that even Luther and Crammer would find appalling in some ways. I believe the shepherds are wolves; Judases who intend to destroy the Catholic faith.

            So, yes, I am a serious downer.

          • I appreciate that as a convert you are seriously disturbed and disappointed with this new direction Holy Mother Church seems to be taking. Think of how we feel! I’m 70 years old and remember our Church in a wonderful period, the 40s and 50s when the world was changing but we could be sure our Church would not.
            We all feel this discouragement and deep hurt. Cheer up. Remember as we should on this special feast of All Souls that we are all dust and will all go to our reward.
            You are right that we must pray – pray for poor Francis. Imagine what he will say to Our Lord on judgment day.

          • I am relieved to see that you grasp the seriousness of the situation.

            People have gone to heaven and hell in the Church’s worst times, and in the best times.

            But it’s a lot more pleasant to live during a time of peace, prosperity, orthodoxy, etc.

          • I share your observations, lwhite, but with a serious difference.

            This mess within the Church is deepening my Catholic Faith and the reality that Christ is the head of the Church and will protect Her in ways we little ones cannot begin to comprehend. The knives are out to be sure. A disheartening thing, I’d imagine for one who converted to the One True Faith.

            But these many betrayals have been foretold.

            As a revert, I once lamented having fallen away from the Church only to be challenged by a priest who begged the question, “Did you ever think that your falling away from New Church was a blessing in disguise?” If I hadn’t rejected the saccharin pap that made my stomach turn, I may have actually acquired a taste for it. That would have been the long term poison.

            So rejoice in the reality that you, for whatever reason, get it. You get God’s Truth, you’re Catholic, and you want the Church to remain Catholic. It is that awareness and correspondence with grace that Steve and so many others are igniting in those who would otherwise down the rancorous swill that will surely kill them.

            Don’t be downcast. Be glad. Boot up a youtube version of Kenneth Branaugh’s St. Crispin Days speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V. We may be few who get it. We may be grossly outnumbered. We may be cast by the world as total fools and losers, but that’s the whole point. It isn’t us. It is God’s grace in action. Focus on that, lwhite, and you will never abandon Truth or the glory of the battle for that is where Christ’s victories shine.

            It is good to be here, in this time, in this darkness, in this mess. God wills it to be so. As such, it is what He has deigned the necessary medicine for our salvation and God willing the resurrection of His Church. Remember, Christ’s Bride is to imitate Him. And Our Lord was cast out and given over to the secular authority to be killed. All of these things are real, lwhite. So pray and give thanks to God. The last second win of a Hail Mary pass at a football game makes all of the anxiety and fidelity to one’s team seem completely worth it – gnawed fingernails and all.

            God bless!

        • Yeah, that’s what a lot of people said about the Hitlerite regime a few decades ago. They involved themselves in prayer and supplication…and then they acted. Perhaps you haven’t heard but Quietism rather took it on the chin at the hands of Innocent XI.

          • I believe you are making the assumption that I do nothing other than pray. I wouldn’t assume what you do or do not do.

          • “Such a tragic waste of time Steve. Better to spend it on our knees in prayer and supplications to our Lord, Jesus Christ that we can persevere in the true faith and not end up in either Purgatory or Hell.” Those are your words, not mine. I tend to judge people’s intentions on the basis of what they say, not on the basis of fictive assumptions.

      • ….and thus the superiority contest between contemplative and active religious is acted out. Thanks for your stalwart and necessary efforts, Steve. Primo job, as usual.

      • I’ll admit I read very little of it but reading other of Steve’s posts and the portion I did read is the common criticism’s by those who find the words of Francis hard to hear and the refutation of those criticism’s by those who support him. It is never-ending and won’t solve anything in my opinion. That is why I wrote what I did.

        • But it does solve things, for instance it solved a question of fact through clear analysis of the empirical evidence. That is something.
          That said, I recognize your feelings, it would be nice if we could all go back to 1350 and either be farming our plot or hanging out with St Thomas Aquinas & co enjoying a golden age of university and cathedral building (I’m not being sarcastic, it really would). But here we are, and there is stuff to solve, and we do so by addressing it, analysing it, refuting it, and sharing the results. There’s no other way.

          • And don’t forget the most important part we can play. Learn our Faith. Every time we hear Francis say something heretical we should dive into the Sources of Catholic Dogma, or any other similar work and find out just where he goes wrong.
            Build up a library of real Catholic source material, conference talks, and sermons. We will need this stuff when times really get hard and good Catholic resources will be hard to find.
            Think of the generation that will come after this one. Leave something behind for them.

          • Have to go back a little farther. St. Thomas died in 1274, aged 49. I think 1350 would land you in the middle of the Black Death, or close to it.

        • As a brand new “practicing” Catholic for 7 months (16 months if you count RCIA)…..these sites and those like it are invaluable to me. And they ARE, in part, the reason for my conversion. And as a divorced and remarried (to a very ticked off Protestant)….I can only imagine if I had come into The Church and wasted precious time at a NO parish just to be confused or worse, not understanding that NO I cannot receive Holy Eucharist (without living chastely)……so yeah, not a waste of time in my opinion.

          • Thank you for your response. I am glad to know that I am wrong in assuming anything. “Pride goeth before a fall.” Yes, I’m still working at recognizing my own sins (with the help of those like you and PGMGN).
            I am comforted though to know that you aren’t wasting more time at a NO parish where confusion reigns. On your journey, there are so many orthodox writings to be found on the Internet by the Saints, Holy Popes, and faithful Catholics that we can access today. May God bless you and keep leading you on the path to holiness and sainthood.

          • In the midst of all this darkness and confusion it is refreshing to read about people like who and kono859 who converted to Catholicism and take interest in the discussion, whichever side you are inclined to be on. I have tried talking to my family members about the very things being discussed in this article, including the comments, but they aren’t interested. When Steve wrote “Trying to cut through the noise of thousands of Catholics with their fingers in their ears, shouting, “LALALALALALALA!!! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!! LALALALALALAAAA!!!” can be pretty exhausting.” I smiled, because I can relate to that.

          • Sorry guys, my stupid photo didn’t load properly. Why is it so HUGE? I can’t remove it! UGH! So embarrassing. If anyone wants to tell me how to remove it I’d appreciate it. I wanted a thumbnail image, like some of you have.

          • Thanks lwhite. Yes, that pride thing is awful…..I am always confronted with it myself. My life as a Protestant was a lot less revealing in that aspect.

    • ugh, I had to take five minutes and find my password and all just to come here and say, with all due friendliness and respect, that people like you are going to have to wake up. Mr. Skojec has written a fine and reasonable explanation of the current status. There is clearly a learning curve or an acceptance curve in this process. Being pragmatic, I must have arrived at it much earlier, but we are all going to have to get there.
      We have a radically bad pope. I don’t know what else he is, or what will happen, I don’t have any tea leaves, can’t read those, but we have something singularly unique going on, and avoiding by just not seeing it is not going to help.
      We are in de facto schism. If the pope comes out with heresy, i.e., Holy Communion for those who would not prior be able to receive, we are in a brave new world of heresy, and we are going to have to accept it and take it on. My concern is not even wayward popes, as bad as that is. My concern is we have so many bishops, priests, theologians, religious, and laity, that are stuck between modernism and actual Catholicism that they aren’t sure what to defend and are too fearful of the repercussions to make much of a difference.
      When Cardinal Burke was sidelined in a most public and humiliating way, that should have been enough to instruct Catholics right there on what we had in the Vatican. It’s so easy to forget, because it wasn’t US.

      • “People like me” are going to have to wake up? I agree with everything you wrote in this post. The thing is, since the first interview with Francesco, for two and one-half years now, he has said something off the wall, something not quite right or something that is actually heretical, and his spokesmen and the liberal press always respond by saying he did not really say what he said, or that he was misunderstood, or he is being criticized unfairly. It is always so. And then the traditionalist’s respond. Then the cycle is repeated when the next interview is published.
        That is the main reason I made the statement I did. Nothing will ever be different with this man. He will go on saying something off the wall, something not quite right or something that is actually heretical and the responses by both his supporters and those who find his words harmful or confusing will be the same.

    • I don’t think it was a waste of time. Summarising and correlating into one handy package, I’d call that good journalism. Unlike your dowdy comment, like really, couldn’t you have spent your time doing something more constructive, like maybe a few more licks with the self-flagellum (only joking, I know you’re all neo-pelagianed out for one day… Okay okay I’m sorry I couldn’t resist… Pray for me, please 😀 )

    • Looks like you took a little break from your prayer and supplication to send Steve a little zinger. I wonder how you wrote it on your knees, however.

      • I always get a kick out of the people who post these messages: “The fact that you are following the news is proof that you aren’t praying enough.”

      • That is hilarious. After reading so much bad news coming from the Vatican for over 2 years now, it is always nice to have a good laugh.

      • I understand that there is no allowance for anyone to post anything that can be construed as criticism of the bloggers who are critical of this pope.

        • It is not a ban on those who would criticize others who criticize the Holy Father, lwhite. Rather it is a challenge for those who would criticize said bloggers to ante up with a realistic basis for said criticism.

          Many who convert from Protestantism – and many Catholics for lack of proper formation – have a false concept of what being pope entails. That is they have been led to believe that it’s my pope, right or wrong, that makes one a Catholic. That is false. That is error. That is why many fear lawful criticism of the Pope for not doing his job or doing it poorly is somehow unCatholic.

          There are other websites who laud themselves as Catholic who deride papal criticism only to pretend that they are somehow endowed to speak on behalf of the Pope…a form of sedevecantism in my book.

          Now is the time for Catholics to be strong, faithful, and wholly knowledgeable of the Catholic Faith. Not hamstrung by the lie that speaking out clearly about failed leadership will somehow frighten people away from the Church. Bogus head tripping, that. When heresy and ineptitude become public it is a Catholic’s duty to speak against it.

          • I am not a recent convert but a 70 year old who has been Catholic since age 18. I do not believe I have a false concept of what being pope entails. I was not criticizing Steve for criticizing Francis as I, too, have done so many times. It is this constant circling of “he said” “he said” regarding the words of Francis where his supporters claim he did not really say something or he was misunderstood or his opponents are simply liars and then the bloggers react. There isn’t a thing any of us can do to convert Francis to the true faith except pray to God that he does. That, simply, was the point of my post.

          • ….and the point of Steve’s articles are to enlighten those who haven’t yet come to the understanding that you have, lwhite. Contrary to what you may believe, others do have a false concept of what being Pope entails. They are still learning and need to see and have things explained.

            Similarly, there are those who are under the false impression that Vatican II is completely orthodox and that no obfuscation and/or pastoral soft speak was used to shift doctrine. Many, a great many Catholics who fancy themselves solid are only now – by very slow and stubborn measure – coming to learn that Vatican II documents paved the way for much of this utter nonsense. Francis, Kasper, Marx, Cupich, etc, etc are the product of a new factory policy that loosened quality control somewhere back in the ’60s, although the stumping for novelty goes much farther back.

            So while many decry Francis, Francis, Francis or say it was Benedict’s fault for resigning, they still stubbornly cleave to the delusion that all of this utter chaos and mess in what has been previously painted as orthodox. That is why these articles are critical.

            Getting the word out that something is demonstrably wrong with Dad is a means of yanking the sugar lollies out of the children’s mouths so they can help solve the problem. First, by cutting the sugar addiction that quells hunger pains. And second, by steeping the appetite for real MEAT. That is food. And third by praying with true motivation because they understand the depth of the crisis. My Dad once said there are no atheists in foxholes. He learned that in WWII. When the bombs drop, prayer is quick and heartfelt.

            This is why these articles are an absolute must. Not a waste at all.

          • I have no doubt that there is a false concept of what being Pope entails nor doubt the fact that the majority of Catholics are perfectly content in believing the unorthodox teachings of Vatican II are valid and to be believed.
            I will accept your response of the necessity of sites such as Steve’s which can be helpful to those who are searching and appreciate your writings very much.

  6. It is vital to drive a theological stake through the heart of papalotry. I wonder if neo-conservative Catholics realizing how they have become “useful idiots” for progressive churchmen.

  7. You know, with all his jibber jabbering about the poor; I wonder if ol Papa Frank would be willing to kick down for my blood pressure pills. Considering Ill be damned if the man isnt the primary cause of its elevation. Im starting to think that Bergoglio is an Argentinian vernacular colloquialism for Machiavelli.

  8. Scalfari is an old leftist kook, trying to sell newspapers. At this point, there are much bigger fish to fry. Lombardi is doing the best that he can with a somewhat uncooperative Pope. He is not trying to be be cute, he pretty effectively shot down Scalfari, despite your attempt to say he did not. He is basically saying no one pays any attention to Scalfari.

    This is not a big deal. If the Pope issues an apostolic exhortation saying the divorced and remarried can now go to communion, that will be a big deal. Keep your powder dry.

    • You say no one pays any attention to Scalfari. Don’t be silly. This old guy has been in the newspaper game for decades, and he’s not stupid. Francis calls him up for an exclusive little chat every once in a while JUST BECAUSE HE KNOWS MANY, MANY PEOPLE DO PAY ATTENTION TO THE OLD FOX SCALFARI. Get it?

  9. Oh why doesn’t Pope Francis just come out and say what he wants in stead of us all playing guessing games. I do feel like a pawn in a chess game.

  10. I have always been an empiricist at heart. Convergent lines of evidence, multiple experiments yielding the same result (all arrows pointing in one direction), parsimony of explanation, consilience. The above post is a great example of sound empirical reasoning in action, akin to spotting ducks by their unique ability to walk and quack while sporting feathers in a duck-like manner.

  11. According to Andrea Gagliarducci, the Holy Father is considering an encyclical instead of an Apostolic Exhortation following the Synod. We’ll get our answer then so we won’t have to rely on second hand information from atheist journalists.

    • Oh, please, say it ain’t so! Jorge Bergoglio and a pen in the same room! We’re safer with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and a room full of bottles of nitroglycerin !

  12. The Jesuist Bergoglio lie to protect his homosexual friend Ricca and now the Jesuit Lombardi is using similar argument to cover up Bergoglio

    Francisco: I have acted in accordance with Canon Law and ordered an investigation. None of the accusations against him have proved to be true. We haven’t found anything! It is often the case in the Church that people try to dig up sins committed during a person’s youth and then publish them. We are not talking about crimes or offences such as child abuse which is a whole different matter, we are talking about sins. If a lay person, a priest or a nun commits a sin and then repents of it and confesses, the Lord forgives and forgets. And we have no right not to forget, because then we risk the Lord not forgetting our own sins. I often think of St. Peter who committed the biggest sin of all, he denied Jesus. And yet he was appointed Pope. But I repeat, we have found no evidence against Mgr. Ricca.

    • What is interesting about this scandal — there are multiple confirming accounts of Ricci’s behavior in Uruguay — is that it did nothing to undermine the pope’s faith in the man. The fact that Ricci was clearly leading a double life at least in the early 2000s didn’t signal any problem for the pope who hired him to be his delegate to the Vatican bank, monitoring a clean-up operation intended prevent future bank scandals. That what everyone in Montevideo knew to be true was denied by Lombardi and company says something about how much faith we should put in reports emanating from the Vatican press office.

  13. It appears that the Vatican Press Office is full of public relation employees who also happen to be Catholic priests. I think it would be a lot better if the VPO was full of Catholic priests who just happen to be in the public relations business. We would then get the truth, and not spin, on what was being said by the Pope. Catholic priest first, everything else next.

    • How about a pope who needs no clarification? Who speaks clearly, intelligently, consistently, and is always faithful to the teachings of Christ unadulterated by Modernist considerations? Oh, sorry. I forgot. We already had such a pope and he is still at the Vatican, over in the retirement wing.

    • Mr. Ferrara, we simple pew-sitters need lessons in the new-speak. How else can we make sense of any of the baffle-gab coming out of the Vatican these days.

  14. This is the behavior of a narcissistic sociopath. It is emotionally and spiritually abusive. I don’t even care at this point whether or not he “is” “the Pope”: he is, de facto, a jerk.

  15. Steve; I think we should all give the Pope credit for using what I submit is an effective tactic designed to flush out his enemies {orthodox Bishops} and determine if they are committed to resisting him to the face. I mean, if I was a heretic Pope, that’s what I would do.

    Think about it and give him credit. Using this ply, he can deny he ever said it while trolling for backlash that would give him a solid list of enemies he could avoid and/or marginalize at the next Sham Synod.

    It is time the Bishops rise up and say Enough is Enough. For myself, I’m tired of struggling to defend the Church against the “Dress Like Mother, Call Me Father” crowd. We need men, not 12 year old girls when it comes to dealing with this guy.

  16. Very good article. To say, “That guy who wrote that is unreliable,” is an evasion, not a denial. To say, “That guy I’ve interviewed with five times is unreliable and shouldn’t be believed,” is an insult to our intelligence.

  17. “Fool me five times… then no one is ashamed here, and nobody is a fool!”

    There is another one… Hummm… something about doing the same thing over and over and the results… but I don’t think there’s any crazies here, so it looks like the consistent results are intentionally sought after.

  18. Hey, let’s not judge! I’m sure everyone there’s got good intentions… I’ll wait until interview 17 to be so rash. I’m sure they just need more practice to get it right.

    This is so sad.

  19. Thanks Steve. The evidence against Pope Francis is damning.
    Here’s what Jesus said about such a person in John 8:44.

    “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to
    the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native
    language, for he is a liar and the father of lies”.

  20. This is a splendid, splendid article, but grammar is important:

    “This growing sense of mistrust toward he whom we should be able to look to for clarity….” should be “This growing sense of mistrust toward HIM whom we should be able to look to for clarity….”

    Why? Because “toward” is a preposition, and the object of any preposition must be in the objective case. “Toward he” is impossible. The correct expression must be “toward HIM.”

    We would never say, for example, “I saw the car coming toward I,” but rather, “I saw the car coming toward ME.”

    • I’m going to come clean with you, Robert: I never took a grammar class in my life.

      As a writer, this is a curse I live with. As an editor…well, I never wanted to be an editor. It just sort of wound up that way.

      You will find that I do make these kinds of mistakes. I still haven’t mastered lay and lie, and I spell restaurant wrong the first time, every time. (I always want to put the “u” after the second “a”.)

      I actually welcome the corrections that my readers send my way, because I know I miss things. It’s usually less distracting to the discussion (and looks less pedantic) if you send it to me via email, though.

      FWIW, I will correct the post shortly.

      • We all make mistakes. As a retired teacher I am convinced the only way to properly learn English grammar is to study other languages (naturally, I taught languages!). Memorizing the rules of grammar in order to survive in, say, French or Spanish, sharpens one’s sensitivities to minute points of linguistic logic in English. We are all too close to our own language, far too familiar with her to effectively and easily make her ‘system’ part of our mental furniture; we simply cannot see the forest for the trees, as it were. For study, any foreign language will do, but I’d put a pitch in for Latin here because of its complexity. While we’re at it, there is every reason why we can and should learn to say all our prayers in Latin, along with the main parts of the Mass. (For proper pronunciation of ecclesiastical Latin there are many sites on the Internet that can be helpful.) It is very comforting to know that, as you say the Rosary each day, you are joining your voice to that of your ancestors, using words they would instantly recognize.

          • Fluent? As in, I spoke the language? Or did you merely study it a lot? I find it impossible to believe that anyone who knew and understood the difference between the nominative and accusative cases could have confused “me” with “I”. That someone who really knew what the subjunctive was all about mixed up “were” with “was” in sentences like “If I were you….” Spelling? That’s a different matter from grammar, and perhaps that is what you mean here. If so, French is the remedy since so much of English depends on it for its orthography.

        • Regarding grammar, I have a question. When I was young we always said “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, DEAD and was buried’during the Apostle’s Creed. Not died and was buried. Because you can’t say ‘was died’. It was never said that way until relatively recently, as far as I know. Which is correct?

          • I confess, Chloe, I never heard or used the English form you cite here, viz. “dead” in this phrase. The English follows the Latin precisely. If we look at the Latin we find “…qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus*….” The third word from the last is the one that you ask about. Here it is the perfect active participle of the deponent verb “mori”. Along with “natus”, “passus”, “crucifixus”, and “sepultus” it depends on the verb to be (”est”) in the preceding phrase “conceptus est” (was conceived). Thus the correct English here is “died”, not “dead”. * “…who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried….”

  21. I guess I’m just not seeing the point. Yes, I agree that Pope Francis shouldn’t be giving Scalfari interviews. But he still does. Am I now supposed to become an enemy of the Vicar of Christ? No, I am to remain a good Catholic, which means having enormous respect for the Pope, even if that involves criticizing some of his non-Magisterial words on occasion. Stray much from that straight-and-narrow, and it’s just a matter of time until you’re teaming up with “Brother” Dimond over at mhfm

    I am furthmore surprised by the relativistic claim that Scalfari’s unreliability is a mere “matter of perspective.” Rather, it is an objective fact evident to anyone who can do a Google search: (forgive the fishwrap link)

    • Ah, Dan, I’m not “an enemy” of my old boss at work, but I’m also not stupid and have two functioning eyes in my head. Consequently, I can say with confidence and show with an abundance of evidence that she was vastly overrated and destructive in the position she held. I don’t want to be crude, but it’s simply asinine to say we have “enormous respect” for popes like John XII, or Urban VI, or Stephen VI, or Sergius III, or Alexander VI; they were terrible men who did despicable things. Anyone protesting respect for any of these criminals and murderers is not exposing good Catholicism but rather rank silliness. As a Catholic, you are not asked to check your brains and common sense at the church door. So if, as you say, Scalfari’s unreliability is not a mere “matter of perspective”, but “[r]ather, it is an objective fact evident to anyone who can do a Google search,” why then does this pope return again and again to such a suspect source? Don’t you suspect even a little that there must be a method to this madness?

      • You are right. But if Christ gives someone authority, does not that, in itself, demand regard?

        A meeting of bishops coukd confirm that a pope has vacated his seat. We, i believe, do not have that authority.

        • Christ gave authority to the office, yes, and directly to Peter, but even Paul wasn’t foolish enough to think he had to refrain from criticizing the man who had actually walked and talked with Jesus. Ga. 2:11-16 “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.”

          • But Paul was an apostle. I am not. The kingdom is not a democracy. First amendment liberty is not a cornerstone of Catholicism.

          • Nonsense. It was not a democracy in Paul’s day either. His status as an apostle, how exactly does that give him license to criticize foolishness, a license denied though to mere disciples? What you are preaching is rank papolatry. It is the same kind of thinking I saw allow the recent sodomite scandals fester and grow around the globe.

          • Many foolishly believe that the saints were saints when they were being tried, having to step out on the ledge and stick up for the Truth. Don’t kid yourself Two2trees.

            It is precisely by sticking up for the Truth and doing one’s duty, resisting and rebuking outright error, that makes saints of otherwise common folk like all of us.

            Be not afraid….others, who shall remain nameless, may use the line “but ‘they’ were saints or whatever” to keep the folks tame and under control, but those are the ones taking the positions of authority that do not belong to them. God bless

          • I agree completely — maybe.

            Our first loyalty must be to the Truth, and Who called Himself united to that.

            But as a recently celebrated apostolic successor and synod star very pointedly reminded me, all these “ordinary” fellows are owed a special respect (which makes me think of a roman version of goodfellas – but I digress.)

            How much more a successor of Peter?

            Christ wondered if he would find ANY faithful on His return. Christ knew very well that the keys given Peter would end up where they are today.

            For all his condemnation of the Pharasees, Christ still admonished the Jews about respect regarding their office.

            The kingdom is not democratic. That’s protestantism. Can we speak? Sure. But I think we ought to be careful.

            Denathor lights a fire: Who has the right to stop him? As Americans, I think, we are inclined and conditioned to give the wrong answer.

          • We have the right, even at times the duty, to criticize (or if we are in such a position, to correct) a pope:


            There are of course limits, but our responsibility is to Holy Mother Church and the inviolable faith, first and foremost.

            The parallel would be the 4th Commandment: I am bound to honor my father, but if I find him beating my mother, I must intervene – and may even use violence if it is necessary to stop him.

          • Steve – thanks for the response. A bit of an emergency raised up, but I can half-agree: here is a post, yhe first letter and referenced article are wholly on your side and mine:


            The other side has to do with Americanism, however. It has to do with the nature of kingdoms and rubrics connected to royalty as well other forms reserved for high aristocracy. The king is the kingdom… so far so good as relates to the Church. The rest follows, but I’ll set it out a little if it’s not pedantic.

            To harm or even to insult the kingdom is to insult the king. The steward stands for the king.

            To use Richard the lionharted and prince john of the robin hood stories, perhaps, is useful. He is resisted, even made a fool — but still honored.

            That’s the gist of where i was going, and I’m out of time.

          • Yes, Two2trees, Christ knew very well that the keys of Peter would be given to Francis. He also warned us in the gospel to be wary of blind guides and to judge a tree by its fruits. It is no respect of Francis to dismiss him from the necessity of doing his job. (Our Lord also warned of a time wherein the people would have itching ears, seeking a leadership who would satisfy that itch, not speak the truth.)

            Indeed, to speak plainly, friend, is to remind a father that he has duties and obligations and children looking to him for example. “Do as they say, but not as they do,” may apply here. That is be faithful, but be faithful to Truth and do not compromise with heresy or endorse it as no big deal. The matter would be something else entirely if Catholics were parading the secret sins of their shepherds. But when the shepherds give public scandal and misguide the flock, and those who might otherwise join the flock, those with eyes to see and ears to hear must speak the Truth even if it is to cry foul. They must speak the Truth if only to protect their own charges for while you mince about respecting positions, you forget that every parent has a duty to protect his/her children. Remember what Our Lord says about those who give scandal – not those who report it so as to awake others to the necessity of protecting their little ones.

            Your admonition that the Kingdom is not democratic is something you should posit to Francis and company. Those faithful Catholics who desire that the Church remain faithful to Her Head – that is Christ -are precisely those who understand the nature of hierarchy. To treat clerics like an oligarchy is to be in error. That is to become a respecter of persons, friend.

            So you ought to be very careful, lest you become the democrat that you fear….. out of fear for speaking the Truth. Don’t let your focus on American democracy keep you from speaking truthfully. Otherwise, you’ll be hogtied.

          • I’m momentarily going to stick with the bad steward, Robin Hood’s Prince John.

            Loyalty is to Richard, and there is no point in addressing concerns to the faithless steward. He is to be resisted. He is to be circumvented and even undermined, but he is the Crown, in persona regis. He cannot be killed or even assaulted for to do so is to attack king and country.

            The Holy Father is a subversive: he is ignorant, lazy and malicious. He MAY have already auto-excommunicated himself. The Princes of the Church have both power and authority to declare this truth – should Peter’s chair be empty — we do not.

            This is where we can act: we can support them. Schneider, Burke, and more to the point, the faithful bishops under withering assault from all angles. We can give comfort and lovingly prod Paul to wisely and with finality confront Peter.

          • Who are you, friend, to define, “This is where we can act?”

            What you describe as loving is effeminate contradiction. “He must be resisted” “We have no power and authority to declare this truth”.

            Every man,woman, child, etc will be judged based on their knowledge and the subsequent actions he/she takes. So whereas you may withdraw under the banner of the incapacity to declare, others are called to speak out clearly so as to lend the princes of the Church, who have so obviously fallen asleep, the impetus to do their duty.

            Again, be cautious about hogtying yourself with fear of speaking out of turn. There is a time and place to speak clearly, friend. And often, the most ‘loving’ thing one can do is to SLAP those who are delirious or overwhelmed by the magnitude of what duty demands.
            Needs must, friend. So gently, lovingly, sweetly, politely asking one’s parent to rouse from sleep so as to exit a burning house is no love. It is misguided. It is ineptitude and the refusal to act and TRUST IN GOD when called to greater fidelity to His Truth.

            Not everyone is overcome by smoke so as to be excused for not rousing the household. Those who can see and hear need to speak. This is our duty, friend. Act as if all depends upon you and pray as if all depends upon the Lord. Not forgo action because it’s not my place when, quite obviously, someone needs to DO something.

          • I hear you clearly. I agree.

            As to limits, I mean what I said- 100% of laity and non episcopal religious can declare Francis papacy ended and it means zero.

            Yet it is first. In certain oncological practice, it is called a primary debulking. That is step one: remove the tumor that is big and easy to remove. If you don’t, chemo will fail.

            To that end, we must have a mind to the members of the body, particularly those with the potential to leaving or entering the Church. See, The Holy Father, between modernist ecumenism, indiferentism and as far as I can tell, at least one flat-out satanic homily, making that increasingly improbable. But that’s chemo.

            So what can we DO?

            Steve (co)wrote a petition to synod bishops recently. Aside prayer and penance, THAT is the variety of thing I sense to be our crucial task. To aid and embolden the bishops to the task, to be prepared, and AS SOON AS IT IS POSSIBLE, to act.

            And for our bishops to be prepared to do so and more than once, as need be — I don’t think it’s unrealistic.

            I write unclearly perhaps. I’ll give an example to illustrate: there are stalwarts like Bishops Arinze, Schneider and Burke and others. But more are in fear or indecision. it may even be premature . But to write, talk and otherwise advocate for courage in those bishops who might be in the periphery or on fences to not be — we need to think of doing this in an effective way. And thrashing ideas about is important — but we must recognize our limits, not only in power but in authority.

            The plan must go beyond what is typically voiced: the enemy’s is complete, why not ours? To root out Novus? to rescind error such as LG 16, in whatever that entails?Everything (or close to it) this Holy Father has done for starters. But I can only think and write. Can you defrock Casper or the other toads? Can you disequate islam from Catholicism? These things must happen.

            If we complain and point fingers, aren’t we truly reduced to effeminacy? But is it anything other than just and correct to be sure to first be certain to do no unnecessary harm?

            I am uncertain that i have succeeded in avoiding that.

          • Again, you seem to be shadow boxing here.

            Nobody in this thread was advocating declaring the Francis papacy ended. It most assuredly is not ended, at least not in practice. But to speak out about the imprudence of the Holy Father returning again and again to a “journalist” who is known for his supposed misrepresentation is just.

            Actions speak louder than words, friend. There is obviously a reason why an intelligent man would proactively seek to be represented by someone with a reputation of misrepresentation. Looking for a fall guy perhaps? A scapegoat? Compromising? Buying time while under unknown pressures?

            Kind of like a father with a drinking problem who, while avoiding alcohol in his own home, continues to visit the homes of known drunkards and then pleads charity as the reason for his drinking and subsequent drunkenness. To make matters worse, while at the home of said “friends”, there is no effort expended to promote sobriety, rather there is just a “joyful” yielding of having to be on the journey with our fellows. THAT is the scandal, friend. To not speak out against such behavior is to approve it and lend the wrong impression of what Catholic teaching requires.

            So while you fear and vacillate and ascribe speaking out clearly as – complaining – you could be aiding in the confusion and the degrading of the office of the Papacy. Your admonition that we shouldn’t point fingers is also misguided as, in a hierarchy, those in charge do bear the brunt of blame and should be called out. Shepherds are there to protect the sheep.

            You write: “…But is it anything other than just and correct to be sure to first be certain to do no unnecessary harm?”

            Define unnecessary, friend. One must be prudent. Timing is critical. But waiting forever out of fear only to watch those around you be misled does, at some point, become negligence.

            So again, don’t be fooled into chastening others for doing what God calls them to do. Limit your actions to that which you are called to. But to decry others as causing harm when they speak out against blatant error is to erroneously assume that one knows everything. There are many who might otherwise join the Catholic Church that are turned off by the liberal vacillating.

        • Oh, please. Our bishops can’t even manage to rebuke the Boy Scouts (too many big donors). No one has been looking to the bishops for leadership since the you-know-what scandal. Catholics are lucky to find one orthodox priest in a diocese.

          • I think you are pretty much left with the biological solution. Don’t imagine that the bishops are going to rise up for justice. This papacy is a waiting game. We dig deep into tradition, pray, read Scripture, support the orthodox priests and parishes, receive the sacraments, and make sure our children know exactly what is wrong with the opinions of the pope.

      • What his method is, Johnny, we will know on Judgment Day. As for this brief twinkling of an eye that we call life on earth, our marching orders are clear:

        “Even if [the Pope be an incarnate devil], we ought not to raise up our heads against him, but calmly lie down to rest on his bosom… He who rebels against our Father is condemned to death, for that which we do to him we do to Christ: we honor Christ if we honor the Pope; we dishonor Christ if we dishonor the Pope.” –St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church.

        • Perhaps Catherine slipped and forgot her own words on occasion; I could cite them for you, but I’m just too busy to look them up at the moment. You manage to misinterpret her words entirely here, let me assure you. It disturbs me to see so much Quietism on this site, though. Using your logic expressed here, there really isn’t much any of us should do about things this side of the grave. Little wonder the Church is in the parlous state we find her today.

          • You’re just too saintly for my meagre means, Dan. I’ll have to retire in the face of your silence and inactivity.

          • So do I refuse to be an enemy of him, indeed nobody disputing with you here has ever – to my knowledge – made themselves an enemy of him, so if that’s what you’re implying then shame on you. When this pope does his job and defends the faith against the heretics and those in league with the devil both inside and outside The Church, trust me, I and everyone else currently critical of his ‘lio’ will be first onside with him in the fight. As it goes I doubt you do criticize him, maybe you could link to something you have written in this regard? In any event, misusing St Catherine of Siena in order to score points doesn’t help your case.

          • Way to go, you took offense at something he said, then went all happy-clappy when he dialled it back. Now, what about that stacking of the synod with people like Daneels, his praising of Kaspar’s theology on its knees, or any of the voluminous collection of heterodox statements he has made? study it and weep:

          • But surely you should be resting your head on his bosom? You don’t seem still offended in that red text, but fair enough. Did you click that link I posted? Please do. Good priests who surely know more of the Faith than you or I have put a lot of work into that.
            Meanwhile, back at the ranch, this convo is deteriorating from an already low point and I hold my hand up to my part in that. In truth, reflecting for a moment, I would love nothing more than for one as zealous as you seem to be, to become a genuine brother in arms against the tide of secularised Satanism currently engulfing the world. Please, in your charity, look beyond the standard counter-traditionalist talking points and take some prayerful time considering why we, together with many good prelates and saints like Bellarmine and Aquinas are prepared to not only criticise and refute this pope (and the so-called spirit of VII from which the current problems within The Church take their cue) but also, should the situation require it, to oppose and resist.

          • Alas, let us pray for each other. For my own parting words I will simply say: I do not pay much attention to the traditionalist/counter-traditionalist debate. The Justice of God is about to fall upon this world like never before; I am going to use these last few moments to proclaim the Divine Mercy (as explained to St. Faustina) while there is still time.

          • And no, I am not intending to implicitly accuse anyone in-particular of becoming an enemy of the Pope; I am simply admonishing anyone who reads these comments to make sure they are not themselves doing so. It is proving itself a grave temptation in these times.

          • For info have a look at Daniel’s blog, accessible via his disqus ID. He’s evidently a self-confessed “remnant” member who thinks the ‘year of mercy’ is God’s way of making it easy to become saints in this time, and approvingly quotes ‘Laudato si.’ In fairness he sees the current problems as a ‘chastisement’ of sorts, but much like Voris and the rest of the Papolotry neo-con brigade cannot see beyond the blinkers of hyper-hyperultramontanism to recognise that the problem lies also with the pope. I don’t want to detract from or calumniate the guy, indeed he appears zealous and desirous of the good, including saving of souls and the like, just typically post VII neo-Catholic with a certain imbued evangelicalism-Protestantism-with-a-pope that comes from the spirit of VII and all it entails.

          • Thanks. I don’t mean to come down heavy on him either, but his passivity is annoying to me, and dangerous for the Church. As I indicated to him, I was appalled to see this similar detachment in the face of the Boston sodomite priest scandals over a decade ago. It was galling to see so many Catholics go limp in the face of that disaster, to see them refuse to rebuke Law and his lieutenants who were neck-deep in criminal conspiracy. The insouciance of laymen only added to the damage the clerics did to the Church. Of course, they always papered over their apathy with gibberish about obeying proper authorities.

          • Indeed, this is the same St Catherine of Siena who told the pope in no uncertain terms that he was a very naughty boy for living in Avignon. As it goes this quote is taken verbatim from this Pollyannaesque screed here:;wap2

            These people think we can’t even Google, while in fact it is they who can’t even Catholic.

            At Fr Serpa OP explains that this and another quote from the good doctor are hyperbole.

    • Describe what it means to be an enemy of the Vicar of Christ?

      “…I am to remain a good Catholic, which means having enormous respect for the Pope…”

      Be careful in respecting the person, Daniel. It’s that kind of redirect that allows good men to do nothing, or to do far less than their duty demands. This is how we go quietly from bad to worse. From Catholic Faith into faithlessness on the shoestring of false obedience and – of course – enormous respect.

      Better to respect the office of the papacy and expect the one holding such responsibility to do his JOB. We’re given warnings regarding blind guides and angels of light in scripture for good reason.

  22. When
    I read that yet again poor Lombardi had to make a statement, it occured
    to me – shouldn’t we all publish an anthology, “My Most Memorable
    Phonecall Fom the Pope,” (it would be too easy to debunk a claimed
    interview, since most of us have never met him, but who’s gonna deny
    that he picked up the phone on a whim and gave me a ring?)
    We could
    invent anything we want, say that it’s “fictionalized truth,” or some
    such, in the Dunham/Scalfari mold.
    Yes, yes, I remember it well, (but not
    accurately,) when Pope Francis got me on the horn, and told me not to
    worry, he’s just stirring the pot but plans to come out with a three
    word, unequivocally magisterial encyclical – “Sin? It’s Sinful.”
    did he tell you, when he called you?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

  23. Steve — a thought.

    I sense that it might help some episcopal nerves if someone circulated something similar your recent petition, but this time to tell all our bishops that, as soon as it is possible, if they see what we see, that we look to their collective authority to formally, collectively determine if heresy has occured in fact.

    It may be early, but perhaps soon?

  24. I mostly agree, but I would suggest that for most purposes these things should just be ignored. The Scalfari “interviews” probably do reasonably accurately present Pope Francis’ general positions on things, and I take that into account when thinking about him. But, I don’t have any obligation to agree with the Pope’s personal musings, so I’m not going to expend that much effort trying to discern what he said in a rambling conversation that was later “reconstructed” by a journalist with a penchant for playing pretty loose with quotes.

    • “I don’t have any obligation to agree with the Pope’s personal musings.”

      This is a really odd comment. First, no one here (especially) said you had an “obligation”, so thanks for the non sequitur. Second, the Pope is supposed to be the Vicar of Christ on earth; as a Catholic, shouldn’t his personal musings concern you on that basis alone? If he has heretical personal musings “these things should just be ignored”? Whyyyyy should they be “ignored”?

      Or maybe you’re just another piety troll.

      • That’s not what I meant.

        Pope Francis says a lot of things, some of them are horrifying. His meaning is often unclear. Sometimes he seems to contradict himself the next day. In “private” conversations, he seems to have expressed pretty much every possible position on a lot of issues. I can only conclude that he likes the confusion that he creates… And I’m tired of taking the bait and wading into it.

        If he has something to say, he should say it. What would I get out of trying to weigh every set of contradictory things that he supposedly told some questionable middleman?

        I’d rather dispense with the confusion that he’s creating and focus on what’s clear. The “remarriages” in question are adultery. Jesus said so clearly, and that’s in the Gospels four times. If Pope Francis says otherwise in private conversation, he’s wrong. If he puts it in an apostolic exhortation, he’s wrong. If he writes an encyclical about it, he’s still wrong. If he tells people to receive communion while they willfully live that gravely sinful lifestyle, he’s wrong, and he’s hurting those people. If he doesn’t say that, great.

        • OK, well, this is a tactic of his. The Pope wants the confusion. He wants the Church to have rules but also to be able to break them. Are you OK with that? If you “ignore” it, you seem to be OK with it. I’m not OK with it, therefore I don’t ignore it. In other words: It doesn’t do “you” any “good” to pay attention to what he says, but the point is not “your good”. Rather, the point is preventing Church teaching from becoming meaningless, by openly highlighting his inconsistencies and objecting to them.

          • I think that we do more to defend Church teaching from meaninglessness by declining to play along with acknowledging as if they were real teaching things that the Pope might have said (“but did he?” “Was that exactly it?” “What was the ‘spirit’ of the remark??”) to some unauthoritative third party.

            It’s not our job to read between the lines of an endless stream of unclear remarks, some of which might not quite have been made.

            If Francis wants to teach something, he can come out and do so. If it’s something that he won’t stand before the Church and say with authority, then it doesn’t have authority. There’s no magisterium of rumors, innuendos, unconfirmed remarks and between-the-line readings.

          • You are in no way defending the Church from anything, you are just being lazy and noncommittal. And that’s why we are at this juncture today, because of attitudes like yours. Own it.

          • I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t say anything about the “divorced and remarried” issue. I’m suggesting that trying to read the Papal tea leaves doesn’t help us to do that more effectively. I don’t need to play more games of “What did the Pope really say?” to know that “remarriage” is adultery and that giving communion to those in adulterous relationships is harmful, including to the people themselves. Since nothing that Pope Francis says can change that, bringing his alleged comments into it just muddies the water.

            “The other side” would love to play a political game where they box us into fighting over the Pope rather than over the Truth.

            It’s not like I could vote Francis out of office if I wanted to, so what’s the point of making it about him? The fight is about obedience to Christ. If asked about the Scalfari interview, I think that it’s better to skip past debating what was said and right to what Jesus said.

          • You may not need a clear representation of Catholic doctrine, but the majority of self-identified Catholics surely do. This essay does not exist in isolation, it exists as a response to error stated in various places.

            It’s also never been about fighting about the pope. It’s always been about fighting so that the truth wins out. It just so happens that the greatest enemy of truth these days is the man who sits the Perrine throne. Because of his authority, both real and misconstrued, what he says matters. When he contradicts Jesus — which he has and is doing — he sets himself in opposition to what Jesus said.

            And since he’s here with us speaking, we must speak for Christ, who has been silenced by the long march of history and those who believe this entitles them to betray Him.

          • I see that this wasn’t written in isolation and I didn’t mean to be critical of you for weighing in (and, unlike many, sensibly) on the matter. To the extent that I’m critical (which wasn’t my dominant sense), it’s of all of the hand wringing to try to spin the situation (so, not what you did). I just think that, as a group (however one wants to define the group), we’re making this papacy harder on ourselves by spinning our wheels with endless discussion of what Francis really said/means… Especially when he’s being deliberately slippery.

            I wish that Catholics could count on the Holy Father to instruct them in the Truth with clarity, but there’s not much that any of us can do about that. Since even more of that falls on us now, and since it’s an even harder job with the creation of so much confusion, I think that it’s more important than ever that we stay focused on communicating the Christian message effectively… And I think that that requires a lot of hesitation about diving into the whirlpools of confusion that Francis creates. Scripture and the Church have said plenty about “remarriage” and the Eucharist, so the case for the Truth can be made very effectively without Francis’ comments. I think that a lot of us have laid out that case effectively in our families, communities, and churches and online. It seems that we’re better off staying on message when Pope Francis decides to “hagen lio” rather than getting pulled into things like exegesis of say-nothing statements from the Vatican Press Office.

          • “Since nothing that Pope Francis says can change that, bringing his alleged comments into it just muddies the water.” Now you’re repeating yourself. You have to do better, piety troll. Straw men everywhere. No one is “debating what the Pope said”, we are merely pointing out what he DOESN’T say, that he’s supposed to say, and what he DOESN’T do, that he’s supposed to do.

          • Gosh, Steve Skojec, Mike M said we are being lured into a trap! I guess we better just be quiet or else suddenly marriage will become dissoluble. Or something.

          • You are a great example of CS Lewis’ “men without chests”. Don’t take solace in the fact you have a lot of company: the road to hell is wide.

          • Lewis argued that people should have something between their heads and their stomachs… Not that they should be all heart and ignore their intellects and gut instincts. My head tells me that whether Pope Francis said what he is said to have said or not doesn’t change the argument that we need to make in defense of the indissolubility of marriage and the place of the Eucharist. And my gut tells me that the issue’s being dangled there to lure us into a trap.

          • Gah, so many strawmen, so little time. Our job is to discern, analyse, stand up for truth, refute error. In short, to recognise and resist. It is not to “go quietly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence…” Regardless of what that poster on granny’s wall said sometime circa 1975.

  25. Surely we are now at a critical junction as never before. Is a Pope about to deny the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage and contradict the seventh commandment? The implications of all this are terrifying. Pray! Pray! Prady!

    • “Is a Pope about to deny the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage and contradict the seventh commandment?”

      Bergoglio can deny it all he wants and whether or not he is actually Pope??? And the seventh commandment deals with stealing unless, of course, you’re a protestant heretic in which case the commandments become irrelevant because they are subordinate to your conscience.

  26. Steve, you wrote, “Otherwise, there’s no point in even bringing this [Communion for the divorced.] up. It’s not a subject in contention. It already exists in practice. It’s not something that needs to be mentioned in future tense: ‘will be admitted’ as opposed to ‘already are admitted.'”

    Not necessarily. It was never made clear in most discussions about the Synod that it’s the “remarried,” and not the “divorced,” status that is problematic. However most times they are lumped up together as in, “divorced and remarried,” with no hyphens.

    That was clever of the interview to exclude “and remarried” to show there is really nothing wrong with what is claimed to be Pope Francis’ stand. Not everyone knows that divorce alone should not render one incommunicable, especially if one were the innocent party and not sleeping around. It is good to make clear that “divorced alone” and “divorced-and-remarried” are two different situations.

    If anything has no point in happening, it’s the Synod itself, if you ask me. There should not be any need to try to change [or reinterpret] Our Lord’s and the Church’s teachings on marriage.

  27. Here from a very liberal source is an estimate of what ecclesiastical criminality has cost the Church in the US. This is merely the staggering financial cost; the cost in credibility has been even more punishing. Here is one stinging answer to all those cringingly pious folks who think laymen should simply shut up and let the pope and bishops run the Church without criticism, regardless of how badly they are doing the job. Figures, they say, don’t lie, and the figures in this article teach us the lesson that father just doesn’t always know best.

  28. This entire article supports what I’ve been saying all along. Bergoglio uses the media as his trial balloon to perfection. And it isn’t so much a trial balloon, because he has had every intention, from the moment the rigged conclave concluded, to push this agenda forward, but he has played the ‘misunderstood’ and ‘mistranslated’ card to the hilt. He KNOWS perfectly well that whatever he tells the media will be reported to the world as the new magisterium and the local bishops or priests who don’t want to go along (if there are ANY), will be threatened into submission when the first parishioner shows up in front of the eucharistic monster expecting to receive communion. And the synod documents contain all of the ‘time bombs’ Bergoglio wanted; which, let us be honest, the bombs have already been detonated. Next stop: ‘discernment’ and ‘accompaniment’ of the sodomites. And it won’t stop there. I’ll leave it to your imagination.

    I don’t care what anyone commenting on this blog says, Ratzinger left office (he didn’t abdicate, since he was never crowned) because of the documents his butler, Paolo Gabriele, got hold of which showed he explicitly covered for all the pederast presbyters for years. It had nothing to do with his age and/or his supposed infirmity. He won’t leave the Vatican city/state for fear of prosecution. And as for Bergoglio, he is complicit in covering the same crimes as did Ratzinger. No pederasts have been dealt with since the conclave. In fact, he glad hands and has photo ops with perverts, pederasts and sodomites. And Lombardi and Rosica will tell you to not believe your lying eyes.

    In addition, two books are coming out; one titled “Avarice” and the other, “Merchants in the Temple” about the selling of ‘sainthood’ for hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more, and about widespread corruption in Wojtyla’s, Ratzinger’s, and Bergoglio’s regimes. Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda (number 2 man at the finance commission) and Francesca Chaoqui (press officer for the commission) released letters that had been sent to Bergoglio about widespread corruption in his regime and about which he does nothing. Instead, he had Balda and Chaoqui arrested for releasing the information. It’s Paolo Gabriele all over again. What does Bergoglio do next? Resign and hand the baton off to one of the Germans, or pull a disappearing act?

    And as for the petition, even though I signed it with some very terse words, I have to say, that I don’t think it did a bit of good in terms of stopping this agenda. Bergoglio and his cohorts had a good laugh at it, I’m sure. This whole Vatican III thing was sown up a long time ago.

  29. Much clarity can be gained, I guess, by better listening to Scalfari. He seems to be the real Pope. For what is Francis without Scalfari, and what will become of him once Scalfari is gone?


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