Clare Short, author of the Catholic blog Faith in Our Families, has published an open letter to Pope Francis. She writes:
I have supported you and defended you many times this year. Even when I was unsure of exactly what it was you were saying – I always gave you the benefit of the doubt and stood up for you against those who were criticising you. However regarding your recent comments denouncing the “rigid” attached to doctrine as “Pharisees” I am sorry but with a heavy heart, I have to disagree with you:
You are correct in saying that the Pharisees of 1st Century Jerusalem were politicians. They were not interested in the spirituality of the Jewish faith in anyway shape or form. All they were interested in was satisfying their lust for power and status over the people. In this way they held God’s people in contempt. They used rules and regulations to keep people captive.
But Holy Father, don’t you understand?…
The religious politicians of the 21st century are your friends – the Walter Kasper’s and the Cormac Murphy O’Connor’s of this world. They are the ones trying to control the Family Synod. They are the ones manipulating the media. They are the ones doing deals and getting their mates into the position of Bishop to further their own political agenda, when they really, really should never have even been there (Kieran Conry). Just like the Pharisees of 1st century Jerusalem, they are primarily concerned with their own lust for power and status. They hide this behind a smoke screen of words and phrases that seem to offer salvation, but are in-fact as empty as the rules and regulations of 2000 years ago. They hold God’s people in contempt by offering them apparent solutions to the problem of sin. They do not do this by keeping them captive in rules and regulations, but instead they seek to abolish ALL rules and regulations and usher in a climate of relativism. When people perceive their sin as relative, the rules and regulations no longer apply: and consequently their sin no longer exists.
Holy Father don’t you see? The real 21st century Pharisees operate by keeping God’s people captive in their own sin.
It’s a respectful and insightful critique of the latest papal salvo against those Catholics who believe that it’s important to follow the law of the Church. It serves as a reminder that Catholics who love the pope can — and should — express their disagreement and concern with some of his statements.
The whole thing is a worth a read.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.
The Remnant Forum: The Pope’s Enemies List?: http://youtu.be/6-8wgpmQVV4 via @YouTube
What else does the Pope have to do and what else does the Pope have to say for Catholic Traditionalists to stop wondering what he really thinks of them?
Like the successful conspiracy of modernists (that began prior to the opening of V2) that took control of V2 early on, he has absolutely no love for the Church as she existed prior to V2 and he has no use for the Church as she existed throughout time up until V2 an he has no love for those who think differently about the 33A.D. – 1962 A.D. historical Church than does he.
Soon-to-be-Canonised Pope Blessed Paul VI confessed during V2 that we.have the cult of man and and the new shadow church is an anthropocentric one (as Du Lubac conceded) and in Francis, the Church has Paul VI cubed.
One can be as respectful as one can be but one will not defeat the agenda of this very willful man; that is a task that will or will not be undertaken ( oblique pun) by Our Triune God depending upon just how much punishment we deserve (prolly much much more than the little we have suffered so far).
Pray for the Pope, yes, but expect him to act in a way different than how he used to act in Argentina and how he has acted since his election? There is no rational basis for doling so.
What on EARTH does he mean by “banana peel”? What is the banana peel that makes them “take a good fall” and feel shame and realize they are sinners? Surely he does not mean he hopes they commit a serious sin? And once again I really wonder who he is talking about? People who do their best to teach and follow Christ’s laws. who show proper reverence for the blessed sacrament, who honour the sacrament of marriage, who practice chastity according to their calling, who go to confession, who keep the fasts?!??!
Yes, Dorothy, it seems quite clear that he is viscerally disgusted by people who think like Cardinal Burke. Or you. Or me.
The reference to traditionalism sparked an immediate reaction among professed Ratzingerians who pointed to a discontinuity with Benedict XVI. But these censors got it wrong. It was the then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger himself who spoke about the “Pelagianism of the pious”. During the Spiritual Exercises of 1986 (in the book “Guardare Cristo: esempi di fede, speranza e carità” [Looking at Christ: Examples of faith, hope and charity]; published by Jaka Book), Ratzinger said: “the other face of the same vice is the Pelagianism of the pious. They do not want forgiveness and in general they do not want any real gift from God either. They just want to be in order. They don’t want hope they just want security. Their aim is to gain the right to salvation through a strict practice of religious exercises, through prayers and action. What they lack is humility which is essential in order to love; the humility to receive gifts not just because we deserve it or because of how we act…” Benedict XVI
Similar to Dominus Iesus and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Ratzinger used an irrational inference in Ut Unum Sin
Good letter, but she’s not going to change Pope Francis’ worldview. He despises the defenders of doctrine who rightly state that praxis must conform to doctrine, and that the Church must insist that its members accept and comply with its teachings in order to fully participate. To him, these are modern-day Pharisees. He thinks they have rotten, putrid hearts. He prays to God that they will be given a come-uppance because he sees them as arrogant hypocrites. Accordingly, he looks upon the likes of Cardinal Burke (and by extention, of course, Pope Benedict) with visceral disgust. He never names names, of course, but we all see who he is talking about with these repeated charges of “Pharisee!” He hates the Church that was rebuilt by St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict in the wake of the Council and he plans to radically transform it. Anyone who cannot see this has been wearing blinders.
I should explain what I mean when I say Pope Francis plans to radically transform the Church. I see two primary aspects of this.
First is the notion that the Church should accept everyone as they are with no demands. He recently lectured a group of over 100 bishops in Rome. He said “I beg you to resist the temptation to try to change people. You must accept God’s children as they are.” He has also repeatedly said that the Church must stop trying to “control” peoples’ faith. In his worldview, the Church should simply state the doctrine, and then let each man follow his own conscience and accept or reject as much of it as he wants. This may imperil the person’s soul, but that is between the individual and God. It is not the Church’s place to “insist” on anything. Remember, one of the most controversial statements of the first few months of his Papacy was that the good or evil of an action is determined by whether one follows his own concience, and that as long as one follows his conscience he can go to heaven. This is why he reacts with such visceral disgust toward anyone who suggests that the Church should ever deny the Sacraments, whether to an abortion-promoting politician or to the divorced and remarried. He sees this as priests standing between the People and God, denying them access to his healing grace. This is a nice theraputic theology, but it directly contravenes the established Magisterial teaching of the Church.
The second form of radical transformation concerns ecumenism. One of the first things he said after being elevated to the papacy was that the greatest failure of the Church since the Council has been its failure to fully pursue and implement its call for ecumenism. And, he said, he has the “audacity” to try to do it. He seems to believe that, essentially, all Christian movements are valid and led in some way by the Holy Spirit. He despises those who insist that we Catholics have the “right” way or, particularly, those who insiste that we have the “only true” way. For hi, the “protest” of the “Reformation” is over and all Christian sects should be seen as in some way the work of the Holy Spirit. We should stop trying to convert Protestants and instead and work together with them to serve the poor – which in his view is far more important than whatever differences we have. This is what he means by Christian “unity” – i.e., not that all should return to the One True Faith but that all Christian confessions be accepted as valid manifestations of God’s will. He seems perfectly fine with Protestant Christians remaining outside the Church. He is not seeking to convert them – he sees such attempts as unnecessary and counter-productive. As long as they are seeking Jesus and following their consciences they should be encouraged. This all comes down again to his visceral disgust at anyone or anything in the Church that “insists” or makes “demands” or “imposes.”
My open letter to Pope Francis.
Alright traditionalists, this is how I understand it:
MY open letter to Pope Francis
Dear Pope Francis,
I just wanted to express my support for all you are doing. I never could understand why the Church created laws that God has not and the example you cited about this is perfect. As a reverting Catholic, things like this is why I left years ago, and what you wrote encourages me to return while the posted open letter does not. Clearly, creating laws that are not God based are indeed Pharisaic and I think the Church would be much more populated and stronger without them.
-On the Long Journey