Browse Our Articles & Podcasts

Down the Rabbit Hole: On the Virtue of Prudent Speech


Poland, 1982: A young woman early into her fifth pregnancy sits in a doctor’s office at the end of an examination.

“You know, ma’am, you really need to be more responsible about your fertility. You don’t have to breed like a rabbit.”

The doctor – a dedicated communist – proceeds to write her a referral for an abortion that she has not asked for. The woman, a devout Catholic, politely thanks him for his advice and proceeds to ignore it, choosing instead to give birth to the woman who would eventually become my wife.

Little wonder that my wife, now inconveniently pregnant with our third child, is feeling a bit abused by the Pope’s recent “rabbit” comments. Not being a reactionary and possessed of a quality theological education (including an advanced degree), she knew to ignore the partisan squabbling and instead research the Pope’s comments in context. She knows what he “really meant”, but also knows that she’ll be hearing the “don’t breed like rabbits” comments from well-meaning critics (Catholic and otherwise) for the rest of her child-bearing life. She knows that the Pope followed his comments with welcome praise of Pope Paul VI and Humanae Vitae, but also realizes that most people outside of the small orthodox Catholic bubble don’t know what any of that means. She knows that all of this talk about “breeding like rabbits” will keep the majority of Catholics in their contraceptive sin (which will also keep the majority of Catholics in a constant state of Eucharistic sacriliege), while anti-Catholics will have yet another home-spun barb to thrust into our hearts.

Ultimately, while continuing to give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt, my wife joins many women in being baffled that such a cruel choice of words could even occur to the Pontiff. If these were truly unprepared comments, why were these the first words that came to mind? And why weren’t they immediately recanted?

There is a great virtue, you see, to prudent speech. Whether from prepared comments or impromptu dialogue, prudence is essential to Papal presentation. Anyone who regularly engages in public speaking can forgive a slip of the tongue, the choice of an inept analogy, or simply a bad choice of words. Yet whether professor or pope, those with a teaching office bear the direct moral responsibility to speak clearly and truthfully, and to correct themselves when errors or misunderstandings occur.

The frustrating problem with imprudent speech which also carries the weight of Papal authority is that no amount of common prudential explanation seems sufficient to reverse the tide of colossal misunderstanding. Prudent speech, you see, is a slow weapon in an imprudent world. If Pope Francis truly believes the philosophical catch-22 that “reality is better than ideas,” then this Catholic kindly asks of him to consider that a hundred beautiful spontaneous moments may not equal the damage of one poorly placed yet prominent one-liner. In swinging to give evil a “punch on the nose,” one must be careful to not inadvertently strike one’s nearest and dearest.

The Shepherd, first and foremost, must tend to his sheep – who depend entirely on his love and care in a hostile and increasingly imprudent world.

99 thoughts on “Down the Rabbit Hole: On the Virtue of Prudent Speech”

  1. ” Not being a reactionary and possessed of a quality theological education (including an advanced degree), she knew to ignore the partisan squabbling and instead research the Pope’s comments in context. She knows what he “really meant”, but also knows that she’ll be hearing the “don’t breed like rabbits” comments from well-meaning critics (Catholic and otherwise) for the rest of her child-bearing life.”


    • Just another opportunity to open up a dialogue and preach the gospel! What other people have to say about this, (I have 13 kids), has nothing to do with whether or not I will obey God’s will for my life- it only usually affects me in terms of how much derision or how many obstacles I might face from day to day in living it out. Not much will change there- who are we kidding? This has never been easy and it matters very little what the Pope says about it- or so it seems from past experience. So, again, I will encourage my sisters in the Lord who are open to life- when the gauntlet is thrown, be strong and courageous, pick it up and declare to them all- BRING IT! We know what we are about, and we can explain it with compelling truth, joy, anointing, and power. If God is for us, who can stand against us?

      • Some of us – including me – have no intention of being any less courageous, evangelistic etc than we already are. We do, however, think there was something very wrong in what the Pope said and has been saying all along.

        • And some of the rest of us, very likely of incredibly similar ilk, choose to see and understand it differently- not finding fault with what the pope says or how he says it, but rather, considering that to be outside our personal purview- and instead, taking to task the ungodly for the sake of bringing light and love to a desperate and dying world. It does not serve our purpose to criticize or pick apart what the Holy Father does and says. He has not made a declaration of dogma, he had a personal conversation with people who asked him questions. I wasn’t there- I don’t really know what happened or what was really said or what was intended. It really doesn’t profit me or anyone else to go on and on about it in speculation. That dynamic feeds disunity, dissension, bitterness and a long list of unspiritual and unCatholic vices. Been there, done that- choosing something different now.

          • I think that it would serve all of us better if we spent more time talking about what we have to say and think about ourselves our own experience and our own lives in Christ rather than continually spiraling out about what someone else said the pope said about something in a conversation that had nothing really to do personally with any of us.

          • The Pope is the most visible person of the Church Visible. I could tell you that yesterday at Confession I asked a holy priest (who was told by Padre Pio in 1963 that what the world needs most is holy priests) if I could please kneel when receiving Communion (we have no communion rails and no one kneels to receive, though one or two genuflect), and he said yes, and that I could hardly finish my confession, I was so moved with gratitude. Would that make it more likely that anyone who does not already do so will receive on the tongue while kneeling? But if the Pope said to reporters that the best way for everyone to receive Communion is on the tongue while kneeling, it would help the Church universally, and yes, me personally. Contrariwise, what he says, and the interpretations and misinterpretations of what he says, could damage the Church and—as some articles in OnePeterFive testify—Catholics personally.

            Dear Steve: I apologize for commenting so often. I’m putting my mouth where my money is. Leo

          • Then you will get more of both.

            This is fiction:

            It will be remembered, however, that during the pontificate of John XXIII and the first two sessions of the council Edmund had been positively optimistic. The old sectarian shrieks of “No Popery” had been turned into veneration of the Pope and admiration of the council. Now, it was precisely that – the very cause of his optimism – which had become the principle cause of his depression, along with Archbishop Roberts and episcopal porn. Every day he had to put up with well-intentioned compliments. “That’s a wonderful pope you’ve got. Seen this article? He says we’re all Christians together, be we Jews or Muslims. That what I’ve always believed.” “By Jove, Rougham, you’ve got quite a bright boy in that Cardinal Suenens. He says we marry to have intercourse, nothing to do with bloody brats. Didn’t know you Papists were so broad-minded.” “Hello, Rougham! You’re a Papist, aren’t you? Congratulations! Your church has shed the blinkers. I married my daughter to one of yours last Saturday. No dam’ nonsense about promises and so on. The vicar did it splendidly in the village church with your chap in attendance. Just right. That’s Christian charity for you.” “Went to one of your services the other day. A bit Low Church for my taste, but at least one knows what it’s about.” “Have you read what your pope said yesterday (December 7th, 1965)? ‘The religion of God made man has met the religion of man made God…There is no opposition…We, more than anyone, favour the promotion of man.’ That’s what free-thinkers and humanists have said all along. Shake hands, Rougham, old boy!” “Good show, Edmund! I suppose that now you Catholics have become Protestants, we shall have to become R.C.’s to preserve our independence.” And so on and on, day in, day out. It was a cross which the laity but not the clergy had to endure. Can there be a more painful predicament than to have to accept as a compliment what in all the world one most hates?

            — Bryan Houghton, Judith’s Marriage, 1987, pp. 192–193.

            Off to Mass. Will proofread later.

          • When you set an example of rightly-ordered piety, the pious will be moved to follow it- or those to whom the grace to be disposed to be more pious will respond in kind to that grace.

            HOWEVER, it is so NOT a given that a whole host of others won’t think you are a self-righteous ass making everyone have to wait 7 seconds longer to get through the communion line- so in that light, maybe your piety is just a stumbling block to the everyone and it would be better to wear the millstone necktie and dive off the nearest pier-

            So, we have to reclaim our self-possession, but allow the same to others in so far as the situation allows- I would think to do what is on your heart to do for love of Christ and let the rest of the people who have ideas and opinions about it deal with it in Him.

            Those who have the heart to love and respect you for love of Christ will very likely give glory to God and be filled with joy- and well, the ‘haters are jes’ gonna hate.’ There is a gap in between us, that the Holy Spirit still retains sovereignty over and I think trusting Him with that space is wise.

          • Hi, Jo. Thanks for your concern. Actually, it takes me one or at most two seconds more to receive, and the wait is at the cup (which I’ve started to skip). No one has followed my example, but the people around me—those who would notice a delay—have been as friendly as ever. None has mentioned my kneeling. In truth, they seemed happy to see me, or at least they said so afterwards (i had missed a few days because of the cold weather).

            Perhaps I’m lucky because I (and my wife, who I know is loved) have attended the same church for 25 years and people have learned not to take too seriously anything I do. They don’t know me for the self-righteous ass I am in my comments to 1P5.

            I’m going to ask the Eucharistic Minister before the anticipated on Saturday if I may please kneel. If she says no, I won’t. Obedience is more important to me than anything else. Alas, our church is never full, and the whole host of others is always outnumbered by the hosts waiting (I should perhaps say, desiring) to be received. On the other hand, there are no haters in our parish, that I’m aware of. YMMV.

          • Just to clarify: I am sure you are in no way a self-righteous ass, here or otherwise!
            I think I have given off that vibe myself, unintentionally, by my erstwhile wearing of a veil. And i even had people tell me, ‘you know wearing a veil is so conspicuous that one might be tempted to think you were wearing it to attract attention…’ I just think to myself, ‘No, no, no,- I had this passel of unruly children, back to back ,for that purpose…’

            I think it is lovely that you would be willing to go so far as to not offend a Eucharistic minister that you would ask about this, but I’ll tell you straight up I could not care less if the Eucharistic minister is worried about the flu when I open my mouth to receive on the tongue- and if the priest prefers it, we will likely have show down on the altar. Fortunately for me it has never come to that where I live.

            I, too, have limits to my patience, lowly sheep that I may be- and they don’t always go over well with my nearest and dearest friends in the Lord either. I think that is why I harp on the idea of bearing with one another in love, maybe because I need the exhortation myself so desperately.

          • Received from Fr. Farano—he didn’t bat an eyelash.

            In churches—not mine—with altar rails, people stand or kneel. No rush, no fuss, no bother. Since only the priest moves and there’s less bowing, things go faster.

          • I’m going to ask the Eucharistic Minister before the anticipated on Saturday if I may please kneel. If she says no, I won’t. Obedience is more important to me than anything else

            But I don’t think the EMHC has the right to refuse you. If they did, they would be the one being disobedient.

          • In which case you shouldn’t have to ask.
            If they are aware of the rule that settles it.
            If they are not aware of the rule, they should go along with you for it is easy to see that you desire to receive the Lord in the proper way He ought to be received. Plus the fact that you are their friend. 🙂

          • Leo, today I am lying in my bed anticipating the imminent attack of a course of ongoing vomiting with the stomach flu, this is Day Four in my household of nine with this bug.

            This statement you have made here is so resoundingly meaningful to me, I do not think I will forget it anytime soon.

            I struggle continually, and I am sure many well meaning people do, with where the boundaries are on insisting on justice toward myself because it is virtuous and rightly ordered and placing the preferences or needs of another in love above that justice in my heart and in practice.

            I will be meditating on this today per your example, and I am really grateful that you shared it- I hope it will help to change my life for good.

          • I think that it would serve all of us better if we spent more time talking about what we have to say and think about ourselves our own experience and our own lives in Christ rather than continually spiraling out about what someone else said the pope said about something in a conversation that had nothing really to do personally with any of us.

            But the sad reality is that it DOES have something to do with us.
            When he made the comment about obsessing about abortion, the faithful who have been battling the culture of death were gutted and the pro-abortion rejoiced.
            When he made the “whom am I to judge comment” the LGBT rejoiced and every dissenting left learning Catholic has been using this to shore up their bankrupt philosophies.
            What the Pope says does affect us because what he says guts evangelization which we are all called to do.

          • Yes, and no, it does have something to do with us. This sounds like so many insecure children balking at every potential nuance of injustice in conversation with dad.

            I am not diminishing the hurt or heartache we all take from careless leaders- I have 13 kids, 9 of them are boys- if you think I haven’t heard my share of $4!Z from even devout Catholics that should know better, up close and personally- oh wow, I could write volumes.

            But the point we have to internalize and really focus on is what is God doing in our hearts and minds and lives as He refines us through the different storms we experience? That is worth way more of this bandwidth than what I think about Francis, for starters. Secondly, if I never engage with outbursts of negative emotion the wild ride the devil wants us to take over every comment the Pope makes how long and how far will he (satan) be able to yank that chain in the minds of the masses? Then if I live something so consistent with the love of Jesus that it stands out like it should, then how much more will that do to bring the truth to the people I live near who are the ones I am called to effect?

          • That is worth way more of this bandwidth than what I think about Francis, for starters.

            If the discussion is based on the superficial aspects (He’s so great he ditched the red shoes) then yes.

            But we are talking about something far, far more important than that.

            Secondly, if I never engage with outbursts of negative emotion the wild ride the devil wants us to take over every comment the Pope makes how long and how far will he (satan) be able to yank that chain in the minds of the masses?

            Only because you assume that it is the devil wanting us to take the wild ride. How do you know that it is not the Holy Spirit prompting these men to voice their opinions that we may all be enlightened?
            Is it only your concerns that is worth spilling on the pages of a blog?

          • Brilliant questions! And exactly the ones we should all apply ourselves to asking, myself first and foremost. (Simcha Fisher is asking the same question on her blog.) Is this the Holy Spirit’s agenda or our own? I will definitely revisit this for myself with intention and I do hope others will as well.

          • Is this the Holy Spirit’s agenda or our own? I will definitely revisit this for myself with intention and I do hope others will as well.

            Is the Holy Spirit’s agenda only your way and everyone else’s is of the devil?
            My, my you are making quite a claim there.

            If more people had spoken during Martin Luther’s time to highlight the errors do you think it would have been possible that the Protestant revolt would have been avoided?

          • “Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See—they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations”

            – Fr. Melchior Cano O.P., Bishop and Theologian of the Council of Trent.

          • The problem is that he is, and has been, giving aid and comfort to enemies of the Church by using words and phrases that can be easily construed to match their ideologies. He has insulted his own more times than we can count:

            He has not criticized those who are opposed to the faith: Muslims, communists, homosexual advocates, etc.

            The faithful, particularly those who have spent the longest time under the impression that what the pope says represents the mind of the Church, need to be consoled. They need to be reminded that a pope can be wrong; that the things he says that will invariably be used against them in the living out of their faith are not things that they must defend.

            No Catholic wants to find themselves at odds with the pope. But this pope comes from a place where the faith seems not to have been as it should be. He misrepresents, twists, and at times simply makes a mess of his presentation of the Gospel message.

            It hurts people. It scandalizes them. Why should millions of people go out of their way to defend the imprudence of one man, when that one man’s imprudence hurts millions?

            He is the pope. His office must be respected – first of all by him. But his every word and action need not be free of scrutiny. He has hundreds of predecessors, and there is a deposit of faith by which we may judge his words and actions.

          • I respectfully disagree. I don’t see it the same way you do. I don’t think Francis is aiding and abetting enemies of the Church. And I am not scandalized by what he does or says, since I am very rarely privvy to anything he is saying directed at me personally- the condition under which I might have the right and responsibility to assess of examine even his actions with Christian judgement.

            At the same time however, there is a BOATLOAD of biased reporting about some of those things- many many second hand sources making statements under the guise of objective journalism- a commodity which is so rare we seem to have actually lost any real clue as to what that would look like.

            Unless you saw or heard him do or say something you personally do not understand, then yes, you do have an obligation not to make an opinion about it. That is the protection we should be particularly careful to give to one another per the 8th commandment. When we see and hear because we are present to see and hear something we don’t get, then there is a very clear guideline in the book of Matthew in sacred Scripture about how we are to deal with those things.

            This, right here- this is just gossip on steroids.

          • His words are amplified on a global stage. His imprudent speech – and that’s the best we can often say about it – leads many people to interpretations that are not compatible with Church teaching. He has made a number of significant theological misstatements. He was responsible for the tone and direction of the deeply problematic synod – as well as the retention of the most troubling language from the mid-synod relatio despite it being voted down by the synod fathers. He allows people to speak heresy in his name without correction. A number of his friends have reported to the media that he has said things which are deeply problematic (such as telling non-Catholics not to convert) and from the Vatican, there is silence.

            If those of us with the ability to provide a counterpoint to these mistakes do not do so, who will? Certainly, we must be respectful in what we say and cautious about how we say it, but insofar as he is on record, we have the right (and I would venture, in some cases, the obligation) to provide clarity. I have heard from those who are considering leaving the Church because they are so scandalized, and others who have left the RCIA for the same reason. What about them? Is helping them with their concerns less important than avoiding public criticism of public statements and actions?

            It is true that we laity should not have to do this. But we aren’t left with a great deal of choice.

          • Steve, my son was at the synod and he did not understand what he saw and heard to be anything like what you just referred to here. And he was also a part of the conversation in writing the letter to families, but not that mid term document which just really shed light on the wild disparity and diversity in the issues before the Church.

            While these things are clearly above my head, I have travelled to over 10 different countries and I know that the way we perceive things in the United States is extremely different from the way many other people in other countries see things. And our cultural lens colors our perceptions of everything.

            I appreciate the compelling cause to pursue Truth and to preach the gospel, but what you have said here in this response about how you perceive the various things that have been reported about the pope is disconcerting to me, because it sounds like it has more to do with what rife, knee-jerk American opinion about Francis interprets his teaching and behavior to reflect, than anything he is actually about.

            That really bugs me. I don’t think any of us who were not directly present have a counterpoint of any value to offer the rest of the Church for clarity. I think what we are most often doing is transgressing against the 8th commandment. And it happens with everything- Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal Burke, His Holiness Francis, the African bishops and on and on and on.

            How is it helping people if we keep saying to them- ‘oh the Church teaches that Peter is infallible, but only rarely- so you don’t really have to listen to this guy, he’s nuts- But you should still be a devout Catholic like me, because this is the only place you can be sure the Holy Spirit is going to really give the real deal to save your soul.’

            It seems to me the potential convert response is going to be, “Ok, so, if the pope can’t get it right and your priests can’t get it right why the hell would I afflict myself with trying to obey all the banana squeeze oppressive anti-my-fun-for-me-anytime-I-want lifestyle? What? All the rest of y’all are getting it right, so we can ignore this other stuff, especially the sign of Christ as head and authority? So, God is going to lead YOU into all truth so you can keep us all straight because He obviously can’t handle His idiot pope?”

            Can you see how that might be what people see- when we do this? Can you see that it is counter to what we are trying to achieve?

          • “Peter is infallible, but only rarely- so you don’t really have to listen to this guy, he’s nuts- But you should still be a devout Catholic like me, because this is the only place you can be sure the Holy Spirit is going to really give the real deal to save your soul.’

            It seems to me the potential convert response is going to be, “Ok, so, if the pope can’t get it right and your priests can’t get it right why the hell would I afflict myself with trying to obey all the banana squeeze oppressive anti-my-fun-for-me-anytime-I-want lifestyle?”

            That’s exactly why what he’s doing is so deadly to the life of faith.

            Look, I say these things not only of my own accord. There is a growing group of academics and writers and priests and Catholic intellectuals who have grown increasingly concerned about what is going on. While those who have the capacity to do so seek a way to redress these issues in an official way, they have asked and encouraged reasoned criticicsm from those, like me, who cannot be censured for what I say.

            I’ve been studying theology for 20 years. I’ve been writing on these topics for over a decade. I’ve never seen or heard of anything like what is happening right now. It’s unique, and I would argue, unprecedented. Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who has an unimpeachable pedigree as a Catholic who grew up under Soviet Persecution (his pastor was martyred in a work camp and beatified by JPII) has said that we are in the fourth great crisis of the Church, second only to Arianism.

            His assessment of the synod, incidentally, is the best there is:


          • I very much appreciate your points and how you have made them, and I understand where you are coming from. I am going to take the time to read this link and this bishop’s statement- thank you.

            But, I still have to ask you if the most effective means to strengthen the Church in the modern era over these issues is for us the guys on the ground or the team in the trenches to publicly impugn the Pope, rather than employ discernment and talent in reiterating the teaching of the Church from a different perspective.

            Isn’t there a better way than joining in the melee stoked by the mass media His Excellency refers to in one of his points?

          • We need to separate mass media spin — which certainly exists — from documented or video-recorded statements, which also exist, in abundance.

            If you want an easy example that can’t be refuted by any translation error or spin, look at the distortion of the Gospel in Evangelii Gaudium 161. If you know your scriptures, you can probably say off the top of your head what the greatest commandment is. See a problem?

            I do believe that when a man sitting in the office of Peter — which many people attribute infallibility to, even when it is not applicable — is saying things that are nearly or perhaps actually crossing the line into heresy, we have an obligation to defend our Church.

            The Church is bigger than any single pope. If he says something that all of his predecessors would have disagreed with, why should we be silent while he contradicts their magisterial authority?

            Pope Honorius I was posthumously declared a heretic. 30 popes were declared antipopes. At least 7 others were manifestly horrible people.

            We have to deal honestly with what we’re facing. Isn’t God the very manifestation of pure truth?

          • But, Steve, in the moment- this is a family, and Jesus also said we would be known by our love. Now I agree love is not license, but I also know it is disordered for the child to rise up against the father- so where are the boundaries on this for us for the sake of our family honor?

            I am very serious about this take on the situation- I fully expect, in joyful anticipatory hope, to spend eternity in perfect unity with you, Leo, Howard, Louise, Francis and Bp. Schneider- after a brief buff up in the lava shower. So, while it might seem paradoxical, I am trying to avoid a dualist predilection when I come across these difficulties.

          • Steve, I read that para 161, and I think we could have an interesting discussion about that interpretation another time- :o) I don’t think it bugs me as much as it bugs you, and while I am a crappy Catholic compared to most- I am not a progressive and I do know my Bible and have studied some- not alot- but some, theology too.

          • I should note that Bp. Schneider specifically encourages resistance:

            “That in the very bosom of the Church, there are people who undermine the teaching of Our Lord became an obvious fact and one for the whole world to see thanks to the internet and the work of some Catholic journalists who were not indifferent to what was happening to the Catholic faith which they consider to be the treasure of Christ. I was pleased to see that some Catholic journalists and internet bloggers behaved as good soldiers of Christ and drew attention to this clerical agenda of undermining the perennial teaching of Our Lord. Cardinals, bishops, priests, Catholic families, Catholic young people have to say to themselves: I refuse to conform to the neo-pagan spirit of this world, even when this spirit is spread by some bishops and cardinals; I will not accept their fallacious and perverse use of holy Divine mercy and of “new Pentecost”; I refuse to throw grains of incense before the statue of the idol of the gender ideology, before the idol of second marriages, of concubinage, even if my bishop would do so, I will not do so; with the grace of God I will choose to suffer rather than betray the whole truth of Christ on human sexuality and on marriage.”

          • Others have responded to your comments about my post. I do agree with you that these things are clearly above [your] head.” Praying you can come out of the fog.

          • Reporting is biased, I agree, not from reading any of it about Francis, which I don’t with one exception, but on the basis of reading reports about things I directly know about. Usually, the only reporter I read is Sandro Magister. Not that Magister doesn’t give his own slant on things, but he links to original sources, reading which one can attempt, despite one’s own biases, to better understand what people are thinking, saying and doing.

            As I said, I don’t read reporting, but I recognize that they are a power that may have greater influence on history than the actual event itself. Remember the Maine? And one could cite more recent examples.

          • I respectfully disagree. I don’t see it the same way you do. I don’t think Francis is aiding and abetting enemies of the Church

            If it happened only once, I would probably agree with you.
            But the fact that it happens over and over and over again unfortunately proves Steve’s point.
            The debacle at the Synod is just one example. And THAT is a major debacle.
            He knows he gets twisted by the secular media and still he keeps at it.
            That He has been made the poster boy of the LGBT is no surprise.
            The Pope likes to engage in double speak. First he says praises big families, then he says the woman with her 7th C-section and now pregnant is irresponsible. He has this habit of shooting from the mouth then is perplexed when chaos ensues. Is he so naïve that he is not aware that his words can be twisted?

          • I understand why you see this the way you do and I respect your perspective. However, I have a son who served at the synod, and attended most of the meetings- and his opinion of the synod was very different from what you think for a variety of very sound reasons.

            I contend that the problems are already here- and have been for a long time, deeply entrenched in our culture and even in our own souls- us, the REAL Catholics- and what Francis says and does acts more like a catalyst to bring the dross to the surface than a causative. If we want orthodoxy then we need to live it ourselves and it looks a whole lot more like Jesus Christ and His Mother Mary than just dressing up our worship with the Latin Mass and Gregorian Chant- (although those things are FAR superior to a lot of hokeyness that masquerades as liturgy in our modern milieu.)

            I love Pope Francis, and love covers a multitude of sins. I trust God, and He is way more than capable of dealing with His own and because I can trust Him to deal with the need for conversion on every possible level amongst the hierarchy I am free to love them making every effort to love them and everyone else with the love Jesus and St. Paul describe in detail in Sacred Scripture.

            Decrying one another on the internet is not Christian love. Taking up the controversial issues and speaking the loving and salvific Truth of the gospel to one another and to the lost is love and that is what we are called to do.

            We spend ALOT of time talking amongst ourselves, and commenting on the internet in the public forum about how the Pope is failing us while most of us are failing Jesus. Brothers and sisters, this is what must change first, then when we have mastered ourselves and conquered the spirits that run rampant in our midst motivating a constant stream of transgressions against the 8th commandment in violations against charity- we can counter the lies with the Truth in love and with transforming power.

            I personally think the only public peanut gallery response to the media circuses is ‘I love the Pope, he is my Holy Father – and I am very sure that God will lead Him as He wants Him to lead us.’ If I don’t understand something he says or does, then I might say, ‘I don’t understand but I am very sure that God will handle it and handle it well.’ If there is a particular issue at stake, then let us reiterate the truth about the issue- protecting our relationships with one another and with the Holy Father. We don’t have all the answers about every thing in the moment from ‘here,’ wherever here is. And most of the time God isn’t really asking that from us anyway.

            God isn’t asking me what I think about Pope Francis, He is asking me how I am going love Him as best I can today through the duty and vocation He has given me. If I think that is harder, and that I am going to suffer more, because those to whom I owe obedience and loyalty are failing me in their duty or even victimizing me by their insensitivity or flippancy- then I have a responsibility to 1) heave that cross up higher on my shoulder redouble my efforts to make sacrifices on their behalf and my own, and 2) then to employ every possible act of mercy that I can, within my own personal province, to communicate with the ones hurting me in love, mercy, truth, and forgiveness. If my situation does not change for my benefit short term then I am called to suffer well.

            That is how I see it.

          • I don’t know if he reads his work. My boy is still pretty young (26) and pretty busy studying- but he is a generally a balanced and thinking individual with a real heart for finding ways to share the gospel with people and minister to souls, especially those who are suffering in some way.

            Magister is not my favorite- we have very different opinions about some things he has reported on. I think sincere objective journalists are few and far between these days. Everything is interpreted along certain lines and there is a strong polarization prevalent that I think obscures the virtue of authentic journalistic ethics. Too many egos seem to color reporting on the Church, in my opinion.

            But I change diapers for a living so, it’s really beyond my scope for the most part. Even commenting here is really off target for me- I should be doing the dishes.

          • Thanks, Jo. I don’t take my opinions from Magister, but I read him because he introduces me to people like Romano Amerio (but perhaps there is no one like Romano Amerio), who helped me to see that what Steve and others are trying to do is important for the salvation of souls. It’s not all about Francis.

          • How like you this?

            The duty of the moment is what you should be doing at any given time, in whatever place God has put you. You may not have Christ in a homeless person at your door, but you may have a little child. If you have a child, your duty of the moment may be to change a dirty diaper. So you do it. But you don’t just change that diaper, you change it to the best of your ability, with great love for both God and that child.… There are all kinds of good Catholic things you can do, but whatever they are, you have to realize that there is always the duty of the moment to be done. And it must be done, because the duty of the moment is the duty of God.— Catherine Doherty

          • If we want orthodoxy then we need to live it ourselves

            And where people deviate to make them accountable and expose the deviation.

            We spend ALOT of time talking amongst ourselves, and commenting on the internet in the public forum about how the Pope is failing us while most of us are failing Jesus.

            And because we sin therefore we should not highlight the problems being created by what the Pope says? That’s just plain absurd. That means that none of us should speak at all because we are all sinners.

            We don’t have all the answers about every thing in the moment from ‘here,’ wherever here is

            No one is saying we do. But our voices count. From reading the comments at the blogs, I have learned a lot and learned to think better. By reading the blogs, I know how to respond to those who tell me that the Church is changing its doctrines. We can’t burry our heads in the sand and just hope that everything turns out fine.

            God isn’t asking me what I think about Pope Francis, He is asking me how I am going love Him as best I can today through the duty and vocation He has given me

            And how do you know for sure that for some, this is not part of how they are being moved to express their love for God? Just because you are called one way to act, it does not mean that God is calling everyone to act your way.

          • “The authority of a particular person does not deprive members of the faithful of the right to compare the teaching of one of the Church’s ministers with the teaching of the Church universal.” — Romano Amerio, Iota Unum.

            An unspoken assumption is that one side of a discussion has charity and the other not. This hurts the discussion, though it is certainly true that as individual discussants we all, at least occasionally, fail in charity.

            Too bad that the Pope—or perhaps the press—does not more clearly maintain Jo’s distinction between Pope Francis, “the guy,” and Pope Francis the Infallible. Both may have extremely important things to say, and both should be heard with deep respect for love of the person and the office, but only one must be accepted without questioning by Catholics. And yes, we all should strive to be prudent in speech and in writing.

          • The pope might not always be the best authority on himself or his own teaching: “It is now widely recognized that it is impossible to point to any document signed by Pope Paul that ever made the use of the new Missal obligatory. It is also certain that Pope Paul said late in his reign that its use was obligatory, but he at no time indicated what decree was alleged to have made it so. [Translator’s note.]” — Iota Unum, p. 723fn.

          • That is absurd. There is nothing in Church teaching which says we may not criticise the Pope if there is just cause. I certainly wouldn’t advocate a lot of criticism, in general.

          • When your children begin to rise up and criticize you, (and if they haven’t yet they will- it happens to the best of us), I wonder if you will see it the same way.

          • If I were a really bad mother I would just have to lump it. Also if I have done wrong and they criticise me then I do have to take heed. I already have. And I’m not the Pope. Maybe I’m wrong about the Pope, but I don’t think so. You can’t see anything wrong in his behaviour. OK.

          • I did not say I don’t see anything wrong in his behavior; I said I am not in a position to judge or vilify, there is a difference there that I want to make very clear. There is a huge difference between humility of heart in questioning the words and actions we don’t understand as faithful sheep, and castigation from a significant distance with no real pertinent reason for such a conversation in the first place.

            Do we, the faithful commenting here, or do we not hold to the fullness of the teachings of the Church on these matters? Do we or do we not believe God when He promises to lead the Church into all truth and that the gates of hell will not prevail against it?

            IF there are concerns about what the Church teaches we can address those specifically and engage in conversation and dialogue about them in the public forum as a form of faithful evangelism, but we should be very careful about our tone, and our infighting- and the mandate and example to show respect and piety to one another and the Holy Father.

            It’s not happening here- and that is a much larger problem than what the pope said or did last week.

          • “with no real pertinent reason for such a conversation in the first place” — your opinion. I disagree.

            I will concern myself with the truth and leave you to fret about “tone.”

            “It’s not happening here- and that is a much larger problem than what the pope said or did last week.”

            I disagree.

          • I have lost the context of this response, and I think the one before it, I am not sure what you are referring to.

          • Louise said: Some of us – including me – have no intention of being any less courageous, evangelistic etc than we already are. We do, however, think there was something very wrong in what the Pope said and has been saying all along.
            (underline mine)

            I said: And not just this one but very many others.

            You said: Touche’-but not a very honorable slash, sir.

            I said: The sad thing Jo is that it happens to be true.
            And I mean by that that the Pope’s utterances have been a cause of confusion many times.

          • Thank you. I would then withdraw my remark. I misunderstood the context and thought something altogether different was being communicated, to which I was responding.

            I am sorry you see it the way you do, and I am sorry that what we believe is true is so distorted in our midst and beyond. And I am glad for those who will be courageous in continuing to follow Jesus to the cross and further.

            It is pertinent to remember that until the rest of us are a lot closer to being saints however, what the pope does or doesn’t say or do will not change the world by converting the hearts of men. JPII, case in point.

            Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35; and St. Paul said “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1Corinthians 13:4-7.

            The first is a pretty clear cut command by Our Lord Jesus Christ, (even if this translation I used is not the Douay Rheims.) What is going on in this blog and so many others, and is frankly a bit shy of the mark- both toward the popes and other clergy and between those with different opinions about what is going on. There isn’t anyone reading 1 Peter 5, I would venture to guess, who wants to see any deviation in Catholic dogma.

            Everyone has a fixed set of opinions about almost everything in Church teaching touching our culture and how it is all being handled by those in charge, but painfully few are saints- painfully few live in such a way or communicate in such a way that compels the reader to consider in prayer the truth of what is being said and to strive to understand it further, because so much of it is eclipsed by what seems to be an agenda dominated by personality, preference, and pride.

            If this is how your ‘real’ friends treat one another, Lord, is it any surprise you have so few?

  2. This comment tops Francis’s counsel that Catholics should not be “obsessive” about abortion, for which Planned Parenthood thanked him on its Facebook page.

    He managed to offend so many with his comparison of human procreation to breeding by animals. Thank God there was such a swift, spontaneous rejection of the Bishop of Rome’s remark, which the blogger Mundabor has named “Rabbitgate.” As your title”Down the Rabbit Hole” implies, Francis seems to be the alter ego of “the White Rabbit” from “Alice in Wonderland.”

    Another well-known blogger has chosen to defend these disastrous papal “airplane interviews” as a worthy endeavor, so your view provides needed correction: “The frustrating problem with imprudent speech which also carries the weight of Papal authority is that no amount of common prudential explanation seems sufficient to reverse the tide of colossal misunderstanding.”

    • You know the reason he said that is because there are people who cannot be reached for Christ because they will not hear the abortion argument, but they have a whole lot of other areas where they might be willing to seek help and get answers- does that mean the abortion issue goes away? Heck no- it just means we can table it for the moment in order to deal with what is more pressing pain in the lives of souls that are dying. Any decent physician is going to work on a patient with that same kind of discernment.

      We the ones who get the whole abortion debate- we don’t need the physician to justify our stance, we are right and we know it. But the people who are gouging out their eyes at the cost of their souls and subsequently feeding their own livers to the dragon- well, they can do without their eyes for the moment, but if the liver goes we lose the eyes too- so let’s let this one rest if we can get a more significant one in the moment with certain people for a certain amount of time- the issue doesn’t go away.

      At the risk of preaching ‘heresy’ here -and I am as pro-life, hard-hitting, pull-no-punches, anti-abortion as it gets, if I can get through for Jesus’ sake to someone by hook or crook through some other Achilles heel in their secular humanist agenda- I can let the abortion issue lie for the time being. Because I know without a shadow of a doubt it will be part of any honest conversion equation as it progresses- but if I can never even aid the conversion in coming into being- then I lose on the abortion front too.

      This is not rocket science, it is tradecraft.

      • “This is not rocket science, it is tradecraft.” Is it working? Is Mass attendance up? Are there longer lines for Confession? Has there been a spike in adults asking to be received into the Catholic Church? Have governments suddenly altered their laws to be compliant with Catholic social doctrine?

        “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18,19, RSVCE) The world hated Pope Benedict. Does the world hate Pope Francis?

        • Well, is it any different in our Church in our country than it has been since the scandals broke?

          There is an annual increase in people coming into the Church actually- believe it or not.

          Ok, before we go down the how worldly is the pope rabbit trail, let me ask you about the evangelical counsels in your own life, are you a religious? or if you are married, how many children you have fathered? Are they are all practicing their faith? If you are not married what state are you in as your vocation, and if you are single where are you as far as discerning and serving in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy?

          Is it right to judge Francis after two years according to this paradigm you have projected? Is it right for me to make an attempt to judge you based on the criterion I have put out here? I mean we are here in the public forum sharing our opinions and making definitive statements about the value of leaders in shepherding our souls, and it only seems fair- or is that not so because we are private citizens? Well, I am not sure you can find a chapter and verse to say we are off the hook, but the pope can be crucified by his own in print, if he fails to meet our standards.

          • I beg your pardon: you are the one who started judging him. You judged him and found him A-OK, by the standard of “look at all the good he is doing!” Maybe his strategy, though it does not appeal to me, is working, but there should be some evidence. I thought it was a mistake for John Paul II not to excommunicate Archbishop Milingo, but his patience brought forth repentance — at least for a time — so I had reason to acknowledge that his way of handling it was better than mine. So far, you’re not really giving me any evidence that your “not rocket science” understanding of Francis actually works.

          • I don’t think I said that. My main point is that I think more is being made of what Francis says many levels beyond the conversation in which he might have said what he did; and the general take on it harbors a spirit of nastiness, for lack of the correct word- clearly the media are mixing it up to generate attention- (and the more they get us worked up the more sparks fly within the Church especially among the devout, the less we get done in the world.) From there, Catholics get readily sucked in to willfully misunderstanding or just speculating in interpretation along incredibly harsh judgmental lines on what was said, and what it means, and how bad it is for all of us who are trying so hard to pursue authentic holiness, etc.

            Listen, the way I think this should look is- ‘Hey that guy is the Holy Father- and you know what, we don’t talk bad about our own in public. If we need to straighten someone out, we take them behind the woodshed and have a conversation there- not in front of the gawking public. We don’t air our family business or our dirty laundry in front of pagans or secular humanists because even the good we do is akin to pearls before swine with these people. So with this harder kind of stuff, if we start mixing it up in their ball park, they will devour us- and we will give them the forks and knives to do it!’

            So what should we do? Well, maybe the wiser more fruitful means for dealing with this is to bring up points, without reference to what is reported to be what the pope said, and less according to what Time or Newsweek think the Church teaches- but rather to creatively re-emphasize, counter to word on the street in the world, what we believe and how we choose to live, and how we are working out our salvation with fear and trembling. If they ask, well, what do you think about how Francis said such and such- the only real response is, you know what I wasn’t there so I don’t really know what you are referring to with any ability to comment, but I can tell you what I believe about what the Church has always taught about the issue you seem to be concerned about.

            I think there is a way to take control of the conversation for Christ without denigrating or dishonoring the pope, or any other Church leader. When correction is due, it should come from the next higher authority- or the next St. Catherine of Siena- because it seems to me that any other option just breeds disunity. And this house divided is falling down.

            ** I whole-heartedly apologize for my inability to use commas effectively, and for my deficient grammar.

          • Steve, I think you need to be modded. On the one hand this is not the most advanced era of human history, or of the Church. On the other hand, the gates of hell shall not prevail against—the Church. I agree with you, mostly, but please maintain civility, even if calling the Pope—or any religious—”that guy” was a step downward.

          • I didn’t mean it to be sarcastic. I meant that the idea that we’re just speculating because we’re not there is offset because transcripts exist, supplying us with the full text.

            We are analyzing what was actually said. Not guessing.

          • Have to disagree with you hear. I read Steve’s comment and I didn’t think it was in anyway offensive.

          • Nope, that was me- I apologize if that offended you because it was irreverent- I was trying to make a point with that kind of language, but I will raise the bar if it is bothersome.

          • But even with transcripts, if you listen to Francis when he is being frank and personable- like in his audiences, he has a particular way of talking to people- ok, that mentioned, have you ever had a conversation with someone and said something to them the they might resonate with but is not worded as the official position of the family or of the parents of this family etc.? (Clearly I do this all the time even when I type in comboxes- because I use colloquialisms or idioms to try to make my point more clear. Not a royal technique to be sure but it is what it is and I am who I am- much in need of improvement.) Now, I can’t defend the HF if he is being a bonehead- alright? But I am just not sure that is the case because until I hear him give this kind of talk to me or someone I can observe in person I am not going to take anyone else’s word for what is going on- because the stakes are really high when we begin to criticize the pope. I don’t want to go there.

          • “There is an annual increase in people coming into the Church actually- believe it or not.”

            This is simply not true. See the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (do a CTRL+F for “Mass Attendance”):


            Mass attendance in the US has been on a steady and consistent decline from 55% in 1965 (it was higher before the council and new Mass) to 22% in 2010. It rose slightly to 24% by 2013 and has stayed there.

            As for my vocation? I am a married man who has studied the faith since my teenage years, obtained a BA in Catholic theology from an orthodox college, taught the faith in CCD and Catholic schools, formed and managed youth groups, worked full time in apostolate, done missionary work in three countries, written on these topics for, again, over a decade, and am married to a woman whom I helped bring into the Church, with whom I am the father of six children, only one of whom is grown enough to make a decision for herself, and yes, she is still practicing.

            I am a sinner and a man in need of grace and mercy. But I am competent, more trained and knowledgeable than the majority of lay Catholics, and can read and understand.

            So I reiterate again: it is not speculation to take public statements and assess them in light of established and written Catholic teaching. It is only mildly speculative to take the repeated and consistent reports of third parties who all say that the pope is saying the same things to them in private and have nothing to gain by lying and assume these to be factual until corrected by the pope or his spokesman.

            Francis is presenting a huge problem to the Church, but he does not exist in a vacuum. Only roughly 10% of Catholics are catechized and engaged well enough to actually adhere to the core tenets of the faith. Statistics have shown there is no “Francis effect” in terms of bringing people into the Church; I would argue it’s more likely that he’s leading people, even if not by direct intention, away from her core doctrines.

            It is a serious situation, not to be underestimated. And I fear it is one only God can fully address.

          • I was being completely facetious about judging the works of any other- I am sure they are all meritorious in as far as they conform to the teachings of the faith and that many are heroic depending upon a host of private factors I can’t begin to evaluate.

            That mentioned- I see your point, but you yourself said it, this kind of problem is one only God can fully address. Where is our hope that He will do so and that even process will be a good for all of us? I am not counting on Francis I am counting on Jesus by way of Francis, because I am counting on Jesus by way of me- because I am counting on Jesus.

            Does that negate the challenges? No, of course not—- and for the record, I have 13 children, I am a convert, the only Catholic in my extended family, and my son in religion is a Legionary of Christ. I understand huge problems for the Church and I have been on my fair share of the receiving end of all kinds of abuse, and the consequences of it, failure of authorities to do their duty etc. etc. etc. And I have been carrying this ‘easy yoke’ of a large, far less than Better Homes and Gardens version of a band of hooligans we call family trying to follow Jesus for about 30 years. (I think our unofficial family patrons are Saints Olaf and Canute) Believe me the ‘breed like rabbits thing was less than comfortable here- even with a kid in a collar.

            I just wonder if this is the best way to do this- I think this method is more destructive than helpful. I just can’t laud people who drag stuff into the public forum and throw mud and shoot verbal bullets at one another here- I think it is really damaging. I’m not sure we need to so freely air our off the cuff opinions on Facebook, or in blogposts, or online mags because there is more editorializing than reporting going on, and it seems the first intention is to form opinion, when in our case as Catholics it needs to be to form souls (even when we seem to be experiencing a dearth of examples in this from higher up- Lord, you do see the problems here, right?)

            But this is not making people virtuous, it is not increasing love- it is not even always really shining a light on an azimuth for truth. Most often it causes people to polarize along partisan lines drawn by doctrine- decrying the institution of the Church while pretending to maintain the integrity of connectedness with some virtual ecclesial community.

          • I am sorry not to have chimed in sooner, but I remain grateful for the many comments on (and related to) my little commentary here. It is simply very good to see so much concern for our beloved Church. AMDG.

          • “There is an annual increase in people coming into the Church actually- believe it or not.”

            This is simply not true…. ” Mass attendance….”

            Is Jo talking about conversions or Mass attendance? What are Jo’s statistics? Does Jo accept Steve’s?

  3. ” I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter….” (Matthew 12:6, RSVCE) This is usually quoted to discourage foul language or gossip, but perhaps it has an even broader meaning. We don’t often fully appreciate the power of our words.

  4. Well, if we really think about the phrase, ‘breed like rabbits’ we can consider what such speech really means. Of course, no Catholic Christians ‘breed like a rabbits’ whether they have one child or fifteen, because inherent in our theology is the understanding that we are not animals. We have a particular nobility because we are not only made in the image of God, but also being conformed to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus. So, while at first take, in our usual defensive posture in this child hostile culture, we might misconstrue what His Holiness states and intends- when we ponder this mystery in our hearts- it is really of no offense to us because we know who and what we are about. Let us hope that by our witness and by His Holiness’ frank wisdom, the rest of our culture will begin to conceptualize the profound significance of the openness to life in the Christian family.

    • And you know what, if some band of merry trads wants to comment- ‘Oh you’re one of THOSE types who constantly bends and gyrates into a PR posture running interference for this regularly misstepping pope, who seems to be constantly in need of a decent press secretary…’ I will respond- I call this guy ‘HOLY FATHER’ because that is THE traditional reference applied to the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ on earth. Now, the Bible tells me repeatedly to bear with my family members in Christ in love and patience, to think the best of them at every point, to have boundless hope in the work and intention of God and His sovereign power to bring about the good He intends, and to sustain a child like faith in all things holy. So, it is not in anyway misplaced to opine as I have about the pope- in contrast the cynicism with which the American media, and tragically, especially devout Catholics convulse over everything Pope Francis purportedly says is in direct contrast with what Jesus taught. If we spent a little more time reading the Bible less time assuming we are all called to be some 21st century versions of St. Catherine of Siena we might get busy with the work at hand- changing ourselves, our families, our local parishes, and by degrees the unsaved masses through evangelism and personal holiness.

      • Got it. All is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows (20 posts be darned) because YOU know what YOU are about and besides as far as you’re concerned if you weren’t there to personally witness it, then nothing bad happened.

        I converted at the height of the abuse scandals. This wasn’t an issue for me because paradoxically, a family member had suffered similar (non clerical) abuse and I understood very well how and why it happens and also the very strange reactions of bystanders. It’s not a Catholic issue, it’s the tendency of people everywhere to exhibit the Normalcy Bias and the Just World Fallacy. The NICER someone is the less likely they are to believe a “trusted authority figure” would do wrong and the more likely they are to lose all concern for the victim soul, to the point of becoming a co-conspirator with evil. Believing the best of others and child-like faith are beautiful things when tempered with sound judgment. Wise as serpents and gentle as doves. But sticking your fingers in your ears and going, “blah, blah, blah, I didn’t hear or see anything!” is beyond cowardly.

        And of course, it’s not NICE to have to address any of this in public but we have a duty to the many souls who DO NOT KNOW what they are about, who are trying to find a path which grows more crooked every day.

        • Actually, what I am concerned about is piety, defined as the proper respect for the work of God with patience for the sake of Chrsitian unity. (And if I have to define my terms here I can do that if you don’t understand exactly what I am saying.)

          There is a profound difference between being a foolish Pollyanna with one’s head in the sand and living according to the gift of the Holy Spirit of piety. Steve said clearly in one post that he thought the Holy Father was on the edge of speaking heresy. That is an incredibly SERIOUS accusation from the peanut gallery. We have NO idea about Pope Francis, his life, his history in Christ or what he daily deals with as he carries the responsibility before God for the spiritual and temporal cares of the entire world.

          I have grave misgivings about calling him, his actions, or his words into question- my plate is really full dealing with my own faults. When I worry about the leadership I see it as my personal duty to reapply myself to penance on their behalf, and when I think I have finally squarely hit the target on that and then after I have done that and subsequently personally confronted His holiness for answers on what he owes me and what I believe he owes the rest of the Church, then believe I might have earned the right to petition the Lord as to whether or not I have the duty and responsibility to castigate him in the public forum.

          In the meantime, I seriously hope it would not come to that, because that would mean fostering division and dissent because it is unavoidable and my life experience tells me that is usually a source of further damage rather than healing, compassion, patience, and love.

          And your really unkind remarks to me here are just more evidence of same. If this is Christian love, no wonder we can’t seem to win at evangelism. The Bible tells us it is the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance- you know, being ugly to people well, that is just mean.

          • Please don’t let anyone but the moderator stop you from saying what you want to say as often as you want to say it. “If you wish to be useful, never take a course that will silence you.”—John Jay Chapman (who was not a Catholic, but at least I don’t give a quote falsely attributed to Voltaire). Anyone who wishes to may ignore your comments and, in particular, stop replying to them.

  5. After one too many instances of misspeaking or being misinterpreted, one should learn to speak more prudently, regardless of who it is. The Pope is a human being and imperfect. Why God put the Church in the hands of humanity is something none of us can understand, but certainly joyfully appreciate. In his position, he should take stock of the effects his commentaries have had. While Jesus tells us to be as gentle as doves, he also tells us to be wise as serpents. The Pope seems (I underline “seems”) to not following this advise….or maybe he is and I am not seeing clearly. I think that all of this confusion – which is always from the Devil – should make the Light of Christ ever more clear and should bring us ever closer to Him. Remember: everything in existence calls us closer to God. Sadly, the cult of personality has taken hold of the Church and people are focusing too much attention – both positive and negative – on this man and what he says. I personally am getting tired of all this Francis talk. What about Jesus? We are focusing on man and not Christ. We have the Sacraments, in particular, Baptism, Confession and Eucharist. We have the Catechism. We have Scripture. We have the Blessed Mother and the saints’ intercession. We have prayer. We have the Faith. We have Christ Himself and His Promise of Salvation for those who remain Faithful. NOBODY, not even the Pope, can change that or take it away. Should anyone try to change the teachings of the Church,well we have ourselves yet another schism, but the Truth never changes. Cling to those things which are higher, as Paul tells us. Pray for the Pope that he will effectively guide us and lead us all closer to Christ. We are given the leaders we deserve. Perhaps, even in his perceived imprudence, Francis doing more for the faith than we give him credit for. Perhaps he is awakening (albeit unwittingly, it seems) the faithful to start living the Faith more courageously – something the large majority of us have not been doing. If we had, the world would not be as it is presently. We shall see….thank you to all that this website for your commitment to the Truth.

  6. Come on, please, with your excuse of misunderstanding. The Pope has a long ecclesiastical career behind him. He knows what he says and is aware of the effects of he says and what media tend to make of it. The only reasonable conclusion is that he meant to sow what he did sow by his many unfortunate utterances and that he views it as his job to unsettle and destroy orthodox Catholicism. Look at his bishop appointments, his appointments in the Curia, his support for the midterm relatio — which should best be called the Relatio post Deceptionem — during the extraordinary Synod on the Family, his treatment of Card. Burke, &c, &c. This only warrants one conclusion: This Pope is not a Catholic in any regular or traditional sense of the word. He is the completed modernist the liberals have been waiting for so long. When did he ever speak of the fundamental things of the faith, about the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ for everyone to be saved? When did he take sin as a serious issue? The answer is: never! He associates with perverts and LGTB’s, with transsexuals, praises homosexual sinners. Instead, he is hell-bent on destroying the remainders of the faithful remant of the Church, for example bishops who have traditonal and flourishing seminaries and celebrate the Tridentine Mass, he is punishing the Franciscans of the Immaculate, one of the few flourishing orders, for imaginary sins based on false accusations. This man is plague! A disaster! A shame for Catholicism!


Leave a Comment

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

Popular on OnePeterFive

Share to...