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Where Does Pope Francis Really Stand on Clerical Sex Abuse?

Pope Francis speaks to Cardinal Godfried Daneels during the 2015 Synod.
Pope Francis speaks to Cardinal Godfried Danneels during the 2015 Synod.

At St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. Pope Francis addressed the victims of clerical sex abuse in no uncertain terms:

I carry in my heart the stories, the suffering and the pain of the minors who were sexually abused by priests. I’m overwhelmed by the shame that people who were in charge of caring for those young ones raped them and caused them great damages. I regret this profoundly. God weeps! The crimes and sins of sexual abuse to minors can’t be kept a secret anymore. I commit to the zealous oversight of the Church to protect minors, and I promise that everyone responsible will be held accountable.

These strong words are exactly the sort of thing that so many people — Catholics and non-Catholics alike — have been wanting to hear.

But in the light of some of Pope Francis’s recent decisions, they ring tragically hollow.

We begin with the case of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, an always-controversial figure who recently revealed that he was part of a plot against Pope Benedict and in favor of the election of Bergoglio, whom he believed would help modernize the Church. Such support from Danneels may help to explain why, despite his troubled track record, he was personally invited to participate in the Synod on the family — for both sessions — even while manifestly orthodox prelates like Cardinal Burke were pushed out. But he was not only invited to the Synod. As Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register reported:

The Vatican listed him second in importance out of 45 delegates personally chosen by Pope Francis to participate in the upcoming meeting. He also took part in last year’s Extraordinary Synod as a papal delegate.

Just how controversial is Danneels? According to Pentin, he has been reported to have “advised the king of Belgium to sign an abortion law in 1990″, “said same-sex ‘marriage’ was a ‘positive development,’” and refused “to forbid pornographic, ‘educational’ materials being used in Belgian Catholic schools.”

Taken by themselves, these are surely sufficient cause for concern. But in a report to Voice of the Family, Elizabeth Yore, described as “an international child rights attorney who has provided legal and technical assistance to families of victims and the Belgian government in child abuse and child murder cases,” tells us of his sordid and long-standing record of protecting the perpetrators of clerical sexual abuse:

On April 8, 2010, the newly retired Cardinal Danneels received some visitors at his home. They were the relatives of the Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, Danneels’ close friend. At this meeting, the nephew of Vangheluwe described a long and sordid 13 year molestation by his uncle, the Bishop of Bruges. Cardinal Danneels advised the nephew not to go public with the sexual abuse. During the meeting, Danneels advised the young man not to “make a lot of noise” about the abuse he endured from his uncle bishop because Vangheluwe was scheduled to retire in a year anyway. “It would be better that you wait,” advised Danneels, while also urging the young man to forgive his uncle.

“The conversation was tape recorded by the nephew and subsequently released to the press. Cardinal Danneels, the former head of Belgium’s Roman Catholic Church for 3 decades, could be heard on tape urging this sexual abuse victim to stay quiet and not disclose the abuse until after the bishop who repeatedly molested him over a span of 13 years could retire. After the release of the recording, Danneels did not dispute the authenticity of the conversation. A media firestorm was unleashed in Belgium, a country still reeling over institutional cover ups of child sex abuse.

“Bishop Vangheluwe admitted to the sexual abuse of his nephew and stepped down from his post shortly after the April 8 meeting between his nephew and Danneels. Because of the statute of limitations law, the Bishop of Bruges was never charged with the crime. However, the plot continues to thicken.

“The daily De Standaard newspaper reported that two former Belgian priests, Fathers Rik Deville and Norbert Bethune had personally informed Cardinal Danneels about Bishop Vangheluwe’s child sexual abuse several times between the mid-1990s and early 2000s. Father Deville told the Associated Press that he told Cardinal Danneels about a number of sexual-abuse cases. “The cardinal sometimes got angry and said it was not my job, that I should not get involved,” Deville said.

“The Belgian Police conducted a surprise raid on the Cardinal’s residence and office looking for documents relating to clergy abuse and questioned the Cardinal for 10 hours. Although the Cardinal was never charged, the Catholic Church’s own investigation commission issued a 200 page report on 10 September 2010.

“According to the report, the commission heard allegations from 488 complainants, concerning incidents that took place between 1950 and 1990. The report contained testimony from 124 people. Two-thirds of the complainants were men, now aged in their 50s and 60s. As head of the commission, Dr. Peter Adriaenssens, a prominent and respected psychiatrist, disclosed that Cardinal Godfried Danneels name surfaced in 50 cases, not as an abuser, but as someone who knew of the sexual child abuse by the clergy.

The above-mentioned sex education materials in the Belgian Catholic schools also play a role in Danneels’ complicity, insofar as they contain a pedophilic element. From the same Voice of the Family report comes this account, drawn from Dr. Alexandra Colen, a member of the Belgian House of Representatives (warning – graphic language):

The sympathy for pedophile attitudes and arguments among the Belgian bishops during this period was no secret, especially since 1997 when the fierce controversy about the catechism textbook Roeach made the headlines. The editors of Roeach were Prof. Jef Bulckens of the Catholic University of Leuven and Prof. Frans Lefevre of the Seminary of Bruges. The textbook contained a drawing which showed a naked baby girl saying: ‘Stroking my pussy makes me feel groovy,’ ‘I like to take my knickers off with friends,’ ‘I want to be in the room when mum and dad have sex.’ The drawing also shows a naked little boy and girl that are ‘playing doctor’ and the little boy says: ‘Look, my willy is big.’

“The drawing also showed three pairs of parents. Those with the ‘correct’ attitude reply: ‘Yes, feeling and stroking those little places is good fun.’ This ‘catechism textbook’ was used in the catechism lessons in the catholic schools, until one day I discovered it among the schoolbooks of my eldest daughter, then 13 years old. On 3 September 1997 I wrote a letter to Cardinal Danneels, saying:

‘When I see this drawing and its message, I get the distinct impression that this catechism textbook is designed intentionally to make 13 and 14 year olds believe that toddlers enjoy genital stimulation. In this way one breeds pedophiles that sincerely believe that children actually think that what they are doing to them is “groovy”, while the opposite is the case.’

“I told Cardinal Danneels that, although I was a member of Parliament for the Flemish-secessionist party Vlaams Blok, I was addressing him as a Catholic parent ‘who wishes to remain faithful to the papal authority and also wishes to educate her children this way.’ I insisted that he forbid the use of this book in the catechism lessons: ‘This is why I insist – yes, the days of meekly asking are over – that you forbid the use of this “catechism book” in our children’s classrooms.’

“Because Cardinal Danneels refused to respond to requests to put an end to these practices, I and hundreds of concerned parents gathered in front of his palace on 15 October 1997. We carried placards with the text ‘Respect for parents and children,’ and we said the rosary. Cardinal Danneels refused to receive a delegation of the demonstrators. ‘I shall not be pressured,’ he said in the libertine magazine Humo on 21 October 1997. The Archbishop’s door remained closed when we demonstrated again on 10 December 1997.

“On 18 February 1998 we were at Cardinal Danneels’s door again, myself and a group of parents. Again the door remained closed. So on 18 March 1998 a group of two hundred parents went to the Papal Nuncio, the ambassador of the Vatican, in Brussels. But the Nuncio, who was a friend of Danneels, also refused to meet us. He had, however, alerted the police, who had several water cannons at the ready just around the corner.”

Why has this man been given a place of such prominence by Pope Francis in deciding issues pertaining to the good of Catholic families? What possible contribution could he make that would outweigh the egregiously immoral positions that have characterized his clerical career? What reason do we have to believe this is anything other than ecclesiastical cronyism, a thank you for helping to make possible Francis’ election to the papacy? As Damian Thompson of the Spectator writes, this is a “scandal that could engulf Pope Francis.” But Thompson also notes the sad reality that we face when it comes to addressing such major issues:

Fortunately for Pope Francis, the media aren’t interested in breaking his pontificate, which they realise is more fragile than it seems. Nor are most conservatives, who are mindful of his popularity in their home dioceses — and, despite everything, can’t help warming to the old boy.

The time for warming to him, despite his personal charisma, is past – but only to those who actually care about the truth.

The second case that must be considered is that of Bishop Juan Barros, Francis’s recent appointee as Bishop of Osorno in Chile. From the reporting of John Allen at Crux, we see this is an issue that crosses ideological boundaries. Allen wrote the following back in March, after Barros’ appointment:

Staffers in the Vatican paid to think about such things sometimes sit around trying to identify possible tipping points in the public romance with Pope Francis, meaning a calamity that might put a serious dent in his high approval ratings.

One no-brainer on the list would be a perception that he’s backtracking on “zero tolerance” when it comes to sexual abuse in the Church, and two recent story lines suggest it’s not an abstract worry.

First, Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press reported on Thursday that five members of the pope’s own anti-abuse commission have expressed “concern and incredulity” that Bishop Juan Barros has been given command of the Diocese of Osorno in Chile, despite his public record of defending the country’s most notorious abuser priest.

Those objections came on top of protests that forced Barros’ installation Mass to be cut short, as well as ongoing efforts by clergy and laity to ask Francis to rethink the appointment.


[I]t raises questions about the vetting process for bishops. How is it that Italian Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, the pope’s ambassador in Chile, didn’t see this coming and spare everyone the embarrassment?

In an interview with a Chilean news outlet on Thursday, Scapolo insisted that he didn’t hide anything from the Vatican in preparing the appointment. He said Francis confirmed it, and claimed that calls for Barros to be ridden out of town on a rail violate religious freedom.

All that may well be the case, but it still doesn’t explain why a clean record on the abuse scandals isn’t an absolute prerequisite for a leadership position in the Catholic Church in 2015. (Barros was already a bishop, so the move to Osorno was a transfer.)

In addition, the situation also raises questions about the oft-proclaimed commitment of Pope Francis and his Vatican team to accountability, not just for personnel who commit abuse, but also for bishops and other supervisors who cover it up or defend the guilty.

Despite the fact that Barros’ installation Mass was interrupted by large protests from furious Chileans, nothing about his appointment was done by Pope Francis. No recall, not even a review. And now, in a video that has just come to light — filmed in May, 2015 — we see that Francis actually has contempt for those who disagreed with his decision:

“The Osorno community is suffering because it’s dumb,” Pope Francis told a group of tourists on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, because it “has let its head be filled with what politicians say, judging a bishop without any proof.”

“Don’t be led by the nose by the leftists who orchestrated all of this,” the pope said.

The video, filmed by an Argentine tourist in May, was obtained by a Chilean television station and broadcast Friday, quickly instilling doubts here about the pope’s commitment to protecting victims of sexual abuse.


Hundreds of demonstrators interruptedBishop Barros’s installation ceremony in March, blocking his passage and shouting, “Barros, get out of the city!” The protests have not stopped since, but this time the anger has turned to the pope.

“The pope’s comments aggravated our discontent,” said Juan Carlos Claret, a spokesman for Osorno’s Lay Organization, which has been holding protests and candlelight vigils against Bishop Barros for months.

“It is the Church of Osorno that is demonstrating; we are not taking orders from political parties,” Mr. Claret said. “We are now seeing the real face of Pope Francis, and we demand an explanation.”

In the video, Pope Francis asserted that the accusations against Bishop Barros were unfounded and that a Chilean court had dismissed such claims. However, a judicial investigation into the presumed negligence and cover-up of church officials regarding Father Karadima’s abuses is still in progress.

In cases like Danneels and Barros, a time-tested adage comes to mind: “Personnel is policy.” It also applies to the ever-growing list of other heterodox clerics whom Francis has raised to positions of power.

Supporters will note that Pope Francis will often say perfectly orthodox things, and use this as evidence that he is fully Catholic, but simply misunderstood. But as his public record increasingly (and alarmingly) demonstrates, Francis is a man who appears to says what he believes his audience wants to hear, even if it means contradicting something he previously said. It is imperative that we look beyond his words, and focus instead on his actions, and on the semiotics of his papacy.

Repeated denials about his affinity for Marxist thinkers become far less convincing in the face of pleased acceptance of a communist “crucifix.” Repeated vocal support for traditional marriage rings hollow when we see him meeting uncritically and happily before the cameras with gay and transgendered couples, distancing himself from Kim Davis, and stacking the Synod with pro-homosexual prelates. Repeated condemnations of clerical abusers or their protecting bishops mean little when the only ones held accountable are those who espouse a more traditional ecclesiology than the one favored in Rome — while friends and supporters of the Pope so accused are empowered and even honored.

Imagine if Pope Benedict had so transparently contradicted himself, placed prelates accused of facilitating or perpetrating sexual abuse in positions of power and influence, then went on to condemn his critics for being “dumb.” The media furor would have far eclipsed what happened after his remarks at Regensburg.

It’s time for some accountability. Where is the Catholic media on these questions? Where are the faithful? These are situations where justice demands answers, not obfuscation.

58 thoughts on “Where Does Pope Francis Really Stand on Clerical Sex Abuse?”

  1. “The time for warming to him, despite his personal charisma, is past – but only to those who actually care about the truth.” Precious few care about the truth nowadays. And that is what the bishops are banking on. However, those few who do care about the truth will never give in, hence their power is all out of proportion to their numbers. God knows what He is doing. 🙂

  2. Thanks, Steve, for this revealing piece. As a veteran of the sodomic scandals in the Church, and as one who demanded face to face (in his own parlor) that our bishop resign for the good of the Church [of course, he did not], I am especially alarmed by this news. But you offer us as well one of those precious Joycean epiphanies that reveals so much in an instant. I refer to the pope caught on tape saying ““The Osorno community is suffering because it’s dumb.” Evidently that day at least the pope felt in condition to judge.

  3. Sadly the potential collapse of the number of the faithful won’t just be people angry that the Church didn’t change or people who find the demands of the Faith too difficult (for various reasons) to continue following it, but it may also include a large number of people with such weak or unrefined faith that they are unable to cope with the shattered illusions and wasted time they put into defending every word that has thus far come out of he mouth of Pope Francis.

    It seems a number of people I’ve talked with can’t fathom how the Pope or cardinals/bishops could ever recommend a (fallible!!!) practice contradicting (an infallible – and admittedly untouched) doctrine. People will lose faith because they cannot understand how the Church could seem to endorse something wrong like this and not be in contradiction. It’s all in the distinction between the protected, infallible teaching and non-applicable, fallible-potential practices. AND the shock that even the Pope can be wrong about something, that you CAN say that, and that you CAN and MUST(!!!) resist and disobey him on this.

    People want to trust that those over them are actually good and intelligent people… oops!

    • As you point out, Father, the wedge, should the pope decide to use one, will be practice, not the doctrines themselves. (And it’s important here to keep in mind that, in this situation, only the pope’s vote really counts. We can rail against the outrageous notions espoused by the likes of Marx, Danneels, Kasper, and company but, absent the voice of the pope himself, nothing can happen. Those are the “rules of the game” in this sport.) The vague wording of documents issued at Vatican II, especially Gaudium et Spes, allowed the Church to virtually collapse in the West, as R.J. Divozzo explains in his fine book, The Church and the Culture of Modernity; the Church chose to accommodate uncritically modernity instead of trying to correct its many errors. Unless many of us are mistaken and Pope Francis has an unexpected ‘Humanae Vitae moment’ at the conclusion of the Synod, things seem about to get even worse.

      • I’ve read others who have states that the worst outcome could be nothing or – shudder – “Well hey, everybody! What say we get together for a continuation of this synod next October.”


        Let’s do this. This has been a long time coming. Let’s have it out. Barring an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit to bring conversion of hearts and minds to the Truth – and certainly the Lord is capable of that – it is time for some sort of reckoning, but it will require commitment for a long haul.

        • Absolutely. Reading what you wrote, it occurred to me that one positive result of the Synod is that it smokes out all the rats. We now know the names and faces of churchmen around the globe who are enemies of what Christ taught.

  4. WhenI heard the “dumb” comment on the radio I was astonished! YOU, Steve, ARE THE ONLY ONE GETTING IT ALL OUT THERE! I recently sent you a donation n everyone has to do more to help. With all his talk of love n mercy Francis has TOO MANY people wrapped up with him! And the prelates seem to be afraid to speak out! WE, the Laity, HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. I believe GOD will intervene but I shudder to think how many will be lost before HE does. WE have to organize like they tried in Chile. I believe the results of this synod are being planned by those 30 Jesuits he has gotten together. They are working on the words to use so that they will SOUND acceptable to most n will be difficult to refute. PLEASE, HOLY SPIRIT, INSPIRE US TO DO WHAT IS NEEDED TO CURTAIL THIS CRISIS IN OUR CHURCH!

    • There are others, besides Mr. Skojec, ‘getting it out there.’ I won’t mention them here since I don’t think Mr. Skojec would appreciate it.

      • I am reluctant to engage you since your several posts here have a distinct odor of conspiracy theory to them. Those who have looked even briefly into any of the nauseous stuff out there alleging “the Jews” attacked the Twin Towers, or that “secret powers” were behind the Kennedy assassination will readily understand my hesitation. But I have noticed that Mr. Skojec demonstrates admirable patience concerning posts at onepeterfive, unlike many other sites that come to mind. So, unless your intention is to cite lunatic-level drivel on an intellectual par with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, I think you can safely reveal your sources.

  5. “According to the report, the commission heard allegations from 488 complainants, concerning incidents that took place between 1950 and 1990”

    Imagine the blackmail material the Cardinal must have acquired over the years.

  6. “The Vatican listed him second in importance out of 45 delegates personally chosen by Pope Francis to participate in the upcoming meeting.”

    Someone at another blog debunked this claim by pointing out that the ‘list’ was arranged by seniority and not ‘importance’.

    • Thanks. This is a needed precision. In this thicket of deception, half-truths, and terrible sin we have to strive for complete accuracy. I would note in that context that there is really nothing solid that points to participation of Barros in either the cover-up or the crimes; all we have is the unsubstantiated testimony of victims. This is surely something but not enough to make a convincing case. But the story of Danneels IS convincing and very disturbing; ditto for that of Cardinal Errázuriz, another appointee of Pope Francis. These two appointments make it hard to believe the pope is as sensitive to this issue as any Catholic, layman or cleric, ought to be. After all that’s happened, a heightened sensitivity to sexual abuse is the least we can demand of our leaders.

      • I completely agree. I think many of us have got to the point where we see scandal under every rock. But the paranoia has been inspired by undeniably true words and actions so it’s hard not to be reflexively negative. As you rightly point out, a minimum amount of leadership skill should be expected. I find it hard to argue that this minimum threshold has been met.

  7. What we have here in Pope Francis is an in-your-face, out of control,
    Machiavellian, ego-maniacal, mendacious dictator who is corrupting the
    moral teaching of the Catholic Church. Face it, this guy needs to
    go–and fast. But in the meantime, being good Catholics and all, let
    us pray for him

    • Agree completely Michael. I pray for him all the time as I do all of our Bishops and Priests. But as I’ve said before to people of the ‘cannot criticize the Pope Evahh’ people, I will pray for him sincerely and often with Christian love, and follow his directives only if they are in line with Catholic teaching, however, that doesn’t mean I have to like him. I don’t think that’s a ‘requirement’ of Our Lord.

    • Yeah, sure, I can pray for him, but not as a pope, but as a fellow human being who is controlled not by the Holy Ghost.

      • Please note: this is standing reminder that we do not tolerate statements of open sedevacantism in the comment boxes. Questioning the validity of a given pope’s office for reasons of canonical impediment or possible embrace of heresy are acceptable intellectual/legal/theological exercises.

        Making pronouncements that he is not the pope crosses the line into arrogation of authority. Unless you’re a successor of St. Peter or a council, this isn’t your decision to make.

        Repeated offenses will lead to banishment.

        • Steve,

          Two things.

          First CumExApostolatus did not claim Francis to not be a valid Pope, he merely claimed he would not be praying for him as a pope.

          Second, if one does not claim to be a Catholic, how can one hold them to Catholic standards?

          There is a feature on Catholic dating sites that allows one to declare in their profile their agreement/disagreement with some fundamental, and disputed, Catholic doctrines. E.g. agreement with the discipline of Catholic priests being celibate/not married; yes I know there’s a distinction, but merely using as a point.

          I think a similar feature would be very helpful in clarifying the intellectual and spiritual identity of those who comment. And thus avoid the appearance that 1P5 supports sedevacantism….

          Thank you for giving Maureen M’s post of a couple of weeks ago a home and for the work you are doing.


    • Let your yea mean yea, and your no mean no. Anything else is confusion and confusion is of the devil. Let us not pretend we don’t know where he stands on anything. We all know perfectly well.

      • I agree with you that we can say with certainty that the Pope acts and speaks in a way that lends to confusion. To that extent, what he is doing is bad.

        But as to where he personally stands on various issues, the very confusion regarding his actions and speaking makes it difficult to say. At least, that is how I feel at the moment…..

        • Where he ‘personally’ stands on an issue (only if it has to do with the Catholic Faith and morals that is) should be exactly the same as the Tradition and the Dogma of the Faith. If he is the Vicar of Christ on earth, then as such, there is no contradictory stance he is permitted to take.
          What Francis and his recent predecessors have done, to great effect, is to blur the line between ex cathedra pronouncements and other statements. Nowadays, every utterance these men have made is touted by the enemies of the Church, and taken to be, by the populations at large, to be an ex cathedra pronouncement.

          • I agree with what you are saying.

            To me, it also seemed like Popes since Vatican II have given the impression that nothing is beyond change. So nothing is set in stone. I feel that they created a dichotomy between official teaching, and official practice (Which they kind of had to do in-order to bring in drastic changes in practice. If practice and doctrine were emphasized as tightly linked, then they would be naturally restricted in the amount of change they can make in practice.). Many conservatives thought that everything was OK since official doctrine existed somewhere and was never denied. Now they just happened to be faced with something that even they cannot accept in practice.

          • But that’s just it; doctrine and practice ARE inextricably linked. (Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi – as we pray, so we believe, and as we live,) The ‘gradualists’ in the church knew that by changing practice (orandi) in the minds of most people, they’d gradually change the doctrine, not in fact, but in the MINDS of most. And it worked!

            Most, even most ‘conservatives’ (‘conservative being a political term and shouldn’t be used when discussing Catholicism) see nothing wrong with contraception and divorce and many see very little, or nothing wrong, with abortion. Lets face it. A majority of the people who remained in the pews over the last 60 years mainly self-identify as ‘conservative’. They are the only ones who, for a variety of reasons, cared enough about religion to stay in the pews and to keep donating money.

            But, poll after poll indicates they are really not living Catholic lives when it comes to contraception, divorce, and abortion. Only the sodomite agenda (whose goal is the eventual destruction of marriage as an institution altogether) has sort of rubbed them the wrong way; and not even all of them. Many are happy to have a feel-good church that has, and continues to affirm, the way they currently live.

            So, I hope you are correct that many are now faced with practice they ‘cannot accept’ but I am dubious than any more than 1% of those people will leave the church and return to Tradition. In fact, I’d bet that about 50% will simply leave and not return, and about 50% will go along to get along, as happened in the decades after Vatican II. God forbid they should be thought of as ‘haters’. In the decades to come, what has been the practice for the last 60 years, will become the doctrine; that is, a church WITHOUT doctrine, a kind of universalist-unitarian-catholicism, which proffers a bunch of inane platitudes that don’t offend anyone other than thinking humans.

          • I can only agree with you here.

            I would say that our Catholic population had reached this point of just getting along at least as far back as Vatican II.

            Otherwise how else can one explain the the very little confusion or questioning on the parts of Catholics as to how their Catholic lifestyle got changed upside down (while doctrine was emphasized as being intact)? The hard truth is that many Catholics likely just didn’t care or take their faith seriously enough. They were just willing to go along.

            Cons (I actually use this term to identify those who like to separate themselves from being identified as trads) will argue that it shows fidelity to the Pope and the Council. But that is unlikely given that these same people were pretty confident in opposing the same Pope on his encyclical on contraception just 3 years later.

            So the sad truth here is that Catholics haven’t cared for a long time now about the Church acting in consistency with her past and doctrine. They have just been asking the Church to give them what they want.

            In this current case of sodomy, people have always naturally had a distaste toward it, which probably also speaks about the gravity of the act itself. So you do have bit of a commotion. But yea, the crowd just waiting to get along and join the pride parades or welcome their remarried kids or friends to Church (both of which seem to be a pretty large, or at the very least, vocal camp) are probably going to make them conform.

          • Thank you for your replies. Sometimes one feels as a lone voice in these online comments.
            The thought has also occurred to me that we are being driven to think only about contraception, abortion, and sodomy, when in fact, those who identify as ‘conservative’ often don’t believe in the True Presence, and don’t believe Confession and Extreme Unction are necessary (because, after all, God is all mercy). Those latter items alone make for a new form of Protestantism. And yet, Catholics sit around discussing these topics with people who call themselves and believe themselves to be Catholic but who don’t believe the basic tenets of the Faith. That would’ve made you a heretic not so many years ago. Now, it’s okay to openly question everything (because there is no such thing as scandal to the faithful anymore) and remain a Catholic (sic) in good standing.

            The reason, I think, it is incorrect to use terms such as ‘trad’, ‘conservative’, ‘liberal’, etc., when it comes to Catholicism is that Catholic doctrine doesn’t allow for that. Either you believe the faith, whole and entire, or you are participating in another form of protestantism or paganism. So when the hierarchy allows these terms to metastasize within the church, you have to know that they are not only part of the problem, but are also driving the problem and likely driving it with malicious intent, because it can’t all be chalked up to ‘bad catechesis’ or ‘bad formation’.

            Some who comment here and on other blogs think that makes me a big, bad ‘conspiracy theorist’. I’d like to ask them: Was it a conspiracy that killed Jesus Christ, or was it a ‘lone nut’?

          • I definitely agree about the labeling. I actually got banned from a Catholic forum once for insisting that true Catholicism should respect and be built upon tradition. Their response and reasoning for banning me was that I was opposing what the Popes have allowed since Vatican II. Anyway, since the word “Catholic” today does not seem to include any necessity to be traditional, one has had to create the new label “traditional Catholic”.

            On the intent of these Popes, I don’t know if we are allowed to pass judgement in that regard.

          • I’ve been ‘banned’ as well, a number of times. So be it.

            Be careful of how you use the labels. “We” didn’t create them and, if possible, we shouldn’t propagate them.

            As to a particular person’s intent, it’s correct that we cannot literally read a mind, BUT we can make educated, common-sense judgments as to intentions based upon what a particular person DOES, and how a person COMPORTS themselves because it is a reflection of HOW they think, WHAT they believe, WHERE they are headed, and WHO they serve.

            If God didn’t want humans to employ their brains in compliance with His will, he wouldn’t have given us a brain.

          • Read Joe’s article then go down to the combox and read my refutation of it.

            The problem is your average Catholic doesn’t know Ex cathedra, from ordinary magesterium from prudent judgement from a hole in the head,

    • I fear I may understand him somewhat. The Jesuits have recreated God in their own image and likeness. As a Jesuit Pope, PF is sworn to complete fidelity to himself.

  8. The only people to whom Francis is ‘accountable’ are to his crony pederasts. Actions speak very much louder than words, and Francis has done Zip, nada, nothing, bupkus, with regard to ousting these pederasts. It’s quite telling that 2/3 of those who came forward were men (at the time boys) who were abused, don’t you think?? This isn’t pedophilia, for the most part; this is predatory sodomites (a.k.a. pederasts) of whom we speak. They are filthy, disgusting excuses for men. And the evidence indicates this is much more sinister than you all wish to think about.

    Look into The Ninth Circle Satanic Child Sacrifice Cult. I predict very few (if any) will ever be brought to justice because to do so would shed too, too much light on people very much higher up the food chain, IN ALL areas of society (police, justice system, church, NGOs, U.N., hollywood –aka holy wood, etc., etc.) than will ever be allowed to see the light of day.

  9. Papalotry prevents any rational response to these issues. All I’ll hear from my age group: “Oh my goodness the Pope is just so wonderful and he can’t do anything wrong and I like how he is making Catholicism more approachable and he’s just so cute and happy” etc ad nauseam…there is no reasoned response to any of the dilemmas his leadership (or lack thereof) represents

  10. To be blunt, this lack of concern for the laity (except in esoteric and idealistic terms) is the logical consequence of a Catholic ecclesiastical structure that effectively divides the prelates, priests and laity into castes, with the upper caste (the prelates) completely isolated from the legitimate demands of the other two castes. This is why Francis can get away with not defrocking Daneels, let alone inviting him to this synod as a member in good standing. It’s why Cardinal Mahony, despite being absolutely tone deaf (to put it mildly) regarding clerical sex-abuse, is allowed to vote for the Pope as a member in good standing. It’s why JPII essentially gave Cardinal Law asylum by installing him as the archpriest of St. Mary Major.

    I’m aware that the homosexual penetration of the clergy is intense and pervasive. Nevertheless, Catholicism is nothing but an institution of, by and for the bishops. The Triune God be damned, let alone priests and laity.

  11. How is it that a Cardinal, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, is listed as a member of the CFR=Council on Foreign Relations in 1992?
    Cf. His tomb.
    Another piece to the puzzle of the clerical sex abuse.
    Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich:

    The friends and abettors of the “new lights” [Illuminati] […] like the Jansenists, they directed their destructive darts against the Church from her very bosom; […] They erected a church in the Church, spreading therein the night of unbelief, the horrors of spiritual death.

  12. Eternal shame on Francis. He was repeatedly warned about Argentina school for deaf and handicap children abuse by clergy for Years and he did NOTHING. No action on this until he left and Conservative party in power in Argentina arrested and jailed two priests for abuse of Eighty children there. . . . Then there is Francis promotion of a AB in Honduras ,Two in Chile and three in Belgium ,. Bonny, Dekesel and the infamous Daneels. This was done AFTER they were Exposed for wrongdoing of sex abuse homosexual predator pederast priests there…. .. .. .. Father invlo defrocked by Pope Benedict for abusing children in the confessional for God sakes in Italy .This priest with no further supervising oversight is given reinstatement by Francis. Later he is Again jailed for new abuse of children. ……….. Add to that his Francis undermining of Cdf priests and Knights of Malta for disciplining a liar Chancellor. To use a term Houston or the Vatican we have a problem. Sadly that problem is Francis himself.

  13. I can (and do) accept that Pope Francis is the legitimate pope. He is also a bad pope – badly formed in his priesthood and caring more about his personal power than his (or apparently anyone else’s) holiness. We were warned but didn’t listen.


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