Thursday 29 January 2015

Comments on A Letter To The Pope

Mundabor (here) points us to a letter to the Pope from a priest, as translated for us on the ‘Triregnum’ blog (here). I think this letter expresses what many a good Catholic seems to be thinking these days, if the blogosphere is taken as an indicator.

"Holy Father,
One day it is said to happen that you speak before thinking. This is what worries us priests who exercise our ministry in a context which is often difficult. This means that not only do we find it hard to understand but it is increasingly difficult to follow.
Does this mean follow as in ‘follow the thread of your argument’, or follow in ‘give obedience to you’? I suspect both of these meanings are true, because no sound Catholic can be happy with a pope who decides that the scriptures can be dispensed with, and that all previous Popes have been wrong, thereby presenting himself as the seat of wisdom.
Ever since you were chosen to succeed the Apostle Peter, you have not ceased to deliver offensive speeches.
The word ‘offensive’ is strong, and if one is talking about a crisis of faith as the letter indicates, might be better replaced with ‘scandalising’ speeches.
You Launched barbs against the faithful who love the liturgy of the Church with dignity, against your closest collaborators among the cardinals of the Curia, against simple priests, and more recently against the parents of large families. Perhaps you hoped to make people laugh by comparing them with the rabbits. Did not fire: you had some success only with journalists eager to "scoop" it up and mock the Church and yes, at the same time, it has hurt many Catholic families.
It is never a good idea to use the analogies of the world, since the world will read them in their own way. What is needed is deeply spiritual reflections, not secular sound-bites the world uses in derision. Many of the families the Pope spoke about may have achieved great sanctity by remaining faithful to Church teaching in difficult circumstances and are having it cheapened by this remark, while priests who have ministered to them are having their theological and pastoral acuity called into question.

Dads and moms have come to visit us, we, priests, to tell us their suffering. To ask for explanations that we cannot always give, incapable of understanding.
i too have had folk asking me what Francis is saying what he really means, and asking if he is changing the teaching of the Church (thereby making the direction of their lives over the years one big mistake).
Do you not think that these days, the faithful would be in most need of your support? Do you not think that instead of claiming to define a "good Catholic", a "good priest", a "good bishop," a "good cardinal of the Curia" ... you should ask if any of your malevolent comments encourage the faithful to remain in the church and help the priests to carry out their ministry in joy? To hear my brothers with whom I have frequent contact, listening to the questions posed by the faithful of the parish sector - 20 parishes - of which I am responsible, I can testify that your attacks are more disturbing than reassuring and encouraging.

Holy Father, let me be direct: do you love the faithful, priests, families? I admit to not always being sure ...
I think Francis certainly and genuinely loves people, but he does not appear to love the Church and her teaching; rather, he seems to see this teaching as an oppression of people are to be liberated...this would explain why he appears to marginalise the faithful Catholic (Cardinal Burke, for example) and to laud those who question the faith and its ancient practice (Cardinal Kasper, for example).

Since our adolescence and beyond, when some of us have chosen to start a family, while others have opted for the priesthood, Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI were reliable guides for our generation. They will remain so. Are you safe driving at becoming a more popular Pope - this "good guy", as you said one day - who shoots out formulas that are bad and tweets of no interest.
Francis is often seen as seeking adulation; the love of the people, but if so, he is courting the adulation of those who have lost their faith in the Divine Revelation and become secularised, with Christ little more than a spiritual Che Guevara.

Allow me to conclude, I wish to make a confession: when I celebrate Holy Mass in the morning in a nearby church, It becomes more and more difficult to say your name in the Eucharistic Prayer. Know that I am deeply mortified because I can not conceive the exercise of my ministry without a sincere communion with the Successor of Peter. But when listening, I see, I read , this sincerity crumbles.
I have no difficulty in praying for Francis at mass. I focus on his genuine love for people and his need for renewal in the faith is not the canon the Mass the best way to thank God for Francis love of man and to intercede for the up-building of his faith?

The faithful expect from the Pope a comforting sweetness and clarity, not speeches that destabilize or wound. (Indeed they do). I do not Want to prevent Catholics of our parishes - priests and laity - to grant their full trust and respect ... "
Respect, I’m sure, will always be given because of Francis Office and his love for his fellow men, but trust in his driving of the bus we call the Church, is by now seriously questioned by many, who would rather have a bad-tempered Pope who kept them safely on the right track to heaven, than a Pope who is amiable but drives their souls off the rails and into the ditch. 
All that is required from the Synod under Francis's leadership is that it reaffirms marriage was established by God and not the Church; that the Church is bound by Christ's Truth and our 'Tradition' ('Traditio' meaning the 'handing on' of the Truth), and that her practice must be true to the Truth. Is this so far beyond the bounds of possibility that we must reconsider our loyalty to Francis in order to stay true to the Deposit of Faith? 


  1. Many Catholics confused by the present pope. Personally I have reluctantly made some observations about him which before, I would not have dreamt of saying of any pope.

    Some of his characteristics are not necessarily bad. Seeking Press approval, trying to be close to the people, being spontaneous, and so on. But he does not think of negative effects. Some statements he has made are an affront to loyal Catholics, as is his apparent flirtation with the dubious if not potentially heretical fudging of doctrine, epitomised by Kasper.

    The Catholic Church is in mess at present. It is declining in Mass attendance and catastrophically in priest numbers, (in spite of those absurd 1.2Bn statistics issued by the Vatican). Belief-wise, or doctrinally if you wish, it is ignorant, confused, and increasingly heterodox.

    The Church needs strong and clear leadership, but we are not getting it. However big the crowds are that turn out at any future events, the decline in real numbers seems set to continue, if not accelerate.

  2. Welcome back Fr Gary! You had me worried for a while. It is good to see you posting again. The Pope has brought this criticism upon himself through his words, actions and silences. And to some extent, the liberal Cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and laity have not only contributed to it but validated it. It behoves the entire hierarchy in the Church to think very carefully about the consequences their public declarations and statements can have on the faith of Catholics.

    1. Thank you, Gregkanga.
      I have been too busy to do any postings recently, and it sometimes does go a week or so before I get back to blogging anything.
      Indeed the Pope has brought criticism upon himself; I only hope it is all clarified in the Synod, rather than affirmed.
      God Bless.

  3. Cardinal Baldisseri has confirmed that the Pope approved the 'Interim Relatio' and gave express approval for the inclusion of the final document of contentious matters that did not receive the necessary two-thirds majority. In these circumstances, we have now clearly reached a point where Catholics must decide between loyalty to the Pope or loyalty to the truth as handed down to us. All the signals were there especially in those he has chosen for preferment but there is no point in 'kidding ourselves' that Francis might really be an orthodox Catholic beyond this point - he clearly isn't.

    1. Thank you, Lepanto.
      The document you speak of has been called the worst in the history of the Church. If the Pope did indeed see it and approve it, he must be asking himself what solid Catholics think of hi: it is easy to please the progressives (we need only say 'yes' to everything); it is easy to please those who will not have the Faith Christ entrusted to us diluted or disposed of too, by affirming the Faith. I hope we see the latter at the Synod for the good name in history of the Pope and his Cardinals/Bishops/Priests.
      God Bless.


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