Sunday 5 June 2016


I did not realise it was so long since I had posted anything or checked the comment box. Please accept my apologies. I am blogging today because I keep getting asked about Amoris Laetitia, and I want to make a comment on the wider situation.

First that footnote. This need not worry us, because AS isn't a teaching document nor a legal document; it is a pastoral document. Yes it may lead some to admit those in irregular unions to Holy Communion -which is wrong and dangerous to their souls of all involved- but let us not kid ourselves: such has been going on for years anyway.

Second, Francis himself. Yes the man gives conflicting messages and sometimes says things that are difficult (if at all possible) to reconcile with the Doctrine of the Faith (see where John-Henry Westen has recounted some of these for us) but vilification of the man is, I think, lacking in charity. And where charity is absent, God is absent, since God is charity: Deus caritas est. If we have a Pope who lacks theological astuteness, we cannot blame him for being a poor pope: we have to lay the blame with the enemy, who persuaded the Cardinals to go in the direction of Francis in the conclave.

What I see in Francis is typical of priests from the 1970’s onward; priests who tried to make everyone, including those in irregular unions, feel good about their relationship with Christ, even if it meant ignoring doctrine so as to admit such folk to Holy Communion. From my conversations with a number of priests, I think they did and do this on the basis that they are breaking man-made canon law. They do not see themselves as abandoning the faith. I think the same has to be said of Francis. The man clearly has a good heart; he just lacks theological sharpness –probably due to the formation the Jesuit received. Let us at least give the man credit for meaning well, even if we do have to confront him in charity, as Paul confronted Peter.

Sadly, the Jesuits and the catholic Church itself have an identity crisis that Francis is not going to be able resolve.


  1. Dear Father Dixon

    Pope Francis was ordained a priest in 1969, so I don't think we can blame the 70s for his lack of orthodoxy.

    I don't see any sign that Pope Francis has any wish to resolve the "crisis". Also, I simply cannot understand the thinking or the logic of priests who "don't think they are breaking man-made canon laws" by ignoring doctrine. That doesn't make sense, if one is a Catholic, let alone a Catholic priest. It looks like they have gone right through the Looking Glass.

    I hope your health is somewhat improved; you are a great miss.


    1. Thank you, Patricia.
      I too wonder where priests are coming from when they say canon law should be changed to accommodate irregular unions, but I remember on very high-ranking cleric, when responding to my question, "What does canon law actually allow?" say. "Canon law? What is that?". I was newly ordained and in my naivety began to explain it when I realised he was saying he ignored the law and was encouraging me to ignore it too. I never have, and become a maverick, a thorn in the side, because if it.
      God Bless.

  2. Good to see you back Father.

    A.L must be considered with respect but can be openly disagreed with by any informed Catholic.

    Personally I would not like the Pope's job right now. I am sure he is doing his best.

    But given the shambolic mess the Church, and increasingly society, is in we and the Church which must lead the world and not conform to the world, must await another 2/3 Popes and another Council.

  3. Thank you, Jacobi.
    Yes, I'm sure Francis is doing his best too, but unfortunately he doesn't give the impression of having a sound grasp of the Faith. The ambiguity of his words only adds to the shambles and chaos in the present day Church.
    God bless.

  4. Unfortunately the charity that the Pope deserves is not apparent in his remarks about and treatment of the 'ultra-orthodox' who, he so clearly, despises. They (we) are equally deserving of charity and understanding especially from a Pope. Let's face it, we can't agree with both Francis and his predecessors as he well knows which, as he must also know, is putting us (very uncharitably) in a very difficult (impossible?) situation.

    1. Thank you.
      His less than charitable remarks about traditional Catholics and families with a large number of children etc, are to be much regretted. I wonder where he gets his information from and why, if Traditionalists are so bad, he extended the power of absolution to the SSPX for the year of mercy. Francis is difficult to make sense of, and I wonder if he can even make sense of himself: I wonder if he ever asks himself 'why did I say/do that?'
      God Bless.


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