Except for a few “wrap-up” pieces which I’ve been working on for a while, I shall no longer devote any attention as a blogger to the current papacy. Instead, I shall be taking FCA back into three main areas of research: 1) the interface of Christian faith and cognitive neuroscience, 2) the history and theology of the liturgy, especially in the Roman rite, and 3) the effects of mass media on truth and morality.

I have a rather lengthy post under construction in which I’ll explain why “I’m done” with this papacy, but suffice to say for now that if something gives you stomachaches and diarrhea every time you ingest it, the sensible thing to do is to avoid it at all costs. Life–and Lent–is so much better without “certain people” in my life.


About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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56 Responses to FYI…

  1. Danielius says:

    Probably the correct decision for your sanity, Mr. Codgitator! I cannot take much more either, I’m already absolutely dreading that Schism.. I mean Synod on the Family and these weekly …lets say weird sounding statement from somebody high up in the hierarchy are like constant pokes in both eyes. Can’t the Vatican become a Carthusian monastery for a few weeks? (or months? or years?). Ok, no point in dragging you back into the madness, lets have a prayerful Lent!

  2. ErnstThalmann says:

    Yes, if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten. I know, it was either the civil unions business which drove you over the edge, or the Dolan interview on Press The Meet, right? Who can blame you. But I must congratulate you for your past detailed critiques of our boy, Frank. They’ve been well thought out and presented. But so regularly to endure stomachaches and diarrhea? No thank you. Best wishes.

  3. Branch says:

    Yes, I know what you mean, except that I can’t make sense of even this course of action (not speaking of you, but of me) because for me, to withdraw from this papacy is not something I can peacefully or reasonably do. It’s not how I understand the Faith, and my faith. It’s not really possible.

  4. joe m says:

    Branch: I am with you, except I am also increasingly convinced that understanding the Faith today is impossible with the Vatican doing so much to blur and confuse, and busily cardinalizing and canonizing the likes of DeLubac, Kasper, and Good Pope John.
    Codgitator: Bravo! Who am I to judge?

  5. Branch says:

    But I think that is another layer to the problem. Canonizations are infallible acts, I believe. So if I have trouble with a person being canonized, then I think that falls on me, my view of things.

  6. ErnstThalmann says:

    Well, Cog, from the appearance of things here, It would begin to look as though you may be reduced to making a choice between a muddy-the-waters Frank and a group of flat-earth Neanderthals obsessed with a distorted reading of the immediate pre-conciliar period and an anachronistic neo-scholasticism. Don’t believe it. While Benedict XVI may be retired, his journal, Communio, and the intellectuals that founded it with him – among them, von Balthasar and du Lubac – still lives on. You may find both comfort and edification in it on occasion when it comes to the questions of liturgical history you plan to examine. If you’re as fond of Fr. I know you to be, I know you’ll find Communio a tremendous resource. He did.

  7. Branch says:

    This may be a light in the darkness:

    I at least appreciate the writer’s succinctness: “The mere word ‘Hermeneutic’, when used of the Council texts, indicates that the Council has failed in its purpose in the way that we have outlined above, for if they need to be interpreted, then they are unclear.”

    That seems so obvious and yet it is not to the prevailing wisdom today.

  8. Steve Fowler says:

    The confusion from the Vatican appears to be endless. In fact, if somebody asked about my concerns about this papacy, I think I would know how to respond: if it is not clear to a person by now, it would be because he doesn’t want to see…and I can’t fix that…

  9. Tony Jokin says:

    Canonizations are infallible to the extent that the canonized individual is in heaven. We only imitate what is consistent in their lives with Catholic teaching. The rest we reject. Though people of today might imitate the problematic parts of the soon to be canonized individuals, I am sure as time passes, that will no longer be the case. Imitating those problems will of course make it harder for us to come out of this hole we are in and that is what raises a question of prudence with respect to the particular canonizations. But nevertheless, if it goes ahead as planned, there is nothing too much to worry about in the sense of having a crisis with ones faith.

    On avoiding the Papacy, I have chosen to ignore all the news, interviews and homilies. It’s not like me personally knowing what is going on helps me to chip in with my ideas to the Pope. I can only become miserable reading these interviews, homilies, and whatever else that might come out. By open admission of all, the synod is pastoral. So I couldn’t care what comes out of it and neither does it matter to me. I will pretend I am a Catholic monk living in a desert. I will follow the teachings of the Church as it has been followed for 2000 years and die by it. I will only do some investigating in to what the Pope (or recent Magesterium) has said if I run across some new issue that I cannot decide on with existing doctrine (some new bio-technology or something like that). Otherwise I see no need to bother myself with what is coming out daily from the Vatican. Popes will come and go. It doesn’t serve me to know the preferences or theological quirks of this Pope or his plan to save the Church from crisis. I will do my part by trying to live a good Christian life, praying and evangelizing as best I know from tradition. I don’t think God demands anymore than that from us.

  10. Tony Jokin says:

    This is what I am “practicing” to get myself to do this lent as well. Though I have felt much temptation to take a peak on the news feed from the Vatican here and then and given in a couple of times now. But soon as I see the headline or something troubling, I just back off close the browser. Eventually I am sure I will get in to the habit of it.

    The way I see it, I am sure devout Catholics made it through the times like the morally decadent Popes of the past without ever knowing what was happening at the Vatican. So maybe our access to news and the Vatican’s attempt to dish out everything daily is the problem. We are given information that we cannot reply to. We are given interviews that we cannot even react to in a way that will influence change. So like you, I plan to cut myself off from it.

    Those who can actually make a change I think are the only ones that have a moral obligation to follow these things. Since I am not one of them, I think God has given me a way out of sorts 🙂

    P.S. Life has been much more peaceful since starting this policy. I find it has helped me pray better as well and identify many things I had neglected. So for what it is worth coming from me, I am sure this is a good choice you are making.

  11. Murray says:

    Branch, I know how you feel, but I think Elliot’s choosing the right course of action. My anxiety over this papacy has accelerated as the warning signs have accumulated, and it’s now clear that we simply cannot credibly write off the growing pile of bad omens to being quoted out of context by a hostile media, or to accidents of translation, or to imprecise wording, or to innocence of curial politics, or to ignorance of overzealous subordinates, or to cultural differences in modes of expression, or to the unique Catholic context of South America. Or, for that matter, to a spontaneous and inexplicable manifestation of Elder Brotherism among the orthodox laity beginning in March of last year. (Not that some don’t continue to try on these rationales. 9 Things to Know and Share!)

    When I received the grace to convert from atheism several years ago, I was attracted precisely to the doctrinal solidity and intellectual rigor of the Catholic faith, because that’s my default orientation to the world. (I’m by no means a superior intellect, but I make do.) So, faced with the vexations of the Franciscan papacy, my natural tendency is to understand in order to distinguish the good from the bad, to perceive harmonies or discords with the historical teachings of the Church, and to formulate counterarguments where necessary. But I’m beginning to see that this approach is futile against the Bergoglio papacy, because nothing ever makes sense. There’s no clear line of argumentation to grapple with, no consistency of approach from one day to the next, no coherent doctrine at all. There are fuzzy nice feelings and sentimental photo ops, opponents are insulted but never named, words are used in novel and unexplained ways, reason is denigrated in favour of sentiment, and heresies are blurted then abandoned.

    Now, this kind of incoherence is just the way of the world, and as long as it’s coming from outside the Church, Catholics can take comfort in the fact that we remain safely in the Ark. But this is an attack from within, from the highest levels of the hierarchy, precisely on those foundations that Catholics had believed to be immovable. If we are to beware of doctrinal security, why have an infallible teaching authority in the first place? If traditional devotions are Pelagian and memorized prayers are inauthentic, why has the Church (not to mention Our Lady) given them to us? If non-Christian religions are channels of grace and Muslims are better off staying where they are, what becomes of the Great Commission? If atheists can be saved merely by obeying the good as they understand it, why should any of us lift a finger to do more? If protestant clerics are brother bishops, what of Apostolicae Curae? If Our Lady cursed God at the foot of the cross, where does that leave Ineffabilis Deus? It goes on and on and on.

    But, they will say, Francis talks about the devil and urges us to go to Confession! Yes, but in light of the above, the Adversary seems largely to be a paper tiger, and Confession a mere therapeutic exercise. The overall effect is to make everything seem pointless, to sow confusion, and to hearten the world at the expense of the faithful.

    So I’m near the end of the intellectual road when it comes to this papacy. You can’t argue with nonsense and you can’t reason with sentimentalism. I simply have to trust in the mercy of God and leave it at that. To that end, and given the near-despair I found myself in this weekend, I found this post by Jeff Culbreath to be tremendously helpful.

  12. ErnstThalmann says:

    A particularly eloquent summation, Murray. If the power of reason is insufficient to justify your breaking with the Church, might you succumb on the basis of social revulsion? Consider this argument, if you will:


  13. The Rad Trad says:

    My own prayer life improved tremendously after I tuned out this papacy and Church politics in general, instead focusing on prayer, contemplation and my neighbors’ welfare. What good can come of fretting over what the rides in the Roman amusement park that is Vatican City?

  14. joe m says:

    “Neanderthals obsessed with a distorted reading of the immediate pre-conciliar period…”

    Neanderthal! Thank you. I guess anyone who disagrees with German theologians has to be primitive, yes? But hard to distort what is so throughly documented and commented on by an arsenal of material. Not so hard to spin for a laity that is theologically illiterate. Meanwhile, if you can believe Ratzinger’s “Nothing Changed Here” sell, or DeLubac’s creative recasting of nature and grace which turns centuries of teaching inside out, I have a health plan to sell you, or maybe a very creative idea about No Salvation Outside of the Church which means the exact reverse of what you might naively assume. As long as Catholics cling to the idea that Pope’s can’t actually teach anything counter to the faith, we will be in this position of having a Church in direct antagonism with what it supposedly believes. It is like Obama invoking Reagan: quite reassuring to those willing to suspend all disbelief. I am the last person to want to have to identify with crazy schismatics. But this material nails it all pretty well:

  15. Branch says:

    I don’t understand how one can accept or even admire von Balthasar and even more so du Lubac’s ‘paradoxes’ and yet balk at Pope Francis.

  16. drprice2 says:

    Age of Sail!

  17. ErnstThalmann says:

    Yeah. Got the distinct feeling that I’d encountered the occupant of a time machine whose vehicle had somehow gotten its selector switch stuck on 1933. 🙂

    And, yeah, just as happy as all get-out to embrace just about any theological opinion ever posited by either Joseph Ratzinger on continuity or Henri du Lubac concerning nature and grace, particularly so when the counter arguments are being offered by a complete non-entity like James Who? Please, you’ve got to be kidding citing a zero like Larson as an authority on either of these questions. That’s like comparing a Little League ball player with Ted Williams. Try as you might to avoid identifying yourself with schismatics, you’d never know by what you’ve written here that you ever succeeded, trust me.

  18. Danielius says:

    Eh, that’s a rather long ad hominem, Mr. Thalmann. 🙂 As another of the Neanderthals, who has great admiration for the Scholastic Doctors and views the the Nouvelle Théologie with great suspicion because of all the novelties, I call for a cease fire. I know you haven’t started the negative comments, but this post was the angriest. As far I can tell everybody, who has commented so far, has been suffering from utter confusion of the last year. No need to make ourselves even more miserable. (Or maybe a giant fight would help, as a release?)

    Anyway, this is clearly an emotional issue and I suspect that we all have been thinking about what to blame for this crisis. I think that we would probably disagree about the main causes. I’d blame NT for not having the philosophical tools within itself to fight modernism and preserve tradition effectively. You’d probably blame (neo-)Scholasticism for not completely preserving important elements of the Patristic heritage and thus making their re-introduction seem like a rupture (giving an illusion of precedent to liberals whenever they want to add something they want). Or maybe something totally different! I think this would be an interesting discussion, but it seems a bit out of place here. So, I propose instead to unite in talking smack about that anti-traditional, crypto-Protestant journal Concilium and whatever bonkers stuff they are currently pushing! (Post-Colonial Theology?)

  19. ErnstThalmann says:


    Would it surprise you to learn that my concern here has absolutely nothing to do with “the crisis” as you describe it or in uniting to talk “smack about that anti-traditional, crypto-Protestant journal Concilium”? Rather it has to do with the noxious cheap shots alleging heresy of Ratzinger, duLubac and von Balthasar that insinuate themselves so casually and regularly onto the comment section of this blog. And these, of course, by rank poseurs who have not the slightest familiarity with the corpus of these theologians but who rely on scurrilous hit pieces by unknowns so as to gain notoriety for a vision of a hidebound and schismatic Catholicism that was surpassed for good reason years ago and that has little to recommend it even today. I have no interest whatsoever in “uniting” with anyone, formally or informally, that so eagerly spreads the vicious and repellant calumnies against these good men that I’ve encountered here. In my view, these are not co-religionists; they’re more like reptiles, vermin. So save your arbitration for someone that wants its, chief. You’re wasting your time with me.

  20. Danielius says:

    Ah, I see. I apologise for the misguided attempt above then.

  21. Ernst, I assure you that I am not going to allow myself to be caught on the horns of that false dilemma. There is a great deal that is of value in the Nouvelle Theologie, though I admit that, despite an early and very strong affection for the NT as a convert, I am these days more partial to give credence to the traditional claims on various points, where they are shown to clash with the NT. I shall be continuing my exploration of the NT and old-school Scholasticism as fairly as I can manage. Anything beats the deafening chatter from Rome.

  22. We are very much on the same page, Tony. That’s heartening. I hope my blog continues to be an edifying source for reclaiming and personally appropriating the treasures of our Holy Tradition.

  23. Murray, I appreciate your thorough and well articulated comment. I know the near-despair of which you write. Your comment is healing in its frankness and ultimately inspiring in its confirmation that the best thing we can do to love “this papacy” is look beyond the endless cloud of dust surrounding it. If Francis really is trying to draw us into “the depths”, I think the best approach is to get there ourselves, with an at least formal papal blessing.

  24. It really is a Roman circus, isn’t it? No wonder I don’t feel welcome. 😉

  25. Pass the grog and spare me the papal scurvy!

  26. ErnstThalmann says:

    It was the theology of Ratzinger, von Balthasar and du Lubac that made a Catholic of me in the first place and precisely on the points where they took issue with neo-scholasticism: The nature/grace controversy, the idea of the Thomistic commentariat’s “pure nature”, etc. To retreat out of concern about Francis to an apparently last safe place is fraught with difficulty. The Second Vatican Council and its basis in theology is either accepted or it is not. There is no half way between the traditionalism of the schismatics and the ressourcement favored by du Lubac, Ratzinger and von Balthasar. Thinking otherwise, you will lean until you fall.

    I strongly suspect now that I’ve come to the wrong place with my reservations about Francis.. I’m not in the least tempted by them to regress into a nostalgia replete with ladies in Sunday head coverings and a theistic liturgy that objectifies God. I’d prefer to object to him simply by ending my active participation in the life of the Church. There would seem to be little if anything for me in Catholicism now anyway except what I embraced at first and with Benedict’s passing, even that is now gone. I bid you adieu.

  27. Touchy, touchy. You do love to be outraged, don’t you?

    Meanwhile, you do realize how badly it comes off for V2 when you, a self-appointed apologist therefore, so sneeringly and categorically pit it against all prior Catholic Tradition, right? I don’t know what “the theology of Vatican II” is, but if it’s wholly in accord with Holy Tradition as judged by the Magisterium–a discernment which we still see afoot in our day–then well and good. But if, by your own admission, this “theology of Vatican II” opposes the prior Tradition as crude and futile, and, what’s more, is used to trounce the classical Roman liturgy as a paganesque objectification of God–well, let’s just say that, in those terms, your withdrawal from the Church happened long ago. The Church is bigger than any highbrow theological journal, and the papacy is much bigger than our favorite, albeit retired, occupant of it, Ernst. I’m glad you derive so much pleasure from looking down your nose at fellow Catholics, because it sounds like dwelling among us brethren–even for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!–is far too odious a task for an old soul such as yours, which is apparently as equine as it is preening.

    I was warned months ago that you were a troll, though I had my doubts. If nothing else, I have to thank you for settling that question, in the affirmative. Sadly, your clockwork-like penchant for trumpeting your theological credentials has blinded you to two realities: first, how much of a comically pompous ass such strutting renders you; second, not being a doe-eyed devotee of the Nouvelle Theologie does not render me an opponent of it. My point as that I refuse to embrace a false dichotomy between the pre-conciliar theological tradition as a whole and the NT as a whole. That’s what being Catholic means: testing all things, and clinging to the good. It saddens me to realize this, but your loathing for the pre-conciliar Church says more about your putative conversion than anything else. I pray that you find peace with the fallenness of this world, a fallenness of which the human element of the Church is never free, and return to communion with the Church by the end of your days.

  28. ErnstThalmann says:

    Every possible blessing, Cog. 🙂

  29. JSWilson says:

    Yes- I can relate to the idea of “withdrawing” from this pontificate- and all the hub-bub surrounding this Papacy in the “news”. I will also imitate the Monks and Desert Fathers- with draw from the strife- focus on my sins/amendment of life, and work out my salvation in fear and trembling and cling to teachings and Saints before 1960 (with notable exceptions of Padre Pip and the Martins (I am married)- and no one can fault me for that course of action- can they? As long as they do not drag all lay faithful before a commission to swear allegiance to “Vatican II”- I am alright- NO?

  30. joe m says:

    ET, there are gracious exponents of the Nouvelle Theology. You are not one of them. As for Larson being a nonentity, perhaps in your estimation. I imagine he was quite a few faithful Catholic readers who would disagree. I count myself among them.

  31. Quite so, and thank you.

    Incidentally, since I have a feeling you’ll be back to check on any close-out comments here, I recommend that you check out Dr. Edward Feser’s blog. The problem is, unfortunately, I don’t see you having the patience to dialogue with most readers there, since your M.O. is to consign your interlocutor to years of reading, without actually engaging in argumentation, and then stalking off. Fortunately, many of the folks who hang around at Feser’s blog HAVE done a lot of “the reading”, so you can really stretch your legs there and spell out your case, instead of merely slamming your briefcase shut with an emotive Diktat.

    I know I sound snarky here, but that’s not my intent; and in any case, one of the things I like about you, Ernst, is that you know there is a place for charitable ad hominem.

  32. Murray says:

    Thanks. It wasn’t so much well-articulated as a stream-of-consciousness blat, but I appreciate the compliment nonetheless!

    To be clear, I’m not planning to turn my brain off or pretend that things aren’t dire. It’s just that to my intellectualizing hammer, everything looks like a nail, and the failure of this approach with the Bergoglio papacy was brought home very forcefully in the confessional last weekend. It exposed the weakness of my faith and (much worse) my lack of trust in Christ’s promises. So this Lent, I’m working on becoming like a little child again, and resolving to bring all these confusions and difficulties to my Mother. She’ll know what to do with them.

    One of the most disheartening things about the past year has been the division this papacy has sown among faithful Catholics. The name-calling began almost immediately, with all the Elder Brother labels, and I’ve been astonished that the Holy Father’s defenders seem unwilling to concede that our confusion and dismay is entirely sincere. Sure, once the arguments begin, people express themselves in colorful ways, but the underlying cause is a genuine inability to harmonize this Pope’s actions with tradition. But the way they talk, they seem to think that a whole bunch of previously normal Catholics just got stupid all of a sudden, or developed a spontaneous, inexplicable hatred for our new Pope.

    On the other hand, it’s been tremendously clarifying. Compared to a year ago, we now have a much greater understanding of the huge fault lines among orthodox Catholics, the dim prospects for the Reform of the Reform, the false promise of the “demographic solution”, and the improbability of ever successfully rehabilitating Vatican II in a liturgically sound and theologically orthodox fashion.

  33. Branch says:

    James Larson is brilliant.

  34. ErnstThalmann says:

    Gee, Joe, and like the rest of the world, I’ve felt such a pressing need to be pleasing to you. I’ll make sure to check in with you before I post again.

  35. Dear B.C. Have you seen this interview in which Bishop Morlino gives us the context about the now infamous of Pope Francis having to do with judging?

    State Journal: In a recent Catholic Herald column, you said that comment has been “outrageously misinterpreted.” Tell us how.

    Morlino: When Francis was telling us about that, he was talking about a particular bishop whom he had just given a job in the Vatican, and it was found out that in South America where this bishop had been, he had been charged with certain misconduct. So the question came to Francis, “How could you bring him in?” And Francis said, “The man has admitted he did wrong, he is sorry, and he has changed his life through the grace of Jesus Christ. Who am I to judge him now?”

    It is gratifying to hear the truth no matter how late in the game it is

  36. joe says:

    Interesting article here relating to post-conciliar scholasticism and manualist theology, giving the “losing” side’s perspective….

  37. Just in time! Wonders never cease.

  38. It has indeed been cathartic. In September or October, I joked that my Year of Faith began as everyone else’s was wrapping up, but it turns out to be true. I suspect that my experience in the confessional is roughly akin to your own. I’ll discuss it in an upcoming “closeout” post. Good to have you around FCA.

    Here’s wishing you A Grave and Sober Lent!

  39. Dear B.C. Will an apology be forthcoming from you?

    I just did a search of google re the now infamous statement and discovered that Jimmy Akin (much maligned in here) had the explanation of that quote last summer.

    You were not alone in using that quote to mock the Pope but you alone can issue an apology for having done what a good man like you ought not to have done.

    Take it from one who has had sufficient cause to issue many public apologies; there are times when it is right and just; and a time when the absence of an apology is a sin itself.

    Pax tecum

  40. Murray says:


    The trouble is that Bishop Morlino himself seems to misrepresent the Holy Father in the process of correcting the misrepresentations. This is the relevant excerpt from the airplane interview:

    REPORTER: In regard to Monsignor Ricca, I’ve done what Canon Law orders to do, which is the investigatio previa. And from this investigatio there is nothing of which they accuse him, we haven’t found anything of that.

    This is the answer. But I would like to add something else on this: I see that so many times in the Church, outside of this case and also in this case, they go to look for the “sins of youth,” for instance, and this is published. Not the crimes, alas. Crimes are something else: the abuse of minors is a crime. No, the sins.

    But if a person, lay or priest or Sister, has committed a sin and then has converted, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is important for our life. When we go to confession and truly say: “I have sinned in this,” the Lord forgets and we don’t have the right not to forget, because we run the risk that the Lord won’t forget our [sins]. That’s a danger. This is important: a theology of sin. I think so many times of Saint Peter: he committed one of the worst sins, which is to deny Christ, and with this sin he was made Pope. We must give it much thought.

    But, returning to your more concrete question: in this case, I’ve done the investigatio previa and we found nothing. This is the first question. Then you spoke of the gay lobby. Goodness knows! So much is written of the gay lobby. I still have not met one who will give me the identity card with “gay”. They say that they exist. I think that when one meets a person like this, one must distinguish the fact of being a gay person from the fact of doing a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. That’s bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in such a beautiful way, it says, Wait a bit, as is said and says: “these persons must not be marginalized because of this; they must be integrated in society.”

    The Bishop errs in his claim that the matter concerned a bishop, but that’s a minor thing. More serious is the mistaken claim that Msgr. Ricca had acknowledged his wrongdoing and repented. That is nowhere to be found in the pope’s answer. He does discuss confession and forgiveness, but also says that they “found nothing”. None of us are in a position to know the truth of this matter, but the allegations against Ricca were extensive and attested to by multiple witnesses.

    Thirdly, by the time he gets to the “who am I to judge?”, the Holy Father has left the Ricca matter behind and is now addressing a “more concrete” question about the “gay lobby”. At no point does he tie Ricca to this lobby, or even acknowledge Ricca’s putative homosexuality. So Bishop Morlino is also mistaken on this point.

  41. cyrillist says:

    But how many understand the context of the quote? Hasn’t virtually the whole world interpreted it as papal toleration and acceptance of homosexual practice?

    The Holy Father could have clarified the misreading. Why hasn’t he?


    I think Mr. Akin addressed that point,and others.

    The Bishop said he has addressed the matter more than once so I think he knows what he is talking about

  43. Dear Cyrillist. Prolly few understand it and I think you are right re the world.

    Dunno why he hasn’t clarified it; maybe he suspects a clarification will just be the spark that reignites this faux controversy that Pope Francis has beliefs different than Pope Benedict XVI; besides, he has bigger fish to fry.

    When doesn’t the pagan press try to cast in a light favorable to its own perversions any statement by a Pope and so we ought be, at best, extremely wary of becoming an objective ally of the press.

  44. Murray says:

    OK. As far as I know the Holy Father has only once addressed the Ricca matter, and has only once made the “who am I to judge” comment, which was not in any case referring to Msgr. Ricca, as Bishop Morlino mistakenly claims. Jimmy Akin is certainly referring to the same interview as I am, in his article.

    I think you’ll find that most of the Holy Father’s critics will acknowledge that, read in its full context, you can derive an orthodox interpretation of the the WAITJ statement. Jimmy Akin is mainly addressing those who haven’t read in context, or who lack the catechesis required to make such distinctions. So he’s performing a useful service, but perhaps not strictly relevant in this forum.

    The more substantive criticisms (which neither Akin nor Bishop Morlino address) include the following:

    The HF legitimates the use of the word “gay” by using it without qualifications. He thus tacitly endorses the modern world’s deformed understanding of the nature of sexual orientation.
    WAITJ is a perfect soundbite. I am not among those who believe that Pope Francis (a bishop for almost 22 years) is a wide-eyed innocent among the jackals of the media. I do him the courtesy of assuming that he is intelligent and hard-headed enough to know the effect his words would have.
    For a vivid illustration of the ongoing confusion and scandal caused by these 5 little words, google “who am i to judge pope francis”.
    The fact that the HF has not seen fit to clarify or teach further on this matter strongly implies that he is unconcerned by the confusion.
    This is but one of many (many, many, many) statements made by the HF that seem to require Mr. Akin’s assiduous services. By a weird coincidence, the vast bulk of them tend in the exact same direction; that is, seeming to weaken Church teaching in favor of a kind of moral and religious indifferentism. You can isolate each statement and strain to derive (“in context”) an interpretation in continuity with Church teaching, but after a while, you begin to realize that rampant confusion is the context.

  45. Murray says:

    Ach, formatting. Sorry, that was meant to be a bullet list rather than a wall of text.

  46. cyrillist says:

    “…we ought be, at best, extremely wary of becoming an objective ally of the press.”

    Amen. And if I may be so bold, maybe that advice could apply to our Holy Father too. Seems to me that if he wanted to, he could lay this whole WAITJ controversy to rest with one forceful statement. Of course, by doing so, he’d certainly ignite a vrai controversy that his beliefs are actually the same as his predecessor’s, and I’m sure I’d enjoy that one a lot more.

    Let’s face it, when he’s that way inclined, Pope Francis is quite good at issuing forceful statements. Self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagianism, anyone?

  47. Dear Murray. The successful homosexualisation of culture has resulted in a change in language and I don’t think there is anything to be gained by the use of the word, homosexual, (itself a relatively new word) rather than, gay, when one is trying to engage the world.

    I prefer the word, sodomite, but I don’t expect Pope Francis or any Bishop to use it but I don’t think not using a particular word means one is indifferent to the sin of sodomy (twice using the word but in one sentence dealing with sodomy is not to be understood as me just being a wise ass; oops ).

    What is interesting to note is that there has also been opposition to Pope Francis talking about other sins crying to heaven for vengeance and that opposition has come from many of those who decry the use of the word, gay, and they claim he is, thus, a socialist at heart.

    Me? I think he is a fully orthodox Christian Catholic and I do not think he is indifferent to any structures of sin; sexual, militaristic, economic etc etc

  48. Murray:

    You fell for it again. You’re trying to use rational analysis on what is meant to be pretty “pastoral” rhetoric.

    Cdl. Dolan, for instance, was “explaining” what Francis meant almost as soon as the interview broke, yet, oddly enough, he never invoked the explanation recently given by Bp. Morlino. (My craven little eyes would like to see Morlino on record with this explanation before this recent explanation came to light.) Dolan could say that he has had to correct people’s misunderstandings of the pope’s expression many times before, as Bp. Morlino assures us he has had to do, but considering they offer differing explanations, neither of which meshes very well with what Francis was reported as saying, I see little profit in taking much of anything at face value anymore. They’ll say whatever they need to say to appear to “understand” this pope (notice how Morlino has to wiggle around how his starchier Communion parameters in the past conflict with Pope Francis’s open-door attitude, and how he almost literally says that “if the pope changes, you change to match him”). The bishops will say what they must say, because, being close disciples of “the people’s pope”, they see that he’ll say whatever is needed to make the world feel his “caresses” and “tenderness”.

    Understandably, then, even as I try to unsee the past year of this papacy, the term Vicarius Mundi frequently comes to mind.

  49. Murray says:

    All right, so now we’ve cleared away the distractions, we’re firmly back in “agree to disagree” territory. As an aside, the “socialist” criticism doesn’t resonate much with me, though as usual with Pope Francis we could wish for greater precision.

    The reason I got involved (against my own resolution above), is that you requested an apology on the basis of Bishop Morlino’s clarification and Jimmy Akin’s article. I showed that Bishop Morlino was mistaken on at least three counts and that both he and Akin focused on the wider public interpretation of WAITJ rather than the criticisms made by informed and well-catechized observers. Since Bp. Morlino and Jimmy Akin do not attempt to answer these criticisms, their clarifications cannot serve as the basis for an apology.

    In any case, no apology is warranted because there really is no misunderstanding. I have read the HF’s remarks in their full context and in the light of tradition, and I have concluded they were imprudent and scandalous, and quite possibly made with the full knowledge of the effect they would have. You disagree, and there appears to be no way to resolve the issue. Both of us have reached our conclusions by using our reason and attempting to avoid self-deception. One of us is objectively incorrect, but I fail to see why either of us should apologize for beliefs sincerely held.

  50. Dear Cyrillist. I don’t think it fair to use my argument against what I wrote for it applies to those i am criticising, not to those I am defending 🙂

    Actually, I think it is prolly best not to dog this sleeping lie; it is the pet perversion of the press that the Pope really doesn’t desire to remove the rhetorical fig leaf, gay, hiding the nekkid truth abut sodomy but the most strident opponents of truth know the truth about our true Faith but I do not in the least believe that the press can manipulate Pope Francis.

    Rather, I think the his press coverage has changed the discussion about the Catholic Church to the point where even our worst enemies are loathe to be seen as his enemies due to his popularity even among non-believers.

  51. Dear Murray. The use of “Who am I to judge” has been used as a rhetorical tool to mock Our Holy Father.

    Even IF he had intended what the press misconstrued him as to have intended to say, that is still no reason to repeatedly hound him.

    Cui bono?

    Certainly not Holy Mother Church.

  52. Murray says:

    It’s true, I’m doing it again.

    Hammer of Reason: That’s a nail, and that’s a nail, also a nail, likewise a nail, hey, another nail! Nothing but nails, everywhere I look.

    Perhaps you should ban me from commenting!

  53. I was aware of Akin’s “explanation” months ago. It does not address the relevant problem; nor does Morlino’s. Murray is right: we simply disagree and I see little benefit in apologizing for being scandalized along with millions of others. I know that you think I’m a vile Catholic. Why, then, succor my kind with traffic, I wonder?

    Refusing to discuss the pope’s “nakedness”–an act which by its very nature backfires by broadcasting “there’s a problem with the pope” (as your [I presume] prompting of Mr. Voris and CMTV achieved in broad daylight)–is entirely different from your actual agenda, which is to valorize everything the pope does and says, and in the process to rend the clothes of your brethren that they may cower in nakedness before your ultramontane frenzy.

    Are you honestly surprised why you wear out your welcome at your former haunts? Trolls come in many shapes and sizes, and I am tired of discussing this pope when THE ENTIRE POINT OF THIS POST is to declare that “contention and contumely cease”, as you would say.

  54. It’s for your own good!

    (Take heart: I’m about to suspend ALL further comments on this thread.)

  55. cyrillist says:

    “I don’t think it fair to use my argument against what I wrote for it applies to those i am criticising, not to those I am defending.”

    Awwww, pleeeease? It’s such a good argument, why can’t I borrow it a little? 😉


  56. Pingback: How I learned to stop worrying and love the Church | Zippy Catholic

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