The following comes from a September 11 story by John Allen in the National Catholic Reporter.
Although the big Vatican story in the English-speaking media today is based on comments by Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the new Secretary of State, on celibacy and democracy, attention in Italy is focused instead on the latest sensation from Pope Francis himself: a personal letter to a renowned journalist and nonbeliever, splashed across the front page of La Repubblica, the country’s most widely read daily.
In the letter, Francis makes three points that have all been said before, including by popes, but rarely with such clarity or in this kind of venue:
- God has never abandoned the covenant with the Jewish people, and the church “can never be grateful enough” to the Jews for preserving their faith despite the horrors of history, especially the Shoah, the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.
- God’s mercy “does not have limits” and therefore it reaches nonbelievers, too, for whom sin would not be the lack of faith in God, but rather, failure to obey one’s conscience.
- Truth is not “variable or subjective,” but Francis says he avoids calling it “absolute” — truth possesses us, he said, not the other way around, and it’s always expressed according to someone’s “history and culture, the situation in which they live, etc.”
Popes have engaged in exchanges with journalists before, including John Paul II’s interview book with Vittorio Messori, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, in 1994, and Benedict XVI’s conversation with Peter Seewald that became 2010’s Light of the World.
This is apparently the first time, however, that a pope has personally responded to questions put to him in two newspaper editorials. Eugenio Scalfari, one of the founders of La Repubblica, penned the essays in early July and again in early August, musing about questions he’d like to ask Pope Francis if he ever had the chance.
Scalfari’s point of departure was the recent encyclical Lumen fidei, which said that “to the extent that they are sincerely open to love and set out with whatever light they can find,” nonbelievers “are already, even without knowing it, on the path leading to faith….”
To read the entire story, click here.
Going back to the original source(s) as much as possible (La Repubblica, where the letter was printed in Italian; translations in the Telegraph UK), these comments by Pope Francis are deeply disturbing: “The question for those who do not believe in God is to follow their own conscience. Sin, even for a non-believer, is when one goes against one’s conscience. ..To listen and to follow your conscience means that you understand the difference between good and evil.” First, it means that one’s own conscience is their sole guide—he didnt clarify. Catholicism has said one must have a properly informed conscience. Fidel Castro is a proud atheist and one of the greatest living murderers, and he is at home with his conscience.
2ndly, it really means we don’t need the sacraments (esp. of confession) or the Church — what is good for an atheist is good for everyone, just follow your own conscience, or as Luther said, everyone had a direct communication with God. 3rd, Jesus in the Scriptures adamantly states that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one can come to the Father except through him. (John 14:6). That is thrown out the window. Pope Bergoglio, do you really care about the confusion you are sowing to an already confused Catholic populace?
Yes, indeed. I hope Pope Francis understands that when he says something it is reported around the world. It is important that while talking to non-Catholics is important, that we do not continue to lose the Souls of those who are already Catholic because they assume that one Church is just as good as another.
Pope Francis did not explain what it takes to have an informed conscience in his statement. –
CCC: ” 1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened.
A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful.
It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator.
The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings. ”
With the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” there is no excuse for not knowing truth – for the literate.
Steve Phoenix, I think you have a bad translation. The translation on Rorate Caeli is different. It does not say that sin is when one does not follow one’s conscience. It is quite different.
Endless Dialogue at the expense of souls……
How would you get those of hardened hearts to listen to the Church if you do not soften their hearts foist?
It is called the “Golden Rule”. Thank you Pope Francis.
While souls fall to Hell…
So what is the point of Being Catholic?
May God have mercy on an amoral USA!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Kenneth, your “viva Cristo Rey” acclamations are just grand, but you are not a Cristero, facing death and torture.
You are a guy living, quite safely, in Orange County.
As for your ranting about “the immoral U.S.A.,” why don’t you leave and move to a much better country where you can actually admire and support the government?
I look forward to hearing which destination you’ve selected…on THIS planet.
And you Michael are just another liberal who sits by and watch as the Church is gutted from within…
Michael, that was really mean. Kenneth brings his passion and experience here and personal ad hominem attacks serve no purpose. I know you’re not a liberal but that was out of character for you. Kenneth is part Mexican and it is natural for him to use that expression. In Detroit the Black people say “Come Holy Jesus” or where I live it’s “Let’s hear it, brother, I can dig it” (that was a joke). More than likely you’d hear, “You bet your sweet boopie”…or sometimes I hear patootie.
Michael such harsh words towards a good pro-life and defender of the faith gentleman such as Mr, Fisher. This is telling of who you are and gives me a warning. I find your comments to Mr, Fisher very offensive, you are terribly wrong about him. Mr. Fisher is probably more man than you will understand. Any gentleman who takes on whatever comes his way to protect and defend the unborn and has also defends the faith does not deserve what you just threw at him…..you should be ashamed of yourself and learn some respect.
The point of being Catholic is not to earn something, to get some special treat from God. It’s a response to the good news of Christ. It’s a participation in Christ, a putting on of Christ. One is Catholic because it is a good thing, a divine thing…
Today’s Gospel from Luke is a perfect response to your question: what’s the point of being Catholic. The brother who worked as a slave for his father is upset that his wayward brother is welcomed into the arms of his father. Why? Because he was resentful that he had to work while his brother went off to live a prodigal life. But if the brother had seen working for his father as a joy, as a blessing in itself, then he wouldn’t have been resentful that the wayward one joined him, because now his joy can be shared.
One isn’t Catholic so one can earn heaven, knowing atheists end up in hell. One is Catholic because one gets to put on Christ. And if in heaven we find that our atheist brothers and sisters get to join us in heaven, then we can rejoice in the fact that now they too can participate in God.
The notion that one cannot get to heaven unless they are Catholic is bunk and against the teachings of the Church. All good people who die in a state of grace can get to heaven. That is our belief. If those who think they are better than others because they are Catholic would attend some of the Protestant churches in their neighborhood, not to be converted but to learn, they would see that many of the denominations have copied the Catholic liturgy for themselves, use the three year set of readings, believe that the bread and wine is turned into the body and blood of Christ, confess their sins on a regular basis, etc. They are not evil people, they just don’t believe all that we do or to the degree that we do. They are who they are, for the most part, because of how they were raised. Most of us are Catholic because our parents were Catholic and sent us to Catholic schools or CCD for faith formation. It would help if many on this site would stop hating anyone who doesn’t attend the EF Mass on a regular basis. It is a wonderful liturgy, but it is not the only one in town!
More ecumenical nonsense from Vatican 2 old man, no wonder the Church is in collapse as your attitude is so common… Get this through your liberal head we are the true Church… as far as the Tridentine Rite may not be the only one in town, but it is the only one that matter…. you can keep your happy, clappy nonsense
You don’t get it Bob One…when we die and God takes us…then we must all become Catholic….all in heaven are Catholic…..So if a person was Atheist and God’s mercy helped him convert right before his death…then after purgatory, we are purified and then they are Catholic. There are no different sects or religions making it into heaven….there is that spiritual conversion of purification from our sins, sanctifying grace….we leave all earthly possessions, understandings etc etc….so everyone in heaven is like minded in Christ…so yes everyone is Catholic by the time their soul reaches heaven. : ) That is the good news! Praise BE JESUS CHRIST!
◾Truth is not “variable or subjective,” but Francis says he avoids calling it “absolute” — truth possesses us, he said, not the other way around, and it’s always expressed according to someone’s “history and culture, the situation in which they live, etc.”
This reminds me of Jesus telling the ultra-pious Pharisees that goyim and prostitutes would enter the Kingdom of Heaven before them, if they (the goyim) were open to Jesus’ message…
Better not to mess with people that buy ink by the barrel. The Enemedia will always find a way to change the meaning of any words. Better start from the assumption that the Press is controlled by Freemasons. They may be with Pope Francisco now, but were he to speak up against the culture of death or sexual perversions that would turn on a dime.
“God has never abandoned the covenant with the Jewish people, and the church “can never be grateful enough” to the Jews for preserving their faith despite the horrors of history, especially the Shoah, the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.”
This is quite troubling. If the covenant was never abandoned, then what was the purpose for the coming of Our Lord? The old law is only a precursor to the new. Sadly, we do not get the clarity that existed in Church teaching pre Vatican II. Now we get much confusion which leads to further division.
If God is not faithful to the original covenant, than why would Catholics believe that he would be faithful to His New Covenant. Ask St. Paul:
St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Chapter 11: “I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew… So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace. What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking….So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their stumbling salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their stumbling means riches for the world, and if their defeat means riches for Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! …As regards the gospel they are enemies of God for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. “
Clinton R., you know the purpose of the coming of the Messiah.
Spot on Mchicha, what is the point in being Roman Catholic if all religions are the “same” Islam, Hindu, Buddism, Judaism, Bahai, Wiccan, Baptist, Methodist, for over 40 years we have been “talking” for what? Are we not the ones to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ?????
In other words, why not join the easiest Church to be a member of such as “the Universalist” or the “Metropolitan Church”! After all, they too enjoy salvation!
Our Blessed Mother has told us to stay with Tradition!
May God have mercy on an amoral USA!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Catholics do not have the option, Mr. Fisher. We can’t just go to whatever church pleases us the most. We have to attend a Catholic Church that is united to the Pope and the local ordinary.
Pope Francis seems to be placing an emphasis on all men and women of good will to examine their lives and their consciences, what’s wrong with that? One thing for sure, the shrill letters of anger from other commentators on this particular posting wont’ convince anyone….the Church has already tried that for centuries and look what they have to show for it today.
good cause, who defines “men and women of good will” ?
In this era of RELATIVISM there is no right and no wrong.
So many can justify almost anything without any concern about violating their own conscience.
Almost anything goes.
Why is CCD giving FREE advertising to the heretical and schismatic “National Catholic REPORTER” ?
Darn good question, let us see if they answer it!
May God have mercy on an amoral USA!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
They? Has there been a falling out?
Whatever happened to “Extra ecclesiam nulla salus”? I believe the pope’s off the cuff remarks are extremely disturbing. After the recent, disastrous,
in-flight interview, the Holy Father should have learned to be more circumspect when talking to the press. His statements are ambiguous at best.
As it stands, as a Catholic traditionalist, I am quite frankly baffled….
OUTSIDE THE CHURCH NO SALVATION?
Don’t go overboard with that — remember the American priest who was EXCOMMUNICATED for preaching that notion:
“Leonard Feeney, a U.S. Jesuit priest who defended the strict interpretation of the Roman Catholic doctrine ‘outside the Church there is no salvation,’ arguing that baptism of blood and baptism of desire are unavailing.”
And no, this was not yesterday — it was back in 1953.
And his excommunication was announced not by the NCR, but by the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition.
Thank you, Michael. I must have been away in 1953 when this once iron-clad principle, which I learned in catechism as a young lad, was summarily abolished by the Holy Inquisition. Come to think of, in 1953 I was still in Korea and had other concerns. At least now I know. Better late than never!
Which still leaves one question” If all religions lead one to heaven, what is the point in remaining loyal to a church mired in corruption and scandals for nearly fifty years, spending the faithful’s money for the misdeeds of its ordained ministers?
Anton that is exactly the real point, what is keeping people Catholic? God graces and don’t be surprised if the evil one too has his plan there, he uses dissenters to stay in the Church so they can infiltrate more confusion, even good people fall prey to that, even church leadership…we are human. But when it comes to dogma, even the Pope can’t change that nor touch it. But as we can see, even Popes can give their personal opinions as well. We just pray that they don’t contradict with tradition and dogma.
Good points all, Abeca. I read this article this a.m. and it’s pretty good.
It’s not about the Church but he brings up relevant points about how we’ve gotten so confused about everything.
Dana yes I have read that one. We also read on what Save California has got to say. https://savecalifornia.com/
Our church needs to be the leader to stop all this confusion, when our church is the root of all this confusion, then that is how it affects the whole world. We are seeing that today.
All religions are not equal. When you remain loyal to the Catholic Church, you remain loyal to God. If one knows that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ through his Apostles, that the Catholic Church has the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, has the gift of infallibility through the Pope and the Bishops united with him and has the only authority on Earth to interpret the will of God, then one is obliged to worship there. To leave because there is sin or misdeeds would be putting humans ahead of God. Where would you go?
cja Amen to being loyal, so if we know the truth then even if someone in authority is preaching the opposite, then we must still remain loyal to the truth and not allow scandal into our hearts.
Please continue to pray for our precious Pope. We love him and place him in our Lord’s hands, protection and mercy.
Ah, Anton, this is why one must read Church declarations CAREFULLY.
This over zealous Jesuit was excommunicated for misstating the Catholic Church’s understanding of “outside the Church no salvation,” in that he also insisted on “arguing that baptism of blood and baptism of desire are unavailing.”
This is like people who think there is only heaven and hell — no purgatory. They want black and white — and refuse to see gray areas.
Luckily, Holy Mother Church is more intelligent (perhaps because she’s older than we are), more compassionate, and more measured.
Mother Church got her ideas about pergatory directly from Jesus Christ. Luke 12:59 Christ is condemning sin and speaks of liberation only after expiation. “Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” … the reference must apply to a third place.
Matthew 12:32 says, “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” The implication is that some sins can be forgiven in the world to come
Anton, you are most certainly right, at least according to Catholic Answers. All the protestant churches have broken off of the rock of Peter…they’re all based on Catholic teachings at some point which is why their baptisms are honored. But the Catholic Church offers the fullness of faith. Religions like hindu, zorastism budhaism etc. are not, nor are the cults like mormonism and jehova’s witnesses, and why we discourage our children from marrying into these ‘religions’. Socrates and others came to knowing the one true God by their philosophies and no one can speculate if they are in heaven, that is God’s decision and we’re not to worry about it. We’re to assume that all must hear the good news, aren’t we? That is what Jesus commanded his disciples to do…go into all the world and spread the good news, love one another as I have loved you and to love the Lord Thy God with all thy heart, soul and mind. By saying everyone’s going to heaven is disobedience and utter pride…anyone who claims such nonsense believes they know more than God. We must always err on the side of being overly zealous rather than overly cautious, and none of us can be accused of that, I would imagine. Have we given up all we owned and followed Him? For right now, let’s try to just love one another…if we can’t even love our brothers and sisters in Christ, how are we going to spread the good news to a dark world who truly is dying of spiritual hunger?
Dana purgatory makes sense because of our human condition…there needs to be purging of our sins before we can be in glory with our Lord.
The leader of the free-world, the President of the United States, is systematically destroying that Nation. The leader of Christ’s Church on earth is systematically destroying the Universal Church. Well, they may be going against everything that they’ve sworn to support and defend, but at least they aren’t going against their own consciences.
I must admit, scub, at least you are honest in your turning away from the Holy See and therefore from the Holy Roman Catholic Church. I hope you’ll come back.
YFC, your sodomy by default has caused you to turn… what is that line you liberals just adore.. oh yeah “judge not let thee be judged”… I really detest liberals
Canisius…just curious….when you say “your sodomy”…what exactly to you mean? Do you mean that I have committed sodomy? If so, how do you know that? Do you mean that I have unconfessed instances of sodomy? Again, how would you know that?
What PRECISELY do you mean, since you are judging my eternal life. I think I have a right to know the evidence you have against me.
Difficult to understand Francis. While he is Pope, his message is often muddled, and often seems to pick up on the People’s Magazine notion of truth, faith, Christianity, and all of that. Does Francis actually believe in sin, given his broad acceptance of the truth and value in other cultures, beliefs and the like? Certainly, God’s original Covenant with the Jews remains, because God said it would. And, Jesus never said that he came to destroy the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. So, this gives sense to the New Covenant, which is our — the Gentiles — bridge to salvation. Even pre-Vatican II it was taught that Jews were an actively chosen people, not just in a historical sense. The “clarification” of the Catholic– Jewish relationship is one thing that Vatican II got right (although this is not necessarily new, notwithstanding many awful things that Catholic leadership did to Jewish people in the past). But Francis is troubling, and not in the way of making the necessary burdens of the Faith more clear. Why isn’t Catholic “Triumphalism” proper? It is, after all, THE one, true, and complete path to salvation: no other faiths have this promise. What a shame that the leaders of the Catholic Church no longer believe in its central mission and role in history. After 2000 years of being the biggest supporter of mankind’s reach for God, including through the costliest and most extensive charitable outreach in history, it is virtually all over. Francis, and the many clerics like him, seem to be saying, “So What? Being a good atheist, Wiccan, or pagan of any stripe (?homosexual sex practitioner?) is just as good (as long as you believe in your craziness).
St. Christopher I understand your concern and now the world is reporting on this as well. This article which is usually conservative reported this: https://www.wnd.com/2013/09/is-pope-francis-even-catholic/
While praying for our Pope and since I have no personal agenda’s myself, I am genuinely seeking the guidance from our Lord and something tells me to be concerned. Also this past weekend I feel that my prayers were answered.
We decided to visit Temecula, CA and we stopped by a Christian shop where they sell nice t-shirts at a good price. Noah’s or something like that was it’s name. There was an employee who of course was not Catholic but he sure seemed very well in like minded morals as we have. He tried to gear us to buying a video which of course was protestant, we kindly said no thank you. We shared our concerns on abortion and such. But something kept telling me to mention the mega church “The Rock” and to point out some of their heresies. So I casually did, turned out that he use to be a big supporter of the Rock and that is how he once chose to worship but now he has been studying more the truth. Well his truth, his conscience.
continued: As we were ready to pay for our t-shirts, there was another customer ahead of us, she was an elder. She was talking about how she use to be Catholic and as a child she dreamed about being a nun. She said that her mum was still Catholic and she asked for prayer for her mum. The guy said wow, she really needs prayer, Catholics are bad or something like that. I stood near because I wanted to get a perspective of what they really thought about us. But as he saw me waiting, then they got silent. I then looked to my husband and said “hey honey look they sold this at our annual Catholic convention.”. The customer then turned and look at me with a concern look. I pray that our Pope would be careful on how his messages are interpreted because they can cause a lot of confusion. Our early doctors of the church where very clear and they did not cause much confusion at all. Now I am seeing more confusion more than ever. May God have mercy on us all. If I was not well Catechized, I can see how easily it is for Catholics to leave this church. I did have a good long conversation at first with this gentleman, seemed well grounded, following his conscience, I wanted him to know in the end that I was Catholic and that I was well taught….
Pope Francis has been a blessing to our Church!
This pope… “a blessing?” In what way? Bringing the world to Christ? “Leading” his flock into righteousness and away from sin? Or maybe a blessing in that we can finally see “the bottom” and are finally able to smell the sulfur emanating from our leadership, and are finally shaken awake so we can turn this ship (church) around before it is entirely too late. The Church is sick. It’s rotting from the inside out. Pope Francis is the culmination of decades of corruption. A blessing??? Wake up!!!!
May his reign very brief
Oh, great — now we’ve got so-called Catholics praying for the death of the Holy Father.
And calling him corrupt.
And being rotten.
You folks sound like Martin Luther!!!
I am not so-called, I never said I pray for his death, maybe retirement.. We need a Pope who actually wants to lead, and realize he is the Vicar of Christ on Earth and start acting like… it would also be nice if he made at least one statement on the evil of abortion before the year is out…..
Canisius, may I ask, not what has the Pope failed to teach you. Rather what HAS he taught you? I’m guessing you are not hearing his lessons because you are too busy trying to write his homilies for him.
YFC unfortunately all I hear is “tolerance”… perhaps the ugliest word in the English language ….but never Truth
Canisus : The Holy Spirit selects and guides the Pope. You and I have very little to say about it. Those are the rules unless one is a sedvacantist.
I wonder if he thinks Scott Lively should go for some good will and get a conscience.
Tom, on line there is a posting that says Scott Lively does not believe in the death Penalty for the mere practice of homosexuality and does not believe in that part of the African Law. Just google it before you pass misinformation around.
Is this the new evangelization??????????
Everybody loves somebody sometime –The new Vatican theme song????????
People like Michael and others of the Professional Disinformation Society love to rush in and pass judgment on those of us trying to puzzle out this Pope’s confusing statements about Faith, but they never dare to deal with facts. Fact: According to Fr. Gabriel Amorth, a close friend of Padre Pio, has said (“30 days”, 2006 interview some years ago): “To the last day of Padre Pio’s life, Padre Pio constantly feared two things: Committing a mortal sin, and losing his Faith.” That is right: even with a well-formed Catholic conscience one can commit a mortal sin, and even despite all his mortifications, prayers and spiritual works, he feared losing his Faith. Apparently becoming an atheist with a good conscience was a VERY BAD thing to Padre Pio. But our fellow uninformed Catholics and our ambiguous Pope Francis know better. I think not.
People like Michael, Steve, believe in listening to the Vicar of Christ on Earth.
Also known as the Supreme Pontiff, the Successor to Saint Peter, and the Pope of Rome.
Every dingbat with a computer attacking the Pope, rather than contemplating what the Holy Father is TRULY trying to communicate, is like the movement pushed by Martin Luther, who encouraged every person to just interpret the Bible the way he or she wanted to — resulting in chaos, predictably, slaughter, and a big, fat, Germanic mess.
If you feel I’m passing judgment on you, maybe it’s just because you wrote something that sounded really dumb to me.
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH:
“100 The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.”
UNLESS YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT HE SAYS…?
Steve, I can only speak for myself, but I believe if we have an doubts or fears about our pope we should discuss them with our priest in confession or with a spiritual director if we’re lucky enough to have one. This is far too superficial a situation to determine anything of any great magnitude. “All good things come to he who waits…” Wait until you’ve thought it out and written down a few thoughts and then share them with a good father or someone you trust. Our popes deserve our respect and honor. Don’t we owe the vicar of Christ even that? Also, pray for him, as he asks. I wouldn’t let an article presented in a morally corrupt and despicable rag like the Nat’l Cath. Distorter or NYT make any sort of impression on me…consider the source then wrap your trash in it.
WRONG AGAIN Stevie boy
Obedience is the key to peace. It is so heart wrenching to see how the people who read this website struggle with the faith. But it is encouraging that most have not given up. You can always trust the Pope. Do not add to what he says. Do not interpret what he says. Memorize it and repeat it until you understand it. Do not try to fit the ocean in a thimble. Pray for greater faith, hope and love.
I agree except that part you wrote that you can always trust the pope. The pope is only a man, but he’s been elected to fill the shoes of the fisherman. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.’ I confess I only truly trust Jesus, my Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost, but there was a time when I didn’t even do that. I can’t trust humanity, but I trust our Lord with every fiber of my being. We owe our loyalty and duty to our Holy Father or we’re simply not Catholic…it’s not optional. The Church is not a democracy.
PS. And our beloved Mother…and all the saints. ha. Naturally there are people we love and trust,as well. I was just getting a bit too finicky in order to make a point.
Dana, you can always trust the Pope, really. Even the so-called bad popes of which there have been maybe 10, never taught against faith or morals. If you listen to, trust and obey the Pope you will be trusting Jesus. Sometimes, when we do not understand, we fear. Just trust. Also, always get the Pope’s words from an official source not the secular media. When a Pope, such as John Paul II and Benedict XVI, are speaking as themselves and not as the Pope, they will make that clear (like in Pope Benedict’s books on Jesus.)
Yes, I’m aware of that, but it’s not the changing of Church doctrine that concerns me…it is the willfull misunderstanding of Vatican II that caused untold damage to the faith and souls of millions if people. Pope Benedict Emeritus understood that and throughout his pontificate he was tireless in weeding out heresy and restoring the Liturgy. Pope Francis, though not at fault in himself, can enable those who so desperately want to rule the Church according to their skewed vision and it’ll be the 1970s all over again. Clarity and scrupulous adherence to Church teaching has never been more urgently needed.
Michael interprets every papal utterance as magisterial and therefore binding, which it is not. (I doubt however Michael and his ilk champion valid magisterial teaching such as traditional marriage, the forbidding of abortion and contraception and homosexual activity, the sacraments, etc). Bergoglio’s statements came in a letter in a secular publication (a fact I doubt Michael was aware of) so it is not effectively a magisterial teaching. Were it so, it would be countersigned by the Sacred Congregation for the Faith. However, Michael also doesnt believe that “Extra ecclesiam nulla salvus est/”Outside the Church, no salvation” is actually requirement of Catholics to believe [on Denzinger index (D430), with exceptions for “invincible ignorance” (Pius IX’s definition, D 1643) or baptism of desire,] as was defined at both the Lateran Council (1215) and the Council of Florence (1431), and is a de fide requirement to believe of every Catholic (except for Michael). He misquotes the excommunication of Fr Feeney, who actually was censured for disobedience against his ordinary (Feeney strictly interpreted D430 without the proper exceptions). All that is a red herring by Michael and other members of the Professional Disinformation Society(PDS) on these pages of CalCatholic. The real issue is: Pope Francis is speaking in a obviously confusing manner to an already confused Church and age, something that the previous two pontiffs were generally very careful about. Pope Francis wants to “dialogue” with atheists, but these statements have done much to encourage one to be a “noble atheist”, such as Camus’ doctor in The Plague, rather than to be a fully professing Catholic.
Wrong. Magisterial teachings do not require countersigning by any papal appointee, including the CDF.
The problem here is how greatly misunderstood the “magisterium” is in our church. It is totally lost on most catholics that there are various levels and modes of the “magisterium”. Not all forms and expressions of the magisterium are accorded the same level of obedience. For example, I would bet that if I told readers of the CCD that there is a “magisterium of theologians” … they would be aghast and call me a heretic. Yet such a thing exists. The concept of the magisterium is a complex one. Yet, whenever a person in authority teaches, he or she invokes a form of the magisterium. It is a complex task for the faithful to figure out how obedient one must be to the teaching so described.
Your Fellow Catholic at last weighs in and as I expected seizes on the straw man argument that the Congregation Pro Fide (CPF, or CDF) would affirm a position of the Pope (“countersign”) were this truly a magisterial dogmatic statement (which this clearly is not, being his statements here are in conflict with Denzinger Index of the Faith). In fact prior to the Pope making a formal pronouncement, the CPF usually issues foundational statements, which then are noted in the Pope’s own decree (ex. encyclical Lumen Fidei, citing the declaration Dominum Iesus, of the CPF) (by this I mean “countersign”). The real point here is that Pope Francis is clearly out on his own in saying that atheists may “follow their conscience” and end up in heaven with a God they disaffirm. This is not a magisterial statement, but an ill-conceived letter in a secular journal which I doubt was reviewed by the CPF and is causing enormous confusion and scandal. “Even the Pope says you dont have to believe in God.”
The Magisterium of the Church
“The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.
CCC Chapter 1 #85 Second Edition.
Steve, you are talking like an idiot.
I do believe in the magisterial teachings you (for some sun-baked Phoenix-fuzzy reason) imagine in your little head I would disagree with.
Just because someone disagrees with your dizzy-desert-declarations about how wrong Pope Francis is, that doesn’t make that person (in this case, loveable old me) a dissenter, a heretic, or a crackpot. It just makes me a loyal Catholic who is willing to give the Holy Father the benefit of the doubt, rather than trusting some character on the internet whom I don’t even know.
Steve’s “little head” has always proved most sufficient here and when he voices a genuine concern I listen to it. ;o) In these turbulent times the last thing we need is someone who is always letting off rockets and continually causing shock waves that lead to further confusion and division. It’s stressful enough to have a president that is an active busy head dismantling this country and it’s constitutional foundations, but to have someone even inadvertently doing it to the Church is just too much. Oh, for the calm sure leadership of an Eisenhower or the faithful ,brilliant insights of a Bishop Sheen . I thought that in every age there would be men of leadership who would rise up, especially in time of confusion.
Also, I notice that Michael, like most members of the PDS, get much of their information from wikipedia (his definition of Fr. Feeney’s position was lifted word for word from that fine source of disinformation). Again, Feeney is not the issue, although apparently Catholics’ misunderstanding on “Extra Ecclesiam nulla salvus est” is bad, very bad. Excepting baptism of desire or “invincible ignorance” of the Faith, we still teach that de fide. The real issue is: Pope Francis is speaking uncritically in a obviously confusing manner to an already confused Church and age, that is something that to be very worried about.
I agree Steve and how do we get our Pope to understand this?
What do you make of this, Steve?
Just because Ann Barnhardt didn’t understand it, doesn’t make it jibberish.
There is no salvation outside the Church. Of course. The Pope has not taught anything against this. Get a good translation of the letter. Secular sources are saying that “Atheists can go to heaven.” Obviously, going to heaven is not an issue for atheist-they don’t believe in heaven. That was not the question the atheist asked and nowhere did the Holy Father say that.
English translation of the letter is on Rorate Caeli BlogSpot
Indeed, that’s why I threw it out there, as I think there’s so much confusion in just what’s being said and done. What is your take on what Pope Francis said, anon?
It is brilliant. It is appropriate for a person who says he is an atheist but “is interested and fascinated by the preaching of Jesus Christ.” Sometimes the way that non-believers ask questions makes it difficult to answer simply. Pope Benedict deals with that by trying to find the root question. Sometimes, heartbreakingly so, the questions boil down to: Does this God love those people? Does this God love me? Pope Francis is a man of deep faith, hope and love who wants all to share in the life of Christ. One of the things that most drives him is to bring the light of Christ to the darkness of the secular world. People who see some great break between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI certainly have not read the encyclicals on Love, Hope and this new one on Faith, which was mostly written by Pope Benedict but is released under Pope Francis. They do require study and prayer. Also, this letter was intended as an initial response and the Pope is hoping that the conversation will continue. He is a man of deep faith. He is often times misunderstood by the media, but all things work to the good of those who love God.
It is a great letter. The section about those who do not believe in God could be explained better, so it is not as confusing, but I find the rest of it just fine. After all, St. Paul did say the pagans or non believers who had not heard of Christ would be judged by their conscience.
I don’t think Anonymous or Michael have ever read the entire letter, Dana (YFC I think has). It is in the last part of the letter that Pope Francis issues these contradictory statement(s). The crux of the problem: He is posed the Q. “..If the God of the Christians forgives those who do not believe and do not seek faith?” Francis replies (in part): “…the issue for those who do not believe in God is in obeying their own conscience.” This statement is the problem: everything can be relativized to what “my inner voice is saying to me.” Hence, Fidel Castro, one of the greatest living murderers, having devoted his life to the Cause, is at peace with his conscience, and this statement by Francis implies he will be forgiven. Really? A 2nd Q. Frances doesnt really even answer (“If the thought that..there is no absolute truth but only a series of relative and subjective truths, (is) this a sin?”) This is where Barnhardt (Dana’s source above) calls his response “jibberish”. He says “..The truth is one with love.” Huh?
No one can say with any truthful basis that at least so far, Francis turns over and examines, so far, the statements he makes, the way JP2 nor BXVI did in their statements. Also, most contemporary Jesuit “theologians” (He is supposed to have gotten his Ph.D from Frankfurt’s Sankt Georgen faculty…eventually; that’s another story) are dedicated to a viewpoint that all theology is in flux (Rahner; Kung; Congar; Schillebeeckx being their principal heroes). Look at Bergoglio’s newly appointed Sec. of State pronouncing that priestly celibacy is “open for discussion.” You don’t open that discussion without planning to change it. An institution that has worked pretty well for about 12oo years is on the ropes within a few mos. of Pope Francis’ pontificate.
Steve Phoenix, the answer to question 1 is “God’s mercy has no limits if he who asks for mercy does so in contrition and with a sincere heart.” Conscience is not “my inner voice”; conscience is the voice of God. Even those who do not consciously admit to the existence of God have His voice in their heart. If they obey it they will do good; if they disobey it, they will do evil. The Pope is not referring to those who try to excuse their bad behavior on the grounds that “it did not bother my conscience.” On question two, he is saying that truth is not detached from the existence of Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus Christ is Truth. Jesus Christ is God. God is love. Therefore, truth is one with love. Truth is perfect knowledge; only God in omniscient. When one loves, one walks in Truth. “It requires humbleness and the willingness to be sought.” Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI both raised eyebrows too, if you are old enough to remember.
Just to be clear, Steve P, I haven’t read the letter in its entirety, nor the various translations proffered, yet. I will!. Since I haven’t yet, I wouldnt want to opine fully on your points, but I would say that I do appreciate the fact that you read the letter and discuss it in seriousness, even though I think at the end of the day, I am probably more likely to side with The Holy Father. And then we get to discuss the America interview, which so far I’ve only read popular press excerpts.
Also, Dana, in response to Barnhardt I tried to comment more at length on Pope Francis’ theological background, but the CalCatholic editors twice expunged my information. This information is in the public domain: it would be good for people to study and contrast this Pope’s training with that of Ratzinger and Wotyla. Maybe they will allow that observation.
O Elder Brothers from an Elder Daughter who was and is oft times a Prodigal One as we all are, open your eyes and ears. Can’t you see that Pope Francis is going after the Lost Sheep to bring them home, and you do not tell the Lost Sheep all their ancestors went to hell but for them to pray for them. After all who knows what the state of the soul of President Putin’s father was before he died. If he looked the other way when Putin’s mother baptized their son, perhaps he did turn to Jesus Christ before he died. The same goes for many Jews. Many Jews know nothing of Jesus Christ even though we think they should because they live among Christians. Many stay among their own kind and are not around many Christians. Who knows if Christ appeared to them before they died and they accepted him. Sister Faustina mentioned that. Yes, some of the Jewish people played the part of Joseph’s brothers in the Old Testament when they kicked Christian’s out of the synagogue to be handed over to the pagan Romans, but we like Joseph many times in return saved them, and many good Jews who follow the Torah know that.
My apologies, I meant Pope Benedict XVI — Cardinal Josef (Joseph) Radzinger.
If you want to see the writings of a good Jew, just put in “The War On Christmas in Amercia” by Don Feder. Don Feder, a Conservative Jew, knows quite well why Hitler went after the Jew of Germany and then the Christians — because he hated the Judeo-Christian moral law. Read it. Is it not happening now?
Anne ~ If by ” Can’t you see that Pope Francis is going after the Lost Sheep to bring them home..” you mean the Francis is laying the groundwork to convert the Jews to Christianity, that is totally incorrect. It may be the aim of some Evangelicals such as “Jews for Jesus” but it is in no way the teaching of our Church.
Anonymous is misunderstanding what conscience means to him/her as a likely observant Catholic, and what this means to most uncatechized young people in the world — and after all, Francis is trying to dialogue here directly with atheists. Catholics’ understanding of conscience as an internal moral guide shaped by virtue and grace is completely unknown to the contemporary age: they think of it as “their inner voice” seeking self fulfillment (a la Carl Rogers and Hugh Prather). Francis, respectfully, made a huge mistake speaking as Pope when he said concluded his answer to the 1st Q saying “…the issue for those who do not believe in God is in obeying their own conscience.” And that is my main point. The 2nd Q. also Francis responded in a immanent, personal-experience-type answer—but you are speaking to atheists who deny such an experience with Jesus, truth or “love” (another ambiguous word today)! Where and how he gets to feather-puff feel-goodisms like “the truth is one with love,” leaves me were I an atheist with the big “Huh? This is the Pope and that is the best he can tell me, and that he wants to dialogue more?” There is no there, there.
Steve, I think it is important to distinguish between pastoral ministry and theological formulations. There is no doubt that Benedict is a formal theologian, and saw his role as the Theologian in Chief. I don’t think anyone would think that Francis is or sees himself as a theologian. He is a pastor. A shephard. Where Benedict can excel at the particle physics of Christianity, Francis excels at the Newtonian physics of Christianity. Both are valid, both are real, both express the truth of the world around them. But they express themselves in different ways, and trying to equate one to the other can become more of a headache until one just decides for the time being to dwell in the realm of one universe over another.
YFC, I grant you that you are trying to make sense of Pope Francis’ statements and we are to always put the best interpretation in terms of charity on other’s statements. However, these statements on atheism and being faithful to an atheist’s ‘good’ conscience, as well as Sept 19th’s statements, going even further that “abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive methods…it is not necessary to talk about these issues…” (when these are hardly ever robustly defended by priests, pastors and bishops as a rule) are confused words to an already morally confused world. This is the Pope speaking. He is the one person who should be speaking CLEARLY about what the Church holds and defends.
While dialoging with athiests, one must be careful not to confuse the poorly catechized Catholics who are falling away from the Church in huge numbers within the USA.
The poorly catechized are the vast majority.
Relativism – where there is no real right and no real wrong depending on individual circumstances or personal belief systems can lose Souls.
Do not allow anyone to confuse you. For the TRUTH of what the Catholic Church teaches in entirety – – read the “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition”.
I just remember the appeasement policy of Neville Chamberlain in dealing with the evil government of Germany in the 1930’s…how many lost their lives in Eastern Europe because Britain wanted to be the ‘nice guy’ who thought that if they gave Germany everything it wanted why would the nazis continue their take-over of Europe? Christians are dying in Nigeria to muslim hatred because there is NO ONE saying anything or doing anything against this . The entire Church is under siege around the world, this isn’t the 1950’s, and it’s all very well and good to dialogue …satan does love those teaching moments… but what’s to become of believers in Egypt, Southeast Asia, Africa? Where is the outrage? I read Fr.Z’s explanation https://wdtprs.com/blog/ on what the Holy Father REALLY said in his ‘big interview’…but how many in the secular media read Fr.Z’s interpretation to know what was really meant? It looks like history repeating itself in the wake of Vatican II…the bad guys are taking what they want and running with it. That’s what they do best. Hello!?
Steve, when you wrote “Love’ in parenthesis I was reminded of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth…that’s pretty much it, isn’t it? The msm is just a voice for the government paid to spin everything that the ‘other side’ (Christians and conservatives) are trying to express. Perhaps it wouldn’t matter what Pope Francis said…they’d twist his words until they were unrecognizable anyhow.
Pope Eugene IV Council of Florence, Cantate Domino ex cathedra, “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, profess and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives”. I would like to know when this changed and in light of Church teachings how could it change.
Jay, you’re right it hasnt changed (C Florence declaration “Outside the Church…”). But there is this little thing called Modernism a very great Pope warned us about in 1903-1914…
The Pope said nothing to contradict this. He never spoke of eternal life. The media reports that say “atheists can get to heaven by following their conscience” was not what he said. Remember, Pope Francis has a great devotion to Mary and he will be attacked from all sides. Do not take part in it.
Pope Says Church Should Stop Obsessing Over Gays, Abortion
By Alessandra Migliaccio – Sep 19, 2013 4:01 PM PT
Pope Francis said the Catholic Church shouldn’t be “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, gay marriage and contraception and should instead try to reach out to a broader congregation.
“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” Francis told the Catholic publication, La Civilta Cattolica. “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”
Headline in our small town paper this morning…”Pope criticizes church emphasis on abortion, gays, contraception…” I’m sure the same AP story is in your papers too. “Francis said he was reprimanded for not pressing church opposition to abortion in his papacy. But he said it ‘is not necessary to talk about these issues all of the time…”We have to find a new balance: otherwise the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards…” This, when only a short time ago he declared “I dare say that the Church has never been so well as it is today. The Church does not collapse: I am sure of it, I am sure of it!”
The repercussions from all this (especially the anti-abortion groups) is mind boggling.
Bp Shelby Spong’s (of the Unhappy US Episcopal Church) main message was always “The Church must change or die..” (he liked it so much he published a best-selling book on that topic. Dire predictions, global warming. Yes I noticed alarmingly his assertion that “the church is likelye to fall like a house of cards” IF we dont do…what they tell us, I guess. I am thinking that Pope Francis’ tenure may be to us like Abp (of Canterbury) Rowan Williamson’s unsteady and confusing leadership was to the now fragmented Anglican Church. The similarities are overwhelming.
The media is going to spin it. Americanmagazine.org has the full interview. We need to trust God. Today’s headline is that Pope Francis condemns abortion. (Of course.) The first headline from the interview with the Jesuit magazine that I saw was “Pope Francis: I am a sinner” and the content of the article said that it is a remarkable claim from a pope. Catholics know that it is not. Again, trust God. I have pondered what he meant by the moral edifice of the Church collapsing. The moral edifice of the Church is the 10 Commandments so for him to say that it will collapse like a house of cards is interesting. I know I complain a lot about the lack of attention to the 8th Commandment-which of course is deadly to the Faith. And of course, many Catholics are not obeying the 2nd commandment, which is again corrosive. Though much attention is paid to abortion, contraception and even, capital punishment. not much is said about suicide and homicide. Maybe he is referring to the general loss of a sense of sin about things other than abortion, gay marriage and contraception. People who would never commit adultery divorce and remarry. People who would never physically harm others destroy them with their tongues. I don’t know that this is what he meant but I wonder…
You people are so mistaken. This pontificate is not focused on those that already know the truth, its focused on those whose hearts are hardened and who do not know of devine mercy through the Church of Jesus Christ.
This Holy Pontiff is softening their hearts. Marinating them for the feast that is to come for Missionaries.
A little comparative theological background might help and explain some of the current statements of Pope Francis. Cardinal Ratzinger’s doctoral dissertation was on Augustine’s ecclesiology, directed by Munich professor Gottlieb Soehngen. His postdoctoral dissertation was on S. Bonaventure’s theology of history. Cardinal Wojytla’s 1st dissertation (after phenomenological studies in Edmund Husserl, of whom Edith Stein was an advanced university student prior to her entering the Carmel) at the Angelicum in Rome was on divine-human relationship and personal encounter in the mystical doctrine of S. John of the Cross. JP2’s 2nd dissertation was @ Krakow on the thought of Max Scheler, also a phenomenologist, and a successor to Husserl. And the present pope? He didnt finish his dissertation at Frankfurt’s Sahnkt Georgen. So we dont know…
Oh, dear, Steve — do you really believe Jesus is checking passports?
Or academic degrees?
Or library cards?
There are many people with doctorates galores who don’t know much at all about being a good, Christian person, so I thank God for Pope Francis and the many ways he is shaking up the old guard, and challenging the status quo.
Mbûkû says a very intelligent thing about reaching out, evangelizing, and softening hearts so they will be able to even HEAR the Gospel.
Thumping and grumping about “the good old days” is not going to promote the mission of Jesus — it will just make us look like those ‘theater critics’ on the Muppets Show, up in the balcony.
It is an odd dismissiveness that motivates persons (such as seen in Suzanne’s comments) to not pay attention to the vast difference in theological expertise between the present pope and when compared with the prior two. Nor did he study at a theologate during his pre-ordination years that was known to be a center of outstanding learning (San Miguel in Buenos Aires.) What these facts mean is that the largest corporate structure in the world which has been run for the past thirty odd years by two of the superior thinkers in their field is now being led by someone whose confusing and contradictory statements in his very first few months in office (he contradicts himself day to day, let alone Church teaching) stem from his limited academic history and show he is challenged by the job. So people now should adopt an anti-intellectual position, that somehow a shortcoming in learning is good, because “Francis is shakin’ up the old guard,” “Atta boy, go get ‘em?” One of the reasons that Paul VI had difficulty defending Humanae Vitae was that he was a career diplomat and not a man with a mind sharpened by years of teaching and debating, such as with JP2 and BXVI in the academic world. To JP2’s credit, his expertise in so many areas dis-established liberation theology and instead established new Catholic ground in his encyclical, “The Gospel of Life” (which Ratzinger had a large supporting part in drafting). My point is simple: Francis is not skilled in speaking clearly, compared with the prior two, and we should expect the confusion and sometimes contraditions to continue.