PopeWatch: Pope of Silence?

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Sandro Magister has some riveting commentary at his blog Chiesa:
But one morning, on November 18, instead of the devil he  took aim at the “single form of thinking that is the fruit of worldliness,” that wants to subject everything to “hegemonic uniformity.” A single form of thought, he continued, that already dominates the world and even legalizes “the death penalty,” even “human sacrifices” complete with “laws that protect them.” And he cited one of his favorite novels, the apocalyptic “Lord of the World” by Robert H. Benson.

When early this February he leafed through the sixteen pages of the UN report,  which peremptorily enjoin upon the Catholic Church that it “correct” its teaching on abortion, on the family, on sex, Francis must have become even more convinced that events were proving him right, that the prince of this world was really at work and by heaping praise on his vaunted “openness” wanted to associate even him, the pope, with the enterprise of making the Church conform to the hegemonic school of thought, in order to annihilate it.

It is not easy to enter into the mind of pope Bergoglio. His words are like the tiles of a mosaic whose design is not immediately apparent. He also makes tough and biting remarks, but never at a moment in which they could generate conflict.

If he had pronounced that tremendous homily of his against the single form of thought that intends to hegemonize the world the day after the publication of the UN report and explicitly in response to it, the event would have entered into the “breaking news” of global information. But it was not to be. Delivered on an arbitrary day, that same homily did not cause the slightest chagrin. It was ignored.

And yet it is precisely there that the concealed thought of the Jesuit pope is to be found, his judgment on the present era of the world.

“The view of the Church is known, and I am a son of the Church,” Francis says and says again. His thought is the same as that which is written in the catechism. And sometimes he recalls this combatively for those who expect him to change doctrine, as in the least-cited passage of his “Evangelii Gaudium,” where he has the harshest of words against the “right” to abortion.

But he never proclaims Church teaching out loud at a moment when the dispute over an issue has become heated.

He has kept quiet now that the euthanasia of children has been permitted by law in Belgium. He keeps himself apart from the millions of citizens of every faith who in France and in other countries are opposing the dissolution of the idea of the family made up of father, mother, and children. He has remained silent after the unprecedented affront of the UN report.

With this he intends to blunt the weapons of the adversary. To defeat him with the immense popularity of his figure as pastor of the mercy of God.

There is a Jacobin-style attack against the Church, not only in France, that simply wants to exclude it from civil discourse.

But there is also a more subtle attack that cloaks itself as a consensus for a Church refurbished and new, up to date, in step with the times. There is also this in the popularity of Francis, a pope “like never before,” finally “one of us,” molded through a copy-and-paste of his open, adaptable statements.

Go here to read the rest.  One of the main jobs of any Pope is to proclaim the teachings of the Church fearlessly, whether they are popular or not.  Popewatch has no doubt that the Pope, as he has proclaimed, “is a loyal son of the Church”, but that simply is not enough.  Joe or Jane Catholic can be a loyal son or daughter of the Church but refuse to speak out, in order to avoid personal conflict, on abortion, gay marriage, and any other positions of the Church that are unpopular with the current powers that be in western society.  However, that option is not available for a Pope, and if a Pope thinks that not speaking out on such issues will cause mass conversions to the Faith, he is sadly mistaken. Faiths that demand much from believers stand the test of time.  Those that go with the ever changing flow of the times vanish.


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  1. “”A single form of thought, he continued, that already dominates the world A single form of thought, he continued, that already dominates the world and even legalizes “the death penalty,” even “human sacrifices” complete with “laws that protect them.”
    “”and even legalizes “the death penalty,””
    What does the Catechism of the Catholic church say? What does Aquinas say about bringing capital one murderers to Divine Justice? as self defense?
    Today, The Dialog, paper of the Diocese of Wilmington, headline reads: Anti-death penalty is Pro-life.” Sister Helen Prejean of “Dead Man Walking” is giving a talk at St. Josephs in Middletown, Delaware. The poor capital murderer who laid in wait and executed his victim does not deserve to be brought to Justice.(or let him go to hell?)
    Do to the capital one murderer, as he has done to his victim. “Do unto others as you would be done unto”
    Any person who supports this anti-death penalty says he is not willing to die for his cold blooded plotting and killing of another, his neighbor. Justice be damned.
    If Sister Helen Prejean conspires to murder you, obtains a lead pipe wrapped in a rubber hose and crushes your skull, kicks and drags your body into a ditch and leaves you there to bleed to death, she should be housed and fed and cared for by the remaining citizenry while she daily enjoys remembering, reliving and re-enacting her triumphant rejection of our living God. Justice?

  2. Capital punishment is the temporal punishment due to capital one homicide. Temporal punishment is an integral part of the Sacrament of Penance. To repudiate capital punishment is to repudiate the Sacrament of Penance instituted by Jesus Christ, Himself. To repudiate Jesus Christ is to repudiate the Catholic church.

  3. Before you ask. My brother’s skull was crushed by a lead pipe wrapped in a rubber hose. The murderer just happened to have the lead pipe wrapped in a rubber hose handy. My brother’s body was kicked and dragged into a gutter where he was left to bleed to death.
    The murderer hanged himself eight years later.
    Jesse Timendaquas lured seven year old Megan Kanka into his house, raped and strangled her to death. The ban on capital punishment was in effect in New Jersey and to this day Jesse Timendaquas is in solitary confinement reliving, reenacting and enjoying his crime. Justice

  4. I read the Lord of the World recently. Among other things, it is very prescient in its depiction of euthanasia clinics in Europe.
    The final pages of the book describe the Lord of the World looking, looking, looking for the Pope. Does Francis remind us that the World is looking for him now for the same reason? And, who will spring the trap on whom?

  5. “The view of the Church is known, and I am a son of the Church” While I am sure the Pope does not mean to come off that way, to me it sounds like he is really just ” towing the (Vatican) line” and may not not really believe it , but he is going to go along with it because he is simply being loyal. Like he has put no real thought into being pro-life or standing against divorce. JPII was clearly anti-abortion and opposed contraception. Benedict as well. You could believe they opposed it independently of what the Church said. Francis does not inspire the same confidence for me.

  6. In the past, popes may not have been silent, but they were often remarkably sparing of ink and paper.
    When Pope Innocent X issued his bull, Cum Occasione, against Jansenism, he selected and condemned five propositions taken from Jansen’s book in the following words:

    1.” Some of God’s precepts are impossible to the just, who wish and strive to keep them, according to the present powers which they have; the grace, by which they are made possible, is also wanting” – Declared and condemned as rash, impious, blasphemous, condemned by anathema [anathemate damnatam], and heretical.

    2. “In the state of fallen nature one never resists interior grace” – Declared and condemned as heretical.

    3. “In order to merit or demerit in the state of fallen nature, freedom from necessity is not required in man, but freedom from external compulsion is sufficient” – Declared and condemned as heretical.

    4. “The Semi-Pelagians admitted the necessity of a prevenient interior grace for each act, even for the beginning of faith; and in this they were heretics, because they wished this grace to be such that the human will could either resist or obey” – Declared and condemned as false and heretical.

    5. “It is Semi- Pelagian to say that Christ died or shed His blood for all men without exception” – Declared and condemned as false, rash, scandalous, and understood in this sense, that Christ died for the salvation of the predestined, impious, blasphemous, contumelious, dishonouring to divine kindness [divinae pietati derogantem], and heretical.

    That, omitting formal parts, is the whole of the bull – no arguments nor explanations, but a simple ruling, clear and definitive.

    Modern popes would be well advised to follow suit.

  7. Mary De Voe,
    As Ludwig Ott stated in section 8 (Introduction) of “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” back in 1952…” the ordinary and usual form of the Papal teaching activity is not infallible”. We’ll get more of the new anti death penalty error when someone translates the new findings of the international theological commission on monotheism and violence. Their introduction hinted at continuing Benedict’s dark passages theme from section 42 of Verbum Domini which itself insinuated that the dooms or bans God ordered were really sins of
    the ancient Jews. Unfortunately theology is meshing with image making and with problems in modern biblical scholarship simultaneously. There is also the feminization of males talked about by Plato in Book three of the
    Republic…ie if males are all culture and no sports, they will become feminized. I’m not saying our theologians should do time in the UFC octagon…but it wouldn’t hurt. I know many loved Benedict for sexual conservativism but biblically, you were in for a surprise if you read him closely in Verbum Domini sect.42. The man ordered his own personal fragrance…he was not going to accept the bans or dooms of the OT. Ironically he and his commission I’m sure have not noticed that the largest doom was in 70 AD and predicted by Christ…between 600,000 and 1.1 million killed.,.and it wasn’t in the Old Testament. By taking the Bible as an open cafeteria on the death penalty issue, the last three Popes have undermined the sexual strictness that is also biblical. How can you tell gays to bow before Romans chapter one’s condemnation of gay acts when three Popes have circumvented Romans 13:4 that calls for the state’s sword to administer not our wrath BUT GOD’S WRATH. You can’t. You can’t be biblically cafeteria on your issue and tell the gays their issue is inerrantly condemned while your issue of violence needs a textual critic, a redaction critic, a source critic…all from Harvard to help you remake the Church into Joan Baez on this one area of violence. The girl could sing by the way. But we need clergy who attend concerts less and at least watch LeBron last night play with a broken nose and score 31 points. The last three Popes are adamantly anti violence. Or are they? Not one has taken the Sig Sauer pistols and Heckler and Koch submachine guns away from the Swiss Guard. Not one. Very expensive and reliable killing machines…those guns. Will Francis switch them to mace after the new report gets translated? I think not.

  8. “that option is not available for a Pope”

    What about Pope Pius XII’s alleged “silence” on the Holocaust — i.e. not making repeated public denunciations of the Nazis when to do so would NOT have prevented their actions and would only have enraged them further to attack Catholics? Maybe there is room for exercising prudence in just when and how much fuel to toss on a burning issue, so that it doesn’t flare up out of control?

  9. Mary De Voe,

    I read with horror the story you shared about the murder of your beloved brother. I am so sorry for your horrendous loss. I will keep him in prayer and you as well. In the meantime I will not enter into the death penalty aspect of this conversation with you out of respect for your brother and you. I never lost anyone to murder. Be assured of my thoughts and prayers

  10. “People arguing that the silence of a Pope can be a prudent course must choose someone other than Pius XII. ”
    Gary Krupp is a Jewish supporter of Pope Pius XII. His Pave the Way Foundation records the facts of the Jews saved by Pius XII.
    Botolph: ”
    I will not enter into the death penalty aspect of this conversation with you out of respect for your brother and you. I never lost anyone to murder. Be assured of my thoughts and prayers.”
    Thank you for your prayers.
    I hope this helps. To understand the death penalty one must understand separation of church and state as John Henry Cardinal Newman explained it.
    “It in no way depends upon the caprice of the Pope, or upon his good pleasure, to make such and such a doctrine, the object of a dogmatic definition. He is tied up and limited to the divine revelation, and to the truths which that revelation contains. He is tied up and limited by the Creeds, already in existence, and by the preceding definitions of the Church. He is tied up and limited by the divine law, and by the constitution of the Church. Lastly, he is tied up and limited by that doctrine, divinely revealed, which affirms that alongside religious society there is civil society, that alongside the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy there is the power of temporal Magistrates, invested in their own domain with a full sovereignty, and to whom we owe in conscience obedience and respect in all things morally permitted, and belonging to the domain of civil society.”
    Also: “But when a man kills another after maliciously scheming to do so, you must take him even from my altar (compassion, mercy) and put him to death.” Exodus 21:14 Capital One Homicide. Premeditated murder. The condemned murderer must expire with grief over his crime. The victim’s innocence is impugned. Did the victim deserve to be put to death? The victim’s life is taken from him. The victim’s innocence must be vindicated. The only way to ban capital punishment, the death penalty, for capital one murder is to expunge homicide.
    The Sacerdotal priesthood, ordained and sacred cannot execute the death penalty, even while still enjoying citizenship. Many of the priesthood of the laity so pronounced by Vatican II have conscientious objection to the death penalty for reasons of love for God and His creation, human life. For this reason, capital one death penalty must be tried on a case by case basis “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our (constitutional ) posterity” as posited in our Constitution…In Thomas Aquinas’ words…self defense. These persons, guilty of murder, cannot be at liberty to desecrate other innocent person’s souls.
    Banning the death penalty denies equal Justice for the victim. The murderer must run jeopardy of life for his crime. The murderer must be tried for his life. If the murderer is truly repentant, he will expire with grief over his crime, or, as the capital one murderer is brought to Justice he will meet his own persona through power of attorney on the gallows in the person of the executioner.
    Reliving and remembering his offense against God and man cannot be allowed by the state, nor by the church. Capital punishment must be observed by the Catholic Church as a remedy and as a means of salvation for the offender.
    Vatican II did not render the Old Testament meaningless or obsolete.
    The state does not own the victim, nor the offender. The church does not own the victim, nor the offender. God owns all souls. God says the capital one murderer “must be taken from my altar (of compassion and mercy). He must be put to death.” Exodus 21:14.
    Now, we have Sister (no sister of mine) Helen Prejean preaching that the people who hunger and thirst for Justice are “hateful” and using the Catholic Church as a venue for her insipid stupidity. The woman has nothing good to say about letting condemned capital one murderers live, because there is nothing good to say about letting condemned capital one murderers live. Prejean wrote a book, made a movie and gets plenty of press, but the blood of my brother cries out from the ground. The victim’s family are too busy burying their dead to respond.

  11. The church forgives sins. The state prosecutes crime.
    Capital one homicide is one of only two reasons the state executes a person. The other being the bloodguilt of treason.
    The state does not have the authentic authority to forgive capital one homicide because the victim is dead. The state cannot forgive the crime of capital one homicide by banning capital punishment because the state does not own the citizen.
    The church cannot execute capital punishment because the church is instituted to bring souls to Christ. Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world.” Capital punishment is of this world.

  12. Mary De Voe,

    Mary, I still am against the USE of the death penalty, but let me say that in all the various arguments I have heard and read what you just wrote is the most cogent point that indeed does need to be made (on both sides of the argument) The Church forgives sins; the State does not and cannot forgive sins. The victim is indeed tragically dead and the State does not own the citizen.

    With all arguments pro and con I still fundamentally believe (with the Church by the way) that the State has the duty/right to protect its citizens-thus the State’s duty/right to protect the unborn, children, the disabled, elderly, infirm, and its general citzenship in a ‘just war’ [Yes I believe in the just war principles taught by the Church]. It is how that duty/right is exercised that I think people (can) differ.

  13. Botolph: “[Yes I believe in the just war principles taught by the Church]. It is how that duty/right is exercised that I think people (can) differ.”

    At the end of the movie Judgment at Nuremberg, somebody asks: “Where did we go wrong?” and the judge answers: “When you killed the first innocent person.” Many people have conscientious objections to a just war and one is free to hold those objections.
    My vehement objection is to the making of the anti-death penalty position into a pro-life position for that is nonsense. A true pro-life position on the death penalty can be seen only through the lens of heaven and hell, with denying to the capital one murderer the time to relive and enjoy his crime. Can God accept insult heaped upon injury?
    P.S. In New Jersey, the law says that a prisoner returning to society must be given his old job back. I worked with a murderer, an unrepentant, arrogant murderer waiting for another opportunity to kill somebody to watch them die. He bragged about his homicide. And then there was Scot Johnson who said: “I am going out to kill somebody.” and then there was the rapist who hacked his victim’s head 47 times with an ax. The court said that it did not know if he wanted to kill her or only inflict serious bodily injury. Oh, How I wish these guys would move in with Sister Prejean.

  14. Mary De Voe,
    New Jersey is nightmare on self defense. They have just reduced magazines to ten shots so if you are shooting in the dark at three home invaders, you had better be an ex sniper. Outdoors they permit only an amount of pepper spray sufficient for two attackers maybe…if there is no wind. If it’s windy, you’re up the creek sans paddle. I have broken their laws by using epikeia in good conscience since there exists one eminent gentleman in N.J. who has promised to glock me into kingdom come. I feared he was on the Hoover St. Gangsta Crips after I beat him in a street fight after he robbed my house…but they would have ended me by now so I think he is on his own. I wear blue most days just in case he links up with them in prison and they all do a drive by. I’ll yell…”can’t touch me, I’m wearing blue…I be crippin”….pop…pop,pop,pop….pop. “New Jersey and you…perfect together”… one of our state ads from the Tom Kean past.

  15. “Which is a complete and total myth”

    Yes, I know that, which is why I put “silence” in quotes and added the term “alleged”. I am simply pointing out that not beating a topic to death at every possible opportunity, and not loudly and publicly denouncing every evil action particularly when such denunciations are not likely to improve the lot of the people who are suffering and may in fact lead to further crackdown against them, does NOT equal “silence” on the subject.

  16. “out that not beating a topic to death at every possible opportunity”

    In my experience most priests talk about abortion once a year in their sermons, and the next sermon against gay marriage I hear will be the first one. I have never heard one sermon against contraception or divorce. Most priests I think need little encouragement from the Pope not to talk about things which might distress the “go with the flow” wing of Catholicism.

  17. particularly when such denunciations are not likely to improve the lot of the people who are suffering and may in fact lead to further crackdown against them,

    What further crackdowns should we expect if the Pope dared to actually speak out against something?

    Donald, fortunately my experience has been better than yours in that the Priests at my parish have regularly spoken up about such controversial issues.

  18. Botolph: “The victim is indeed tragically dead and the State does not own the citizen.”
    The power of the state, since the state is constituted by the sovereign personhood endowed by our Creator, God, to mankind and mankind constitutes the state, it may be said that our Creator, through His creatures’ sovereign personhood and free will, endowed by God to man, constitutes and creates the state. Therefore, it follows that the state is an arm of God created to defend and distribute the Wrath of God to people who deserve to have the Wrath of God down upon them for having willfully and unmercifully murdered others.
    The execution of capital punishment, the death penalty, is the state acting as an arm of God.
    I am grieving over the use of the “anti death penalty” position being proclaimed as being “pro-life”. If this is what you, Botolph are being inducted to, or as being supportive of, look at the sovereignty being denied to your very soul, for you are being used as a pawn to actually destroy the pro-life position and the prolife movement in the church, a very subtle but very real swindle.
    Separate the two positions as being unequal. The differences, as usual, are the innocence and virginity of the newly begotten sovereign person in the womb and the unmitigated, unrelenting murderous deeds of the criminal. Destroy and obliterate the innocence and virginity created by “our Creator” and you will have destroyed and obliterated the virtue of JUSTICE. Without JUSTICE, man becomes a beast, devoid of the use of his rational, immortal human soul.
    Being anti-death penalty removes the guilt and equal Justice demanded by the human soul.
    Quietly, the demons, carry us, the human beings, into darkness and hell.

  19. Bill Bannon, Yes, “New Jersey is nightmare on self defense”. “False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that it has no remedy for evils, except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are of such a nature. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” ~Cesare Beccaria – 1764. We left New Jersey in 1965, and miss friends, relatives and good Jewish Rye Bread but not the draconian gun laws that make it a felony to carry an unloaded shotgun in a soft case in the back of a station wagon on one’s way home from a duck hunt. The Devil delights in a world turned upside down.

  20. William P. Walsh,
    You’ll laugh. They just tightened the home to gun range restrictions so that you can’t drive off course several blocks to visit Aunt Bea on the way to or from the range. I think of Pacino in Scarface saying, ” I said to tell him you were in a sanitarium not in sanitation”. Here in N.J., we’re in both.

  21. Bill Bannon,
    When we were kids, going to the dump to shoot rats was common, no big deal. Now the rats are running the State. 😉

  22. “Bill Bannon, When we were kids, going to the dump to shoot rats was common, no big deal. Now the rats are running the State.”
    There is much hope in Chris Christi. He is pro-life, refused to fund Planned Parenthood for several years and put the teachers’ union in their place. Chris Christi refuses to be bullied. Now, back to shooting rats.

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