PopeWatch: 2016

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John-Henry Western at Lifesite News deems 2016 as the year when Pope Francis showed his hand:


2016 marked a dramatic turning point in the pontificate of Pope Francis. It may be called the year of the great awakening, as more and more faithful Catholics and prelates, Cardinals included, came to a frightening understanding that there is a major problem with the current Pope.

For the beginning years of his papacy, most, including LifeSite, gave Francis the benefit of the doubt. They repeatedly told themselves and others not to believe the media; that his words were being taken out of context or mistranslated; that he was just plain poor at doing interviews; that he wasn’t often aware of the consequences of his words; that he wanted to be pastoral and thus overstated things at times; and that off-the-cuff interviews are not official expressions of the Church’s teaching authority.

Many of these hopes were pinned on the outcome of the two controversial Synods on the Family. It was hoped that the final document by the Pope would finally set things straight after he had allowed many bishops to express themselves freely, even in ways contrary to Christ’s own words. In the end, they thought, it would be as it was with Pope Paul VI who, after two years of deliberation and being intensely urged by numerous close advisors to alter the Church’s constant teaching against contraception, nevertheless proclaimed Humanae Vitae and confirmed perennial, authentic Catholic teaching.

However, with Amoris Laetitia it has not been so. The confusion has been allowed to fester and only increase as Pope Francis himself has made known his personal views on the grave matters under consideration. He showed himself to be, at least in hard cases, open to altering the teaching of the Church, or as he would call it, being open to the “surprises of the Holy Spirit.”

While the shift can most clearly be seen in the dubia by the six Cardinals, four of whom went public, it can also be seen in the growing concern expressed by official and powerful Catholic entities such as EWTN. The Catholic media empire founded by the saintly Mother Angelica has in their television programming with Raymond Arroyo, in their newspaper the National Catholic Register with Ed Pentin, and in their UK blog run by Deacon Nick Donnelly, taken to accurately and unapologetically reporting on the controversies caused by Pope Francis.

Other Catholic officials and entities have also begun to express dismay and grave concerns but, after witnessing the demotions of Cardinal Burke, the brutal dismantling of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and many other such harsh actions, their dismay has so far mostly been expressed in only whispered tones.

It is instructive to watch what is not being done in order to appreciate the situation. Historically, with some very few exceptions, when a Pope has been openly questioned by Cardinals, a majority of course lept to his defense. However, in the matter of the dubia, we see, in addition to the four Cardinals that have gone public, several others expressing their sympathy and desire that the Pope would answer the questions and end the confusion. Yes, there are a bevy of bishops and a handful of Cardinals that have jumped to the Pope’s defense, many of them with personally derogatory remarks directed at the four Cardinals. However, where are the majority of the 120-strong College of Cardinals leaping to the defense of the Pope?

The gravity of the present situation can best be understood by a look at the evidence. So in order to demonstrate the concern over Pope Francis, LifeSite here presents many of the more disturbing developments in the Francis papacy during 2016.

For brevity, most of the incidents are presented with only a few words of description and a link to a fuller explanation for more careful study. This is not meant to be a comprehensive listing for the year, but only the most grave of incidents. We pray this compilation may serve to awaken more Catholics to the need for ardent prayer, sacrifice and productive action for the Church and the Pope at this grave time in the Church’s history of two millennia.

Go here to read the rest.  The list of incidents he produces is damning, many of which have been covered by PopeWatch.  As PopeWatch has often noted, the laity have a duty, not a right, to oppose the clergy when they attempt to subvert the Orthodox teaching of the Church.

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  1. Read this on Life Site. It looks like the gloves are off at last. Maybe we’ll finally find out about pastoral accompaniment and corruption of the sacraments for unrepentant sinners. Gradualism is the key in my mind. It Is devious in that it implies one can nibble the forbidden fruit all you want and that eventually will make you pure.

  2. June 2, 2016 entry: ” Sometimes I feel a little saddened and annoyed when people go straight to the last words Jesus speaks to her: ‘Go and sin no more’. They use these words to ‘defend’ Jesus from bypassing the law.”
    Francis is off base here.
    The “law” is a term in Scripture that can include the moral law or may not. When Paul says the letter kills but the spirit frees, he is referring to the ” law” minus the moral laws…ie he is referring to the ritual and juridical laws that are defunct after Christ as to the literal level though they perdure because as Aquinas noted….many were hidden prophecies so Aquinas gave many examples one of which was the cleansing laws for lepers which Aquinas said were veiled revelations of the reality of heresy since in the leper there are healthy and sick parts of the body just as in heretics there are healthy beliefs and sick beliefs.
    ” Law” is a negative thing in the NT when it is referring to ritual and juridical levels…now defunct in practice. Pope Francis uses the moral law as though the NT sees it as negative…as though Christ sees it as negative when in fact Christ defends the commandments in one place by showing how the Jewish leaders circumvent the commandments by their commentary on juridical law….see Christ’s words here in Matthew 15:3 onward…” Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ” Honor your father and mother”…but you say, ” Whoever says to father or mother, ‘ Any support you might have had from me is dedicated to God’, need not honor his father’. You have nullified the word of God by your tradition.”

    Pope Francis instead of seeing that the New Testament sees negative law as the juridical/ ritual/ commentary portion minus the moral law, he erroneously includes the moral law as part of the negative NT use of law. There is one sense in which moral law is seen as inadequate too…in Hebrews which says….” the law brought nothing to perfection”. This includes the moral law because moral law needs grace so that Jn. 1:17 says, ” the law came through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
    But the really negative use of “law” in the NT excludes the moral component. Pope Francis’ mind is in chaos on this topic wherein he conflates the commandments ( which Christ defended in Mt.15) with the most negative NT use of “law”….found in Galatians 3:24-25: ” the law was our disciplinarian for Christ…but now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian.”
    That does not mean the moral law is over….it means the hundreds of Jewish ritual and juridical laws are over….hence we can eat things that were once unclean; we can skip circumcision; we need not worry about mixing different fabrics together in a shirt….but yes we still can’t commit adultery which Christ made more rigid by saying we can’t even do that mentally.
    Francis sees moral law as negative. The NT sees that only in the sense that moral law without grace was negative in pre grace man. The NT sees as negative right now….simply the ritual and juridical laws of the Jews BUT Aquinas noted they still have value as having hidden meanings like the leper laws having heresy meanings by metaphor….wherein Aquinas notes that the leper has both healthy parts of his body and sick parts whereas the heretic also has some good beliefs and some sick ones.

  3. The Bear has placed Francis on double secret probation. He read the same article and got a laugh out of the headline. 2017: the year Catholics may have to choose between their Faith and their Pope, God forbid. People who are not entirely pessimistic do not grasp that Francis poses a threat to the very concept of truth. To him (and nearly everyone else) truth is relative, a thing of place and the calendar. Perhaps Francis has tossed the Bible in favor of the Marquis de Sade’s Philosophy in the Bedroom: “morality is simply geography misconstrued,” of the calendar, hmm?

  4. The Bear has it right. The Pope is not a Catholic in any traditional sense of the word. He is really an extremely liberal Protestant. And, most certainly, he is the ultimate expression of Vatican II at which the decision was secretly made to make the Catholic Church Protestant by promoting the condemned propositions of Modernism. The ONLY fix I see is for Our Lady of Fatima to arrange a divine intervention., Please pray for the Church and for Pope Francis.

  5. We have a very rustic Catholic Church here ,St. Phillip. Some years ago the then Pastor convinced the community to build a new Church, right next to the “old” Church. Only he tried to keep them from installing the kneelers, statues, stained glass windows, pictures, and confessional. The new Church now has all of these things, except the Pastor.
    Timothy R.

  6. I appreciate the comments here!
    It does seem that Francis sees moral law as negative, not a blessing! …and that he is torn and in chaos. Yes he may have the idea that Truth as a concept – a product of human reasoning that he can challenge

    ( -into the rabbit warren: after all he said once that God is not Catholic…If God is not Christian, not Catholic, who is Jesus?) Jesus True God and True Man. His Body is not beheaded but is still One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. Jesus is God and He is not separated from His Body. there is some distress/confusion going on, but He is with us.

    Truth as a concept may be threatened but Jesus IS the Truth, He is not “about” the the truth or a symbol of truth or a concept. Mary carried that “concept” to birth and stood by His bleeding Body until death, and is with Him and us today. Very real. Lies and half-truths have no reality, only smoke and mirrors or distorted reflections.
    So the fix is in , thanks be to God, through the Queen of Heaven

  7. Bill Bannon: I am going to print off & study what you have written. It is wonderfully instructive. Thank you.

  8. It appears the pope is actively working to destroy the Catholic Church. I have feared as much.

  9. Good analysis by Bill Bannon. The moral law is our spiritual life saver. Without it we would drown in a sea of situation ethics or compete ignorance. When Christ speaks of Himself as being the Way, the Truth and the Life He is referring to Himself and the path He follows which happens to be the Law of God–the 10 Commandments which include the love of neighbor., We should be most thankful for the Law as it is our guideline to God. Pope Francis’ understanding of the law is the way to hell.

  10. I have a question. Regarding what I said above, how can our Church attract, recruit, and keep new people, if the Church is to become just another liberal-protestant ( for all purposes ) place to worship. And just as important, it would cause an exodus of the faithful who have stuck it out this far. I know now that I will never surrender my Catholic beliefs.!
    Timothy R.

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