PopeWatch: U-Turns

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Sandro Magister describes some recent U-Turns of the Pope:


This year there are at least three U-turns that Francis has made on crucial questions, but always without making it clear if these are definitive and sincere, seeing what he has said and done before and after the apparent reversals.


The first U-turn has been activated against the ordination of women to the priesthood. Here, properly speaking, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has not contradicted himself, because every time he has been asked since becoming pope he has always said he is against it personally, for example after his voyage to Sweden, where he had however embraced a female Lutheran bishop (see photo).

But at the same time he has long allowed the favorable opinions to run free, also on the part of figures on friendly terms with him, like cardinal of Vienna Christoph Schönborn.

Last May 29, nonetheless, there appeared on “L’Osservatore Romano” a note from the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, the Spanish Jesuit Luis Ladaria, who reconfirmed that the no to women priests is “definitive” and “infallible.”

Ladaria enjoys the esteem of Francis, who a few days ago also made him a cardinal. It must be said, however, that the supporters of women priests have not given up, because meanwhile Francis has set up a commission to study the ordination of women not to the priesthood but to the diaconate, which is however still a sacrament and is the first of the three steps that culminate in ordination as bishop.

To judge by the preparatory document of the synod for the Amazon, scheduled for 2019, it is projected that this same region will see the ordination of the first women deacons. And then who knows.


The second U-turn has been activated against communion being given also to Protestant spouses who are married to Catholics. When asked about this very question three years ago, while he was visiting the Lutheran church in Rome, Pope Francis leaned heavily toward the favorable side. And in Germany, where mixed couples are numerous, this new practice has spread to such an extent that last February a majority of the German bishops approved a document that justifies it.

Seven bishops including one cardinal, however, have appealed to Rome. The pope called them in for consultation, took some time, but then handed the issue back to Cardinal Ladaria, who with a letter dated May 25 written “with the explicit approval of the pope,” blocked both the document and the practice that had entered widely into use, putting everything off until a future reflection “at the level of the universal Church” and of an overall ecumenical accord, meaning a remote and improbable future, since the Orthodox Churches are unshakably against so-called “intercommunion.”

Except that a few days ago, returning from his voyage to Protestant Geneva, Francis once again reopened the question, praising the document made null and void by Ladaria, and asserting that “there has been no braking.”


The third and most striking U-turn, that made by Pope Francis against the bishops of Chile – one in particular, Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid – complicit in the sexual abuse committed by the priest who was their teacher when they were young, Fernando Karadima, tried and convicted by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith in 2011.


Go here to read the rest.  The simple truth is that with this Pope anything is possible, and that is not supposed to be how popes behave.

More to explorer

Bob Hope and the Mayflower Compact

Under the Julian Calendar in effect at the time, the Mayflower Compact was signed on November 11, 1620.  Under the Gregorian Calendar


  1. God asked Mary to be the mother of Jesus Christ. God calls men to Holy Orders with a vocation. God has not called women to Holy Orders. with a vocation.
    In the Catholic Church, priests and lay persons preach the Word of God through the authority of their bishop, as the Apostles, all bishops, were sent to preach to all nations.
    Lay persons do not need Holy Orders to preach. The lay person’s teaching must be in accord with their bishop and through his authority. Women seeking diaconates in the Catholic Church must submit themselves entirely to their bishops and his authority. The principle of infallibility is at stake. Obviously women seeking the rank of diaconate sincerely or in a rush for power will not readily submit to their bishops authentic authority.

  2. Since when is the “diaconate a sacrament”? Are both kinds of deacons and consecrated religious now included in the definition of Holy Orders?

  3. In the Sacrament of Baptism all people are called to be priests, prophets and kings. If this is insufficient for women they have no idea what being lay priesthood, prophets and kings means and therefore cannot aspire to the ordained diaconate.

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