PopeWatch: Putting a Bit of Stick About





Rorate Caeli brings us an English translation of an article on the Italian section of Sandro  Magister’s blog Chiesa:


The Francis Effect: ‘Democratic Tyranny’ against dissenters”  I received it and I publish it: the author is Professor Emeritus of Sociology of Religion in the University of Florence and in the Theological Faculty of Central Italy

The climate of a Pontificate and new eagerness for the stick
by Pietro di Marco
December 12, 2014
I have been told about a recent case indicative of the Catholic climate that is growing. A few months ago some members accused of criticizing Pope Bergoglio were expelled from a historic Florentine volunteer association.
It appears that the proof was obtained from the social network where they had voiced their dissent – perhaps too loudly; an expulsion without a process nor confrontation, invoking statutory articles inaccessible to the accused.
Also from other Tuscan settings, signals are arriving of an eagerness to act with sanctions against “traditional” tendencies; acts in the past, never directed against ideas and behavior truly anti-institutional, when not subversive of rite and dogma. On the contrary, those who have been in the Church, remember the hostility, for decades, from precise environments and people, against Pope Wojtyla or Pope Ratzinger and all of it tolerated by Catholic authority (it involved bishops and leaders of lay associations) formally aligned with Rome. Remarkable that such alignment, at that time helpless, exercises itself now in a pugnacious defense of the reigning Pope only to hit out at orthodox environments and individualities.
Naturally, as in all “respected” repression, nobody is “expelled.” The accused, it is said, put themselves on the outside. It doesn’t matter, (if it did– how aggravating!) that in their polemics they were opposed to the “liquefying ” religiosity that pervades predication, pastoral care and Catholic ethics. Similarly to how one is disgraced in public life with the epithet “enemies of the Constitution”, a use of lethal formulas like “enemies of the Council” or “hostile to Francis” is now affirmed in the Church.
It is enough as an example the vicissitude, still bleeding, of the commissioning of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, where the law of the Church is being used like a stick, i.e. in an anti-juridical manner, by “commissioners” who react to criticism with intimidating language [reminiscent] of political processes from other times. This serious matter, not less than the smaller depurations of which I spoke of, are legitimized by referring to the words and facts of Pope Francis. This is the well-known phenomenon of the abuse of the leader’s words so that vendettas can be put into act.
However, it should be said, there is something more here than the motivation to please a Pope and his entourage and which is already fertile ground for this unprecedented pro-papal front. With the end of Benedict XVI’s pontificate, lay faithful and the clergy seem no longer to have any anti-bodies (they had few before anyway) when confronted with that post-modern Christian rubbish, which consists of admittance of errors and contrition, in self-criticism of our Catholic past “in light of the Gospel” and in all kinds of inclusiveness, as long as they are on the media’s agenda.

Go here to read the rest.  Catholics have long endured periodic persecution from the World and that is not unexpected.  To be persecuted also by forces within the Church is deeply disheartening.


More to explorer


  1. Pope Francis must also realize that all the good that is not accomplished and all the bad that is accomplished by his actions rest on him and only him. Pope Francis’ legacy and his eternity are predicated on his own actions.
    Should Pope Francis find himself in a bad spot, after he has burned his bridges, he, like everyone else can only be helped by prayer, if God chooses to listen.
    One Hail Mary.

  2. Today, my favorite form of hatred and ostracism: “Naturally, as in all “respected” repression, nobody is ‘expelled.’ The accused, it is said, put themselves on the outside.” This language is so perfect, it out Orwell’s Orwell.

  3. While I don’t believe this Pope has his hand in every heavy-handed persecution
    of orthodoxy we see these days, it’s nonetheless true that he is responsible for
    the climate wherein those hostile to orthodoxy are emboldened. Certainly he’s
    done nothing to rein them in, and much to encourage them.
    So, while it wouldn’t be accurate to say Pope Francis is micromanaging a
    purge of orthodox or tradition-loving elements in the Church, I think it’s fair
    to say he’s responsible for what’s being done in his name– and we won’t see an
    end of it until we see the end of this papacy.

  4. Fortunately, those who were worried that the US nuns’ groups (LCWR) would also be water-boarded can now breath a sigh of relief. Sr. Sharon Holland, the president of the LCWR, was all smiles at a news conference today in Rome as the investigation started under Pope BXVI was ended with nothing but praise and accolades for the “feminine genius” (an actual quote) that the dear sisters have unflinchingly exhibited in their service of Catholic values. This kind of Orwellian-speak is just too much for me, read it for yourself:

  5. Mary De Voe,
    He’ll be sainted as will Benedict. He’s a shoein with the living in the guest house and embracing the deformed man. But sainthood means they are in Heaven as of the canonization date….which always takes years and those years in my human opinion are ass kicking days in Purgatory which truth be known can be severe beyond our imagining but with knowledge that it will end….unless God knows they forgave greatly before death or did other hidden great choices of the soul before death. John Paul II literally edited the Bible to fit his anti death penalty program….if you but read sect.39 to 40 of Evangelium Vitae after you have first read Gen.9:5-6 which he bases the two sections on….but he removes from view the execution mandate of 9:6 as though it never existed. The two sections then are a form of fiction….punishable by God. But then we don’t know maybe hidden great things he did that pleased God before death. But Purgatory is a burning…not simply a learning which I’m sure it is also. Both in the Our Father and in a sermon of Christ…..our sins are foregiven IF in the Christ version, we foregive others…and perhaps these Popes have foregiven things we don’t know of.

  6. This current tyranny of group think in the Church (and in the World) is so insidious- babbling about mercy and compassion while leading people ( esp young under-educated ones) to self-destruction.

    And they try to dictate to the conscience of practicing faithful Catholics, pushing a warped, perverted idea of mercy.

    There is no “conscience clause”, no sanctuary for true believer Catholics because under the current de rigueur the truth is that the personal conscience is dis- respected. Claiming to be free, the relativists are in bondage to popular opinion and congratulate themselves for being on the “right side of history”.

  7. Steve Phoenix: “Today, my favorite form of hatred and ostracism: “Naturally, as in all “respected” repression, nobody is ‘expelled.’ The accused, it is said, put themselves on the outside.” This language is so perfect, it out Orwell’s Orwell.”
    It has another name: victim bashing.

  8. One thing about the news item at Yahoo: it’s not what we think it is. Father Z has details:


    Do not conflate – as so often happens – the Visitation of the communities of women religious and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s scrutiny of the LCWR. These are separate issues and actions. The exoneration or praise of or even criticism that might come from the report on the Visitation, is NOT the same as what the CDF is doing in examining the formation and spirituality of the LCWR.

  9. Pat: The Leadership Conference of Women Religious have not yet produced evidence of a vocation to the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
    Their “feminine genius” does not embrace, believe or accept the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. If they believed in the human soul of an innocent person being immediately infused at fertilization, they would demand “due process of law” for Justice to be done by the state for God’s child.
    These women, living off the generosity of the faithful, need to live according to God’s will.

  10. John by any other name:
    Thank you for Father Z’s information. I see I have need of it.
    In other places, over at Creative Minority Report, there is post about Priests for Life and Father Pavone coming under the displeasure of Pope Francis. Father Pavone is not seeking canonization. Father Pavone is about saving the lives and souls of the most vulnerable children in our midst, the unborn. If Pope Francis causes even a small slow down and lives are lost, Pope Francis will be guilty of causing their deaths.

  11. Mary, Father Pavone is a priest who has to obey the directives of his bishop (or, in the case of a religious order, his superior).

    There is nothing wrong with requesting audited financial statements of his organization. As a 501-C-3 tax exempt charity, PFL has to file an annual return to the IRS. Withholding taxes must be paid and Form 1099s must be filed.

    Fr. Pavone can operate PFL only as long as his bishop permits it.

  12. ‘ … about a recent case indicative of the Catholic climate that is growing. A few months ago some members accused of criticizing Pope Bergoglio were expelled from …’

    Mary and John:
    I had hoped the 8:51 comment wouldn’t be unclear. I was reading this post, then went to the email page which has headlines. Carrot to LCWR and stick to the FFI – juxtaposition – came to mind. What mixed messages there are from hierarchy! Heartbreaking service to God and teaching the faith He desires. [Did not have time to take to be more explicit, per usual, as mornings in this shoebox/”nursing home” can be distracting when my mother is on the move. She has difficulties with mobility and fear of falling, she’s ninety, and has priority over the laptop .]

  13. Mary De Voe,
    I, too, have read about the issue with Father Pavone…at this time, I can only trust that, despite some of the media reporting, this is about an accounting issue and nothing more. I pray that it’s nothing more than some kind of procedural thing rather than anything of substance. However, if it’s of substance, and Father Pavone is found in error, I can’t defend that any more than I can defend any other wrongdoing by anyone else.
    I think, according to Father Z, that the report released today has nothing to do with the heterodoxy of the LWCR. They will be measured as they should be, and not “in the spirit of Francis / Vatican II / etc”. I pray that they will surpass my expectations, though I confess that I haven’t seen much which warrants anything high.
    I would say that when this other report comes out, from the CDF regarding the LWCR, that it is when we can truly understand where the Vatican is.

  14. John by any other name: If Pope Francis and his Vatican take Father Pavone’s spiritual life, as in homicide, Pope Francis better live it. As a murderer takes the human life of a person and scandalizes the victim’s soul in the killing, the one who takes the spiritual life of another sovereign human being, that is, takes his soul and scandalizes (all) better be ready and willing to face the wrath of God.

  15. God has a “bit of a stick about” too. “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” It is becoming clear that Pope Francis wields the ultimate in God’s power, but he refuses to see that his dictums apply as well to himself.

  16. Sorry, I cannot help but add this. When Padre Pio was removed from the villagers’ sight, after two weeks, the villagers came with rakes and shovels and pitchforks and demanded Padre Pio. Padre Pio appeared at his window and was never forbidden again.

  17. Onr recalls the uspeakable Umberto Benigni and his infamous Sodalitium Pianum.

    Having fallen out of favour under Benedict XV, Benigni went on to found a neo-fascist organization, the Entente romaine de Défense social.

    According to Cardinal Yves Congar, elements of the Sodalitium Pianum continued their attempts to discredit theologians until WWII

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: