PopeWatch: Contradictions


Pope Francis gave another hint that he may eventually resign like the Pope Emeritus:

He added: ‘There should be a time limit to positions [in the Church], which in reality are positions of service.’

Making clear his comments were not confined to the clergy, Francis added: ‘It is convenient that all [positions] in the Church should have a time limit. 

‘There are no leaders for life in the Church. This occurs in some countries where a dictatorship exists.’

Go here to read the rest.  One of the more annoying features of this Pontificate is that the Pope routinely makes statements that contradict either Church practice or teaching.  Except for  a handful of Popes who have resigned under unusual circumstances, the Papacy has been assumed to be a lifetime appointment.  If Pope Francis disagrees with this, he should man up and forthrightly state that he wishes to alter Church practice.  For the past half century Catholics have been in an extended game of let’s pretend where Popes have changed Church practices and Church teaching, while Catholics have been called upon to pretend that the old practice and teaching has simply vanished down a memory hole, never to be mentioned again in polite Catholic circles.  It is a tiresome game ultimately, and rather unconvincing.


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  1. I still wish he would resign – or at least be replaced by an orthodox Catholic cleric.

  2. Exactly. If the Church cannot offer simple continuity of teaching and it’s leaders are marked chiefly by mendacity, how can it support the divine claims it has always made for itself? Or perhaps those claims, too, are subject to revision? The Bear wishes they would just make their changes and instruct us accordingly. “It is not necessary to be within the Church for salvation.” “The Catholic Church is just one expression of Christianity out of many, none more legitimate than another.” “Evangelism is forbidden.” “It is the ordinary practice for layperson to distribute communion.” “The traditional Latin Mass is an aberration that should be abolished.” “Everyone goes to Heaven. Except Hitler.”

    You’re 100% right. Furthermore, it undermines the Church’s mission (This week: promoting squirrel well-being) and even legitimacy. It is too much to hope that Francis will give up his bully pulpit, however.

  3. One has to wonder if the imagery and self-initiated talk of “term limits” isn’t really but a strategy for relieving “other undesirable” higher clergy from their annoying traditional positions, by first establishing that such a thing is really a good (new way) for the church?
    I’ve been watching liberal politicians for too long and have observed too well how they cleverly institute their agendas, so forgive me please.

  4. Like Oblahblah, Francis is a symptom of a much larger ill. As the Liberal Pope Paul VI tearfully realized, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church. How else could the college of Cardinals put such a person in the Papacy? He seems to be a tireless scold as well, witness his PUBLIC dressing down of the cardinals for only one example, very unprofessional. Pope Paul VI and JPII failed to discipline the Jesuits and lo and behold look who’s in charge.

  5. Shawn, this is so true, though I would remind you that JPII went down to Medellin almost immediately upon becoming pope and said “No more!” loud and clear to the Jesuit liberation theologians who would chose Uzis for the preferential option for the poor. He wasn’t booed by Nicaraguan “Catholics” for being a softy on communism. He had lived through (and survived the wiser) both the evils of the Nazis and the Marxists for a reason.

  6. Forget discipline, the Jesuits should have been surpressed. Instead, the FFI are bring surpressed.

  7. I don’t think the Pope “talks off the cuff” without purpose. A couple of years ago he bemoaned a Church that would strictly condemn abortion to the exclusion of other issues. It turns out to have been a window into his liberal mindset. That remark was a classic leftist straw man comment…..and many other such statements have been made by him (eg as against “traditionalist”). I do not think that the Pope is preparing for his quick departure at all. I believe he has an agenda and it’s political and ideological as witnessed by his appointments and by his advisors. He is looking to make major changes within the Church; changes which cannot be simply reversed by his successors. In that regard I sense he is seeking to appoint and position bishops and cardinals who will institutionalize his encyclical (which is a left wing and far reaching manifesto going beyond simply care for nature) within the teachings of the Church. To do that, he must remove opposition.

    Those who try to explain or defend the Pope’s comments as merely stylistic are way off the mark. Notice how the Vatican rarely walks back those comments. Crisis/conflict/resolution. The Pope is telling you what he is planning.

  8. He will be 79 in December and I hope he has retirement in view. But the damage he has done in a few short years is incredible. And bringing back old heretics! Appointing heretics! Bringing in atheists to consult him! Criticizing faithful Catholics! Name calling all the time! Loved by ‘the world’! Confusing all the time! It never ends and he never shuts up.

  9. I think the idea of “retirement” of a vocation is crazy. The priesthood is a calling!!! No calendar or timer.
    The dignity of the person, the wisdom accused after years of serving and loving the Lord don’t run out at a calendar date. this is just a terrible symptom of the inversion of everything.
    Lack of respect for the old is growing apace, partly because the old are losing self respect. Old people by the lie that they don’t have much to offer. Especially if they don’t know how to use facebook or twitter.

  10. I agree that arbitrarily ending a “vocation” takes a player off the field. Benches them. A player who still understands what “Catholic” and “Church” mean. A player who may still have the skills to defend the Faith.

  11. Funny, but I thought the Holy Father was a father rather than holder of a temp position.

    I think the real reason for the change in policy is simply a bow to the reality that the modern papacy has become too difficult in terms of travel and intensity. To the extent it has become less monarchical and more service-oriented, it would necessarily burn leaders out. (The bad thing about a truly self-sacrificial life is the tendency to burn-out (ask social workers).

    From a purely natural point of view (and grace builds on nature after all), we can see how a president in the US becomes less effective in his second term due to people becoming disenchanted and the spending of political capital. So it’s no wonder Popes want to “limit their terms”.

  12. I understand your meaning, Tso. At the same time it is important to remember that the Pope is not the head of a large business nor a nation, nor a social movement.
    Servant of the Servants of God– Pope Gregory used that title for himself a long time ago.
    In 2010 B16 spoke of the “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests”:
    “In a context of widespread secularization, which progressively excludes God from the public sphere, ( … ) being a man of the sacred, removed from the world to intercede in favour of the world, a mission that constituted by God and not by men (cf. Heb 5:1).
    For this reason it is important to overcome dangerous reductions, which in past decades by using categories that are more functionalist than ontological, the priest has been presented almost as a “social worker”, at the risk of betraying the same Priesthood of Christ”.

  13. “It never ends and he never shuts up”.

    And for the latest ramblings click below. Frances intends on witnessing a “miracle” at the Oct Synod.

    What is it that “might seem to us impure, scandalous or threatening” which Our Lord can turn into a miracle at the upcoming Synod?
    The bishops will “consider concrete solutions,” Francis said, “to the many difficult and significant challenges facing families in our time.”
    “I ask you to pray fervently for this intention,” the Pope continued, “so that Christ can take even what might seem to us impure, scandalous or threatening, and turn it … into a miracle. Families today need miracles!”


  14. “Families today need miracles”
    I would argue that what they need even more dear Francis, is truth, and organized confusion is the enemy of truth.

  15. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, 10 and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, 12 so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.
    -2nd Thessalonians 7-12

  16. 2 thessalonians chapter 2- sorry

    Revelation 19:20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed in its presence the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur.

  17. We always say that the Pope cannot teach error in faith and morals when speaking ex cathedra. But what if “when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, the Pope defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church” which is contrary to Sacred Scripture and the past 2000 years of Sacred Tradition? What if the Pope does declare that divorced persons whose previous marriages are not annulled may have a valid second marriage? What if the Pope does declare that homosexual union is acceptable? We always say that the Holy Spirit will prevent that. But what if the Holy Spirit simply departs and releases that oversight over the Pope? Look at what Pope Francis is doing now. Hear what he says daily. It is obvious he is a left wing Marxist sympathizer. Lets look at the two Bible verses preceding Anzylne’s quote above:
    5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.
    What if God removes that restraint? Now no, the Pope isn’t the anti-Christ (first, he is too old, and second, he isn’t smart enough), but what if God has had enough and removes the restrainer? Won’t then all hell break loose as it is now?
    That said, I do believe that the Gates of Hell will NOT prevail against the Church, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a wayward Pope. We’ve already had several, yet till now did any threaten to change basic Church doctrine on faith and morals? Of course this Pope won’t be successful. But I trust nothing which comes out of his mouth and nothing that he does. And yes, we should and must pray for him. The first Pope betrayed Christ three times. Our current Pope is not beyond doing the same.

  18. Somebody gets it!
    “Michael Dowd on Tuesday, July 7, A.D. 2015 at 3:34am
    “Perhaps Pope Francis is advocating retirement to see how many folks will beg him not to?”

    Exactly. It is, after all, the humble way to do it.

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