PopeWatch: Opening Homily



From the Pope’s opening homily of the Synod:

Reflecting on Mark’s Gospel, the Holy Father said the Jesus was asked a rhetorical question to trap him and make him unpopular with the crowd: “Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife?” In answer, he said, Jesus “responds in a straightforward and unexpected way.” The Pope said that he brings everything back to the beginning of creation: “to teach us that God blesses human love, that it is he who joins the hearts of two people who love one another, he who joins them in unity and dissolubility.”

When Jesus says “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder,” exhorts believers to “overcome every form of individualism and legalism which conceals a narrow self-centredness and a fear of accepting the true meaning of the couple and of human sexuality in God’s plan,” the Pope said.

“For God marriage is not some adolescent utopia, but a dream without which his creatures are doomed to solitude! Being afraid to accept his plan paralyses the human heart,” the Holy Father said.

He said that it was paradoxical that people today ridicule this plan and yet continue to be attracted and fascinated by authentic love. “We see people chase after fleeting loves while dreaming of true love, they chase carnal pleasures but desire total self-giving.”

The Holy Father said that it was in this “extremely difficult social and marital context” that the Church was to carry out her mission in fidelity, truth and love.”

He said that the Church must be faithful to her Master’s voice and in so doing defend the sacredness of life, the unity and dissolubility of marriage, and be a sign of God’s grace and of the human ability to love seriously.

The truth, Pope Francis said, is not changed by passing fads or popular opinions. “The truth which protects individuals and humanity as a whole from the temptation of self-centredness and from turning fruitful love into sterile selfishness, faithful union into temporary bonds.”  

Quoting his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father said “Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality.  Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way.  In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love.”

Speaking about the Church’s mission “in charity” Pope Francis used the image of a mother “conscious of her duty to seek and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy.” He spoke of the Church as a “field hospital” with “doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support.”

The Holy Father said that the Church teaches and defends fundamental values yet does not forget “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mk 2:27) He also reminded us that Jesus said: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mk 2:17).

At the end of the homily Pope Francis quoted Pope St. John Paul II: “Error and evil must always be condemned and opposed; but the man who falls or who errs must be understood and loved… we must love our time and help the man of our time.” He said that the Church must search out these persons to welcome and accompany them and not become a “roadblock” but a “bridge.”



Calling all tea leaf readers!  Tell us in the comboxes what you think the Homily portends for the Synod.

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear is not optimistic:

Because then comes the sudden pivot.

To carry out her mission in charity, not pointing a finger in judgment of others, but – faithful to her nature as a mother – conscious of her duty to seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy; to be a “field hospital” with doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support; to reach out to others with true love, to walk with our fellow men and women who suffer, to include them and guide them to the wellspring of salvation.

“The sabbath is made for man, not man made for the sabbath,” Pope Francis said. (Jesus broke the sabbath rules by eating handfuls of grain as the walked; what rules-breaking does Pope Francis contemplate?) Now he’s quoting Our Lord about “the sick” and “sinners.” “The Church must be a good Samaritan to a wounded humanity,” the Holy Father said. (And so the Church is, already!) He quotes St. Pope John Paul II that, “Error and evil must always be condemned and opposed; but the man who falls or who errs must be understood and loved… we must love our time and help the man of our time” The Church must not close its doors; must be a bridge, not a roadblock.

“The man of our time.”  Whatever encounter with “the man of our time” St. Pope John Paul II contemplated, it was not turning over St. Peter’s keys to him and allowing him to change the doctrines of the Church to suit himself!

“In cauda venenum.” 

The venom is in the tail. 

The end of the speech is what Pope Francis wanted to say. It does not bode well this October day. The only question is how far will he go?

Go here to read the rest.


More to explorer


  1. Why am I having such difficulty believing that the real purpose of this synod is to help advise the pope as to how to solve the crisis level of destruction of marriage within the modern church? Why? Perhaps because of who were given certain key positions, who was or was not invited to participate, it’s mysterious missing guides, its reinsertion of rejected issues, its new non-public, non-voting structure, its bizarre hyper-focus on seeking to welcome and walk with sodomites and adulterers with little mention of the necessary repentance, the newly extraneously imposed fast -track annulment process, etc.–all of this to be cancelled out, or ignored, simply because an occasional mention of traditional Church doctrine is allowed to actually slip in.
    Paul VI warned that the “smoke of Satan’ had entered the Church. One has to wonder if more than a slight whiff of such hasn’t seeped into this synod.

  2. I am the worst sinner any of you know. As I age and decline, it gets less difficult to avoid the near occasion; and a lot of prayer and such have to be applied. Some demons are only driven by prayer and fasting.
    What is the purpose of this Synod? Or, what’s in it for me? Nothing.
    You may watch what they do, not what they say, There is nothing there for me.

    Sounds as if they’re going to massively “grease the skids” on annulments, ease the “evidence” for a “invalid marriage.” A few weeks ago at 8AM Mass in Leesville, LA (near Fort Polk) the priest gave a long explanation of it. Plus, I think we have seen rationalizations and revisions they are concocting. Be that as it may, they cannot amend Objective Truth.
    Christ ordered us to go forth; preach the Gospel; and make disciples of all nations. To teach repentance and the forgiveness of sins, i.e. to convert sinners. That does not mean validating sinners and altering/converting Church Teachings to regularize sins.
    We make choices: good or evil, light or dark, life or death, Christ or the World. When a divorced Catholic chooses to enjoy sexuality and/or remarry, IMO he/she has chosen the carnal over the Spiritual. He/she has chosen sexular pleasures over the rewards of eternal life. It’s awfully hard, but there it is.

  3. Look, if people haven’t figured out yet that the Pope is going to ramrod the Kasper proposal through and offer up some really dubious language about same-sex relationships, they have either not paid a lick of attention to anything the Pope has said or done on the subjects or they are culpably blind.

    He’s been telling you his plans from the get-go. The only thing that is uncertain is how many people are going to refuse to stand for it.

  4. If worse comes to worse, my Parish is going to need a new patron.

    I mean, we can’t be associated with a judgey judgementalist. Where was his compassion & mercy for the suffering of Pepin of Herstal and his concubine?

  5. If the Pope does what Dale Price suggests he will do, then we must ask ourselves: do we stay allied with the Pope or do we go elsewhere? Protestantism is not option since the infiltration of this whole heresy is due to the influence of Protestantism, on top of which Protestants do not have valid Sacraments and no priesthood. Orthodox Anglicanism (not the Canterbury or ECUSA style) is conservative, but it was born of Henry VIII’s adultery and murder, and its adherence to the 39 Articles of Religion is a problem since several of those articles are incorrect. Eastern Orthodoxy may seem attractive, but its embrace of Oikonomia (I hope I have spelled that correctly) for married /divorced / remarried couples is the very thing that we protest against in this Synod. SSPX may seem attractive, but additional problems exist over there as well (just about total rejection of Vatican II documents with an anti-Semitic undercurrent in some of its clergy). So if the Pope embraces heresy in this Synod, then to where do we go? Every other alternative seems worse than where we are. But I for one hate defending the Church against Protestants who see this happening and rightly use it as another example of Roman hypocrisy.

  6. The SSPX embraces 95% of Vatican II. And no, one priest, Fr. Williamson was an anti semite, and he was removed from the society.

  7. “Where do we go?”

    We stay. I’m a convert (was confirmed in May of 2011) and one of the major reasons I crossed the Tiber was because of the authority vested in the Church to correctly interpret the Scriptures and to preserve right teaching in the form of dogma and doctrine. A very large portion of my blood relatives believe my children (baptized Catholic May 2011), my husband (converted and confirmed April 2015), and I are going to hell for climbing aboard the barque of Peter and it is going to be incredibly difficult on my family to deal with the incoming fire we’re going to take if the outcome of this Synod is as disastrous as expected.

    But for me it boils down to this: do I really believe the Catholic Church is who she says she is? Is Peter really the rock Jesus said he would build his Church upon? And the answer is yes, I do believe that and so I will cling to the ship, even if I have to hold onto a porthole with my fingertips, because I believe what Our Lord said about His Church and that Truth will eventually triumph. Might it suck for some time? Yep. But the Church has been through a heck of a lot over the last two millenia and came out strong on the other side. God willing, we will do so again.

  8. “But Lord, where would we go?”
    That question was answered with the Apostles own martyrdom, as it may come to be with ourselves the way things are going.

  9. Should the Roman Pontiff or an ally attempt to suppress the Traditional Latin Mass, I will go to the SSPX with a clear conscience. Until then, I stay and fight. I am Polish. We do NOT quit. Ever.

  10. Mandy,
    Yes stay Catholic but Popes are not infallible constantly…in fact it’s rare timewise over 20 centuries. Newman said there was a suspension of the teaching Church in the fourth century when the laity mainly held the proper belief and the magisterium faltered in the Arian controversy. I distinguish between the core de fide and infallible positions and sacraments…as opposed to the periphery of the Church where e.g. I see these last three Popes so wrong on the death penalty abolition movement that it’s ludicrous to me. Core and periphery. What many do is sneak constant infallibility back in by saying the Holy Spirit guides the Pope constantly. Baloney…. Pope Nicholas V in 1454 gave Portugal the right to enslave and despoil natives in the new world in Romanus Pontifex
    mid 4th large paragraph. Three more Popes after him confirmed it in writing. Pope Paul III in 1537 corrected the four of them and his document lasted and theirs did not. Core and periphery. Periphery in that case lasted for 80 years and was replaced by what time showed was core thinking in Paul III.

  11. The last time a pope spoke ex cathredra was in 1950-The Assumption. Before that was in the middle 1850’s The Immaculate Conception.

  12. joe,
    Yes because prisons are so secure….until you actually read about the two largest Catholic countries Brazil and Mexico. Your bathroom is more secure than their prisons. They have no death penalty and murder rates over twenty times that of East Asia…largely death penalty. The Popes never looked past the safe prisons of Europe.

  13. Although Francis states divorce violates God’s law,
    he focuses on love charity, the evils of selfishness
    individualism and legalism (familiar terms used
    by Francis to attack traditional Catholics) and those
    harmed by sin. He cites biblical passages to support
    his concern to attend to those Catholics who find
    themselves in sin. But how Francis intends to assist
    Catholics harmed by sin is the real issue of the Synod
    against the Family. I believe Francis will promote
    the notion that love and mercy supersede the law
    and the teachings of the old Church which condemns divorce.
    I believe he intends to establish a new teaching concerning
    the faith and morals of the modern Catholic Church which
    will supersede the old legalistic teachings of the
    pre-Vatican II Church, which lacked mercy.

    In my opinion the moment Francis approves communion
    for divorced and remarried Catholics and sodomites and
    the union of sodomites, he will have violated the law of
    infallibility, which will invalidate his papacy.

    I will not leave the Church. I believe it is my obligation to
    God to defend Holy Mother Church against her enemies.
    Since the clergy hasn’t the will to defend the Church
    the laity must step in.

  14. There are, already, no roadblocks for repentant people. There is no mercy without repentance.
    Ash Wednesday: ‘Repent and return to the Gospel.’
    The bridges will fall down without the age old underpinnings given to all by writings in Scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit. Cheating and lying are sins. The victims think there are the ‘roadblocks’ because some one said so.
    The ones who go over the bridge will be met with either the highway/cliff to hell or a merciful lesson in the last four things at the Church field hospital, then will complain about the medicine.

  15. Across the United States rosaries will be said on Saturday, OCT 10, en masse in public places to mark the anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima. Let us pray for freedom of religion in our country and throughout the world, and for the attendees of the Family Synod that they defend and preserve the authentic teachings on faith and morals of our Church.

    Division and discord is what Satan wants. DMcC is right…we don’t scatter. We stand and fight for The Truth.

  16. “There are, already, no roadblocks for repentant people. There is no mercy without repentance.”
    I agree, but my head works weirdly. If that is true, then without the necessity of repentance, the end effect is that of watering down (pastoral care-mercy-gradualism, etc. ) the serious damage to the soul by sin and also desecrating the sacraments. The result is in opposition to the immutable truths the Church has taught from its inception. If so, doesn’t that make the “field hospital” the source of further illness, rather than a place to cure illness?

  17. @CAM

    14,200 + cities are preparing for the Rosary Rally Saturday. Many are taking place in front of Worse than Murder Inc. facilities. This is the answer! The first rate weapon to destroy nefarious regime’s.

    This is a united effort to get the help from above for the inhabitants below. Join us Saturday. Don’t forget your weapon. The Holy Rosary!

  18. Franco, the old teaching of the church concerning marriage is taken from Jesus Himself. “What God has joined together let no man put asunder.” PreVatican teachings lacked mercy? Many post Vatican clerics are heretics e.g. Cardinals Marx and Kasper.

  19. Of course it will end well!
    (If unexpectedly)- I like that!

    Look, I am wary of where the church, not Church, is headed and about Frances’ lead. However, il Papa made an excellent and strong introduction, citing two very faithful popes. The idea that he throws it all away with his ending, and that this was a premeditated ploy, if its fruits come to pass, is most disturbing. But I find the pessimistic prejudgment or prediction of what has not come to pass on the verge of despair. It is not a naïve or ostrich in the sand to actually have HOPE that like Ernst said, of course it will end well. I find the overall negativity pejorative. If we have to fight for our Church, that is what we are called to do. But, we need to be very cautious that perhaps Frances is speaking to us with something God wants us to hear. After all, God can use even crooked lines to get to His point. Finally, as confusing as he may be, I do not think we are at the point where we give up on Pope Frances. (I remember when some conservative voices spoke with much distrust for John Paul ii)

  20. “It will all end well…”
    None, doubt that Christ and the Church will prevail…..but that doesn’t prclude a whole lot of misery and lost souls in the meantime. We need to be realists. Those of us who have lived through the last many decades heard the same talk about Vatican II only to see the churches, nunnery’s and seminary’s empty, the preaching get watered down, our children rejecting the faith for this world, the priesthood infested with gays, the Church’s being sold or replaced with high rises, and we find much more meaning in the biblical question: when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the Earth?
    We must remember we are in the major modern battle for souls, and it is not going well at all. The one thing we need is hope, but not bundled with naïve unrealistic discernment as to the real destruction that has and is happening in God’s Church.

  21. Don, I agree with you except for the inference that we know for sure Pope Frances is participating in the destruction of the Church. His purpose is supposed to be and may be the salvation of souls and furtherance of the Church. Granted there are many things that are worrisome, but then again, as in his talking about marriage, he says some very good things. I don’t think we know where he is going, and we should heed warnings, but it is not naïve – even after all this time – to hope (which is an action not a wish) for Pope Frances to be the representative God is calling him to be. Now, if after the synod we find a deletion, a distortion, and attack on the Truth of Church teaching – well then, that would be a confirmation of what so many here fear.
    Even with the misuse, abuse and confusion done in the name of Vatican II the actual teachings of Vatican II are the result of a legitimate Council. Remember that P Paul courageously affirmed in Humane Vitae despite all the pressure otherwise. Unfortunately, the loss of vocations, the sexual scandals, the desertion in our pews and so on have a deeper cause than Vatican II.

  22. Kevin, I am with Don on this one. Vatican II was not a good thing as it turns out. It was the complete fruition of Modernism which is the sum total of all heresies. Just look at the result of the council. When the fruit is bad, the tree is bad.

    On Pope Francis. The evidence is accumulating that he is a bad Pope, as has been recently outlined on this site by Donald McClarey. But miracles do happen. We will have more evidence at the end of the Synod.

    In the meantime we must be realistic and on our guard as the devil roams about seeking whom he may devour. And unfortunate for us, many of the devils nowadays are dressed up in clerical clothes.

    St Michael the Archangel defend us in battle!!

  23. @ Missy.

    I can guess that God wants us to participate in redemptive acts, which may in turn benefit both sinner and participant in the action.
    Lightning strike is one wild statement, but the quiet old widow who is on her failing knees praying for sinners, that’s Powerful!

  24. Despair is believing that God will abandon us. He will not, but His rescue is on His timetable not ours and that’s the rub. HOPE accompanied by PRAYER. Rosary Rally at 1000 on the 10th. We must remember as traditional laity that we are not alone. In our diocese we have many young priests who are very traditional and some even outspoken. Perhaps it’s because of their upbringing and good seminaries, but I believe that other dioceses do too.
    At the Battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571, the threat against Christendom was from the outside. A momentous victory from Our Lady and her rosary. Today Christendom is threatened twofold: real persecution from without and spiritual battles from within.

  25. Oct. 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Please pray that the synod doesn’t touch and destroy any of our doctrines. The Modernists are using the term “pastoral”, whatever that means, to change the doctrine.
    When the secular press likes a pope, you know that the church is in trouble.

  26. Paul W Primavera wrote, “ Eastern Orthodoxy may seem attractive, but its embrace of Oikonomia (I hope I have spelled that correctly)…”

    The Greek word is οἰκονομία, which can, indeed, be transliterated Oikonomia, although it is often translated simply as Economy.

    It comes from οἶκος = house and νέμω = to distribute (and also to pasture). “Economics” = household management.

    In the Church Fathers, it is used to mean simply management or disposal of questions of Church government. In later practice, it refers to a lenient, as opposed to a strict, application of Church law; that is, the power of the bishop to suspend or dispense from certain laws.

  27. Donald R. McClarey on Monday, October 5, A.D. 2015 at 11:42am
    “where do we go?”
    Nowhere. We stay and fight for the True Faith, which is not only our right but our duty.

    I will fight! I will say a rosary every day of the Synod. Bigger miracles have happened. You too can join this fight

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