PopeWatch: His Answer

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George Orwell would have found Pope Francis fascinating:


One year ago to this day, four Cardinals submitted five yes-or-no questions to Pope Francis asking him if his 2016 exhortation on marriage and the family — Amoris Laetitia — conforms to perennial Catholic teaching on marriage, moral absolutes, conscience, and the sacraments. 

The Pope has refused to answer their questions, despite the moral and pastoral chaos that ensued throughout the whole of Christendom as priests, bishops, and cardinals interpreted his teachings in completely contradictory ways. Some allowed civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in habitual adultery to receive Holy Communion. Some did not. 

Today, on the first anniversary of the dubia, has the Pope finally given his answer? It would seem so, though certainly not directly.

Let me explain. 

While the body of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, one of the four dubia signers, has hardly been in the ground more than a week, the pope today announced he is abolishing the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family and replacing it with a new institute focused on implementing Amoris Laetitia.

Cardinal Caffarra was the founding president of the institute, overseeing it from its launch in 1981 until 1995. The institute was founded to be a center for scientific study in the fields of anthropology and Christocentric thought so as to address the crisis of marriage and the family within the Church. 

The institute has been faithful to perennial Catholic teaching. It even produced an excellent book titled Marriage: Theological and Pastoral Considerations in the lead-up to the recent Synods on the Family that faithfully and clearly put forward Catholic teaching on marriage and the sacraments.

Caffarra outlined what he called the “institute’s DNA” in a 2016 graduation address to the John Paul II Institute in Washington D.C. 

He said that the institute was founded to address a crisis where “the human person had lost awareness of himself, of the truth of his being a person, so that he no longer understood the truth of marriage; not only in the intellectual sense, but in the existential sense.”

“John Paul II establishes the relation between marriage and the human person by means of the philosophy and the theology of the body. This is the most precious heritage that he entrusted to the Institute. The Church lacked this theology and philosophy, and she still has not fully assimilated the wealth of insights contained in these teachings,” he said at the time. 

I was studying for a Ph.D at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Australia a few years ago, before it was closed. I selected this school knowing that I would be formed in authentic Catholic teaching on all the hot-button issues of the day, including contraception, abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc. My dissertation topic was on the morality behind using the naked human body in art and media. It was an intellectually rich time in my life for which I will be forever grateful. I, and many other faithful Catholics, have always viewed the institute as a lighthouse of orthodoxy. 

Caffarra outlined in his Washington D.C. talk how the institute was originally founded to especially reflect on the Church teaching against contraception as found in Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. 

“The Apostolic Constitution Magnum matrimonii sacramentum, the document which founded the Institute canonically, assigns as a specific task of the Institute the reflection on this Encyclical. This is the great theme of the truth about human procreation,” he said. 

“The Institute’s DNA, if we can say that, is therefore as follows: to discover the truth about marriage and the family, on the basis of an adequate anthropology, in order to help the husband and the wife to live fully their conjugal vocation,” he said.

Caffarra has not been dead two weeks and Pope Francis has already issued a Motu Proprio (by his own command) that destroys the John Paul II Institute’s DNA and replaces it with a DNA foreign to the institute’s original aim. That foreign DNA can be precisely summed up in the dubia submitted to the Pope by Caffarra and the other three Cardinals. 

What I find especially disturbing in this matter is that the Pope has gutted the institute while essentially keeping the institute’s name the same. All I could think of was George Orwell’s novel 1984 in which institutes are set up with beautiful-sounding names like the ‘Ministry of Truth,’ but which are actually agents of the ever-changing politically correct propaganda of the day. 

Pope Francis, in his Motu Proprio, says the newly reformed “John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences” will be used as a platform to implement his teachings in Amoris Laetitia. 


Go here to read the rest.  This move is classic Francis:  disdainful of his adversaries, keeping the shell of orthodoxy while completely undermining the substance and contemptuous of the Pope that preceded him.  The Pope has one real job:  to safeguard the teaching of Christ.  In Francis we see what happens when a Pope decides that his true role is to undermine the teaching of Christ.

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  1. Why would an almost 81 year old geriatric potentially closer to the end of his life than most of us risk the salvation of his eternal soul with all this heretical nonsense and liberal progressive idiocy unless he has NOT really believed in anything authentically Catholic in the first place?

    Given that his Caudillo pride prevents any true humility and self-abasement, I truly do pray that God soon deposes this heretic, after which his works must be declared anathema and his appointments of liberal progressives to the episcopate and elsewhere rescinded.

  2. For Frankie. “The Lord condescends to use our powers if we don’t spoil his plan with ours.”
    -Ven. Fr. Solanus Casey
    (soon to be beatified on Nov.18th)

    Still praying for you PF.

  3. What Robert Conquest said. The most realistic thing for which we can hope is that we get a reprieve courtesy the actuarial tables. Of course, many of he same Cardinals who elected him will elect his successor, supplemented with the likes of Blaise Cupich.

  4. The odds of the next pontiff not being fully in tune with the current one’s program of destruction dwindle by the day.

    The only salvation is in God.

  5. The odds of the next pontiff

    I hear you. The thing is, you have odd reversals from time to time. The two most recent (in 1958 and 2013) have been unsalutary. I don’t think that’s an iron law.

  6. Pope Francis is making good Catholics better, bad Catholics worse and indifferent Catholics confirmed in their lukewarmness. God operates in mysterious ways.
    “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
    —Job 1:21

  7. Unheard of in papal history, to refuse to teach the Faith.

    Every day that passes is a joy, knowing, as with Hillary and Obama, it is a day closer to the longed-for end of this imposter’s reign.

  8. “[W]hen a Pope decides that his true role is to undermine the teaching of Christ.”

    Remember the Holy Father is a Jesuit. Pascal had their measure:-

    “Know then that their object is not the corruption of manners- that is not their design. But as little is it their sole aim to reform them- that would be bad policy. Their idea is briefly this: They have such a good opinion of themselves as to believe that it is useful, and in some sort essentially necessary to the good of religion, that their influence should extend everywhere, and that they should govern all consciences. And the Evangelical or severe maxims being best fitted for managing some sorts of people, they avail themselves of these when they find them favourable to their purpose. But as these maxims do not suit the views of the great bulk of the people, they waive them in the case of such persons, in order to keep on good terms with all the world. Accordingly, having to deal with persons of all classes and of all different nations, they find it necessary to have casuists assorted to match this diversity.” – Les Provinciales V

  9. Religion is man’s response to the gift of Faith from God. When man’s religion is not a response to the gift of Faith from God, he is an empty gong. LOL I have visions of The Gong Show. My cane please.

  10. Can the Pope keep the name of the institute while changing the institute’s agenda? Truth in advertising. Males brides, female husbands, married couples who cannot perform the marital act, copulate, or couple,. Anal sex is the crime of assault and battery. Denying the rational, transcendent soul is the imposition of atheism. There can be no admission to the Sacraments without the people reconciling to the Church though the Sacrament of Penance and a firm purpose of amendment.
    Saints preserve us.

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