NOW Can Somebody Silence Fr. Reese?!

With some people, you just know you’re going to cringe when you read their writings. Fr. Thomas Reese (I love how he doesn’t even use the “father” part) is one of those people.  How one person can consistently get it so wrong is beyond me. This one, however, really takes the heretical cake.

Irish vote shows need for new pro-life strategy

By Thomas Reese  | May 27, 2018

 (RNS) — The overwhelming vote in Ireland in favor of allowing access to abortion shows that the pro-life movement needs a new strategy. Trying to preserve anti-abortion laws or trying to reverse the legalization of abortion is simply not working.

Yeah, this probably has nothing to do with the fact that the Church in Ireland has screwed it up so badly that barely anyone practices their faith anymore. But, yeah, let’s blame it on the pro-life strategy that’s kept Ireland abortion free longer than almost anyone else.

In almost every country where abortion has been on the ballot, abortion has won. Rarely have pro-choice laws been reversed. This trend is not going to change. To think otherwise is simply ignoring reality.

Look around America, Fr. Reese. The tide is turning, albeit slowly. We’ve made some great strides in the past year. I know it’s killing you, because you’ve been suggesting that we vote for death on a fairly regular basis, and instead spout out ridiculous ideas like helping the poor is more important than trying to stop the slaughter of innocents, all the while acting as if nobody is trying to help the poor. If nobody is taking care of the poor and downtrodden, then it’s likely the problem is the evangelization of the people in the pews by people like you, not the pro-lifers who usually are doing multiple things at once.  While people certainly have focused on the issue where they can do the most good, I rarely run across a pro-lifer who doesn’t advocate taking care of the poor as well.

The American pro-life movement still holds out hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse Roe v. Wade, but even if that does happen, most Americans will still live in states where abortion is legal. Those who don’t will be able to travel to a state where it is, just as Irish women have long traveled to Britain.

So you’re saying we shouldn’t have hope? I thought with God all things are possible?  Seriously, if we can’t hope for the end of the slaughter of innocents, why should we hope for the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, etc., to be taken care of, “Father”? Why should David have ever beaten Goliath? Honestly, your reasoning on the matter is why the Church fails.  It’s not because of the pro-lifers. Your idea is to give up the fight because “one can’t possibly win this.” Is that what the slavery abolitionists thought? You’re far more like the disciples who walked away than you are like Christ.

The reality is that most Americans think that abortion should be legal even if they think it is immoral. There is no indication that this thinking will change. In fact, opinion is moving in the opposite direction, thanks to the attitudes of younger generations. The Pew Research Center shows Americans under 50 are more likely than their elders to support abortion in all or most cases. Likewise, in Ireland, younger people voted more strongly to change the law. Time is on the side of the pro-choice movement.

Pope Benedict XVI has famously said, “Truth is not decided by a majority vote.”. Not too surprised this does not roll off your tongue. You don’t give in to what’s evil. You fight for what is right, good, and true.

If making abortion illegal is an impossible goal, what should be the pro-life strategy for the foreseeable future?

The answer is simple and obvious: Work to reduce the number of abortions.

And the pro-life movement has accomplished that, but it’s not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to reveal the truth of the atrocity of abortion and save women and their babies – ALL OF THEM!

When women are asked why they are having an abortion, the main reasons given are that having a baby would interfere with their education, their work or their ability to care for the children they are already raising, or that they simply cannot afford another child at the time.

The main reasons? Really? Yeah, kind of evident you don’t spend much time fighting it.  Try: they are terrified of going it alone and afraid of what people will think. This is why a good chunk of fighting abortion has been to provide support to these women and to make sure they are not going it alone. It’s clueless to think that the pro-life activists simply seek to change laws. This is the pro-abortion line of thinking. They never point to the actual help of the Catholic Church, Gabriel Projects, crisis pregnancy centers, crisis nurseries, those pushing to help student moms, etc., etc., etc.

Pro-life activists must take these reasons into consideration when developing a new strategy.

Pro-life advocates should strongly support programs that give women a real choice — increasing the minimum wage, free or affordable day care for working and student moms, free or affordable health care for mothers and their children, parental leave programs, education and job-training programs, income and food supplements, etc.

Yeah, because we never, never do that. Duh. Thanks, Fr. Reese. What would we do without your pearls of wisdom? 

In short, the pro-life movement must support any program that lessens the burden on mothers and their children.

Really? Any program? Complete bunk. We do not need to support “any program” that does this. We only need to support ones that are ethical and moral in all of their programs. And, oh yeah, we do.

No longer should Republicans be allowed to call themselves pro-life if they vote down programs that would help mothers and their children. In the early 1990s, Republicans in the New Jersey Legislature voted not to increase benefits for women on welfare if they have additional children. Thus, a mother with two children would have to take care of three with no increase in support. The consequences were quick and predictable: an increase in the number of abortions among women on welfare.

OK, a few things here. Let’s look at this case of which he speaks.

Let’s knock out the first fallacy of Fr. Reese: “Republicans can’t call themselves pro-life if they vote down programs that would help mothers and their children.”  (Insert big buzzer sound). If Democrats wanted to attach birth control and abortion to legislation for such programs, they most certainly can. In fact, Democrats love attaching evil onto other plans just so they can get that evil passed. That’s why Republicans often fight for line item vetoes and “clean” bills which don’t have things like Planned Parenthood funding attached to them.

Then there’s Fr. Reese’s next fallacy:

If abortion is never going to be illegal, pro-lifers must consider voting for candidates, even pro-choice Democrats, who will reduce the number of abortions by supporting programs that help mothers and their children. It is no accident that the number of abortions went down during the two most recent Democratic administrations, according to the CDC. (Clinton: 1,330,414 abortions in 1993 to 857,457 in 2000; Obama: 789,217 in 2009 to 652,639 in 2014).

Pro-life voters must choose between Republican rhetoric and Democratic results.

Wow! This one is a whopper. Even liberal called this a falsehood:  Not only that, the Guttmacher Institute (Planned Parenthood’s research arm, even if they say they’ve parted ways) gives quite a different explanation of why the trend is down: 

Twenty-two states enacted 70 abortion restrictions during 2013. This makes 2013 second only to 2011 in the number of new abortion restrictions enacted in a single year. To put recent trends in even sharper relief, 205 abortion restrictions were enacted over the past three years (2011–2013), but just 189 were enacted during the entire previous decade (2001–2010).

Totally contradicts your premise, Fr. Reese, that abortion has gone down because of social services enacted under Democratic regimes. Oops.

Churches must also step up. In today’s world, an unwed woman willing to give birth should be treated as a hero, not a whore. She is not the only unmarried woman in her age group who got pregnant, let alone the only person having sex. Yet, she is the one brave enough to choose life. Shame on the Pharisees who try to shame her.

I have mixed feelings about this comment. How about not treating the woman as a hero or a whore but simply as someone who needs help? Choosing the scary and hard path is a heroic act, and certainly not making a child pay for life’s mistakes is a laudable move.  The big question is, who is trying to shame her? It ain’t the pro-lifers. In fact, you’re going to find far more shaming and fear-mongering going on in the pro-abortion Democratic world than you are in the pro-life world. 

Schools, too, must do more to help these women. Universities today talk much about diversity, but one of the most underrepresented groups on campuses is single mothers. Universities, especially Catholic universities, must design programs and housing to meet their needs. Such programs would benefit not only the mothers and their children but also other students. Perhaps they’d learn that “it takes a dorm to raise a child.”

While I don’t want a dorm raising anyone’s child (they can barely creep out of their safe-spaces), I do support directing women to help, and there certainly is help. That said, when the world is so intent on telling them what they can’t possibly do, they fail to provide any real alternatives to killing their child. Seriously, sometimes all it takes is a pastor who is spending a little more time giving real, moral, viable alternatives than “vote for Democrats and everything will be great,” like the pastor in this story did: This is a lot of what crisis pregnancy centers, Gabriel Projects, and similar groups do. They connect women with the resources they need to take care of themselves AND their children.

Besides supporting programs to help mothers and children, the pro-life movement also has to support birth control as a means of avoiding unwanted pregnancies. Planned pregnancies do not get aborted; many unplanned pregnancies do.

Oh my gosh! Well, kudos for just coming out and saying it, Fr. Reese! While still evil, it’s almost refreshing than the typical beating around the bush that your partners in crime do all the time. Unbelievable. He’s not going to be silenced for this load of evil?  Wow.  Good job, Jesuits. This guy just pitched for Satan, but you’re all going to look anywhere but at him.

Those who consider artificial contraception to be wrong must also recognize that abortion is a greater evil. When forced to choose, one must choose the lesser of two evils.

No. No. No. And no! You’re going to really try to go with “Let’s do evil so that good might come of it?” You can’t stop evil by committing evil. Catholic 101. Common sense 101. Just so people can’t claim Fr. Reese isn’t peddling a load of hooey…

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1759 “An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention” (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Dec. praec. 6). The end does not justify the means.

1760 A morally good act requires the goodness of its object, of its end, and of its circumstances together.

1761 There are concrete acts that it is always wrong to choose, because their choice entails a disorder of the will, i.e., a moral evil. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.

Using your logic, it’s just fine to target civilians if it will mean ending a war, right? Oh yeah, in that circumstance you will foam at the mouth, but when it comes to abortion you’re going to suggest that we commit evil to stop evil. Yes, it is the exact same principle. Artificial birth control always brings about death, whether it be spiritual, mental, or physical. There is ZERO way round it. And, hey, Fr. Reese, there’s actually another way to stop abortions. In fact, there are many of them that will have lasting effects that aren’t evil. And, by the way, we aren’t stuck with birth control or abortion by any stretch of the imagination. I’m starting to feel you have completely lost it.

The contraceptive mandate of the Obama administration will do more to reduce the number of abortions than all of the legislative gimmicks of Republican legislators.

This argument has been made ad nauseum since the dawn of birth control. Are you really naïve enough to think that a) abortifacients don’t exist and b) that there’s not a myriad of serious irreparable health issues to the users that you are pretty much now promoting???? Do you know what a SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE is??? Only one type of birth control stops those -abstinence. All the others do a poor job of most everything. So, yay! Let’s promote artificial birth control as the solution for everything, Fr. Reese, so we can see how many more people can be spontaneously aborted, scarred , and die due to the long-term side effects of artificial birth control. Can you really be this much of an idiot? THESE are the results of trying to stop one evil with another and this is what you’re promoting for society. Banner.

If European Catholic institutions can pay money into national health programs that perform abortions, then American Catholic employers can pay for insurance programs that pay for birth control.

People can do all sorts of stupid things. This doesn’t make them moral, just, or sane.

And while I would be happy to see Planned Parenthood put out of business, closing clinics that provide health care and birth control to women before replacements are up and running is irresponsible and counterproductive.

Planned Parenthood is totally and utterly unneeded and irrelevant. There are far more free health clinics that are truly helping people with diseases and screenings than Planned Parenthood ever did without trying to cause more of them. That’s what Planned Parenthood does, it creates new clients. Their business model is the bomb. Evil but brilliant. You’re either brainwashed, stupid, or evil here, Father. Which is it? All three?

The goal of supporting mothers and children and decreasing the number of unplanned pregnancies should receive bipartisan support. While many people doubtless support these programs as ends in themselves, there is no reason the pro-life movement should not support them as means of reducing abortions.

First of all, pro-lifers do support decreasing unplanned pregnancies and supporting mothers and their children. We just don’t believe in doing it by giving a woman a loaded revolver and telling her to pull the trigger. That’s you.

The number of abortions in the United States peaked in 1990 at 1,429,247. Working together, we could reasonably get abortions down to under 100,000 per year — far too many, but an achievable goal and better than where we are today.

Maybe if all of our priests instead taught the Truth we’d achieve something. There’s something that hasn’t been tried.  Unfortunately, as long as the likes of you are allowed to run unchecked by your order, we won’t know. #silenceThomasReeseSJ #CatholicCyberMilitia #reformtheJesuits

The Pontifical Academy of Anything Goes

It’s taking all of my will to not whip out some serious vulgarities after reading this.  

Pontifical Academy for Life Member: Term ‘Intrinsically Evil’ Too Restricting

Edward Pentin

A reflection on Amoris Laetitia has been posted on the website of the Pontifical Academy for Life in which its author, a new member of the academy, proposes that the term “intrinsically evil” is outdated.

Honestly, I’m starting to think I might be overqualified to serve on the Pontifical Academy for Life these days. I’m totally willing to do it, Your Holiness, but seriously?  What are we supposed to go with here??? I mean, I thought “intrinsically evil” was quite truthful and succinct. Shall we go with “really jacked-up” to make it a little more modern?!?! What in the what?! 

Hypothesizing on the moral theology of Amoris Laetitia and Pope Francis’ principle that “time is greater than space” mentioned in his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Professor Gerhard Höver argues that changes in perception, “namely, space and time,” have an “effect on specific theologies, such as the theological view of marriage and the family.”

The professor of moral theology at the University of Bonn, Germany, uses selected writings of St. Bonaventure and Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI to argue — quoting from Amoris Laetitia — against thinking that everything is “black and white” which results in closing off the “way of grace and of growth.” 

“He believes that the principle “time is greater than space” relates to an interplay between the eternal and temporal spheres, taking on a “moral-theological significance” that “affects the previous teaching about ‘intrinsically evil actions.'”

Oh, my gosh, I feel like I’m watching a sci-fi movie here. I’d expect this to be a line out of Interstellar or The Arrival. Can’t you just see Matthew McConaughey saying this?

Good stinking luck with this juju. (It’s sad when juju makes more sense than the what the professors comprising the Pontifical Academy of Life come up with these days.) I’m starting to think these windbags just have to say something to hear themselves talk.  They want to sound new and hip no matter how little they make sense.

“It is not without reason that some have requested further clarification on this point,” he adds, referring to the second of the five dubia which asked the Pope whether, after Amoris Laetitia, one still needs to regard as valid “the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions.”

How kind of him. 

The Church currently teaches that intrinsically evil acts are always and everywhere wrong and immoral, regardless of intention or circumstances. This is because, in part, they do not bring one closer to God, and prevent the common good.

But Höver argues that the term “intrinsically evil” is too restricting as it fails to account for some “regularity” within “irregular” situations, ones which could be allowed if one abides by the principle that ‘time is greater than space.’ “If even only one element is defective, the consequence is ‘badness’ and (in this sense) also ‘irregularity,’” he says.

I’m sure Pentin is about to give a behind-whipping on this silly fallacy but in case he doesn’t… No! Situation ethics to not apply. My guess is Pentin will point out that some things are always good or always evil (like abortion) but the person’s situation might mitigate their culpability in the action. It NEVER changes the fact that some things are intrinsically evil – the act is always evil just by its very nature.

“It seems theological reasons lead Pope Francis to refuse to go on accepting this restriction,” Höver continues. “This does not in the least dispute the necessity of calling oppositions and irregularities by their names, above all in cases of injustice and unfairness vis-à-vis other persons. But the Pope regards the path that has been taken hitherto as inadequate to cope with the differentness and complexity of the situations in which people stand or live.”

Huh?!? Does Google Translate work with Wacky Theologian-ese? More importantly, can he cite a teaching of Pope Francis which removes the status of intrinsic evil?

“A moral theologian speaking to the Register on condition of anonymity expressed astonishment that Höver was “digging into obscure references to Ratzinger’s first doctoral dissertation on St. Bonaventure, which doesn’t discuss intrinsic evil anywhere.”

EXACTLY! This is the liberals’ new game. Let’s just say that then-Cardinal Ratzinger said this without any proof that these ideas exist. It’s like they simply think the internet does not exist or that we laity are too stupid to do the research.

“Where are the clear statements about the topic in St. John Paul II’s encyclical on the moral teaching of the Church, Veritatis Splendor?” he asked, adding that even if Höver’s thesis were correct, which he “could not admit, he is placing philosophy over the clear teaching of Christ, St. Paul, St. Peter and the entire moral tradition of the Church, not least Ratzinger himself who admits that intrinsic evil exists.”

BAM! Thank you Anonymous Moral Theologian.

Undermining Morality

Höver’s article is the latest example of a Vatican-appointed figure raising questions about the Church’s teaching on intrinsically evil acts.

Yes! These latest losers on the various academies don’t want any sort of truth. I’m dumb but I think that rather qualifies as Nihilism, right? “God is dead!” probably isn’t far from the minds of some members of the Pontifical Academy of Life. Le sigh!

In a lecture last month, new academy member and moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi partly justified his theory of allowing artificial contraception in some cases because the Pope makes no “explicit reference” to contraception as “intrinsically evil,” and adding that “it would have been very easy to do so given Veritatis Splendor.”

“Another new member of the Pontifical Academy, Jesuit Father Alain Thomasset, has said he does not believe in the existence of the term.

Geez. One has to wonder if they even bothered to read Veritatis Splendor.

67. These tendencies are therefore contrary to the teaching of Scripture itself, which sees the fundamental option as a genuine choice of freedom and links that choice profoundly to particular acts. By his fundamental choice, man is capable of giving his life direction and of progressing, with the help of grace, towards his end, following God’s call. But this capacity is actually exercised in the particular choices of specific actions, through which man deliberately conforms himself to God’s will, wisdom and law. It thus needs to be stated that the so-called fundamental option, to the extent that it is distinct from a generic intention and hence one not yet determined in such a way that freedom is obligated, is always brought into play through conscious and free decisions. Precisely for this reason, it is revoked when man engages his freedom in conscious decisions to the contrary, with regard to morally grave matter.

To separate the fundamental option from concrete kinds of behaviour means to contradict the substantial integrity or personal unity of the moral agent in his body and in his soul. A fundamental option understood without explicit consideration of the potentialities which it puts into effect and the determinations which express it does not do justice to the rational finality immanent in man’s acting and in each of his deliberate decisions. In point of fact, the morality of human acts is not deduced only from one’s intention, orientation or fundamental option, understood as an intention devoid of a clearly determined binding content or as an intention with no corresponding positive effort to fulfil the different obligations of the moral life. Judgments about morality cannot be made without taking into consideration whether or not the deliberate choice of a specific kind of behaviour is in conformity with the dignity and integral vocation of the human person. Every choice always implies a reference by the deliberate will to the goods and evils indicated by the natural law as goods to be pursued and evils to be avoided. In the case of the positive moral precepts, prudence always has the task of verifying that they apply in a specific situation, for example, in view of other duties which may be more important or urgent. But the negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behaviour as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the “creativity” of any contrary determination whatsoever. Once the moral species of an action prohibited by a universal rule is concretely recognized, the only morally good act is that of obeying the moral law and of refraining from the action which it forbids.

  1. Here an important pastoral consideration must be added. According to the logic of the positions mentioned above, an individual could, by virtue of a fundamental option, remain faithful to God independently of whether or not certain of his choices and his acts are in conformity with specific moral norms or rules. By virtue of a primordial option for charity, that individual could continue to be morally good, persevere in God’s grace and attain salvation, even if certain of his specific kinds of behaviour were deliberately and gravely contrary to God’s commandments as set forth by the Church.

In point of fact, man does not suffer perdition only by being unfaithful to that fundamental option whereby he has made “a free self-commitment to God”.113 With every freely committed mortal sin, he offends God as the giver of the law and as a result becomes guilty with regard to the entire law (cf. Jas 2:8-11); even if he perseveres in faith, he loses “sanctifying grace”, “charity” and “eternal happiness”.114 As the Council of Trent teaches, “the grace of justification once received is lost not only by apostasy, by which faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin”.115

Here is the smack-down I was looking for earlier.

“Veritatis Splendor states that intrinsically evil acts “do not allow for any legitimate exception,” nor do they “leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the ‘creativity’ of any contrary determination whatsoever.”

Like I said, no situation in life is going to justify committing these acts. These idiots are trying to mix up acts and culpability. Sorry. These acts are always evil by their nature but a person’s culpability in cooperating with these acts will vary. See? Was that soooooo hard to say???

The Church teaches that abortion, contraception, homosexual acts, adultery, and other gravely sinful actions are deemed “intrinsically evil.”

Rendering the term obsolete therefore potentially radically changes the Church’s moral teaching, according to the anonymous moral theologian, “undermining the whole notion of morality.”

And, of course, that’s EXACTLY what they’re trying to do.  

His concerns are echoed by others as the Church marks 25 years since the publication of Veritatis Splendor and its clear articulation of the Church’s moral teaching on intrinsically evil acts, as well as the 50th anniversary of Paul VI’s landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae and its ban on the use of artificial contraception, deeming its use as “intrinsically wrong.”

A spokesman for Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told the Register Jan. 25 that Höver’s position “does not necessarily correspond to the position of the academy” and that it is normal for the academy to publish abstracts of members’ published works, with links to their full versions. If they publish something the academy fully agrees with, then he said they make that known.

Boo on them. Don’t post crud. It’s a really good plan. Trust me. Personally, I think “does not necessarily correspond” is waffling. Does it or does it not, Archbishop Paglia?

But allowing academy members to publish hypotheses like Höver’s, challenging the Church’s moral doctrine and the teaching of previous popes, is something new. In the past, new members had to sign a declaration of fidelity to the Church’s pro-life teachings, but new statutes implemented last year ended that requirement.

Word! Might be nice to not post the rantings and musings in an area so serious. By the way, who else would like to see the declaration of fidelity mandatory once again?!

In an interview with the Register last year, Archbishop Paglia offered reassurance that the new statutes “require a stronger commitment on the part of members to the Church’s pro-life teaching” and that they “promote and defend the principles of the value of life and the dignity of the person, interpreted in conformity with the magisterium of the Church.

But last summer, the archbishop oversaw the selection of new members, including Höver, Father Chiodi and Father Thomasset, who clearly have differences with the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life.

This has really been the new status quo. “We’ll totally toe the authentically pro-life line until we don’t and hope you don’t notice.”

Asked if the academy’s leaders were aware of their views before they were selected, the spokesman told the Register “we knew” but added that it was important to provide them “space,” in continuity with “Pope Francis’ preference for dialogue and debate with those holding differing opinions.”

Let’s just ask satan for his opinion on the subject. Sigh. Look, you want to talk with people holding differing opinions? Fine. They don’t need to be appointed to a position in the Academy to do so. It’s not like we don’t know what the rest of the world thinks on the subject. Duh! If you don’t know what the opposition thinks, please get another job.

Archbishop Paglia was asked to comment on how these members of the academy reflect a new requirement for a “stronger commitment” to uphold the Church’s pro-life teaching, but he was unavailable.


I, Me & the Papacy

I’ve been doing a lot of reading trying to get back to the blogosphere after a nice vacation.  I don’t often have a chance to plow through everything listed on Catholic headline sites. I usually just pick what jumps out at me, so after subjecting myself to just about every story in today’s headlines, I’m a little depressed.  Looks bleak these days for the Faith, despite knowing the end of the story. 

So much jumped out at me it’s hard to know what to tackle first.  Maybe the vacation was just a little too long!  This, however, is the article that kept gnawing at me.  

Those who read me know that I usually don’t comment much on Pope Francis.  My main reason for not doing so is that I just don’t believe in spitting into the wind.  I’ve got a wide variety of friends – both in my personal life and in the blogosphere – who hold every opinion on him, everything from questioning his validity to thinking he is the savior.  I think I probably hold the opinion of many in the middle: on some days I’m happy, on others I’m befuddled, but this one struck me in the most negative of ways. Why?  I just got the sense that it was all about him. “I, me, I, me, I, me…” and that’s not really a feeling I want to have about our Pope.  I want to feel like the Pope is the guardian of the Church and not treating it as his personal sandbox and these comments don’t help.  To be fair, the question was on his interviews, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many I’s and Me’s coming from the person who is supposed to represent the Church, not himself.  From the very first quote:

I know this can make me vulnerable, but it is a risk I want to take,

I wanted to yell, “This isn’t about you, it’s about souls! People with evil intentions are using your interviews to prey on those souls!” To be fair, the quotes they expound on are often totally out of context, misquotes, etc. However, fool me once shame on you, fool me repeatedly and I might actually be the fool or so “rigid” in my ways that I can’t see that my ways might be a problem and require another tactic.

I might as well just go over all the quotes.  Next:

“The Lord ‘interviews’ the disciples who are walking discouraged,” he said. “For me, the interview is part of this conversation the church is having with men and women today.”

OK, but does anyone remember what happened after the “interview”?  There was a complete and utter smackdown for not getting it.

25 Then he said to them, Too slow of wit, too dull of heart, to believe all those sayings of the prophets! 26 Was it not to be expected that the Christ should undergo these sufferings, and enter so into his glory? 27 Then, going back to Moses and the whole line of the prophets, he began to interpret the words used of himself by all the scriptures.

He didn’t say, “Oh, you missed everything that you’ve been taught but that’s just fine.”  Where is the response Christ gave, the clear delineation of where they ditched all that had been taught?  That’s what we hope comes out of the dialogue, but it never quite seems to happen.  We want Pope Francis to be a true father and then break bread with the children.  As a parent, that’s what I want to see from my pope for my children.  Sure, meet them on the Road to Emmaus when they are struggling and confused, but then give them the Truth and remind them what Christ did for them and what He left for them – the Church and her Sacraments.

“The interviews and Q&A sessions “always have a pastoral value,” Pope Francis said, and are an important part of his ministry, just like inviting a small group of people to his early morning Mass each day.”

I’d quibble here.  They COULD have pastoral value.  I don’t think it means they always do, especially when the responses are not clear.  I mean, the Holy Father picked the Road to Emmaus story.  After Christ’s “interview,” he reiterated EVERYTHING they had been taught about the Christ from “Moses and the whole line of prophets.” 

The chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives, “is, let’s say, my parish. I need that communication with people.”

I don’t think ANYONE has a problem with him communicating with people.  The problem people find is his lack of clarity.  That’s kind of what the whole dubia thing was about.  The four cardinals REALLY had communication with their flock, their priests, other cardinals, bishops, etc.  They deserved the “dialogue” that the Holy Father speaks of, because they represent a HUGE number of Catholics, despite the Spadaro spin.

“There, too, on those trips, I like to look people in the eye and respond to their questions sincerely,” he wrote. “I know that I have to be prudent, and I hope I am. I always pray to the Holy Spirit before I start listening to the questions and responding.”

Cannot fault the method at all, but the problem is it’s been a problem more than a few times now.  It seems like when it’s gone awry so many times, it might not be prudential to do it again and again.  That said, who knows if the chaos that results ever gets back to him.  You’d think yes since it’s the topic of the interview, but who the heck really knows anymore.

This one really got me:

His favorite interviews, he said, are with small, neighborhood newspapers and magazines. “There I feel even more at ease,” the pope said. “In fact, in those cases I really am listening to the questions and concerns of common people. I try to respond spontaneously, in a conversation I hope is understandable, and not with rigid formulas.”

Oh, how I wish that were true all the way around.  A couple comments on that. First, he should ALWAYS be on guard. Next, the press represents the common people?!  And then we’re back to “rigid.” Was Christ being “rigid” when he laid out every word spoken about him by the prophets?  I just wish he understood that clarity is good, clarity is not rigidity.

“For me,” he said, “interviews are a dialogue, not a lesson.”

Anything jump into anyone’s mind?  How many times did the disciples call Christ “teacher?”  I don’t remember him being called “dialoguer.”  Honestly, I want him to be the ultimate pope.  I want him do things like pay his own hotel bill and call “gender theory” a nuclear weapon, but these quotes didn’t bring me there.

Even when the questions are submitted in advance, the pope said he does not prepare his answers. Watching the person ask the question and responding directly is important.

OK, you’ve got the questions in advance.  They’re not going to change, but one can’t prepare a well thought out response that might be less easily twisted and still listen and respond directly to the question???

And finally…

Yes, I am afraid of being misinterpreted,” he said. “But, I repeat, I want to run this pastoral risk.

Why would anyone want to run the risk of being misinterpreted and run the risk of souls being led astray???  Look, I’m only human but I just don’t get it.  If my child comes to me with a weighty question, you’d bet I’d take the question in advance if I could get my hands on it!  If I had the opportunity, I wouldn’t go with, “I’m trying to be a genuine, authentic parent and have a genuine, authentic dialogue with my child, so I’m going to pass on the opportunity to be prepared and take a parental roll of the dice!”  That’s really what we’re talking about here. I’m not going to play craps when a soul is at stake.  Would I be “rigid” or loving with my want of clarity for the soul of a child I carried and raised?  My kids would probably go with rigid.  Ha!  That said, my children, just like the rest of us, don’t always want the truth, right?  We want the nice cushy road.  I don’t understand why the truth can’t be given with the love surrounding it like a halo.  Like so many, I just don’t get the logic of Pope Francis some days. 

The article on papal interviews wasn’t the only story that caught my eye.  In fact, this story hit the very same day.

Now, Pope John Paul II visited a prison (and the guy who shot him), and Pope Benedict XVI visited a prison, but Pope Francis decided to invite 20 prisoners out of prison to lunch. Guess what?  Two prisoners of unknown and possibly dangerous convictions escaped.  I cannot help but see this incident as symbolic of what’s going on in the Church today.  The Holy Father wants to extend what he thinks are new and improved overtures of kindness to some who are sure to feel “marginalized” (the Jesuits’ favorite word!), and some of the more nefarious “inmates” in the Church decide to run wild (ahem, Fr. Martin!).  Now, do I think these overtures are anything but genuine and done out of love?  My guess is that they are. (I’m sure some of you are about to throw “naïve” and “pollyana” at me.  Get your own blog!) That’s really not the point.  That said, I can very well say that prisoners escaping is not a good outcome.  People with evil ideas will do what they are going to do, but it doesn’t mean we have to make it any easier on them to do so.  My feeling is “no.”

When I was wondering what other papal interviews looked like, I came across this interview of Pope Benedict.  When he says “I” and “Me” he’s putting himself in the role of the faithful, not the Pope.  I’m throwing it in because it was great and touches on what we need from the Church and some of the topics of this week like Luther.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying the pope is a heretic (not in my job description).  I’m not saying he’s got evil intentions (out of my purview).  I’m not speaking to anything doctrinal or canonical the Pope may or may not have done (well, well above my pay grade).  I am speaking to this article and the Holy Father’s remarks expressed in it, and they concern me and I’m betting it concerns some of you.  I’m just here to say I feel your pain and you totally have reason to feel like you look like a confused German shepherd these days.  This too shall pass.

confused shepherd

For those feeling a bit, let’s be honest, annoyed, cheer up!  We’re either in end times as some have said, or we’ve got miles to go.  Either way, pray for the Church and pray for the world. Avail yourself of the sacraments and let’s pray that the Holy Father gives some clarity to our own personal “dubias” as well as those already stated.  I can’t imagine anyone having a problem praying for clarity (well, except for those who ascribe to the “confound and confuse” method) no matter what your feelings on the Holy Father.