To Pope Francis: O Captain, My Captain!

francis and families

Some years ago my sister, Kim, was assistant manager of a large Farmer’s Co-Op in rural Alabama. I stopped by to see her at work one day. It was frantically busy and she was behind the counter, with a deep line of farmers waiting. One fellow kept trying to butt in. She kept telling him to wait his turn. The third time he irritably told her he was one of their biggest customers, she eyed him fiercely and told him she knew, but he would still have to wait his turn. He muttered then that he had been praying for more patience. I looked at him astounded and said, “When you pray for patience God does not magically give you more patience. He gives you opportunities to be patient. Quit complaining and thank God for answering your prayer.”

He looked at me in astonishment and said, “That’s right. I’m a preacher. I should know that.”

I look now at the close of the preliminary session of the Synod and think, how wonderful! God gave us an opportunity to trust Him.

A week ago, people were in deep turmoil, wondering if things were going to begin to go off the rails. Some opportunists used it as a means of trying to get people to leave the Church and follow them. Among the Bishops, several set themselves up as spokesmen playing to the press. One who took up the mantle of progressive, claimed to speak for the Pope, himself, in arguing that he had a better approach than the Gospels do. Another, a prominent icon of orthodoxy, acted as if the Church depended on him to keep from capsizing and presumed to lecture the Pope before Francis had said anything. Neither seemed to put much stock in Christ’s promise that even the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church. When confronted with these storms and controversies, that is really what we are being asked, for the promise that the Church will prevail is not a promise of men, but of Christ. Do you trust Him or do you not?

That does not mean you never criticize. The tradition of fraternal dispute goes all the way back to Sts. Peter and Paul – but you would do well to remember that the same St. Paul who rebuked St. Peter also obeyed him and sought his direction in launching out on his voyages. The tradition of obedience goes that far back, as well.

I had said all along that I suspected Pope Francis was flushing people out. I was partly right and partly wrong. That is exactly what he was doing, but for more profound reasons than I imagined. He was not trying to flush anyone out so that he could knock their heads off. He was shrewder than that. He well knew that suppressing any particular point of view would not make it go away, just cause it to burrow deeper along with real resentment. So he got it all out now. He did, indeed, find who, among the leaders, has deceived themselves that Christ depended on them to get it right rather than that they depended on Christ. Then, in the remarks below, he corrected those errors firmly but charitably, so that all might contemplate with real depth in the year before the legislative session of the Synod convenes. Mark Mallett writes a penetratingly insightful article on that aspect of things today.

There were three things that struck me that might have been missed by some:

1) Cardinal George Pell, formerly of Sydney, Australia absolutely covered himself in glory at this Synod. My readers from Australia have been rightly jubilant over the rise of this steady, solid Bishop to the top levels of the Vatican. Well they should be. Cardinal Pell is entirely orthodox, as much as Pope Emeritus Benedict or Cardinal Burke. He acted with the serene confidence throughout that, of course, the doctrinal foundation of the faith would remain unmolested…and of course, there were pressing new challenges to be met in reconciling God’s people to His Church that must not be ignored. He visibly and clearly trusted Christ throughout, never panicking, getting strident, or playing to the press. This Cardinal is a formidable new presence at the top echelons of the hierarchy. Pope Francis chose well when he elevated him – and so the Church is gearing up well to be a sign of unity and stability as the Storm deepens.

2) The assembled Bishops reacted to Pope Francis remarks with four minutes of enthusiastic, sustained applause. That tell us where the Bishops are. Various factions spent the entire Synod trying to spin that the majority were with them, but when all was said and done, the overwhelming majority profoundly seconded Pope Francis’ fully orthodox, fully charitable and firm resolve to confront the challenges ahead in the spirit of St. John Paul: Be not afraid.

3) I was deeply heartened by the emergence of the African Bishops as a force to be reckoned with – and a firmly orthodox force. It is the continent in which the Church has seen the most vigorous and abundant new growth in the last few decades. It has come of age. It was interesting that their emergence came in reaction to one who claimed to speak for the marginalized seeking to marginalize them when they vigorously disagreed with his position. There is a pointed lesson in this for all who appoint themselves to speak for another. But also, I wrote the other day about the battle ahead over the next three years. The emergence of a confident, sophisticated African Christian voice suggests to me that there will be an authentic African culture that is fully Christian weighing in in the great battle ahead. It will be a critical part of helping all of us endure the Storm.

Before getting to Pope Francis’ magnificent closing remarks, a word of warning to those who are getting too enthused about discerning the “remnant Church” from the “false Church.” This formulation is being used by those who, with complicated arguments and sophistical theology are trying to pull people away from the safety of the ancient faith. There is no great discernment needed here – and if you are getting caught up in it, you are probably in the process of deceiving yourself. Christ said the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church He founded. Very simply, where Peter is, there is the Church. To those who are trying to undermine that faith, who claim to have a better variety of the Gospel, a better assurance than what Christ gave, I paraphrase Christ, Himself: Woe to you who, out of pride, would pull people away from the safety of the Barque of Peter. It would be better if you had a millstone tied around your neck and drowned in the sea than for you to continue to deceive the Lord’s little ones.

And now, the magnificent closing remarks of our great captain as we embark on this perilous journey, Pope Francis I:

synod-of-bishops-pope-francis

Dear Eminences, Beatitudes, Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters,

With a heart full of appreciation and gratitude I want to thank, along with you, the Lord who has accompanied and guided us in the past days, with the light of the Holy Spirit.

From the heart I thank Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod, Bishop Fabio Fabene, under-secretary, and with them I thank the Relators, Cardinal Peter Erdo, who has worked so much in these days of family mourning, and the Special Secretary Bishop Bruno Forte, the three President delegates, the transcribers, the consultors, the translators and the unknown workers, all those who have worked with true fidelity and total dedication behind the scenes and without rest. Thank you so much from the heart.

I thank all of you as well, dear Synod fathers, Fraternal Delegates, Auditors, and Assessors, for your active and fruitful participation. I will keep you in prayer asking the Lord to reward you with the abundance of His gifts of grace!

I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.”

And it has been “a journey” – and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough”; other moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and the tears of their faithful people. Moments of consolation and grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and the joy of their married life. A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned:

 – One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.

 – The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”

 – The temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46).

 – The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.

 – The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things…

Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted – and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) – His disciples should not expect better treatment.

Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace. Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parresia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law,” the “good of souls” (cf. Can. 1752). And this always – we have said it here, in the Hall – without ever putting into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage: the indissolubility, the unity, the faithfulness, the fruitfulness, that openness to life (cf. Cann. 1055, 1056; and Gaudium et spes, 48).

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.

Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.

And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of  their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.

His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God’s People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, or, as the Council puts it, ‘to see to it… that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)… and it is through us,” Pope Benedict continues, “that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: ‘let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ (cf. 123, 5); this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant (cf. St Augustine, Discourse 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. ibid., Epistle, 95, 1).”

So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).

Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.

One year to work on the “Synodal Relatio” which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. It is presented to the Episcopal Conferences as “lineamenta” [guidelines].

May the Lord accompany us, and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name, with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph. And please, do not forget to pray for me! Thank you!

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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94 Responses to To Pope Francis: O Captain, My Captain!

  1. donna269 says:

    Christ on earth…..I love him…..he is sent by God to us in these troubled times….how fortunate are we. Thanks for this Charlie!

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  2. Mike says:

    Amen and Amen! Charlie, both you and Mark Mallett have hit it out of the ball park today with your writings which are so in synch. I cannot agree more with what you have said. Your admonishment to us to T-D-L is becoming more clear to me each day, not that I expect it will be easy to follow it when the Storm is raging, but at least I’ll have my compass point. We are truly blessed to have our “papa” Francis guiding the Barque and lest we forget, (and I cannot help but sense Our Lord is providing us this great mercy and blessing), we have our dear “grandpa” Benedict alongside Francis. How great is God and how wonderfully He is preparing us.

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    • charliej373 says:

      I loved the image Mark Mallett used the other day of the ship coming safely from a storm into port between two great white pillars. It is from a vision of St. John Bosco and the two pillars represent Christ in the Eucharist and Our Lady. When I saw the first photos of Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict standing together in white, it startled me and brought to mind that image. I thought, how lovely that God has given us this particular grace at this particular time in history.

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      • Kati says:

        Thank you again, Charlie, for a great contribution. Today is usually a very busy day. I read Mark Mallet this morning and found it to be an absolutely wonderful morning gift. Now I am finishing a long day and I find what you have written is another gift…a nightly gift. Great day all around!!!

        Oh and I found this good, peaceful and encouraging tidbit of Church history from Taylor Marshall: http://taylormarshall.com/2014/10/crazy-cardinals-synod-marriage-family-finding-peace.html?utm_source=Taylor+Marshall%27s+Updates&utm_campaign=0dd8881ba3-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_64accbc3c7-0dd8881ba3-59211653

        God is speaking in ways that are loud and clear….to those who have ears to HEAR. 🙂

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      • Kathleen from NJ says:

        Dear Charlie & Mike,
        I had a beautiful image come to me this morning while saying my Rosary. It was Our Lady and she was dressed all in white and behind her and in front of her was a beautiful stained glass window. As she stood there, her hand was elevated and holding the Blessed Sacrament up to the stained glass window and from the window the LIGHT was shining in and on to the Eurcharist and there a multitude of reflected colors from the window flowing in and through the Eurcharist. Truly a stunning image and it gave me so much hope! I have to agree whole heartedly with you Mike that reading this site and Mark Mallet’s have been THE compass point and providing all of us with clarity. Charlie you are our North Star!! And we are all the little stars and perhaps some even the stardust that will shine for the Lord. I, pray for the grace to stay strong and to trust, do, pray and love during and through the height of the storm. I do have a concern, however, that others who are not so in touch will try to steer me in the wrong direction. Maybe this is insecurity – maybe just an acknowledgement of my own admittance of weakness. I continue to pray for all of us that we endure and that through the endurance that we trust in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5 “You are to trust in the Lord with all your heart and not rely upon your own intelligence.” Amen.

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  3. donna269 says:

    I agree with Mike….I have a lump in my throat with emotion after reading you and Mark Mallett today….both gifted men for these times we are living. The Holy Spirit has blessed you both greatly….

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  4. Peter says:

    Thanks Charlie for your commentary over the week. Funny, I really didn’t know all that much about Cardinal Pell. Nice to hear that the Church is catholic (universal) especially in light of your comments pertaining to the African Catholic leaders.

    Blessings,

    Peter

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  5. Observer says:

    And now then, with the prayers of the faithful accompanying them, will our Shepherds return home to their sheep carrying that same Spirit of union and loyalty that so guided Pope Francis’ example before them? Will they forget status and climbing, in some cases, and will they acknowledge more the little ones that they may have stepped upon in the past…even to honor or favor those more able to, say, give large donations to their personal causes…even shrines? After all, they only have a year, as Francis noted, to mature in the Spirit which involves a self awareness within the parameters outlined by the Pope in the points that he made in his closing remarks. A lot is riding on a willingness to really take a look at themselves within the same gift of humility….and that must be desired.

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    • charliej373 says:

      You are right, Observer, but they have just had a striking education at the hands of the Universal Shepherd. And even more, we have a very tumultuous year ahead. If they didn’t learn gently in this early tumult, some will learn with the greater violence of the Storm upon us. Some, alas, will never learn. But the Church, the faithful, will carry on and go forth, carrying the ancient message and assurance that is in Christ.

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      • Observer says:

        That’s for sure, Charlie. As that saying goes about God writing straight via crooked lines….instead of “look for the silver lining”, look for those “God surprises” that Francis referred to. A lot of weight upon our Shepherds’ shoulders and some may have to have a crash course in how to swim by the old method of being thrown into the deep end of the pool or lake.

        Then there’s Cardinal George’s timeline, speaking to what the complete secularization of of our society could bring:

        “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

        Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/tim-drake/the-myth-and-the-reality-of-ill-die-in-my-bed#ixzz3GjaQdOdm

        And I think that could also refer to your interpretation of the “Mark of the Beast” and its effect!

        But then again, speaking to that above quote, perhaps that new Era of the Divine Will will come all at once rather than slowly picking up shards to build it??? Seems it could be beyond our usual human methods in its sudden appearance.

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  6. Jason says:

    I think you are too harsh on Card. Burke. He put himself in harm’s way and took the demotion from the Pope with class. If Francis wants unfettered dialogue he sent a terrible message with this demotion. We should have never been debating some of these issues at all. Settled doctrine. I know many folks like me who are not leaving the One true Church but are disturbed that Francis gave Kasper a forum. Let’s pray for the Pope and the Church. As for his speech at the end, I wish the Holy Father would stop the name calling, “Pharisees”, it’s unbecoming and again stifles dialogue.

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    • charliej373 says:

      That could be Jason, but as an admirer of Cardinal Burke, I was deeply disappointed in the sometimes bitterly confrontational role he took for himself at this Synod. It made me wonder if perhaps he was smarting over the demotion and took it out in a fit of pique – or whether the Pope had discerned already that Cardinal Burke was given to too much reliance on his own faculties and so demoted him because of that. In either case, my estimation of him took a serious hit because of the way he handled himself. I disagree that we should never have been debating these issues. I have NEVER found that forbidding an area of inquiry does anything other than to drive it underground and strengthen it. Pope Francis defused these issues by giving them a full airing, and then setting up boundaries under which future considerations must go forward.

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      • I must defend Cardinal Burke too. You say he took a bitterly confrontational role FOR HIMSELF. I think he was not defending himself at all but the teachings of the church. I see a man who speaks true wisdom and with a immense amount of humility. I believe because of his wisdom in speaking the truth…..and the Holy Spirit working through him that saved the synod from further confusing Catholics the world over. The votes came in and the highly controversial issues were dropped because they didn’t receive the 2/3 vote. But this was by the skin of the teeth. What does that say to the Catholics around the world? That almost 2/3 are willing to overlook church teaching and in a pastoral sort of way…..damage the faith and church teaching. Yes in this synod ….the gates of hell did not prevail. Praise God. But I believe it to be because of men like Burke, Muller and men like them….who stood their ground and spoke out against the atrocities that were coming out on the synod. Men on fire from the Holy Spirit. men on fire for truth. Men on fire …with a desire to not allow more damage to be done to the church. We are in this mess because our shepherds stopped defending the truth. Men who stopped defending Christ in the Holy Eucharist. It’s enough. It’s been too many years that have gone by with the thinking that all this will blow over without a fight. And when I use the word fight…I mean to say DEFEND with HUMILITY. Burke was so right to say that the Pope needs to speak and clarify. It was aweful. People around the world have started to think the church has already changed its teachings. I think more clarity is needed instead of more confusion. It is still pretty foggy out there.

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        • PS : I love reading your writings Charlie and Marks too…..but I’m not ready ready to offer kudos to anything that happened in the synod. …..except for what Burke did and the way the very conservative/traditional catholuc stood up and said NO!

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          • charliej373 says:

            Charlanne, the Pope was not bound by anything done at this preliminary session. How, pray tell, do you think the Pope’s closing comments would have differed if the vote had been different? I don’t think they would have been different at all. Again, I have admired Cardinal Burke in the past…I particularly admire the marvelous work he did on vetting Bishopric appointments in the U.S. We are a much stronger branch of the faith with a much clearer voice grounded in truth because of him. I was offended, though, that Burke presumed to lecture the Pope before the Pope had said a word – and publicly demanded that the Pope speak when Burke said he should speak in order to shut dissidents up. How is Burke one iota more orthodox than Pell? He isn’t, but Pell did not presume to lecture the Pope before the Pope weighed in nor tell the Pope what he must say, rather than waiting to hear what the Pope actually had to say. My gratitude for Burke’s past services are undiminished, but by the performance at the Synod, I know that I would not want him at the center of my high councils if I had to go to war…so I have a little more sympathy for the Pope’s decision. I wish it were not so, but that is the impression I took away…and matters are very serious now. The waters are going to get a lot choppier. If I were the captain, I would not want even a brilliant man on my council that I could not trust not to be firing away publicly at me while I was steering the ship through wind and wave. However much affection any of us have for Cardinal Burke, it is impossible to argue that that is not what he did.

            And let me ask you, since this session had NO binding authority, what would have been harmed, what would have been lost, had Burke waited for the Holy Father to actually weigh in? If Francis had weighed in as Burke apparently feared he would, the attacks would have had as much force now as they did then – and they would actually be geared to what Francis had actually done or said rather than fevered phantasms of what he might say. What purpose was served by attacking Francis for what he might do? It suggests to me that Burke still has a first-rate intellect, but a second-rate, perhaps even third-rate temperament.

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      • Frodo says:

        I also agree with Jason, Charlanne and vicardwm. Perhaps you are reading too much into the media spin of Cardinal Burke’s remarks? Here is the excerpt I think you are making reference too, please correct me if I’m wrong and I have missed something else:

        CWR: How important is it, do you think, that Pope Francis make a statement soon in order to address the growing sense—among many in the media and in the pews—that the Church is on the cusp of changing her teaching on various essential points regarding marriage, “remarriage,” reception of Communion, and even the place of “unions” among homosexuals?

        Cardinal Burke: “In my judgment, such a statement is long overdue. The debate on these questions has been going forward now for almost nine months, especially in the secular media but also through the speeches and interviews of Cardinal Walter Kasper and others who support his position.

        The faithful and their good shepherds are looking to the Vicar of Christ for the confirmation of the Catholic faith and practice regarding marriage which is the first cell of the life of the Church.”

        Doesn’t seem like a lecture to me. In fact, it looks like Pope Francis did exactly as Cardinal Burke has hope for.

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    • vicardwm says:

      I agree, Jason. Cdl. Burke, after all, was voted head of the English language speaking group by the other English speaking bishops who were there, so that has to say something. I am not sure he thought that the Church was going to fall into ruin if not for him, but would you say the same about St. Athanasius, Charlie? Sometimes various bishops may be called to speak out clearly, and may be the instrument by which God preserves the Church (not that I am saying Cdl. Burke by himself preserved the Church in this case.) I didn’t hear any criticism of the Pope by him. The closest thing I saw was that he thought the Pope should speak up and clarify the doctrine. He was definitely giving a lot of interviews, but I assume that is because he was in demand by Catholic media, not because he went to them and begged for a platform.

      The worst thing from the Synod was the leaking of this “mid-term report” which was influenced by borderline dissenters and presented as the teaching of the Church by the media. Then a couple days ago, the headlines were “Vatican rescinds welcome to gays.”

      Charlie, I don’t disagree with you that it’s good that Pope Francis encouraged all opinions to be freely given, but these opinions NEVER, EVER should have been allowed to leak into the media, and those responsible should have been sacked, as these things do a lot of damage to the Church. The Church really, REALLY needs a better P.R. department!!

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  7. Jim M. says:

    Pope Francis’ closing remarks were and are a joy. I literally had a lump in my throat. He is indeed our new rock.

    As I read his comments it was very clear that our shepherd is Catholic. Not a Catholic made immovable by the cement of the law, but a Catholic guided by the Word. The same Bible that called to me to read and return to the Church. Conservatives seem to be mired in law without mercy, and liberals equally frozen in a mindset of mercy without law.

    This epistle of Francis was beautiful in reminding all that it is the body of the Word, in its entirety, that guides us.

    It reminded me of St Paul’s letter to the Romans in Romans 7, telling us we cannot be saved bybtge law alone. The mind knows and struves to follow the the law, but the flesh rebels. What we need is not of the law or mind but of the Spirit.

    “21I find then a law, that when I have a will to do good, evil is present with me. 22For I am delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man: 23But I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin, that is in my members. 24Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25The grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with the mind serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin.”

    And in Romans 8, Paul reinfirdes the necessity if the Spirit of Christ as the missing grace between the battle of mind versus flesh:

    “9But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10And if Christ be in you, the body indeed is dead, because of sin; but the spirit liveth, because of justification. 11And if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you; he that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead, shall quicken also your mortal bodies, because of his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

    Our Pope remained silent, listening to all, inviting the Holy Spirit to provide wisdom.

    And as I read the Pope’s epistle, foremost on my mind were not the words of Paul, but of Jesus himself in the parable of the Good Samaratin. For context, we need to understsnd that tge Samaratins were loathed by the Jews; the lowest of the low.

    Jesus tells of a man who is beaten and robbed left by the wayside. A preist passes by, sees the man, and goes on his way. A Pharaisee next encounters the man and walks around him in continuing his journey past this unwelcome obstacle.

    A Samaratin sees the man, dresses his wounds and secures the mans restoration to health out of his own funds.

    We as sinners are that man by the wayside, our souls beaten and disfigured by sin. Who will stop to help us? To dress our wounds? To care for our souls? Who attending the synod could view themselves as a Samaratin rather that the priest or Pharisee?

    I found this passage to be particularly on point for divorced and remarried Catholics. Attacked by evil and disfigured by sin. Alone with no one showing them the way or protecting them from attack.

    If we look to the law alone, we leave them in the gutter. If we treat only the flesh, we have done nothing to offer guidance or protection for the future. If we embrace the Spirit, we find the guidance we need, a balance between mercy and the law bound by the Spirit.

    There are solutions to those who surrender to the Spirit. But that requires virtues like humility, charity, and love to open the way.

    God Bless Pope Francis!

    Like

  8. “Oh you of little faith; why did you doubt?” – Our Lord to those who fretted, in the midst of the Synod, that official Church teaching would change. 🙂

    Like

  9. anne says:

    Thank you Charlie and Mark Mallett too. Thank You God for providing clear channels for the Holy Spirit to help us all. I am pleased at your comments regarding Pell and very excited about the Africans too. Come Lord Jesus Come.

    Like

  10. BB says:

    I had read Pope Francis’ homily/closing remarks online, and found them truly Catholic and very balanced. Before and even during the Synod, I had refused to get myself all upset based on what the MSM (main stream media) was reporting, and or even Catholic radio or statements coming out of the Vatican. I had a “we’ll see” attitude. I still do. But yesterday, on the local news, the anchor said something on the order of, ‘Pope Francis was clearly disappointed in the final draft of the document, which removed any positive moves toward accepting gays into the Church.’ or something like that. I was stunned, because that is not at all what I had taken away from his closing homily.
    So although I know the MSM are so very wrong about the conclusion of the Synod, I would guess there are probably many Catholics who are only going to hear the MSM’s version of events, and get the some very wrong ideas, both about our bishops, and our Pope. So very sad. We need to keep praying.

    Like

    • BB says:

      I just read this on CBS new site:
      “NEW YORK — After Roman Catholic bishops meeting at the Vatican failed to agree on the issue of homosexuality in the church, Pope Francis appeared barely able to contain his frustration, cautioning the bishops Saturday not to cling to doctrine with “hostile rigidity” and saying the next day that “God is not afraid of new things.”…”
      Now, if that isn’t misrepresenting what he said, I don’t know what is.
      They go on to report various “Dignity” groups (gay) are openly defiant, and one priest who ministers to them says, “”If they really follow through and are consistent, that’s good, but I don’t see how the church has any business dictating people’s behavior, the business of the church is to proclaim the Kingdom of God,” said the Rev. Dan McCarthy, who also performs liturgies for the Dignity congregation. He said he’s been around for too long to rely on Vatican hierarchy for such guidance.”
      So, my concern is that many Catholics are getting the story on this from MSM outlets, and it’s really bad coverage. Notice there is no mention of Pope Francis’ balanced comments about the various temptations, let alone his criticism of too much mercy without doctrine, “the destructive tenancy toward goodness” as he called it.
      How will our Christian brethren who don’t look into it further to discover what actually happened? Oh, Satan is hard at work, he is.

      Like

  11. Charlie & Mark–stellar posts today! Wow! Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the Churches! Thank you, and thanks be to God for Pope Francis. Alleluia!

    Perhaps unrelated, but not really…I wanted to make sure you all read this article linked on Spirit Daily. This woman is a perfect example of the call to Trust, Do, Love in dire circumstances (ebola) and the Lord was with her through it all! She prayed, used what she had with her, including the gift of her ingenuity, and took the next right step. http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/25/health/ebola-fatu-family/ Read it for your own edification. Praise God!

    Like

  12. radiclaudio says:

    Excellent post again. Thank you Charlie. I hope you are well? I’m still looking forward to your post on our money system. God bless you and your family.

    Like

  13. I think first of all…..why was this so open? Why were there meetings after …with the media present who were allowed copies of documents and a short Q and A after? This just allowed the media and the world to see that issues were being considered from a lot of the hierarchy that they are open to change in a pastoral way….which goes against doctrine and the Gospel. The pope allowed the men to speak freely ….don’t hold back. Ok…..well what is being said by many of them shouldn’t even be considered. That’s like saying…. All your life you have been told 2+2 is 4 ……but now I am being told …..it might be another answer. This is what the synod starting looking like to many people. That there are possibilities that have been perhaps overlooked. Look here ….look there….look everywhere you can. There has to be another answer. Some Surprise. The popes speech was grey. The truth of the gospel and the teachings of the church is not in hidden in nooks and crannys. It’s as plain as the nose on your face. There is no confusion in truth. The church is in a mess not because there has been too much pharisitical men demanding truth and saying too bad to the sheep. It’s not because too many priests have spoke the truth and the members left because it was too harsh. It’s not because bishops stood their ground and gave clear messages to their priests to tell and teach the truth of the gospel. It’s not because of too much catechesis. I’m sorry but the Holy Father seems to have more of a problem with traditional catholic men …..than with the liberal ones. In his speech he did talk about the bad that comes from each so called group. But as I see it and many others….there are not enough Burkes and Pells out there in the battle field and we are taking a beating. The churches are dwindling not because they are offended…but because the people want what they want and not what Christ wants. We know there are serious problems in families. It is so sad. But the answer is in the church fathers, in the gospel, in the doctrine. It’s no surprise. It’s there…..it’s just that it’s covered in dust and many can’t see it. Covered in dust because most have not taken it from the shelf and read it and put it to use. If you were a catholic 100 years ago…..you would know the truth…..and the answer to these problems today. It would be simple to answer. Live the teachings of the church and the gospel. If you are divorced ….and in another marriage or a practicing homosexual …..we love you…..but in order to remain part of the Body of Christ…..you must refrain ….be chaste……or be denied the Body of Christ. There is not enough of this being said. The pastoral workings of the church already have the answer…..they just need to be upheld and in great love. This is the message that should have been given. BUrke did that. The problem that you might be having with Burke is that he said to the world …that the Pope needs to clarify. If anything….the Pope should be clear. I’m sorry but he is not. He gives many many people the message that he is open to new ideas. Open to surprises. Open to hearing heresy out of the mouth of a man that he gave to podium to. Clarity is paramount. The church is not suffering from too much clarity. It’s suffering because many have drifted into murky waters….drifting into shadows leaving the light …..the CLEAR LIGHT OF CHRIST AND HIS TRUTH. Please be patient with me. I mean no disrespect. I see your point of view. It’s just not mine.
    PS: on a lighter note…..Burke and I have the same birthday. Maybe we are cut from the same cloth. LOL!!!

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Heh heh, Charlanne, as I have long said, one need not agree with me to be my friend. If I got worked up over every disagreement, I would have no peace.

      Like

    • kathy kalina says:

      Pope Francis demonstrates such simplicity and trust in God by treating the discussions at the Synod as a family discussion. In a loving family, even the crazy uncles get to have their say. And they benefit, if they open their ears and hearts just a smidge, from the counsel of the wise among them..

      As offensive as many found the transparency of the Synod, what could possibly do more damage to the faithful than a respected cardinal publicly criticizing the Holy Father?

      When surprising promotions, transfers and demotions have occurred, I’ve wondered what Pope Francis discerns that is hidden from us. My trust in Pope Francis’ discernment is greater now than ever.

      Like

      • vicardwm says:

        If someone asks a question whether Cardinal Burke thinks that Pope Francis should proclaim the doctrine, what is he supposed to say? I don’t know if it is really a criticism to answer the question that stating the doctrine would clear up a lot of speculation that is taking place. It is interesting how differently people can interpret the same statement.

        Personally, I think the Catholic Church has a major problem in P.R. and understanding how the media is twisting its message. Cardinal Burke is one of the few that seems to understand this. Perhaps Cardinal Burke is in the wrong, but I will say that if Pope Francis had spoken up sooner, the headlines Sunday would probably not have read “Vatican Rescinds Welcome to Gays.” However, I do love Pope Francis and think he may have permitted the period of confusion for some greater reason. At least, I hope so.

        Like

  14. vparisi says:

    Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault- if you are looking for the poster child for the Church in Ephesus that would be me! I let the blogosphere (not Charlie or Mark thankfully) whip me into a frenzy instead of trusting that every Word that Jesus has promised us is true! Time to work on my love walk!

    Like

  15. Thank you Charlie and Mark! You are both a Light in the darkness!
    Just a note: Several years ago, Our Lord said to me, “As the veil in the Temple was torn in two, so will My Church be!” I believe there could be two sides being taken very soon and this Synod was the beginning of this split. God bless you.

    Like

  16. Observer says:

    A link from Spirit Daily:

    Cardinal Pell: “I’ve Never Seen Pope Francis Irritated!”
    published 20 October 2014 by Jeff Ostrowski

    An Australian speaking Italian! Very cool to hear.

    Wonderful video of C. Pell’s “testimony”:

    Like

  17. Robin says:

    I appreciate your perspective very much. I’m doing a lot of soul searching these days. I wonder if I would be among the Pharisees of Our Lord’s day…I pray not. There’s just so much confusion! I am comforted that when the Synod opens on October 4 of next year, this will be the Gospel reading for that day:

    Mark 10:2-16

    The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
    “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
    They were testing him.
    He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
    They replied,
    “Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
    and dismiss her.”
    But Jesus told them,
    “Because of the hardness of your hearts
    he wrote you this commandment.
    But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
    For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
    and be joined to his wife,
    and the two shall become one flesh.
    So they are no longer two but one flesh.
    Therefore what God has joined together,
    no human being must separate.”
    In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
    He said to them,
    “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
    commits adultery against her;
    and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
    she commits adultery.”

    Robin

    Like

  18. cathobiblique says:

    Thank you so much for this blog. I find peace and hope reading your posts and I am amazed each time about the soundness and the wisdom of your comments. It seems to be that as far as trust in the Lord is concerned we truly have to recommit ourselves to Him every day, well many times a day, saying: “Jesus I trust in You”.
    It is so easy and somewhat enticing to be drawn to fear and to put our trust in human politics (in the worst sense of the word) even regarding the Church. The very fact that the Church survived two millenia with a plethora of sinners both in the hierarchy and in the laity is proof enough that it is a divine institution.
    However it is sobering to see how quickly people went into panic mode about the relatio and how rashly they came out against the Holy Father (criticized both for being silent or for speaking)…
    As Jesus said: “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:8
    May God bless Pope Francis and strengthen him to stay the course no matter the cost.

    Like

  19. Cecilia says:

    Charlie, this was an absolutely wonderful post. I was never worried about the outcome of these discussions, and I actually thought the Holy Father was trying to have the bishops put all their cards on the table so he could see clearly what hand everyone was playing with, so to speak. However, I cannot help but wonder, if the entire world is going to be in the mess you have described as extreme duress and global chaos, then will there even by a synod next year in Philadelphia? God bless you, you wonderful Sherpa, you 🙂

    Like

  20. Dan Lynch says:

    If I were on the crew of a sailing ship and I saw that the helmsman was trying to steer the ship into dangerous rocky shoals while my Captain watched him in silence, I would shout out, “Captain, tell the helmsman to get back on course for the sake of the ship!”

    Likewise, if I were a Cardinal , like Cardinal Burke, and I saw that another Cardinal, like Cardinal Kasper, was trying to steer the faithful into dangerous dubious teaching while Pope Francis watched him in silence, I would shout out, “Holy Father, tell him to get back on course for the sake of the faithful!”

    Dan Lynch
    Dan Lynch Apostolates promoting devotion to
    Our Lady of Guadalupe, Jesus King of All Nations,
    Our Lady of America and Saint John Paul II
    Visit our website at http://www.JKMI.com
    E-Mail Us at JKMI@JKMI.com
    The Dan Lynch Apostolates’ Facebook Page
    May Our Lady of Guadalupe keep you under the mantle of her protection and
    may the Reign of Jesus King of All Nations be recognized in your heart!

    Like

    • Observer says:

      Respectfully, it sounds like you haven’t much faith in the Captain…who, in this case, definitely wasn’t “watching in silence”. And I think that any member of a regular crew who tried that kind of disrupting behavior would find himself quickly in the brig so that good order would remain. Coming from someone familiar with military order and cohesiveness!!
      And when a crew member tries to tell the captain what to do, attempting to have a particular portion of the crew follow him, that would also be considered an attempt at mutiny. In this case it’s probably more like “simple” clericalism….not a good thing.

      Like

      • vicardwm says:

        I think a good Captain would WANT his direct subordinates to tell him if they think he is missing something. Perhaps the Captain is actually two steps ahead of them and has considered everything, but perhaps not. But in this case, if Pope Francis wasn’t watching the synod in silence, what was he doing?

        Perhaps it is true that Cardinal Burke should not have spoken publicly about it, but as soon as the question is directly asked, he is basically caught between a rock and a hard place. “No comment” is basically a tacit approval of the question anyway. “No” would be lying. He told the truth as he saw it. It wasn’t the optimal response, which would probably be more like, “Certainly it would never hurt to have the doctrine publicly proclaimed”, but these are people that are asked questions and they have to respond off the cuff. I would dread to be in their position, personally. Probably they need someone like Charlie to help them think about all of the possible questions ahead of time and be prepared, like a politician.

        Like

        • Observer says:

          Perhaps the Captain is actually two steps ahead of them and has considered everything, but perhaps not. But in this case, if Pope Francis wasn’t watching the synod in silence, what was he doing?

          For crying out loud. Pope Francis designed the whole thing….he prepped it for a particular purpose and steadfastly followed it for HIS purpose and was not interrupted toward his goal by those who, as scripture admonishes (and which he himself used in an earlier homily), were “playing their tunes, but he didn’t dance”. A couple of impatient and self centered prelates were simply not favored with or allowed a special privilege or self serving attention above all of the other 200 or so brother Bishops.

          Like

      • Sadly this happened to Benedict.
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/9931030/Pope-Francis-run-in-with-Benedict-XVI-over-the-Prophet-Mohammed.html.
        If you don’t like my source. There are others.
        This is not a dig at Pope Francis. Just showing that perhaps the lesson of Don’t Tell the Captain what to do or say….isn’t in the rule book.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          Charlanne, I don’t make a caricature of yours or any others arguments. lease do not make one of mine. I was chief counsel to more than a few high officials and candidates – and they relied on me, in private, to get into knock-down drag-outs with them on occasion and knock their heads off. That is quite a different matter from seeking out a newspaper to publicly lecture the boss on what he should do. Had I ever done that, I would have expected to be fired because it is what I would have deserved.

          Like

          • vicardwm says:

            Wait, so you have information that Cardinal Burke sought out the press and told them to ask him the question so he could give the Pope some advice? That would indeed be a different situation.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            Vicar…I have been handling media almost all of my life. You don’t need to go seek them out when you know they will seek you out at these levels. Both Cardinal Kasper and Cardinal Burke worked the media like seasoned political pros. Yes, I do know – for I have seen officials play the gambit of making themselves available while trying to maintain some deniability all my life. Play the over-clever sophomore and pretend Cardinal Burke was a dewy-eyed naif if you want, but that doesn’t play. Your next comment that Burke was just being honest about the problem is, at least, straightforward and candid.

            Like

        • Kati says:

          Hi Charlanne,
          Actually, my guess is that most of the sources for such a story are from the secular press. As for me, I would not trust the way in which the secular press presents such “information.” There are also other factors that need to be considered when looking at the original sources in Argentina. I have in my mind the warm embrace of Papa Benedict and Pope Francis in Italy. I also found a sign of HOPE in this article today: http://catholicexchange.com/pope-synod-hope

          Let’s keep both of these leaders in our daily prayers.

          Like

      • But this isn’t the navy 🙂

        Like

    • Irish7 says:

      But he wasn’t shouting his warning to the helmsman. He was shouting to other disgruntled sailors. Surely Cardinal Burke has a means of sending his thoughts to Pope Francis. To go public suggests to me that his intended audience was broader. And I find this troubling.

      Like

    • Charlene says:

      Bravo Dan Lynch…my husband Steve and I are in Total agreement. For the last several weeks it has felt like going retro back to the early 80ies… BTW Charlie you should spend quality time with Cardinal Burke ..before you weigh in on a presumed judgment of his actions

      Like

      • charliej373 says:

        Charlanne, the problem here is not that I am an old critic of Cardinal Burke’s, but that I am a longstanding admirer. And perhaps you and Cardinal Burke should follow your advice before launching public broadsides at the Pope. I am not as irritated as I sound, Charlanne, but you are very inconsistent when you cheer on those commentaries of mine you find sympatico while advising me to shut up when you don’t. Is your rule for my commentary that whatever I say that is in agreement with you is okay and anything opposing is verboten? That’s kind of Cardinal Kasper’s approach to African Bishops.

        I know, of course, that that is not the case with you. I will speak my mind with as much restraint as I think appropriate – and am glad to have others speak their mind, as well, when they agree with me as when the do not.

        Like

  21. Colleen DeRose says:

    I would so much like to join the conversation and I’ve tried several times, both through comments and email….what am I not doing correctly? Charlie’s posts and all the comments are marvelous and keep me thinking and paying. ..now I’d like top contribute too.

    Like

  22. Colleen DeRose says:

    Praying not paying. And too not top

    Like

  23. lynnfiat says:

    There is no such thing as conservative and liberal, orthodox and progressive – there is only truth and untruth.

    Like

  24. lynnfiat says:

    “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously…” St. John Paul II

    Like

  25. vicardwm says:

    Well, apparently Abp. Chaput agrees with Cardinal Burke, and says that the “confusion at the Synod is of the devil.” This is what Cardinal Burke was trying to address – the confusion. The Pope is the only one that could step in and end the confusion. Perhaps Pope Francis has a reason that he permitted the confusion to fester for a while – that is possible – but I don’t blame Cardinal Burke for being honest about the problem.

    http://www.religionnews.com/2014/10/21/archbishop-chaput-blasts-vatican-debate-family-says-confusion-devil/

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Really?! In his final comments, Pope Francis spoke firmly about the confusion as well. Is he suddenly completely in line with Cdl. Burke? Who in heavens name has not complained of the confusion? My problem with Cdl. Burke on this matter is that I worry that his intemperate demands of the Pope, in the midst of it, added to the confusion instead of relieving it. Again, Cdl. Pell is my model of a completely orthodox Bishop who, nonetheless, did not add an iota to confusion.

      Like

      • Frodo says:

        Intemperate demands? Hardly. Did he state his opinion as for hoping the pope should speak up defending moral teaching. Sure did. And I for one don’t see a problem with that at all – I wonder why you do. Adding to the confusion? How so? Almost every story was how the church was finally getting with the times. Cardinal Burke was for all intents and purposes the shining light of the church’s truth in regards to moral teaching. How was that confusion?

        I fear you are stretching here.

        Like

      • vicardwm says:

        Well, Cardinal Burke said, and I would tend to agree, that the confusion shouldn’t have been allowed to fester for as long as it did – and the devil used it to great effect. As Cdl. Burke pointed out, the dissenting crowd were heartened by Cdl, Kasper being given a platform for the last several months now, and there was much anticipation that Church teaching may change. Now perhaps Pope Francis had an important reason for doing this and waiting as long as he did – I can see it from both sides. I didn’t see Cardinal Burke’s statement as a “demand.” Oh well, we obviously aren’t going to agree on this. 🙂

        Like

    • vicardwm says:

      Charlie, being honest in answering a question being asked, and knowing ahead of time that someone is going to ask it are two different things. You have a lot more experience in these areas than I, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that Cardinal Burke premeditated this response. I honestly don’t know if anybody did wrong here, but I do agree with Abp. Chaput about the Synod confusion being of the devil.

      Like

    • Becky-TN says:

      vicardwm,

      Even if the Holy Father had spoken out earlier, what makes us think that the media wouldn’t have twisted things then as well? I think all of us can agree that we want the TRUTH to be said and lived, but we need to be cautious….

      God Bless,

      Becky-TN

      Like

    • Observer says:

      Well, apparently Abp. Chaput agrees with Cardinal Burke, and says that the “confusion at the Synod is of the devil.”

      With respect, I don’t see how “apparently Abp. Chaput” agrees with Cardinal Burke. Did C. Burke state that any confusion was of the devil??? Rather, it seemed that he faulted our Pope. Frankly, facts being what they were, the confusion, esp. of the public, was instigated by a couple or very few “talkers” to the media et al while the discussion within was still ongoing….and those two or so were seen as somehow speaking for the entire synod of Bishops who hadn’t said a thing to the media or public….as well as making demands of the Pope to come to their personal side/viewpoints. Even if the public got “suckered” by such tactics, the Pope didn’t bite nor did the truly representative Bishops/Cardinals. We don’t have mini-Popes so certain individuals ought not attempt to usurp his authority. We ought not to have personality cults which have in our recent past been proven to confuse and disappoint faithful followers of such personalities. Any shepherd who desires what Christ desired from the beginning for His Church should be very watchful for such unity….not attempting to divide.

      Like

      • vicardwm says:

        Well, confusion is from the devil – I hope we don’t need to argue about that. And Cardinal Burke was trying to clear up the confusion. I don’t think Cardinal Burke was talking just about the confusion at the synod itself, but about the fact that Cardinal Kasper was given a platform for his ideas (or at least appeared to have been given a platform) by the Pope, and thus the hopes of a change in Church teaching began to grow. When the mid-term document came out, and I might add, the committee preparing the mid-term document was stacked with a group of bishops who were in sympathy with Cardinal Kasper’s proposal, then the belief that a change was really happening was further strengthened.

        I’m not sure how Cardinal Burke’s statement was a “demand” but he was telling the truth that only the Pope could dispel the confusion and clarify the Church’s teaching, and that’s what he basically finally did at the end of the Synod (with the aid of the majority of Bishops who caused the document to have to be modified.)

        Veteran Vatican watchers and bishops such as Russell Shaw (who was once P.R. head for the American bishops) and Bishop Tobin are today opining and praising Cardinal Burke. Many of the commenters on the articles by Shaw and others are very hard on the Pope indeed, and that’s sad to see. However, it does appear that they have reasons for their belief that the Pope is on the side of Cardinal Kasper (including the stacking of the committee with the six liberal bishops which ended up issuing the disastrous mid-term document.) I hope that this is only an appearance given in order to draw them out, but regardless, the Pope has given reasons for those who are faithful to Church teaching to wonder. On the other hand, there are also signs that they shouldn’t worry, which they seem to be missing. At any rate, they need to trust in Christ’s promise regarding the Church, and that is the main element that seems to be missing.

        Like

  26. Becky-TN says:

    Lynn,

    I agree. I read some of what came out of the synod. A few times with butterflies fluttering in my stomach. But inside something said “wait and keep your big mouth shut (meaning don’t comment on Charlie’s board) until the Holy Father speaks”. Trust me, I have had the Lord back slap me upside the head (so to speak) when I spoke too soon.

    There is only Truth and untruth and I feel sure the Lord will surprise all of us as time goes on. We are to speak truth with love and charity. But, even the evil one can use this stuff to put us against each other. That being said, I do think this year will be one where we have to “choose or perish”. I don’t trust the Media as far as I can spit!! So, I don’t think any of us, even Charlie, has the entire picture of what truly was said completely. The media is going to twist things for their benefit. Remember everything is now political – even religion. How brilliant, Our Lord, for calling Charlie to a vocation in politics.

    Love and prayers to all,

    Becky-TN

    Like

  27. Dan Lynch says:

    Please see my original post and the ship metaphor.

    Below is an example of the Captain’s silence (Pope Francis) and the crew member’s (Cardinal Burke) humble request to him for an order to tell the helmsman (Cardinal Kasper) to steer away from rocky shoals to prevent a shipwreck.

    He didn’t tell him what to do or to say, he just asked him to say something to prevent a shipwreck.
    Charlie used to be a paid employee of politicians and was not hired to publicly tell them what to say or do. As he wrote, he could have been fired for acting outside his job description.

    However, Cardinal Burke is not a paid employee, He is a member of the Magisterium of the Church. He is a teacher in union with the Pope and the bishops in union with him. Part of his job description is to teach. He was simply exercising his teaching role. He was not a mutineer.

    Cardinal Burke told Buzzfeed,

    “The pope has never said openly what his position is on the matter and people conjecture that because of the fact that he asked Cardinal Kasper — who was well known to have these views for many, many years — to speak to the cardinals and has permitted Cardinal Kasper to publish his presentation in five different languages and to travel around advancing his position on the matter, and then even recently to publicly claim that he’s speaking for the pope and there’s no correction of this.”

    “I can’t speak for the pope and I can’t say what his position is on this, but the lack of clarity about the matter has certainly done a lot of harm.”

    Full report here:
    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2014/10/what-card-burke-really-said-to-buzzfeed/

    Cardinal Burke also gave an interview to Catholic World Report:

    “CWR: How important is it, do you think, that Pope Francis make a statement soon in order to address the growing sense—among many in the media and in the pews—that the Church is on the cusp of changing her teaching on various essential points regarding marriage, “remarriage,” reception of Communion, and even the place of “unions” among homosexuals?”

    “Cardinal Burke: In my judgment, such a statement is long overdue. The debate on these questions has been going forward now for almost nine months, especially in the secular media but also through the speeches and interviews of Cardinal Walter Kasper and others who support his position.”

    “The faithful and their good shepherds are looking to the Vicar of Christ for the confirmation of the Catholic faith and practice regarding marriage which is the first cell of the life of the Church.”

    Full report here:
    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/3429/cardinal_burke_synods_midterm_report_lacks_a_solid_foundation_in_the_sacred_scriptures_and_the_magisterium.aspx

    Dan Lynch
    Dan Lynch Apostolates promoting devotion to
    Our Lady of Guadalupe, Jesus King of All Nations,
    Our Lady of America and Saint John Paul II

    144 Sheldon Road, St. Albans, VT 05478
    Phone: 802-524-5350 – Fax: 802-524-5673
    Visit our website at http://www.JKMI.com
    E-Mail Us at JKMI@JKMI.com
    May Our Lady of Guadalupe keep you under the mantle of her protection and
    may the Reign of Jesus King of All Nations be recognized in your heart!

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Oh, I often acted outside my job description, Dan. I would have recommended the termination of anyone who acted in the manner I described. Because my primary concern was ALWAYS the safety of the ship and the morale of the crew. Pope Francis said at the beginning of the Synod that he would not speaqk until after it was wrapped up at this preliminary session. Cdl. Burke knew that. He could have diplomatically have said he thought the Pope should reverse course and speak earlier, but he went well beyond that.

      Like

    • Observer says:

      And how does that change anything about being an interruptive “blabbermouth” to the media which took what limited number of public opinions offered to them (because all others were still in session, honoring the fair exchange of thoughts as the Pope respectfully requested without attempting to curry favor from a particular constituency during the uncompleted process) and ran with them for their own ulterior motives. And, yes, the media, be it Catholic representative or not, does have its own motivation and “fan” base.

      Like

  28. D says:

    “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter”
    This verse has been in my heart a lot lately.
    Pray for all of our shepards as they truly need prayers now more than ever. They will be held accountable for their mistakes as we will, and how much more so if they lead many of the flock of Jesus astray? Perilous times… Pray especially for Pope Francis and watch that you’re not the one holding the stick that struck the shepherd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Wow, D…very powerful last sentence!

      Like

      • D says:

        This verse was put strongly on my heart on good shepherd Sunday in 2014 shortly before I wrote my previous comment. I thought it might be pertinent to revisit this idea. I feel like it has become commonplace to level public criticism where private prayer would have been a better option. Criticism of anyone, but especially clergy, should be done with humility and out of charity and love for the clergy as well as the people that may be affected. The best way for the devil to attack Jesus now is to attack his body the church, and what better way to attack it than by tearing it apart through divisions, causing the sheep to scatter. Again, make sure you’re not holding the stick.

        Liked by 2 people

        • moreen67 says:

          I agree D……about 5 or more years back there was a group (I forget what they called themselves) of lay Catholics criticizing our than Bishop and a priest in our parish and even left leaflets on our window shield during Mass doing so. They had an e-mail – so I asked them a question. I said instead of attacking them why don’t you pray for them? The answer they gave me was we are praying for a new bishop and new priest. Where’s the charity even if you think something not kosher is going on? I know I’m far from perfect – I would hope if I strayed from the teachings of the Church that some of my Catholic friends would try and reasonably talk to me and pray for me. Oy. It’s strange sometimes that some get a mob mentality about issues too – let God take care of your concerns. I don’t like the game Good Catholic/Bad Catholic. I don’t mean that you can’t have opinions on folks just the manner to which you go about it – with or without love and charity – I’m thinking w/love and charity is the way to go. Maureen

          Liked by 1 person

  29. Phillip Hughes says:

    I apologize if I come across as a scoffer.
    The gates of hell shall not prevail. VERATAS!
    Is it possible ? CHRIST’s return may be less than a year away.
    It would seem our Pope has decided Mother Church can put asunder what GOD has joined together. Maybe when CHRIST said “no man”, HE didn’t mean Holy Church?
    CHRIST stated “hardness of your hearts”.
    What will we declare was the reason we permitted divorce and changed the teaching our Church Fathers declared to be truth?
    Phil

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      If that is what they were going to do you would have good reason for concern. But all this panic is about something that there is no intention of doing – though it is disturbing enough that some Cardinals thought it could be done. The panicky trads love to quote Pope Francis’ rebuke to the overly legalistic, but I have yet to see them quote his firm rebuke to the progressives from the same speech:

      He condemned…”– The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.””

      Nor do I see them quoting his comments about the inviolability of doctrine from the same remarks, where he said: – The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things…

      I direct you to this article that holds his entire speech at the close of the preliminary session of the Synod.

      What I ask is that you cease to condemn him for what you think he might consider and stick to what he actually is said. Either you’re as irrationally skittish as a group of adolescent girls at a haunted house or you are intentionally bearing false witness. Stick to the facts. There are plenty of disturbing ones as it is. You need not manufacture anything for there to be real concern. It is a fearful thing that so many Bishops seemed so willing to toss aside doctrine. It suggests that the problem of catechesis is not limited to our schools, but also is a problem in our seminaries and pontifical universities. That is cause for real concern. But the panic that the Pope and Bishops assembled ever could, much less would, contaminate defined doctrine is a chimera – and one that draws attention away from serious problems while eroding your credibility to handle serious problems that need addressing and could benefit from the rigor the trads bring to the table.

      Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Oh, and thank you for stating your case plainly and directly. It shows real consideration for everyone here in this little community and I very much appreciate it. Welcome aboard, Phillip.

      Like

  30. Phil says:

    Please explain why the Pope supports Cardinal Kasper and demoted Cardinal Burke.
    I see confusion. In this Pope. You see a Genius. If the Pope has the goal of affirming the Church teachings by senod, in this age, where the world has little respect for the Church and her magesterium, then I follow his reasoning BUT WHY???? All the confusion that ensues from supporting an errant Cardinal over Cardinal Burke seems absurd. Liberals are always trying to show that they love like CHRIST. Where is the Charity in not teaching the faith. I’ve seen liberal and orthodox teachers and in my opinion the liberals don’t love at all. They just want to be loved.
    I’ll conclude with an ad for Holiday Inn.
    It’s also something the holiest woman I’ve ever known , stated often.
    “THE BEST SURPRISE, IS NO SURPRISE”.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Well Phil, you press but do not respond to the questions I asked you earlier. You point out things as evidence that the sky is falling and ask me to explain them, without bothering to grapple with the evidence I asked you to respond to.

      First, I think readers here can stipulate that I am a better analyst than you. Why would I make that seemingly arrogant assertion? Well, a few weeks ago as the Synod got under way, I looked at the various pieces of evidence and very accurately predicted how it would end – and did it here publicly amidst all the turmoil. There may have been others, but the only one I know who was as dead-on in his assessment as me was Mark Mallett. Folks like you mainly warned that this time, the sky was surely falling. I am a bit surprised that you were not at all sobered that the end of the preliminary session was so dramatically different than folks like you said it would be – and somewhat chastened, went back to the boards to hone your analytical skills. I got it right; your folks got it wrong. Why? Because I believed the promises of Christ fully.

      Now, I will, in the coming week, do a column on some explanations of why the terrors that you see are not what you think they are. But until your folks start getting some of their predictions right, I am not going to be overly impressed with demands that I explain myself or the Church or whatever right now. You need to go back to some calm reflection and study – perhaps an extra Rosary each day with the intention of gaining wisdom. I am serious about that. Above all now, what the faithful need is steadiness. Sound the alarm when the alarm needs sounding, without going off on flights of overheated fancy. Shepherd your credibility carefully, as the Lord has work ahead for you.

      Like

  31. Phil says:

    Analyst??? You couldn’t be more wrong about me.
    I’m a parishioner.
    You are the one who is in a panic.
    If our blessed Mother has sought out special Wisdom for you to see the Holy Father’s intentions, incredible! If you have Devine renvelation?, Why the arrogance?
    I have concerns. I’m stating simply. Anyone supporting a heretic is questionable. YES, even the Pope. The document just released by the Church is not Holy. Many Cardinals stood up in objection because it contained lies. Please read our Church History and the meaning of Infalabilty. CHRIST’ Bride, the Church will withstand the gates of
    Hell. The Church does not teach that the Pope is a perfect genius. That is your teaching Charles.
    I don’t believe I am wrong. I don’t know?
    Do questions offend you. I am sharing a thought and you are worked into a lather screaming “liar or panicking little girl”. Where is the Wisdom in your rudeness.
    If you are correct and the Pope is giving the illicit and the Pharisees “enough rope to hang themselves” then, Praise GOD! I pray you are right.
    My priest seems to most to be one of the holiest in the nation but he is one really wicked man that has brought rot into our parish. The inner circle of truly faithful have kept the scandles silent while the bishop fiddled and ignored the faithful.
    Marriages (families) have been destroyed with his blessings.
    Please don’t be naive enough to believe that it is impossible for scandals to occur.
    Read History. I support the Magesterium. I’m not blind to this failure.
    The Church just produce a document with a distortion of the Church teachings.
    Aren’t these the words of Cardinal Pell?
    How does a perfect Pope let this happen?

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Okay, Phil, this is going nowhere. We’re done here. I gave you several chances to address the specific issues, to show where the error is. All you can come up with is ad hominem insults and non sequiturs. You just repeat vague charges that this is heretical. When pressed for what is heretical about it, like an old Soviet judge, your response is just, because you say so. We’re done. Having been given three chances to deal with actual issues, all you could do is scream. Go trouble someone else.

      Like

  32. Pingback: A Reprise of Last Year’s Synod | The Next Right Step

  33. Robert Cunningham says:

    I appreciate your patience with those who post here Charlie. Thanks for sharing the Pope’s closing words and your comments. It was very reassuring as we stick with the Pope.

    By the way, the allusion to Walt Whitman was clever

    Like

  34. Jeanna says:

    His actions left a bad taste in my mouth last year as well. I’m so relieved to discover that I’m not the only one. There was a letter he sent his flock on the civic responsibility for the common good back in 2004 that I recently came across and was also disappointed by…not so much by what it said but by what it omitted. He focused a lot on limiting evil which is good, but didn’t address the roots of the culture of death, how to build a culture of life, or all the steps one must take if one decides it is prudent to participate in passive material cooperation with evil in an attempt to limit greater evil. In short it wasn’t made clear that the short term EXPEDIENT is not the SOLUTION. I don’t really mean to single him out either, he’s certainly not the only one thinking this way. Granted he’s a canon lawyer and not a moral theologian. I didn’t really understand all the nuances myself (and there’s still plenty of moral theology I still don’t understand) until I researched the topic of receiving vaccines from the fetal cell line and read (and then re-read, and then pondered, and then asked some friends a few questions, and then re-read again) the letter the Pontifical Academy for Life sent to Children of God for Life.

    This line of thinking though is why I once felt perfectly comfortable voting for Republicans all these years…thinking they would save us… until I saw Bill Still’s Money Masters video in 2008. Then I started doing my own research and was distraught to discover that for being a cradle Catholic I had to learn about the great evils Sheen warned us of in “Freedom Under God” and “Communism and the Conscience of the West” from the Libertarians (I’m not saying the modern day Libertarians have the SOLUTION, Pope Leo XIII’s “Libertas” I think makes that quite clear, but they do have a pretty good grasp of the FRUITS of the problem). After reading more encyclicals, Sheen, Chesterton, and Belloc and becoming familiar with the works of Msgr. Michel Schooyans (who both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI endorsed and leaned very heavily on) and Alan Keyes’ blog I felt betrayed and angry… and then I despaired.

    It took the election of Pope Francis to knock me into shape. I thank God almost daily for the mercy He has shown me through our Papa. I realized I wasn’t behaving in a joyful Christian manner. I’m trying to do that now, but man bad habits are hard to break. Charlie, your blog has given me even more of a boost. There are a number of things the Holy Spirit has put on my heart but I wasn’t able to put into words until I read them in several of your pieces. Those of us who think this way are few and far between and it’s a lonely path, but as Sheen said:

    “The Christian finds a basis for optimism in the most thoroughgoing pessimism, for his Easter is within three days of Good Friday.”
    -Ven. Fulton Sheen, “Communism and the Conscience of the West” p. 45

    And Our Lady of Fatima promised us, “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

    “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.” -Galations 6:9

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Jeanna, at the beginning of your comment, you start by saying “he” without identifying who you are speaking about – and since your comment is not listed as a reply to someone, I am unsure who you are talking about. Would you add an addendum saying who you are discussing in that first paragraph? Thanks.

      Like

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