Perspectives on the Pope

kincade - beginning of a perfect day

Beginning of a Perfect Day – by Thomas Kincade

(Whew…it has been a wild week. As it turns out, neither Blessed Paul VI nor St. John XXIII said anything publicly about allowing contraception for nuns in danger in the Belgian Congo. Many prominent theologians were suggesting it – and neither Pope contradicted them on it, but that is the most that can be said about a public statement. Pope Francis has access to confidential Vatican files, so there may be something there that he was referencing.

I am going to put up three pieces that I think offer useful perspectives on this kerfuffle – and then regroup and get back to it on Monday. The first piece is from a comment made by our reader, Joe. It was deeply insightful. Then there is a piece by John Kippley that Bishop Rene Gracida posted on his Abyssum Website that hits the main salient points. Finally, I offer a piece by National Review’s writer, David French. He is a faithful Protestant who is respectful of both the Pope and the Catholic Church. His is a thought, respectfully critical piece. Now as for the Kincade painting at the top of this article, I find Kincade’s work soothing – and we all need a little soothing this week, I think. -CJ)

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First, the comment by our reader, Joe:

By Joe

“Charlie,


I think Pope Francis needs to continue his flights and off the cuff marks. A year ago I would not have said that. But let me explain. Jesus though God was also man and spoke from a perspective. Jesus had and has his own personality. Pope Francis speaks from the perspective of a South American Citizen. In discerning his papacy I have the words “He is the good Father on the edge of his property calling back his lost son(s & daughters).” From my discernment we are in the time of the rebuking of the more conservative or traditional minded. Why? Because none of us is without error or inaccurate ways of thinking. You yourself have said this much when you spoke about the Job and the whirlwind. Thanking you for reinforcing this truth for me. That article helped me.


In the beginning of his papacy I feared that he would somehow cross over his property (truth) to non truth. You have been a starch defender of the Papacy and it’s indefectibility, thank you for that. The Lord has dealt with me on this. I do not fear this as much. What can we learn from his (Pope’s) words? It is more than the words themselves but the Spirit behind the words. The heart of the Pope coming forth. Do we accept the rebuke of our own inaction? But even this it is not so much about action or inaction. Rather, I have discerned that the rebuke is more to the disposition of our souls. It is about measure. The confusion is not from him but from us.


Why does the Lord deal with us first (the conservative minded). Because we must be better purified for when the lost children are caught up in the famine, so that when they return we would not become haughty or jealous in our hearts. We are to receive them and be the body of Christ to them. We are to seek their salvation as much as we seek our own.


Maybe too his words are prophetic. Will not the storm make many in this country refugees seeking shelter?


I have found in my life that enlightenment or insights only comes after a period of testing or confusion. As Jesus spoke and the blind were still blind, will we still be blind (confused) or will we hold on to faith and see?


I saw earlier today, in my mind, a storm. A tornado if you will. In the tornado was Peter, secure on the rock. He spoke and his words were taken up and swirled around in the storm. Many people also were swirled up in the storm. But there was also people solidly fixed on the ground (fixed by their faith in Jesus Christ and his words). There was still words swirling around, but the people secure on the ground were not confused. The Spirit of Truth was in them (the light was within), they had no fear.

Everything is going to change. Right?

I have seen a soul as a rose. The rose was closed up. Like any rose it had outer and inner buds. I was shown that the outer buds pushing out do not affect the inner buds. What we see on the outside is not necessarily a sign of the inside (inner disposition of the soul before God). I then saw the inner buds pushing and seeking to come out. But it was more difficult. I saw it as almost impossible. Then I saw a single drop (the drop representing the grace or blood of Christ) falling on the inner buds and immediately the whole flower was brought to bloom.


We will be judged on how we judge. We will be dealt with as is the disposition of our soul. So if I seek (with a humble heart) the rock and the water (truth) flowing from the rock will I not receive it and be made hole. Fear not the confusion, I would say to my brethren, it is a result of the disposition of our souls. It is but for a short time. It is necessary to bring to light that which is hidden in us so that those who may see may receive the water and be made whole. A physician cannot heal that which is hidden. It must be made known first (brought forth) and then the physician can begin to heal.”

Profound wisdom from Joe, I think.

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Next, the piece posted by Bishop Gracida on Abyssum:

AMNESTY ON HIS FIRST DAY IN OFFICE

ANOTHER AIRPLANE INTERVIEW, MORE OFF-THE-CUFF COMMENTS, MORE CONFUSING OF THE FAITHFUL AND MORE CONFIRMING THE UNFAITHFUL IN THEIR AGNOSTICISM

!!!!

412101

Reaction to Pope’s Comments on Birth Control

[ Emphasis and {commentary} in red by Abyssum ]

First of all, I think that almost everyone agrees that abortion is a worse evil than contraception.  I am pleased to see that Pope Francis labeled abortion as an absolute evil.
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Second, I don’t think Pope Francis has stated the “Pill and the Congo” case properly.  To the best of my knowledge, Pope Paul VI was not involved in that situation.  I have been told that some ill-informed doctors told the nuns that they could take the Pill to avoid pregnancy stemming from rape.  I say “ill informed” because the Europeans at that time seemed to be quite ignorant about the abortifacient properties of the Pill.  They thought it was only a contraceptive drug.
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Third, there is a huge difference between using a contraceptive to prevent pregnancy from rape and using a contraceptive to prevent pregnancy from voluntary intercourse.
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Fourth, The Rev. James Bretzke of Boston College is the kind of moral theologian who confuses rather than clarifies.  Humanae Vitae n. 15 allows certain medical procedures that have legitimate therapeutic value  even though they would render the person sterile.  For example, the removal of cancerous ovaries.  In these cases, the intention had to be therapeutic, not contraceptive.  That does not apply to actions whose primary function is to prevent conception, something that could be accomplished by simply (though not easily) not engaging in sexual union.
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Fifth, there is not a moral problem of contraception when sodomites use condoms to slow down the transmission of AIDS.  The act is already essentially sterile. {The act of sodomy is gravely immoral whether with or without the use of condoms, contraception is not at issue in sodomy.}   However, the situation is different with heterosexuals.  There the primary action is contraceptive and thus immoral.  However, in both situations, when an infected person has condomized sex with a non-infected person, it’s simply a matter of time until the infection is passed.  Abstinence is the only sure way to protect the health of the non-infected person.  Thus the moral problem is that of a sin against health and life.
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Lastly, to speak the divine truth about human love and to point out its counterfeits is not to be obsessed with these issues but simply to bear witness in an evil age.
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Please keep praying for Pope Francis, especially that he will give the Church and the world a post-Synod document that will clearly convey the teaching of the Lord and his Church regarding love, marriage and sexuality.
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Sixth.  In the light of other comments floating around, I think it can be said that Pope Francis could have and should have used these questions to evangelize the reporters.  He certainly should have pointed out that Humanae Vitae teaches that married couples can use periodic abstinence from the marriage act to avoid pregnancy.  That involves using natural family planning.  He should know and be able to teach that couples can use cross-checking systems of NFP at the 99% level of effectiveness.
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Seventh, a good biblical number, he missed an excellent opportunity to remind himself and his audience the most difficult job of the Pope is to affirm the difficult truths, especially those that affect huge numbers of people.  He needs to remind himself and all of us that the entire world stands in the shadow of the cross on which our Savior died.  He needs to teach what Jesus taught—the price of discipleship is to take up one’s cross daily.  Certainly that applies to difficulties associated with love, marriage and sexuality.
.
John F. Kippley

While you were away…

*******

Finally, there is the piece by David French in National Review. I link to it rather than reprint it, as National Review is a commercial, secular site, but I hope you will take a look at it, as it is worthy of some contemplation.

 

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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162 Responses to Perspectives on the Pope

  1. mbrandon8026 says:

    Dear Charlie

    You have done so much heavy lifting for us, and like all your readers, I am grateful.

    The comments of folks like Joe are indicative of others who are stepping up to help with the carrying. There was nuance to what Joe had to say.

    Mr. Kippley also provided us with meaningful insight into the matter at hand.

    But, I think Mr. French, though respectful, missed what Pope Francis was actually saying. Mr. French parsed out the key words to draw a conservative conclusion. He missed the nuances. I think to get at what lies under the specific words of Pope Francis you must be guided by the Holy Spirit, who is neither conservative nor liberal, but speaks only truth. Our Holy Father made judicious use of the words “only” and “if” in what he said. You can’t pull them out and get to where he was going. The hearer must take in all the words, add none, and pray for guidance to grasp the content and context of his words.

    So much of the debate among Christians and even with non believers occurs because of lost context, and fudging the content.

    But, you know well what Julian of Norwich had to say about all manner of things.

    God Bless You and all who come here.

    Michael Brandon

    Liked by 13 people

  2. PadreJohn says:

    I’ve heard it said recently: When we know that a way of doing things is not always helpful but to the contrary, by prudence and justice, we should do everything to make sure that it does not continue to happen, especially when ones audience is great! I think there is truth in this…something at least to take to prayer….

    About the confusion from some of the things Francis shares, I think it comes from both Francis and us….but prudence, justice and charity require that this confusion, etc., be avoided….our human personality and self is to be denied daily so that we can put on and reveal, not ourselves, but the New Man, Jesus the Christ…. Jesus never said anything confusing: deep, profound and mysterious, yes, needing explanation because of this, yes, but never confusing or incomplete in itself. The confusion did not come from what Jesus said but from within the person…you never wondered if Jesus after He spoke knew what the truth was by what He said, rather, awe or angst usually followed, because He did know….I think sometimes because of brevity and incompleteness Francis leaves doubts to what he intends or what we are to understand….I don’t believe Jesus would have left us confused after the answering the questions, eg., about whether the condom is morally permissible in the situations Francis spoke of off the cuff…..when people did not understand, Jesus usually explained promptly, e.g.., about being born again and baptism and having to enter our mother’s womb again….Francis doesn’t always seem to do this either…sometimes spokespeople do so for him….Francis is very holy and blessed, but he shares that he is not yet perfect but a sinner on the way…let us pray that the gift of clarity be all of ours that the world may know and cherish the loving truths of Him who calls each of us to perfect holiness in our Heavenly Father!

    Liked by 3 people

    • charliej373 says:

      I have to disagree with you in part, Fr. John. Jesus often said things that were confusing. He, of course, most frequently spoke in parables – most of which were reasonably easy to understand. But sometimes He spoke so enigmatically it was almost impossible for His listeners not to be confused. For example, His statement that if His hearers destroyed “this temple” He would raise it up again in three days. More striking was His insistence that people must eat His Body and drink His blood to have life within them. He did not explain or clarify even when many left.

      I think sometimes Jesus did not intend people to understand what He was saying right then, only to remember it later when it would be important to understand. But He said many things that were confusing to His listeners – and sometimes seemed to intend they be confused. In his case, that was an invitation to people to contemplate and look deeper than their superficial reasoning.

      Liked by 9 people

      • Joyce Brown says:

        I just came from seeing the new film “Risen”, and they nailed the portrayal of Jesus. It’s so funny, when we were walking back to the car I actually said to my husband and daughter, “Jesus was SO enigmatic in this film.” I don’t want to toss out any spoilers, but the film did a really good job in showing how the Apostles, who were so delighted to see Him after His Resurrection, really were not sure at all how to proceed. They proceeded, but you could tell how unsure they were about what to do next. Just thought I’d share that.

        Liked by 6 people

        • Fred says:

          Have to agree with you Joyce. What a great film! Just saw it with my daughter (daddy-daughter night). Can’t help but see the parallels between the confusion for the Apostles, for the ungodly Romans, and the Jews following Jesus’s death and resurrection and the craziness of the times we are living through now. Somehow, the movie leaves you with the unmistakeable understanding that as long as you know and hold tight to Christ, it will all somehow be good in the end no matter how unsettled everything is around you.

          Liked by 3 people

          • caroltrueman says:

            HI Fred, I really have to agree with what you said at the end of your message, where you said we need to know and hold tight to Jesus, and that somehow all will be good in the end. I have been sensing that more and more these days. Everything is upside down now. Our only security now , is holding tight to Jesus.

            Liked by 2 people

        • donna says:

          Joyce, I agree….my husband and I saw the movie yesterday. First, Jesus actually LOOKS like the Jew he was finally in a movie….Not the blonde hair, blue eyed Jesus of previous films. Next, the depiction of him with the disciples was beautiful….and they were confused, as we are now. A perfect lesson for today’s times….how to proceed? Eyes on Christ!

          Liked by 2 people

        • vkmir3 says:

          I saw the movie yesterday as well. It was very good. I definitely agree with the wonderful casting of Jesus. I was intrigued with the character of the Roman Tribune, Clavius and his journey forward from the crucifixion and in speaking with various witnesses/disciples and, in the back of my mind, I thought…..might we encounter people such as Clavius when the Storm reaches its peak, people who are seeking….and how we will need to be like those witness/disciples to draw them to and teach them about the mercy of Jesus and His love for us, how we must trust in Him, take the next right step and be that example of love and joy. That is what I saw in Jesus and His Disciples in this movie!

          After having seen the preview for “God is Not Dead 2”, I think this film will be very timely for the storm we are now in! God bless, Vicki

          Liked by 1 person

      • Respectfully, I think the confusion that you refer to in the Gospel, has nothing to do with saying one thing and meaning something else. It had to do with Jesus saying something and meaning it — and his disciples in dismay that he wanted them to take him literally. The Temple was literally going to be torn down. Bread and wine were to literally become his flesh and blood. If the Truth is confusing, it’s only because we are resistant to it, and are not disposed to receive it (he who has much, will be given more; he who has little, even that will be taken away). I think of the synagogue, and the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. He said it. He meant it. It didn’t require any clarification. And he was on his way.

        As for Pope Francis, if he were just a bad communicator, that would be a relief. The problem is, he’s a GREAT communicator, and has followed through on just about everything he’s ruminated on in the press or said in his extemporaneous homilies at Sancta Marta. The confusion is not the content of his words. The confusion is how this is possibly happening to our Church. The constant “explanations” ironically only manage to inform us that we shouldn’t take the Holy Father at his word — that he speaks in nothing but riddles, or he’s not smart enough to make a point without setting doctrine on the edge of the abyss. The apologists are in a corner of sorts. Either they keep asserting that they have to finish what Francis did poorly, or he really says what he means, and their constant “clarifications” are disrespectful in their own right. They can’t have it both ways. They have to choose. Because the Holy Father Himself, as far as I’m aware, has never done any clarifying of his own on any of his controversial interviews. If his “yes” means “yes”, and his “no” means “no”, then we have a serious problem, and it’s going to require an enormous amount of penance on our part to mitigate the faith destruction I’m witnessing around me.

        I wish I didn’t have such an unpleasant take on this, but the contraceptive comments are a show-stopper. I don’t care what he said about abortion. If you’ll notice, it seems he always ALWAYS throws red meat at the conservatives just before introducing something “confusing” in his interviews. Always. He knows what he’s doing. He always wants to appear faithful to the Deposit of Faith right before leaving a car bomb in front of the theological disco. I can’t believe it’s gotten to this point, but there you have it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • charliej373 says:

          Take care that in your criticism of the Pope you don’t venture into criticism of Jesus Christ, for that is what you are bordering on…though I don’t think you are there yet…but that is where all the anti-pope stuff ends up. Jesus said the faith of Peter will not fail. Now, He did not say that Peter will never falter or say unfortunate things or even do unfortunate things…but that Peter will be upheld as guardian of the faith.

          As for having the perfect understanding that can see all things and judge all things with precise clarity, you give evidence of failing that in these very comments. You equate Jesus’ comments about raising the temple again in three days to the destruction of the Jewish Temple some 70 years later, but Jesus was not speaking of that at all in this comment. In fact, as the evangelist writes, though they did not understand it at the time, the Lord was speaking of His own body – the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

          I appeal to people to be deliberate, to be slow to condemn and believe they know with certainty what is happening. For each of us will have our turn in the box just ahead – and we will be judged with the same judgment we judge. If we are harsh, we will be judged harshly when we fail – and fail we will. If we are generous and humble in waiting on the Lord before absolutely condemning, we will receive the same generosity when we have badly failed – and each of us will badly fail and stumble.

          Liked by 10 people

          • YongDuk says:

            I may have said this a few months ago, but people do not realise what it takes or means to go to Hell:

            The CCC states that Mortal Sin is a Radical Choice against Love.

            Nothing Good can go to Hell. Just as Nothing Evil/Bad/Deficient can go to Heaven. That is the Mercy of Purgatory.

            Therefore, Part of Christ’s Mission, while the Mercy and the Compendium of Love of the Most Holy Trinity, He also had to perfect those to choose Evil and know that they were choosing Evil. A lot of us miss that and Matthew’s and Mark’s reference to Isaiah 6:9 in regards to Christ’s using Parables. (Mt 13:13ff, Mk 4:12)

            So, please, don’t confuse Who Christ is and What it means to be United to Him and His Body the Church…

            Liked by 5 people

          • YongDuk says:

            That was to “Yous Guys” / “Y’all”, not you, Charlie… sorry

            Liked by 3 people

          • Beckita says:

            Thank you, YD. Keep those Scriptural references coming. I now pray the St. Michael prayer when coming to this site and open a Bible Gateway tab to plug in what you are feeding us. After reading the exact reference, I open the entire chapter to get it in context. So grateful!

            Liked by 1 person

          • YongDuk says:

            Are you saying, Beckinita, that you need St. Michael’s help and Bible Gateway to understand what I write?

            Perhaps, I should pass things through the Brother’s Anti-Grimm, Luc Michel & Philipp Franko… not just Le Très Grand Vieux Grincheux.

            C’est dommage…

            Liked by 1 person

          • Beckita says:

            Hahaha! Pas du tout! (This is scary since I’m GTing it)
            Je suis en train de dire: Vin et fromage le temps!

            Like

        • Jackisback says:

          Thank you AquinasMan, for not sugar coating the obvious or going into great contortions in defense of His Holiness to effectively become an adjunct spokesperson. Do you think it is possible that he has never read CS Lewis? I pray that the answer is that he has not yet, as that would mean someone could still introduce Lewis’ great (and clear) prose to him.

          Like

          • Snowy Owl says:

            Jack (and Aquinas back-up), oh my gosh! I bet God is beside Himself that He made this mistake! Oooooh the drama….maybe He’ll raise CS Lewis from the dead and fire Pope Francis and we’ll have a new and better Pope!! One who can write great (and clear) prose, or at least find the time to read it…I mean after all, what could matter more than this? 😛

            Liked by 1 person

      • kate says:

        Charlie, I think that when Jesus spoke of eating his Body and drinking his Blood, he was perfectly clear. He meant absolutely what he said, hence by his not trying to clarify or call back those who walked away, he further made it abundantly clear what he was saying.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          Do you think that you, unlike every one of his hearers – including his disciples – would have perfectly understood Him then? The disciples did NOT understand.
          They did not choose to stay because they understood, but because they chose to stay with the PERSON of Christ even when they did not understand. Do you think we have perfected understanding in modern times? The truth is we have badly mangled it. Once again, we are being asked to stay with the PERSON of Christ, through His instrument, the Holy Church, even when the words of its officials are often not clear and not well-understood.

          Liked by 11 people

          • Petra says:

            Charlie said, “The disciples did NOT understand…they chose to stay with the PERSON of Christ even when they did not understand. ”
            I agree with you Charlie. Didn’t Phillip say at the Last Supper, Show us the Father and that will be enough for us., and Thomas say, We don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way? Jesus answered them, and they were still clueless. He got arrested later that night and they scattered into terrified hiding.

            The disciples on the road to Emmaus (getting outta Dodge!) didn’t recognize Jesus at all, even as He explained all the scriptures to them and how they pertained to Him. No, I agree. The disciples had Him right there with them for three years, and even after He rose again, they didn’t understand. They stayed because of His PERSON.

            It was only after He ascended to the Father, and they received the Holy Spirit that they understood. And even then the Holy Spirit continued to assist them, as He does us, as the Church grew.

            God bless.

            Liked by 4 people

        • Phillip Frank says:

          Kate, the crowd told Jesus that His teaching was “too hard” and left befuddled by this truth. The Apostles, no less befuddled, were asked by Jesus if they would leave him too.
          But the difference here is they TRUSTED him as the bearer of the words of life dispite their inability to understand this particular mystery.
          Peter does the same thing in today’s Gospel during the transfiguratin and wants to build three tents, he being so befuddled that he didn’t even know what he was talking about!
          Later, after Pentacost, all these “truths” are clarified and the hidden meanings are brought to the surface. Remember, the new testament was written AFTER pentacost, and the spiritually rich meaning and understanding filtered through the indwelling of the Advocate.
          We here do not have the same filter as the apostles did (at least not in the same way they did) so it is to be expected that truth run through our individual filters will not be as pure as those of the apostles,
          Also remember that we (Catholics) are not allowed to interpret scripture outside of magisterial authority precisely because we would repeat the error the “crowd” had to Jesus’ words and find it in ourselves too hard, inconsistent, contradictory, inflammatory, etc.
          (pretty much the same way many of us find the Popes words).

          Liked by 2 people

      • janet333 says:

        I found the following site very useful Charlie..though we still have no official explanation of the Zika..avoiding pregnancy comment.

        http://scottericalt.org/life-site-news-gets-a-pope-story-wrong-again/

        I do wish Life Site News would stay with what they do best..equipping us with information and facts in the fight against the anti-life brigade.

        God Bless You.

        Like

  3. YongDuk says:

    Thank you for posting these, Charlie! (I would, by the way, never think of you as a consultant as you have so many more pressing issues to take care of, but, yes, I guess I have indeed, so indeed: Merci beaucoup!)

    I remember encountering a young theologian from the States in my travels abroad who did his lectio coram on serodiscordant spouses be the virus HIV, or Hepatitis B or C (HBV or HCV), or, in this case, the Zika virus.

    His bibliography included Janet Smith’s article in The_Thomist_, which is very well written:

    Smith, Janet E. “The Morality Of Condom Use By HIV-Infected Spouses” The Thomist 70 (2006): 27-69.

    Liked by 5 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Thanks, YD. I am so glad this site has become a place where we can contemplate different serious perspectives and so deepen all of our thinking on these serious matters.

      Liked by 3 people

      • YongDuk says:

        My apologies for the gross “copy and paste” typo, I did not notice on the screen resolution on the document page that the title of Janet Smith’s paper was all caps.

        It should indeed read, “The Morality of Condom Use by HIV-Infected Spouses.”

        The title is misleading as the terminology should be more reflective of the serodiscordance of the couple, that is, where one is HIV+ and the other HIV-.

        A google-search of that title will easily yield PDF copies. In that paper, she argues a position against Fr. Martin Rhonheimer, “a philosopher, who is no dissenter from Church teaching,” as she says. [See “A Debate on Condoms and AIDS,” The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 5 (2005): 40-48.]

        It’s a good read, as are most of her writings. It is an academic paper for an academic journal, but I think it is fairly manageable for those interested in that she introduces and repeats her points in fairly easy language.

        The language reflects her summation of Rhonheimer’s position:

        The Church teaches that one should never do evil to achieve good. Rhonheimer agrees that for spouses intentionally to render their sexual acts nonprocreative is intrinsically evil and ought never to be done. But he does not think that condom use by HIV-infected spouses necessarily entails a contraceptive intent; he claims that their intent is to reduce the risk of transmitting the HIV and that the contraceptive effect of the condom is a side effect.

        I would keep going in quoting the paper and the twisting and turning or avoidance of the use of the Principle of Double Effect, but… I don’t would hate to ruin anyone’s own fun perhaps for an nice evening read on the Second Sunday of Lent!

        She, of course — I have to say in case most of you have other plans for how to spend your Sunday evening — states that she does indeed argue that intrinsic to the use of a condom in serodiscordant spouses (a term she never uses, for some reason [perhaps that she uses the term “spouses” as unified whole infected by HIV whether it is the wife or it is the husband who is infected]) is the intent to enter into a contraceptive event.

        Allow me one last mouth-watering quote:

        Rhonheimer and I differ about what is the “object” of the act of spouses using a condom to reduce the risk of transmitting the HIV. He allows that “‘having sexual intercourse by using a condom’ is the description of an act in its natural species. Only when it is conceived as being related to an end can this act be understood as a human act and in its moral species.”(Rhonheimer, “A Debate on Condoms and AIDS,” 43.) Since I think it implicit that the description “having sexual intercourse by using a condom” means “heterosexual human beings having sexual intercourse using a condom,” I believe it goes beyond the merely physical and has elements that allow a moral evaluation. A condom used by heterosexuals in the course of an act of sexual intercourse is a device that inherently thwarts procreative potency and thus discloses how the act is aligned with human goods, with right reason.

        Okay, so maybe it is a bit more of a read than for a Sunday evening…

        Basically, Rhonheimer is saying the “object” or the end to which the intent of the condom is intended is not to thwart procreation, but to thwart the transmission of HIV and therefore is allowable and Janet is saying, no way!: a condom violates the purpose of [sexual intercourse] and the purpose of semen.

        And I fear I am waxing on all to well, and wax off lest I break tradition and become a heteroprax,

        Waning eloquently on the Second Sunday of Lent,
        +YD

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Kim sevier says:

    Charlie, thank you. What is happening is what we have all been anticipating, but it still takes my breath away. I hate to think of what my emotional state would be right now if not for this site!

    Liked by 12 people

  5. SteveBC says:

    I have a friend here where I live who is not religious, indeed is at least somewhat anti-clerical. He has a Christian upbringing but doesn’t go to services. He *loves* Pope Francis. He loves that the Pope gets down into the trenches with those in difficulty, that he blasts the drug cartels and others who prey on people, that he speaks and acts so clearly from the heart. If anyone can bring my friend back to Christianity and get him back to church, this Pope with his sheer genuineness might manage it.

    How many remarks does the Pope make during a week, especially when on a trip and in the public eye? Hundreds of remarks, thousands. Apparently, he made one remark people didn’t like, and now the ones who parse are all upset. I will bet that if I were in his place I would have made *at least* 2 remarks that weren’t perfectly clear. 🙂 Probably dozens. Given how manipulative the press often is with his remarks, I’m amazed that we don’t see dozens of questionable remarks being bruited about just from this trip. That says quite a bit about how loose he is with words, that only one got debated.

    Now he says that if a person thinks *only* of building exclusionary walls, he isn’t truly Christian. I have to say that the Pope is right on this. If all you do is build walls, you’re not truly christian, at least in that matter. Just as you are not christian if you practice communism while saying you’re a christian. *Lots* of things in this world can make you not christian, no matter what you *profess* to be. You can be a Catholic in name but not be christian in something you advocate or do.

    Our immigration system used to be a combination of walls and bridges along that border. Pope Francis did not say we can’t build walls, only that we can’t *only* build walls. The Vatican builds walls, but it doesn’t *only* build walls. There are gates in those walls, and outreach efforts to the rest of the world, such as the recent meeting with the Orthodox folks.

    So the Pope took a specific question about Trump and made it into a teachable moment about one aspect related to how to be christian. He made no judgment of Trump, saying explicitly that he didn’t know what Trump had specifically said (and thus not falling into the trap (in)advertently set by the reporter).

    I find his remark very clear and entirely accurate. I don’t understand why people think he is excommunicating Trump or anyone else who wants to build a wall along the border. Walls are fine in certain circumstances (if nothing else, legitimate self-defense in Christian doctrine), provided that they are pierced with bridges and gates. Anyone who has a policy of walling off the entire border is not christian in this matter. We never considered the Soviets to be Christians or to be acting in a christian manner when they walled in Berlin and East Germany to keep people from getting out. We should not consider anyone talking of walling off the US from Mexico to keep any Mexicans from getting in as acting in a christian manner either.

    There may be other reasons to say Trump is not a Christian (or that he is a CINO or not christian in manner), but he isn’t advocating a solid wall, and the Pope is not assuming that he is, and the Pope isn’t telling people how to vote. However, if Trump were advocating that, he would not be christian, at least in this matter. Advocating walls without bridges or gates is us-vs-them tribalism, and tribalism runs specifically against the universality aspect of Christianity. It isn’t a christian act.

    Liked by 13 people

    • Phillip Frank says:

      Good point Steve.
      The Pope was responding to a question given in a pure form way with a pure form answer. But he indicated that he questioned that Trump said it EXACTLY like the reporter worded it and thus gave the benefit of the doubt at the end of his pure form response. But, of course, the media passes over this point and flagrantly reports he is dissing Trump as not a christian!
      The Pope discusses this problem in different countries all the time and His response is to all those who would build up walls against their neighbors and not just to Trump or one country.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Steve, I think that of the 3 writes posted here, and your one comment above, yours and Joe’s were the best.

      Whenever good is present, I sometimes think that 2 contrasting spirits are present too – the Holy Spirit and the dark spirits. One to clarify and direct. The other to confuse and scatter. If dark spirits make it past the portals, unhindered, into our souls, we will feel the sting of confusion in varying degrees. Unchecked by the Holy Spirit, we might go on to propagate that confusion.

      Liked by 3 people

    • MarieUrsula says:

      Excellent observations, Steve.

      Liked by 1 person

    • janet333 says:

      Thank you Steve….You said all I would have liked to have said. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Steve B C I have several family members who have always been atheist or agnostic, and hostile to the Catholic Church. They told me recently at a family gathering that they have been talking among themselves about how much they love this pope, how they follow him closely in the news and that they have been seriously thinking about going to mass because of him. I was absolutely, totally speechless. The best line in this post is the one about the father standing on the edge of the property (orthodoxy) calling his son home. That seems be working in my family.

      Liked by 6 people

      • SteveBC says:

        SingingFlowers, I think my friend put it once something like this, to paraphrase – Pope Francis is embodying what the Church is *supposed* to be like, warm, open, and caring. Surprisingly, one of the attractive aspects of this Pope to my friend is that he is occasionally portrayed as having spoken spontaneously and sometimes just throwing out a thought. People *like* that spontaneity and that willingness to make a mistake and get into trouble (even though most of the time it’s the media and not him making the mistake).

        I could be speaking out of turn here, not being a traditional church person myself, but I think traditional people need to have some faith in spontaneity and its associated human warmth, and not always ask for carefully crafted (and sometimes remote) planned speeches that are meant to avoid even the near-occasion of misinterpretation. The media will create the impression anyway, so why not be spontaneous?

        To folks like my friend and your family members, the spontaneity humanizes the Pope. Through him it then humanizes the Church, much to the delight of people who have felt until recently that it was cold and pedantic. I think people see the Pope being spontaneous and warm, getting down in the trenches, mixing it up in various ways to help people just like them, and they think to themselves that maybe the Church could end up caring for them, too.

        I think perhaps the traditional people who worry so much about his spontaneity could worry less and start altering the face of their specific church to make their church reflect the warmth that so many people see in the Pope. If the Pope just ends up being a “warmth” celebrity, the Church will lose a huge opportunity to draw that warmth down from the top into their church on Main Street USA and in other countries.

        Liked by 8 people

    • prayingflower says:

      SteveBC, I would say Pope Francis has a good friend in you. Thank you. And God bless you. pf

      Liked by 4 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Thank you, Steve. Once again you put together a clear, concise and authentic commentary on the matter that deals with the facts as they are, not with straw men and facts as you want (or fear) them to be.

      Liked by 3 people

      • SteveBC says:

        Oh, good. I like Pope Francis, and I’m generally happy with how he is going about things. I think he’s taking all the work that Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI did to straighten out tradition and taking it down from the top to Main Street. It’s not an easy task to change the culture of a huge institution, but if anyone can do it for the Church, I’m thinking more and more that he can, that he can at least get it started. Perhaps his example from the top will ignite the people at the lower echelons of the Church, and the fire will burn down from the top and up from the bottom until it meets in the middle.

        Liked by 6 people

    • Mick says:

      Great observations, Steve.

      Like

  6. Laurie says:

    I respectfully disagree, in part, with David French’s interpretation of what our
    Holy Father meant. Though I am not fluent in Spanish, it seems that there may be a linguistic misinterpretation. Pope Francis’ syntax in English may be a little off. I would say the “that person” following “someone” refers not to Donald Trump, but to anyone. I think the story about the six blind men and the elephant is relevant here too. Confusion IS the bailiwick of the devil, and it is so easy to stumble over language.
    If one is immersed in love for God’s human family, as I believe our Holy Father is, that flight interview was ( and further discussion is) a great opportunity to build Relationship– giving the benefit of the doubt as Pope Francis did. “To err is human. . .”
    -Ezra Pound

    Liked by 6 people

  7. the phoenix says:

    From the Pope’s Twitter account, a tweet from February 8: “Entering through the Holy Door means discovering the depths of the Father’s mercy, who seeks each of us personally.”

    So yes, Joe very much does have “the words ‘He is the good Father on the edge of his property calling back his lost son(s & daughters).’ “

    Liked by 8 people

  8. GB says:

    I see this and, though I’m not saying the Pope IS “The Grand Inquisitor” of Dostoevesky, but this mishmash stuff is exactly what Dostoevsky was attacking in Ivan’s Grand Inquisitor speech in The Brother’s Karamozov… i believe the word is casuistry,Jesuits are famous – infamous for it.

    Like

  9. justsayin392 says:

    Today, as I focused on the crucifix behind Mike’s open coffin, I distinctly heard “I made him strong through My Cross.” I stole a glance at the face that always smiled, even through his tears. “No, that can’t be. He had the weakest heart his cardiologist had ever seen” came my choked mental retort – “I will strengthen you too through My Cross” Jesus finished.
    And in that moment, before my own eyes brimmed, I knew there would come growing pains before I could want to love enough to sort this out. I almost didn’t attend. They were casual church friends who loved others more than I did.
    Today, I see confusion as the human buffer zone between God’s Clarity and my Conscience – the place where I cling closest to Him because nothing is sure. If rapped only once would water gush from the rock? If I argued a moment too long with God, would Elizabeth indeed bear the child who baptizes the Messiah? If I get self-conscious about how God chooses to use me would I still really walk the waves?
    Today will I trust in this moment when doubts cling damp and close against my soul, that taking my next right step in obedience and utter abandonment to God’s Holy Will and Providence, is the path through this Storm to the Rescue? Today, I am content to be still within this shroud to ponder God’s Word proclaimed moments later: Wisdom 3:1 – 9.

    Liked by 10 people

    • canada1nw says:

      Oh just saying, your words are so beautiful…so humble. God has blessed you during this time of grief. Keep us in your good prayers in your obvious good relationship with God. Love, sympathy and prayers going your way. It sounds like the Lord had prepared , Mike to rest in peace. We pray that we are all receptive to that peace during this Storm and every storm in our lives. XO

      Liked by 4 people

    • Beckita says:

      Pondering the power of your sharing, Justsayin’. Praying for the repose of Mike’s soul and for all of you who mourn his passing.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Fred says:

    I have to say that I find myself much more in the Bishop Gracida camp on this one. It seems to me the Pope missed a wonderful opportunity to provide the world with a clear and heartfelt defense of the Church’s counter cultural teachings on a topic that is at the core of our societal rot, opting instead for a soft middle ground that helps no one. As for the Trump comments, I am no fan of the man for reasons that are mostly about who he appears to be as a man. Nevertheless, the Pope’s comments about him seemed to me to be entirely unnecessary and somewhat uncharitable. It is likewise somewhat aggravating to me that he would make such pointed comments relating to proposed immigration policies while he has entirely refrained from any such pointed comments directed toward our current President’s ongoing ardent support of abortion rights and other blatantly anti-family policies, as well as his (Obama’s) apparent apathy over the plight of persecuted Christians throughout the world.

    My heart yearns for our Pope and his success in leading all peoples to God, but I am struck by how often his words are a source of anxiety and discord among those who seem to be most ardently trying to stay true to the Magisterium. I know you have told us that this time would be marked by confusion particularly among the faithful. That has certainly been true.

    God’s ways plainly are not our ways. I just hope that He makes it clear to us soon why this time of confusion is necessary to His plan.

    Blessed Mother, be with our Pope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YongDuk says:

      Fred, not to disagree or agree with any one, nor to enter the fray on these subjects until we get more clarification from Rome (and yes, Doug, not to seem not to take a stance as with the Pater Noster and the GIRM in which it merely says to stand), but the cultural context that is acutely at hand is the Refugee Crisis in Europe and the Rest of the World.

      The problem, if I could be gentle, that I see with Americans, is that they just don’t understand what America is in the Eyes of the World in terms of Hope, in terms of being the Land of Opportunity, for all her faults. Freedom. It was this for the Eastern Europeans during the Soviet Oppression. It is this for Africans. It is this for South Asians. It is this for Chinese Asians. It is this for Southeast Asians. Etc. Etc. Etc.

      So… well… I am going to stop, lest I start seeming to reveal myself again as the contentious squirrel that I truly am at heart and entering the fray.

      Americans have a huge responsibility and the Pope understands that much better than many of you do!

      There is a huge difference between entering or staying in America illegally and the stance of closing the borders.

      To whom much is given…

      (Oh, America, I am surprised that God hasn’t squashed you like a bug for all the evil you have and are spreading throughout the World… and, from knowing St. Faustina’s Diary very well and living in that Country, being ordained in that Country under John Paul II, and being here now… …my only warning to you is that God’s being patient with you due to who you are to the World in terms of Hope and, at basis, Freedom. God’s Patience is ordered to the Salvation of Souls: 2 Peter 3:15)

      +勇德

      Liked by 10 people

      • charliej373 says:

        This comment both warmed my heart and chilled my bones for it is so true and we have so much to atone for. We have squandered so much of our birthright and calling. America was called from the start to be a sign of hope to the world. Oh, that we would fully live it again.

        Liked by 9 people

      • Beckita says:

        Thank you, YD. This deserves Sunday’s (and beyond) contemplation and reparative prayer: “Oh, America, I am surprised that God hasn’t squashed you like a bug for all the evil you have and are spreading throughout the World… and, from knowing St. Faustina’s Diary very well and living in that Country, being ordained in that Country under John Paul II, and being here now… …my only warning to you is that God’s being patient with you due to who you are to the World in terms of Hope and, at basis, Freedom. God’s Patience is ordered to the Salvation of Souls: 2 Peter 3:15”

        Liked by 4 people

        • Snowy Owl says:

          YD “seem not to take a stance as with the Pater Noster and the GIRM in which it merely says to stand..” I was going to post this over on the original page but too confusing there…anyway, I didn’t know this, you know? I just wanted to tell you that. But I do now! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • Phillip Frank says:

          YD,
          God may be in the middle of forming a giant fly-swatter as we speak!
          I pray we escape the ointment before it’s too late!

          Liked by 2 people

      • Y. D. You get the First Place Blue Ribbon for comments on this topic, IMHO.

        Like

      • leslyek says:

        To whom is the part “…knowing St. Faustina’s diary…and being here now” addressed? Thank you!

        Like

      • Petra says:

        YD: In my deepest heart of hearts, I want us (America) to be that beacon of hope – that place where the New Colossus stands with a light shining in the darkness on an upstreched arm:

        “…Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
        A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
        Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
        Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
        Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
        The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

        “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
        With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
        Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
        The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
        Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
        I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

        Those words make my heart swell and bring tears to my eyes. They are what we were supposed to be; the place of hope and refuge, not the exporter of smut, crime, perversity in order to make a buck off the rest of the world, taking their natural and human resources on the cheap and returning junk.

        America was the golden door, and we were great because of it. We were hope; that life could be different, that people could better themselves, that a man could live with dignity no matter his origins, and be free. I saw this in my grandpa. He came here with nothing, and he essentially died with nothing. But his son, my dad, eventually opened a small machine shop. My grandpa busted his buttons with pride. His son had a business of his own. He was independent, and not a slave to any man. He could support his family with a decent honest job. He owned his own home. His kids were healthy and happy. My grandpa’s dream came true, because he wanted better for his kids than he could have given them in the old country.

        We in America should have taken the gifts we were given, the millions and millions who came here to share their hopes and dreams of freedom, and their strength and intelligence, and sent back out to their mother countries the bounteous fruits of their labors. Not in the form of money, or charity, or to sell them something, but to give them the gift of how it is done, to make it work around the world, so that all countries became lands of hope, and no one had to come all the way here, because their homeland provided the same for them.

        This is way too big of an issue for me to figure out. Is it the problem of evil on a national scale? Is it inevitable, because original sin in mankind is always at war with the good? Is it that along with the good people who came by the millions were those who were driven by greed and a lust for power, and who sought to use the engine of America to rise to unforeseen heights of global dominance, drawn by the same desires as the Hitlers and the Stalins to rule the world and make slaves of mankind?

        Yes, I do understand the well deserved resentment and scorn of the world for America. But also please note, my brothers and sisters in the rest of the world, there are many of us living in America who can’t stand living in the stinking garbage heap it has become either, yet no matter what we do, laws keep getting passed and policies keep getting implemented that are the exact opposite of what we would have happen. They cheer when a defender of the Constitution and Rule of Law dies (Justice Scalia). (It angered me that when Nelson Mandela died, our President flew half way across the world to attend the funeral, the papers and newscasts were awash with tributes to Mandela as if one of our own national heroes had died, and yet Justice Scalia died, the media dutifully covered it, but it was far less coverage than such a huge historical figure deserved. The President only briefly visited his wake (less than 2 minutes) and did not attend the funeral. What are those of us who want the America Justice Scalia envisioned, and not a the country of a Nelson Mandela or a Fidel Castro, to think?)

        I cannot explain what happened to America, only that we deserve the same justice as every other country that has allowed evil to thrive. We deserve the consequences of our decisions and actions. But people are people wherever they are, and men seeking power do evil. I’m sorry that is true, but it is. God blessed America, and we did not live up to blessings given to us. But we are a part of a fallen world I guess. It is always the same. Until Jesus returns, it will always be the same.

        God bless.

        Liked by 5 people

        • MarieUrsula says:

          This is beautifully written, Petra, and I concur.

          Except . . . . If what Charlie has been telling us is correct, after The Storm and The Rescue, there will be a good long while BEFORE Jesus returns. During this time, the people of the world will live and love much more closely according to the ideals of Christianity.

          “. . . .Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. . . .”

          Liked by 5 people

        • janet333 says:

          “I cannot explain what happened to America, only that we deserve the same justice as every other country that has allowed evil to thrive.”

          Yes it’s the same here in England Petra..and its been happening for a long time. I pray for the time when England will once again belong to Mary.

          “Tradition tells us that England was first consecrated to the Blessed Virgin as Her Dowry by King/Saint Edward the Confessor [1003-1066.] ….England, therefore, was given to the Blessed Virgin as a gift or donation. and since it was given to Her as Her own, for Her use, She may use it for Her own purposes.”

          In 1251, the Blessed Virgin bestowed upon Her Carmelite Order the great gift of the Brown Scapular; the Brown habit of the Carmelites or it in miniature (for the Lay) two pieces of brown cloth worn on a cord. The Brown Scapular brings the promise of exemption from hell; final perseverance or final repentance, for those who wear it whilst observing due devotion to the Blessed Virgin. The gift was given to the Carmelites during a time of great difficulty: Following the Saracen invasion the Order was transferring from Mount Carmel in the Holy Land, to England, the Blessed Virgin guided them and to their destination; Aylesford in Kent. St Simon found the task daunting and in some despair, he turned to the Blessed Virgin for help; the Brown Scapula followed: Throughout the night of July 15th, 1251 Simon prayed on his knees to Our Lady of Carmel and with these beautiful words he invoked Her protection and direction; particularly under Her title Stella Maris [Star of the Sea]:

          Flower of Carmel
          Blossom-laden vine,
          Splendour of Heaven,
          Virgin Unique!

          Tender Mother
          Yet Virgin too,
          To the Carmelites
          Grant favours!
          O Star of the Sea!

          “In 1381, King Richard II re-consecrated England to the Blessed Virgin as Her Dowry.
          Pope Leo XIII spoke of England as Mary’s Dowry during the visit of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales to Rome in 1893, thus giving papal authority to the title and to the tradition. He also asked the Bishops to re-consecrate England to the Blessed Virgin and to St Peter, and this was carried out in the Oratory church in London.
          The great tragedy of the Reformation, was a great tragedy for the forward momentum of England as Mary’s Dowry. But the work of the Blessed Virgin always continues, and the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart promised at Fatima must always be kept in mind. England has the most incalculable honour in being Mary’s Dowry, and we must always seek to help Her and to ask Her to fulfill its great potential.”

          Archbishop William Ullathorne of Birmingham went to La Salette in May of 1854 to verify for himself the events that had occurred there. He was able for example to verify that there had indeed been a failure of the potato crop in the autumn of 1846 which led to widespread hunger in the mountainside areas. He went to see the Cure of Ars and as he was explaining the need for the Cure to pray for English Catholics who were suffering so much.

          “Suddenly he interrupted me by opening those eyes-cast into shadow by their depth, when listening or reflecting – and streaming their full light upon me in a manner I can never forget, he said, in a voice as firm and full of confidence as though he were making an act of faith…

          ‘I believe that the Church in England will recover her ancient splendour’.

          Are we talking late 2017? 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          • ann says:

            Janet–how I hope that prophetic word will come true in 2017!! Our Blessed Mother has never left her children unaided. What a victory it will be. I love the Flos Carmeli prayer. I pray it often, probably every day–at odd times. It often comes to mind and then I pray it. I wear the Brown Scapular and feel naked without it when I sometimes find I’ve “lost” it–changing clothes. Didn’t our Mother say somewhere that by means of the Rosary and the Scapular she would save the world? I love England. My ancestors came from there as did my husband’s–as well as Scotland, Wales and Ireland. (I’m a British Isles mutt 😉 It is such a beautiful country. My husband and I traveled through the whole breadth of it and we would say at the first place “this is the most beautiful!” and then we’d move on and the next place “No THIS is the most beautiful!” And so it went from Glasgow to London. Every place more beautiful than the one before. And we never even got to Devon or Cornwall. Imagine. I’m sure the beauty of those two regions would take our breath away. Next trip hopefully.

            Liked by 2 people

          • janet333 says:

            Hi Ann

            I hope you make it too. 🙂 Did you ever get to Walsingham?
            It’ll be all so much better when Mary is once again crowned in England!

            God Bless you.

            Liked by 1 person

          • prayingflower says:

            I surely hope so, janet333. I so love England. pf

            Liked by 2 people

          • ann says:

            Oh Janet I wish we had gotten to Walsingham, but we didn’t. If I am blessed to get to England again I will definitely do it. I would love to just do a pilgrimage there. I’ve read a bit on it and it is wonderful that it has been restored. One of my favorite places on my two trips to England is the Oratory on Brompton Road in London. The Masses there, the sacred sense of the place, just transport me to the threshold of heaven. At one Sunday Mass a choir of children came in dressed in robes and sang like angels the ancient plain chant. I thought I would levitate–seriously. It was such an exquisite grace filled moment.

            Liked by 2 people

  11. Anne says:

    Thank you Joe……. So true ….. A physician cannot heal that which is hidden.
    I can “See” the Father on the very edge of His property …….He wants everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Lilia Florentiae says:

    Just opening the blog to see if you
    feel better today, Charlie. I hope so. Have a peaceful Sunday.
    Lilia

    Liked by 2 people

  13. zeniazenia says:

    Good morning!! David French wrote “But just when you’re about to give Francis the benefit of the doubt — to assume that he’s speaking in abstractions — he gets concrete: “This man is not a Christian – ‘IF’ – he said things like that.” (concrete of hypothetical?)
    David French is asserting that Holy Father moved from abstractions to concretely personal. In my opinion, Holy Father’s comment, regarding ‘this (hypothetical loser Trump) man’, who will not build bridges and who is not a Christian, IF… shows nothing more than Holy Father’s inability to express his deeply held personal, spiritual and philosophical motivations, on the fly, to secular strangers, with too few words, in languages, which fail him. Holy Father may be naïve enough to think journalists are preparing to report the meaning of all his pedagogy in good faith – believing if any listener thought he was being judgmental or unclear, s/he would ask for clarification. This brings me, smiling, back to our friend Peter for sure!
    The rest of Mr. French’s article asks concrete questions and makes concrete moral points for Christian voters to consider. If Holy Father Francis were actually required to speak concretely on that return flight, he would surely ask for time, meaning to gather his advisers, in order to discuss and confront the border dilemma as the hypothetical leader of a Christian nation would want to do. I don’t doubt his teaching would be a multifaceted loving effort, which would lead the decision makers to build many bridges, this facilitating the collective human centered journey of ‘the perfect man’ to the Kingdom. St. Peter– pray for Francis and us.
    James 3 – But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Matthew says:

    I think that David French misquotes Pope Francis. French adds the definite article “a” saying Such a person is not “a” Christian. I believe Francis avoids the definite article which changes the nature of what was said.
    PAX
    Matthew

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      You are right on that, but it is a useful perspective, I think, from a serious Protestant Evangelical who has great sympathy and respect for Catholics and the Holy Father.

      Many of you will not remember because you are not old enough, but in the first year and a half after St. John Paul was elected Pope, much of the media and progressives were ecstatic because we “finally” had a liberal Pope. They assumed this because St. John Paul was one of the key architects of Vatican II – and misinterpretations of Vatican II had rocked the Church. I was a Protestant at the time – and the talk of this badly unnerved me…simply because I knew that the Catholic Church was one of the few cultural bulwarks keeping us from falling down into a deep abyss. Of course, by two years into his papacy, the media had figured out this was a seriously orthodox Pope. My point is that these things matter and have an effect on serious Protestants, even when they don’t speak it out loud. They mattered to me when I was a serious Protestant.

      Liked by 4 people

  15. Christene says:

    Charlie, one of my favorite authors is Frank Sheed and one of favorite books is To Know Christ Jesus. It’s a book that literally transports you back in time and allows you to meet Jesus through the eyes of a first century Jew. He fleshes out what the day to day existence of the Holy Family, Apostles, Pharisees and scribes, everyday religious Jews, and the outcast and marginalized of Jewish society who flocked to Jesus was like. You get a sense of what living under the thumb of the Roman Empire was like for the Jewish people, how they yearned for freedom from rulers they despised and how the air was electric with the expectation of revolution and change and the coming of the Messiah. You get an understanding of the mindset of a people who had waited faithfully for God to fulfill His promises that were thousands of years in the making. And then you experience the earth shaking, gut wrenching, world shattering reality that the religious establishment and pious, religious Jews faced when He did just that. Because when Jesus came, He rocked their piety, their religious life, and especially their assumptions to the very core.

    I don’t think we appreciate just how horrified the average Jew would have been to see Jesus dining with thieves, tax collectors and prostitutes rather than them. How revolted they must have been to hear the parable of the Good Samaritan, when it was the Samaritans who had polluted their Jewish faith with compromise and false idols. How infuriated they would have been had they seen Jesus speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well with FIVE husbands and who was living with another man. And I wonder, who are the unsavory and despised in my perfectly ordered version of the world? Those in the abortion industry? Those in the political establishment? Perhaps the homeless who beg for “handouts”. Or the refugee at the border? Or maybe those “catholics” who are divorced and remarried, living together, or only show up to Mass on Easter and Christmas, if at all. We all have our list. Now imagine Jesus calling them to a feast while we stand outside. Would you, would I, walk away in disgust and fury?

    The Pharisees and scribes were revered by the religious faithful. They interpreted the scripture and instructed the people on how to live their lives in a faithful and pleasing way for God. Every religious question could be answered by them and their piety and knowledge of scripture was beyond reproach. Yet when Jesus encountered them? When they challenged Him on his seemingly dismissive attitude towards their religious prescripts and scriptural authority? Hypocrites, white washed tombs, brood of vipers was his retort. He was took the religious paradigm in which they lived, worked and found solace, safety , and comfort and called it a house of cards. A sham. Even worse, an affront to God. Can you imagine the devastating assault that must have been on the religious sensibilities of faithful, temple going Jews? Perhaps they felt the way we faithful Catholics feel when the Pope hints that contraception MAY be legitimate to use in the faces of the Zika virus? Or when he implies that there are other issues to confront just as important as abortion and sexual morality. Or that PERHAPS the issue of divorced and remarried Catholics receiving communion should be re-examined? Or that walls rather than bridges are an affront to God.

    I spend a lot of time these days wondering “what if”. The Storm is here, no doubt. We are groaning under the oppression of rulers we despise and the air is electric with change and revolution and the coming of our Lord. But “what if” we sit as the faithful Jews at Jesus’s first coming did? Standing in line for the coming kingdom, sure of our place, with our list of expectations in hand to be fulfilled. What if, as when He came the first time, it is nothing we are expecting and every religious sensibility we have is rocked to its core?? What if. What if He comes and I say “no thanks”?

    Liked by 13 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Thank you for this, Christene. This is all much bigger than we think – and what you have discussed is how it is.

      Liked by 3 people

      • LukeMichael says:

        With regard “To Know Christ Jesus”, one of the best books I have ever read! It’s in a unique category with “The Lord” by Romano Guardini. Each book hit me at different times, explosively so, in my spiritual life. Frank Sheed during my adult conversion and Father Guardini during a wonderful Lenten Season a few years back.

        Like

    • prayingflower says:

      Thank you, Christene. I need to read Frank Sheed’s book, don’t I? I will. God bless you.

      Like

    • Joe says:

      Christene,
      I agree with what all you have to say here, but my disconnect comes when Jesus then tells us “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” To me this is a both/and proposition from Jesus; the scribes and Pharisees fear the Lord and dispise those who bring dishonor to him by not following the rules. This is honorable and something we must strive for, but we MUST show mercy to those who don’t quite see it yet. It is as if the former is a set known and doesn’t require repeating, but the latter is what we need to work on together.
      If my kids treat me with respect and honor and strive to do all that i require of them, i am happy, but the moment they turn on themselves and do not show Mercy to one another, i am furious. I take more joy in their selfless acts toward one another than i do when they get a chore done. The chores are important, don’t get me wrong, they will get punished if they don’t do them, but the actions to offend their siblings spark more of a reaction in me.
      So to make my point even longer, we must work on our relationship with God just as (or more meticulous) than the scribes and Pharisees, but we must also show His Mercy to our “siblings”.
      Side note: Did anyone else keep reading the condinued “What If”‘s from Christine in the voice of the Wild Kratts and still have their theme song in your head? (This will make sense to those who have kids, that have watched PBS in the last 5 years.)
      2nd Side Note: I am not the Joe who wrote the above piece. That dude sounds waaay smarter than I.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Barb Watry says:

      Christene, Thank you. I have so often thought the same. It is, will be, so different than what we imagine. I often fear saying no, or failing to see as He wants me to see. Thank you for your beautiful words that give me more to meditate on.
      God bless all here.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Frodo says:

      ” Perhaps they felt the way we faithful Catholics feel when the Pope hints that contraception MAY be legitimate to use in the faces of the Zika virus?”

      Unlikely. Contraception is intrinsically evil. It’s use is not licit in a marriage. Ever

      Yes, we must be careful and empty ourselves of pride, but we must also be steadfast and not compromise on the truth in the waves of the storm. The comments on contraception cannot be explained away.

      Like

      • ann says:

        Thank you Frodo. Exactly! Defined Catholic doctrine is not up for grabs. I paraphrase St. Paul: “Even if an Angel of Light delivers a gospel different than the one you received then let it be anathema” This isn’t the first time in our 2000 year history that error got seductively mixed into truth and caused terrible confusion from prelates on down to the people in the pews.I wonder what Padre Pio would say? Or St. Don Bosco or St. Catherine of Siena to mention a few. I choose to believe that the statement on contraception was a problem of translation. I am trying to remain charitable and watch and pray. Satan would like to sift all of us like wheat. May God protect us.

        Liked by 2 people

    • donna says:

      thanks Christene, I just ordered the book.

      Like

  16. Christene says:

    Well, just a quick follow-up to my comments I just posted. I went to my morning devotion and Sunday Mass readings and was greeted by these words;
    “Put aside your hatred and animosity. Take pains to refrain from sharp words. If they escape your lips, do not be ashamed to let your lips produce the remedy, since they have caused the wounds. Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong. It adds to our anger, nurtures our sin and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight.”
    — St. Francis of Paola

    God’s timing is always perfect when He needs to drive a point home to me. St. Jerome, PRAY FOR ME!!

    Liked by 6 people

  17. Lisa Ann says:

    I have only read Joe’s wise words, but have been strongly moved to offer a comment. So often, if not always, our own perspective colors our interpretation of what we see, hear, and experience. This is truly the “log in our own eye” to which Jesus refers. It is such hard work, and takes such deep humility, to clarify and discern. Charlie’s exhortations to go prayerfully step by step, and to cling to the faith, are brilliant words of simple wisdom to deal with this. In short, the more we pray, the less we realize we can know. God bless you Joe, Charlie, and everyone here.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. djmoforegon says:

    To add another wonderful piece of information in this awakening is a post by Father Gabriel Mosher, a Dominican priest serving in Portland, Oregon. He is one of my favorite moral and theological compasses. The path that he directs us toward, is the narrow path that leads us to Our Good Shepherd. He posted an essay by Janet E. Smith in The Catholic World Report.

    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4594/contraception_congo_nuns_choosing_the_lesser_evil_and_conflict_of_commandments.aspx

    One word about our Vicar of Christ. I have learned that most of our popes have a very mystical relationship with the Holy Trinity and Our Blessed Mother. I believe Pope Francis has the wisdom and guidance of all of heaven in extraordinary ways. I have been humbled enough to admit my immense limitations to reason and discern the mind of God. So I humbly suggest we keep our criticisms in check and imitate the Blessed Mother and ponder all of these events that are coming to us at light speed. Yes, this is contrary to most of us humans as we are all quick to throw in our opinions. I am also guilty of that. But we must trust that God is in control of the universe and His ways are perfect and His choices are perfect.

    Peace and Mercy to us all!

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Gina says:

    Coming Home
    Dr. Gerard M. Nadal: Science in Service of the Pro-Life Movement

    Pope Francis, Contraception, and Zika: Why Epidemiology Can Never Trump Tradition
    February 20, 2016 by Gerard M. Nadal

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Gina, I deleted this article, but left the title and author for those who wish to look it up. I delete it for two reasons: first you had no comment of your own, just a free-standing repeat of the article of another. That is the same thing as a stand-alone link which is not allowed here. If you have an argument or comment to make, you must make it and not just quote someone else.

      Second, while I think it licit for someone to disagree with, argue with, or question even the Pope, I insist it be respectful even if it is animated and vigorous. This piece was dripping with unconcealed contempt from the very start. Dr. Nadal may have something useful to say about this matter, but he should have taken a breath and shown some charity rather than just pure snark before saying it.

      Liked by 3 people

  20. Profound wisdom from Joe, indeed! Sometimes when you read something, it jumps out and speaks directly to your heart.

    “It is necessary to bring to light that which is hidden in us so that those who may see may receive the water and be made whole. A physician cannot heal that which is hidden. It must be made known first (brought forth) and then the physician can begin to heal.”

    So powerful! I pray that the light shines in the deepest, darkest crevices of my/our soul and exposes what only the Great Physician can heal. Even if it is painful at times, let the healing begin.

    Thank you for those words, Joe!

    Liked by 4 people

  21. Kathleen says:

    Personally, I am weary of trying to understand what the Pope said. I am tired of reading paragraph after paragraph of writers or respondents interpreting his intentions etc. I am looking more at what he does, as actions speak so much louder than words. I am making my assessments on this Pontiff based on his appointments , elevations and his silence in word and actions regarding prelates who are definitely outside and in some instances rejecting the Magisterium f the Holy Mother Church. That being said I enjoy Charlie’s inspired writings, just not so much the lengthly respondent commentary.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Sally says:

    There are certain topics that are just too sacred to comment on
    And knowing of children from heroic women who had been raped and chose life for these children
    I’m truly humbled

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Vanessa Joy says:

    Indeed it was a rough week! I felt like the wind was knocked out of me as I heard the Pope’s comments. I too am weary of all the discussion and dissection of every word said or not said, implied or not implied by our beloved Pope. Giving the benefit of the doubt and knowing I know nothing expect Christ crucified, I will choose not to have the last word, although I had plenty of strong opinions and camped a bit with my former Protestant mindset as others who live in that camp railed against him I could not help but think their concerns were legitimate. HOWEVER, the closer I examined how our Pope speaks, often in riddles and seemingly contradicting statements, he has accomplished his objective to ruffle the feathers of the righteous and to cause the sinners to ponder what he said or did not say. I would rather focus on all the good things he did say during his amazing visit to Mexico than on the words he said or did not say. Am I patient with ambiguous statements? Am I kind and charitable , do I insist on having the last word? As St. Paul says, ” Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” Being right is not the point. Being loving is better than being right.
    About his contraception comment. I know from my experience at the mill, I meet Catholics and seekers who truly think they are doing the best for others by coming in to receive their patch, pills or morning after pill. I have the opportunity to lovingly instruct them about a better way of loving the other. Abstinence until married and then no intimate barriers and WALLS when the marital act is embraced as a renewing of the vows of commitment “to death do we part.” Thankfully, almost every opportunity I am given, the seekers and falling away Catholics and Church going Catholics and Christians are very open to receive the handout I offer with seconds to spare before the guard waves them in. I encourage them with lots of smiles to read it carefully and talk to a priest as following this beautiful and life giving teaching of no contraception as it is contrary to life and it truly protects your heart from being trampled over by others who have no borders, boundaries, rules, or even walls and want to use you as a human tool of pleasure.
    In closing, no more words as I will have to retract what I just said above, 🙂 No one can deny that what makes rules in sports enjoyable as the expertise of the game of soccer, football, baseball, can be truly enjoyed as everyone understands the rules and plays by them.

    Liked by 7 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Thank you for your steadfast faith, Vanessa. When I first heard reports of the comments, my immediate concern was that it could dishearten those noble souls who have manned the barricades on behalf of the Culture of Life. God bless and keep you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • prayingflower says:

        Hear, hear! Thank you for being on the front lines, Vanessa. When I have participated in prayer at our abortion mill during 40 Days for Life I am always encouraged by those such as you who stand in the gap (over and over, time after time) knowing what to say and what to do to try to save those precious lives. I know your work is fatiguing and it is a big sacrifice but it will not go unrewarded by the Master. God bless you, my sister. You give me good example. pf

        Liked by 3 people

  24. Sylvia says:

    So relieved that you understand so well, Charlie. Please pray for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Frodo says:

    With all due respect… but I think we are missing the essence of the “kerfuffle.”

    it is stated: “What can we learn from his (Pope’s) words? It is more than the words themselves but the Spirit behind the words. The heart of the Pope coming forth.”

    This approach, as it has to do with contraception, amounts to nonsense. No one is criticizing the heart of the pope or his compassion for sinners. Instead, it is precisely his words that are being critiqued. Why? Because, at least in this instance, they lead into error. Contraception is never allowed in a marital relationship for any reason. To allude otherwise is both misleading and wrong.

    Again it is stated: “Do we accept the rebuke of our own inaction? But even this it is not so much about action or inaction. Rather, I have discerned that the rebuke is more to the disposition of our souls. It is about measure.”

    Again, this argument is nonsense. How exactly is allowing birth control to couples who *might* contract a virus that *may* cause a birth defect a rebuke or our disposition? To borrow a phrase, this seems to me to be a comment of smoke and mirrors.

    Lastly, it is stated: “The confusion is not from him but from us.”

    With all due respect, I am not confused. Birth control was wrong in 1968, still is in 2016, and will be until the end of time. It is intrinsically evil (see Humane Vitae) and is a sin against God. It seems to me that anyone, including a pope, who says otherwise is the one that is confused.

    The question that should be asked now is what shall we do? We should pray. Pray for the pope, that he may pronounce the truth even when it is not popular. Pray for those who will see this interview and as a result may venture into a sinful situation, that they may have the grace to live out their lives and marriage in an authentic Christian way. And finally pray for our Church which is being rocked to and fro in the waves of the storm.

    But to gloss over the situation in generalities; and to not fairly present or recognize the real issue is not helpful. The truth should be proclaimed all the louder. There are many souls at stake.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Frodo, your comment can well be directed at the Vatican representative who issued the terrible clarification of Pope Francis’ remarks. But contrary to the initial press reports, once the transcripts were made available it became clear the Pope did NOT say contraception is okay; he said sometimes it is okay to avoid pregnancy. Now maybe you are still relying on initial press reports rather than actual transcripts. Maybe you are relying on the toxic “clarification” from a Vatican spokesman. But the Pope, himself, did not speak approvingly of contraception. Please confine yourself, when condemning him for his statements, to what he actually said – not what others said he said. At least do so when you have an actual transcript available, which you do now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Frodo says:

        I would like to clarify I am not condemning the pope. I am taking issue with his comments on birth control. As you said this is a matter that we need not have the MSM as our primary source.

        I am somewhat puzzled at your response. First, if indeed you are saying that the pope never endorsed birth control, then why have you not corrected any of the comments above that alluded to an acceptance of birth control?

        Second, the transcript is indeed available, in fact it was available before the clarification by – not just a representative, but by the papal spokesman himself. Here is the quote for those who may not have read it:

        “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.”

        You are correct that there is a way to read that quote that would fit Catholic moral theology (NFP). However the context in which the quote was made (the nuns in Africa which Paul VI was supposedly to have granted permission in cases of rape – which has since been debunked) was quite worrisome. Still, many including myself held out hope – until the following day.

        The Vatican representative you make reference to, for readers who may not be aware, is Fr. Lombardi. Fr. Lombardi, who has been serving in his role as papal spokesperson for many years and for multiple pontiffs, was in fact there on the plane when the comments were made. I am not aware of his statements ever having to be retracted or accused of being wrong over the many years on the job. In fact, it would be a newsworthy event that an accurate official papal spokesperson would issue a clarifying statement that was in fact the very opposite of what the original meaning of the pope’s comments were.

        Is that truly your stance on this Charlie?

        And let me say once again I am not condemning the pope, far from it. I truly love the pope and include him in my prayers each and everyday. He is the head of Christ’s church and the least I can do is pray for him… but that does not mean I cannot object to personal opinions he may have and I should be silent when those situations arise.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          Thanks Frodo. This comment is completely fine, as it is fastidiously accurate. If the Pope does, indeed, condone contraception in these circumstances, I think he is wrong in his personal view of the matter. It could have been interpreted either way, until Fr. Lombardi gave that clarification. I don’t know exactly what the Pope thinks precisely on the matter. I know what Fr. Lombardi says he meant. I also know that Pope Francis a few years back complained that the Papal Court was a “leprosy on the Papacy.” I hope the Pope clarifies this clarification.

          My stance on it is that when parsing the Pope’s words, one should stick to his actual words rather than a single interpretation of ambiguous words.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Frodo says:

            Thanks Charlie. I too believe that the pope would be wrong in acceptance of birth control. Unfortunately, given both the context and the clarification that followed, it appears that this is indeed the case.

            My initial purpose for commenting was twofold:

            First to correct the context of the concern about the pope’s words – it had to do with birth control acceptance not mercy or pride. I still believe that the original post from Joe was off-base and misrepresenting the concerns some still have over this issue.

            Second, it must be made all the more clear that birth control is an offense against God, especially in light of the prevailing headlines and interpretations.

            I thank you for the voice allowed to me on your blog. I pray that you will be a voice for truth even in the confusing times in which we live.

            Liked by 3 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Thanks again, Frodo. Being that voice is often tougher than it looks. I will have a post tomorrow on something related to all this. Perhaps the thing I am proudest of in this online community is that we have established a forum where we can talk about real things, and real disagreements – and know we care about faith, truth and each other. I try to set a tone without dampening down serious discussion. Perhaps it is kind of a fatherly pride, but I think we delve into deeper detail here on more subjects with more erudition than any other place I know of on the web. The thing is, whether I agree or disagree with the people who post here, I have a real confidence that they deeply want to find what is true and live it. I love that about the people here – and I thank you for your contributions to the discussion.

            Liked by 6 people

          • I needed to read this. I don’t know what to make of any of this. I don’t understand how Pope Francis is out on the edge of the property and saying birth control is ok. It’s a tension of two things I’m not used to.

            I really hope this is what you say, the leprosy of the Vatican and that Pope Francis clarifies.

            Does he even know this holy mess is such a mess?

            Like

          • Clarification– I do understand Pope Francis didn’t say all BC is ok, but he was referring in the case of Zika.

            Like

  26. Anne says:

    Just to say I re read joe’s comment….. So much there. The Holy Spirit is truly shining His Light drawing out what is our heart’s disposition. How does the world escape from taking advantage of this time of Grace ………. By running faster into keeping busy.
    Be still and know I am God. Sit with the Lord in silence …..yes surgery is invasive and painful but Jesus gives is gentle and guides the surgery according to each person and what they can take.
    However, the time of Grace can move into a time of Justice.
    Best to take opportunities now…. God is patient …. However…………..!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. tim says:

    Such a lot to take in and pray about. So many challenges to my own viewpoints and spirituality, as I read your comments, Charlie, and the three articles you link to. I pray that I can suspend my own strong viewpoints on matters such as immigration and contraception, and just let God teach me now, so that I am indeed both solid in the Faith and very ready to embrace all of those who I will meet and help in the days approaching. Honestly, it feels like it must have been for the Allied troops in the days just before the Allied invasion of Normandy in WWII– preparing for a very challenging time, while trying to live each day without anxiously scanning the future, which could not be known, not even the day and certainly not the actual circumstances that would be faced. God bless everyone here!

    Liked by 6 people

  28. Beckita says:

    St. Michael the Archangel… Joe, thank you so much for your inspired comment which I read jjust after Charlie cleared it and have reread. Thanks too, Charlie, for the additional articles.

    From the time of discovering these latest problems arising from the Papal interview, it was the reference to contraception which has caused the greatest concern for me mainly because I’ve received emails from people wanting feedback. I’ve watched and waited, read and prayed, believing that clarification will come. The full text of the interview readily clarified for me an understanding of the issue with “walls.” On contraception, I have read quite a few commentaries from solid Catholic people who have laid down their lives to build the Culture of Life. Many are writing now to firmly uphold Magisterial teaching on this issue while expressing their hope for some sort of clarification.

    Most of the people who have communicated with me are ordinary people, hidden in the trenches, working in parish education programs attempting to take participants right where they are and stretch them into knowing and honoring Magisterial teaching. Many participants are people whose lives are lived not only on the peripheries of Church teaching but often lived in outright disobedience due to spiritual wounds rooted in poor catechesis. Several orthodox teachers/facilitators were not looking forward to their Sunday duties today because of the confusion surrounding the contraception statements and I empathize. Beyond the distortions made by secular media, there was concern expressed about how to understand and then discuss the Holy Father’s comments.

    I think the Twitter quote you have shared, Phoenix, captures a vital aspect of the essence of who Pope Francis is: “Entering through the Holy Door means discovering the depths of the Father’s mercy, who seeks each of us personally.” This is exactly what I perceive this Pontiff doing as the Vicar of Christ: reaching out on a personal level at every opportunity. I think it is but one part of the brilliance and magnetism of his Papacy. I see him willing to enter into the most complex human problems and bravely wrestle with all facets of what is. This time, in discussing the Zika virus and ways to address its possible connection to the birth defect, I wonder if he spoke too soon. We are yet discovering and uncovering the truth about the possibility of connection between microcephaly and the Zika virus, a virus that is not actually new for it was first isolated in Uganda in 1947: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zika_virus (Caveat which you all know: Wikipedia is far from an original source so I hope it is accurate information and I welcome any correction via a primary source.)

    I have shared this article, by theologian and ethecist, Pia de Solenni, several times yet I think it deserves inclusion for anyone who may have missed it: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/piadesolenni/6-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-zika-virus/?repeat=w3tc

    de Solenni has writtena follow up article:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/piadesolenni/what-did-the-pope-say-on-the-way-back-from-mexico/?repeat=w3tc

    I also wonder: in his humanity did Pope Francis misspeak? I would be amazed to meet even one person who has never misspoken.

    In responding to people seeking my feedback, I understand the frustration and anger yet I notice something very real and disturbing to me. Often, certainly not always but often, I’ve noticed, at least in my personal experience, those who are most readily frustrated are people who immediately went into hypercritical mode when Pope Francis was first elected. There are some who continue to pick, pick, pick, pick, pick concerning this Holy Father, almost lying in wait to pounce on him. I’ve also noticed these folks have a tendency to cling to anger which in some cases has become resentment against Pope Francis. There is great wisdom here: Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. (Ephesians 4:26) God bless us one and all!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Beckita says:

      Well, here’s an extraordinary clarification. I say extraordinary because it comes fresh from my Facebook newsfeed page via Janet E. Smith who many of you know is a renown professor of moral theology and has been a leader in teaching about Humanae Vitae. Earlier today, YD referenced some of her work in relation to the use of condoms. Janet’s statement made today:

      “It is nearly certain that Pope Paul VI never wrote or spoke publicly about the nuns in the Congo and contraception. That does not mean he did not approve it behind closed doors. It seems there is conflicting evidence in that regard.

      Whatever the case may be, I believe the arguments that it is moral for women to take non-abortive measures to avoid getting pregnant as the result of rape. The act by which they may become pregnant is non-marital and non-voluntary and violent. One can protect one’s self not only from violent acts but the consequences of violent acts. A woman should be able to prevent a rapist from impacting any part of her being and that includes an ovum.”

      Liked by 5 people

    • Snowy Owl says:

      Amen, Viva il Papa!

      Liked by 2 people

  29. Ava Eadie says:

    This is very off topic, and I am sorry about that, but this wordpress is giving me a head ache. I am not a blogger, and to do this or that, it makes me sign up, and then it sets up side panels on my page when I try to come to TNRS site so that I can not even read the site…venting and frustrated

    Like

    • Snowy Owl says:

      Ava, shut everything down after you’re done signing up and give it a little time. The same thing happened to me when I first signed up- one issue after another and finally it worked!

      Liked by 2 people

      • prayingflower says:

        It happened to me, also. I guess because I am so inept, God took pity on me and just kicked it for me and suddenly it was working like a charm. Praying, Ava. pf

        Liked by 2 people

    • Petra says:

      Ava Eadie: I’m not sure what you’re describing. Go ahead and sign up for WordPress and don’t log out. Then open a new Window, and go to this link:
      https://charliej373.wordpress.com/
      Hopefully that will allow you to see only Charlie’s blog in the new Window. I also think there’s a blue bar on the top of the page along the right that says something like “Follow The Next Right Step” and you can click on that in order to access some of the other features like the Like button and getting comments sent to your email. There are instructions on how to do that under the Books/PDF’s/FAQ’s/Extras link at the top of the page if you need more help.

      Please let us know if you are still having problems and someone (probably SteveBC) will chime in to help you.

      God bless (and welcome!)

      Like

    • SteveBC says:

      Ava Eadie, I’m sorry to hear you’re having so many problems. It can be daunting.

      Petra is correct. We have a FAQ to help people sign up to follow Charlie’s site. It’s located in Section 2 of “Books/PDFs/FAQs/Extras” in the lower right corner of the navigation bar at the top of the page. Go there and look for the “For Technical and Website Assistance” subsection. Click the link there to read the Guide. While you’re there, please feel free to check out the other material there, which you might find interesting.

      Once you do get signed in successfully, just stay signed in. The FAQ mentions how to do this. Once signed in, you should see a narrow black ribbon across the very top of this page. That’s the WordPress.com ribbon and gives you access to your preferences for getting email alerts for the site(s) you have signed up to follow.

      I don’t know what you, Snowy Owl or PrayingFlower are experiencing with the side panel issue. My guess is that it’s a problem with your browser, either on its own or because it can’t properly interpret what wordpress.com sends it. Given SO’s and PF’s fix, you should be able to get that problem to go away, although you may need to quit and reopen your browser to do so.

      Please post again if you continue to have problems and be sure to put my screen name “SteveBC” (no spaces) into your message text. I will find it and see if I can help further. 🙂

      Like

  30. Sr Lorraine says:

    I’d like to share what happened to me yesterday at Mass. Earlier this week I too had been disturbed by these new comments from the pope, and other things going on. But at Mass somehow it hit me that confusion is all around us, and that I shouldn’t blame anybody for it–not the pope, not the people in the media, not anybody, even if they have had something to do with it.
    Why? It’s because I somehow just knew that ultimately the satan is at the bottom of all the confusion. He is the one who is using it to disturb and disrupt the faithful. And this incredible feeling of peace settled on me, and my whole feeling about Pope Francis changed too. It was strange but I just sort of knew that despite all of this, God wants him to lead the Church now and Jesus knows what he is doing. I just have to hang on and trust.

    Liked by 11 people

  31. Anne says:

    Yes Sister….. So right.
    Just before reading your comment I realized that as we go deeper into the darkness we must expect these things ….. And not to get caught up in the surface of the ocean…..look at the bottom and what is really happening. The deception ….. Lies …..etc …… Do not get pulled in. That is why we must stay with the Light through the Sacraments and with…..Jesus, I trust in You.
    The world,flesh and devil are trying to pull us from Trust.
    Do not get caught up in the noise. Our hearts are being exposed….. Our dispositions.
    oh Lord have Mercy on us all. I sense the battle more as we move into the Year of Mercy!

    Liked by 3 people

    • ann says:

      Well said, Anne. And Sister Lorraine that was moment of Holy Spirit wisdom I think. If we are struggling in all this confusion can you imagine the forces that are being unleashed on the Pope? I have to remember that and pray for him pray for him pray for him.
      Anne you say “don’t get caught up in the noise” Too true! And too easy. Yikes. Sacraments! Holy Hours! More prayer.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. I can’t find the prayer thread, but if any of you could pray for my family. I’m sitting in the ER — my son was just brought back to mental health for attempted suicide. Heroin. I also had to bring him to the police station because he stole my daughters savings.

    I’m seeing Christ in the nurses, in the cops, in so many people. I’m happy this happened, that he called me, that we got him here. Because he’s been an addict for about 10 years now. When I first found this site, I prayed the prayer of miraculous trust. If this is part of my sons path to salvation, I’ll take it.

    This lent. It’s such a lent.

    Like

  33. cathyg2015 says:

    Brianna, I am praying for your son’s recovery and peace for you and your family.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. narnialion says:

    Briana,
    I have said the Prayer of Miraculous Trust for you and your son through the intercession of St. Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist. God is with you. Do not be afraid. I have been through a similar agonizing situation (with two sons). You and your son are in my heart and in the heart of Holy Mary.

    Hail Holy Queen Mother of Mercy. Our life, our sweetness and our hope.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. diane says:

    Briana,
    Praying for your son – May God use this to bring him safely to the harbor of love. May your hearts rest in the heart of Christ. And may you know in your heart that Jesus is in the midst of all your troubles. God Bless you, Briana for being a light to your son. Love. I do.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. I am so humbled. Thank you all so much. It breaks my heart to know so many have experience with this. Lord, have mercy on the addicts, and on those who love them.

    Liked by 4 people

  37. Bob says:

    And reading this post and these responses on the evil of addiction I could always use prayers too as I work with addicts and frankly on those days when I may see 2 or 3 heroin addicts, some of them having been to treatment multiple times, it is difficult to have the same compassion for each one. Sometimes during a busy day it is easier to think “Oh just another one”. So hearing the request for prayer from a family member helps to remind me of the human suffering involved. And sometimes I do ask why God allows it to be so easy for people to be led astray and enslaved by this? Thanks for your sharing and support here.

    Liked by 5 people

  38. CrewDog says:

    I’m not a huge fan of Voris but I do believe that he is earnest in his Faith and his views are worth considering. I don’t believe he is a friend of the Pope but the below comments of modern communication technology, Catholic (&non-Catholic) misconceptions and it’s dangers to the Church/Faithful is worth a look.

    http://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/a-disgrace-to-the-chair-of-peter?mc_cid=5eda75d369&mc_eid=2a0b6c7ef6

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Like

    • Jackisback says:

      Voris is extremely well-read and I would not want to be in an argument with him. His video that you cite is instructive. He went into great detail about how what His Holiness says off the cuff has “no Magisterial weight.” Of course, he didn’t go into any detail on what we are to make of off the cuff statements made by His Holiness that are directly contrary to the Magisterium. He only says that the Pope (like all past Popes) “makes mistakes.”

      Like

      • Kim sevier says:

        I just read this Voris piece. I knew there were popes with less than stellar behavior (fathered children), but wow, murdering homosexual pope? So hard to contemplate. Yipes! An eye-opener. Comforting to know the Holy Spirit protects our church in spite of all that. Barque of Peter, I cling to you.

        Liked by 2 people

  39. Christiaria says:

    I came across this timely post today on Facebook:

    Anxious about scandals going on in the world beyond your control? Listen to the advice St. Therese gave to her sister Celine.

    The following is an excerpt from a book called “The Love That Keeps Us Sane: Living the Little Way of St. Therese of Lisieux” by Marc Foley, O.C.D. Specifically, it’s about St. Therese advising her sister Celine not to fret over things that were out of her control:

    In 1880, France passed laws against religious orders. Celine was very upset that many religious communities were submitting to these laws. One day she said to Therese, “My entire being rises up in rebellion when I witness such a spirit of cowardice. I would be cut into a thousand pieces rather than belong to any of these communities or assist them in any way.”
    Therese responded, “We should not be concerned about such matters at all. It is true that I would be of your opinion and act perhaps in the same way had I any responsibility in the matter. But I have no obligation whatsoever. Moreover, our only duty is to become united to God. Even if we were members of those communities which are being publicly criticized for their defections, we would be greatly at fault in becoming disquieted.”

    Therese’s advice to Celine is basic for maintaining sanity. It asks her to differentiate what she can do from what she can’t. What could a cloistered nun in nineteenth-century France do about the political situation except pray and be faithful to her vocation? Put positively, how does God want Celine to be responsible regarding the political situation of France? Ruminating about what we would do if our life were different does nothing except churn us up inside and tempt us to neglect what we are called to do.

    St. Teresa of Avila wrote that “sometimes the devil gives us great desires so that we will avoid setting ourselves to the task at hand, serving our Lord in possible things, and instead be content with having desired the impossible.”
    Being able to focus on the task at hand when the whole world is falling around us not only can keep us sane, but also may be a sign of deep holiness. The two are often interrelated.

    Liked by 13 people

  40. canada1nw says:

    I heard this quote on the EWTN Mass homily yesterday morning. I believe it is one we should often remember. Now when I say “weird” things, I will offer it up for Pope Francis, instead of beating myself up, feeling like a nincompoop 🙂

    “Perhaps it would be a good thing if every Christian, certainly if every priest, would dream once in his life that he were Pope, and wake from that nightmare in a sweat of agony.”
    University and Anglican Sermons, p. 430

    Liked by 2 people

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