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The Bitter Sons Speak of Francis

“Here’s a suggestion for everyone,” wrote a Jack Quirk, responding to a Facebook discussion: “Act toward each other as if a non-Catholic was observing the conversation, and his eternal salvation depended on the view of Catholicism he took away from the conversation.”

It’s excellent advice, but not followed by those who have the disturbingly common problem the writer Scott Eric Alt has called the “Pope Francis Derangement Syndrome” or even the simpler taste for causing distress Andrew Haines described yesterday.

As I was writing this, I saw an email from a Catholic, writing in an ecumenical group, who said: “This Pope must die. God take him, and quickly, before he attempts to teach officially what it appears he espouses unofficially. The insult offered the Immaculate Virgin, by daring to implement questionable changes to the annulment process as of the 8th of December, is an example of Jesuitical, if not diabolical, pride and hubris that truly tempts God. If the Lord is merciful, he will deliver his Church and people from this despot.” He was reacting to the dubious report of a notoriously unreliable journalist, but that was enough for him to wish the pope dead.

Bad, Bad, Bad

The comment’s extreme, but not untypical of the kind of comments you can see in email, web, and Facebook discussions from people who are not otherwise obviously crazy, as well as from some who seem to be. There are a lot of them too. These reactions to Francis range from unrelenting peevishness and suspicion to versions of “The pope must die,” but they are the same sort of thing across the spectrum. Francis is not only a bad pope but a bad man serving bad ends.

Francis can be criticized and criticized strongly. The critics I’m talking about distinguish themselves from other critics by reading Francis as unscrupulous prosecuting attorneys, who care only to get the conviction and the maximum sentence. They say nothing in his favor, unless they say it as the beginning of a sentence that ends in a sharp criticism.

Words they would have quickly posted on Facebook had Benedict said them they leave unreported, because those words would disturb their narrative about Francis. This is true of some of the more moderate critics, who protest their loyalty to the pope. The “presence of an absence” suggests what they really feel.

Nothing he can do, short of saying what they would say were they him, will change their minds. I was wrong to hope that they might grow out of it.

They talk about Francis and even the Church as something alien, dangerous, out to get them. They talk about the pope in public the way they wouldn’t talk about their father or any other relative or friend they cared about. They happily rouse even outsiders to come attack the pope. The problem is not so much what they say, though that can be bad enough, but the way they say it.

Very different was the attitude of Father Ronald Knox, who is probably a great favorite of some of Francis’s angriest critics. In a homily titled “St. Peter Continued Knocking,” he wrote: “Did it never occur to you that we call the Pope the Holy Father because we think of him as our father?” He knew the Church’s history and was not naïve about how unsatisfactory popes could be, but he continued:

That the unity of the Church is not the unity of a machine but the unity of a great family? That our obedience to the Holy Father in that very limited range of affairs in which he demands our obedience is not that of a workman towards the foreman who will sack him if he doesn’t work, but it is that of children towards their father—each eager to outdo the others in showing affection; each eager to outstrip the others in anticipating his slightest wish? That we obey him in effect not because we fear him as the doorkeeper of heaven, but because we love him as the shepherd of Christians, of Christ’s flock?

John Henry Newman, certainly another favorite of Francis’s critics, said much the same thing. A useful exercise for the critic would be to ask what Newman or Knox would have said, had they the same opinion of the Holy Father. Their criticism would sound very different from the criticism given by Francis’s critics.

Speak of the Father

The critics don’t speak as disappointed or worried sons. They don’t read the pope with deference and humility, as an adult son listening to his father. My own father rarely gave advice, but when he did, I listened to him carefully. I stifled my desire to object or contradict and even when after much thought I still disagreed, I tried to find ways in which he was right, because he was a wise man who loved me. He was not infallible, but as I look back now, he was right more often than I saw then.

Even Francis’ bitterest critics should speak of him the way one speaks of a father when one has to be publicly critical, which is far less often than his critics think: To say what you have to say but not more, and certainly not bitterly, and to say the hardest things in a way to protect his good name. What you say of him you say of yourself and your family and for that family’s good name you are jealous. That is especially true when that family is the Church, into which you want others to enter.

As Jack Quirk says, remember what effect your words have on others you are called to influence as you are able. What does the way some Catholics speak of their own Church tell them? Not that they should become Catholics themselves. Why join a family when so many members automatically reject what the father says and some even want him dead?

A few of them might be sophisticated enough to think that these people must be so perfectly confident in the Divine origin and end of their Church that they can criticize the way they do. But not many will be and even the ones who are will notice the harsh and unrelenting anger. Most will take the lesson, “See how these Catholics hate their Church.”

Further Reading:

David Mills’ Rereading Francis

Andrew Haines’ Pope Francis is a Toxic Asset and Who’s Really at War with Pope Francis?

Audra Nakas’ Trusting Pope Francis

Aaron Taylor’s Pope Francis’s Conservatism of Joy

Jose Mena’s Why Americans Misunderstand Pope Francis

 

Readers are invited to discuss essays in argumentative and fraternal charity, and are asked to help build up the community of thought and pursuit of truth that Ethika Politika strives to accomplish, which includes correction when necessary. The editors reserve the right to remove comments that do not meet these criteria and/or do not pertain to the subject of the essay.

  • noclownquestion1

    Fair points, all. Well done. These “prosecuting Catholics” might be less angry, however, if it wasn’t for the slavishly-blind “professional Catholics,” who refuse to brook even objectively-fair criticisms of a pope who has been often confusing and apparently too stubborn (or something) to correct the many misimpressions he has left after his planned and impromptu comments, all to the detriment of the authority of Church teaching and those who are more than ready to follow him.

    • The criticism on his “impromptu” comments is a fair one, although in fairness it seems he has rather improved in some areas, such as the plane press conferences. He’ll never be a master at it.

      • marcpuck

        Does his Holiness not realise how the reportage of Dr Scalfari must appear to those of us who aren’t his friends? I can understand the off-the-cuff responses to journalists being sometimes, well, I can only imagine how badly I’d maul my responses in those circumstances. But private conversations that his Holiness must know are going to be presented in the mass media as his view of this or that– that I really cannot understand.

  • Michel Vachon

    It’s in the very nature of the internet that any position you can think of will draw some supporters who will say stupid and unkind things. Drawing attention to them, as this article does, achieves nothing useful.

    • David Mills

      Well, it might discourage some of them from saying stupid and unkind things in public, which would be useful, the way scrubbing the sulfur out of the smoke from the factories around here has been useful. So there’s that. But I wasn’t thinking of random web comments but of the comments of substantial and influential figures writing both on well-read social media and email exchanges and on websites with some status. It’s a phenomenon of significance.

      • Michel Vachon

        And you don’t think it would be possible to find supporters of Pope Francis saying equally stupid things?

        • marcpuck

          Are we not all ‘supporters of Pope Francis’ in that we are Catholics? There are specific questions about which the reigning Pontiff and I disagree, evidently, which disagreement does not make me any less a ‘supporter of Pope Francis’ than e.g. (since I asked for names supra) P Spadaro SJ, at any rate in the one, basic sense.

          • Michel Vachon

            I’ll take that as a “Yes”.

      • marcpuck

        I do wonder which ‘substantial and influential figures’ you are accusing of ‘bitterness’? Any chance you might name names to enlighten the rest of us?

        Frankly, I had been prepared to pass over this, having read it, as more or less a sermon against giving scandal and allowing our souls to be infected by worldly bitterness– and who is going to disagree with any of that?– until I saw your comment.

        If it is the differences of opinion, perspective and judgment held by others that are your real concern here, please spell them out. Or just say that you are not going to discuss X or Y in public, perhaps.

      • NDaniels

        People should always be respectful, but this does not change the fact that a Catholic who no longer believes that which a Catholic must believe with Divine and Catholic Faith, is no longer in communion with Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

  • NDaniels

    As the mother of a daughter who developed a same-sex sexual attraction as the result of the perfect storm, I can assure you that it is because I Love my daughter, as I Love all my children, that I desire that she develop healthy and Holy relationships and friendships that are respectful of herself and others, in private as well as in public, and that she, like all my children, does not engage in any type of act that is physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually destructive, and thus demeans the inherent Dignity of the human person.

    On Page 117, of the pope’s book, On Heaven and Earth, in regards to same-sex unions, pope Francis stated this:
    “If there is a union of a PRIVATE NATURE, THERE IS NEITHER A THIRD PARTY NOR IS SOCIETY AFFECTED. Now, if this union is given the category of marriage and they are given adoption rights, there could be children affected. Every person needs a male father and female mother that can help them shape their identity. – Jorge Mario Bergoglio

    Why not tell those men and woman, who have developed a same-sex sexual attraction the truth? It is because we Love you, and respect your Dignity as a beloved son or daughter, that we cannot condone the engaging in or affirmation of any act, including any sexual act that demeans your inherent Dignity as a beloved son or daughter.The desire to engage in a demeaning act of any nature, does not change the nature of the act. We Love you, and because we Love you, we desire that you will always be treated with, and will always treat others with Dignity and respect in private as well as in public. We will not tolerate the engaging in or condoning of sexual behavior that does not reflect the upmost respect for the human person.

    I am not a bitter daughter, but a daughter who is in mourning.

    A Catholic conscience must be in communion with Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

    God, The Ordered Communion of Perfect Love, The Blessed Trinity, Is The Author of Love, Life, and Marriage, the purpose of which can only be, what God intended.

  • DavidM

    Of course there are always degrees, but putting it grossly: David Mills I respect; Andrew Haines, in light of his article yesterday, I do not (for reasons I laid out in comments on Haines’s article). Mills’s implicit endorsement of Haines’s article diminishes my respect for Mills.

    “Act toward each other as if a non-Catholic was observing the conversation, and his eternal salvation depended on the view of *Catholicism* he took away from the conversation.”

    Now that’s a very good principle. But don’t conflate “Catholicism” or “the Church” with “the pope.” If an intelligent, reflective, conscientious person who is non-Catholic observes Catholics irrationally attacking fellow-Catholics who criticize the pope, surely he will think, “I’m glad I’m not Catholic: Catholics aren’t allowed to criticize the pope, even when it’s obvious to any intelligent, reflective, conscientious person that he has done things which are certainly criticisable – or if Catholics do criticize, they will be attacked by means of various vague insinuations and insults coming from the more self-righteous and irrational of their co-religionists.” (Of course the observing non-Catholic is still perfectly free to take either example of ‘Catholicism’ as the normative one, so the question remains – in connection with the application of the above principle – as to which of the opposing Catholics has the more correct ‘Catholic’ viewpoint towards the Church and the pope – and on this head Douthat is way ahead of Haines (not to mention those other notorious and odious Douthat-critics).)

    • NDaniels

      Our call to Holiness has always been a call to witness to The Truth of Love. A pope who denies The Deposit of Faith, having thus revealed himself to be an anti Pope, is not infallible when he speaks ex cathedra, in regards to Faith and morals.

  • Colin Corcoran

    Actually – I think it is outstanding for protestants to see that Catholics are not mindless automatons. That their faith is in the church itself, not one man who is only infallible in the narrowest of circumstances. It is also good not to pretend that Popes like Honorarius I did not happen. Such discussions openly go a long way to demonstrating that our faith is an informed decision, that our beliefs are based on something deeper than whatever the Pope says at his angelus address – but rather on 2000 years of doctrine and tradition. I think it is very good for protestants to see the doctrine and tradition defended. As I myself have written on many times – theologically there is no sound way to do what was attempted at the synod without unraveling the basis for all the rest of catholic theology with it. Oh wait, I must not count – since I don’t have a PhD in theology for a Jesuit university, nor am I a card carrying member of the “Church of Nice”. Let us never forget that moment when St. Nicholas beat the tar out of an Arian heretic at the council of Nicea. No – I think it’s good to see people invested in defending the faith even if they don’t do it in the way progressives want them to. It’s long past time they realized the stakes and stepped up.

    • DavidM

      Exactly! Now that obviously doesn’t mean Catholics are free to act like “unscrupulous prosecuting attorneys” – but if people like Mills or Haines want to level that kind of accusation against other Catholics, they better take care to do so in a non-hypocritical way!

  • onlyhuman

    Thank you, David Mills, for your article. The bitterness of some in their disproportionate reactions toward Pope Francis, or any prophetic leader for that matter, is a very real part of our Catholic family. This element always has been. But the lack of humility and explosive rhetoric in its current forms are destructive. Overly aggressive criticisms undermine themselves as pharisaical venom. I read an article yesterday by an otherwise wonderful theologian who unfortunately made a terrible statement, actually claiming that “CCD instructors at local parishes” who bend toward a more liberal theology represent a greater threat to the soul than ISIS militants. What alienating garbage! I ask all vehement critics to review the statements of the Pharisees and Saducees in the Gospels, and Christ’s responses to them. With appropriate reflection, prayer, and loving action, our Catholic brothers and sisters who have had such disproportionate reactions can participate more constructively in spreading the kingdom of God.

  • MamaK

    I see Mills and Haines really hit some raw nerves and a lot of “if the shoe fits” Catholics are responding in the comments. I have been appalled (and embarrassed) at the disrespect being manifest toward the Holy Father in the Catholic internet world. I have especially noted it in the RadTrad crowd (who seem to be at their most gleeful when they are wallowing in Drama Persecution). They haven’t liked Pope Francis since Day One because he is indifferent to the Tridentine Latin mass (and the TLM is everything to these folks). Now, they’ll take any faggots they can to add fuel to the papal pyre. I’ll throw some Latin out there for you RT Drama Queens: Ubi Petrus, ibi eccelesia. Another group that has had a lot of vitriol against the Holy Father is the “Conservative-Republican-first-Catholic-second crowd”. There has been a marked uptick in hate-spewing and attempts to discredit Pope Francis since “Laudato Si” came out and criticized some sacred conservative cows. These people are treating Pope Francis as if he were Hilary Clinton, using any means to co-opt the “opposition candidate.” All this has confirmed my suspicion that very few American Catholics truly understand the nature of the Church or the papacy.

  • LawProf61

    “Extreme, but not untypical”? You lost me there. This lumps all criticism with someone who wishes the Pope dead.

    • JTLiuzza

      That’s what leftists do. Take an extreme position (some anonymous person wishing the Pope dead), attach a name to that position, usually in the form of a mental disease (phobia) like “Pope Francis Derangement Syndrome”, then attach that label to everyone with whom they disagree.

      Vile.

      This guy is to be ignored. I can’t believe Pewsitter linked this tripe.

  • M.D. Harmon

    1) I am not a Roman Catholic. 2) I do, however, wish the Church well, as I wish all Christian bodies well. 3) I wonder how much of the criticism leveled at Francis is spurred not so much by what he has done or not done as it is by the recognized presence of many in the hierarchy who are plainly dissenting from the doctrinal history of the church — the kind of leaders, episcopal and theologians alike, that Ross Douthat recently said his Times column were openly heretical. There may be fear — well-founded or not — that all that crowd needs is a leader to make a hash of the church’s leadership in the world. And Francis has, you must admit, not repudiated them the way he has appeared to repudiate some more traditional standard-bearers. Nevertheless, he has not crossed the line. Yet. And he may never do it. However, I do think there is a reason to be fearful that he may, and that makes it difficult to hold back, as the result would be disastrous. It’s good to know that God remains in charge, isn’t it?

    • NDaniels

      M.D. Harmon, you are simply mistaken:

      Page 117, of the pope’s book, On Heaven and Earth, in regards to same-sex unions
      “If there is a union of a PRIVATE NATURE, THERE IS NEITHER A THIRD PARTY NOR IS SOCIETY AFFECTED. Now, if this union is given the category of marriage and they are given adoption rights, there could be children affected. Every person needs a male father and female mother that can help them shape their identity. “- Jorge Mario Bergoglio
      Approval of same-sex sexual unions is approval of same-sex sexual acts. We have a Pope who is not in communion with The Catholic Church. (Catholic Canon 750)

      “Man is an end in himself.” – Laudato Si

      Man was created for communion with God.

      • M.D. Harmon

        There is a better construction of that passage than the one you have put on it. That is, two homosexuals sharing living quarters and keeping their activities to themselves harm no one (other than themselves, of course). Calling it a marriage and giving it adoption rights (the two go together in most places) does affect others, so it can be condemned as a public harm. Admittedly, Francis seems willing to let the private couple be judged by God, who is perfectly capable of bearing that obligation. I do not see this as Francis commending their relationship, just commenting on its private (between themselves and God) nature. That it is objectively sinful is, of course, a sound conclusion. I am glad I am not in a position to impose penalties for such things, however.

        • NDaniels

          Prior to being elected pope, Francis condoned same-sex sexual relationships as long as they were not called marriage and did not include children. Prior to being elected pope, Francis condoned same-sex sexual acts and same-sex sexual relationships, and thus was not in communion with Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. The election of Francis is not valid. (see Catholic Canon 750)

          http://www.dailycatholic.org/cumexapo.htm

        • NDaniels

          The fact is, prior to being elected pope, Cardinal Bergoglio made a public statement condoning same-sex sexual acts and same-sex sexual relationships as long as these relationships were not called marriage and did not involve children. One cannot condone same-sex sexual acts and same-sex sexual relationships and remain in communion with Christ, and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

    • I am not Spartacus

      Mr. Harmon. Portland Press Herald editor?

      • M.D. Harmon

        Not for years. I teach in a private school, and am a free-lance writer and speaker.

  • I agree with many of your points. On a couple, I must disagree at least by degree.

    You provide a particular piece of invective against the pope and rightly call it extreme, but also call it typical. Almost by definition, extreme is different to typical: typical being the most common, a sort of prototype example, and extreme being something that deviates to a large degree from the base, origin, or prototype. It is my experience that most of the criticism of Pope Francis does not include wishes that he should die.

    Also, you write, “The critics don’t speak as disappointed or worried sons.” This is a generalization, and a pretty broad one. I love the Holy Father, and am personally worried about some of his courses of action. He is guaranteed against teaching as definitive and binding something contrary to salvation; there is a lot of room for all kinds of trouble, though, and adult sons and daughters – even savvier children – sometimes have legitimate reasons to be concerned about courses adopted by their parents. Would to God that all children had good reason to have absolute confidence in all their fathers. Would to God that the Holy Father had not said and done some things that, even in the most charitable possible light, seem questionable by good and wise men.

  • steve5656546346

    Frankly, this article seems bitter to me: as though it were written by a prosecuting attorney.

  • Patrick Deneen

    This is the second posting in as many days accusing unnamed commentators. I would encourage EP – on which I serve as Board member – to cease these anonymous accusations and level charges against specific people, by name. Otherwise, cease and desist, lest you be be rightly thought fomenting the very division you accuse of unnamed others.

    • NDaniels

      The “bitter sons”, are the ones who do not desire that we overcome our disordered inclinations and become transformed through Salvational Love, God’s Gift of Grace and Mercy.

      https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/family-leaders-alarmed-at-popes-personal-invitees-for-synod

    • David Mills

      Pat: Thank you for this. I had thought about that, but naming a few names would have turned the article into an article on “Mills v. Smith and Jones” and the points I wanted to make would have disappeared. Once the writer personalizes the argument it becomes personal. This is esp. true when the names aren’t society’s biggies.

      In offering a description of things as you see them, you’re essentially offering a template and readers can decide whether they think it applies. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, fine. Mine certainly applies to people I’ve observed. Don’t you think it applies to people you know?

      • Pearson

        “I had thought about that, but naming a few names would have turned the
        article into an article on “Mills v. Smith and Jones” and the points I
        wanted to make would have disappeared. Once the writer personalizes the
        argument it becomes personal.”

        This is a cop-out. If it gets personal, then someone made it personal. Take your own advice and don’t be that guy. Be the guy who acts like a gentleman and either offers direct, charitable criticism to another man’s face or holds his tongue.

        “In offering a description of things as you see them, you’re essentially
        offering a template and readers can decide whether they think it
        applies.”

        Or, it’s a weaselly way of smearing all Francis’
        critics with the same brush without having to tackle those critic’s
        arguments AND maintaining enough plausible deniability to allow you to
        dismiss your own critics.

        You’re not JUST offering a template, you’re offering a template PLUS “various vaguely-directed insinuations and insults” as DavidM (mostly) put it below. This a is cowardly, divisive, and hypocritical act. I’m sure you’ll be shocked (shocked!) when your actions lead to more bad blood on both sides, instead of reasoned dialog, understanding, and mutual respect.

        All that being said, I don’t think you’re necessarily acting in bad faith here, but you should recant these tactics if you care about trying to build up the infinitesimally small orthodox catholic community left in the West. Not tons of us left, i’m afraid, and it’s very unclear to what extent Francis is in sympathy with us. His works may ultimately benefit our opponents, but we’re totally impotent if divided. He may have to be opposed and we need to accept that this Kasperite business is categorically more important that whatever we like about his Encyclicals (I found plenty to like and plenty to worry about).

        Could frank discussion of Francis’ elevation of the Kasperites turn orthodox Catholics off to his encyclicals and all the helpful things he’s done? Yes. Is that a price we should be willing to pay in order to be united in the face of a Kasperite-dominated “Synodal Chuch”? Of course! Priorities, people! We don’t need Francis’ to write inspiring things about the poor or the evils of exploitative economic arrangement, because we already have 2000 years of inspiration to draw on. I really, really wanted his pontificate to usher in a revival of Catholic Social Teaching (Leo XIII, Chesterton, etc), but that’s gonna hafta wait, apparently.

  • Torquemada Tequila

    Thank-you David, for writing what many Catholics are thinking who like myself appreciate Pope Francis and what he is trying to do in the Church (and for the record I am a traditionalist whose favourite post-conciliar pope has been Benedict).

    It is not that I believe Pope Francis is above constructive criticism; it is too often I am turned off by his critics’ bitterness, cynicism and lack of filial respect.

    • NDaniels

      I am hopeful that we will soon hear a response from our Holy Father, Benedict.

  • chezami

    Thank you for this.

    • Llámame Jorge

      And thank you for being, my dear brother bishop.

  • Andy

    BAAAAAAH!

    • Andy

      That’s about all I care to hear from the professional whiners.

  • Andrew

    In 2002, David Mills wrote this. So, why the change of heart? Is it only “harsh and unrelenting anger” when *they* disagree with you? How do you square this article with your 2002 words?

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/791782/posts

    “By and large, modern Christians do not speak like this, though we have teachers as hostile to the Faith as Cerinthus and Marcion. Many of them speak with the authority of chairs in theology and of “reverend” before their name, and publish books the vulnerable, the naïve, and the gullible read and believe. These teachers are just as dangerous to peoples’ souls as the great heretics of the first centuries, but we do not speak of our heretics as the great saints spoke of theirs.

    This is almost as true of conservative or traditional Christians as of “centrists” and liberals. (The “centrist,” I have always thought, is usually just a liberal in slow motion.) You will make a conservative group wince by calling someone a heretic, so well have we all been trained by the dominant dislike of such clear but dividing judgments. “Heretic” is a perfectly objective term, describing a particular relation to Christian doctrine, freely chosen, but almost every Christian will hear it as a vulgar term of abuse.
    ….
    People who are so good at offering the world a fake Jesus must be rebuked and corrected by those, pastors and writers particularly, who have the gifts to do so. They will sometimes have to speak a hard word, in the mode of St. John or St. Polycarp. They will sometimes have to explain that Smith is wrong and that Jones is a false teacher and that Wilson is an enemy of the Faith.
    ….
    But as soon as you try it, you will find yourself criticized, even in conservative Christian circles. You will find yourself called unkind, arrogant, and uncharitable; or divisive, troublemaking, and an impediment to mission; or harsh and strident; or simple-minded. You will be accused of sins against the person (the first set of charges), sins against the community (the second), sins against manners (the third), and sins against reason (the fourth).

    You will hear this not only from the sentimental and the wooly-minded, who dislike polemics on principle, but from people who agree that Christians must write against error though they themselves shrink from the actual battle. This type will tell you that while Wilson is indeed an enemy of the Faith, you should have waited before writing against him (waited for what is almost never made clear), or treated his errors in a less combative way, or stressed the good work he is doing rather than the bad, or tried harder to find some common ground.” – David Mills

  • RS

    The force be with you. I support EP and that will continue but this rage against a no name enemy – not so much. I too respect papal authority and that critique of the synod commentary. The Inquiring minds might ask who are they? Douthat? Sedevacantists?

  • RS

    The force be with you. I support EP and that will continue but this rage against a no name enemy – not so much. I too respect papal authority and that critique of the synod commentary but who is the antagonist? Douthat? Sedevacantist’s? I am confused.

  • pdxcatholic

    I do think the criticisms of Pope Francis reach an un-Christian extreme at times. But then, you have to recognize the other extreme, which would have called for canonization two months into his papacy. On either end, the pope can either do nothing right or nothing wrong. And the more objective, non-reactionary voices, as always, get drowned out.

  • Overdrive2012

    I don’t recall seeing you speak with such fawning sonship regarding Popes JPII and Benedict.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Negroes at Missouri got the President to resign because of anonymous examples of racism – as though the President of U Missouri was responsible for all of the 35,000 students and the very few who called negroes, niggers.

    And note the impossible standard he was expected to meet – Is he doing enough? – and which question is an accusation built upon the quicksand of subjectivism. What is enough?

    And now we have the negative of that situation in which the neo-catholics and ultramontanes pick and choose amongst the worst comments capable of being accessed and trying to use those comments to paint all of the Faithful trying to actualise their Conformational Duty to defend the faith as big blue meanies.

    But it is the bailiwick of the church liberals to blame the faithful victims, isn’t it?

    Our Pope and Our Cross is sui generis and he is the onliest Bishop of Rome to routinely publicly insult the faithful (see Pope Francis Books of Insults at The Bones that you crush Blog) but criticising him may cause a man to lose his job whereas it is safe to attack the powerless victims while seeming to appear as a brave man.

    These are the very self same men who tell us we must tolerate and try to understand the trials and turmoil experienced by the sodomites and adulterers but they evince no example that they are trying to tolerate and understand those men (synecdoche) whose faith has been under a sustained attack for more than fifty years by the hierarchy whose duty it is to defend it.

    Yeah, the faithful are angry but that anger is not a free floating anger – it is anger caused by the Hierarchy who have established a Shadow Church of virtually no substance and which Church is completely different than the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church that IANS was born into in 1948 and IANS is not responsible for one damn change, nor are the anonymous men you bravely choose to criticise,

    Safe targets for the faux brave.

    Fire away, boys, fire away.

  • Dale Price

    If he modeled fatherhood better, it would be easier to remember that the Holy Father is one. Most fathers aren’t a torrent of negativity and criticism. At least, they shouldn’t be.

    • Athelstane

      My thought as well, Dale. Well said.

  • “Act toward each other as if a non-Catholic was observing the conversation, and his eternal salvation depended on the view of Catholicism he took away from the conversation.” I reject your rigid structures that make you feel better about yourself. Eternal salvation is so 19th century. Pelagian!

  • DJR

    “As Jack Quirk says, remember what effect your words have on others you are called to influence as you are able. What does the way some Catholics speak of their own Church tell them? Not that they should become Catholics themselves. Why join a family when so many members automatically reject what the father says and some even want him dead?”

    I think those words should be directed to Pope Francis. He doesn’t seem to care what results from his constant attacks against others, particularly Catholics who at least are trying to be faithful.

    Why would a non-Catholic join a family where the father constantly attacks his children, calls them names, and treats them with contempt?

  • James

    Pope Francis is his own worst enemy. He doesn’t need us to comment on his foolishness. History will not be kind to this individual and his cartel of heresy.

  • Awfully broad brushstrokes in this article.

  • Steven Barrett

    I wonder how long these “bitter sons” would still be around within the Church if Cardinal Sarah was elected to succeed St. Peter? The Church doesn’t burn people at the stake and she doesn’t have a “death penalty.” She has something even more effective and deadening: treating her dissident children with the kind of treatment Jesus warned against in His Prodigal Son parable or admonition in MT 25.