Saturday, 3 December 2016

'Lighthouse of Mercy'

I was always under the impression that lighthouses served a particularly important function in answering distress calls from seafarers, those in choppy waters, storms and in crises. Answering distress calls be they in the form of petitions for help or written appeals, it seems, is not His Holiness's forte. So I'm not sure Mgr Pio Pinto's description of Pope Francis as a 'lighthouse of mercy' is very apt. Unless by 'mercy' we mean, permitting seafarers to perish in confusion amid the roaring waves of this pontificate.


Pelerin said...

I wonder if Archbishop Pinto's words should have been translated into English as 'a Beacon of Mercy' rather than 'lighthouse'? A Beacon indicates the way forward whereas a lighthouse is just there as a warning. Just musing - all very unsettling.

Mark Thomas said...

I believe that there are many outstanding examples of the great mercy practiced by His Holiness Pope Francis. One such outstanding example is the mercy (and justice) that he has brought to the situation in regard to the Society of Saint Pius X.

Although as, for example, Bishop Athanasius Schneider has noted, the Society has their share of faults, the bottom line is that the SSPX is Catholic. Unfortunately, too many Catholics, liberal and conservative, and, in particular, Churchmen, have treated the SSPX unjustly.

Example: On August 6, 2015 A.D., Bishop Morlino issued a letter which treated the SSPX. Bishop Morlino declared that Catholics should shun the SSPX.

Bishop Morlino said that "Catholics should not frequent SSPX chapels."

Such prominent Catholics as Father John Zuhlsdorf and Michael Voris praised Bishop Morlino's letter in question.

Three weeks later (September 1, 2015 A.D.), Pope Francis, who, from his days in Argentina to date has been a great father and friend to the SSPX, noted the sound sacramental practice of the SSPX and identified Catholics who frequented SSPX chapels as "faithful" Catholics. He, of course, declared also that the Faithful were free to receive the Sacrament of Penance at SSPX chapels.

On September 1, 2015 A.D., Pope Francis's act of mercy (and justice) once and for all changed the narrative in regard to the SSPX. Never again could anybody within the Church declare that the SSPX should be shunned.

Never again could Michael Voris and his ilk label the SSPX "schismatic."

Never again could Bishop Morlino or those in his camp declare that we should shun the SSPX.

In one tremendous act of mercy, Pope Francis forever changed the narrative in regard to the SSPX. Pope Francis had made it clear that the SSPX was Catholic. He made it clear that Catholics attached to SSPX chapels were "faithful" Catholics.

All around Pope Francis, including most prominently, Cardinal Müller, were Churchmen who were unfriendly toward the SSPX. But rather than join those who opposed and shunned the SSPX, Pope Francis preferred to treat the SSPX in merciful fashion.

Therefore, the holy and wonderful manner in which he's always treated the SSPX serves as a tremendous example of Pope Francis' abundant mercy.


Mark Thomas

The Bones said...

If only the FFI had a share in this treatment of mercy you describe.

However, as Cardinal Burke has made clear before, not to permit clarity in the Church's teachings on the divorce and remarried and reception of Holy Communion, as well as to confuse the MORAL LAW - which no Pope owns! - is not the actions of a lighthouse of mercy, but of one who doesn't mind if souls perish.

Pax in Domino

Mark Thomas said...

The Bones,

I am not familiar with inside information in regard to the FFI situation. Whatever pertains to that case doesn't alter the fact that all around Pope Francis were voices who shouted "excommunicate the SSPX!"

Instead, His Holiness Pope Francis extended to the SSPX a degree of mercy that has forever altered the SSPX situation. Pope Francis has rendered it impossible for Cardinals, bishops...the likes of such prominent Catholics as Michael label the SSPX "schismatic."

As for Cardinal Burke...

Let us recall Cardinal Burke's very words about critics who challenged Pope Francis' orthodoxy when it pertained to the issues of marriage as well as divorce.

Cardinal Burke denounced people who claimed that Pope Francis had, via Amoris Laetitia, changed Church teaching. Below are Cardinal Burke's very words on that topic.

Cardinal Burke declared that people who insisted that Pope Francis has changed Church teaching spread confusion and give scandal. Cardinal Burke, according to his expert analysis, said that Pope Francis has not changed Church teaching.

Why doesn't Cardinal Burke live by his own words?

Again, Cardinal Burke denounced people who claimed that Amoris Laetitia has changed Church teaching. Again, Cardinal Burke declared that people traffic in scandal when they claim that Church teaching on marriage as well as the reception of Holy Communion for divorced and "remarried" Catholics.

Cardinal Burke:

"The secular media and even some Catholic media are describing the recently issued post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, “Love in the Family,” as a revolution in the Church, as a radical departure from the teaching and practice of the Church, up to now, regarding marriage and the family.

"Such a view of the document is both a source of wonder and confusion to the faithful and potentially a source of scandal, not only for the faithful but for others of goodwill who look to Christ and his Church to teach and reflect in practice the truth regarding marriage and its fruit, family life, the first cell of the life of the Church and of every society."

"It is also a disservice to the nature of the document as the fruit of the Synod of Bishops, a meeting of bishops representing the universal Church “to assist the Roman pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world” (Canon 342)."


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

The Bones,

Cardinal Burke has his opinion and one Cardinal and bishop after another has a different opinion.

One Cardinal and Bishop after another has declared that His Holiness Pope Francis has clarified Church teaching and that Cardinal Burke has refused to recognize that.

You said that a Pope does not own the moral law? Does Cardinal Burke own the moral law? He (along with additional Cardinals) can issue dubia upon dubia. That doesn't mean that Cardinal Burke has a valid case to offer.

In fact, as I've noted, Cardinals, bishops, and canon law experts have exhorted Pope Francis not to respond to the dubia.

Example: Father Francis G. Morrisey, a canon law expert, declared that Pope Francis should not respond to the dubia as they are all "trick questions like the Pharisees asked Jesus."


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...


As I read your interesting blog, it is obvious to me that you love God and His Holy Catholic Church. Therefore, I am certain that we agree on the following:

As Catholics, we need to pray for peace between Pope Francis and the "Four Cardinals." I repeat that which I've noted on your blog: I am confident that the Blessed Virgin Mary will intercede for us to inspire peace between Pope Francis and the Four Cardinals.

I know that as you are holy, that you're praying for a peaceful conclusion to the situation at hand. Let us continue to pray for peace. I believe that all will be fine.

Thank you for the opportunity to express my opinions here. Please pray for me. I wish you and your family a Blessed Advent Season.

Thank you.


Mark Thomas

Highland Cathedral said...

I am wary of entering the choppy waters surrounding the SSPX but it is intriguing to find Pope Francis being conciliatory towards the SSPX given his uncomplimentary remarks towards ‘traditionalists’ and those who have a liking of the traditional Mass. Why would he be so keen to have the SSPX on board when he finds traditionalists ‘rigid’, etc, etc. Things like, “Some programmes of priestly formation run the risk of educating in the light of overly clear and distinct ideas, and therefore to act within limits and criteria that are rigidly defined in advance and that set aside concrete situations: this must be done, this mustn’t be done.” And "not everything is black over white, or white over black. No! The shades of grey prevail in life." According to the website Crux, he “warned that a number of seminaries these days had reverted to legalism and rigidity which was the opposite of discernment, leading to a casuistic conception of morality with black-and-white prescriptions”.

Now we all know who Pope Francis is poking his finger at when he makes remarks like that. So why the enthusiasm for the SSPX? Could it be that he wants to bring them into the fold so that they come more under his control so that he can force them to change? If I were in the SSPX I would be very wary of the open arms of this particular Pope.

Incidentally in that same speech (quoted above) Pope Francis said the youth “have no shame” when it comes to asking direct questions. A young person, Francis says, expects a truthful response.
I wonder if that means that when people ask him a direct question he should give a direct response?

JM said...

Let's see... a Pope who thinks doctrine is secondary loosens up on the SSPX.

A good thing? Maybe, if doctrinal laxity is what we need right now.

Given the turmoil Francis' policy has ignited among some of the most faithful, though, you have to wonder.

Does the Church right now speak with a clear voice? Are love and truth both being held high as viable ideals?

I don't know. I do know Francis seems about as unifying as Trump.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I think Pope Francis is desperate to be able to demonstrate that he can promote unity; thus his approach to the SSPX. However I doubt if the SSPX will respond to his overtures as he would like.

Mark Thomas: Cardinal Burke has said that Amoris Laetitia can be interpreted as in line with traditional Church teaching. The problem is that many are interpreting it as a change in Church teaching because it seems to be ambiguous. Cardinal Burke and others are saying, as a result of these heterodox interpretations, that Pope Franics needs to clarify what is the correct interpretation.

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