The Pontificate that Won't Stand Up to Scrutiny

As I left a Church a day or two ago, I walked past a copy of a mainstream Catholic newspaper, I think it was The Universe. The headline took me somewhat by surprise. 'Is this really where we have got to?' I thought. The headline went something very much like this:


You can imagine what the rest of the article was like. I thought to myself that there is something deeply wrong with that headline and that such a headline - and it is accurate in its reportage - is a damning indictment of the pontificate of Pope Francis. In a single headline, we can discern the nature of the crisis enveloping the Church from the top downwards.

Has Catholic intellectual life come to such a nadir as this when a Catholic newspaper can publish a news story on the Pope's cardinal picks and fail to see the idiocy being promulgated therein. Mercy over morals. Mercy over morals. Mercy over morals?

Remember folks, you can't have both! When it comes to these qualities of - on the one hand - possessing morals and - on the other hand, possessing mercy a choice simply has to be made. One of them has to be abandoned because, well, aren't these two things just mutually exclusive? Isn't that what the most venerated Catholic Saints and scholars have always held? Isn't that what Jesus Christ taught? Good grief!

Now, I'm no ace theologian. While I've read a little 'City of God' and dipped into the 'Summa', I've no theological credentials to my name, but a smidgen of the sensus fidelium can tell me that there is no conflict between the man who upholds mercy and the man who upholds morality. These are the same man. This Man is Jesus Christ. And the sorry truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ Himself, were He a Bishop instead of the Divine Head of the Church, would very likely be passed over by Francis in his Cardinal picks because He simply wouldn't let go of His 'morals'. The clear inference of the Universe headline - and the clear inference of this papacy - is that mercy is good and, wait for it...


Yes, this idiocy is going out to the parishes via the Catholic press. By this simple but so far successful employment of cynical propaganda the character of, hmm, let's see, among others Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Cardinal Robert Sarah, the editorial team of Asia News and anyone who stubbornly remains loyal to Jesus Christ is being denigrated. These are people who still believe that, shock horror, morals are, in fact, good.

Growing opposition to and criticism of Pope Francis's pontificate is now being peddled by Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli as evidence of a club within the Church who are simply against Francis for the sake of it. Despite a wealth of evidence stacked up against him in papal pronouncements, interviews, off the cuff decisions and now an exhortation, Tornielli insists that the entrenched views of those Catholics who appeal to Rome for clarification or who insist on the perennial teachings on the Church are just resentful people who fail to see the enormous good Francis is doing for the Church.

For argument's sake, however, let's assume that, for instance, a Cardinal Blaise Cupich is the model of every Cardinal in the Church, one who, in the image of Francis himself chooses 'mercy over morals'. What kind of a Church aside from one sidelined into the gutter of popular culture is it that proclaims mercy at the expense - or instead of - morals? What does that Church look like? What does that Church have to say to a drug dealer or a human trafficker? What does that Church that chooses mercy over - or instead of - morals say to a pornographer, murderer or terrorist? What does that Church have to say to a pederast or someone who covers up pederasty for the sake of a quiet life? To anyone bound up in a lifestyle of mortal sin, what does that Church have to say? Quite simply, nothing, because of Her Founder, that Church is truly embarrassed. Yes, in the name of mercy, it is He Himself, the Lord Jesus, who is abandoned!

It seems to me that indeed what some will argue is a Pope advocating for a Church that sees not in terms of black or white but in many shades of grey will quickly become a Church of darkness. Why? Because Jesus Christ is Light. He is the Light of the World. His Morality shines a light into not just the darkest recesses of our hearts, our hearts which are dulled by sin - yes, sin, that dirty word! - but also into the darkest recesses of the Church. Shades of grey, like so many clouds that, when they accumulate during a storm can form a thick darkness that blots out the Sun, can act as cover for a great deal. It is the Church that refuses light, that fears the Light, the Truth, that covers the tracks of abuse and attempts to silence victims of that abuse.

'Mercy over morals.' My oh my. Who would have thought that after the years of championing the culture of life over the culture of death, the Catholic Church from the top could offer the World such a pathetic motif as that, and a Pope who played the pied piper for every rogue and criminal on the face of the Earth. Mercy over morals. Mercy over morals. What sweet music to the ears of the amoral, to those who find that Morality itself is a sworn enemy, an adversary, one who must be overcome, slain, like an innocent Lamb upon a Sacrificial Altar!


Remnant Soldier said…
What do you expect? the "pope" is only doing his job, as the False Prophet....
Left-footer said…
A brilliant piece.

I love, "What kind of a Church aside from one sidelined into the gutter of popular culture is it that proclaims mercy at the expense - or instead of - morals?"

Theophilus said…
Does anyone seriously believe that Pope Francis or Cardinal Cupich really think that mercy trumps morals, as if morals don't matter at all? What they might perhaps say is that God's mercy is infinite and always available for those who repent - is this not the Christian Gospel? - and that one should not make the application of moral laws so rigid and inflexible that there is no room for mercy - is this not what we see in Christ himself?
We might also consider how morals in practice is so often reduced to personal sexual morality, about which Christ says very little, while ignoring questions of justice and fair dealing which concern him much more. He does have something to say about those who lay heavy burdens on others while not lifting a finger to help them bear the burdens. This is the line Pope Francis takes and so many are glad he does.
The Bones said…
Does anyone actually think.....mercy trumps morals?

Have you been asleep for three years or something?

The moral law isn't a burden. Like I said, for many it is an adversary.

The moral law, Gods law is good.

So the psalmist can say, 'Lord, how I love your law!'
Jacobi said…
I am surprised you saw a Catholic newspaper in your church. There are mine, (near city centre), which has a reasonable attendance in term time.

I was the only one but cancelled the Catholic Herald when it blocked comment.
Theophilus said…
"have you been asleep for three years or something?" Did you bother reading what I wrote or even think about it, or do you just fire off gratuitous insults when anyone questions your tendentious nonsense?
Great piece, Bones. I think you have nailed the problem with the message of this papacy - it is a papacy of false dichotomies. In this case "mercy or morals", but he is always coming out with them like they are a mainstay of his propaganda. He really seems incapable of thinking like a Catholic.

Converting Souls said…
Pope Francis' mercy is that of the irresponsible authority figure (parent/professor/boss) who permits those under his care to get away w/things or do inappropriate things so that they will like him.

“He used to spoil my boys, his nephews, all the time. He once gave my oldest a pork chop to gnaw on when was just six months old. Everyone knows you don’t do that to a child of that age.“And he taught them both to drive before their feet could reach the pedals,” she said."

Instead of rejecting the 'glamor of evil' he uses alcohol, dirty words & jokes to make himself appear cool and grown up and increase his popularity:
"Already with Kollar" the current Pope taught bad words his nephew who is also named Jorge and at the same time was his godchild, to their own displeasure, so Maria Elena Bergoglio. That led to an embarrassing situation, as her brother "at an important service" started to preach with many priests and her son in the surprise at the sight of the uncle "a very bad expression" - for all sound can be heard - in the silence. 'After mass, Jorge came to us and could stop no longer laughing', so the sister. In addition, her brother have dived the pacifier of the child in whisky. Her brother from his father inherited the serene mind and joke telling

Turning a blind eye to immorality is not mercy but fraud, since Jesus Christ is our Judge and Pope Francis is only His representative (although actually he is representing Satan and leading souls to hell): "And I say to you, my friends: Be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will shew you whom you shall fear: fear ye him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you, fear him."

I wish all you who cancel your subscriptions to 'catholic' magazine, would cancel your subscription to VC2 'catholic' church. Not sure what you want to call what you are choosing over morality--convenience, human respect, disbelief in God? By not walking out on false worship, teaching and the rankest immorality, you all are keeping it going.
Nicolas Bellord said…
Theophilus: Would you categorise abortion under sexual morality or a question of justice and fair dealing?

I really do wonder whether Pope Francis and Cardinal Cupich "really think that mercy trumps morals, as if morals don't matter at all." You say that they might say " that God's mercy is infinite and always available for those who repent". The problem is that they do not clarify what they mean and we are left in the air wondering.

You say "that one should not make the application of moral laws so rigid and inflexible that there is no room for mercy"

How can the application of a moral law leave no room for mercy? Mercy on your own definition arises after the penitent has realised the wrongness of his sin and has repented.

Mary Kay said…
Well said! Thank you.
Anonymous said…

" Francis the ‘humble’ said, “Jesus sort of plays the retard”....
Outside are the dogs said…
Theophilus: "personal sexual morality, about which Christ says very little while ignoring questions of justice and fair dealing which concern him much more" Jesus' concern was to get us to heaven. The sexually immoral/unchaste DON'T go to heaven: "Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie." (Apoc 22:14-15

Have you READ the Gospels? Why was John the Baptist murdered--because of questions of justice and fair dealing or because he said Herod had to leave off sexual relations with his brother's wife? What about Christ's teaching that divorce=adultery and the disciples replying that if that were so it would not be expedient to marry (Matt 19:10). Certainly that was one of His most shocking teachings--and one the protestants did away with, the Mormons and Muslims turned into polygamy, and the Jews refused to accept.

The sexual immorality inundating our society is a result of the legalization of divorce compounded by legalizing contraception and abortion, i.e. making the marital act sterile/fruitless. There are 100,000 abortions a day world wide. Abortion is murder.
Of course Pope Francis that great upholder of mercy has NO mercy for the 100,000 babies being murdered a day (running an air conditioner is a mortal sin though!)--any more than he has for the Christians being murdered (like Stalin, Mao, and Castro he doesn't care how many people die while he builds his megalomaniac hell hole--horror beyond belief is NOT justice and fair dealing). He praises abortionists as "great" and insists that baby murderers, fornicators, adulterers, sodomites, pedophiles and transvestites do NOT have to obey the commandments of God. God help him (and you who have been deceived by him) when you meet your maker.
Anonymous said…
The teachings of Jesus include the whole of The Word of God proclaimed and explained by The Apostles and handed on through The Church, not just his reported words in The Gospels.
Blotto said…
Jesus says:

Matthew 6:22-23
Luke 16:18
John 6:63

However, Pope Francs and his band of Merrily Merciful Men, along with the WHOLE WORLD, respond with:

John 6:60

and then conspire to obfuscate, downplay and completely undermine these words of Our Lord which they regard as 'intolerable burdens'.

It's between Light and Darkness, Theophilus and we all must make our choice.
viterbo said…
Catholic morality is mercy.

Pagan/Jewish/muslim/protestant/novusordo 'morality' is satan's smorgasbord. So acceptable - Henry the fat8 would applaud.
Ever mindful said…
Herod respected John, till he touched him in his Herodias. Thus many love good preaching,if it keep far away from their beloved sin

Matthew Henry's concise commentary
Crying Out to Heaven for Vengeance said…
Thomas not sure exactly what you mean, but anyone practicing the traditional faith is being locked up (put in jail) and slandered by Francis, like Fr. Stephan Manelli

And not only Manelli: "In July the conservative Argentinean New-Rite-Institute of the Incarnate Word celebrated its General Chapter. According to the will of Pope Francis, the chapter was led by a Vatican appointed outsider, the pro-homosex Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio. Accusations Confirmed: The General Chapter confirmed the accusations leveled against the founder of the Institute, Father Carlos M. Buela. He is now living in a house of the Institute in Italy and is not allowed to interfere in its government. Buela was accused of – quote – “sexual abuses and abuses of authority” and “manipulation of the consciences of the seminarians.”

What about Justice for Asia Bibi? "is a Pakistani Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court, receiving a sentence of death by hanging. Noreen, who is a Roman Catholic, worked as a farmhand in Sheikhupura to support her family. She married Ashiq Masih, a brick laborer who had three children from a previous marriage, and had two more children with him. Noreen and her family were the only Christians in the village. Before her incarceration, she had been repeatedly urged by her fellow workers to convert to Islam.
In June 2009, Noreen was harvesting falsa berries with a group of other farmhands in a field in Sheikhupura. She was asked at one point to fetch water from a nearby well; she complied but stopped to take a drink with an old metal cup she had found lying next to the well. A neighbor of Noreen, who had been involved in a running feud with Noreen's family about some property damage, saw her and angrily told her that it was forbidden for a Christian to drink water from the same utensil from which Muslims drink, and some of the other workers considered her to be unclean because she was a Christian. Some arguments ensued. Noreen recounts that when they made derogatory statements about her religion, she responded, "I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind?"

"Asia Bibi Sentenced To Death For Faith. But in the Vatican Her Case Is Taboo
Every time Islam is in the middle, Francis is extremely cautious. But on Pakistan his reticence is at its highest. Here is the story of the Christian mother on which he is silent. She has been in prison for seven years, and her fate is interwoven with the Easter massacre in Lahore"
viterbo said…
Please read Cardinal Manning's lectures.

If he was a nutcase, yeah me too, but you'd have to call him a crazy first.

Popular posts from this blog

So Now That We're All Saying What We're Thinking...