Saturday, 19 November 2016

Ask Francis...

After a long time of working hard on this blog, I can now proudly announce that I have a very special and esteemed guest running a new agony uncle column which I hope you'll enjoy.

He's already known for his worldly wisdom, his promotion of Churchmen with heretical opinions, his avoidance of mail from Cardinals who have fallen out of favour with him, insulting traditional Catholics, clergy and seminarians, creating havoc with Christian doctrine when at 35,000 feet, an enduring cordial relationship with an atheistic journalist who hates the Church, as well as for trashing the legacy of his predecessor who is wheeled out in public glare every now and then to add legitimacy to his pontificate. That's right, reader, the one, the only (apart from Benedict) Pope...


Enjoy Pope Francis's wise and wonderful words to those struggling with issues in their life, the stuff of life, death and everything in between. Feel free to send in your own personal problems that touch on life, marriage, relationships and morality in general. And remember, whatever the issue is, however colourful it is Francis will reply...just not in 'black or white'.

Our first letter then comes from a concerned Catholic living in Stoke-on Trent. 'Mark' writes...

'Dear Pope Francis,
I'm a Catholic man of 43, married for four years to a beautiful wife. Together we have four children and have done our best to live the Catholic Faith. For our married life I have been very happy, until recently, when I feel like the 'oomph' has gone out of our love life.
I know that the Catholic Church has always taken sexual morality very seriously but I get the feeling that you are different and open to new ideas and so I seek your advice. I've gleaned this from your many public statements which seem to dismiss the concerns of stuffy Cardinals about matters of sexual morality.
Anyway, there's a woman at work who always takes her coffee break at the same time as I do and she's very beautiful. I get a funny feeling of warmth when I'm with her. I haven't experienced it in a while. I don't know what it is, but there's this real 'connection' I get with her. We share similar interests and I feel that she understands where I'm coming from more than my wife. I've read articles online - though not necessarily on Catholic sites about how having an affair can actually benefit your marriage.
A lot of my friends seem to have affairs, often hooking up with strangers they've met on dating apps and they seem to just carry on, accept it and act as if nothing abnormal has happened. They still carry on with their marriages, apart from one I know who got caught after his wife became suspicious. They're divorced now and I think he is thinking of marrying the new woman. The question I would like to ask you is this: Should I really stick with my wife and remain completely faithful to her - a more difficult choice, I know, or not be so hung up on old values that seem to be going out of fashion nowadays like the need for monogamy and fidelity to one spouse until death?
Yours sincerely

'Dear 'Mark',
I greet you cordially in the Lord.
Let us move forward, always forward, never looking back at the past. I always say a Church or a marriage that does not move forward is dead, like something in a museum. We are not a museum! Or a mausoleum!
First, thank you for sharing your story with me. I congratulate you on your marriage to your wife. Four children - how beautiful. It is not five or six children, so I don't have to tell you to exercise responsible parenthood and not veer off into a mindset that could create a warren of rabbits. 
I find it very fruitful and I feel in my heart that you are thinking of building a culture of encounter with the woman at work who takes coffee breaks at the same time as you. We must never be afraid of encounter. Or dialogue. Fear of dialogue is not from the Lord, nor a fear of encounter. I say again: Do not fear a culture of encounter. I say: Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. Allow me to say it again: Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. Unless you are dealing with certain Cardinals with a rigid world view. Rigid priests and Cardinals scare me, you know. They bite! I always tell seminarians: don't be rigid! Little monsters! They go in to the seminary with enchanting thoughts of improving the world but are always at risk of imposing their psychological disturbances on others.

Work is the place where we learn fraternity: Brotherhood, sisterhood. In my heart I feel a great love when I hear this word: fraternity. We care for our common home in a spirit of fraternal sharing. Now we return to dialogue and sharing. Proceed forward, with serenity of mind. One way of building dialogue with the woman at work could be in a spirit of sharing. Another way of promoting dialogue and sharing would be to bring in some Rich Tea biscuits or other biscuit foodstuffs and sharing these with her and, remember what I say, all of your office colleagues. Remember the story of the loaves and fishes. The miracle of sharing!
You could find that the miracle of sharing brings your whole office together in woven bonds of mutual affection and perhaps even outreach to those on the peripheries of your workplace, perhaps even those outside of the workplace, those who until now have not felt included. Never exclude! Never! Always we must welcome the stranger and encounter him or her! If you wanted to go further, you could consider composting tea bags, cultivating a greener, cleaner, more ecological, Laudato Si compliant office space, ensuring that air conditioning is used sparsely, as infrequently as possible.
I would like to share some thoughts with you about family. Sundays are for families. We look at the family and what do we see. We see a place of sharing and love, a place of mercy. Without mercy, your marriage and your family is at risk of becoming closed, rigid, blinkered, unable to see the beautiful horizon and expanse of mercy that is at the heart of the God who became, for us, mercy. Marriage is beautiful, marriage is the home of mercy. Did I mention that it is estimated - I forget where I heard it - that 50% of marriages are invalid?
May I recommend to you a beautiful book - beautiful - I have read it often, especially when I feel doubts or feel I need some inspiration. This book has done me so much good. It is by Cardinal Walter Kasper. It is called 'Mercy: The Essense of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life'. Mercy is the balm, the oil with which we anoint the wounded. I can tell by your letter that you feel wounded. I recommend Cardinal Kasper's serene theology.
Always remember, the name of God is mercy. Mercy for the refugee, mercy for the prisoner, mercy for those who make mistakes, mercy for those who in relationships have experienced woundedness, failure and sadness. I always think that the Church is a field hospital for the wounded. We must treat these wounded individuals with mercy. Always mercy. Mercy, mercy, mercy. Mercy and rigidity cannot go together. They key to the whole of the Gospel, the key to understanding, is mercy. Without mercy, we cannot have fraternity or unity in diversity - diversity of customs, diversity of beliefs and diversity of methods, but always the same unity, but not conformism! I say again: Unity is not conformity! Conformity! What a prison that would be! A prison of joylessness which never encounters mercy, a form of spiritual euthanasia masked by rigidity, but dig, dig beneath the surface and you'll find only dissatisfaction, or something else. Such people often attend the Extraordinary Form, you know.
Finally, I would like to impress upon you the urgent need to focus on these key themes: firstly, fraternity - in which we find communal happiness, each serving the other. Second, dialogue, in which we leave our preconceived obsessions with doctrine and law to one side and - here is the third theme - encounter! Encountering the other! This encounter is always beautiful - it makes my heart feel happy. Your heart will feel happy too. Encountering the other brings us a deep joy. It is in this beautiful culture of encounter that people who are trapped - trapped in a closed, gnostic, self-absorbed neo-promethean pelagian worldview - are set free from rigidity and a dull life of superficial slavery and rigid, scrupulous attachment to laws, finding happiness and lasting fulfillment. All walls must fall! If you would like more information on happiness, please see my guide to happiness which I have posted for you below.'

Yours in the Lord, 


Mark Docherty said...


Annie said...

Just hilarious!

philipjohnson said...

Brilliant ,as usual.If i hear Love and Mercy -Love and Mercy again-as i did at Mass tonight i think i will become rigid and uncompromising in my Faith again.Anyway i am off to Latin Mass tomorrow night with Benediction prior to it.As you say Heaven and Hell are Black and White with no shades between .The Fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom.Francis-go to the Lutherans,your friends,or the Protestants,your friends,but Francis do they really like you?

Left-footer said...

Brilliant! You have caught his tone perfectly. You should have a column in a decent newspaper, except that unfortunately there are none.

God bless!

Anonymous said...

Probably the first time i laugh in Francis's pontificate, well except the cardinal with the Habemus Papam... Thanks :) It really sums up what the Church, sadly, is becoming and it so tickles the ears of many...

It this was posted on BBC, CNN people would really believe is pope F. speaking :)

A small suggestion:

Listen to your feelings / Follow your heart / Careful not to step in something ;)

George Lapin

Tamsin said...

Ha ha ha! Very good. And I had forgotten about his very own Ten Commandments.

Highland Cathedral said...

Dear Mark,

Further to my earlier comments my I ask you something about your exciting lady friend’s background? It would be most helpful if you had different social, cultural and religious backgrounds. Is she, perhaps, an immigrant? That would be ideal. If she is an immigrant you will be well aware of not treating her like a stranger. If she belongs to a different faith you will be aware of the need to avoid treating her as an enemy. You know, Mark, an immigrant, or a refugee can become a threat, take on the status of an enemy because they think differently or even have a different faith. You must be careful to avoid letting these differences turn into symptoms of hostility, threats and violence. There is, you know, an epidemic of animosity and violence, which leaves its mark on the flesh of many of the defenceless, because their voice is weak and silenced by this pathology of indifference! Do not let the virus of polarization and animosity permeate your relationship with this wonderful lady friend. The three most important priorities for any Christian are mercy, mercy, mercy. Nothing is more important than mercy. As for your wife, there is no need for any rigidity in your marital relations. The less rigidity the better. So be open in your marriage to all things. Follow the advice of my favourite theologian, the Blessed Kaspar, and follow whatever you can get your conscience to tell you to do.

Anonymous said...

This is the funniest thing I have read for ages! Bright! Brilliant! Too bad it is truthfull to the bone. As Our Lady would say "Fast fast fast, the Church is in dire need of it!" Sunny

Mary said...

A friend just sent this article to me. I agree with those above - a brilliant, biting parody providing a moment of much needed comic relief. Thanks. I thought you might find the following interesting. I am wondering if Pope Francis may be the foolish shepherd described in Zechariah:

[16] For behold I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who shall not visit what is forsaken, nor seek what is scattered, nor heal what is broken, nor nourish that which standeth, and he shall eat the flesh of the fat ones, and break their hoofs. [17] O shepherd, and idol, that forsaketh the flock: the sword upon his arm and upon his right eye: his arm shall quite wither away, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened. (Zechariah 11:16) (My emphasis)

From an article about the Shroud of Turin on the Vatican Insider website:

This explains why “the right shoulder is lower than the left by 10±5 degrees” and The right eye is retracted in the orbit” because of the paralysis of the entire arm, the academics say.


Православный физик said...


Anonymous said...

Fantastic, never laughed this way before of the BoR reign. The ten tip are irresistible!

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

Mr Verrecchio has called Bergoglio an 'antipope'. Took him a while.

When will those who entitle themselves to 'Catholicism', take up the Cross?

Genty said...

Inspired. Eh! Er! No?

Lynda said...

Thanks, Laurence, for giving us relief from the suffering caused by Pope who constantly attacks the essentials of Faith and morals. It is a way of crying out against the evil being imposed on us with hardly any bishop or priest to condemn the material heresies and evils promoted by Francis. Thank you! How we struggle to keep free of the evil apostasy and heresy from the top down, that threatens all souls.

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