Is the Pope Catholic?

By Charlie Johnston

I pray an intricate private Rosary. One of the things I do is offer each decade of a mystery for a specific, fixed intention. My literal intention for the third decade of each mystery is, “…to the honor of and seeking the intercession of St. John Paul the Great, whom I claim as patron; for the intentions, person, and immortal soul of our Holy Father, Francis: may he be strengthened to accomplish all God has appointed him and may his papacy bear great fruit; and for the intentions, person, and immortal soul of our Holy Pope Emeritus Benedict: may he be strengthened to accomplish all God has appointed him and may his life bear great fruit.”

It was distressing, as we entered the Triduum, for yet another eruption from the Vatican as it was reported that the Pope had told one of his favorite journalists, the Italian atheist Eugenio Scalfari, that there is no hell – in complete contradiction of Catholic doctrine. The Vatican quickly replied that that was not a fully accurate transmission of what the Pope meant. I don’t know. Certainly, it has been demoralizing for many faithful Catholics to hear, on a regular basis, comments from the Pope that seem to contradict settled doctrine. Many faithful Catholics have come to feel like the beleaguered parents of the neighborhood hellion: constantly and weepily assuring authorities that their boy really has a good heart at bottom.

It wearies me as much as anyone. The forlorn silver lining I see is that all this may wean faithful Catholics away from ‘papolatry,’ the errant belief that every word that drops from a sitting Pope’s mouth is golden. The Pope is due the filial respect and affection of all the faithful, but he is only authoritative when he speaks on matters of faith and morals – and that authority is only binding when he formally speaks Magisterially. Even then, except on the rare occasions when he formally speaks infallibly on a matter of concern for the whole Church, his decisions are subject to the informed consent of the world’s College of Bishops. Unless there are specific objections, that consent is usually implicit. He has no authority flowing from his office on general matters of politics, economics, science or other temporal matters (with the exception of the condemnation of means that are illicit in themselves). His only specific political authority is as temporal head of the Vatican State. The silver lining is that these controversies may lead some of the most faithful Catholics to cease ceding their legitimate temporal responsibility to the Pope, while perhaps it may lead some who are not orthodox to recognize the legitimate formal spiritual authority of the Pope on matters of faith and morals.

We have had a long run of Popes notable for their orthodoxy and for their reasonably refined – and restrained – commentary on purely political and temporal matters. Yet God does not need a vicar to be particularly refined or disciplined to protect and grow His Church. At all times, in all ages, since Christ took on our humanity and died for us, destroying the power of death by His Resurrection, which we celebrate this weekend, nothing can prevent the faithful from worshiping the Person of Christ with faith, fidelity and fortitude. It is, perhaps, a very good thing that we all should be shaken from our complacency; forced to balance our duty of filial obedience with our duty of faithful fidelity to the Gospel passed on with authority from the Apostles.

I doubt we have seen the end of strange statements emanating from Rome that give scandal to much of the faithful. I miss the days when the question atop this article was more obviously rhetorical. Yet in all things, God has His purposes, even when the intention is obscure to our eyes, when we can only see as through a glass, darkly. So I continue to regard the Pope with filial devotion, even when I wonder what, in heaven’s name, he is thinking. And I will continue to offer the third decade of every Mystery on his behalf and in submission to his legitimate spiritual authority. The story is not finished, yet – and tonight, the Light of the World rises anew in our sight.


299 thoughts on “Is the Pope Catholic?

  1. How prophetic and humble it was when Pope Francis stepped out onto the loggia and presented himself to us, seeking our intercession for him and his papacy. Haven’t stopped praying with confidence, for his own Marian devotion will save the day.

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  2. [HEAVY SIGH] What is he doing!!! Then I think, “is this true?” He has been misquoted or poorly translated on more than one occasion. I’m with you, Charlie, holding Pope Francis in prayer.
    “By Thy Precious Blood. O Jesus, purify and sanctify Thy priest, Pope Francis. Amen.

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  3. Charlie, I think there is one thing we can be sure of, and that is there are people in the church and around the Pope who want all the confusion to persist and would relish the fact that faithful people would fall away from honoring him and most importantly, the office he holds.
    Charlie, you have said in the past that Pope Francis was certainly of the spirit of the Pope who was to take us through the rescue. Why do you think that was given to you? Perhaps, because it is true? The issue is not, is every word he says orthodox? It is that there are many wolves around who would love to continue to create division and have us question the papacy and the Catholic Church herself. Are we in a storm? Yes, of course! Are we in jeopardy of losing even more people from the bargue? Yes, we are. What is Pope Francis really saying amongst his many “gaffes”? He is saying be merciful, do not judge, love like Jesus, take care of our earth, the poor, those outside of the church’s protection…or in other words, lets get as many people on the boat as possible because we are in for a hairy ride, but IN THE CHURCH is where we are to work out our salvation, saint and sinner alike.
    Count me among the sinners. Count me among one of those cafeteria Catholics of yester year, who was able to find a seat in a liberal church years ago that allowed me to openly study Jesus and understand my faith which then led me to find an ever deepening love, respect and finally obedience….praise God… to her precepts. Yet…I am still a sinner! Still I persist in my uncharitable thoughts, lack of forgiveness and self righteousness! Oh how I look forward to Divine Mercy Sunday!
    I think when it comes to Pope Francis, we need to assume the most charitable thing, especially when the media is ringing the alarm bells. I believe he is here for these times. I don’t expect perfection, and yes, he can even be wrong at times, but what I don’t like is how easily I and others have taken to rolling our eyes, even though after we hear the full context of his statements, we had no reason to doubt his position.
    Let us be as merciful to him as God has been to us. And let us stay faithful to Mother Church and get as many people in her doors and under her care as possible. These are the times that we must be as merciful and loving as possible. Truly, these are the times….

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    1. Yes, EILEEN1012. We all look forward to Divine Mercy Sunday. And may we fully enter into its spirit of the merciful thought, the merciful word and the merciful deed, and carry those out henceforth. Because if we don’t – it’s of no use. We’re as sounding brass and clashing cymbals. The Holy Father is the successor of St. Peter and, while we may be disturbed by certain things – St. Paul certainly was! – he is Peter’s successor. Be not afraid!

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    2. Amen! You have stated so eloquently my journey in Faith. Oh, how I look forward to Divine Mercy Sunday! Cleansing of all punishment, my sins have purchased; a true day of atonement. How great and merciful is God!

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  4. It’s so disheartening! I must have hope in the fact that he’s such a Marian Pope, It doesn’t seem possible that a priest, especially, who is consecrated to Mother Mary will be misled. For those who don’t understand this premise, I urge you to read St. Maximillian Kolbe and St. Louis de Montfort. The Holy Spirit is more present than ever when any of us give ourselves to the Blessed Mother, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

    Sometimes I am frustrated in having to explain or defend the Church when my convert husband hears some of this drivel! Please pray for him.

    Easter blessings to you all!

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  5. Dear Charlie, my first reaction to the title was to laugh out loud – how many of us ask that every day. And yet, what it seems like to me…and to some others…is that this particular Holy Father, has not actually said things to change Catholic faith or morals. I have read, maybe incorrectly (?) that he didn’t actually pen his scandal-provoking Amoris laetitia, but was ghost written by another and signed by him…I’ve also read that he never reads anything negative so he doesn’t really know what’s said about him and that he couldn’t live in the papal apartments because he cannot live alone because he gets so depressed. The source, I know, for these statements are from the same translator and were republished by Bp Gracida. I, too, dedicate my 3rd decade of every rosary to the Pope and the magisterium for their conversion and salvation. I also pray to St. Dymphna, Our Lady of Mental Peace and St. Martha daily for him.
    I also believe that like the Israelites of old who demanded a king, that we got what we asked for and God, in His wisdom, will make it what we need. It seems to be dividing the sheep from the goats, so to speak. I pray Pope Francis’ own Our Lady Undoer of Knots for him and the Church daily.
    Although I’ve been too busy to comment, I continue to include all needs and intentions of all here, both specific as well as general, in my daily prayers and in the 4th decade of my rosary. At times specific names will come to mind and you get a special rememberance! Beckita, Charlie, SteveBC, Mick, the 2 Annie’s DP of SD…sooner or later each of you come to mind and I pray for you that day.

    Thanks to you all for your prayers for me & mine! God bless us, every one.
    ✝️Blessed Easter to one and all, Katey in OR

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    1. That’s interesting about the HF needing company, MYOWNBACKYARD. It surely is a very lonely office that he holds. Me, I don’t really mind where he lives, and if the Domus Sanctae Marthae (built by JP II, of happy memory) gives him more comfort to carry out his heavy duty then… good! In fact, the Popes used to live in the Lateran Palace anyway, which ain’t exactly near the Vatican, until the Risorgimento in the 19th century, as far as I understand, when all of Rome was a totally Papal city.

      But I really dislike the whole misinterpretation about the former Papal apartments in the Vatican being “luxurious”. O.k., the building was/is highly impressive, but it’s basically a glorified Baroque office, and the Pope’s actual apartment was pretty basic with, as I understand, both JohnPaul II and Benedict XVI having a tiny bedroom with an iron bedframe, almost hospital-wise. And probably JohnPaul I (unfortunately so overlooked) and Bl. Paul VI and sainted and blessed predecessors also, back to Pius IX post-1870 when they moved into the Vatican.

      But, false news seems to be the order of the day – in this age of unprecedented “information”. Hah! They have eyes to see, and they see not…

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  6. What’s the old teaching for these holy days? “He died and was buried, descended into hell, etc.” So Pope Francis comes out the day before this is taught to be true, and says something about hell not being real. I read that and thought two things. One, wow, I’ve given up even rolling my eyes over what people say he said. And Two, although God has had a reputation of working in subtly mysterious ways in days of yore, I think he’s begun working in outright remarkably mysterious ways in these days.

    Happy Easter, everyone! 🙂

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      1. Yes, I knew that, SanSan. Nonetheless, that’s what a lot of people hear. For all we know, Pope Francis was trying to straighten that out and really, who am I to judge? (Heh, heh.) I find these situations both frustrating and hilarious, an odd mix of feelings, to be sure. Maybe a sense of humor is the better approach for these periodic kerfuffles, because that’s what they almost always turn out to be. Happy Easter, SanSan. 🙂

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        1. Charlie’s title to his piece made me laugh. A very funny turn of phrase. So, are these just papal gaffes? Bad google translations? What should we call these impromptu statements? Francisisms?

          You’re right, I guess all we can do is keep a sense of humor about such things. 🙂 What else is there? Oh, right….lots of extra prayer.

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          1. “Bad google translations?”: Hahahaha! That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in days, Patrick. Thanks for the chuckle, and for the perspective. 🙂

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      2. I have been reading the writings of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, German Stigmatic and Victim Soul (1774-1824) , this past Lent. She speaks of Jesus decending into Hell, as we know. it.

        Page 307

        “Finally, I beheld him approach to the centre of the great abyss, that is to say, to Hell itself; and the expression of his countenance was most severe.

        The exterior of Hell was appalling and frightful; it was an immense, heavy-looking building, and the granite of which it was formed, although black, was of metallic brightness; and the dark and ponderous doors were secured with such terrible bolts that no one could behold them without trembling. Deep groans and cries of despair might be plainly distinguished even while the doors were tightly closed; but, 0, who can describe the dreadful yells and shrieks which burst upon the ear when the bolts were unfastened and the doors flung open; and, 0, who can depict the melancholy appearance of the inhabitants of this wretched place!

        The form under which the Heavenly Jerusalem is generally represented in my visions is that of a beautiful and well-regulated city, and the different degrees of glory to which the elect are raised are demonstrated by the magnificence of their palaces, or the wonderful fruit and flowers with which the gardens are embellished. Hell is shown to me under the same form, but all within it is, on the contrary, close, confused, and crowded; every object tends to fill the mind with sensations of pain and grief; the marks of the wrath and vengeance of God are visible everywhere; despair, like a vulture, gnaws every heart, and discord and misery reign around. In the Heavenly Jerusalem all is peace and eternal harmony, the beginning, fulfilment, and end of everything being pure and perfect happiness; the city is filled with splendid buildings, decorated in such a manner as to charm every eye and enrapture every sense; the inhabitants of this delightful abode are overflowing with rapture and exultation, the gardens gay with lovely flowers, and the trees covered with delicious fruits which give eternal life. In the city of Hell nothing is to be seen but dismal dungeons, dark caverns, frightful deserts, fetid swamps filled with every imaginable species of poisonous and disgusting reptile. In Heaven you behold the happiness and peaceful union of the saints; in Hell, perpetual scenes of wretched discord, and every species of sin and corruption, either under the most horrible forms imaginable, or represented by different kinds of dreadful torments. All in this dreary abode tends to fill the mind with horror; not a word of comfort is heard or a consoling idea admitted; the one tremendous thought, that the justice of an all-powerful God inflicts on the damned nothing but what they have fully deserved is the absorbing tremendous conviction which weighs down each heart. Vice appears in its own, grim disgusting colours, being stripped of the mask under which it is hidden in this world, and the infernal viper is seen devouring those who have cherished or fostered it here below. In a word, Hell is the temple of anguish and despair, while the kingdom of God is the temple of peace and happiness. This is easy to understand when seen; but it is almost impossible to describe clearly.


        The tremendous explosion of oaths, curses, cries of despair, and frightful exclamations which, like a clap of thunder, burst forth when the gates of Hell were thrown open by the angels, would be difficult even to imagine; our Lord spoke first to the soul of Judas, and the angels then compelled all the demons to acknowledge and adore Jesus. They would have infinitely preferred the most frightful torments to such a humiliation; but all were obliged to submit. Many were chained down in a circle which was placed round other circles. In the centre of Hell I saw a dark and horrible-looking abyss, and into this Lucifer was cast, after being first strongly secured with chains; thick clouds of sulphurous black smoke arose from its fearful depths, and enveloped his frightful form in the dismal folds, thus effectually concealing him from every beholder. God himself had decreed this; and I was likewise told, if I remember rightly that he will be unchained for a time fifty or sixty years before the year of Christ 2000. The dates of many other events were pointed out to me which I do not now remember; but a certain number of demons are to be let loose much earlier than Lucifer, in order to tempt men, and to serve as instruments of the divine vengeance. I should think that some must be loosened even in the present day, and others will be set free in a short time.

        It would be utterly impossible for me to describe all the things which were shown to me; their number was so great that I could not reduce them sufficiently to order to define and render them intelligible. Besides which my sufferings are very great, and when I speak on the subject of my visions I behold them in my mind’s eye portrayed in such vivid colours, that the sight is almost sufficient to cause a weak mortal like myself to expire.


        I next saw innumerable bands of redeemed souls liberated from Purgatory and from Limbo, who followed our Lord to a delightful spot situated above the celestial Jerusalem, in which place I, a very short time ago, saw the soul of a person who was very dear to me. The soul of the good thief was likewise taken there, and the promise of our Lord, ‘This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise,’ was fulfilled.

        It is not in my power to explain the exact time that each of these events occurred, nor can I relate one-half of the things which I saw and heard; for some were incomprehensible even to myself, and others would be misunderstood if I attempted to relate them. I have seen our Lord in many different places. Even in the sea he appeared to me to sanctify and deliver everything in the creation. Evil spirits fled at his approach, and cast themselves into the dark abyss. I likewise beheld his soul in different parts of the earth, first inside the tomb of Adam, under Golgotha; and when he was there the souls of Adam and Eve came up to him, and he spoke to them for some time. He then visited the tombs of the prophets who were buried at an immense depth below the surface; but he passed through the soil in the twinkling of an eye. Their souls immediately re-entered their bodies, and he spoke to them and explained the most wonderful mysteries. Next I saw him, accompanied by a chosen band of prophets, among whom I particularly remarked David, visit those parts of the earth which had been sanctified by his miracles and by his sufferings. He pointed out to them, with the greatest love and goodness, the different symbols in the old law expressive of the future; and he showed them how he himself had fulfilled every prophecy. The sight of the soul of our Lord, surrounded by these happy souls, and radiant with light, was inexpressibly grand as he glided triumphantly through the air, sometimes passing, with the velocity of lightning, over rivers, then penetrating through the hardest rocks to the very centre of the earth, or moving noiselessly over its surface”.

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    1. SteveBC, I do understand, but the “journalist” Scalfari is a very old man, who has admitted he doesn’t keep notes, and being an atheist probably doesn’t really understand what the HF is saying to him. Now, why the HF would be so imprudent, it seems to me, to still have conversations (and that’s all they are) with him, I just don’t know. And one certainly can’t trust what has been reported. But, he does seem to want to engage in discussions, and let everyone know, despite that these are most likely to be misrepresented. Yes, like you, I roll my eyes and wonder why. But… nah…

      Happy Easter to all. Sometimes, I’m just glad to relax in the “beyond my pay-grade” stuff and – trust!


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        1. Thanks for the link, Beckita! John Allen is generally a sound and measured commentator. Which is welcome in all this!

          Yes, the 25th May will be our Day of Reckoning – as to whether we stand for Truth, or its opposite. A very definitive moment in this country’s history, perhaps the most definitive?

          As it happens, I was having a pint (or four😋) last night after our Vigil Mass (a LOT of singing – excuse!) with a very good friend, Chairman of our local prolife association, and he pointed out to me that the 25th May is the birthday (although not the feast-day) of St. Pio. Lord, we need his intercession. And I, for one, will certainly invoke it.

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          1. In solidarity with you in prayer, J. Sending St. Pio to all the Irish who will be voting next month. In his ways, may he move hearts for the sake of life.

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      1. Jaykay, that’s where I’ve been for some time: “relax in the ‘beyond my pay-grade’ stuff and – trust!”

        Happy Easter, everyone. He is risen! 🙂

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  7. Mark Mallott speaks of the frustrations of this Pope also:
    “The spontaneous style and unfamiliar ambiguity of this pope has led to not only sharp differences in interpreting papal documents, but to various camps claiming that they are the ones who are most faithful to the Gospels”.
    I do think our current Pope is a bit like Donald Trump in that he has a good heart but has trouble thinking before he speaks, forgetting how easily he can be misunderstood. Benedict himself had a few more controversial statements but John Paul 11, was very precise in his speech. Most likely learned in dealing with the Nazis and the Communists.

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    1. Thank you Bob. I read this yesterday and it came to mind straight away. I hope everyone reads it all as it is excellent. All is being allowed at this time. just pray.
      We are all broken vessels but remain faithful and confess when we fall. Then we can be of use for the good. I saw the headlines about the pope’s comment but in all honesty I did not read the article …. Just more off the same. Only God knows.

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  8. Hoo boy. What a horrible blunder. This is so disappointing. I think what the Pope was doing was speculating in a friendly conversational way to an atheist journalist about end of time stuff and the conception of Hell not about the reality of Hell directly. I think he was misunderstood and misquoted and misrepresented, but there’s a kernel of truth in there somewhere. Perhaps it was something like a meditation on the fact that souls in Hell come within an inch of non-existence as they are separated from the source of Being, maybe he even speculated that it would be more merciful if they “poofed” away at the end of time. Erroneous but not terribly surprising with the kind of humanistic philosophy trying to work itself into the faith under the guise of furthering truth and beauty. Whatever. The doctrine will stand. In the case of the end of time, the understanding is that we will ALL get our bodies back. To modern ears that seems . . . horrible. The damned living in some corporeal place with their bodies . . . sounds nicer to think that people “poof” away, that it’s more merciful, more in balance with the idea of a loving God. However, we understand from Aristotle and Saint Thomas that to exist is itself a good. “Poofing” the damned would not, therefore, be kinder. Whatever. My issue is that the Vatican was SLOW to respond and they did not CLARIFY anything right when it needed to be clarified! Can they still not decide how to handle these things? Haven’t they had enough practice by now? I read the initial statement and it seemed to me that it would have been VERY EASY right then to both state that the Pope was being misrepresented AND clarify the Pope’s position as head of the Church and leave it at that. How hard would that have been? I do not often criticize the Pope, I like to put the best spin on things, I get that he wants to talk as friends to people, speak candidly, muse about God in a refreshing and person centered way. I just don’t understand why he has not yet been able to marry this apostolic and personal approach to the dignity of his station. I’m not saying that the Pope shouldn’t talk to Atheist Journalists, just that he should have been ready to come back strong if he was misrepresented. Maybe it distresses him that people would react with such volatility to a misunderstanding like this, I know he wishes that there was more unity in the Church, for people to get beyond a faith ‘class system’ and see the real persons around us. Maybe that’s why there is some confusion as to how to handle this. I don’t know. The Vatican is still walking back this error, but the damage is done, they were not fast enough to explain or correct this. It’s a terrible responsibility for the Pope, so we should definitely pray for him and for those in the Church who handle misunderstandings with the media.

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  9. You may have heard about Cupich and Martin’s Lenten talk at the Cathedral, and you may have heard what has happened to Fr Phillips at St John Cantius. Cupich was hand picked by this pope, and he is a disaster. With scores of the hierarchy tacitly or directly stating that homosexuals union can be “blessed” and are indeed a good thing. we are headed to apostasy and schism in the Church. The false charges against Fr Phillips will continue against other orthodox priests by homosexuals within the hierarchy yet the hypocrisy is incredible, given that they support homosexuality, but use false reports of homosexuality against orthodox priests. The liberal Catholic prelates will do what ever they can to disperse the priests of the Canon Regular of St John Cantius and we will in Chicagoland lose a most powerful orthodox voice.This pope will allow false interpretations of AL to plague the Church, and in fact has ceded his authority to the local bishops. What Pope Benedict gave in his motu proprio the bishops at least the one in Rockford has taken away and this may well happen in the Chicago archdiocese given Cupich’s earlier comments about his disdain for the Latin Mass. They may have the option of joining Institute of Christ the King with one parish in Chicago which is of Pontifical Right. But at any given time the pope would likely squelch them as well.

    Short of something miraculous, I see no silver lining short of the end of this pontificate.


  10. March 10, 2018 (a special “locution” given to Anne…….Direction for our Times–posted Good Friday–everyone is free to ignore if they wish, but there is something important to note–The Pope is the Vicar of Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit–God has a plan.)


    What do I need from the people of My Church? I need fidelity. Many claim they are faithful but they make war on the Church. When an enemy comes directly to one’s door, from the outside, one is prepared. When an enemy emerges from within one’s home, one is more vulnerable. My children, I do not wish you to become an enemy in My earthly home, the Church. Follow the leadership I have arranged for you, in a manner that is humble and determined, and you will see My Spirit blossoming in a way that is both fresh and compelling. Where are My beloved children? Why do they flee from our assembly? Is it I? Have I changed or demanded that they leave our Church? No. It is not I. I have watched in pain as many people have been made to believe that they are somehow less worthy than the unworthy, that they are not welcome or not received by Me. The truth is that sinners do not cause Me to fret. You are all sinners and you are all welcome. Who is driving God’s children from our Church? Ask yourself that question and do not point to the man I have chosen to lead My Church. He is in My care and I am pleased that he is following My direction. Do you wish to argue with the Holy Spirit in him? Then you must look to Me, and do so silently in prayer. Perhaps I can help you to see that the people in every assembly are unworthy. God did not create you to be perfectly worthy on earth but to be loved and to grow and grow in holiness and happiness. Would you say that every person starts at the same point? Do you believe you can judge? You are attempting to usurp My role if you believe this and you are also damaging My Church. Stop. I am asking you to stop pretending that you are Me. I am the judge. You are the ones who will be judged. I am looking deeply into your heart. If you are dissuading people from belief and total trust in My mercy, then I am asking you to stop.

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    1. Sansan, I posted this same message, above, on the FB comment section. I found it very consoling about Pope Francis, of whom I was having private doubts of some of his comments and non-comments. I have been following Direction For Our Times,for about three years, I find the writings of this woman uplifting. Many are free to read online. The locutions came as a result of this woman’s pilgrimage to Medjugorje.

      11/13/13: Rev. Leo O’Reilly, Bishop of the Diocese of Kilmore, Ireland, has granted Anne’s writings an imprimatur. Bishop Kilmore had already given Anne permission to publish her works and is the prelate who referred her writings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for review. To date, the Church has rendered no decision on the authenticity of Anne’s messages.

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  11. I too always offer my 1st decade for Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict and for all the priests, bishops, religious and shepherds of our church. It’s something that Our Lady consistantly asks for at Medjugorge
    Journalism is in such a sorry state these days, we can’t believe much of what we read in the press. But that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have a purpose in all this. Maybe God thinks “any press IS good press”.
    Yes, the pope is catholic but that doesn’t mean he can’t be as wretched, weak, and sheep-smelling as the rest of us.
    Charlie’s right, the story isn’t finished yet, …and while we balance our duty of filial obedience with our duty of faithful fidelity to the Gospel passed on with authority from the Apostles, we should all be praying for our shepherds.

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  12. Happy Easter everyone! Jesus is risen indeed. Alleluia! What an extraordinary happening it was and is for the downcast disciples. Some locals had considered Jesus a rebel, rabble-rouser, blasphemer. From a distance of 2000 years we can see with clearer vision. He ‘made a mess’ for the good of mankind and the glory of his Father. I’m praying, because I know how little I really do know, that Pope Francis’ mess-making will have the same results – he is the visible head of the church.

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  13. The seas are getting rough & there are many sharks in the water..don’t abandon the ship…aka…the barque of Peter everyone..for where Peter is. ..there so is the church. God is large & in charge & I believe in God’s choice of Pope Francis😇

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  14. Wishing one and all a very happy Easter! As Tanya says, just keep on praying for our Holy Father, all our clergy and the entire Church. Thanks for the link to the CNA article, Beckita

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  15. I find it hard to believe that the Pope would actually believe there is no hell considering he speaks so much about the reality of the evil one. Likely false news. Another way of sifting wheat and chaff.

    Evil will not prevail against the church founded by Jesus Christ.

    Praise be to God!

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  16. Have a Glorious Easter Charlie and all here‼️‼️
    I have been ill and not able to keep up with the latest news, but when I tuned in to EWTN lasr night and saw Pope Francis embrace and linger with the crucifix, I was deeply moved.
    He seems to give much responsibility to those around him as with Fr. Cantalamessa’s homily last
    night. Perhaps Pope Francis himself is setting an example in that, for us to focus less on him.

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  17. Happy Easter to all! He is Risen! I look to Jesus for my faith and not the man who is the Pope. Francis has made too many errors with regard to doctrine that I do not look to him for guidance. He is a man after all and a sinner like the rest of us.


    1. Happy Easter, karmy!

      Amidst the confusion and missteps, in truth, Pope Francis has not taught any false teachings concerning doctrine and dogma and, while a sinner, he remains the one and only Vicar of Christ. This is a big deal to the Lord:
      “And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

      Pope Francis is absolutely deserving of the filial devotion of which Charlie writes. While I have shaken my own head in wonderment at times, I often remember that Pope Francis inherited an extremely divided Church brimming with disobedient sons and daughters, a Church already living, for many years, her Passion Time with polarization that was well established even in the face of eloquent clarity in the writings of Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. God bless Pope Francis and may Holy Spirit overshadow him, correcting his blunders and leading Pope Francis into the greatest of days in his Papacy.

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      1. Amen, Beckita, and AMEN!
        I receive daily news from Zenit. They publish what the Pope says, what he preaches. He has not preached heresy. He preaches faith, hope, love and and above all, Mercy.
        I recall from Bl. Henry Newman: “God knows what He is about.” God is in charge. Let God run His Church and let us keep praying.
        God bless all here.
        He is risen as he said. Alleluia ✝️
        katey in OR

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Yes, Backyard- as it says in my Bible, Peter is the doorkeeper but not the Master and not The Father. Our Holy Father under the guidance of The Holy Spirit did, however, open the Doors of Mercy to the whole world and extended God’s invitation to join the wedding feast to all on the highways and the byways.

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      2. I seems that authority has been conferred on you to state that Our Holy Father blunders. “If a man is of good will and is seeking God then who am I to judge.” Rarely if ever has a Pope been misrepresented so badly. Those golden words in fact reflect the true Gospel message. If such as this represents a blunder then the faith really is in crisis. The Cardinals and bishops should rush to his defence en masses every time he suffers from calumny, intrigue, gossip and the vaulting ambition of his enemies to dethrone him and discredit his foundational truths.

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        1. Of course, every human makes blunders, including every Holy Father throughout history. God Alone is the judge of what’s in our hearts when we blunder. One of my favorite lines from this Pope, whom I hold with great love in constant prayer, is found in a message recorded, informally, on the phone of the late Bishop Tony Palmer which was initially shared at a huge Charismatic Christian gathering at the Kenneth Copeland Ministries center in Texas. In his message, Pope Francis speaks to the problem of divisions within Christianity. He well notes, after asking who is to blame: “We all have sinned. There is only one blameless, the Lord.” And so it is in regards to Christian unity and in regards to every realm of our existence.

          For those who may have missed this impromptu, tremendous message, so hope-filled with the promise of one day being one flock united under one shepherd, here it is. The actual recording of the Holy Father begins at 31:42.

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          1. Perhaps Beckita, you would like to tell us specifically what blunders Our Holy Father has made. Perhaps you are confusing him with another who has blundered. There is of course more to the above video than meets the eye. That is another story. I will leave it in your hands. Like the prohibitive use of the word “details” the normative use of “blunders” has changed its meaning and implication. This will not mean much to your readers but you do. God bless you.


            1. Gosh, Joe. We all make blunders, mistakes made in the moment, such as words or phrases carelessly chosen which may offend others or cause confusion. Often, on seeing the consternation which ensues, the one who spoke the words may be surprised and wish, perhaps, a different way of phrasing the idea had been spoken.

              Here I think of Pope Francis’ expression that Catholics not be “like rabbits.” He was (edit time, since I blundered and unintentionally cleared this comment as I departed the gym, in haste, after cycling) teaching, I think, with wisdom concerning family planning but his phrase caused some consternation. So much so that he beautifully clarified his remark in the following general audience. Edward Pentin noted in his article (which gives a wonderfully balanced treatment of the kerfuffle that ensued) for the National Catholic Register: “The Pope tried to defuse the strong reaction to his ‘rabbits’ comment by saying at his Jan. 21 weekly general audience that “every child is a blessing” and that having many children is not a cause of poverty, but, rather, poverty is due to ‘an economic system that has removed the person from its center.’”

              So, no hidden meaning intended in the use of the word, “blunder.” Surely it’s part of being human. Not only did Pope Francis clarify the intent of his comments at the general audience, he humbly offered an apology. From another article, we read: “In comments to the Italian bishop’s newspaper Avvenire on Thursday, Vatican Archbishop Giovanni Becciu said, ‘The Pope is truly sorry’ that his remarks about large families ’caused such disorientation.’ Archbishop Becciu said the pope ‘absolutely did not want to disregard the beauty and the value of large families.'” God bless you and God bless us, one and all.


          2. Is it me or was he speaking in tongues at the end of this video? Or, Italian? I have witnessed this Christian speaking in tongues in the Holy Spirit many years ago when the Charismatics had some revival.

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              1. Beckita I was not referring to the Holy Father. I was referring to the protestant minister who Pope Francis was speaking to. After Pope Francis spoke I continued to listen to the video. It was then the minister seemed to be talking in a foreign tongue. I backed it up once to re hear. It wasn’t English.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I see what you mean, joanne. Yes, Kenneth Copeland was praying in tongues or, as Charismatics often say, in the Spirit. Mr. Copeland’s response to the Holy Father’s request for prayer was to invite the gathered assembly to pray in the Spirit and that they did.

                  Liked by 1 person

      3. True, Beckita. The genesis of the internal division goes back a looooong way, over a hundred years at least, as recognised by Pope St. Pius X who condemned the heresy of “modernism”. All priests had to take an oath against it at ordination, up to 1968 when it was abolished in, what seems to me, a naïve spirit of “accommodation”. Which was very much the spirit of the times.

        But then – when has the Church NOT been assailed by division? Right back to the Last Supper, it seems to me again, when a certain one of the 12 went off to “enter into accommodation” with the powers that were. And no, I don’t want to make any facile or false comparisons with current events.

        God bless all, and may you all have a blessed Divine Mercy Sunday. Complete remission of all sins and punishment. WOW!! Unfathomable, truly!!!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yup. Not much new. The Satan has been trying to destroy the church from the beginning. Good thing it’s God’s church. The church will prevail. I believe that and pray for faithful and Holy priests.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Well said, Jaykay and Doug. Our Church has been challenged throughout the ages. Praying with you and all here as we make our way through this phase. We know God will draw great good from absolutely everything.

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  18. I wasn’t there and has already been said, who am I to judge. He may have been misunderstood or maybe he made a blunder due to fatigue or illness or whatever. Only our Lord knows for sure. I’m just keeping my eyes focused on Jesus and mommy Mary. Happily Easter to all.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. With all the fake news going around these days, who really knows what the Pope said about the existence of Hell to that atheist? And who knows, maybe the Pope will address the subject during an Easter Mass homily?

    There was one story about Pope Francis that I looked into for myself. It was when he visited Mexico, and was accused of “losing his cool” by getting angry at a man in the crowd.

    So I watched the video, which showed a man climbing over a disabled guy in a wheelchair so he could shake the Pope’s hand. This selfish act may have in fact been placing the disabled man in danger, and the disabled man could do nothing to defend or protect himself.

    In response to what was happening, the Pope looked at the man who so eagerly wanted to shake his hand and in a loud voice, reprimanded him by saying, “No seas egoista! No seas egoista!” which translates to “Don’t be selfish! Don’t be selfish!”

    Well, I thought to myself, we’re all a bit selfish, aren’t we? And then it struck me, if I was admitting that “we” were selfish, I was admitting that “I” was selfish. In front of the whole world, the Pope looked into a camera and told me not to be selfish. And the Pope was right.

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  20. Wishing all here a very Blessed and Happy Easter. Yes, what was said to be reported by Pope Francis, was like a ballon deflated, we are in tough times, but, when I lived in So. California, I used to visit different churches as they were all so close. There was a wise priest just sittin’ in the pew and anyone who wanted to talk to him about anything he was there… The last thing he told me, was “Always keep your eye on the Tabernacle.” Through all these years, yes, even during a boring sermon, that we all have had to sit through, I would sift my eyes to the Tabernacle, I can’t tell ya, but oh… It’s like when you are on a trip home and the kids want to fall a sleep and you know if they fall a sleep, you will not get them to bed for awhile, and you tell them “If you fall a sleep now, you will miss it, so don’t fall a sleep.” Miss what!? Can’t tell ya, you will miss it.” Look to the Tabernacle and “Don’t miss it.” You will be amazed. Love you all and Blessings

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          1. Thank you JLynn! Argentina needs many prayers. I hope lawmakers got the message. Many voters took to the streets and many others are waiting to see who votes for that atrocity… The population is definitely NOT behind this awful “law” — God bless!

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  21. I remember Pope Francis asking at the begining of his papcy to pray three Hail Mary’s every day for him. A ractice i’ve kept up easily by offering up the first three at the beginning of my daily Rosary.
    A Happy and Holy Easter to everyone.

    Christus Vinci

    Liked by 8 people

  22. Mr Johnston, if I may ask – what is your take on the question: “is Cardinal Bergoglio the Pope”?


    1. Dear ktfjmt, Charlie has – both at TNRS and here at ASOH – referred to our Holy Father by his name, chosen when he was validly elected: “Pope Francis.” I would respectfully point out the problem of calling our legitimately elected Pope Francis by names such as: “Cardinal Bergoglio or Bergoglio or Jorge Bergoglio.” You may not have had this intent, but I have frequently noted disparaging, online remarks made about our Holy Father wherein people call him by his former titles, or his name given at his birth, as a way of insult and personal rejection of his status as the Vicar of Christ, due to their frustration with his actions and statements.

      In this very article Charlie writes: “The Pope is due the filial respect and affection of all the faithful, but he is only authoritative when he speaks on matters of faith and morals – and that authority is only binding when he formally speaks Magisterially.” Charlie goes on to describe the papal role as well as the areas where the faithful can rightly disagree: “He has no authority flowing from his office on general matters of politics, economics, science or other temporal matters (with the exception of the condemnation of means that are illicit in themselves). His only specific political authority is as temporal head of the Vatican State.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I want to further emphasize this point: Pope Francis was validly elected and the Cardinals consented to the election. Whatever frustrations I may have with him at times, there is no doubt on this matter except among partisans who have let their malicious fury get the better of their reason and honor.

        Further, though I do not particularly think the “Bergoglio” reference in the comment by ktfmjt was meant disrespectfully, his name prior to the papacy is, indeed, often used as a matter of disrespect – and I don’t go for that AT ALL. There are few men I have as much contempt for as former Pres. Barack Obama, but I did NOT refer to him as ‘Barry’ or ‘Soetoro.’ As I have often said, I encourage vigorous, candid debate here – and a few sharp elbows in the process don’t bother me. Malicious disrespect pops my cork – and almost always makes me think less (and take LESS seriously) the person who says it. Let’s have a little stinkin’ couth here 😉

        Liked by 8 people

        1. There is an Italian usage “Pope Bergoglio” or “Pope Wojtyla” that is not disrespectful because it is part of the way they identify the Pope. If you have to navigate through several popes called Pius, then to call them by their surname comes naturally but that’s for Italians in general—in English, and Spanish it sounds disrespectful unless the context requires to mention the Pope’s last name. Same thing with the expression “bergogliatta”. It is not disrespectful in Italian but it may sound very rude outside peninsular discourse.

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      2. Jesus did not limit the authority he gave to Peter. When Jesus spoke on matters of politics and power and money and nature and science it was of the same Spirit that he gave to Peter: authority. I believe that in this Spirit, every word that Pope Francis speaks is Golden. Salvation is in his hands but only because he is in His hands.

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        1. Well, Joe, in that case you are denying the very Magisterium you say you support. The Pope does NOT have political authority and never has – so says the Church. If he did, we would have to take a very zig-zag course in which we constantly must believe things that, under a prior Pope, we had to believe completely opposite and contrary. That is not only logically and theologically incoherent, it would have the exact opposite effect of what you intend. Rather than enhancing the Pope’s authority, the obvious contradictions between Popes on matters of temporal matters would lead to believing he had no authority at all.

          Did God make the universe to revolve around the earth to make the Pope of the time right in condemning Galileo – and then change everything without our noticing? If He did, does that make, say, St. John Paul a liar for having said the Pope at the time was wrong on that matter of science and apologizing for the error? Then there is the work of the entire Papacy of Leo XIII, which explicitly defined where different orders of men have different primary prudential responsibility, perhaps most plainly expressed in Immortale Dei. Pope Leo insisted on the primacy of the Church in matters of faith and morals, that the whole society must be guided by those moral principles, but that the laity had primacy on temporal matters of politics, science, economics, etc (barring explicitly disordered means.) Thus if you are right, Pope Leo was wrong – but wait, part of your theory is that a Pope can never be wrong…so Pope Leo must be right, making the rest of your argument wrong. Unless, of course, the authority of the Papacy is just a series of arbitrary and contradictory impulses that we are required to accept at the time, regardless of truth or continuity. In that case, the papacy has nothing to do with truth or continuity, only with power.There is no end of such obvious falsehoods if you take the position that the Pope is NEVER wrong on anything and has unlimited authority on everything. I would not belong to a Church that insisted I believe such obvious and indisputable falsehoods. Fortunately, though you say that is exactly what I must do, the ancient Church Magisterium says that is what I must NOT do. The gift of the papacy is a help to our approaching truth, not a simple exercise of arbitrary power. I’ll stick with the Magisterium on the subject.

          I love you, Joe, and I know you mean to enhance the Pope’s authority, but your formula would end by destroying the Church altogether. Not going there, period.

          Liked by 6 people

          1. Thank you Charlie but I have no desire to enhance the Pope’s authority. It cannot be further enhanced. It is complete in its given form.

            How then could I ever say the Pope can never be wrong? The Pope is human by nature. It follows that he can be wrong. The only human being who is Divine is Christ. He is the Head we are the body. All bodily function derives from the head – “apart from me you can do nothing”

            But the Pope can still speak with authority on any given subject if he himself is subject to Christ. Whether or not his authority is accepted is a matter of discernment and discipleship when there is no Magisterial reference.

            As St Paul says “I live, not I, but Christ lives in me.” Through the Power of that presence Paul corrected Peter. And thus the magisterium evolved. The Magisterium has not questioned the authority exercised by Francis so why should I.

            Can you tell me when he himself – and not some media report – has spoken falsely? The only garden path he has led us down is his vision of creation properly cared for by us creatures. This particular wisdom will soon become clear in the great destruction that aporoaches.

            The Pope is the visible head of our family and being human is subject to human criticism as are all fathers.

            In fact I make clear distinction between Papal Authority and the Authority with which Jesus spoke when he was found teaching in the temple. One is always infallible and the infallibility of Jesus rests on his impeccability. The Pope is neither impeccable nor infallible of himself. He needs his family to keep him right. The Magisterium is his family and ours.

            As you know Jesus himself did not harp on about his equality to God but subjected himself to His Father’s will, even to death on a cross.

            Politics is about faith in ourselves. Our Catholic Faith is in the Power of God. The two can happily marry but only when one is subject to the other. Happiness is the joy of a soul surrendered to God. As Jesus said to Pilate “You would have no power unless given from above.”

            In Maori culture we have the whanou or extended family. Within that family are the iwi or tribes and within the iwi are hapu or sub-clans. Our Church has comparable components, some carrying more weight than others but all parts are of the same family.

            In most succesful businesses there is a senior partner. Even the Pope under Canon Law is required to have a confessor/director.

            In some circumstances the authority of the senior partner has the final say even overriding the board. For instance we await the Popes ruling on The Medjugorje Commission findings.

            When Saint Paul spoke of marriage he somewhat nervously proclaimed its framework as a reflection of God’s relationship to the Church albeit in a mirror darkly.

            In today’s world the authority of fathers has been severely undermined. Our Holy Father has not escaped this. Power has become a dirty word and is often associated with chauvenism. And yet the Power, Wisdom and Goodness of our Triune God expresses these attributes eternally in His tender love for us.

            That love is extended through the proper exercise of Papal authority under the watchful gaze and scrutiny of The Magisterium. That has my full assent and nothing else.

            The Pope, like any free human being is entitled to his opinion on anything. Unless that contradicts Magisterial teaching we are free to regard that opinion as we chose. But I would suggest that given his office we should always look and listen first for the goodness contained therein and wherever possible give him the benefit of the doubt.

            What benefit can there be in doubt? Only faith.


          2. Well Charlie – you certainly went off on one! I had hoped that in some small way my short comment, would have in some small way, edified this community. Instead you have presented it as heresy.

            Its primary intention was to to glorify God in His all knowing, all powerful presence everywhere.

            I made no reference to the Magisterium. How have I denied the Magisterium? Where is your premise? Where is your logic?

            The Pope can speak authoratively on matters of politics, economics, ecolology, culture etc by virtue of his education and experience. Where did I say that we are bound to take these views as gospel?

            Many popes and their staff have made pronouncements on such fields for the benefit of mankind and the glory of God down through the centuries. Such words and ways have often demonstrated thoroughly good logic and coherence commensurate with the gospel message.

            Look for instance at the times of Crusade, the Nazi persecution, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Argentinian junta to name but a few. The words of the Pope in those times carried great weight. They are educated by learning, experience and prayer.

            May I ask why you have chosen to highlight only the gaffs? If Paul VI had given primacy to the opinion of the scientific community we would not have Humanae Vitae.

            Where have I said that the Pope is never wrong on anything? Where have I said that he has “unlimited authority on everything.” In what way have I formulated a plan for the destruction of The Church?

            If I have said something wrong – tell me – if not why do you strike?

            For the Jews to “bind” and to “unbind” meant to state what is forbidden and what is allowed. This special mission given to the pope does not silence other voices in the church.

            The Twelve Apostles also were given the authority to bind and loose but in reference to the forgiveness of sins. Peter is the door keeper but not the Master or The Father.

            And so the Pope and The Magisterium share the responsibility for maintaining and growing communion among believers.

            I am sure that the Pope just like the rest of us gets it wrong every day in his thoughts, words and ways. But in all that really matters for the accomplishment of his mission I am sure we are in good hands. God bless all here.

            Goodnight and God bless you too Charlie and please take your foot off my neck. MotC are going to have fun with this!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Ah well, Joe, you have had your say and I have had mine. I am content with that. As for those you say will have fun with this, they would be disappointed to know that, despite the vigor of our dispute, I would be happy to share a fox hole with you – where we would probably bicker from time to time in between watching each other’s backs.

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              1. I’m going to wait for Scalfari to interpret both your comments before putting in my 2 cents while I thank the Lord you two don’t follow the same type of sports

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        2. Well, Jesus said to Peter, in Matthew 16: 18-19: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” And with that power to bind emerged one of the sources of Magisterial teaching, the CCC, in which the limits of Petrine power are described:

          In section 882 we read: “The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, “is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.”402 “For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”4 (This is not a governing power over the entire world, but governing power over the Church throughout the world.)

          In sections 891 and 892, the power vested in the Pope is explained – and it is, specifically, authority over faith and morals: “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council.418 When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine “for belief as being divinely revealed,”419 and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions “must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.”420 This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.421”

          Charlie nailed it when he wrote: “The Pope is due the filial respect and affection of all the faithful, but he is only authoritative when he speaks on matters of faith and morals – and that authority is only binding when he formally speaks Magisterially.” and “He has no authority flowing from his office on general matters of politics, economics, science or other temporal matters (with the exception of the condemnation of means that are illicit in themselves). His only specific political authority is as temporal head of the Vatican State.”

          Honestly, not even Pope Francis himself believes that his every word is golden. In a Reuters news article on January 22nd we read: “Pope Francis, in an extremely rare act of self-criticism, apologised to victims of clerical sex abuse on Sunday, acknowledging he had “wounded many” in comments defending a Chilean bishop who is under scrutiny.” And so it has been for popes throughout history. Every pope has made mistakes. Some popes have made major ones.

          I have spent my lifetime working in the Church, working closely with many a priest who became a family friend. To a man, each one would inevitably speak of his humanity, aware of his weaknesses while striving to grow in holiness as he lived in persona Christi. Pope Francis has acknowledged his humanity in a most humble way for all to see. It is but one of the many reasons why I love him so very much.

          Liked by 5 people

          1. No intent to dog pile with my comment, Joecro. I see that Charlie and I were responding simultaneously… and by time stamp, I notice Charlie was a lot swifter at finishing his thoughts than was I

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            1. Hi Becks the dog piler ha ha. Seems I too was replying but even slower. I did not read yours until after but it does not change mine. The pope apologised for asking for evidence of abuse. He had failed to consider fully how provision of such evidence could have caused further excruciating suffering and even that physical scarring may have gone. So your example, quite unintentionally, is a classic example of misrepresentation. The Pope was not wrong in his content but in his way. As we often are. And that was probably due to neglect in those who oversea his statements. He probably gave them the benefit of the doubt.


              1. I would agree the Pope hates the idea of anyone making an idol of him. I do not and never have.


        3. Charlie, Charlie – restraint of tongue and pen is perhaps called for. Christ passed his authority to Peter. The authority of Christ is unlimited. The Holy Spirit goes where He will. I wrote that whenever the Pope speaks in the Spirit of Christ his words are Golden. I did not say that every word he speaks is binding according to the Laws of the Church. Tradition is that which will sustain the Church when all else fails. Tradition is The Holy Spirit. As Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world” The children of the market place are wiser in the ways of the world.


        4. Let me clarify this once and for all. The key phrase in my comment is not “every word” but “in this Spirit.” Whenever anyone speaks in The Spirit of God their words are golden – every time. It is not humble to quote oneself but this matter is too important to be left hanging. When the young Jesus taught in the temple, the reaction of the Rabbis was to say “He speaks with authority.” This authority was The Spirit speaking in him. It was the same Spirit that enabled Peter to declare with authority “You are The Christ, the Son of the living God” a revelation given directly by The Father who is One with The Spirit. And after his assent of Faith, Our Lord conferred on him the same authority to speak on matters of Salvation – faith and morals – in accordance with the mind of His Church – “on this Rock I will build My Church”. And thus Jesus initiated the Magisterium as the teaching foundation of The Body of Christ; His Church. When the Pope speaks in union with the Magisterium we can be sure in Faith that the words are spoken in the Spirit. There is a Catholic consciousness in the Body of Christ that resonates with words spoken in the Spirit but assent and discernment is needed with regard to Words spoken without that final Magisterial approbation. That ability is refined through prayer and meditation and living an active part in the life of The Church. In particular, especially in these end of times, (not time) we should have recourse to the prayers of the Rosary in which we unite ourselves with the Life of Christ through His Blessed Mother. It is good for me to refresh my own mind on these matters. The devil is far too clever for us on our own.

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          1. “Whenever anyone speaks in The Spirit of God their words are golden – every time.” So true, Joecro. And your comment brings to mind that Holy Spirit gives particular graces especially for the Pope and surely he deserves that special assistance from the Paraclete Who is Advocate and Guide.

            This brings to mind a parish in our city which found itself, some years ago, with a pastor who invited lay people to preach the homily. This local disorder was the occasion for my awakening to the fact that, in human terms, a lay person could well be an articulate speaker beyond the natural skills of an ordained priest or deacon, but that lay person would never be anointed with the graces of the Holy Spirit which pour out only upon the ordained who preach the homily.

            And so, while each of us has received the Holy Spirit in baptism and confirmation with all the supernatural gifts and graces inherent in those sacraments, each one of us receives particular charisms and graces that Holy Spirit may assist us in our particular state and calling in life. With this in mind, who can really fathom the abundance and richness of the Holy Spirit’s activity in the life of the Roman Pontiff?

            Also, as you’ve expressed that there is respect to be given to the Pope when he speaks on any topic, so I have been taught. We listen with respect to the Holy Father and when we disagree, it is expressed with respect. God bless us, one and all.

            Liked by 1 person

  23. I agree with the comment that likens the communication style of Pope Francis and President Trump. They often seem to be speaking out of both sides of their mouth, seemingly contradicting things said prior. Each time this is done, it seems to expose more people and their true beliefs/feelings, luring them out of the “gray area” if you will. The lukewarm will be vomited from my mouth, you are either with me or against me. The unveiling continues.

    A blessed Easter to everyone!

    Liked by 9 people

    1. That thought crossed my mind too gotoJoseph. Yet we have the same people who call POTUS a genius when he does/says such things and then criticize Our Holy Father both inside and outside of the Church. 😦

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  24. It is imperative for all of us to pray for His Holiness and all the Shepherds of the Church.Many people criticize the Church or the Bishops and Priests, as well as the Papacy, but unless we are praying without ceasing then we are part of the problem and not part of the solution.
    All of our Shepherds have a target on their backs and it is up to the people of God to cover their backs.
    He is Risen, Alleluia Alleluia!!! A Blessed Easter to everyone!

    Liked by 7 people

  25. “For the record, Pope Francis has spoken of hell as though he believes it is real. The Pope has threatened the Italian Mafiosi (Mafia) with it, should they fail to repent, and explained to a Girl Scout at the Tor Bella Monaca parish he was visiting in 2015 that anyone can go there who clings to the delusion of self-sufficiency and refuses to beg God’s mercy (which God will not refuse anyone who asks Him it), and described it during the course of a November 2016 fervorino in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae as a place in which one exists deprived of God’s charity.”
    (Christopher Altieri, Catholic Herald)

    “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” (2 Peter 3:10)
    “These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of *everlasting destruction* from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength.”
    2 Thessalonians 1:9
    I do not know the exact words or discussion that Pope Francis had with Scalfari, but the above passages could very well be part of what was discussed and misquoted later.
    As Catholics we know the “everlasting destruction” is taught as eternal separation from God and the loss (destruction) of the goodness we possessed and so, in essence, that part of us is lost forever.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I just remembered that it was Pope Francis who recommended the faithful to read Dante’s “Inferno” during the Year of Mercy. I took the Holy Father up on his recommendation and was very glad I did. “Inferno” was one of the most unique, engrossing, and memorable books I’ve ever read. A masterpiece.

      Gustave Doré.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thanks, Patrick. It’s hard for me to believe that the Holy Father recommended reading “Inferno” and yet doesn’t believe there’s a hell. I wonder if perhaps he wasn’t referring to the limbo of the fathers?

        Anyhow, that Gustave Dore picture is stunning, but kinda creepy. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  26. Good Catholics need to realise that it is possible for the Church to have a Pope so bad it makes you long for Alexander VI – who after all, didn’t fiddle with Church doctrine.

    I won’t say here what I really think of Francis (nothing good).

    What I will say is that it’s time to wake up. The Scalfari interview is only the latest in at least five (maybe eight?) that the Pope has had with this man. He also said this same heresy about Hell to Scalfari a while back – maybe 2015. The Pope has never contradicted Scalfari’s reports *therefore they are true*.

    It is possible for children to suffer under an abusive father. That’s what we’re suffering. This isn’t media spin etc. It’s reality and we must face it. It changes nothing about Church doctrine, but by the time we’re through this great trial, we’ll have a better understanding of the nature of Papal authority and infallibility. Some Catholics have been working through all these problematic issues for five LONG years.


  27. I try and I magine the confusion the apostles must have felt when they saw their King scourged, spit on, hated on, all for unjustifiable reasons, and all he did was turn the other cheek. I’m sure they wondered why he didn’t say something, do something to make it all stop…even Judas’ own pride angered him that Jesus wasn’t the Jesus he wanted him to be….but His ways are not our ways. I know many wonder why Pope Francis doesn’t “fix” things when they get all distorted…and perhaps get angry that he is not the Pope we want him or think he should be…..but again….we must remember Who is really in control of this thing called life. His ways are not our ways. He has told us time and time again what will happen, just as Jesus did with the apostles. But they did not comprehend what he was saying to them.

    We believe in Jesus….but do we truly believe in what Jesus TELLS us in His Word?

    We must stand strong and faithful as the Church continues on its way through the Via Dolorosa “falling” once, twice or perhaps three times as it is beaten and spat on, mocked and ridiculed….as we watch ever so vigilantly awaiting its own Resurrection, which undoubtedly and most mercifully will come.

    His ways are not our ways.

    Jesus Christ is risen!

    Liked by 6 people

  28. HAPPY EASTER! He is Risen! He is Truly Risen!

    He IS a man!
    Last year I was speaking with Charlie about Jesus and inquiring about the Resurrection. I made a comment about Jesus’ Spirit here on earth with us. He instantly got very excited and said in a very FIRM voice … “HE IS A MAN!!! HE IS A MAN!!!” You could hear a pin drop … I was astonished — to put it mildly.

    I am in my 60’s … Baptized and raised as a Catholic. Went to Catholic school for eight years! I did not know that our Lord and King, our Friend … walks around this earth as a Man behind the Veil.

    Made a HUGE DIFFERENCE to me and my Faith. I have spoken to many others about this — Catholic and non-Catholic. It seems to be the best kept secret… a lot of people think as I previously thought — He is a Spirit here on earth. Spread the word! HE IS A MAN! (not WAS a MAN!)

    God Bless all here and the ones you love.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Farm Girl, many of the stories told of muslims meeting Jesus say they meet him in the flesh. One such story was told by a couple missionaries in Iran, who went to a small village, set up a movie screen, and began showing a movie with Jesus in it. The audience consisted of something like 30-40 men of the village. The story goes that when they saw the actor playing Jesus, they began crying and yelling, obviously very emotional. The missionaries shut off the movie, thinking their audience members were angry at them. They asked the men why they were so upset. To their astonishment, the men in audience said, “He was *here*. He was here last week teaching us!” This story never fails to amaze me, that this man who was teaching them, who obviously appeared to them as fully human and in the guise of the actor who they would see the very next week, was fully there in everyday life with the members of the village. He taught them for several days but never mentioned who he was, because he knew the missionaries would show up a few days later and unintentionally identify him, thus enabling a miracle for the villagers.

      Liked by 12 people

        1. I’ve read *many* other such stories, all equally amazing, via books and online sites. They’re out there and available to all to read or watch. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, Jesus truly lives as a man. Moreover, and this is absolutely mind-blowing, the Catholic Catechism says that “The Father’s power “raised up” Christ his Son and by doing so perfectly introduced his Son’s humanity, including his body, into the Trinity.” (#648) Our Risen Lord’s body is fully integrated into the life of the Holy Trinity. I am left totally breathless thinking about this.

      Liked by 6 people

    3. Hi Farm Girl
      Thanks for your comment
      “The Catholic Church teaches as dogma that the Virgin Mary “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory”. This doctrine was dogmatically defined by Pope Pius XII on 1 November 1950, in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus by exercising papal infallibility.”
      I wonder if it is ok to say that Mary too is not a ghostly spirit. She is woman among us. She is blessed among women.

      Liked by 2 people

  29. First off… ay God’s truth shine through each of you in His Glorious Rememberance of His Risen Body!

    One thought when initially hearing this was…Mama Mary why is another knot needing to be undone?

    I LOVED Bob’s comparison to Pres. Trump….seems most appropiate. I remeber when the pope came out with the confusion of not to judge on homosexuality, we in the state of ‘aloha’ were fighting the mockery of marriage. I remember a couple of catholics saying even the Catholic Church sees the light and changing positions, and with their pompous attitude would not listen that Church CANNOT change what God deigns. But their was no changing minds. Same here….did he say…not say…we don’t know and the Pope will not clarify. What haunts me most is poeple will GLEEFULLY believe it and not change behavior because “there is not constant damnation, the soul dissolves” and the ADAMENT desire to believe what they want. And because God DOES NOT INTERFERE with out free will, we do choose. I weep at the words….”will I find any who still believe upon My return?”
    JESUS I TRUST IN THEE…help me pray like YOU. God bless with aloha

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thus far, from what I’ve read, I think John Allen addresses this issue best:

      “Without too much speculation about the pope’s inner motives, what seems clear is that Francis is less concerned about precision in such a situation than with dialogue, and he appears to believe that even if he may be misrepresented or misquoted – or, even if he lets the doctrinal fine points slide, for the sake of keeping the back-and-forth going, and gives off a false impression of what he really thinks -it’s still worth it to be in conversation with Scalfari and the cultural world he represents.

      In miniature, that would seem to be Francis’s model for dialogue generally – friendship first, clarity later.

      That approach, obviously, has a downside, and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. No doubt, experts on the papacy will argue for a long time over whether Francis should do things like this – whether it opens doors and reduces prejudices, which is what he appears to believe and what Scalfari himself insists it actually does, or whether it simply lets loose chaos and creates unnecessary distractions, which is what critics regard as the inevitable outcomes.

      While that debate goes on, here’s a tip: The next time you hear about a bombshell papal interview, do a keyword search for the name “Scalfari.” If it pops up, you’ll know the story won’t be over until we get the Vatican’s next kid-gloves attempt to deny the story, without denying the man behind it.

      Full article by John Allen:

      Liked by 6 people

  30. Happy Easter! He is Risen! “O Death, where is your sting, O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are overthrown. Christ is risen and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life reigns. Christ is risen and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages.” – St. John Chrysostom

    Liked by 8 people

  31. While in the Catholic Herald post I think suggesting the Pope resign is a bit extreme, clearly this Pope needs to be setting some clear boundaries on what may be said by people he speaks with on pastoral grounds, on the media. Still, until this happens let us trustingly walk in faith knowing that the King has risen!

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Christ IS the Light of the World! Blessed Easter to All!

    “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

    Liked by 7 people

  33. You know I love and support this Pope, even amidst the challenges in his papacy. I just couldn’t help smiling at this story, especially the exchange between the prison head and Pope Francis. Is this a sign of brighter days ahead for the Church? I pray so! St. Paul, pray for us and our Church.

    Vatican City, Mar 30, 2018 / 09:28 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During a customary visit to a prison on Holy Thursday, Pope Francis revealed that he has cataracts and is planning to have an eye operation to correct them next year.

    The head of Regina Coeli prison in Rome made a comment during the visit about the importance of being “far-sighted” about prisoners’ rehabilitation.

    Pope Francis responded, “This is good. Because at my age, for example, cataracts arrive and one does not see reality well. Next year, we will have to have an operation.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Amen – truly remarkable – it has been prophesied that Donald Trump will bring America back to God. God bless America and God bless The President. Thank you Ann.

      Liked by 3 people

  34. What was written, or said, was not pure – it was adulterated by an atheistic journalist. I dismissed it immediately. As so well put, Charlie, you explained the “mechanics,” when the Pope makes an edict, of how that edict is turned into magisterium and Church teaching. The spiritual – emotional sides have to know and understand, in full faith, that the actual words spoken are NOT of our Church Leader, the Pope. They were twisted by someone looking to make headlines. As I have said to several – look at the source, and in that source, one comes to understand that someone was trying to make headlines and belittle a great spiritual man. Sad it is. Pray for this atheist and his conversion, even at 93 years old. Pray for the protection and sanctity of the Pope. Pray for those who like me, are sinners, and that we will have full conversion to our Lord. Amen and Happy Easter to everyone! PRAISE GOD! He is Risen!

    Liked by 7 people

  35. Well, I have stated before, God will send the right saint at the right time and he will preserve his church. It is a solemn promis that he will preserve the church. After all, it is not man’s church, but God’s church. That is my story and I am sticking with it.

    Liked by 7 people

  36. The Holy Father seems to be working under the presumption that the vast majority of people are either God oriented or at the very least attempting to be so. With this comes the presumption that those of more traditional leanings are pharisaical in nature while those of more liberal leanings are better attuned to mind & will of God. The Holy Father also seems to be working under the presumption that those of wealth or steady means by western standards are much like the Rich Man in the Gospel or the Miser in the Epistle while the poor & impoverished are Lazarus at the gate. The difficulty of these positions undercut the realties on the ground, humanity in general can not properly fit into these categories. For example a rich man in Africa bears a different responsibility than does a rich man in the European north, a poor man in lower America is by definition different than a poor man in upper America. Also left out is the just responsibilities of both governments & the peoples whom they serve as well as the economic systems in place. In short one can not say simply the American population is avaricious & greedy while the population of Indonesia is trampled upon by the Americans. The just distribution of goods or the lack thereof is only part of the reality that causes many hardships in the world. The Holy Father does understand this part very well, where he is lacking is the misunderstanding of human intentions. Like Annas & Caiaphas, Nicodemus & Joseph of Arimathea are also rich men, Pharisees & esteemed member of the Council with Nicodemus being in the Sanhedrin. Unlike Annas & Caiaphas, Nicodemus & Joseph are the real deal who would take in one such as Lazarus at the Gate. For all the failings of humanity in the post Catholic world no one single socioeconomic political position or financial standarding is to blame, rather it is the intentions within the human heart & state of soul which transcend mere earthly categories.

    Liked by 5 people

  37. Happy Easter to all at ASOH

    This Pope is so so special. Like Charlie he generally refuses to give attention to his own flogging – yet he is flogged by false witnesses, detractors and doubters every day.

    And when he does speak to me his words are indeed golden. Pure gold he has been given and pure gold he gives to us. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

    Jesus did not defend his words. He simply spoke them and none more true and touching than those He spoke on the cross.

    Before His death many had found his words too hard to take and turned their backs to Him. On His death many also turn to his back and lash it to the point of death and to his face which they disfigured to the point of revulsion, so disfigured he can hardly be recognized.

    We are told in holy scripture that the Holy Spirit is not given in half measure. In my view, never in the history of the papacy has such full measure been poured out for the Church as in the person of Pope Francis.

    There are false vines that encircle and crush and take their life from the tree to which they are attached. They are parasites. Sometimes, from their outward appearance it is hard to tell the tree from the parasite. Without Francis these parasites would have nothing to cling to – nothing to justify their existence.

    Our Holy Father submits to their sin for our sake just like Jesus and waits patiently for Our Lady Untier of Knots to extricate him from their constriction and show the world the Truth.

    This waiting requires faith and clear vision. To me there is no confusion in or from the mind or heart of Pope Francis.

    Clarity is a different matter but the process of faith will take care of that if we attend to our own. As Catholics we have all the tools to fashion good lives. We just need to become more skilled in their use. We acquire this skill by practise.

    Rather than listening to the blasting media let us listen to the still small voice that never leaves us but is often left alone. Let us contemplate His Passion and His Glory and see Francis with Peter peering into His empty tomb waiting for it all to become clear.

    Liked by 10 people

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