Papal Puzzlery

 

A comprehensive response to many questions directed my way regarding the turbulent pontificate of Pope Francis. I apologize that this is a bit lengthier than usual. But thankfully, it is answering several readers’ questions….

 

FROM a reader:

I pray for conversion and for the intentions of Pope Francis everyday.  I am one who initially fell in love with the Holy Father when he was first elected, but over the years of his Pontificate, he has confused me and made me very concerned that his liberal Jesuit spirituality was almost goose-stepping with the left-leaning world view and liberal times. I am a Secular Franciscan so my profession binds me to obedience to him.  But I must admit that he scares me… How do we know he is not an anti-pope?  Is the media twisting his words? Are we to blindly follow and pray for him all the more?  This is what I have been doing, but my heart is conflicted.

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Personal Relationship With Jesus

PersonalRelationship
Photographer Unknown

 

 

First published October 5th, 2006. 

 

WITH my writings of late on the Pope, the Catholic Church, the Blessed Mother, and the understanding of how divine truth flows, not through personal interpretation, but through the teaching authority of Jesus, I received the expected emails and criticisms from non-Catholics (or rather, ex-Catholics). They have interpreted my defence of the hierarchy, established by Christ Himself, to mean that I do not have a personal relationship with Jesus; that somehow I believe I am saved, not by Jesus, but by the Pope or a bishop; that I am not filled with the Spirit, but an institutional “spirit” that has left me blind and bereft of salvation.

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Why Aren’t the Popes Shouting?

BenedictCap_Fotor

 

With dozens of new subscribers coming on board now each week, old questions are popping up such as this one: Why aren’t the Pope’s speaking about the end times? The answer will surprise many, reassure others, and challenge many more. First published September 21st, 2010, I have updated this writing to the present pontificate. 

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The Thin Line Between Mercy and Heresy – Part III

 

PART III — FEARS REVEALED

 

SHE fed and clothed the poor with love; she nurtured minds and hearts with the Word. Catherine Doherty, foundress of the Madonna House apostolate, was a woman who took on the “smell of the sheep” without taking on the “stench of sin.” She constantly walked the thin line between mercy and heresy by embracing the greatest of sinners while calling them to holiness. She used to say,

Go without fears into the depths of men’s hearts… the Lord shall be with you. —from The Little Mandate

This is one of those “words” from the Lord that is able to penetrate “between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” [1]cf. Heb 4:12 Catherine uncovers the very root of the problem with both so-called “conservatives” and “liberals” in the Church: it is our fear to enter men’s hearts as Christ did.

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1. cf. Heb 4:12

The Thin Line Between Mercy & Heresy – Part II

 

PART II — Reaching the Wounded

 

WE have watched a rapid cultural and sexual revolution that in five short decades has decimated the family as divorce, abortion, redefinition of marriage, euthanasia, pornography, adultery, and many other ills have become not only acceptable, but deemed a social “good” or “right.” However, an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, drug use, alcohol abuse, suicide, and ever multiplying psychoses tell a different story: we are a generation that is bleeding profusely from the effects of sin.

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The Thin Line Between Mercy & Heresy – Part I

 


IN
all the controversies that unfolded in the wake of the recent Synod in Rome, the reason for the gathering seemed to have been lost altogether. It was convened under the theme: “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” How do we evangelize families given the pastoral challenges we face due to high divorce rates, single mothers, secularization, and so forth?

What we learned very quickly (as proposals of some Cardinals were made known to the public) is that there is a a thin line between mercy and heresy.

The following three part series is intended to not only get back to the heart of the matter—evangelizing families in our times—but to do so by bringing to the forefront the man who is really at the center of the controversies: Jesus Christ. Because no one walked that thin line more than Him—and Pope Francis seems to be pointing that path to us once again.

We need to blow away the “smoke of satan” so we can clearly identify this narrow red line, drawn in Christ’s blood… because we are called to walk it ourselves.

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A House Divided

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for October 10th, 2014

Liturgical texts here

 

 

“EVERY kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house.” These are Christ’s words in today’s Gospel that must surely reverberate among the Synod of Bishops gathered in Rome. As we listen to the presentations coming forth on how to deal with today’s moral challenges facing families, it is clear that there are great gulfs between some prelates as to how to deal with sin. My spiritual director has asked me to speak about this, and so I will in another writing. But perhaps we should conclude this week’s meditations on the infallibility of the papacy by listening carefully to Our Lord’s words today.

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Can the Pope Betray Us?

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for October 8th, 2014

Liturgical texts here

 

The subject matter of this meditation is so important, that I am sending this to both my daily readers of the Now Word, and those who are on the Spiritual Food for Thought mailing list. If you receive duplicates, that’s why. Because of today’s subject, this writing is a bit longer than usual for my daily readers… but I believe necessary.

 

I couldn’t sleep last night. I woke up in what the Romans would call the “fourth watch”, that period of time before dawn. I began to think about all the emails I’m receiving, the rumors I’m hearing, the doubts and confusion that are creeping in… like wolves on the edge of the forest. Yes, I heard the warnings clearly in my heart shortly after Pope Benedict resigned, that we were going to enter into times of great confusion. And now, I feel a bit like a shepherd, tension in my back and arms, my staff raised as shadows move about this precious flock that God has entrusted me to feed with “spiritual food.” I feel protective today.

The wolves are here.

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The Question on Questioning Prophecy


The “empty” Chair of Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy

 

THE past two weeks, the words keep rising in my heart, “You have entered dangerous days…” And for good reason.

The enemies of the Church are many from both within and without. Of course, this is nothing new. But what is new is the current zeitgeist, the prevailing winds of intolerance toward Catholicism on a near global scale. While atheism and moral relativism continue to strike at the hull of the Barque of Peter, the Church is not without her internal divisions.

For one, there is building steam in some quarters of the Church that the next Vicar of Christ will be an anti-pope. I wrote about this in Possible… or Not? In response, the bulk of letters I’ve received are grateful for clearing the air on what the Church teaches and for putting an end to tremendous confusion. At the same time, one writer accused me of blasphemy and putting my soul at risk; another of overstepping my bounds; and yet another saying that my writing on this was more of a danger to the Church than the actual prophecy itself. While this was going on, I had evangelical Christians reminding me that the Catholic Church is Satanic, and traditionalist Catholics saying I was damned for following any pope after Pius X.

No, it is not surprising that a pope has resigned. What is surprising is that it took 600 years since the last one.

I am reminded again of Blessed Cardinal Newman’s words that are now blasting like a trumpet above the earth:

Satan may adopt the more alarming weapons of deceit—he may hide himself—he may attempt to seduce us in little things, and so to move the Church, not all at once, but by little and little from her true position… It is his policy to split us up and divide us, to dislodge us gradually from our rock of strength. And if there is to be a persecution, perhaps it will be then; then, perhaps, when we are all of us in all parts of Christendom so divided, and so reduced, so full of schism, so close upon heresy… and Antichrist appear as a persecutor, and the barbarous nations around break in. —Venerable John Henry Newman, Sermon IV: The Persecution of Antichrist

 

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Missing the Message… of a Papal Prophet

 

THE Holy Father has been greatly misunderstood not only by the secular press, but by some of the flock as well. [1]cf. Benedict and the New World Order Some have written me suggesting that perhaps this pontiff is an "anti-pope" in kahootz with the Antichrist! [2]cf. A Black Pope? How quickly some run from the Garden!

Pope Benedict XVI is not calling for a central all-powerful "global government"—something he and popes before him have outright condemned (ie. Socialism) [3]For other quotes from popes on Socialism, cf. www.tfp.org and www.americaneedsfatima.org —but a global family that places the human person and their inviolable rights and dignity at the center of all human development in society. Let us be absolutely clear on this:

The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need. … In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3) – a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est, n. 28, December 2005

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1. cf. Benedict and the New World Order
2. cf. A Black Pope?
3. For other quotes from popes on Socialism, cf. www.tfp.org and www.americaneedsfatima.org