This is an awesome post by Fr. Denis Lemieux

This  makes my heart sing.  Love this. Amen. Amen. Amen.  Somebody should appoint him to go to the synod next October in Rome.

‘None of us are welcome on our own terms in the Church’ – this is a statement for the ages. I personally find it, not a harsh or unkind formulation, but actually something that thrills me and moves my heart.

I’m not sure why this is so. Perhaps it is because it has been many, many years since I realized that my own terms were so narrow and poor, tangled and twisted, that I would be much better off living on Jesus’ terms for the rest of my life.


All I can say is that my experience, which is far from complete, has been that as I simply forget about ‘my own terms’ – my ideas, my self-concept, my likes, my deepest convictions even – and throw myself into the arms and heart of Jesus, completely accept what the Gospel and what the Church teaches me about Jesus and about life, my life becomes richer, more beautiful, more joyous, more peaceful.  More. Simply more.


Life is a perpetual surrender of the fortress of the self into the sweet captivity of the Lord, which is true freedom. Life is a perpetual collapse of our defenses, the dissolving of our lines of resistance, the white flag going up, the glum acceptance of our defeat at the hands of our Adversary—only to discover that He is the great captain of the liberating army come to cast down all tyranny from our souls forever.


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More synod follow up from Fr. Longenecker

Sensible stuff:

Last week a priest friend admitted to me that he finds Pope Francis to be “an enigma.” This is because Pope Francis, in his own people-centered ministry, reveals to the world how very complicated and difficult it is to live out the joy of the gospel. The Catholic Church sets out the dogmas, doctrine, and disciplines of the faith very clearly. She establishes the rule, regulations, and rubrics of religion, but to apply them in real life is a constant challenge. The rules and doctrines are necessary, but they are the map for the journey, they are not the journey itself. The rules promote the love of Christ in the world, but love, like art, is messy, unpredictable, and alive.

It is Francis’s ability to take some risks and plunge into the abundant unpredictability of life that is the mark of his ministry and the point of his papacy. His words on the family can also be applied to the whole enterprise of attempting to live out the Catholic faith in the world. To live the gospel of joy one has to take time to encounter God, to “waste time” in prayer, in worship, in ministry and mission.

Pope Francis is saying to the church and to the world, “The family and the Faith are not easy. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work. Let’s make a mess if we have to, so that we can live the family and the faith full of life, love, abundance and joy.”

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Some interesting Mark Shea

Read it all here.

But these days I am astonished to see self-proclaimed “Faithful Conservative Catholics”, in amazing numbers, react to the news that Pope Francis inspires trust in unbelievers, not with the cry, “Great news! Let’s use this opportunity to tell the world about Jesus!” but with “This shows how “humble” Pope Francis is all about trying to be a celebrity and ingratiate himself with the world. The fact that gays and ex-Catholics and the media adore him just goes to show you that he is a heretic compromising the Faith and is a danger to the Church! He must be stopped before he destroys it!”

Folly. Such people don’t want the gospel. They want a little system of order that keeps them safe from the radical demands of love Christ lays upon us. They want to keep people out of the Church and it does not even occur to them to see such a cultural moment as an opportunity. It is entirely a threat to them.

There is no other word to say to such people than “Repent!” It is entirely possible that the millions of hitherto disaffected people warming to the Faith because a little flame of trust is being kindled in their hearts by their affection for Francis will enter the kingdom ahead of you if you don’t. Our task is not to keep out the riff raff and repel boarders. It is to go out into the highways and byways and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame so that the wedding feast will be full.

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Another great Ross Douthat column in the NYT

Find it here. Please read it all, because I bet it captures what a lot of my readers are experiencing right now.  An excerpt:

I am a Catholic for various contingent reasons (this is as true of converts as of anyone else), but on a conscious level it’s because I am a mostly-faithful Christian who is mostly convinced that Roman Catholicism is the expression of Christianity that has kept faith most fully with the early church and the words of Jesus of Nazareth himself. A point that Cardinal George Pell, recently of Sydney and now of the Roman curia, made in a talk this week — that the search for authority in Christianity began not with pre-emptive submission to an established hierarchy, but with early Christians who “wanted to know whether the teachings of their bishops and priests were in conformity with what Christ taught” — is crucial to my own understanding of the reasons to be Catholic: I believe in papal authority, the value of the papal office, because I think that office has played a demonstrable role in maintaining the faith’s continuity, coherence and fidelity across two thousand years of human history.


So if you asked me, as a secular or Protestant reader might be inclined to do, “do you believe that marriage is indissoluble because the pope is infallible and he says so?”, I might answer: “Mostly the reverse: I think the papacy might well be guided on the Holy Spirit because it has taught so consistently that marriage is indissoluble, while almost every other Christian body has succumbed to the pressures and political incentives to say otherwise.”


So if the change being debated were to happen, if the pope were to approve and promulgate it, that would seem like a Big Deal, with big repercussions for how people – myself, and others – understand their relationship to the Catholic faith. Andrew Sullivan, in a post that I think perhaps falls slightly short of his usual standards of generosity, accuses me of being filled with “rage” over this possibility, and of calling for an anti-Francis schism. But that’s not what I said, or how I really feel. When I suggested that church might have to “resist” the pope on these questions, I had in mind public argument and pressure, a more significant version of the pushback at the synod, rather than a beeline to the local SSPX chapel, and if Pope Francis were to make what I consider a kind of doctrinal backflip I wouldn’t be making that beeline myself; I’d remain an ordinary practicing Catholic, remain engaged in these debates (because I would still think my side’s view is closer to the original teaching of the faith), but my understanding of papal authority would be changed in ways that would inevitably change my underlying relationship to the church.


So my dominant emotion isn’t anger right now: It’s a mix of dismay and determination, anxiety and hope, cycling back and forth depending on events. And if the change being bruited were to happen I’m quite sure that my main emotions would be rue and regret – rue that I had somewhat misjudged the church I joined eighteen years ago this spring, and regret that an institution that I believe to be divinely established notwithstanding all its human sins turned out to have a little less of the divine about it than I thought.

This speaks to my condition, as the Quakers say.

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Dorothy Cummings McLean comments on the synod

Read it all at the Catholic Register.  A taste:

“Argh,” I said to my husband. “Just thinking about the Synod on the family is making my stomach hurt again.”

“Well, stop thinking about it,” said Mark.

“I can’t,” I said. “I’m writing a column about it.”

“What are you going to say?”

“I’m going to say that everyone should forget the whole thing and just read Familiaris Consortio.”

The apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio of Pope John Paul II to “the episcopate, the clergy and the faithful of the whole Catholic Church” is also known as “On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World.” It was promulgated in 1981, and although I have met many Catholics whose family lives have been strengthened and enriched by it, I do not recall ever having heard a Sunday homily about it.

I hope it is my memory that is at fault, for Familiaris Consortio is the richest contemporary source of Catholic teaching on the family, short of the catechism.

Unlike documents from the synod on the family, Familiaris Consortio is authoritative. It was the bishops’ pledge to Catholic families that the Church supported them in a time when the very family itself was under siege by changing social mores.

It discusses contemporary problems facing the family; it defines the family; it describes the mission of the Christian family — to serve the cause of life, to educate children, and to serve and evangelize society — and it discusses the pastoral care of the family, which is the responsibility of the family itself (and associations of families) as well as the clergy and, especially, the bishops. The situation of the “divorced and remarried,” whose problems are dwarfed by those of migrant workers, military families, families of the imprisoned, homeless families, families of children with disabilities, families of drug addicts, refugee families and politically persecuted families, is discussed at the very end.

One of the sources of Catholic anguish over this year’s Synod’s so-called “mid-term report” was the media’s overemphasis on the sections about divorced-and-remarried Catholics and the perceived inclusion of sexually charged same-sex friendships under the definition of “family,” a situation described in Catholic Poland as “the hermeneutic of betrayal.” Stanisław Gądecki, the Archbishop of Pożnan, said this relatio departed from the teachings of St. John Paul II and even included traces of anti-marriage ideology.

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Cardinal Baldisseri addresses British Parliamentarians

Cardinal Baldisseri, Secretary General of the recent extraordinary synod on the pastoral challenges facing the family addressed a group of British Parliamentarians.

Here’s a link to the text in English.

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The Holy Father’s address to Old Catholics

From L’Osservatore Romano, an excerpt:

While we rejoice whenever we take steps towards a stronger communion in faith and life, we are also saddened when we recognize that in the course of time new disagreements between us have emerged. The theological and ecclesiological questions that arose during our separation are now more difficult to overcome due to the increasing distance between us on matters of ministry and ethical discernment.

The challenge for Catholics and Old Catholics, then, is to persevere in substantive theological dialogue and to walk together, to pray together and to work together in a deeper spirit of conversion towards all that Christ intends for his Church. In this separation there have been, on the part of both sides, grave sins and human faults. In a spirit of mutual forgiveness and humble repentance, we need now to strengthen our desire for reconciliation and peace. The path towards unity begins with a change of heart, an interior conversion (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 4). It is a spiritual journey from encounter to friendship, from friendship to brotherhood, from brotherhood to communion. Along the way, change is inevitable. We must always be willing to listen to and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth (cf. Jn 16:13).

In the meantime, in the heart of Europe, which is so confused about its own identity and vocation, there are many areas in which Catholics and Old Catholics can collaborate in meeting the profound spiritual crisis affecting individuals and societies. There is a thirst for God. There is a profound desire to recover a sense of purpose in life. There is an urgent need for a convincing witness to the truth and values of the Gospel. In this we can support and encourage one another, especially at the level of parishes and local communities. In fact, the soul of ecumenism lies in a “change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians” (Unitatis Redintegratio, 8). In prayer for and with one another our differences are taken up and overcome in fidelity to the Lord and his Gospel.

I am always aware that “the holy task of reconciling all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ transcends human energies and abilities” (Ibid, 24). Our hope is rooted in the prayer of Christ himself for the Church.

- See more at:


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Michael Voris asks some good questions

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Great comment in one of Father Z’s post

This is an excerpt of a comment from The Masked Chicken in Father Z’s recent post about peripheries as he tries to understand Pope Francis.

The Chicken writes (my emphases):

Seriously, the inner dissipation of the Church has been cause, specifically, because people have been reaching out to the peripheries – only they have been the wrong peripheries. They have reached out to Protestants, not with the goal of converting them, but of embracing their lifestyle and thus, we get the modern watered-down Mass. They have reached out to the sinner, but not with the goal of converting them, but of showing their solidarity, and thus, we get the loss of a sense of sin in society. They have reached out to the poor, not with the goal of spiritually elevating them, but of pretending to be one of them, and thus, we get the loss of detachment. They have reached out to the disordered, not with the goal of helping them find order, but in understanding their, “contribution,” and thus, we get the abuse crisis.

The simple fact is that any authentic renewal must be worked for, in concert with the graces given by the Holy Spirit and it is hard. The Spirit blows where it will, so it is the height of pride to say from whence our help will come, except to say that when it does, our help shall be in the name of the Lord (Ps. 125).

Ultimately, the renewal of the Church will not come from an external baptism from a periphery. It will come from the stark realization that there is God within and we knew Him, not.


Where is the humble Church? Where is the weeping Church? Where is the Church who resist the Devil? Show me that Church, for it will be the renewal of Christ in the world. That Church is not in Latin America. It is not even in Africa. It exists nowhere in the world, at the present time. It does exist in the hearts of a few good men and if the renewal of the Church is to take place, it will take place from within those holy hearts.

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Suzanne Fortin blasts Father Z’s take on the peripheries

Father Z had an interesting post here about the peripheries, and noted those who prefer the Traditional Latin Mass are on the periphery in the Church.

Ottawa blogger Suzanne Fortin writes in response:

Traditional Catholics are not “the periphery.”

If you’re a Catholic in good standing with your Church, whether you get your preferred liturgy or not, you are not the periphery.

Here is a speech that Pope Francis gave that will help understand what he’s talking about:

 Evangelizing pre-supposes a desire in the Church to come out of herself. The Church is called to come out of herself and to go to the peripheries, not only geographically, but also the existential peripheries: the mystery of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance and indifference to religion, of intellectual currents, and of all misery. 

When the Church does not come out of herself to evangelize, she becomes self-referential and then gets sick. (…) The evils that, over time, happen in ecclesial institutions have their root in self-referentiality and a kind of theological narcissism.

When the Pope talks about going to the peripheries, he’s not talking about bellyaching about our pet Church pet peeve.

That’s being self-referential.

He wants us to GO OUT AND SAVE SOULS.

What the heck do we suppose the Church is for?

When you go out and save souls, you’re not trying to fight a culture war, or get somebody elected, or get the priest to face the crucifix during Mass, as important as all these things may be.

You’re trying to bring Christ into their hearts, to heal them, not to gain an ideological convert.

I love Fr. Z. I love the pro-life movement, am a culture warrior, but really, we really have to get over ourselves. It’s not about us or our causes.

It’s about the people.  All the lost, confused and damaged souls who don’t have Christ in their lives.

Another good post, Suzanne!


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