Monday, April 13, 2015

Misericordiae Vultus - With Red Flags Flying

With the release of this document two days ago, Pope Francis opened an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.  I now link to the English translation as it appears on the Vatican website.  I will also link to commentaries from Rorate Caeli, One Peter Five and Vox Cantoris.  I read this document and have many of the same questions as do my blogging colleagues.  Please read their analyses of this document; they put forth questions and concerns that we all must ponder.

Peppered throughout this thing is a notion that somehow for the past two thousand years, the Church has been somewhat remiss about proclaiming God's mercy.  In section 4, we read silly talk of "walls which too long had made the Church a kind of fortress".  Now before some chide me for "bashing Pope Francis", what does that "walls" crack say about attitudes towards previous pontiffs, from Pius XII on back?

Pope Francis does seem to favor the setting up of false dichotomies.  Here we have a "justice" vs "mercy" straw man conflict.  In section 20 we see an attempt to smooth over the set-up conflict some, but there's always the setting of "mercy" over "justice".  I put those words in quotes for in truth they go hand in hand as equals, for they both describe essential qualities of God Himself; He is all merciful, but He is also all just.

In section 19 he rebukes those engaged in criminal organizations (such as mafia) and those who've allowed money to seduce them to corruption.  I might wonder why those embroiled in sexual vice were not included: those in de facto adultery (euphemistically called "irregular marriages") or those engaging in same-sex relationships.  Did not Our Lady of Fatima state that more souls are damned due to sins of the flesh?  Where is the Spiritual Work of Mercy known as "rebuking the sinner" extended to them?  Please read section 10 of the document.  I am shocked that the Holy Father can speak so disparagingly of the Church's history of preaching God's word and administering the sacraments as to say that the Church as "long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy".

Just before section 18 he admonishes confessors to "not ask useless questions, but like the father in the parable, interrupt the speech prepared ahead of time by the prodigal son, so that confessors will learn to accept the plea for help and mercy gushing from the heart of every penitent. In short, confessors are called to be a sign of the primacy of mercy always, everywhere, and in every situation, no matter what."

"Useless questions"??!!!?  What kind of doctor, when diagnosing an illness, does not ask questions of the patient regarding symptoms, etc?  He/she certainly doesn't interrupt the patient as they give information to the doctor to assist in their own cure.  How else can the doctor diagnose the problem and prescribe the appropriate medicine?  To call the questions of the confessor "useless" is a slap in the face to good priests who are merely exercising their sacred duties to assist the sinner to "go and sin no more".  I'll go further and say that such a disparaging adjective as "useless" can only serve to undermine the sacerdotal authority of the priest in the confessional, an authority given by Christ Himself as we heard on the Second Sunday of Easter.

Right after that we have section 18, where these "missionaries of mercy" are introduced to us.  I share the bemusement of my fellow bloggers .I refer you to the analysis and questions put forth by Rorate Caeli.  What can these "missionaries" do that the parish priest can't?  Maybe a question is, "what might they attempt that a parish priest wouldn't?  An "on-the-spot" decree of marriage annulment?  Permitting those in adultery to receive Holy Communion?

Many questions we ask.  Much needs to be examined under high-intensity light.


  1. Yes the attitude is "we had it all wrong for 1,960 years before Vatican II, then we finally got it right." It's silly.

    I mean when the Council of Trent concluded, did every bishop walk around saying "Oh my God, we were doing everything wrong for the last 1,500 years!" How about after Vatican I?: "My God, what were we all thinking for the last 1,800 years???"

    No, this bizarre attitude is only associated with Vatican II.

  2. It all seems so very bogus.

  3. And, more to the point - where does Pope Francis demand that mercy be shown to the woman who is abandoned by her husband, who now is living with his second/third/fourth etc. wife? She spends years - and in some cases decades - keeping her vows, while living in a no-mans land where she can't date or even seek male companionship for fear of what it might lead to. Meanwhile, PF, cardinals, bishops, and priests, won't even acknowledge her existence. It's as if her presence embarrasses them and so they erase her from their ministry, while at the same time promoting her husband's polygamous relationships with other women as something we need to accept in a spirit of "mercy". I realize this happens to men, also, and it's equally as terrible for them. However, it's also true that women usually are the ones abandoned for younger females and apparently the first wive is supposed to just shut up and disappear - or, even better, take up with a boyfriend herself because - hey - then the church could be "merciful" to her too. It truly is getting stomach churning to see the abandoned spouses, who are carrying their crosses every day, also being abandoned by PF and the other reprobates who are supposed to be protecting them.

  4. Just passing on some info that although is not entirely relevant to this particular article, IS relevant to the current dissent of our Churchmen under Pope Francis: The Irish Times reports today, that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, is unsure whether or not Gay Marriage will be recognized in the Church, and therefore, Civil Marriage Documents signed by Pastors and Bishops after the upcoming May 22nd Referendum on Gay Marriage. In Ireland Civil Marriage Documents are signed by the Pastor (or this is what I'm getting out of the article) after the 'Wedding Mass' in the Catholic Church.
    It was stated in the article that prior to this statement by the Archbishop, the Bishops were firm in their response to what they would do if the Referendum was passed. A definite 'NO', they would not perform them, and act as the Civil Authority. Now, Archbishop Martin has stated that the Bishops 'hadn't decided' yet how they would handle this, and said 'We will cross that Bridge when we come to it.' It was also stated that before now, no Bishop has yet to broach the subject.

    Are you kidding me????? The Bishops in Ireland are actually even considering acting as the 'Civil Authority' for SS couples????? They 'haven't decided yet??????? This would mean that they would actually have a 'Wedding Mass' for SS couples prior to signing the Civil Decree of Marriage??????? (performing the Wedding Mass prior to signing the Civil Decree is the protocol presently in the Church in Ireland) Are we actually at the point that Bishops are even considering performing Gay Marriages in the Church of Christ??????? I wish this were all a very bad dream. I would love to wake up and discover this is all a very bad nightmare, but......

    Also wondering what does this Archbishop think that the reaction in Rome would be if the Bishops 'decided' even to just act as 'Civil Authorities' without the Mass???? And further, WHAT WOULD the reaction in Rome be to this ghastly scenario????? This article was in Pewsitter, but came from the Irish Times.

    So sorry for derailing this post, but I strongly feel these atrocious situations need to be publicized far and wide, the sooner the better.


    The above link--that is, what it suggests--MAY be a factor in all of this.



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