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Thursday, July 31, 2014


From a recent Q&A with the Pope:

Q: Allow me to call you Fr Francis because authentic paternity inevitably implies holiness. As a pupil of the Jesuits, to whom I owe my cultural and priestly formation, I will first share my impression and then ask a question that I will put to you in a special way. The identikit of the priest of the third millennium: human and spiritual balance; missionary consciousness; openness to dialogue with other faiths, religious and otherwise. Why is this? You certainly have brought about a Copernican revolution in terms of language, lifestyle, behaviour and witness on the most considerable issues at the global level, even with atheists and with those who are far from the Christian Catholic Church. The question I ask you: how is it possible in this society, with a Church that hopes for growth and development, in this society in an evolution that is dynamic and conflictual and very often distant from the values ​​of the Gospel of Christ, that we are a Church very often behind? Your linguistic, semantic, cultural revolution, your evangelical witness is stirring an existential crisis for us priests. What imaginative and creative ways do you suggest for us to overcome or at least to mitigate this crisis that we perceive? Thank you.

Pope Francis: Here you are. How is it possible, with the Church growing and developing, to move forward? You said a few things: balance, openness to dialogue ... But, how can you go forward? You said a word that I really like. It is a divine word. If it is human it is because it is a gift of God: creativity. And the commandment God gave to Adam, "Go and multiply. Be creative. "It is also the commandment that Jesus gave to his disciples, through the Holy Spirit, for example, the creativity of the early Church in its relations with Judaism: Paul was creative; Peter, that day when he went to Cornelius, was afraid of them, because he was doing something new, something creative. But he went there. Creativity is the word. And how can you find this creativity? First of all - and this is the condition if we want to be creative in the Spirit, that is in the Spirit of the Lord Jesus - there's no other way than prayer. A bishop who does not pray, a priest who does not pray has closed the door, closed the way of creativity. It is exactly in prayer, when the Spirit makes you feel something, the devil comes and makes you feel another; but prayer is the condition for moving forward. Even if prayer many times can seem boring. Prayer is so important. Not only the prayer of the Divine Office, but the liturgy of the Mass, quiet, celebrated well with devotion, personal prayer with the Lord.
If we do not pray, perhaps we will be good pastoral and spiritual entrepreneurs, but the Church without prayer becomes an NGO, it does not have that unctio Sancti Spiritu. Prayer is the first step, because it is opening oneself to the Lord to be able to open up to others. It is the Lord that says, “Go here, go there, do this ...”, you will be inspired by the creativity that cost many saints a lot. Think of Blessed Antonio Rosmini, who wrote The Five Wounds of the Church, he was a creative critic because he prayed. He wrote that which the Spirit made ​​him feel. For this, he entered into a spiritual prison, that is in his house: he could not speak, he could not teach, he could not write…. Today, he is Blessed! Many times creativity takes you to the cross. But when it comes from prayer, it bears fruit. Not creativity that is a little sans faƧon and revolutionary, because today it is fashionable to be a revolutionary; no, this is not of the Spirit. But when creativity comes from the Spirit and is born in prayer. It can bring you problems. The creativity that comes from prayer has an anthropological dimension of transcendence, because through prayer you open yourself to the transcendent, to God.

But there is also another transcendence: opening oneself up to others, to one’s neighbour. We must not be a Church closed in on itself, which looks at its navel, a self-referential Church, who looks at itself and is not able to transcend. Twofold transcendence is important: toward God and toward one’s neighbour. Coming out of oneself is not an adventure; it is a journey, it is the path that God has indicated to men, to the people from the first moment when he said to Abraham, “Go from your country.” He had to go out of himself. And when I come out of myself, I meet God and I meet others. How do you meet others? From a distance or up close? You must meet them up close, closeness. Creativity, transcendence and closeness. Closeness is a key word: be near. Do not be afraid of anything. Being close. The man of God is not afraid. Paul himself, when he saw many idols in Athens, was not scared. He said to the people: "You are religious, many idols ... but, I'll speak to you about another." He did not get scared and he got close to them. He also cited poets: "As your poets say..." It’s about closeness to a culture, closeness to people, to their way of thinking, their sorrows, their resentments. Many times this closeness is just a penance, because we need to listen to boring things, to offensive things.

Two years ago, a priest went to Argentina as a missionary. He was from the Diocese of Buenos Aires and he went to a diocese in the south, to an area where for years they had no priest, and evangelicals had arrived. He told me that he went to a woman who had been the teacher of the people and then the principle of the village school. This lady sat him down and began to insult him, not with bad words, but to insult him forcefully: “You abandoned us, we left us alone, and I, who  need of God's Word, had to go to Protestant worship and I became Protestant”. This young priest, who is meek, who is one who prays, when the woman finished her discourse, said: "Madam, just one word: forgiveness. Forgive us, forgive us. We abandoned the flock." And the tone of the woman changed. However, she remained Protestant and the priest did not go into the argument of which was the true religion. In that moment, you could not do this. In the end, the lady began to smile and said: “Father, would you like some coffee?” – “Yes, let’s have a coffee.” And when the priest was about to leave, she said: “Stop here, Father. Come.” And she led him into the bedroom, opened the closet and there was the image of Our Lady: “You should know that I never abandoned her. I hid her because of the pastor, but she’s in the home.” It is a story which teaches how proximity, meekness brought about this woman’s reconciliation with the Church, because she felt abandoned by the Church. And I asked a question that you should never ask: “And then, how things turn out? How did things finish?”. But the priest corrected me: “Oh, no, I did not ask anything: she continues to go to Protestant worship, but you can see that she is a woman who prays. She faces the Lord Jesus.” And it did not go beyond that. He did not invite her to return to the Catholic Church. …

 But, closeness also means dialogue; you must read in Ecclesiam Suam, the doctrine on dialogue, then repeated by other Popes. Dialogue is so important, but to dialogue two things are necessary: one's identity as a starting point and empathy toward others. If I am not sure of my identity and I go to dialogue, I end up swapping my faith. You cannot dialogue without starting from your own identity, and empathy, that is not condemning a priori. Every man, every woman has something of their own to give us; every man, every woman has their own story, their own situation and we have to listen to it. Then the prudence of the Holy Spirit will tell us how to respond. Starting from one’s own identity for dialogue, but dialogue is not to do apologetics, although sometimes you have to do it, when we are asked questions that require explanation. Dialogue is a human thing. It is hearts and souls that dialogue, and this is so important! Do not be afraid to dialogue with anyone. It was said of a saint, joking somewhat – I do not remember, I think it was St. Philip Neri, but I'm not sure – that he was also able to dialogue even with the devil. Why? Because he had the freedom to listen all people, but starting from his own identity. He was so sure, but to be sure of one’s identity does not mean proselytizing. Proselytism is a trap, which even Jesus condemns a bit, en passant, when he speaks to the Pharisees and the Sadducees: “You who go around the world to find a proselyte and then you remember that ...” But, it's a trap. And Pope Benedict has a beautiful expression. He said it in Aparecida but I believe he repeated elsewhere: “The Church grows not by proselytism, but by attraction.” And what's the attraction? It is this human empathy, which is then guided by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, what will be the profile of the priest of this century, which is so secularized? A man of creativity, who follows the commandment of God – “create things”; a man of transcendence, both with God in prayer and with the others always; a man who is approachable and who is close to people. To distance people is not priestly and people are fed up of this attitude, and yet it happens all the same. But he who welcomes people and is close to them and dialogues with them does so because he feels certain of his identity, which leads him to have an heart open to empathy. This is what comes to me to say to you in response to your question.

 The third paragraph opens a door. Fascinating.


  1. What a freakin' mess.

    I'm heading over to a local men's religious shrine for an hour of adoration.

    Beyond that.... I got nothin'

  2. As someone who has felt abandoned by the Franciscan direction of the Church, I found paragraph 3 oddly heartening. It certainly opens up options.

  3. >As someone who has felt abandoned by the Franciscan direction of the Church, I found paragraph 3 oddly heartening. It certainly opens up options.

    I wish for your sake Dale you would stop feeling and start thinking.

    Your Blog is befouled by darkness.

    Have you even read Ecclesiam Suam as the Holy Father instructed?

    QUOTE"Here lies the source of our evangelical duty, our mandate to teach all nations, and our apostolic endeavor to strive for the eternal salvation of all men. Merely to remain true to the faith is not enough. Certainly we must preserve and defend the treasure of truth and grace that we have inherited through Christian tradition. As St. Paul said, "keep that which is committed to thy trust." (42) But neither the preservation nor the defense of the faith exhausts the duty of the Church in regard to the gifts it has been given. The very nature of the gifts which Christ has given the Church demands that they be extended to others and shared with others. This must be obvious from the words: "Going, therefore, teach ye all nations," (43) Christ's final command to His apostles. The word apostle implies a mission from which there is no escaping."END

    Pope Francis recommended the above to us.

    I don't know Dale. I am a Banezian Thomist and you don't see me weeping over the very Jesuit & latent Molinism direction the Church is moving in.

    I don't know dude.

  4. That's an interesting document. I don't know how your quote applies to the Pope's example of a missionary who doesn't feel compelled to invite an ex-Catholic back into the Church. The Pope apparently has a different interpretation than you do. And that's OK!

  5. The point is the Pope wants to invite people into the Church as evidenced by his recommendation of reading material from past Popes and other tidbits from the fourth paragraph which I cited before but apparently your blog has eaten my post.

    (I don't blame you BTW these things happen)

    Pope Francis said
    > Starting from one’s own identity for dialogue, but dialogue is not to do apologetics, although sometimes you have to do it, when we are asked questions that require explanation.

    Or as Karl Keating of CATHOLIC ANSWERS once said more simply "When you argue with a Non-Catholic/ex-Catholic. Never argue to win merely argue to explain. You can win an argument and still drive someone further from the Church.

    Pope Francis also said.
    >Every man, every woman has something of their own to give us; every man, every woman has their own story, their own situation and we have to listen to it. Then the prudence of the Holy Spirit will tell us how to respond.

    Speaking for myself as an old amateur Catholic apologist warhorse. We rely too much on ourselves and the strength of our own arguments and not enough on divine grace which in the end is solely responsible for conversion and reconciliation.

    Clearly in the case of the woman whom the Priest has not formally invited back he feels led by the spirit to let her come to her own conclusions and be grateful to God for the Graces she has now. But clearly the door is open and if the women is still venerating Mary it is only a matter of time.

    That is valid as far as I am concerned.

  6. Dale - heartening and disheartening all at once, for me. Would be interested if you want to elaborate on that.

    It seemed a great story of pastoral sensitivity to me, right up to the hint of horror at the notion that this woman might have been invited to return to the Catholic Church, and the whiff of ... something, almost pride? ... that she remains Protestant after her encounter with the priest.

    This is what frustrates me. I don't understand how a simple addition of letting this woman know "and of course, you are always welcome to come back when you are ready" would cross the line from lauded "conversation" to the verboten "proselytism".


  7. *I got no message indicating I posted. This blog is hungry"


    The point is according to this Priest's prudent judgement, as he feels lead by the spirit,
    this woman is not ready to hear it. She has to come to this conclusion on her own. Or
    he has to become more secure in his identity before he can share it as the Holy Father says.

    I know ex-Catholics turned Evangelical. It is very hard for them to face the possibility
    they might be wrong. My wife Rosemarie is a former ex-Catholic. She could tell you
    how at first you thought you have been mislead by the Church then to later find out
    it is you who has been misleaed in leaving that is very hard for some people.

    The Pope is telling us to get to know individuals. Logically we must give individual
    responses. This is not a cookie cuter one size fits all response for all ex-Catholics.
    That seems to me to be the point.


  8. Yes. Jesus never saw Pope Francis coming. The only real problem with Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Ellen Gould White, Charles Taze Russel, and L. Ron Hubbard is that they pulled the trigger too soon. Now that you have figured out the correct time that the Church has gone off the rails, please lead us into the light Dale.

  9. What I especially noted in that anecdote was that Pope Francis asks, “And then, how things turn out? How did things finish?” and the priest's answer makes it clear that the story isn't finished, that it's still ongoing and unresolved. That seems to be the implication of Pope Francis' saying that he shouldn't have asked the question: that in fact we can't know the end of the story until The End because conversion is a lifelong ongoing process.
    Also, I note that the story is followed by the explication of Pope Benedict's expression: “The Church grows not by proselytism, but by attraction.” Perhaps the story, although it precedes it, is also an illustration of that dictum. Perhaps the priest in the story is well aware than such a breach of trust and abandonment as the woman has experienced is not completely healed by an apology and a cup of tea. And that while there is outward reconciliation, there are still deep inner wounds that need to be healed before she will be ready to return. And perhaps explicitly inviting her back would be too much too soon but his presence is still an implicit invitation.
    Better to simply be attractive. To recognize the longing in her heart expressed by the hidden statue of Mary and to give the Spirit time to work on her. Here I see the priest as the sower who may not see the harvest or know if his witness to her will eventually bear fruit. And that it is deeds, not words, which will eventually invite her back in. Perhaps it is an expression of hope that Christ himself will draw her in due season.

    1. Did I already say "You are correct?"

      My memory is fuzzy on Tuesdays.

    2. hink my post got eaten again.

      Oy vey!

      Anyway I like your analysis. The Pope wants us to form individual relationships with people to dialog.

      We should remember when dealing with individuals there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach. With this woman a direct confrontation might not be good. She might not be ready to return.

      When my wife was an ex-Catholic she was aggressively confronted by a nun for attending a non-Catholic church & that just drove her out further.

      Yeh proselytism is such a great idea.....not.

      A meeting with a gentile nun years later helped her to return along with reading Karl Keating. Of course my wife held on too the Real Presence even as an Ex-Catholic like this woman holds on too Mary.

      She still has a foot in the door.

      Maintaining dialog opens the door for questions. Questions require apologetics to explain and this helps bring back lost sheep.

      But like I said. When dealing with individuals you take an individual approach and you need to be secure in your faith and identity as a Catholic like the Holy Father says.

      Some individuals may require a more direct approach. But when dealing with people you have to make the call.

      Cheers & God bless.

  10. Melanie, you're supplying a subtext that simply isn't there. The other problem is that this is being held up as a model for the priestly life and missions.

    If the extension of an invitation is proselytism, then we're left with quietism.

  11. Here's the thing, "Squiboda." I don't know you. Never met you, never even interacted with you in a virtual sense.

    Therefore, you have no slack to be an asshole here. None whatsoever. If you have an argument that's not smug fingers-in-your-ears fideism, I'm all ears.

    If not, piss off.

  12. Dale,

    A lot of my posts have been eaten so I hope I haven't clogged your que with too many re-posts if I have then I am so sorry.

  13. Melanie - that seems the crux of the story.

    But the little detail that is the zinger is Pope Francis saying that he should never have asked the logical question "And what then? How did that work out?"

    It's not much of a stretch to deduce that His Holiness is telling this story to communicate the lesson "and neither should you ask that question".

    So, this woman in the story is left reconciled with the Church (she is no longer hostile with the priest) and yet not-reconciled with the Church (she remains Protestant).

    It seems to be offered as an instructional lesson from the Pope: I'm happy with that, and you should be too.


    1. You can only come to that conclusion if you ignore everything else that has been written here by the Pope.

      It's like reading "The Father is greater then I" and ignoring the rest of the Gospel of John.

      So I respectfully disagree.

  14. Don't apologize, James. Your relentless challenges have pretty well convinced me that I can no longer, in good conscience, be Catholic.

  15. Replies
    1. Honest question: Why is it "cute"?

    2. It amazes me that Dale puts up with you. I'd be applying nuclear fission. You've been a professional comment box hemorrhoid since before I had kids, and now I have six.

    3. Your friend has lost the faith.

      You really want to start a fight?

      Not interested.

      BTW have we met? Who are you?

    4. Jackasses like you probably have a lot to do with that. The worst thing about being Catholic are other Catholics.

  16. Because I think it likely you are pulling my leg.

  17. I mean seriously Dale why would you contribute to OnePeterFive if you intended to leave the Church?

    What would be the point?

    If you are going to get a rise out of me you will have to actually produce an argument as too why the Catholic Faith is false.

    Cheers & Peace.

    1. I'm not contributing, and I told Steve why. It's the same reason I just gave you. No leg pulling. I'm done.

    2. You have not given me a reason.

      >you challenges have pretty well convinced me that I can no longer, in good conscience, be Catholic.

      My challenges? How is the Truth or Falsehood of Catholicism proven or disproven by my "challenges"?

      That doesn't make any sense.

      Which leads me to conclude your rejection of the Faith is not reason based.

      I can't help you then.

      Your problem is one that can only be dealt with by fasting and prayer.

      I mean it is self-evident you shut down any positive reading of the Pope's words and refuse to even entertain it in order to feed your meme that Catholics are treating his words as inerrant.

      Also if you are right about Francis you are taking it to an extreme.

      Go ask your friend Elliot.

      If you are right Pope Francis is at worst an imprecise communicator with at worst some ineffective ideas on how to evangelize the faithful & non-believers.

      But how does that disprove the Faith? I mean the Faith was still true When Alexander VI had his bastard children running around Rome and Sergius III was bonking his 15 year old Mistress.

      How does Francis disprove the Faith?
      How do the flaws you see in Catholics who defend him disprove the Faith?

      I am sorry Dale but I don't see it. I need more than mere fideism to go on. I am a Thomas after all.


    3. I don't owe you a reason. But your arguments were, in a horrible irony, instrumental.

    4. Just came back from the movies.


      You are contradicting yourself. First you say you gave me a reason then you say you don't own me one?

      > But your arguments were, in a horrible irony, instrumental.

      Damning your soul for all eternity just to win an argument is.......

      Dude, it is not worth it...ever.

      In fact that is just insane.

    5. Dude - if you care about Dale's soul at all, or at least above your desire to exact some satisfaction from him / win your argument, you ought to go about these three steps:

      1. Apologize for being a jerk.
      2. Resolve to practice Holy Silence in the future
      3. Dedicate some fasting and rosary's on his behalf.

      In other words, channel more Holy Spirit, less Accuser.


  18. Defending the indefensible is not the answer…

  19. >Dude - if you care about Dale's soul at all, or at least above your desire to exact some satisfaction from him / win your argument, you ought to go about these three steps:

    I do care more for his soul then winning an argument.

    >1. Apologize for being a jerk.


    I am sorry if I have offended you Dale in anyway or came on too strong in a manner that put you off. But I am passionate about what I believe and secure in believing it.

    >2. Resolve to practice Holy Silence in the future

    If this means not criticizing anything he says I can't in conscience do that. It is also an unreasonable request. So Dale gets to criticize the Pope and the Church and is himself made above criticism in regard to his opinions? That is unfair and self-defeating.

    OTOH if you mean watch what I say & try to speak in a manner that won't upset him? Done!

    OTOH there really isn't anything else to say. He is an Apostate now. He has rejected the Church. He is with Francis like Rod Dreher was with Pope St. John Paul. He clearly has made up his mind and doesn't want to talk about it.

    Or at least not talk about it here.

    Or with me.

    So I really have nothing left.

    >3. Dedicate some fasting and rosary's on his behalf.


    >In other words, channel more Holy Spirit, less Accuser.

    Just as the Holy Father Pope Francis teaches..I agree..... but I must point out Dale would not get accusations if he didn't make them himself against the Holy Father.

    He wants people too understand the feelings of those who have a problem with the Pope. Ok, but that has to go both ways otherwise it's just passive agressive
    and self-defeating.

    But then again it is moot at this point.

    He had abandoned the Faith. There is no victory here for anyone.

    1. You are not Dale's spiritual directory.

      Nor did His Holiness appoint you his Inquisitor. Not even his Press Secretary.

      It's Not About You.

      So get of your damned high horse, learn to give a real "I wronged you; please forgive me" apology like a man, rather than a weaselly "so sorry you were offended because I was right" non-apology.

      And stop proselytizing. After all, that's what Pope Francis asked you to do.

      God have mercy,

  20. Is BarEliphaz done now? A docile Catholic would heed Pope Francis's example and not say that our host has lost the faith, but that he is simply honoring the integral demands of his autonomous conscience. He is still one who faces the Lord Jesus, abandoned by the clergy though he may feel. It is not for BarEliphaz to issue petit papal bulls. I have every confidence that Dale still believes, with V2 and the Tradition, that the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation, yet I am also aware of the fact that he may feel he is within his post-conciliar rights to express that salvific necessity in his own way. He is still among us, just as the Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Muslims, Jews, and atheists are: by the infallible tether of his conscience. Why should he wed himself to a rampantly indifferentist epiphenomenal ecclesial culture, when he could just as easily honor his oaths to God by raising his family to Heaven by the atavistic light of Denzinger and a well-formed conscience?

  21. As is usual, these papal comments first are close to impossible to follow, and once you do make sense of them, they essentially affirm Cream of Wheat Catholicism.These guys want to be given the attention due to a prince, all while disclaiming any such role. For them or the Church. Who can stand it? Not me.

  22. Codgitator, I take it you jest, but really, if we are going to give the official Church as it now reigns any credence, how far off the mark is this? I guess I can be Catholic and now still go to my PCA Church where they don't generally teach nonsense! on a par with the local parish?!