Features

Why Pope Francis could be facing a Catholic schism

If the battle over communion for the remarried doesn’t die down, one side or the other may take drastic measures

11 April 2015

9:00 AM

11 April 2015

9:00 AM

A scurrilous rumour recently swept Rome: the Pope had summoned the Vatican’s finance czar over his expenses. When Cardinal George Pell admitted spending more than £3,000 on a designer kitchen unit, Francis quipped: ‘What, is it made of solid gold?’

That never happened, of course, but the tittle-tattle served a purpose. The story appeared in an Italian magazine just as Francis was deciding how much power to give Cardinal Pell over the curial accounts. Influential figures wanted to keep their money away from the cardinal’s prying eyes. What better way than to present him as a rogue who demanded receipts for every cappuccino while shelling out on marble counter-tops?

Vatican politics haven’t been this unpleasant since the bleakest days of Benedict XVI’s reign, when a papal butler leaked stacks of sensitive letters to the press. As one veteran Catholic commentator put it, ‘The nasty is back.’ And it’s likely to get nastier still in the run-up to this year’s crunch synod of bishops in Rome. Catholic bloggers are talking about the ‘great division’.

In truth, ‘the nasty’ never really went away. Although Francis was elected two years ago with a mandate to overhaul the Curia, the Vatican bureaucracy looks much the same as when he arrived (with the exception of Cardinal Pell’s new Secretariat for the Economy). The threat of imminent redundancies has kept the Pope’s opponents on the back foot, but also lowered morale among loyal and diligent officials. When Francis addressed the Curia last December, no one expected him to bounce out like the former Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer, shouting, ‘I love this company!’ But many were taken aback when he accused workers of being gripped by 15 sicknesses of the soul, including ‘spiritual Alzheimer’s’ and ‘vainglory’. One news outlet summed up the speech with the headline: ‘Merry Christmas, you power-hungry hypocrites.’

The attempted character assassination of Cardinal Pell may have had a secondary motive. Pell played a formidable role at last October’s synod, the first of two dedicated to the subject of the family. Although the action took place behind closed doors, most observers believe the cardinal led a rebellion against organisers after they released a strikingly liberal interim report allegedly bearing little relation to synod discussions. According to one account, the cardinal ‘slammed his hand on the table and said, “You must stop manipulating this synod.”’ Cardinal Pell’s stand might have made him a marked man for supporters of the report’s daringly relaxed line on gay couples, divorce and remarriage.


It is hard to exaggerate the passions unleashed by the synod. Ronald Knox once said that ‘he who travels in the Barque of Peter had better not look too closely into the engine room’. During the synod the engine doors were flung open and the suffocating fumes hung over Rome. Some claimed the interim report was written before the synod began, others that organisers had intercepted books upholding traditional teaching on marriage. When a liberal German cardinal sounded off about African attitudes towards homosexuality, he was accused of being a racist and a Nazi. Francis seemed unfazed. He had opened the synod by asking participants to speak their minds. They had. So what was the problem? He had helped the cardinals to loosen up, to have a genuine debate, rather than the stilted exchanges of past synods. But some worried that the Church had loosened up so much it was about to fall apart. Those fears are growing as we head towards the second, decisive family synod in October. According to one English priest, the ‘S-word’ — schism — is being whispered around Rome.

Talk of an outright split would no doubt horrify Francis. But he seems happy to live with a degree of internal tension others would find unbearable. One of his favourite sayings is ‘¡Hagan lío!’ — Spanish for ‘make some noise’ or ‘stir things up’. That was his advice to Argentine youngsters not long after his election, but it could also be his episcopal motto. Yes, he’s an austere, saintly figure who rises at 4.30 a.m. to pray. But he’s also a mischief maker. As a young priest, he soothed relatives’ crying babies with dummies dipped in whisky and taught swear-words to his godson. As Pope, he has joked about kicking officials ‘where the sun doesn’t shine’ and playfully suggested that his pontificate may be over in a few years.

But Francis may be wondering if he acted prudently when he invited Cardinal Walter Kasper to set the scene for the first family synod. The German theologian delivered a provocative address advocating Communion for the remarried. That may sound trifling to outsiders. But plenty of Catholics believe it would undermine a fundamental Church teaching: that the bond of marriage cannot be broken. Before Cardinal Kasper’s address, most cardinals thought the matter was settled. Suddenly it was up for grabs.

How likely is schism? Consider this: the majority of bishops in Germany support the change. But over the border, the Polish episcopate has implied that it could never be accepted. That makes consensus at the synod highly unlikely. Francis will then have a tricky decision. If he permits Communion for the remarried, he will face uproar in the Catholic powerhouse of Poland (and elsewhere). If he rejects it, he will alienate the eyewateringly rich German Church.

In any case, the Germans have hinted they may go it alone if the synod doesn’t end well for them. ‘We are not just a subsidiary of Rome,’ their leader, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, said recently. ‘We cannot wait until a synod states something, as we have to carry out marriage and family ministry here.’ If Germany breaks away, Francis will have to bring it back in line or risk looking weak. Is there a third way? Perhaps the Pope could create a commission to consider the theological arguments away from the synod’s pressure-cooker atmosphere. But there’s an unhappy precedent: the Pontifical Commission on Birth Control. A majority of commission members said the Church could tolerate contraception, creating huge expectations of change, which Paul VI then dashed in his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. So that route might make the Communion issue more, not less divisive.

Although Francis has never explicitly endorsed Communion for the remarried, many believe he views it as a legitimate ‘development of tradition’, rather than a break with two millennia of doctrine. That’s why the autumn synod will be seen as a referendum on his pontificate. If participants reject the Communion proposal, it’s likely to be presented as a crushing papal defeat. The media invariably describe the resistance to Francis as ‘conservative’. But it’s more complicated than that. Traditionalists think Francis shows too little respect for the Church’s liturgical and theological heritage. Economic conservatives slap their foreheads whenever the Pope denounces the ‘tyranny’ of unbridled capitalism. Yet doctrinal conservatives are the ones having palpitations ahead of the synod. This last group is the largest and the most in need of papal reassurance. These parties are by no means uniformly hostile towards the Pope. Traditionalists applaud Francis for his defence of old-school Catholic social doctrine, while doctrinal conservatives are firmly behind the papal drive to clean up Vatican finances. The liberal Catholic resistance to Francis, meanwhile, is rarely acknowledged. There are feminists who regard the Pope as a patriarchal dinosaur, and doctrinal liberals who berate him for merely changing the tone not the substance of Church teaching on sexual morality.

But if we focus exclusively on the resistance, we miss the bigger picture. The truth is that Francis remains astoundingly popular. Earlier this year he celebrated the largest Mass in human history in the Philippines. The Pew Research Center suggested that two thirds of the world’s population like him. His popularity among Catholics in America, a nation he will visit for the first time in September, has just risen from 84 to 90 per cent. The Pope’s countless admirers would regard the idea that he is weakening — or even splitting — the Church as bizarre.

Meanwhile, there may be a simple way for Francis to unite Catholicism’s competing factions. He could make this year’s synod much more transparent than last, eliminating suspicions of manipulation by publishing the bishops’ speeches. He could then focus relentlessly on two things that every shade of Catholic can get behind: spreading the Gospel and caring for the poor. Happily, he already offers electrifying leadership in both areas. When the Pope visited Naples Cathedral last month, the blood of the city’s patron saint, Januarius, partially liquefied. It was, reporters joked, a half-miracle. Perhaps the other half will be if Francis can steer the Catholic Church through the coming storm without mishap.

Luke Coppen is the editor of Catholic Herald magazine.

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Show comments
  • ardenjm

    Of the three British Bishops going to the Synod in October you have a Catholic, a Nice Man who just wants every one to get along and a Mandelsonian Politician who manipulates and controls.

    It does not augur well.

    And that’s Pope Francis’s responsibility.
    That he will have to answer to God to.

    • monty61

      Which three are you on about? Three English or three British?

      • ardenjm

        My bad – three from England and Wales, obviously.

        • MenAreLikeWine

          Sorry, only two going.

          The Catholic is only the reserve.

        • paulpriest

          “Nice man who wants everyone to get along”?
          Hmmm..I’ll concede His Lordship once said “God loves me just the way I am”
          …but check out the name Br Damon Kelly of the Black Hermits in Corby – whom by standing by Catholic teaching on abortion and homosexuality has been arrested multiple times and whose hermitage has undergone police raids & seizures simply for distributing pamphlets. The CPS has spent months trying to find some way to prosecute to no avail.
          The Three Hermits of Mary Immaculate have been ‘asked to leave’ by ‘Mr Nice Guy” while their parish church hermitage is sold from under them rendering them homeless [Michael Voris picked up the story on Tuesday]
          Given their ‘notoriety’ – and our Bishops’ aversion to any boatrocking of the zeitgeist secular forces – finding another residence in this country is nigh-on impossible
          [as an aside the Parish’s acting parish priest is also one of the only two diocesan priests who signed the letter to the Herald defending marriage – but I’m sure that’s merely a coincidence and this is more an economic issue than one of vindictiveness]
          ….but doesn’t the second council of Nicaea forbid the sale of religious houses for mere financial gain and holds those who do so in anathema? Maybe I should ask my Bishop?

          • ardenjm

            I shall check out the story of the hermits from Corby.
            That’s very disappointing.
            But from Northampton diocese in the list of the Faithful Five Hundred I saw:
            Bernard Barrett, Gerard Byrne, Brendan Killeen, Jonathan Hill, Patrick Hutton, Michael Patey and Christopher Whitehouse from Northampton Diocese.
            Only 7 – but that’s out of 84 priests – so not far off the 10% that the 500 represented for the country as a whole.

          • paulpriest

            ..my bad – very proud of them [and know a few more who would definitely have signed]

  • albertcooper

    The defeat of Modernism ,not seeking excuses for sin,true reverence to the Blessed sacrament of the altar.The sacrament of Penance [confession] adhered to,as most Catholics seem to think the Penitential Rite of the Norvo Ordo Mass is enough to forgive mortal sins,when in fact its to ask forgiveness for venial sins committed since the last confession.Sermons delivered preaching the need to lead a Catholic life, with obedience to the Ten Commandments,and so on by attitudes to water down the truth by trying to be nice on the part of the clergy

  • Jadissock

    I know this is click-bait, but I can’t resist – as Mr Coppen is a sound writer, and there are already several high-quality comments.
    There does not need to be schism (except in Germany, who will have to finance their Nu-Church alternative from their substantial dodgy magazine empire), if the sound Catholics are sensible and play a waiting game.

    All the things that they do not want given legitimacy are already up and running – thanks to the “Farver Arfur”s already at a church and diocesan headquarters near you.

    You already have the Soho Mass apologists, and the thrice divorced in jogging bottoms at the front of the queue for Communion. That won’t change – in pockets at least.

    If the synod purports to legitimise it – then it will do so in the sort of wishy-washy V2speak that means it can more or less be interpreted differently by different groups. When the next pope or the next one still comes along – he can smackdown the more bonkers elements of it like JP2 and BXVIII did to much of the “Spirit of V2” stuff.

    The real problem is the Alinsky tactics of the Smurfy mob, who will try to stuff the next conclave, and that’s the real problem for Catholicism – like a game of chess – Cardinal Burke and co need to stop the pawns from crossing the board and becoming queened.

    • Lowry

      Your views, particularly your attitude to the role of women, are a source of amusement locally in whatever guise you choose to express them.

  • Paddy S

    I wrote this five months ago it stands today – every word.

    As a cradle Irish Catholic who went through a liberal phase in my youth (ah ignorance and youth what a combination) I was dismayed as a teenager to see Pope Benedict elected after Pope John Pauls death. As I grew older and became more conservative I became more religious or at least have tried to be – my faith going up and down but never leaving fully. As such by the time Pope Benedict resigned in Feb 11 2013 I was deeply dismayed. He was a great scholar, historian and one of the few deep philosophers who understood what was happening to the Church and the West and the potential for darkness again. Many of my friends did not see this being like many Irish people in 2014 – a la carte Catholics, Protestants, agnostics, atheists or haters – never understood or liked him, its not their fault. You get your news from comedians, Jon Stewart, RTE, BBC and Irish press alone – who would.
    Nearly all of them love Pope Francis, apart from the religious haters. I have found however over last few months to be deeply uneasy by the way Francis approaches issues and who he is emboldening with his statements. I am loyal to the church and will not split but the unease which Damian picked up on above is something I have noted from many conservative priests and bloggers. I fear that the church could be torn again by factions both of the conservative and liberal. I seek a church of mercy as a lousy Catholic but neither do I seek a church which is moral relativistic and stands for nothing either. Like many Christians all I do now is pray. Pray that the good happens and the church can be that light the world does need in the 21st century….

    Oh and God bless any priest who opposes such change. We are the Roman Catholic Church founded by Christ, we are not some wishy washy Lutheran or Anglican church, no matter what the liberals in the church wish.

    • John Hawkins Totnes

      You seem very proud of your pedigree.

      • Paddy S

        Absolutely….

    • John Byde

      Jesus didn’t found the RCC. That came 300 years later with Constantine. Jesus’s church was something very different.

      • paulpriest

        No it wasn’t – 1980s pseudo-protestant bilge emanating from modernist catholic ‘academia’ doesn’t make it any less untrue.

        • Som Trivedi

          Yes it was. Just because you think it’s bilge doesn’t make it so.

          • paulpriest

            ..as someone who spent many years studying church history in many regards [ecclesiology, dogmatic[esp Christology] and moral theology etc]…
            I can merely assure you it was not very different at all – the constantinian regime merely introduced an holistic synthesis and form to that which was already present.
            Check out some decent Catholic church historians who will prove this categorically.

          • pobjoy

            They will do no such thing. There is not a single important biblical principle that papism has not overturned, other than opposition to Calvinism, which it correctly opposes, if for the wrong reason. Every Catholic distinctive is designed to expropriate control and initiative from a majority and transfer it to a predatory small minority, by means of ‘priests’. Catholicism is for fools, or rogues.

            Constantine and successors to Theodosius merely adapted the ancient principle of suckering plebeians that the Republic had inherited from the Kingdom of Rome from its earliest days. It is no coincidence that Pontifex Maximus, whose role was to ensure worship of Jupiter and Juno for the convenience of the monarch, was the title taken by emperors, and then, after Christianity had obdurately survived persecution, was given to the invented office of pope.

            The only religion that Bergoglio represents is that of avarice. “Their god is their belly.” Ph 3:19

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            Your first paragraph indicates you know minimal about Catholicism. Your second paragraph is just the same old drivel giving Constantine too much importance just because he decided to pony up to Christians.
            There have always been bad Christians as well as good ones. Unfortunately all you Catholic-haters love to point to the bad ones. Which is it? Jealousy or resentment?

          • pobjoy

            ‘Your first paragraph indicates you know minimal about Catholicism.’

            Or maybe you are a frightened liar. A Christian is one who accepts that his/her sins, past, present and future, have been forgiven by Christ, through his sacrifice, ‘once made’, and lives in gratitude for that sacrifice.

            ‘Every Jewish priest performs his services every day and offers the same sacrifices many times; but these sacrifices can never take away sins. Christ, however, offered one sacrifice for sins, an offering that is effective forever.’ Heb 10:11-12 GNB

            The word ‘Catholic’ can be substituted for ‘Jewish’.

            Every person who attends Mass declares that he/she is not Christian, because that Mass is designated a sacrifice for unforgiven sin, which means that the attendee cannot be ‘in Christ’. This is the principal Bible inversion of the Vatican. Any who deny that the Catholic Mass is a sacrifice are condemned in the official canons (rules) of the Vatican.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            I think you need to review Canon Law. Obviously you aren’t Catholic that you came up with the bizarre analysis above. The only one who’s frightened in this conversation is you… As are all who clearly are a little worried about the fact that the only religion founded by a divine person is Catholicism. And quite frankly, they need to be worried about it since the other founders had their own motivations. But go ahead… Keep trying to convince Catholics you know more about Catholicism than we do. It’s only a desperate and pathetic attempt to convince yourself.

          • pobjoy

            ‘I think you need to review Canon Law.’

            Council of Trent, Session 22, Canon I: If any one saith, that in the mass a true and proper sacrifice is not offered to God; or, that to be offered is nothing else but that Christ is given us to eat; let him be anathema.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            Again, you are still misinterpreting Canon Law. But keep trying.

          • pobjoy

            That’s a bare quote, with no interpretation whatever.

            Like the great majority of Western Catholics, the poster seems to be officially cursed by his own religion! What a travesty is this stupid and pernicious cult.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            Again. . another Catholic hater… TYPICAL. Only a Catholic hater would declare himself an expert on a religion about which he knows nothing. He doesn’t have ANY accurate information about the particular Canon Law article he quoted. Just another self-declared faux intellectual…. I mean…. really……

          • pobjoy

            ‘another Catholic hater’

            There is no Catholic hater like a Catholic. Fat ones hate thin ones.

            ‘He doesn’t have ANY accurate information about the particular Canon Law article he quoted.’

            So is it a falsehood to say that, in the mass, a true and proper sacrifice is offered to God? Or is that question much too intellectual?

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            What is a falsehood is to pretend that you know anything about anyone else’s religion when you obviously don’t. But that’s typical of all you Catholic haters. Guess what? You aren’t intellectual nor do you offer any intelligent commentary about Catholicism since you CLEARLY never became educated on the subject matter. Yet, you choose to look up bits and pieces of Canon Law in order to persuade Catholics and other readers that you know more about Catholicism than Catholics do. And therefore you think that makes you an expert of some sort. So…desperate. And yet our bishops expect us to respond to people like you in “charity”. But obviously that’s because they realize what ignoramuses you all are.

          • pobjoy

            ‘What is a falsehood is to pretend that you know anything about anyone else’s religion when you obviously don’t.’

            True. But is it a falsehood to say that, in the mass, a true and proper sacrifice is offered to God? Because readers might like to know about your religion, so that they can discuss it with sound information.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            Actually, most readers do know quite a bit more about Catholicism than what you are displaying.. So why don’t you and anyone who’s actually interested go to the Catholics Come Home website or to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website to get the straight facts. That would be better than declaring yourself an armchair canon lawyer or theologian, when in fact, you aren’t even Catholic, and possibly aren’t even Christian. Of course, if you’ve already made up your mind that you’re the expert on all things Catholic I expect no attempts there.

          • pobjoy

            ‘you aren’t even Catholic, and possibly aren’t even Christian’

            Is it possible to be a Christian without being a Catholic?

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            Yes.. Except Catholic are still the original Christians. Get that around your head and start over.

          • pobjoy

            ‘Yes..’

            The extra full stop signifies mendacity. But explain how a person who rejects Bergoglio as Christ’s Vicar on earth can be a Christian, anyway.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            You don’t speak for me or any other Catholic. And since when are you concerned about the Pope? You’ve decided you’re the harbinger of all truth and goodness.

          • revolting ewe

            I think you are not reading the quote properly. It says if anyone says the Mass is NOT a sacrifice, let him be anathema.

          • pobjoy

            That is precisely the way I read it.

            Though it would not be strange if a Catholic, after long thought, wanted it thought otherwise.

            And after an embarrassing silence, of course.

          • Mark

            Oh, boy, you don’t even know what canon law is.

          • pobjoy

            Is it a falsehood to say that, in the mass, a true and proper sacrifice is offered to God?

          • The word ‘Catholic’ can be substituted for ‘Jewish’.

            One is little surprised to see you so-called “sola scriptura” types doing so much re-writing of the Scripture, to suit your own dogmatic prejudice.

          • pobjoy

            Is there some fundamental axiom of the universe that makes it impossible that Catholicism merely continued where Jews left off? If so, do write something interesting, responsible, truthful, non-abusive and adult, and tell us what it is.

          • How about my simply pointing out that the word “Jewish” is NOT a part of the original text, and pointing out that your views are an unscriptural re-interpretation of an already unscriptural Protestant addition to the text ?

          • pobjoy

            ‘How about my simply pointing out that the word “Jewish” is NOT a part of the original text’

            How about you not inventing by saying that I wrote that it was? What spoiled infant behaviour.

            ‘and pointing out that your views are an unscriptural re-interpretation of an already unscriptural Protestant addition to the text ?’

            Go ahead. Point it out. But you’ll need facts, and lots of them, not just a brattish bellow.

          • What a charming fellow you aren’t.

          • pobjoy

            As the Catholic bishop said to the bones of John Wyclif as he threw them into the river.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            Too bad you have no facts yourself.

          • pobjoy

            ‘A Christian is one who accepts that his/her sins, past, present and future, have been forgiven by Christ, through his sacrifice, ‘once made’, and lives in gratitude for that sacrifice.’

            Why is that not factual?

          • Tim Morrison

            Because it is not even Scriptural. The council of Jerusalem Acts 15 has always been ignored. “The council decided that Gentile converts to Christianity were not obligated to keep most of the Law of Moses, including the rules concerning circumcision of males. The Council did, however, retain the prohibitions on eating blood, meat containing blood, and meat of animals not properly slain, and on fornication and idolatry, sometimes referred to as theApostolic Decree or Jerusalem Quadrilatera”

          • pobjoy

            ‘The council’

            ‘The Council’

            Which is it?

          • Tim Morrison

            The Council of Jerusalem recorded in Acts 15. I would have thought that quite important. I so wish Christians could read their scriptures in the proper language. Much of the controversary was over ‘pinktion’ – no accurate definition of this essential for salvation survives.

          • Tim Morrison

            Look in your Bible. I presume you have one. The very first council that the church held. Numero Uno. Why is it that Christians don’t know their own scriptures in English let alone in their own original languages? No decent religion would stand for it.

          • pobjoy

            ‘The very first council that the church held.’

            Should that be ‘council’, or ‘Council’?

          • Tim Morrison

            As there are no capital letters in the Greek text, you choose. Angels, pins. Theist irrelevancy.

          • pobjoy

            ‘there are no capital letters in the Greek text’

            But there are in yours, sly, Christophobic papist.

          • Tim Morrison

            Atheist please. And I am not afraid of ghosts.

          • RocketmanBob

            “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” Luke 22:19

            So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” John 6:53

          • pobjoy

            Which of these two statements was made first?

          • RocketmanBob

            First in which context; recorded first or in chronological order of Christ’s utterances?

            Contextually, the passage from John most likely came first in order of Christ’s utterances, since it was delivered near Capernaum while He was still ministering to folks in Galilee. It does follow closely after the multiplication of the loaves…

            Though in terms of which was “written” first most scholars believe that Luke/Acts is an earlier work that the Gospel of John.

          • pobjoy

            ‘the passage from John most likely came first in order of Christ’s utterances’

            What did the disciples understand it to mean?

          • RocketmanBob

            I don’t think they fully understood it at that moment, but explicitly trusted in the Lord and, as Peter said, recognized that only He had the words of life…

          • pobjoy

            ‘I don’t think they fully understood it at that moment’

            So all but twelve of Jesus’ disciples left him when he had not made himself clear.

            Now try again.

          • RocketmanBob

            I didn’t say all but twelve of His disciples left Him…And neither does John’s Gospel.

            What is your point?

          • pobjoy

            ‘I didn’t say all but twelve of His disciples left Him’

            No, you didn’t. But it’s odd, to say the least, to capitalise pronouns of one adjudged to be so incompetent as to have lost apparently all but a dozen of his followers on the basis of comments that they did not or could not understand. It’s even more remarkable to write that disciples who trusted in Jesus as their Lord left him.

            So let’s suppose, like sensible people, that Jesus’ words were *fully* understood by all of his disciples, the ones who then went, and the ones who stayed, also. What is the Catholic teaching on that?

          • RocketmanBob

            Although I get the sneaking feeling that you’re baiting me, and I don’t mean in the pleasant rhetorical way, I’ll answer.

            For starters I don’t see what you mean about it being odd to capitalize the pronouns that refer to Christ. It’s a literary form that is often seen when referencing persons in the Trinity.

            And as far as whether He was incompetent or not because followers could not, or would not, understand His words? Well that’s a mistaken assertion that is belied by the text of John’s Gospel and other books in the New Testament. Earlier in the same chapter of John, Jesus tells the crowd they’re looking for him because he fed them, not because they saw signs (I’m paraphrasing). And there are other episodes related in other Gospels where people are coming to Christ for self-serving purposes and not out of innocent belief. So it has nothing to do with Jesus’ competence…

            Regarding understanding? There are still things that are not completely understood; which are “mysterion.” It’s no surprise that the Apostles didn’t immediately understand what Jesus was trying to teach them, it was a reality seen in other scripture as well. Indeed, Christ told the Apostles that the Father would send them the Holy Spirit so that they could remember His words and understand them. Understanding comes with faith, and as with all things on God’s timeline.

            As Anselm said, “I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but rather, I believe in order that I may understand.”

          • pobjoy

            ‘Although I get the sneaking feeling that you’re baiting me’

            I just want a straight answer. It’s hardly the sign of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church led by the Vicar of Christ Himself if a simple enquiry as to what that body teaches on a central doctrine is treated as baiting.

            Let’s suppose, like sensible people, that Jesus’ words were *fully* understood by all of his disciples, the ones who then left him, and the ones who stayed, also. What is the Catholic teaching on what they had understood by Jesus’ words?

          • RocketmanBob

            I think I gave you a straight answer. There is nothing in scripture that indicated that at the time of the episode in Capernaum any of the disciples had a clear understanding of every point made in Christ’s teaching and preaching. In fact the opposite is true, that understanding came over time; the fullness of it increasing, especially with the coming of the Holy Spirit after Jesus’ ascension. There are still mysterious elements that are not completely understood.
            I’ve already mentioned in a prior comment Catholic understanding of the Eucharistic.

          • pobjoy

            ‘I think I gave you a straight answer.’

            A straight answer is straight out of the Catechism, or the like. You talk about having doctrines, but you seem to make up stuff on the hoof. What is the advantage of your magisterium if you don’t observe its precepts? So let us know how the Vicar of Christ Himself has answered this very pertinent question about John 6.

            (It is very unlikely that he agrees with you, anyway, for a reason already discernible, that you have seemingly evaded.)

          • RocketmanBob

            The Catechism isn’t organized by lines of scripture, though it uses them to support it. And I don’t believe I’ve evaded answering anything. Though I’m not quoting doctrine directly, I am relating Catholic teaching.

            How about you do the answering for a turn? What do you contend is the “Vicar of Christ’s” answer to this? Or perhaps, better yet, what is your view on the same scriptural episode?

          • pobjoy

            ‘The Catechism isn’t organized by lines of scripture, though it uses them to support it.’

            As they say, the Devil can quote Scripture.

            ‘I am relating Catholic teaching.’

            Not as far as anyone here can know. You have used only your own, completely unsupported interpretation ((for want of a better word), which practice, as you know, is what those “accursed Protestants” indulge in, to their alleged hurt and condemnation. So find an authentic, officially approved Catholic teaching of Jn 6, that provides an explanation of what the disciples had understood by what Jesus had told them before they decided to leave him, or to stay with him. This teaching does not have to be from the Vatican’s Catechism, does it, so there is no excuse if it is not found therein. If you cannot do so, readers must ask whether *anything* you have written is worth their attention. Worse, they must ask, “What sort of person is it who seeks to have others controlled by a religious mentor, but is unwilling to be obedient himself?”

            So maybe it would be best to get looking.

          • RocketmanBob

            You’re right that I haven’t presented Catholic doctrinal understanding of the passage in question, but more so a synopsis of commentary I’ve read; not only on John’s Gospel but related synoptic Gospels as well.
            There is no single interpretation approved by the Vatican, but there is commentary by Theologians who enjoy imprimatur. Which is why I freely related my understanding of the teaching, based on a synthesis of Theological commentary.
            Also, I never claimed anything I related demanded anyone’s attention. I’m satisfied with what I’ve related so far.
            But again I ask what is the point you’re trying to make about this passage? What do you believe it says? Part of dialogue, rhetorical argument, is to present your position; to defend your own belief as reasonable as regards to divine revelation.

          • pobjoy

            ‘You’re right that I haven’t presented Catholic doctrinal understanding of the passage in question’

            That’s the only part of your reply that can be believed.

            Readers who were more than half awake when, three days ago, I asked:

            “Which of these two statements was made first?”

            have realised the point I am making, just by reading that question. Your unwillingness to provide a clear answer after all this time merely confirms it.

          • RocketmanBob

            I’d appreciate it if you’d stop being so insulting. I’ve told no lies.
            And I was awake when you asked your original question.

            Remember, I answered it straight away. You, on the other hand, have made no points at all, outside of some vague suggestions and innuendos, which is why I keep asking you what you’re trying to get at.

            Why don’t you state your point directly so that it can be discussed openly?

          • St Ignatius

            They also say an idiot can ask a question. Try coming up with some answers yourself joyboy.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            “Responsible”? You haven’t written anything like that yet yourself. Neither have you written anything with any of the other adjectives you’re expecting the reader to use.

          • pobjoy

            Is there some fundamental axiom of the universe that makes it impossible that Catholicism merely continued where Jews left off?

          • RocketmanBob

            A continuity of elements? Yes…But a mere continuation, not by a long shot.

          • RocketmanBob

            Yes there is. It’s wrapped up in the age which ended with Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection…

            There are a lot of Jewish traditions baked into Catholic liturgy, to be sure. Is that so surprising? Jesus and all the Apostles were devout Jews. And their manner of worshipping God was through praying (singing) the psalms as well as adhering to the law of Moses.

            Part of what changed was Christ’s command to break bread and drink wine, in memory of him. Not only does he do so in Luke’s Gospel himself after rising, on the road to Emmaus, but it is also documented being done in Acts. St. Paul as well describes a Mass essentially as does many of the 1st and 2nd century Patriarchs of the Church.

            The liturgy as both practiced in the New Testament as well as witnessed to by Hippolytus, Justin Martyr, St Ignatius of Antioch, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Sister Egeria’s travels all document worship sevices that are substantially the same as the Mass is today. And though having a continuity of elements with Jewish, and Greek, liturgical practices what’s different are the theological underpinnings, expectations, and recognition of existing in a different age; the age of the church.

          • pobjoy

            ‘Yes there is.’

            Then why did it take an armada of 55 000 soldiers to prove it?

            ‘St. Paul as well describes a Mass’

            Only to a fundamentalist.

          • RocketmanBob

            Armada? What are you speaking about?

            And as far as Saint Paul’s words, they are self explanatory. And I find it amusing that you would accuse Catholics of being either fundamentalists or literalists; that argument typically cuts the other way.

          • pobjoy

            Catholics are the original fundies or literalists. American Creationist fundies are made in their image.

          • RocketmanBob

            I think you’re mistaken about that. From the earliest days of the Church there has been both faith and reason have been part of understanding revelation.

          • pobjoy

            Can a Catholic survive on the internet without circularity?

          • RocketmanBob

            Yes. I don’t believe I’ve made any circular arguments. All of revelation is nonsense to those whose hearts are hardened to belief, another of Christ’s utterances recorded in the scripture.

            I get the feeling that you’re approaching this entire discussion with an antagonistic viewpoint. And since I’d prefer not to argue, unless you have a question that I haven’t already addressed I think that we’ve reached the point where we’re talking past each other.
            I wish you the best.

          • pobjoy

            You wish everyone but yourself the worst.

          • RocketmanBob

            Why do you choose to insult me now, by presupposing that I have ill intent for anyone? In fact, I said the exact opposite, to you specifically. And I meant it too.

          • RocketmanBob

            I don’t think you understand fully what’s happening in the Mass friend.

            The priest is acting in Corporus Christi capitus; standing in for the head of the church-Jesus. Through the unity of the Holy Spirit, in each of the faithful gathered by virtue of their baptism, the mystical body of Christ, of which St. Paul wrote, is formed by the congregation and the celebrant. Through the same spirit all are joined with Christ, now in heaven at God’s right hand. So it is not a series of, or summation of, sacrifices being made by a bunch of random people but a continuance of the original sacrifice Christ made for our sins; with all people across time and space offering themselves wholly to the Father as well through being joined with Him. It is a perpetual sacrifice ongoing in eternity.

            It’s a far different reality than what went on in Ancient Israel. The sacrifice of the Mass, and specifically the celebration of the Eucharist is for the reception of God’s grace, among which is the forgiveness of sin; but also anything else the individual “needs” as well as for deepening the commitment to charity in the Christian sense (at once fraternal love, a desire to give of oneself to, and the concomitant peace that accompanies living the commands that Christ gave us). And the only reason it can be done as in this manner is owing to Christ’s original self-sacrifice…

          • Thank you for typing what I don’t have the time nor patience for myself.

            Though you missed the bit about what’s being condemned in the Scripture is the blood sacrifice of the Ancient Hebrew Temple.

          • pobjoy

            ‘The priest is acting in Corporus Christi capitus; standing in for the head of the church-Jesus.’

            So the priest will be flogged, mocked and crucified as many times as he celebrated Mass. What joy he has to look forward to.

          • James M

            It may be worth pointing out that while the description “pontifex” is used of the Bishop of Rome by Theodosius in the rescript of 380, the title Pontifex Maximus as used for or by the Pope seems not to be any older than the 15th century. There is a very big difference between the two.

            A related issue: why do Fundamentalists object to the use of a pre-Christian title for Popes, when they do not object to the use of pagan titles like Saviour, Lord, or King, or a host of other pre-Christian titles, for God & Christ ? It seems so inconsistent to object to one descriptor because it has pagan associations, while more familiar but equally paganism-associated descriptors are not only not found objectionable, but are treasured as revealing something of the Character of God. Words have no more power than we allow them – they are not pagan if they have acquired Christian meanings: which is why a pre-Christian word like *khristos* can be used without any misgivings by staunch opponents of the Papacy. But if that is so, why is the title Pontifex Maximus so bothersome ?

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            It is because people have to find ANYTHING to pick on. Of course, the common accusations toward Catholicism is that it is “pagan”. As you say, words have no more power than we allow them. How many people/religions claim/accuse others who are NOT their religion, in their religious stream, or in a religion of which they approve as being “pagan”? “Pagan” is either a positive or a negative depending upon who one is. Being that you have to assume that humanity has had SOME level of common sense, if people who were once “pagan” in the ancient period brought their rituals to Christianity, so what?? What would human beings who no longer believed in their idols do, once they realized the truth of the God of Abraham? If they were required to perform rituals/sacrifices, bring gifts, pray, etc..etc…would they have continued to do so for Astarte or Moab or Isis…or any one of countless deities, if they no longer believed in them? Or wouldn’t they have brought these things to the God of Abraham? What is the difference between ancient people converting from gods that they no longer believed in to Judaism or Christianity and modern people converting from any living religion today to another religion?? I say NO DIFFERENCE. It is a matter of one’s understanding of GOD. A thousand years from now, will the God of Abraham still even be called the God of Abraham…or will humanity come to some new understanding/revelation? And if so, will that be “different” from the God of Abraham? In other words, did the ancients who worshipped “idols” just have a different understanding of GOD? The SINCERITY of the particular human being is what counts. God doesn’t need humans to pick on other humans in HIS name.

            And to be perfectly honest with you, the tone of some of these attacks from Catholic haters only boils down to jealousy and resentment. They DON’T understand Catholicism, don’t WANT to understand it, and no explanation would suffice ANYWAY. As you can see, they won’t even go to a LEGITIMATE source for information BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT THE TRUTH. It’s JUST too difficult for them and they resent the money, the time, the effort, etc…etc…that Catholics put into the Church and that the Church puts into society. Heh….if there’s no more Catholic Church…guess where a LOT of people are going to be.

            And about the “fundamentalists”, that’s kind of a misnomer. These people are presuming that their version of Christianity is “back to basics”. Kind of odd, considering their form of Christianity took place considerably AFTER the Reformation. So how would they know what “Christian fundamentals” even are? They should really just give themselves another name which indicates they just don’t agree with Catholicism (or whatever).

          • pobjoy

            ‘description “pontifex” is used of the Bishop of Rome by Theodosius’

            … in his infamous edict.

            ‘They [those who dissent from Theodosius] will suffer… punishment of our authority which in accordance with the will of Heaven we shall decide to inflict.’

            So, whether the title was used in public, or not, the puppets of Roman Emperors continued to fill the political roles of Pontifex Maximi as established by the kings of Rome in their endeavour to subjugate their subjects.

            Which demonstrates, if demonstration is needed, that Roman Catholicism is out of place in a civilised world.

          • St Ignatius

            Pobjoy, when I read the kind of stuff you write, it just reminds me of why I reconciled myself to the Catholic Church as an adult coming out of conservative evangelicalism. It’s easy to criticise when you can aim in any direction without having to own the doctrines of the protestant church in all its forms. In the end, if you don’t do the hard work of working out what your Faith actually is and whence it derived, you will be the church of one person worshipping a God you have made in your own image (bible deism, or worse just plain idolatry). I’m not judging you for this, or blaming you. But please just tone it down and for every question you have of the CC, try to work out what your own church teaches on the same matter, if you do indeed go to one. If it doesn’t teach on the matter, the answer is usually because they don’t have the inclination, courage or intellect.

          • pobjoy

            ‘why I reconciled myself to the Catholic Church as an adult coming out of conservative evangelicalism’

            Conservative evangelicals, who work and pray together, without knowing or caring about each other’s denominations, or even whether they have one? That’s the real church, that does not hive itself off in fear, and refuse to meet others whom it describes as Christian. So if you think that others, non-Catholics, are Christians, try to justify in your mind why you fail to meet, work and pray with your brothers and sisters. Of course, it is no use reminding you that you may have to answer for that failure, if you know perfectly well that you are going to hell, anyway.

            The majority of evangelicals left the denoms years ago, though not to join the Vatican’s cult, of course; to make independents and house churches. That is, house churches as existed before the Roman Empire, afraid of honest people within an organically corrupt system, stepped in with its own sort of steel-tipped persuasion. It pulled down all its pagan temples just so that it could make a counterfeit church. Though, as you probably realise, the pagan ‘theology’ was retained pretty well intact, with the deeply antichrist title Pontifex Maximus being transferred from emperor to the invented ‘popes’. So where Christians are temples of the Holy Spirit, having the mind of Christ, Catholics worship in pagan temples, they whose consciences are utterly out of control in the West, as one can see abundantly in this thread. One supposes that they are in private controlled by their own evil appetites, because their leader has become a mere cipher, a puppet of wealthy people whose interest in public welfare is minimal.

            Note that the word ‘diocese’ refers to administration unit of a civil government, a fact that the apostles would have found quite beyond belief. Moreover, these diocese were those of an empire whose leadership was almost permanently involved in every kind of vice. Catholics may like to think about that as they attend Mass, and wonder whether very much has changed, and whether the changes that have taken place since the Reformation are due far more to the ‘salt of the earth’ of Protestantism, as well as democracy, and even the modern media, despite widespread ownership of it by Catholics.

            Before Wyclif, Erasmus and the like, the Vatican’s leadership was behaving so badly that these men may have supposed that, in the foreseeable future, they could cease the pretence, ditch their hypocritical religion altogether, and abuse the population of Europe even more than they were doing. So Catholic criticism of what passes for Protestantism, deserved as it often is, cannot be taken as anything but pitiful anomaly.

          • pobjoy

            ‘why I reconciled myself to the Catholic Church as an adult coming out of conservative evangelicalism’

            Conservative evangelicals, who work and pray together, without knowing or caring about each other’s denominations, or even whether they have one? That’s the real church, that does not hive itself off in fear, and refuse to meet others whom it describes as Christian. So if you think that others, non-Catholics, are Christians, try to justify in your mind why you fail to meet, work and pray with your brothers and sisters. Of course, it is no use reminding you that you may have to answer for that failure, if you know perfectly well that you are going to hell, anyway.

            The majority of evangelicals left the denoms years ago, though not to join the Vatican’s cult, of course; to make independents and house churches. That is, house churches as existed before the Roman Empire, afraid of honest people within an organically corrupt system, stepped in with its own sort of steel-tipped persuasion. It pulled down all its pagan temples just so that it could make a counterfeit church. Though, as you probably realise, the pagan ‘theology’ was retained pretty well intact, with the deeply antichrist title Pontifex Maximus being transferred from emperor to the invented ‘popes’. So where Christians are temples of the Holy Spirit, having the mind of Christ, Catholics worship in pagan temples, they whose consciences are utterly out of control in the West, as one can see abundantly in this thread.

            Note that the word ‘diocese’ refers to administration unit of a civil government, a fact that the apostles would have found quite beyond belief. Moreover, these diocese were those of an empire whose leadership was almost permanently involved in every kind of vice. Catholics may like to think about that as they attend Mass, and wonder whether very much has changed, and whether the changes that have taken place since the Reformation are due far more to the ‘salt of the earth’ of Protestantism, as well as democracy, and the modern media.

            Before Wyclif, Erasmus and the like, the Vatican’s leadership was behaving so badly that these men may have supposed that, in the foreseeable future, they could cease the pretence, ditch their hypocritical religion altogether, and abuse the population of Europe even more than they were doing. So Catholic criticism of what passes for Protestantism, deserved as it often is, cannot be taken as anything but pitiful anomaly.

          • St Ignatius

            It might interest you to know that when I became Catholic I never gave up anything I already believed as an evangelical. So which church do you go to pobjoy? I’d like to look it up and see if it has any actual doctrines.

          • pobjoy

            ‘when I became Catholic I never gave up anything I already believed as an evangelical’

            If you really were an evangelical, rather than just a hanger-on, you believed that all of your sins, past, present and future had been forgiven forever on the cross, and you lived with what Peter described as ‘inexpressible joy’ that your life in the next world was to be glorious beyond description.

            Now if you gave that up, in favour of a life of permanent insecurity, hoping that you would die immediately after Mass, so that you would not be condemned for sins committed since the last Mass, you seem to have got a bad deal. Now it’s not as though it is only major sins that count here. Wealthy medieval people built chapels with resident priests so that they could attend Mass eight times a day (Henry VIII went only five times on hunting days), and that wasn’t because they committed murder or adultery seven times every day.

            So the probability is that you were no more an evangelical than you were a jelly, and that the only reason that you are here is because you are frightened out of your wits at the idea of evangelicalism, its certainty and moral influence.

          • St Ignatius

            Your reply raises so many interesting questions. For a start “if you really were an evangelical” implies you or someone else could judge that. How? If I *said* I was, as far as you could ever know I *actually* was. According to your own rules, it’s not for you to judge. This is the basic problem, when you do away with actual regulation, every man becomes incredibly arbitrary and dogmatic.

          • James Baron

            You keep going off on these random tangents pobjoy. If your sins were forgiven once and for all with Christ’s death on the cross, then that means you are free to commit any sin you want with no repercussion because you are “saved” and Christ’s death forgave those sins already 2,015 years ago. This is simply not true, while Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was to forgive the sins of mankind, there is still an obligation on our part to avoid sin. In order for those sins to be forgiven, one cannot simply have faith alone, works must be done and we must fully cooperate with God’s love and mercy. Protestants, evangelicals, etc, whatever you want to call them like to say that Catholics think they can save themselves by doing good works. This is not true either. Our works do not save us, but our works rather are a sign of our faith. If you do not have any visible sign to show your faith, then your faith is dead. And that is straight from scripture James 2:14-16. Christ is truly present in the Eucharist at the Mass in body, blood, soul, and divinity. As was pointed out Jesus stated this already in John chapter 6, but take it however you like. Jesus clearly made this known when he said that he would give his body and blood for all to eat that they may have everlasting life. The last supper was where he gave his body and blood as a sacrifice for his apostles to eat so they could have everlasting life and he commanded them to continue doing the same thing in remembrance of him. The mass is a re-creation of the last supper or a new sacrifice if you will because Christ commanded us to do this. Now if you believe Jesus was both human and divine, then he must be present fully in the Eucharist at the mass in body, blood, soul, and divinity. Christ’s sacrifice was not simply a moment in history and that moment was gone. Christ’s sacrifice transcends above time. Just as the Trinity was present since the beginning of time, whether it was made known to mankind or not, Christ’s sacrifice was already present even before it physically happened in that one moment of history.

          • pobjoy

            ‘If your sins were forgiven once and for all with Christ’s death on the cross’

            As all sins were, according to the books you call ‘Sacred Scripture’.

            ‘then that means you are free to commit any sin you want’

            If you are a Catholic, you can. If you are a Catholic, you will, because you have nothing to be grateful for. There is no evil that a Catholic can commit that has not already been committed with impunity by a Catholic ‘cardinal’. You just go to Mass, Sunday, and then all is fine and dandy, and you can commit more sins until the next Mass. That’s exactly what people like you want, because you don’t want good people going around showing up the evils you commit. Teenage Catholics, and older ones, too, will tell you that they just go to Mass, Sunday, and then all is fine and dandy, they can commit more sins until the next Mass. Or rather, they did, until they ceased to believe that Mass is a sacrifice, due to the cowardice of their sickening, two-faced ‘priests’, some of whom have even said in public that transubstantiation is a medieval superstition. Look at the despicable posts here, from people who won’t admit that the Mass is a sacrifice. Don’t think that you can slime in— just as predicted— and hope that this debacle is forgotten!

            Catholics sin like everyone else except Christians because they are not grateful for salvation. Because they don’t have salvation. They go to Mass sacrifice because they are not in Christ, because they are not justified, not accepted by deity. Of course works are to be done, but not in order to gain salvation, but out of gratitude for it; these are are the works of the saved, the justified. You know that perfectly well. You know that when Jesus said in Jn 6 that his body must be eaten, he meant that his followers must stand up to the threat of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians, as he did. That’s why most of his disciples left, not because they were going to literally eat Jesus, the only alternative meaning. That scared the wits out of them, and it scares the wits out of you. You educated Catholics are ‘the ones who left’. You can see your easy, cowardly, indolent lives coming to an end, if all Catholics wise up and live as Christ did. Well, it is, because you lot are going to work like hell, forever. Blood, sweat and tears. Look forward to it with the utmost confidence.

          • James Baron

            You are grossly mistaken on Catholic teaching and doctrine. Nowhere does Catholic teaching state that it is ok to sin throughout the week and then attend Mass and you are good, it says quite the opposite in fact, and states that when you do fall into sin, to make a good confession of your sins. And repentance is not just saying I’m sorry, it is a commitment to do everything in one’s power to make a change in lifestyle which caused you to sin in the first place. This does not mean that you will not sin, but rather that you resist sin at all costs and when you do fall into sin you confess your sins and make penance. You claim to know what the Church teaches based off how you have seen other Catholics act or what they say, including Church hierarchy. Individual people, including Church hierarchy are not above 2,015 years of historical and doctrinal teaching. How about before you go making claims about what Catholics believe, you actually learn what they believe? Nothing I can say will convince you and my purpose is not to convince you but rather to get you to think about the other perspective instead of doing all this hate bashing. If you want to read about what the Church actually teaches how about reading some books on the councils of the Church which explain in great detail dogmatic and doctrinal decrees and reading books by the early Church fathers such as Augustine, Athanasius, etc. I do not know anywhere in my post I was being nasty, I was not rude nor did I make any personal attack on you whatsoever aside from saying you were going off on random tangents which was fact. To say that that I was cleverly nasty and could not possibly be innocent is a direct attack on me and my character, but it is ok, I forgive you for that.

          • pobjoy

            ‘You are grossly mistaken on Catholic teaching and doctrine. ‘

            Tell your own, not me. It is teenagers, and older Catholics, who think it is ok to sin during the week. Or thought so, because they don’t even believe in sin, now. The Vatican no doubt decided that teenagers making fun of their theology was too much to bear, so they simply stopped teaching it. So the RCCult is now the RCClub, to many, like much of Anglicanism and Methodism, that have given up on their own basic teaching, too. We know you know that, because you lied when saying what you wrote above, so don’t pretend otherwise. Most Western Catholics are in no doubt, as you are, that their religion is pure fantasy, and pure evil, diametrically opposed to Christianity. That’s why they choose it. If it wasn’t evil, they really would get nervous. That’s why it’s all but impossible to find a Catholic who is not evil on the ‘net. There was one, really nice girl, but she stopped posting after a short time, no doubt because she could see the appalling lies that were being poured out from fellow Catholics.

            So that’s the way many Western Catholics live. They practice wife-swapping in the USA, then parade at Mass, alongside the Mafiosi. No doubt in Africa, it is different, but the illusion won’t last there, either.

          • pobjoy

            Conservative evangelicals, who work and pray together, without knowing or caring about each other’s denominations, or even whether they have one? That’s the real church, that does not hive itself off in fear, and refuse to meet others whom it describes as Christian.

          • Tim Morrison

            You make the point nicely – you have spent years looking inward studying things don’t matter – and arguments about Christology would be a fine example – incredibly important to those involved but a total waste of time. If every there was a bankrupt discipline its Roman Catholic Moral Theology.

          • Ironic77

            Sources? Claims? Are you suggesting that until AD 325 things were peachy in the Church, with no disagreements, no schism, no debate, no heresies, no Gnosticism? Somehow the Apostles and everyone after agreed until Constantine came on the scene and introduced new ideas that were at odds with early teachings? That is ridiculously false and directly in contradiction with historical facts. Or maybe you’re claiming that the Holy Spirit left the earth in AD 325 and nothing conceived or written on any matters since has been inspired? (I hope not.) Or maybe you’re claiming that the New Testament which wasn’t even decided on until AD 692 is the only source of teaching authority, that there is no such thing as the Trinity because that notion isn’t literally in the Bible? Maybe you don’t believe in the Old Testament which was settled in the 16th century? You probably take for granted the KJ bible which was completed in 1611 (and named after the son of the Catholic would-be queen-if-not-imprisoned Mary) at a time of great political and religious turmoil where state agendas to control church were running rampant? Maybe you interpret the Hebrew directly from the Tanakh and Talmud, but ignore the Midrash? Also, how do you explain everything and everyone from Constantine to Luther, even the saints like Patrick, Francis of Assisi, and Thomas of Aquin? All misguided and lost?

            I am just trying to understand…

          • Som Trivedi

            I was kidding, I don’t know the first thing about Christianity 😀

          • James DiGriz

            Or maybe you didn’t think anyone would rebut and present actual facts? Or, more likely, you were just trolling.

          • Som Trivedi

            Just trolling of course.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            No it wasn’t… Sorry Catholicism is just a little too tough for you faux intellectuals.

      • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

        Constantine didn’t found anything. Constantine simply decided to stop persecuting Christians when he allegedly had a vision. One of the reasons he made Christianity the official religion of Rome is because the early Christians agreed to strip women of all their rights to leadership in the Church… Not to mention he had political reasons for doing so. He was NEVER, any true Christian as he was STILL worshipping pagan idols after allegedly converting to Christianity. All of you people who belong to other religions or none at all need to get your facts straight. Sorry, the Roman Catholic Church IS the Church Jesus founded, even if the non-Catholics don’t want to admit it and even if it hasn’t had all the best leaders. At least we CATHOLICS admit to all the garbage the Church has perpetrated over the last 2000 years. At least OUR Church didn’t get started by some asswipe who just wanted to dump his wife and then went on to chop off the heads of two others… Not to mention f***ing around with all the others in between and hissy-fitting about anyone who didn’t want to tow his “church” line… Chopping their heads off as well.

      • Mark Brooks

        What you say is true, but don’t expect to be commended for saying it. As you have probably since noted, Catholic apologists will be quick to respond and claim otherwise, even though the form of religion they practice today not only cannot be found in Christian scriptures, but didn’t really exist prior to the Council of Trent, which adopted a specific subset of Renaissance religious practices to the exclusion of others. Even Cardinal Pole believed in justification by faith alone, although after Trent he didn’t teach it. The nature of the imperial cult was to be a “broad church” that incorporated all kinds of existing religious practices, including many pagan ones. Papal infallibility, the assumption of Mary — these are all recent things, and even some things claimed as tradition can be easily traced back to historical developments that had nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ, but were conflicts over money and power. Catholic apologists see a Christianity of institutions. But real Christianity isn’t an institution.

        • RocketmanBob

          Before there was written scriptures there was the oral traditions, and the teaching handed on through time beginning with the Apostles; who got their instruction from Christ himself.
          Divine revelation is composed of both these elements. There are plenty of items that folks who embrace sola scriptura like to gloss over as well.

          Christ came here to accomplish His salvific mission, but also to found a body of believers to proclaim His message of salvation through repentance and belief in the Good News; the new Israel through which God’s salvation would be brought to all the nations.

          What he didn’t do was come here to write a book, especially one that arguments over, and the vanities of men, would serve to divide the one body he’d come here to establish.

          • Mark Brooks

            How strange it is that the doctrine you claim cannot be found in scripture. Because if it were true, it would be very important for it to be there. Of course, it isn’t, and that is why your cult anathematized and burned Christians for reading the Bible without their bishop’s permission, isn’t it? That is why clerical marriage is anathema, but clerical concubinage and sodomy are merely matters for confession. The Oral Torah of your cult says so.

            But then, it has always been that way.

            —————————————————
            Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.

            Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?” He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

            ‘This people honors Me with their lips,
            But their heart is far from Me.
            And in vain they worship Me,
            Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

            “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men —the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

            —————————————————-

            Nor has a “new Israel” replaced the old. Have you not read the scripture that says God is not a man, He does not change? His unconditional promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob remain. There has been no replacement.

            I could talk about cadaver synods, the curious death of Pope Paul II, the theological problems created by the doctrine of papal infallibility, and a great many other things, but all this is known, and God has spoken in his scripture, so I will commend that to you, and ask that you believe God when he is speaking for Himself. That’s what matters. Being born again matters. Everything else would be just words.

          • RocketmanBob

            Is there a specific doctrine you’re referring to? I’ll be happy to find references to whatever I can do so for.

            And I’m not trying to defend the actions of men over time. We’re all sinners, some more so than others; but we all rely on God’s grace…But the body made up by the people of God here on earth, as a whole, is holy, as is the one church that Christ founded. We men have found ways to divide that which the Lord had wished to be a source of unity.

            I don’t wish to be argumentative or combative, and as I mentioned will gladly give you scriptural reference’s as much as possible.
            My Regards

      • as;ldf9a7f

        1) Read Bible Matt 16:18
        2) Don’t say “Jesus didn’t really mean that.”
        3) He most certainly did.
        4) You, being outside the Church, are part of the people trying to
        harm His Church, just as he says in that passage. Nice going,
        you heretic moron.

    • Yakov Zamir

      Let us hope that Pope Francis will defer this doctrinal change to a future Pope, and choose a direction that will unite rather than divide the Church. It has a great potential to play a major role in addressing global warming, but not if it is preoccupied with its internal doctrinal differences.

    • larry

      Love your well thought out post. I too have been in and out of the church many times. I decided to become Anglican and then that church went flooey. I finally decided that I would embrace the Catholic Church fully.

      By Church I do not mean people or clergy but the Church that Christ founded. Before I returned I had a definite distaste for the church’s nonsense with cuckoo clergy, amateurish hymns and silly services. I finally found a niche and that is where I stay. Whether I stay with the current church or not if a split occurs remains to be seen. I do believe that the church will face some really stormy times are with Pope Francis.

  • Father John George

    Time His Holiness retired, He may not have spiritual Alzheimers but…..things are getting way out of hand! We need another Saint JP2

    • Carrying on with the tediously predictable sockpuppets are we, “phil” ?

      • Guest

        A brief glance at Fr George’s Comment History would have shown you how silly your remark is!

    • Janet

      Oh, please no! No more Theology of the Body! No more of those ruinous ‘liturgies.’

  • Interesting article — though it seems based on some false premisses : schism is not caused by Curial politics as suggested by the article, but by actual doctrinal errors espoused by these or those schismatics.

    “the Vatican bureaucracy looks much the same as when he arrived” — this is just false.

    “(with the exception of Cardinal Pell’s new Secretariat for the Economy)” — right, and let’s pretend the Council of Cardinals doesn’t exist. /roll-eyes/

    Luke Coppen seems to be labouring under the mistaken impression that Catholicism followed the rules of a lobbyist parliamentary democracy — and that’s Americanism, pure and simple.

    “Although Francis has never explicitly endorsed Communion for the remarried, many believe he views it as a legitimate ‘development of tradition’, rather than a break with two millennia of doctrine” — this is the forlorn belief of those who have failed to read or listen to the Pope’s unfailingly strong words in defence of the Sacramental Marriage and of Catholic family values.

    “That’s why the autumn synod will be seen as a referendum on his pontificate” — this though is just sheer and utter nonsense.

    “If participants reject the Communion proposal, it’s likely to be presented as a crushing papal defeat” — Is Coppen a closet ACTA member ? Will he need a stiff drink when the Pope and the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith fail to proclaim such sinful and uncatholic doctrines ?

    “The media invariably describe the resistance to Francis as ‘conservative’. But it’s more complicated than that. Traditionalists think Francis shows too little respect for the Church’s liturgical and theological heritage. Economic conservatives slap their foreheads whenever the Pope denounces the ‘tyranny’ of unbridled capitalism. Yet doctrinal conservatives are the ones having palpitations ahead of the synod.” — Good old labels, and more Americanism.

    I have zero respect for this sort of willful divisiveness. The vast majority where I live are at least nominally Catholic — there is a groundswell of support for those who have been divorced through no desire of their own, and who may find themselves in a state of excommunication mostly from sins committed by others.

    And has Coppen so quickly forgotten that this question of some divorced-remarried being perhaps unjustly denied the Sacraments was put forward not by Pope Francis, but by Pope Benedict XVI ?

    “But if we focus exclusively on the resistance, we miss the bigger picture. The truth is that Francis remains astoundingly popular.” — cripes, the “bigger picture” is that Pope Francis is “popular”. Trite, meaningless, and shallow. Arius was even more “popular” just FYI !!! But unless and until anyone publishes some direct heresy as a doctrine, all of this waffle about “schism” is completely worthless.

    Bottom line : Catholics can sometimes disagree with each other. This does not constitute “schism”.

  • Suriani

    The pope celebrated the largest Mass in human history in Philippines where consecrated Hosts were casually passed from hand to hand, dropped and trodden on. Schism begins at home.

  • John Byde

    This article sums up why I left the Catholic church. Christ is not here.

    • Ironic77

      Or what the father of lies, aka the media, aka Satan, Inc. wants you to believe.

    • Janet

      John, I assume you mean this referring to the pathetic political/theological wrangling, with perhaps a touch of resentment for the banal new mass and the abuses to the Blessed Sacrament and so forth. If you mean something else, ‘this’ being, like, you left because debating homosexuality when it should already be accepted, then what I want to say will not apply.

      So: you could come back to something better. Traditional mass at a parish with a good traditional pastor is worth coming back to. Our pastor’s sermons during Lent did great things for me, showed me how exercising self-control in mundane matters trains one–to do it in big ones. To walk with Christ, to accept one’s cross and get to heaven that way. He told us it’s how we get to heaven, no other way, and that was like medicine to me, because I have three sons, each suffering so much in our changed economy, working very long hours, sometimes abused at work, never enough money, stress, I could cry every morning and night, but through the practices of Lent (you know, the fasting, the partial abstinence, increased prayer, almsgiving) and mostly Father saying that our cross was our way to heaven, instead of crying I just smiled and did what I could every day. Because of our Faith, and a good pastor. It’s such a source of strength and beauty! And God as food! I’m telling you, the traditional mass goes all the way back, or all the way into you, it is the sacrifice in the desert, you have to be a stone not to melt at the prayers.

      So, I am just saying. There is a place, if you were missing those things, you can come back to. Christ is still here!

      • Something Less Controversial

        That is such a lovely comment and, it has given much succour and encouragement to me. Thankyou for your witness and perseverance.

      • pobjoy

        ‘To walk with Christ, to accept one’s cross and get to heaven that way. He told us it’s how we get to heaven, no other way’

        So there is no need for a priest.

        • Janet

          How did you get that, out of my writing how much help the mass is? You need the priest for mass! I think you just used my comment for a platform for your tired old rant.

          • pobjoy

            One gets that by the use of common sense, as Janet realises; hence the mendacity and abuse. One can be told by anyone that one must walk with Christ, and take up one’s cross (suffer the abuse of people like Janet), to get to heaven. And if one is told that there is no other way, then the involvement of a priest is actually impossible. That there is no other way to heaven than by walking with Christ and taking up one’s cross, is what Christians, i. e. genuine Protestants, have been saying for centuries, ever since Catholics would let them say it. Even since then, Catholics have beaten up Christians for saying exactly what this desperate priest is quoted as saying here! It’s farcical.

            Catholicism in the West is in a cleft stick. If it retains its traditional stance of emphasis on priest-led religion, it cannot compete with democratic expressions of faith, that are growing apace in many parts of the world. If it mimics evangelicals, like this Catholic here quoted, it loses its own necessity; it in effect admits its own redundancy.

            ‘You need the priest for mass!’

            Then your pastor lied, didn’t he. Who is going to accept Catholics even as decent citizens if they speak with forked tongues?

    • Rowland Nelken

      Too right. The freelance rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth died nearly 2000 years ago. All sorts of stories have arisen about the guy ever since, including confident prophecies of his imminent return and the establishment of some ill defined kingdom as well as arguments about his relationship to God, or even his divinity. The traces of this weird old myth still linger in the mishmash of groups known collectively as Christendom. The sect presided over by the Pope of Rome just happens to be the biggest. So what if yet still more sects arise?

      • mrsjosephinehydehartley

        Jesus does tell us whenever even two or three gather in His name, He is with us.

        • pobjoy

          Would the most base of all humanity claim to gather in His name?

  • paulpriest

    a] The Vatican civil service in no way ‘looks the same’ as it did two years ago. Primarily most of the perceived ‘Benedict loyalists’ within ‘middle-management’ roles – i.e. the people who ensured any real administrative work was done – have been fired and sent back to their respective dioceses – the accumulating backlog of tribunals, appeals, crucial canonical trials etc has accrued to geometric proportions. The Church’s highest lawyer after the Pope, Cardinal Burke, was peremptorily fired immediately after granting an appeal by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate [who were beginning to be persecuted as much as their male counterparts – who have undergone suppression, house arrest of their founder, closure of all colleges and seminaries, a ban on priestly and diaconal ordinations and a censure preventing them celebrating mass in their normative Extraordinary Form]. Cardinal Sarah – the major ‘thorn in the side’ of corrupt secularised Catholic charities and apostolates whom under the caritas international umbrella were consipring with anti-Catholic ethical positions regarding population control, abortion, contraception provision, homosexual and feminist activist groups etc – was ‘promoted’ to the ‘much less boatrockable’ Congregation of Divine Worship. The Congregation of Bishops has been filled to the rafters with accommodating ‘yes men’ who have repeatedly disregarded their congregational oath and their duty of care to the concerns of both Nuncios and national episcopacies by permitting arbitrary papal intervention where appointments of Bishops do not undergo due process, scrutiny and discernment – merely a word from His Holiness that someone who has the papal ear has recommended X and they are immediately green-lighted. [Hence the recent farce in Chile].

    b] it is not a ‘claim’ that the interim report was written before synod, nor is it a ‘claim’ that the vatican mail was intercepted and the book sent to each synod representative defending Catholic teaching on marriage was stolen and subsequently destroyed. Cardinal Erdo admitted during the televisation of the mid-term relatio’s publication that indeed he was not the author – but instead it was the papal secretary Mgr Forte – and in order for the copies of the MTR to be printed and delivered it was necessary to be at the printers before Synod commenced – it also provided time for the document to be leaked to the two major Italian political parties whom after perceiving a definitive softening on the approach to homosexuality chose the timing of the MTR’s televisation to make a joint declaration supporting same-sex marriage. The book “Remaining in the Truth of Christ” was indeed stolen upon the orders of someone who has subsequently neither been investigated nor punished for such a criminal act. Might we deduce there is some form of Papal approval in such acts? It would be hard not to!

    c] Cardinal Kasper made attempts to deny such statements regarding African prelates and blacken the reputation of the reporter [whom luckily had recorded and could confim the veracity of the comments]

    d] Cardinal Marx has also introduced a form of blackmail into the synod equation – out of the billions they accrue the German Church also funds impoverished African missions, charities and apostolates with milions of euros [mere scraps from their table but crucial to those in the developing world] The intimation of their funding being in jeopardy should the Synod not conform to the wishes of the German bishops has been made clear.

  • tolpuddle1

    There as been a de facto schism in the Church since Vatican II. If matters now come to a head, so much the better.

    As for the “Catholic” liberals and feminists who hate Francis – they aren’t Catholics; physically they are “in” the Church, but their hearts are not – are in schism, in fact. They should admit this and stop lying to themselves and others in the vain hope of “re-defining” Catholicism to their liking.

    On remarriage after divorce, Francis must and will be guided by the Holy Spirit – not by financial considerations ! Surely the Germans don’t imagine they can bully and wreck the Church as they have bullied and wrecked the EU ?

  • Something Less Controversial

    I am hopeful the October Synod will do the right thing. Pope Francis is being a typical Jesuit in that he is allowing everyone, including the modernisers, to have their say, without too much risk of them having any influence or power. He is quite clever in allowing all the hot air to evaporate and to wait for the dust to settle.

    • St Ignatius

      Agreed. From what I’ve seen of denominational “churches” when real unity is not there, the leadership merely refuse to talk about anything important. So you then have a race to the bottom where they major on minors and nothing substantial is aired. If you are terrified of even the appearance of disagreement it’s a sign of weakness.

  • Calleva

    Erm a ‘designer kitchen’ for only £3K – where can I get one? A marble worktop can cost at least that. Come on, someone tell His Holiness the truth – that Pell went to the local Wickes and went for a discontinued range.

    You can add a zero for a designer kitchen. His enemies will have to work much harder to make the dirt stick to Pell, who is not known for his extravagance.

  • Rowland Nelken

    The freelance rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth died nearly 2000 years ago. All
    sorts of stories have arisen about the guy ever since, including
    confident prophecies of his imminent return and the establishment of
    some ill defined kingdom as well as arguments about his relationship to
    God, or even his divinity.

    The traces of this weird old myth still
    linger in the mishmash of groups known collectively as Christendom. The
    sect presided over by the Pope of Rome just happens to be the biggest.
    So what if yet still more sects arise?

    • mrsjosephinehydehartley

      How small can a so-called sect go? Two or three? Even so, as few as two or three gathered in the name of Jesus will be worthy of His presence. Jesus tells us this in the bible.

    • pobjoy

      ‘freelance rabbi, Jesus’

      There was no ‘rabbinate’. There never was one, there never will be one. When Moses told the Israelites that they must wear the teaching of deity on their foreheads, he meant that they must mentally internalise it, and be their own judges of what is right and wrong.

      The corrupt find this a problem, as they well might.

    • Something Less Controversial

      I think you’ll find that The Resurrection nails it.

    • tolpuddle1

      Not just the biggest, but the oldest, the original.

  • The Vatican was co-opted by Marxists at the top position in 1846 with the election of Pope Pius IX, hence his embarrassing edicts on the (1) Immaculate Conception (1854); And (2) Papal Infallibility (1870), both edicts placing their respective subjects on an even level with God! In fact, in 1858 Mary took time out of her busy schedule and came down to Earth, informing Bernadette Soubirous that she, Mary, was indeed the Immaculate Conception! What marvelous timing, huh!

    • I do hope that your tinfoil hat is not too snug, “phil” !!

      • “I do hope that your tinfoil hat is not too snug, “phil” !!”

        I do hope you can come up with a better ad hominem, Comrade!!

        And since you replied, Comrade, I get to educate The Spectator readers on the following…

        When the USSR was “liberated” of vanguard communism on December 26, 1991, there were no celebrations in Russia! Not one! Moscow was as quite as a mouse. You never thought about that either, did you! Well, that’s why I’m here, to direct your attention to all the oddities revolving around the fake “collapse” of the USSR. The co-opted Marxist press naturally won’t.

        In fact, as the article linked to below illustrates, not only were there no celebrations in Russia when vanguard communism “collapsed” in late 1991, there were no celebrations on the 20th anniversary of the “collapse”…

        http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/12/20-years-since-the-fall-of-the-soviet-union/100214/

        Keep those ad hominems coming! I have a large file of other similar proofs.

        • When the USSR was “liberated” of vanguard communism on December 26, 1991, there were no celebrations in Russia! Not one! Moscow was as quite as a mouse.

          Your grasp of recent History is a bit slippery, isn’t it, and clearly not helped by your liberal use of snake-oil.

          • “Your grasp of recent History is a bit slippery, isn’t it…”

            Your memory is just as bad as your abysmal attempt at damage control, Comrade!

          • What does that tell you?

            It tells me that you’re a gibbering loon.

          • “It tells me that you’re a gibbering loon.”

            I was talking to ladies & gentlemen, not a Comrade such as yourself.

    • Mark

      Marxism wasn’t even a thing in 1846.

      • “Marxism wasn’t even a thing in 1846.”

        More than you know thanks to the Marxist co-opted establishment, as my comment proved…

        ‘The year 1846 found Karl Marx and his close friend and co-thinker Friedrich Engels in Brussels, establishing a small political circle of radical German émigrés called the Communist Corresponding Committee and writing for the German-language Deutsche Brüsseler Zeitung (“Brussels German Newspaper”).[5] Also important in this early circle was Wilhelm Wolff, a talented and radical writer hailing from the Silesian peasantry who had been forced to emigrate due to his agitation against the Prussian autocracy.’

        The next year the [London] Communist League (German: Bund der Communisten) was founded as an international political party in London, England. The organization was formed through the merger of the League of the Just, headed by Karl Schapper and the Communist Correspondence Committee of Brussels, Belgium, in which Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_League

        When I say one is a Marxist in 1846, that’s what such persons began to be called several decades later.

        • Mark

          You’re talking so much but saying absolutely nothing.

          The theoretical foundations for Marxist thought barely existed in 1846. You can’t be a Marxist before even the Communist Manifesto was written, to say nothing of Misère de la Philosophie or Das Kapital.

          Not all socialism is Marxist. Some socialism is murderously anti-Marxist. Many socialisms predate Marx. You’re clueless. And you really think the guy who wrote Quanta Cura was a socialist? Absolutely ridiculous.

          • “The theoretical foundations for Marxist thought barely existed in 1846.”

            As I said, “When I say one is a Marxist in 1846, that’s what such persons began to be called several decades later….Did the Vatican alert the world that the “collapse” of the USSR was a ruse? I rest my case.” How did you miss that?

            “Some socialism is murderously anti-Marxist.”

            You’re clueless as to Marxist tactics. False opposition is a classic Marxist tactic, in which the blades represent the two falsely opposed sides that converge on the confused victims [neutralizing true opposition].

            “Many socialisms predate Marx.”

            You don’t say.

            “And you really think the guy who wrote Quanta Cura was a socialist? Absolutely ridiculous.”

            You’re not very observant, are you?

          • “The theoretical foundations for Marxist thought barely existed in 1846.”

            In fact, Marx’s theoretical foundation (what Marx and Engels called ‘scientific socialism’) were already formulated…

            The following illustrates Marx’s rising star as early as early 1846…

            ‘Brussels Communist Correspondence Committee

            a committee formed by K. Marx and F. Engels in Brussels in early 1846* with the aim of ideologically and organizationally consolidating the socialists of different countries and preparing the formation of a proletarian party. The committee included W. Wolff, P. Gigot, and others. Led by Marx, the committee established contact with socialist groups and individual participants in the workers’ movement in Germany, France, Great Britain, and Belgium, thus promoting the formation of such committees in different localities. It maintained contact with the leadership of the League of the Just and with the leaders of Chartism. It played an important role in the struggle against sectarian tendencies in the workers’ movement. At the committee session of Mar. 30, 1846, Marx and Engels sharply criticized W. Weitling’s leveling communism. In a special circular, the committee revealed the petit-bourgeois nature of the activity of the “true socialist” H. Kriege in the USA. Engels, who went to France in 1846 upon the committee’s assignment, led the struggle against P. J. Proudhon’s reformist influence, “true socialism,” and Weitlingism among Paris workers. The committee’s activities contributed to the conversion of the progressive workers to scientific communism [sic; should read: scientific socialism] and played an important role in preparing the formation of the Communist League in 1847.’ —

            http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Brussels+Communist+Correspondence+Committee

            ———————–

            *That’s ‘early 1846’, and Marx and Engels are already consolidating the desperate socialist movements, and cemented ‘scientific socialism’ as the basis for the movement’s philosophical foundation.

  • Jack Reacher

    One has to wonder — if today’s liberals will callously murder the unborn, who won’t they attack?

  • Matthew Kilburn

    Valid marriage is indissoluble. This is one of Christ’s most explicit teachings. if we also assume that bigamy is impermissible, then anyone who is “divorced” and “remarried” and living in an active sexual relationship with their second “spouse” is in fact an unrepentant adulterer living in a state of sin. And such people must be denied participation in the Eucharist until thry reform their ways.

    Your marriage is unhappy? You have my sympathy, but that doesn’t make it invalid.

    • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

      That is correct. However Christ also said that a man who divorces his wife and she goes to another man, is just as guilty of adultery as she is. That makes the Church’s interpretation somewhat faulty, which is why there is now the discussion of Communion for remarried Catholics. Christ was against FRIVOLOUS divorce. Also, many Catholics find themselves in the position of being in an unwanted divorce. It’s hardly fair to exclude them from Communion.

  • Two-Horned Sea Rocket

    Seriously, who still listens to those perennial paedophiles and their juvenile lies? Wake up! All Catholics are slaves to a pagan church that got kicked out of Babylon. Even the idol-worshippers of ancient Babylon couldn’t stand the Catholic church. Why should we?
    Oh, and by the way, the Catholic church is NOT Christian. But, hey, those in the ‘industry’ know that.

    • Suriani

      Lay off the weed! So bad for the brain.

  • steve5656546346

    It has been grossly irresponsible for the Pope to encourage and allow such talk to go on. Kasper is encouraging the most serious sin: sacrilege (receiving communion while in a state of mortal sin). This is about as demonic as you can get.

    • pobjoy

      Unless he believes that Catholic communion is a fiction.

  • pobjoy

    Catholic communion: is it a thing?

    ‘Every priest stands at his duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking away sins. He, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his seat for ever, at the right hand of God.’ Hebrews 10:11-12 New Jerusalem Bible, Catholic translation of a text described by Catholic leaders as ‘Sacred’.

  • Tim Morrison

    Fine examples below – how these Christians love each other – or we shall know them by their fruits, dissension, insults, bad temper.

    • pobjoy

      The prideful and malicious poster has realised (as one has to, from reading the posts here) that Catholic claims to Christianity are risible; but, as much in fear of Christians as Catholics are, smears Christians with the same brush.

      • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

        Oh… You don’t even realize Catholics are the original Christians. No Catholicism.. No Christianity. No wonder you are spewing drivel.

        • pobjoy

          ‘You don’t even realize Catholics are the original Christians.’

          If Catholics on this site are Christians, Christianity should be illegal.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            Unfortunately for you, we’re here to stay. Again, which is it? Jealousy? Resentment? Both?

          • pobjoy

            Every person who attends Mass declares that he/she is not Christian, because that Mass is designated a sacrifice for unforgiven sin, which means that the attendee cannot be ‘in Christ’. This is the principal Bible inversion of the Vatican. Any who deny that the Catholic Mass is a sacrifice are condemned in the official canons (rules) of the Vatican.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            Uh huh.. Like I thought… Still not going to the appropriate sources for a proper education. Just repeating the same old drivel.

          • pobjoy

            Like all the other papists here, this poster refuses to accept the rules of his own leaders.

            Two-faced, slimy and sociopathic.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            The only one who’s a sociopathic slimeball is you… Even worse… Since you’re attacking the Church Jesus founded. And my… How pissy… Just because you think people owe it to YOU not to be Catholic. And of course did no research as I suggested. Might find out the truth. Really chaps your hide I’m educating the readers, eh? Or more specifically… Directing them to the appropriate educators…. NOT YOU.

          • pobjoy

            ‘Since you’re attacking the Church Jesus founded.’

            One must either be very uneducated, or seriously deranged, to write that, and mean it. Unless one has a very sick sense of humour.

            It is far more honourable to be atheist than Catholic, and educated.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            Yes…you are QUITE uneducated and seriously JEALOUS. I know MANY honorable atheists, of which you are NOT. And only DISHONORABLE Catholics would let themselves be caught even associating with your ilk.

            I provided you with the resources to go GET educated. But you choose not to use them…because obviously you are too lazy and arrogant…not to mention stupid. But then…I repeat myself….

          • pobjoy

            Every person who attends Mass declares that he/she is not Christian, because that Mass is designated a sacrifice for unforgiven sin, which means that the attendee cannot be ‘in Christ’. This is the principal Bible inversion of the Vatican. Any who deny that the Catholic Mass is a sacrifice are condemned in the official canons (rules) of the Vatican.

          • Your willful ignorance is not edifying.

          • pobjoy

            I know it’s Wednesday, but does the magnificent advantage of eating God on Sunday not edify enough to provide a reason why it is ignorant to state that a person who attends Mass declares that he/she is not Christian?

          • Your hatred appears to be causing some kind of failure in the primary cognitive functions of your brain.

            Such are the wages of sin …

          • pobjoy

            The primary cognitive functions of the brain allow every reader, hate-filled or otherwise, to understand that the official, permanent, immutable Canon of the Vatican states that whoever says that there is no true and proper sacrifice in the Vatican’s mass is thereby cursed. This does not mean that it is just Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Brethren and all points further who are cursed, because they all deny there is a mass sacrifice. It appears to be that there is hardly a Catholic in the West who is not cursed, also, because there has not been a single acceptable reply to the question on this issue.

            Just in case any reader’s cognitive functions miss the implication, the Trento Council, in its preamble, made this unmistakable assertion:

            ‘the holy Synod teaches, that this sacrifice [of the mass] is truly propitiatory and that by means thereof this is effected, that we obtain mercy’

            That gives the context for the Canon. The word ‘propitiatory’ means ‘effecting forgiveness’. So it must be true that the Mass attendee enters the event unforgiven, therefore, cannot be a Christian, i. e. ‘in Christ’.

            That’s Nasty politics.

          • The primary cognitive functions of the brain allow every reader, hate-filled or otherwise, to understand that the official, permanent, immutable Canon of the Vatican states that whoever says that there is no true and proper sacrifice in the Vatican’s mass is thereby cursed

            Thank you for yet another example of garbled agrammatical gibberish.

            So it must be true that the Mass attendee enters the event unforgiven, therefore, cannot be a Christian, i. e. ‘in Christ’.

            We are all sinners, and if you deny that, you deny Christianity.

            As for forgiveness, it is the purview of God alone.

            Your views on the nature of justification are entirely modern, having been formulated by some very worldly men over the course of the past 500 years or so ; not by the Christ through His eternal Revelation.

          • pobjoy

            ‘We are all sinners’

            But some, known in the Bible as saints, are accounted perfect with the perfection of Christ, also as stated in the Bible. Hence the phrase ‘saints and sinners’.

            ‘As for forgiveness, it is the purview of God alone.’

            So why do Catholics think fit to decide on forgiveness?

            ‘some very worldly men over the course of the past 500 years or so

            So the people who threatened them with death for their views, and killed some of them, were unworldly? Thank God for worldliness, eh?

          • So why do Catholics think fit to decide on forgiveness?

            We don’t.

            It’s Protestants who do so, in their ludicrous claims that Baptism is some kind of mystical blank cheque.

          • pobjoy

            ‘We don’t.’

            Aha. *Another* reason to abandon priests.

            ‘It’s Protestants who do so, in their ludicrous claims that Baptism is some kind of mystical blank cheque.’

            Mind-boggling nonsense! Protestantism that has fully distanced itself from papalism and its invention of sacramentalism states that water baptism is merely a public announcement that a person has faith, effecting nothing beside that. Catholics have complained about Protestants for that very reason. It’s quite unlike the papist view, that capitalises the word ‘baptism’ in order to big it up, because it aggrandises the vile persons who splash the water, while fooling ‘baptised’ people into believing that they are *thereby* henceforth Christians.

            Read your Catechism!

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            I’d suggest YOU read it.

          • pobjoy

            ‘Protestant monsters as Henry VIII and Cromwell.’

            Henry was Catholic to the day he died. Cromwell was disappointed that Catholicism would no longer fit, which is why he campaigned against Catholics. He wanted a ‘form of religion’ that seemed to be Christian far better than Catholicism did, but was still not genuine.

          • Two-faced, slimy and sociopathic

            See ?

            THIS is what an ad hominem actually looks like.

          • pobjoy

            Not if it is a) true and b) the practical truth of the issue.

          • False.

            And ludicrously so BTW.

            I very much doubt that the person typing under the name “disqus_HlH4Faibhw” has a second face grown out of his head, or that he might be covered in slime, and his internet forum activity suggests very strongly the exact opposite of sociopathy.

            All of which tends strongly to suggest that your only desire in making that post was to attempt to discredit his views via the means of a vicious and nasty little personal attack against him individually — which is ad hominem by very definition.

        • justejudexultionis

          Roman Catholics are not the ‘original Christians’ given that the Romanist church did not exist in the first century AD. Papist doctrinal accretions such as clerical celibacy, purgatory, the cult of the BVM etc. are nowhere to be found in the early church.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            Sorry.. But your commentary shows you know even LESS than the other idiot Catholic hater on here. The subjects you’re “discussing” are part of Church history. The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox ARE FACTUALLY THE ORIGINAL CHRISTIANS (the Church Jesus founded). The other alleged “churches” split off because they didn’t agree with the Catholic Church. PERIOD. End of story. And THAT drivel happened approximately 1500 years after AFTER Christ no longer walked the Earth. Which is still approximately 500 years after the ORIGINAL CHRISTIANS split into Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. LOOK IT UP. But then again… Like pobjoy you couldn’t POSSIBLY do that because you have a desperate need to convince the readers that they should hate Catholics. Awww…poor baby… Catholics are just a little to smart for you and hurting your itty bitty feelings.

      • Tim Morrison

        I see hypocrisy all around. I don’t make big statements about claiming to be speaking to God and hearing his voice. I don’t claim any access to a higher power. These people do and this is how they behave.

  • pobjoy

    The current Catechism of the Catholic Church, whose authorship was overseen by Joseph Ratzinger, references Catholic Councils as authorities, including the Council of Trent, that did much to define Catholic teaching. So no Catholic can deny that Trent’s rulings are inapplicable today.

    Council of Trent, Session 22, Canon I: If any one saith, that in the mass a true and proper sacrifice is not offered to God; or, that to be offered is nothing else but that Christ is given us to eat; let him be anathema.

    [‘anathema’ means ‘cursed’]

    • St Ignatius

      And?

      • pobjoy

        It’s so typical of a Catholic to arrive late and not to know what is going on.

        • St Ignatius

          Better late than never. Just answer the question, or even better, go and read the Catechism. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your theology of the timelessness of Christ’s sacrifice? Is it ever present for you when you repent, or not?

          • pobjoy

            ‘go and read the Catechism’

            The joke is that they imagine that people think them Christians.

          • St Ignatius

            You don’t get to just criticise. You now tell us how you determine who is a Christian and who is not, and where you get the authority to do that. I’m waiting.

          • pobjoy

            ‘You now tell us how you determine who is a Christian’

            Like everyone else, I exclude bullies.

          • St Ignatius

            I think many of us here will be a bit taken aback by that comment. You are so strident in your criticism and yet, when pressed, it appears you do not have any answers yourself. It’s really not good enough pobjoy to go around telling people they are going to hell and are not really Christians (etc.) and then deny them access to the truth you claim to have. If someone was to claim you were a hypocrite and a shameless liar, don’t expect me to come to your defence.

          • pobjoy

            Does your own, current catechism, poster, recognise the Council of Trent, held between 1545 and 1563, as of authority sufficient to decide canons (rules) of your religion?

          • St Ignatius

            So you are on a Catholic website thinking that proclaiming some “nugget” you found in the Council of Trent is an amazing find. Do you honestly think Catholics will be surprised or find it indefensible that the Church believes the Mass is a real sacrifice? Honestly pobby, you need to up your games.

          • pobjoy

            ‘Do you honestly think Catholics will be surprised or find it indefensible that the Church believes the Mass is a real sacrifice?’

            Many Catholics, particularly in the West, don’t have the first clue what their Mass is. They think it’s no different from Anglican Communion, which is what their sly, two-faced ‘priests’ want them to believe; for now. They think we don’t know what is going on, and that we don’t know that what a Catholic says he believes can change according to wind direction.

            Take ‘disqus_H’ for instance. He is no innocent pew-filler, with genuine belief. He could be a ‘priest’, because he knows that the Mass is designated as sacrifice, and he also knows that that claim is a lie. How do readers know that? Listen to this:

            Q. Is it a falsehood to say that, in the mass, a true and proper sacrifice is offered to God?

            A. (disqus_HlH4Faibhw pobjoy • 9 days ago)

            ‘What is a falsehood is to pretend that you know anything about anyone else’s religion when you obviously don’t.’

            That foolish retort comes after disqus_H has just read the same Tridentine statement that you read; so the poster is trying to make out that Trent is either unofficial, or out-dated. But Trent is quoted several times in the Vatican’s Catechism, and was specifically stated as being still valid at Vatican II. As doubtless you are aware; though maybe ‘disqus_H’ is not.

            So who is going to tell disqus_H, and the other Catholics who also got abusive when asked the same question, that their Mass is a sacrifice? They won’t take it from me, but you might have a chance.

          • St Ignatius

            Mate then reason they won’t take it from you is because you are simply annoying and completely lack credibility. Try not to take it personally but really, just change the broken record.

          • pobjoy

            ‘they won’t take it from you is because you are simply annoying’

            The truth is always annoying, for liars. So that ‘reason’ doesn’t count, unless as confirmation that there *is* credibility in the arguments facing Catholics.

            ‘and completely lack credibility’

            That would be credible if there was a reason given. Otherwise, it looks like an evasion, a lie from an organisation that could establish itself only by ‘inflicting’ pain on those who disagreed with it, and is now left with little or no brute force to maintain itself. Some said, years ago, the RCC would not survive the internet. Smells and bells don’t work, here, either.

            As a Catholic, one who must have credibility with fellow Catholics, what reason can you give for your complete failure, after 20 days and more, to address even one of the Catholics who have effectively denied that the Mass is a sacrifice? Are you two-faced, one who says one thing to uninformed people, and another to those who know what they are talking about? Do you wish to sustain this prevalent lie that Catholic Mass is just another sort of communion, like the Anglican one? The Anglican one, that in quite recent past time, the Vatican vigorously denied had any validity? And wish to abuse those inconvenient people who point out the difference?

            Who has even a grain of credibility, in this thread? Not one claiming to be Catholic, that’s for sure.

          • St Ignatius

            There you go again with your snide and frankly unchristian remarks. Well, I asked you to help me out an equally long time ago and define what you thought a Christian was and how one becomes one. You just evaded the question, in fact you even implied you were being bullied! Hence your credibility as a thoughtful commentator went up in smoke because you can dish it out but aren’t willing to bring anything useful to this discussion, just a load of pointless questions.

          • pobjoy

            ‘I asked you to help me’

            Why does a Catholic want help? How on earth can the One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church, led by the Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ Himself, want to know how to define a Christian? Where on earth can any others, in their hopelessly benighted condition, even get the authority to do that?

            Does a person need Mass sacrifices in order to be a Christian?

            The world is waiting.

          • St Ignatius

            You’re a piece of work, buddy.

          • pobjoy

            You’re still alive, then.

            Does a person need Mass sacrifices in order to be a Christian?

            The world is still waiting. 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, silent as the grave.

          • St Ignatius

            Change the record pobjoy.

          • pobjoy

            Does a person need Mass sacrifices in order to be a Christian?

            Anyone can answer, not just people whose posts are an abuse of privilege. Come on, 1.2 x 10^9 – 1.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            Takes one to know one.

          • St Ignatius

            I don’t think what they imagine other people think is the issue here, pobby, it’s what is rational. If you have an argument, go ahead and present it and stop evading the question.

          • disqus_HlH4Faibhw

            He just keeps copying and pasting responses to everyone over and over and over…..

            If I was the moderator of this blog I’d have kicked him off by now.

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    “Why Pope Francis could be facing a Catholic schism”. Pope Francis attacks Freemasonry the pillar of his Church.

  • justejudexultionis

    Why is this theologically bankrupt institution still functioning 500 years after the Reformation?

    SOLA FIDE SOLA GRATIA SOLA SCRIPTURA
    INTRA ECCLESIAM PAPISTORUM NULLA SALUS

    • St Ignatius

      Because they have the likes of Thomas Aquinas on their side whereas your lot have Luther?

  • bilahn

    What a tempest in a teapot. It’s all rubbish.

  • pobjoy

    The primary cognitive functions of the brain allow every reader, hate-filled or otherwise, to understand that the official, permanent, immutable Canon of the Vatican states that whoever says that there is no true and proper sacrifice in the Vatican’s mass is thereby cursed. This does not mean that it is just Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Brethren and all points further who are cursed, because they all deny that there is a mass sacrifice. It appears to be that there is hardly a Catholic in the West who is not cursed, also, because there has not been a single acceptable reply to the question on this issue.

    Just in case any reader’s cognitive functions misses the implication, the Catholic Council of Trent, in its preamble, made this unmistakable assertion:

    ‘the holy Synod teaches, that this sacrifice [of the mass] is truly propitiatory and that by means thereof this is effected, that we obtain mercy’

    That gives the context for the Canon. The word ‘propitiatory’ means ‘effecting forgiveness’. So it must be true that the Mass attendee enters the event unforgiven, therefore, cannot be a Christian, i. e. ‘in Christ’.

    That’s Nasty politics.

  • Roger James Michael Sutherland

    “Economic conservatives slap their foreheads whenever the Pope denounces the ‘tyranny’ of unbridled capitalism.”

    Economic liberals, you mean.

  • raffer

    francis is popular with heretical catholics and those that hate the church.Go figure.

  • Kasperlos

    As the late Fr. Malachi Martin said the Roman Catholic Church is on the road to becoming just another NGO. The fundamental purpose of the church – salvation in accorance with the spiritual – is reduced to a social club with a confused message of Babel. It aims to attract more followers confronted with life’s difficult choices and issues by appealing to the easy way, no sweat . Akin to a fitness club premises kitted out with couches, snack and fizzy drink machines, minus the weights.

  • Veck Torr

    One has to wonder — if today’s liberals will callously murder the unborn, who won’t they attack?

  • Patrick7Gormley

    God and religion are simply masks. Man cannot claim to be God so man does the next best thing – claim to be inspired to speak for God. Though we are not to condemn something just because it can be abused, we can condemn religion for the harm it has done because religion is an abuse. Let me explain.

    Hearing a voice does not mean it is God’s and only God can
    know if he is really speaking. Even the
    person who hears cannot be sure but can only guess. If anyone claims to be
    hearing the voice of God and giving his message to others he is a liar. To think that you don’t know where the voice
    comes from means it is not from you is arrogant. It is, “I don’t know where this inspiration
    comes from so it comes from God.” It
    makes no sense. By spreading your message you inspire a worse arrogance in
    others. X has a voice in his heart or
    head and doesn’t know where it comes from therefore it is from God. The more your faith in a prophet is based on
    hearsay the worse the problem gets.

  • Yakov Zamir

    Let us hope that Pope Francis will defer this doctrinal change to a future Pope, and choose a direction that will unite rather than divide the Church. It has a great potential to play a major role in addressing global warming, but not if it is preoccupied with its internal doctrinal differences.

  • John Smith

    There’s so much discussion about “factions” and what they want.

    How about what Christ wants?

    If people don’t like the Church’s teachings on ______ issue, they’re free to walk away.

    It’s better to have a small Church of faithful believers than a large Church stuffed with lukewarm people who think it’s all just a “social club” or whatever.

    But, then again, modern popes worship at pagan temples. So who knows?

    I find it curious that modern popes commit the very sin countless Christians were slaughtered by the Romans for refusing to commit. St. Peter never would have done “pagan publicity” stunts to be “friendly with the world.”

  • Wise Eagle

    It would be hard to look at the history of the RCC and actually argue that it is a representative of Jesus Christ. The persecution of opposition, the evil conduct of popes, cardinals, and other “leaders, the opulence, the crazy theology created (“Queen” Mary, the Pope as sole Vicar of Christ with command over everyone’s salvation, and on and on) simply do not indicate a sincere connection with the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Michael S Clifford

    Do you realize that all of the past 6 popes have been in schism?

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