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The beginning of the end for Pope Francis

Did he cunningly sanction Communion for the divorced in a hidden corner of his latest pronouncement? Nope

16 April 2016

9:00 AM

16 April 2016

9:00 AM

Last week we reached the beginning of the end of the pontificate of Jorge Bergoglio — the ‘great reformer’ of the Catholic church who, it appears, has been unable to deliver the reforms that he himself favours. This despite being Pope.

On Friday, he published a 200-page ‘exhortation’ entitled Amoris Laetitia, ‘The Joy of Love’ (or ‘The Joy of Sex’, as English-speaking Catholics of a certain vintage immediately christened it). This was Francis’s long-awaited response to two Vatican synods on the family, in 2014 and last year, which descended into Anglican-style bickering between liberals and conservatives.

At the heart of the disputes lay the question of whether divorced-and-remarried Catholics could receive Holy Communion. Until now they have been banned from doing so because the Church teaches that their first marriages are still valid and therefore their current union is (though the word is diplomatically avoided) adulterous. Also, though this is one bit of the New Testament that Protestants seem to have forgotten, if there was one thing Jesus couldn’t stand it was divorce.

Even traditionalists don’t like refusing the sacrament to devout Catholic couples, when one of the pair had a disastrous ‘trial marriage’ many years earlier. But they do refuse, because they believe that is God’s teaching. Meanwhile, more easygoing priests have adopted a policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.

Most cardinals at the two synods didn’t want to waste time on the ban on Communion for divorcees. But one ancient German prelate did. Cardinal Walter Kasper has been worrying away at this problem for half a century, proposing this or that ‘route’ by which the ban could be relaxed.

No one paid much attention. Then — in what I think will be seen as the defining disastrous moment of his reign — the newly elected Pope Francis decided to make Kasper’s long-forgotten plans the basis for discussion at the 2014 synod. Eighteen months of chaos followed. To cut a long story short, the 2015 synod told the Pope that the Kasper plan was unacceptable, especially to the conservative churches of Africa.

This left Francis with a fallback position that would have somehow devolved divorce-and-Communion questions to local bishops. But he’d have to impose it on the Church with no mandate from the synod. As last Friday approached, everyone was asking: will he or won’t he?


Like many Catholic journalists, I was sent a copy of Amoris Laetitia on Thursday night. I checked, several times, the bits where Francis could have dismantled the ban or devolved the power to do so to bishops’ conferences. He didn’t. Instead, we were told that priests should ‘accompany [the divorced and remarried] in helping them to understand their situation according to the teaching of the Church and the guidelines of the bishop’.

In other words, yadda, yadda, yadda, since the Pope was just quoting existing teaching. I couldn’t resist tweeting: ‘It’s Cardinal Kasper here. Could I cancel that order for champagne tomorrow?’

When Amoris Laetitia came out at noon, there was lamentation from ‘progressive’ Catholic commentators. Christopher Lamb, Vatican correspondent of the Tablet, who instead of reporting had acted as a mouthpiece for Kasperites during last year’s synod, said it looked like Francis wanted to make changes but his bishops wouldn’t let him.

Then the conservatives made a discovery. ‘Footnote 351!’ they yelled. ‘That is where the devil lurks!’

I’d missed it, of course, and so had most of us racing through the exhortation on Thursday night. It refers to the help the Church can give people ‘in an objective situation of sin’ so they can ‘grow in the life of grace and charity’. Since it is already being referred to as ‘the infamous Footnote 351’, I’ll reproduce it in full:

In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, ‘I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy’ (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [24 November 2013], 44: AAS 105 [2013], 1038). I would also point out that the Eucharist ‘is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak’ (ibid., 47: 1039).

Those quotation marks and square brackets are significant. They show that Francis is quoting things he’s already said. So no change there. He does, however, juxtapose a reference to confession and one to the Eucharist in such a way that you can infer that the Pope thinks it’s OK for confessors to readmit divorced-and-remarried Catholics to Communion. But you have to read between the lines — or, rather, join two sentences that Francis chose to separate with the word ‘also’.

Step forward the hardline American conservative Michael Brendan Dougherty. He wrote an article entitled ‘The cowardice and hubris of Pope Francis’, which wins my prize for the ‘Go on, tell us what you really think’ headline of the year.

According to the article, Francis ‘strongly encourages the readmission of people in “objectively” adulterous unions to Holy Communion. He doesn’t trumpet this, of course. He buries it in the 351st footnote. For a man showing such great audacity before God, Francis certainly isn’t bold before men.’

Also, Dougherty denounced conservative ‘cowards’ who embraced what was good in the Pope’s ‘ton of verbiage’ but passed over the rest. In fact, it’s easy to ‘pass over’ Francis’s ‘strong encouragement’ of Communion for the divorced-and-remarried — because it isn’t there.

As for the Pope’s ‘cowardice’, we don’t know enough about how the document came to be written to make a judgment. But how odd that the one passage that may hint at what he really wanted to do — relax the ban — is stuffed into a footnote. You could interpret this as sneaky, or an admission of his weakness, or a bit of both.

The official line is that the Pope didn’t want to distract attention from a robust yet sensitive defence of marriage. That’s what you’d hear from Cardinal Vincent Nichols (of whom it’s sometimes said that you’ll never find out what he thinks about anything until he knows he’s risen as high as he’s going to go).

But, as one priest-theologian told me, ‘Let’s be honest, no one actually reads these documents.’

In the end, the chief effect of Amoris Laetitia is to ensure that waters Pope Francis deliberately and foolishly muddied will stay muddy. Since he first raised the subject, divorced-and-remarried Catholics haven’t known where they stand vis-à-vis Communion. Now we know that Francis isn’t going to enlighten them. He has been forced to abort his revolution, if that’s what he was planning.

In the process, he has achieved his aim of making the papacy less intimidating, though not in the way he intended. This week he looks less like a supreme pontiff and more like a prime minister who has failed to get a bill through parliament.

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  • On the other hand…

    Even Obama couldn’t close Guantamo Bay, remember

  • Still, as the great Cardinal Burke pointed out, this is non-Magisterial stuff. Indeed it carries less “infallibility” weight than Laudato Si’s stuff about climate change. Privately the pope may well be a Tablet-reader, but that doesn’t mean that Catholics have to join in the rush down the hill.

    However certain liberal commentators are already interpreting it as a free-for-all.

    • louis_1

      While I am no fan of the Church of Rome, no doubt the brand of Romanism which you would like to see expounded by your Petrine monarch would make the Spanish Inquisition look like a tea party! I’m not sure greatness is a trait one would immediately ascribe to the lavish cleric Burke who does appear to nurture, albeit with panache, a rather murky form of hypocrisy. Let us hope he will never set his corpulent derrière on the “seat of St. Peter”.

      • Bella

        Rofl. He’s keeping his cappa magna monstrosity just in case.

        • Damian Thompson

          Loving Bitter Bella!

    • Bella

      This is The Spectator. Do you think anyone gives a stuff about “Magisterial stuff” let alone even know or care what the word means. Try to be realistic like the Pope. Catholics are at the bottom of the hill anyway in this non-Catholic country. Are you trying to get the attention of the author by name-dropping someone nobody has heard of even among the minority of Catholics in the UK.

      • johnhenry

        Most Catholics who comment on Church affairs are well acquainted with Raymond Cardinal Burke – even Catholics, such as I, who are farther removed from the centre of things than eccliasiam (he’s not really a cardinal despite the biretta he favours) or Damian Thompson.

        But speaking of name-dropping, are you any relation to Bella Dodd? You act as if you are or would like to be. Like her, your only connection to the Church is a toxic one.

      • turriseburnea

        You’re charming! No, really…

    • HughieMc

      “this is non-Magisterial stuff” I am no expert but I have read both what Cardinal Burke has said and also what Dr Edward Peters has said. Dr Peters states that “In Amoris, Francis has made numerous such ordinary, papal, magisterial statements—whether he “intended” that or not.” I would expect that Cardinal Burke would agree with that for I think the point he is making is that this is not a major teaching document. It is what it says on the tin: he is exhorting the clergy, priest and prelate alike, to be merciful and welcoming towards those in troubled and/or troubling situations. I have elsewhere re-used the quote I came across used by Dr Peters from the great confessor, Ven Fr Felix Cappello. He advised his students as to their role as confessors, as “curers of souls”: “Principles are principles, and they remain firm and are always to be defended. But all consciences are not the same. In applying principles to consciences, we must do it with great prudence, much common sense, and much goodness. In your opinions and decisions never be severe. The Lord does not want that. Be always just, but never severe. Give the solution that offers the soul some room in which to breathe.”

      • johnhenry

        Good stuff. I like platitudes as much as the next guy. How about this one: ‘There can be no mercy or compassion without truth’ (I forget who said it first) – and the truth is that priests are injuring the souls of people who presume to receive communion whilst their consciences refuse to give up sin when they (priests) turn a blind eye and permit reception in such circumstances.

        • HughieMc

          “I like platitudes as much as the next guy.”

          Much as the next guy, I detest (to put it as politely as I can without being barred from this forum) an arrogant, self-satisfied smug git with a disturbingly over-exaggerated sense of his own worth in the eyes of both God and his fellow Man. Who do you think you are contemptuously writing off as platitudinous a teaching of a priest who while serving as a curate in two poor parishes managed to continue his studies and earn what used to be known as “the triple doctorate”? In his case, this was a DD (Bologna), PhD (Angelicum), JCD (Apollinare). Of course, your own mastery of the religious sciences is such that no doubt you have published something to equal “Tractatus Canonico-Moralis de Sacramentis (in 5 volumes)? And your own personal holiness? Already booked up with an auditor of the Sacred Roman Rota to handle the cause for your being declared a Servant of God? Oh, sorry, the Venerable Fr Felix’s years of day-in day-out discipline of spending hours on end in the confessional box as confessor to his Jesuit brethren, Roman priests and ordinary people, bishops, cardinals and pilgrims as well as politicians and pilgrims got him there. What have you done?

          Sorry, I just realised something: are you suggesting that it is I, and not the Venerable gentleman I quoted, who am spouting platitudes? If it is, I might revisit that notion of politeness.

  • Tim S

    Damian, take a look at the most recent issue of La Civilta Cattolica, the Roman Jesuit journal. Antonio Spadaro flatly declares the footnote admits the divorced/remarried to Communion. And remember nothing is published in that journal without the approval of the Cardinal Secretary of State. Sandro Magister’s most recent column also covers it. We don’t need to know what Francis intends, we will see what he will allow. Cardinal Kasper is saying the same thing as Spadaro.

    • mssn

      even if you think, the footnote allows communion of divorce, you must not forget that there must be a condition…. you must prove that there are mitigating factors FIRST, which pope francis enumerated using the Catechism… such as…

      Catechism of the Catholic Church
      ‘1735 Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.

      2352 “One must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen or even extenuate moral culpability”

      • Bella

        Sounds just like Jesus. He used mitigating circumstances all the time –
        “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

        • pobjoy

          That doesn’t mean what it is usually taken to mean. Executed people were expected to say, “May my death atone for my offences.” Jesus reversed that, saying that it was his crucifiers who needed forgiveness. This not only emphasised his innocence, it fulfilled prophecy:

          ‘He poured out Himself to death,
          And was numbered with the transgressors;
          Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
          And interceded for the transgressors.’

          Isa 53:12 NASB

          Those who did not know what they were doing were the Romans. There were no mitigating circumstances for the majority of the (unappointed) Sanhedrin, whose evils prompted Jesus to ask, “You brood of vipers, how will you escape the condemnation of Hades?” The same question may be asked of all who pose as mentors of Christians, because Christians can have no mentors.

      • RayEBrownSS

        “We must therefore draw a distinction: for the inability to copulate caused by witchcraft is either perpetual and then it voids marriage, or it is not perpetual and then it does not void marriage. And in order to put this to practical proof the Church has fixed the space of three years in the same way as we have stated with regard to frigidity (1). There is, however this difference between a spell and frigidity, that a person who is impotent through frigidity is equally impotent in relation to one as to another, and consequently when the marriage is dissolved, he is not permitted to marry another woman. whereas through witchcraft a man may be rendered impotent in relation to one woman and not to another, and consequently when the Church adjudges the marriage to be dissolved, each party is permitted to seek another partner in marriage.”

        ~Thomas Aquinas

      • Tim S

        It no longer matters what the footnote says or what the document means. To reiterate, unless Francis intervenes the divorced and remarried will be admitted to Communion. The German bishops are proceeding with their plan. As I said the only question now is what Pope Francis will allow.

        • CumExApostolatus

          Well, Amoris came out with Bergoglio’s name on it, didn’t it? Even if it was ghost written by a man who also wrote, “Heal Me With Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing”. So, do you think Bergoglio doesn’t know what the document contains and that the German ‘bishops’ somehow pulled the wool over his eyes? Please tell me you’re not serious.

          • Tim S

            I never said any of the things you are suggesting, you might want to work on reading comprehension.

          • CumExApostolatus

            Yeah, you did. You wrote:
            “To reiterate, unless Francis intervenes the divorced and remarried will be admitted to Communion.”
            Amoris is Bergoglio’s document. It has his name on it. He has therefore spoken on the topic. He wants a praxis that contradicts prior teaching of the Church. That means Bergoglio contradicts prior teaching of the Church.

          • Bendys

            Meaning he is a heretic and an anti-pope.

          • CumExApostolatus

            Be careful. There are many who won’t take kindly to that interpretation and you’ll be ‘blocked’.

      • Tim S

        What I think doesn’t matter. The question now is in the implementation. The German bishops are going ahead with their plans. Unless Rome intervenes this game is over.

        • JabbaPapa

          And the German Bishops will get their wrists slapped. Again.

          • Tim S

            By who and when?

          • JabbaPapa

            It’s usually Cardinal Müller who does it — last time he did so, BTW, was in the days immediately prior to the publication of Amoris Laetitia, bearing in mind the Bishops already had it in their hands at that point.

          • Tim S

            Uh huh, and the Germans bishops said “we are not a subsidiary of Rome”.

          • JabbaPapa

            Sounds like Gallicanism to me.

          • Tim S

            No kidding really?

    • JabbaPapa

      Antonio Spadaro flatly declares the footnote admits the divorced/remarried to Communion. And remember nothing is published in that journal without the approval of the Cardinal Secretary of State

      The second is actually untrue, and anyway Antonio Spadaro is neither the Pope nor the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

      The particulars of the penitential paths necessary for these sinners to receive absolution for these mortal sins are multiple and complex, and so can hardly be addressed by some simplistic Fiat of the Magisterium.

      To view these complex questions of greatly variable individual sufferings and situations in simplistic black & white terms is unrealistic.

      • Tim S

        The second is not untrue at all and is quite well known. Up until the reign of Paul VI it was reviewed by the pope himself before publication. That is stated on the publication’s own website: “A specific character of La Civilta Cattolica is its special relationship with the Holy See. When the issue of the review is still in draft form it is sent to the Secretariat of State for final approval.” Spadaro is quite close to the pope. Pope Francis chose him for one of his earliest interviews. Familiaris consortio addressed them in simpler terms. You are in denial.

        • JabbaPapa

          The second is not untrue at all and is quite well known

          No — that the Cardinal Secretary of State has a degree of oversight and can use the Journal as a means of non-magisterial publications does not equate to “nothing is published without approval”.

          • Tim S

            First you said it was untrue now you are trying to put your gloss on it. I quoted what is on the site itself. Don’t read so fast, it does not become you any more than the denial does.

          • JabbaPapa

            now you are trying to put your gloss on it

            No I’m not, though I cannot rule out that either I expressed myself insufficiently clearly or you mistakenly misunderstood what I meant. It happens all the time, and if there were any unintended miscommunication, I apologise.

            But you’re basing your opinions of a classically Roman/Italian arrangement on the basis of an English translation — but it is very difficult to accurately translate Italian into English in the first place (viz. innumerable ghastly English translations of official Vatican documents passim), and you are likely confusing a loose arrangement whereby the Secretariat of State can, and likely does sometimes, exercise some veto powers or direct control with a notion that “nothing” is published without “approval” — a non-veto is not “approval” per se.

            Anyway :

            Tutti i redattori della rivista, insieme col direttore, che è designato dal Superiore Generale della Compagnia col beneplacito della Santa Sede, sono corresponsabili in solidum di tutto ciò che si pubblica in essa.

            This clearly states that the Journal’s authors are responsible for all of its contents.

            And :

            Un carattere specifico de La Civiltà Cattolica è il suo particolare rapporto con la Santa Sede.

            Quando il fascicolo della rivista è ancora in bozze viene inviato alla Segreteria di Stato della Santa Sede per l’approvazione definitiva.

            Quello che lega La Civiltà Cattolica alla Santa Sede è un rapporto di fiducia da parte di quest’ultima; mentre la rivista, in sintonia con essa, vuole svolgere un modesto servizio alla Chiesa, in particolare al Papa nel suo Magistero ecclesiale universale. Questo spirito di servizio è conforme a una rivista scritta da gesuiti, che sono legati al Papa da un vincolo particolare di amore e di obbedienza.

            This clearly establishes the relationship between La Civiltà Cattolica and the Holy See as one of mutual trust and collegiality, not top-down subjection to the Secratariat of State. The fact that the latter, and the Cardinal, and the Pope could all exercise their Authority on the Journal is nothing truly exceptional, but the more formal nature of the relationship between the Secretariat and the Journal is certainly unusual.

            And you’re possibly overstating some Spiritual and Religious Guidance as some sort of strong editorial control — whereas the first of the two quotes from their site shows that editorial control belongs squarely to the Journal. It is NOT simply a mouthpiece for Vatican City and the Holy See, as the full text of their self-description makes quite clear.

          • Tim S

            Oh my, the translation I gave you is perfectly accurate and the oversight of the Holy See on this publication is well known to anyone with a passing acquaintance with it. You are simply deflecting and grasping at straws.

          • JabbaPapa

            As do the Lord’s Prayer and the Order of Mass.

          • Tim S

            Your position has progressively crumbled.

          • JabbaPapa

            ???

            No it hasn’t, though as stated, one cannot rule out that either I expressed myself insufficiently clearly or you mistakenly misunderstood what I meant.

          • Sanctimony

            Sorry, could you repeat that… I didn’t quite catch it….

  • Netmilsmom

    Humanae Vitae was more clear cut and look how that turned out.
    This is a bouquet of flowers with one bee given to a Church who is allergic.

  • Ambientereal

    The only way to admit remarried (or rejoining) divorced to the church, is to accept religious divorce. Everything else will be a fake.

    • Athelstane

      Pretty much. And it’s what the progressives (like Kasper) would certainly like.

      • Ambientereal

        The Church has an “original sin” in considering s..x unwanted. Thereafter come many ways to allow it only in certain conditions and all the religious regulations become complicated, unnatural and senseless. When Peter said …”8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. 9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” he condemned the Church with eternal inconsistency with natural human life.

        • Athelstane

          Yes, but Peter’s words have to be read in conjunction with the words of Christ himself in the Synoptic Gospels, where he makes clear that divorce is not acceptable – expressions St.Peter was doubtless familiar with, having been present when Christ uttered them. Otherwise, we’re in the strange situation of Peter trumping Jesus.

          • Ambientereal

            I believe those words where put in Peter´s mouth many centuries later.

          • Athelstane

            On what basis?

          • Ambientereal

            Just intuition. I can´t believe that early Christians where against family and nature. And many things in Christian Church where defined centuries later.

  • fac_mecum

    Dom Hugh Somerville-Knapman suggests that AL is the “work of many hands” in his recent blog-post. It is therefore not unreasonable to assume the detail is, after all in the footnotes. More confusion and dilution of Catholic Moral teaching will undoubtedly follow. God help us.

    • louis_1

      Why are Catholic and Moral in capitals? You have unwittingly managed an ungrammatical oxymoron. Chapeau bas!

  • Sigfridiii

    Is the Pope a Catholic? Possibly not.

    • Quest for Liberty

      A religious politician?

      • Pip

        The RCC is the largest organised crime sect in the World.

  • WalterSEllis

    I thought this was the Spectator site. It turns out it’s The Tablet.

    • Bella

      I think you mean The Catholic Herald. It is a final attempt at religious journalism before attempting to be an academic in a Catholic University. It will all end in tears.

      • turriseburnea

        No, Bella! Just to imagine you sobbing is disgusting!

    • Damian Thompson

      You don’t like Catholics, do you?

      • WalterSEllis

        I was born an Ulster Protestant, Damian, if that’s what you mean. But the fact is, I dislike all religion and find it irksome the way you and other tortured souls – not only at the Speccie, but at the Telegraph – have made the Catholic faith an act of journalistic faith. It isn’t. It’s a private matter, not worthy any longer of public discourse. We’ve enough to worry about without having to give a stuff about what Pope Frances, or Archbishop Welby, or the Chief Rabbi, or the Chief Imam of Wherever, has to tell us about just about anything. As for the Vatican as soap opera, let’s leave that to Robert Harris, to whose thriller, Conclave, I am very much looking forward. No doubt you will be reviewing it.

        • Fulgentian

          “It’s a private matter, not worthy any longer of public discourse.”
          – Why?

          • rosebery

            ‘Why not?’, surely?

        • Sanctimony

          The first relevant or mordant observation I have seen in the comments on this prolix explanation of the pontiff’s attempt at becoming the Vatican’s answer to Houdini…

        • rosebery

          I’m not an Ulster Protestant, but I think you’ve nailed it there. Harris’s stuff is hit and miss as far as I’m concerned – Fatherland and Pompeii (I’m a civil engineer) excellent, Ghost, guff wish-fulfilment about Blair’s betrayal of the luvvie Left (of which Harris was one) – so I’m not sure what to expect of Conclave, save to know that it will be better written than anything in the same territory by Dan Brown.

  • Bella

    Now you see why the MA course offered by the author is allegedly undersubscribed and needed another name to give it any credibility. You cannot take this material seriously. It is neither religious journalism nor sociology.

    • louis_1

      As one cannot take your trollish comment seriously. It as valid a take on the Roman pope’s “exhortation” as anyone elses.

      • Bella

        Why “trollish”? The author wants an elitist Church of Bling that bears little resemblance to Christianity. The young postgrads will put him straight including the girls if any have signed up to his course.

        • Geraldine Mitchell

          Think you’ll find they are women. (not girls)

    • Damian Thompson

      Ooh, someone’s not happy at the way things have turned out 🙂

      • rosebery

        Breaking the fourth wall there, Damian, so I’d guess that Bella’s point hurt just a tad. Still, it’s shows that you’re vain enough to read the, mostly, drivel we write BTL. Bravo.

  • RayEBrownSS

    “But, as one priest-theologian told me, ‘Let’s be honest, no one actually reads these documents.’’

    …or the Gospels.

  • tolpuddle1

    How is this “The beginning of the end” for Pope Francis ?

  • Suriani

    ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’ may not be a bad approach. Many entered the Catholic Church because they were not hectored by prescriptivist clerics and because Catholicism per se did not prejudge as Protestant sects were wont to do. Many of the so-called ‘literary converts’ and ‘artistic types’ of the 19/20th centuries would not have bothered converting to the current set up where seemingly everything has to be spelt out in garish neon and pushed in your face. We know the ‘rules’, whether we follow them to the letter is surely a matter of individual Christian conscience, well informed or not. The beauty of Catholicism is that it is tailor-made for sinners, is it not?

  • jeffersonian

    ‘Then — in what I think will be seen as the defining disastrous moment of his reign — the newly elected Pope Francis decided to make Kasper’s long-forgotten plans the basis for discussion at the 2014 synod.’

    Mmm. I wonder who ‘suggested’ the Kasper plans to His Holiness…

  • Tickertapeguy

    Pope Francis also stated that this is the age of “Individual Conscience”.
    Individual Conscience also means no moral barriers. Do as you please and let your own conscience be the guide. That is extremely irresponsible of Pope Francis.

    • Fulgentian

      He should read his Bible more. “And every man did what seemed right in his own eyes” – from the book of Judges, hardly famous for being a Golden Age of decency and tolerance.

      • Tickertapeguy

        Very true.
        that is why Despots and Dictators do not call themselves by those names. Others do.

        • Marian Hunter

          Hi Tickertape guy, don’t forget wee Eggs Benedict and the rest of the curia holding Court. He’s not quite dead yet, but is still the Pope Emeritus. They think Jorge the Argie is quite mad just like the rest of us

          • Tickertapeguy

            But we do not have any say regarding the flock. We can be mad as a hatter and it would not make any difference.

      • pobjoy

        Don’t go to a Catholic for Bible study. It’s a foreign book for Catholics, in every way.

        That was the intended condition— democracy, and it’s a model of the true Israel, the church, which is a truly theocratic democracy, or democratic theocracy, if you like. ‘In those days there was no king in Israel’ and that was the original, intended polity. It was indeed the closest to a Golden Age that Israel ever got. The judges, the only leaders, were ‘raised up’, as distinct from ordained in office, as the priesthood was. Israel’s priesthood was restricted to the unique, pre-figuring, prophetic instructions of Moses, and was politically uninvolved, uncontrolled by an oligarchy or monarchy, as obtained everywhere else.

        When Israel rebelliously chose to have a monarchy, ‘like the other nations,’ they were rebuked, but permitted to go ahead, with the warning that disaster would follow. And it did. Just four kings later, the nation was permanently split in two, both parts having pretty tumultuous times thereafter, nine of twelve tribes disappearing off the map, and the others subjected to the unthinkable disgrace of foreign occupation.

        The church lacks kings, judges and sacrificial priests, because every saint is a judge, king and priest; that is, has the Holy Spirit, he who cannot be taught, he whom pre-crucifixion Israel could not possess.

        But every man doing what seemed right in his own eyes in Israel was not disastrous, despite disobedience, and was unique in the whole known world. The pre-monarchy democracy of Israel probably inspired Greek democracy, that was taken up by Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment, and that the Spanish Armada sought to extinguish forever.

        • JabbaPapa

          Gibbering paranoia such as yours is not pleasant to read.

        • Bendys

          Israel is at the bottom of everything now, isn’t it ?

          • pobjoy

            Israel was the name of Jacob, grandson of Abraham. If Jesus was the Messiah promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, their ‘successors’ are followers of Jesus, whose presence around the world is unlikely to be ‘at the bottom’ of anything, much.

          • Bendys

            Well, the democracy of Israel is the same today as it ever was.

    • CumExApostolatus

      The Church of Do What Thou Wilt. The British monarchy, The City, and Tel Aviv probably popped a few corks. And Damian Thompson pretends he doesn’t know what the document was meant to do and will do —via the ‘pastoral’ care praxis.

      • Tickertapeguy

        chuckle
        I see a great divide taking place between Pope Francis and the Roman Catholics

        • turriseburnea

          Chuckle. I see an illiterate youngster blabbing.

          • Tickertapeguy

            lol 🙂

    • Ambientereal

      And all this nonsense comes from Peter´s statement “…8But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. 9But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” Did Twitter exist at that times?

    • Pip

      Since when has a Pope ever been ‘responsible’ or even moral for that matter!

      • Tickertapeguy

        You sound like a protestant. You will have to Google that on the many Popes and the wonderful job they have done.
        One example as far as I am concerned is Pope Pious during world war 2.

        • Pip

          One does not need to believe in the brainwashing control systems of Religion to comprehend that the RCC is a corrupt criminal organisation and the Pope is its figurehead.

          • Tickertapeguy

            You feel that way. Remember Tammy Baker? That is one of many protestant evangelical corrupt cesspools. That does not mean I can condemn 1 billion protestants for the few who have done wrong.
            for You to condemn 2 thousand years of the Roman Catholic faith and 1 billion followers is very subjective of you.

          • Pip

            All the Abrahamic Religions are used by the elites as a tool of control and manipulation of the masses, and the RCC in particular is a conscious arm of the elite that controls the World from the shadows.

          • Tickertapeguy

            In that case Pip blame the Jews.
            9 of the 10 banks that control the US federal Reserve’s 12 branches are Jewish owned banks. They are:

            – Rothschild Bank of London
            – Rothschild Bank of Berlin
            – Lazard Brothers of Paris
            – Israel Moses Seif Banks of Italy
            – Warburg Bank of Amsterdam
            – Warburg Bank of Hamburg
            – Lehman Brothers of New York (went bankrupt and was bailed twice in 2008 and 2009)
            – Kuhn Loeb Bank of New York
            – Goldman Sachs of New York-
            – Chase Manhattan Bank of New York

            The real elites who control us are then JEWS. so let me hear you blame them for once.

          • Pip

            There are those who sit above those you have cared to mention.

          • Tickertapeguy

            Please mention them since I gave you a list. Would love to know who is more powerful than the banks of the Federal Reserve of the US
            and
            the Rothschild Family helped form the United Nations, but hypocrites like you love to attack the Vatican fearing any label on Jews would make you an “anti semite”.

          • Pip

            Don’t be so silly, there are those who are awake and those who are asleep, you are the latter.

          • Tickertapeguy

            Pip
            Do not give me the ‘duck and cover” routine. So who are higher than those I mentioned? You stated that there are people, and I guess, Christians, who wield far more “evil” power than those who are the CEO’s of those banks and I would also add Soros.
            So either you admit your singular hate for the Catholic church and label yourself a “bigot” or provide the information.

          • Pip

            You ability to rationalise is clouded by the indoctrination of Religion.

          • Tickertapeguy

            18 minutes later still no names Pip?
            Read your comments to others. You sound like a bitter troll. that is all you are. you cannot even back your accusations. that is pathetic Pip.

          • Pip

            Go and do some research my friend, the truth is out there for those inclined to find it, as you Christians like to say, seek and though shall find.

          • Tickertapeguy

            Pip
            I DO NOT HAVE TO (bold for the dumb). You made the accusations of “Catholic or Christian powers” greater than the list I produced.
            It is up TO YOU to produce evidence or you sound like an empty vessel. Full of sound but nothing in there.
            and I am not your “friend’ you condescending hypocrite. You are quick to accuse but cannot support your accusations on this forum. How lame can you be Pip?
            As for
            me UPVOTING myself, I DO NOT SEE YOU VOTING FOR ME. That is my right as a commenter to vote for the time and effort I take to deal with lunatics like you.

          • Tickertapeguy

            The worst form is open hypocrisy. you shell it out like cotton candy. Candidate in an election vote for themselves. they have that right
            commenter on a forum have that right and numb nuts like you are not going to take that right from me.

          • Tickertapeguy

            Finally you dumb ding dongs, if you do not like us Christians how about saying what you believe? or are you such a coward that we would take apart what you believe as you are doing with the Catholic faith?
            if I did not have the right to upvote for myself the engine I use would deny me that right.

          • Pip

            There is no cure for what afflicts you.

          • Tickertapeguy

            You have neither wisdom or a any method to get it (so said your parents in utter disgust)

          • Tickertapeguy

            and oh yes oh ‘awakened one” give me the names so I will awake too. lol

          • Tickertapeguy

            Also remember Jonestown and the Jonestown massacre where 900 followers were forced to drink Cyanide laced Cool aid? They were Protestants too.

  • heretheycomeagain

    He’s no fool. He accomplished precisely what he intended on the issue of Communion for the divorced-remarried––condemn with feint praise. It was actually a step further than that taken by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, when he actually condemned the practice of artificial birth control, but then did absolutely nothing to encourage the bishops and priests to enforce it.

    Pope Francis knew exactly what he was doing with this position. Henceforth, many bishops and priests will stand absolutely silent on condemning the practice, while the progressive media (Commonweal, The Tablet, America Magazine etc.) will make unchallenged arguments as to how the pope actually was encouraging Catholics to “confess their sins” and seek the spiritual aid of the Blessed Sacrament. There is little doubt that very few pastors will not agree that the faithful should “let their conscience be their guide”.

    Traditional Catholics, as always, will be undeterred by this document. They will also continue to pray for this pope, the bishops and priests, and for the Catholic Church herself. Still, it is difficult not to sense that we are fast approaching that time in our worldly history where Jesus asked, rhetorically, “…but will I find any faith when I return”?

  • JJD

    That footnote. I think MB Dougherty has overstepped the mark with his article, but on the other hand, calling that footnote weaselly would be charitable.

  • George Bell

    If Footnote 351 indirectly suggests a loophole, other passages in the main body of the text equally suggest that any such loophole should not be utilized.

    “Those who approach the Body and Blood of Christ may not wound that same Body by creating scandalous distinctions and divisions among its members. This is what it means to “discern” the body of the Lord, to acknowledge it with faith and charity both in the sacramental signs and in the community; those who fail to do so eat and drink judgement against themselves (cf. v. 29).” (no. 186)

    “I am in agreement with the many Synod Fathers who observed that “the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal.” (no. 299)

    • JabbaPapa

      Quite.

      Pope Martin V clarified that the divorced-remarried are not excommunicated 600 years ago !!!

  • alfredo

    Jesus ‘hated divorce’ because it operated at that time to the great detriment of women, who could be discarded and find themselves destitute. This is rather different from opposing it on doctrinaire and legalistic grounds.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Try reading the Old Testament, the “Law” which Jesus came not to replace but to fulfil.

      • Ipsedixit

        so you think that the Law to which Christ referred included every item in the Torah? Perhaps you think he would approve of stoning adulterers?

        • pobjoy

          Jesus approved of stoning adulterers, until the curtain of the temple was torn in two. It was he who gave the command to do so at Sinai.

          • alfredo

            You are, in the words of the Athanasian Creed, ‘confusing the Persons’, which makes you, by the standards of that rather severe document, a heretic.

          • pobjoy

            Is that a reason to tremble? Or a reason to rejoice?

            I don’t recall seeing the name of Athanasius in the list of works accounted canonical by the Vatican. Perhaps it was an oversight on my part. If not, is there an authoritative source for Catholics for the notion of ‘Persons’?

          • alfredo

            There is an authoritative source for the doctrine of the Trinity for all Christians in the pronouncements of the General Councils of the undivided Church.

          • pobjoy

            Why are these pronouncements not canonised?

          • Ipsedixit

            John8

          • pobjoy

            The Pericope Adulterae is spurious and improperly printed as Scripture. It is included in ‘Bibles’ as Jn 8:1-11.

          • JabbaPapa

            You’re just a heretic who ignores and twists the Scripture to suit your own fleshly desires.

          • 100

            what a load of rubbish

          • Ipsedixit

            “Christianity cannot be paganised. A person is either ‘in Christ’, that is, living in constant gratitude for atonement, or is living without that “. Correct, but Bibliolatry is still idolatry.

          • pobjoy

            “Christianity cannot be paganised. A person is either ‘in Christ’, that is, living in constant gratitude for atonement, or is living without that’

            Correct

            Of course it is; you have no option but to agree. You copied that from my post, and now pretend that you wrote it yourself. Maybe you need to see an exorcist, because you are not in control of your body. Catholics have learned everything from Protestants. Even reading and writing. And demons find that very embarrassing.

            “If only it were not so!” says the poster. Because a person who gets up to go to the imaginary sacrifice of a Mass thereby declares himself or herself not in Christ. ‘Ipsedixit’, or inhabitants, would have you believe otherwise, dear reader. When Catholics actually believed their popes, they went to Mass as often as they could, so that they would not die unforgiven. They now know that the Bible tells the truth, but they lack the courage to become Christians, merely pretending to be. Which leaves them open to some strange influences.

            Bibliolatry is still idolatry.

            That won’t apply to the Christian mum who keeps her shopping list as a bookmark in her well-worn, bright orange Good News Bible, then. Unlike the Catholic mum who is told that reading the Bible is only for priests.

            So, dear reader, note that spurious scripture is preferable to ‘Sacred Scripture’; and ‘Sacred Scripture’ is to be ignored, whenever inconvenient. Which is most of the time.

            The only people who parade Bibles and process with them on ornate, expensive lecterns, even kiss Bibles, are Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. Though they may feel a lot more at home kissing a copy of a Qur’an, which actually does say something nice about Queen Mary.

            What they won’t do is obey any Scripture. These days, won’t even obey their own, sinful leaders! What an outfit!

          • Ipsedixit

            Of course I’m not pretending to have written it myself. It was something you wrote with which I agreed . And I’m not a Roman Catholic but nor am I a misanthrope as you appear to be. Nor is Christ.

          • pobjoy

            Of course I’m not pretending to have written it myself.

            Not now. Thank you.

            It was something you wrote with which I agreed .

            Nothing to do with Jesus agreeing with stoning, though.

            I’m not a Roman Catholic .

            Which of your demons is talking now?

          • JabbaPapa

            Which of your demons is talking now?

            Not even you have displayed any signs of direct demonic influence.

          • JabbaPapa

            Catholics have learned everything from Protestants

            What a ludicrous mush-headed joke.

            Unlike the Catholic mum who is told that reading the Bible is only for priests

            You seem to be the only one spreading such lies into her ear.

            What they won’t do is obey any Scripture

            Why not start doing that yourself ?

            Howsabout starting with “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” ?

          • 100

            what a load of sanctimonious rubbish

          • JabbaPapa

            Jesus approved of stoning adulterers

            What utter and complete nonsense.

      • alfredo

        This ‘try reading’ exhortation is rather rude and patronising, implying as it does that I’ve never done so.
        If you mean by this that Jesus ‘fulfilled’ the Law by replacing it with another set of rules and regulations, you will find that St Paul argues against that at considerable length.

        • Dominic Stockford

          ‘at that time’ – No, God has opposed divorce for all time.

          Your ‘at that time’ implies you do not believe that, despite Jesus’ statement that he comes to fulfil the law which tells us this.

  • Philip

    Damian: Interesting podcast here by Theo Hudson, author of Reinventing Liberal Christianity. Thanks for that Spectator.

    There is value in coming to terms with the difficulties that Francis has had to face. In conversation with his friend some time ago he made it clear that if it was a choice between disunity or peace he would (and has?) chosen the latter.

    It looks more and more unlikely that there will be reform of the mandatory celibacy rule a matter that concerns some of us and you too Damian. I refer to your Telegraph article on the subject published just before the election of Jorge Bergolglio.

    There are a number of Catholics saddened by the current situation including LGBT people and women seeking a voice in the reforms. Unfortunately the situation does not reflect badly on Pope Francis but the reputation of the Catholic Church which it not great at this time.

  • Geraldine Mitchell

    What happened to being infallible??

  • George Zwierzchowski

    The Pope can not claim infalibility while contradicting previous canon law. The Pope did the right thing but everyone was hung up on the gay and divorce issue so much they didn’t realize that the synod mostly dealt with how the church can help the married and better prepare those who will get married. These issues were well dealt with i the document. I think Pope Francis will always be remembered as one of the greats. Its all these american Catholics who seem to have imposed their issues on this Pope and Kasper’s comments mean nothing in the large scheme of things.
    God bless Pope Francis, who allowed all views to come out in the recent debate. Dialogue is how we come closer as a church not hidden agendas and back room politicing.
    The Pope is no coward. everyone else just has no idea what the Pope can and can not do. As a converted ex protestant, the papacy was the last hurdle for me so ya, I studied what infallibility was and it certainly left no room for lgbt and kaspers hopes. If it was any different, Francis would be an antipope.
    Learn your faith people. as an ex protestant I am amazed at how little most Catholics understand their faith and how little they appreciate the greatness of the church and the Eucharist.

    • Larry

      It is true that many Catholics just do not know their faith sufficiently. Now, see this article. Very good for seeing how this document strays from Catholic Tradition. https://denzingerbergoglio.com/2016/04/14/amoris-laetitia-evangelio-apocrifo-bergogliano-para-el-hombre-del-siglo-xxi/

    • rosebery

      Two mentions of being an ‘ex-Protestant’ is protesting too much and is the living embodiment of the view that ‘converts are the worst’. My grandmother (who was one too) could have written that and she never reconciled herself to Vatican II, whereas my Irish Catholic grandfather shrugged and ignored everything to do with the Church. Being a ‘Catholic’ is like being anything. You just ‘are’. Converts to anything go to such an extreme degree of jesuitical nitpicking and hermeneutical analysis that they cannot help but be more extreme than those who are to the manner born. The Holy Father van claim infallibility because Jesus told Peter it was so, even if you don’t agree with what you regard as some of the more fallible-seeming decisions of the Holy Father.

      • newminster

        The number of infallible statements over the last century can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand.
        It does help if people who are going to pontificate on this subject knew what they were talking about and in my experience the non-Catholics who do can also be counted on the fingers of one hand, and Catholics only a few more.

      • JabbaPapa

        Converts to anything go to such an extreme degree of jesuitical nitpicking and hermeneutical analysis that they cannot help but be more extreme than those who are to the manner born

        This is a ludicrous generalisation on the basis of some particular experiences with individuals. Most converts to the Faith have little interest in such arcana.

    • JabbaPapa

      The Pope can not claim infalibility while contradicting previous canon law

      What is this nonsense ?

      Canon Law is not, with certain exceptions, infallible ; and the Pope is the only Catholic who can lawfully disobey many of its canons.

      Infallible teachings that contradict something in the canon law make the relevant canons false, not the other way ’round.

  • rosebery

    Starts off with a snide comment about ‘despite being Pope’ and demeans the Holy Father’s position by using his given name rather than his title, then descends into the customary professional English Catholic position, so beloved of the Telegraph, about anything that smacks of something more than trivial tinkering with doctrine. No head of any organisation, be it Church, country or global corporation, can actually pull levers and make something happen. This 2000-year old business has ensured that the levers of power have not been connected to anything for a long time, and that’s the norm for any organisation. These exist for the benefit of those who work in them, not those who are their figureheads and not for the people they are supposed to serve; think schools, NHS, Police force/service, army and you’ll know why he can’t deliver. How would all of the accreted power structures deal with having to ditch everything that has sustained them? I’d have been more interested in reading the writer’s thoughts on how Francis could actually deliver the changes he is descried as wanting, even if these are anathema to the writer. Still, the Curia can only use the JP1 option sparingly, so I suppose he is at least safe. Just ask the Pope Emeritus.

    • JabbaPapa

      I hope that’s intended as parody …

  • rosebery

    I thought I could see this piece to the end of the comments, but I’m defeated. I’l leave it to those for whom being Catholic transcends all, while some of us just are, and get on with our our lives. I’m going to dig out my copy of Peyrefitte’s ‘Knights of Malta’ and read it again, just to remind me of how what goes on in the Curia, the Via dei Condotti and, of course, the Vatican really has nothing to do with most Catholics’ lives as lived.

  • mahrt

    The German bishops fear the loss of laity, partly because of the spread of divorce and second marriages (and partly because of public reaction to clerical sexual abuse), and it would appear that the loss of laity means a loss of tax revenues; the German church is wealthy and this is threatened. They therefore tend to stem the loss of laity by permitting communion for the divorced and remarried.
    Pope Francis fears the loss of the German church but knows the church’s teaching. The footnote seems to be a wink and a nod that despite the teaching, the Germans will be tolerated.
    After Spadaro’s editorial, one can expect that the prohibition of communion for the divorced and remarried will become as common as birth control.

    • Dominic Stockford

      It’s all about the dosh.

      • For the Krauts – yes.

      • Marian Hunter

        Don’t forget the REAL Pope Emeritus in the wings. If he was thrown under a bus the Germans would have walked. Instead he holds court in with his own curia, so the rest of us know who is The Real McCoy. While the Argentinian plays football in the refugee camps. Eggs Benedict is still here.

  • Terence Wilkinson

    Did Damian really need to include a sly dig at Protestants in this piece? Perhaps Jesus did or did not hate divorce – the omission and inclusion of one word in the relevant passages seems to be the crux here. Personally I think people should worship, or not worship, God in their own way. But what I would ask Damian to consider is this: at the Last Supper only one disciple is named as receiving bread from Jesus. That disciple is Judas. Jesus broke bread with the man who will betray him. Surely this was an act of forgiveness? Humans are not perfect, so why punish people who want to worship God?

    • There is no record though of whether Judas received Communion or not, is there?

      If he did, he was “eating and drinking to his own destruction”, as St. Paul later teaches us.

      Confession is where sins are forgiven. Not in Holy Communion.

    • pobjoy

      Jesus broke bread with the man who will betray him. Surely this was an act of forgiveness?

      Not at all. This was the divine principle of bringing a person to choice, and it applies to all who hear or read the gospel, sooner or later. God either softens, or hardens hearts, love being the operative principle in both cases, and the outcome is entirely due to human choice. Despite his previous planning, Judas could still have refused the bread; had he done so, he would have had to stay where he was, and there would have been no crucifixion. He had to make a decision, there, and then. He took the bread, thereby agreeing with Jesus that he was the betrayer; and,

      ‘As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.’ Jn 13:27 GNB

      ‘After Judas had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man’s glory is revealed; now God’s glory is revealed through him.’ Jn 13:31 GNB

      • JabbaPapa

        Actually, it’s “{13:27} And after the morsel, Satan entered into him.

        It demonstrates that one’s first Communion is insufficient, and that a fall from even the highest state of Grace is possible (viz. also Lucifer). Contrary BTW to the Protestant nonsense that one Act saved all believers forever and for all time.

    • FrCherub

      Really Terence. “he gave it to “them” saying … Judas had not yet completed his evil act.

      • Cannonkat

        We doubt that Judas was even given the Holy Sacrament, but a sop sponged with bitters.

  • Dominic Stockford

    I forget exactly where, or exactly how, but it does say something along the lines that ‘local conditions can be taken into account’. Which effectively means do what you will and self-justify.

    • FrCherub

      You have to take the document as a whole and not read the whole of the document fthrough the prism of a few words.

      • JabbaPapa

        … and especially not through the prism of some extremist views published by liberals or ultra-conservatives.

    • Cannonkat

      Many dioceses have been doing that for 50 years, ever since Humanae Vitae. THey have been busheling out annulments faster than FORD.

  • Ipsedixit

    I decided that it wasn’t worth reading this article any further once I had reached the point where the writer proved that he had not understood the reason for Christ’s words on divorce in the cultural context of the 1st century BC.

    • Ahh! The old “cultural context”!

      Let’s forget entirely then Our Lord’s words about His words not passing away. Let’s forget entirely then His words about not one jot, not one tittle of the law will be set aside.

      • Ipsedixit

        Well you have forgotten that he said that the great commandments summed up all the Law and the prophets.

        • I have forgotten nothing. I am a Catholic. Not some liberal protestant making it up as he goes along. Bergoglio is a devil.

          • JabbaPapa

            Bergoglio is a devil

            Have you slipped into sedevacantism ?

          • Ipsedixit

            It was usually Protestants who were accused of being Biblical literalists. I’ve been extremely happily married for fifty years. I wouldn’t condemn someone who hasn’t been as fortunate to a life of misery. I don’t believe Christ would.

    • Jacobi

      It is the same as in the 21st century. You can’t!

    • FrCherub

      Che?

  • The man is an utter buffoon, but far worse, he is a heretic. I can offer from the welter of heterodox sayings from this Peronist demogogue clown two clear and explicit examples of heresy:

    1. His statement that atheists can achieve Salvation by doing natural good works;

    2. His explicit teaching in Evangeli Guadium that the Old Covenant still holds for the Jews, who await their Messiah.

    The latter contradicts not only St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews but the infallible declaration “Cantate Domino” of the Council of Florence.

    • JabbaPapa

      he is a heretic

      Preaching things that you disagree with personally is insufficient to constitute heresy.

      His statement that atheists can achieve Salvation by doing natural good works

      Where exactly did he say “atheists can achieve Salvation by doing natural good works” ?

      His explicit teaching in Evangeli Guadium that the Old Covenant still holds for the Jews, who await their Messiah

      The reason why the Covenant is not revoked is because there is only one Covenant, of which the Jews have a flawed understanding. (besides, Pope Benedict XVI examined the question of the Jews quite exhaustively in his non-magisterial “Jesus of Nazareth” trilogy, and I might add far more competently than the authors of Nostra Aetae, whose chapter on the Jews is BTW its only section free from mistakes — the Pope is simply agreeing with his predecessor’s view, bearing in mind that the Messiah they’re still waiting for is the Christ)

      Heresy on this point typically involves claiming that there are two Covenants, because it directly contradicts Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus in its proper meaning, which concerns the Unicity of Heaven and Salvation ; or to claim that the “New” Covenant is a revocation of the “Old” one.

      The latter contradicts not only St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews but the infallible declaration “Cantate Domino” of the Council of Florence

      No it doesn’t, and no it doesn’t. Not that I have the energy to track down the original Latin and demonstrate your false interpretation again, seeing as you simply ignored this information the last three times I did so. It is deeply ironic, anyway, that the supporters of a Fraternity that has verged perilously close to schism should quote from a document that so strongly condemns such attitudes.

      PS You still misunderstand infallibility BTW, and no, Cantate Domino was never proclaimed ex cathedra either, given that it is a letter.

      • Your ignorance is astonishing.

        Actually, no it’s not. You’ve shown it repeatedly over the years. The gloves are off – I have lost patience with all you armchair experts who are anything but.

        “Declare, define, pronounce” is the accepted formula for an infallible declaration. It is used in Cantate Domino at least twice from memory, maybe three times.

        • JabbaPapa

          “Declare, define, pronounce” is the accepted formula for an infallible declaration

          Only one of them — and it isn’t used in the example you’re citing even so, which is a more simple Declaratio Fidei.

          An ex cathedra statement of Faith and Morals is, by very definition, made in speech from the actual throne. Not sent by courier nor by post nor publication nor internet from wherever (although its contents will naturally be distributed by those same means). NOT every infallible statement is made ex cathedra. Papal Bulls are by very definition NOT ex cathedra statements, and so they cannot be considered as infallible in and of themselves (any more than Pope Francis’ Encyclical Amoris Laetitia could be).

          You also simply do not comprehend the fine difference between “infallible” and “authoritative”.

        • Dominic Stockford

          He is an heretic – not merely from my Protestant perspective, but from his won as well. He has stated recently that Muslims and those of other faiths can ‘achieve salvation’ without Christ. Clearly garbage.

          • JabbaPapa

            He has stated recently that

            Where ? When ?

            Or have you just added this “without Christ” business on your own, to make it falsely appear as if he had stated some heresy ?

            And look, even those SSPX fellows understand the truth of these things :

            http://archives.sspx.org/miscellaneous/feeneyism/three_baptisms.htm

            Or what, does the fact that the Pope’s statement agrees with the Catechism, Trent, and Aquinas on these questions disturb you ?

          • Dominic Stockford

            The fact that the Pope’s statement agrees with the Catechism, Trent, and Aquinas on these questions just goes to show that, like them, he is also a heretic.

          • JabbaPapa

            Heresy constitutes the active, repeated, and willful denial of the Christian Dogma of Faith, exactly as you have just done yourself.

          • I agree of course.

  • Philip

    “I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion, but I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness, a Mother who, while clearly expressing her objective teaching, always does what good she can, even if in the process, her shoes get soiled by the mud of the street.”
    Pope Francis. Amoris Laetitia.

    Wonderful!

    After a survey and two Synods, it’s the end of the beginning of the untying of knots.

    • FrCherub

      Yes, wonderful, but not original and advances the cause not one inch. People have a right to certainty where the sacraments are concerned, not a muddle.

  • Jacobi

    Few Popes have been able to deliver and maybe that’s a good thing.

    A.L. is a document from which a whole range of opinions can be extracted. To that extent it is cleverly written. It is not, repeat not, should any Catholics be viewing this, in any way a binding or infallible document, nor does it express the teaching of the Catholic Church

    It is also rather curious in that it is somewhat obsessed with one particular type of grievous sinner that is the adulterer which is very odd since we Catholics have such a wide range of real nasties ( yes and so do you lot so watch it), to present to the world and the Pope doesn’t seem to bother about those, apart from the Kasperites, whom he doesn’t dislike and who after all, seem to support the adulterers !

    And less of this “ no one reads these documents” Damien. I did, although I am probably the only one in my parish. I mean my fellow parishioners would sit even further away from me at coffee if I even suggested, publicly, the remotest interest. Bad form you see!

    • FrCherub

      Jacobi, have you noticed that you have just justified Damien’s quote from another source? In the context “no one” doesn’t mean “not anyone”. It is an idiomatic and rhetorical flourish which means just about nobody. After all, Damien quotes that priest knowing he himself has read it!

      • Cannonkat

        “It depends what the meaning of the word IS is.”

        • FrCherub

          Do you mean “IS IS” or “IS is”? Or Perhaps “ISIS”!

      • Jacobi

        I’m impressed! What school did you go to?
        Actually, Herself always maintains I am pedantic and I do try to avoid rhetoric. I hope she doesn’t see this!

        • FrCherub

          How easily impressed you are! So while I am at it, let me also remind you that there are no such things as infallible documents. Infallible teachings yes. And in AL there are no new infallible teachings. There is much to like in AL, but a penchant for muddying the waters seems to be a favourite game of the Pope, at least some of the time.

          • Jacobi

            I think you’re wrong. I must check on your school after all.
            I’ve seen those docs on the Telly. They issue a peculiar light and after a while begin to float around, rather like the washing on the dish-washer advert. Where they go, the infallible docs that is, we never seem to find out.

            You do have Telly in your part of the world?

          • Jacobi

            FrCherub,
            We really ought to stop this. It is a secularist site after all and the seccies might be getting a bit fed up with us. I am assuming you are a Catholic ??.
            What about Brexit in the light of the now permitted visas for 70 million Ottoman Turks, or perhaps asking the Pope to go a little bit further today, to encourage the Christian militias holding out in Syria and Lebanon?

          • FrCherub

            OK. But I am a believer in freedom of speech and I don’t mind speaking in the company of secularists, especially when the topic is an Apostolic Exhortation. As a Brit I support Brexit for a whole raft of reasons.

          • FrCherub

            No, I dwell in a little known barbarous country village, cut off from electricity and running water. Of course we have neither school nor university. I just receive missives from my betters, people like your good self, so I know what to think if I want to be numbered among the elect, you know the bien pensants. Amazing isn’t it? And I don’t even feel patronised! Quod intelligentes erubescit accipere disciplinam non putant esse intellectualis ab inferioribus.

          • Jacobi

            Nunc mentis penuria. Quod est verum!
            Now that’s enough. Godspede!

          • Dominic Stockford

            You are clearly lying about where you live.Why should anyone believe anything else that you say?

          • FrCherub

            Grow up Dominic.

  • Philip

    Damian: It’s the beginning of the end for hypocrisy.

    Let me remind you of the strength of feeling of Pope Francis. This is not a man who is going to stop reforming as long as he has breath in his body. Think of his famous “insults”:

    “pickled pepper-faced Christians,”
    “closed, sad, trapped Christians,”
    “defeated Christians,”
    “liquid Christians,”
    “creed-reciting, parrot Christians,”

    Catholics who focus on church traditions are “museum mummies,”

    He has called some priests “vain” butterflies, “smarmy” idolators and “priest-tycoons.”
    He’s described some seminarians as potential “little monsters.”

    The Pope didn’t say these things just to insult people. Rather, he was making a larger point about the kind of church he wants to lead: open, merciful and unafraid.
    Amoris Laetitia is just the beginning.

    • Cannonkat

      Well then, there’s a place just for Bergoglio: its called the Church of England. Its waiting.

  • mariandavid

    The sayings of Damien represent to me all that is wrong with Catholic intellectualism – all concerned with dogma and cannon law and all peripheral to the original meaning of Christianity. But I suppose that if an institution is instead to be worshipped it makes perfect sense.

    • FrCherub

      Let me remind you “mariandavid” that we are called upon by Jesus to love the Lord our God “with all our mind”.You need to apply yours and not be so unfair to Damien Thompson who is as good a religion journalist as it gets. Invoking “the original meaning of Christianity” (which the Catholic Church alone is authorised to define) as a stick with which to beat Damien’s very thoughtful and considered piece does you no credit. Damien began his commentary with reference to Jesus’ specific teaching re divorce. How much more “original” can you be!

      • mariandavid

        Utter nonsense and by that most arrogant and un-Christian of comments “that the Catholic Church alone is authorized to define” you reveal – as I said – that you owe your allegiance to a creation of man and not to the words of Christ. And of course you glibly pass over the inconvenient truth that for millennia by the Catholic Church that sacred bond of marriage was ordered divorced on payment of a suitable amount of cash.

        • FrCherub

          No Mariandavid. The Church was not established by ordinary human beings but by the God/Man Jesus (cf Matthew 16:18). What is your evidence that the Catholic Church ordered divorce on payment of a suitable amount of cash”? If you have none you should retract that calumny.

          • Mc

            “The Church was…established…by …God”

            Just love these fairy stories

          • FrCherub

            Mc, labelling an argument as a fairy story does you no credit if you unable to justify such a simple minded insult.

          • Mc

            You need to upgrade your logical skills: The onus is not on atheists to disprove the existence of God, as it is not they who claim the existence of a fictional character.

            But of course, the religious have never been known for their logical skills or logical integrity.

          • FrCherub

            What on earth are you on about? I have never argued that the onus is on atheists to prove the existence of God! And you query my logic when all you do is “assume” without logical argument that God is a fictional character! If you want to have a sensible discussion on reasons to believe in the existence of God – fine with me. But mere labels, “fairy story” and “fictional character” do not an argument make. You must surely be even dimly aware as to why some of the finest minds believe that the arguments of the existence of God are persuasive to them. I am aware of the sophisticated arguments against the existence of God and would not dream of easily dismissing them. One of my favourite philosophers who was an atheist for nearly all his life, and who had a great influence on me when I was a student, changed his mind about God on the basis of new discoveries in the sciences. But please, please, treat a serious subject seriously!

          • Mc

            Rejoin the conversation when you’ve acquired some logic and sanity

          • Daidragon

            Produce one real piece of physical evidence for the existence of a supernatural deity and we can have that conversation that you want about the meaning of it all. Until then it really has no meaning outside the febrile minds of the opium of the masses junkies.

          • FrCherub

            The one piece of physical evidence you are looking for is the universe. The universe points beyond itself to a designer. Science tells us that there was a beginning to the universe, a “big bang”. And since no thing comes from nothing there must have been an uncreated intelligence capable of creating all there is physically from nothing. The two options you have are these: that the universe has always existed, or that it was brought into being. Science and reason tell us that the universe had a beginning. The only other alternative explanation for all that is is God. Science also proceeds upon the basis that the universe is rational and ordered which enables us to examine the universe, finds the laws that govern the material world, and make reasonable predictions about what will happen in, for example, the laboratory. The universe is an exquisitely finely tuned reality whose origin cannot be explained in reference to itself.

          • FrCherub

            Daidrago, sorry to be late in reply. The piece of physical evidence you are looking for is the universe. The universe either had no beginning or had a beginning. The universe in fact had a beginning, what the scientists call the “big bang”. No thing comes out of nothing. So logically the intelligent mind that created everything from nothing must be itself uncreated, ie not physical. Second, we know that our operational assumption as scientists is that the universe acts according to rational laws. This assumption enables us to “do” science. When we discover the rules we are more able to use the natural world for good (or ill). We know from science that the universe is exquisitely fine tuned such that the merest small change would render the whole show non-operational. So it is reasonable, and the most plausible explanation we have, for the existence of anything we know, to conclude that there is an uncaused cause, intelligent beyond anything we can imagine, non-physical personal being who is the creator of all there is.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I have faith – which you also have to have if you are to cope in this life.

            For instance, despite all buildings eventually failing, simply because they eventually will, you have faith that they won’t when you’re in them. You don’t insist on a survey every time you enter one, neither do you demand paperwork from each of your friends when you visit them in their homes to demonstrate that the house is safe to enter. You have faith, no evidence, just faith.

            You also have faith, every time you go out in a car, that those driving around you will not run into you and kill you. You have no proof that it won’t happen, you simply trust that it won’t – faith.

            It is impossible to survive this life with logic and proof alone.
            It is impossible to enter the next without faith.

          • Zalacain

            Your argument is logically flawed as it fails to take into account probability. You know by experience and statistics that that the probability of a building falling on you is minimal. Same with driving a car. You decide (with some logic) that the benefit of driving, entering a building is greater than the risk it entails. Risk analysis is a type of evidence.
            Faith in a god/gods is something totally different.

          • Ipsedixit

            Okay, we can try another example of faith in action. I have faith that my wife loves me and will care for me should I become ill. I have faith that she trusts me similarly. That’s despite the fact that many marriages fail, or people betray one another proving on a risk analysis basis that you can’t really afford to invest so much in another person. I hope you have faith in your loved one despite your views.

            I have faith that it is reasonable to believe in God because during his life among us Christ demonstrated those qualities that I believe God possesses and because I occasionally see them de.monstrated by other people. However, I suspect that you And I have different ideas about the kind of God in whom I believe.

          • Zalacain

            I imagine that you have faith in your wife because her past behaviour supports it. Also if you have faith in another person, you usually get paid in kind. In other words there are at least two good reasons to have faith in her. One is evidence and the other is that it makes your marriage better.
            I have no idea what god you believe in. But I would think that you have faith in god because it suits you, rather than because of any actual evidence.

          • Ipsedixit

            Well actually, like millions of others, I have had evidence of God in this world, invariably through other people.

          • JabbaPapa

            I’ve had the direct experience — several times.

            For my sins, but through Grace.

            One is not a “better” Christian for such reasons, no more than the inability to walk without a crutch or stick is a sign of strength. I can only report as to the Truth of the Faith, so that my own crutch can be useful second-hand to others.

            The Light of Heaven is the Heart of our Salvation.

          • Mc

            You’re comparing two entirely different things: verifiable objects which are built to perform to certain standards, and faith in the existence of a supernatural entity whose existence has never been proven.

            Again you demonstrate logical fallacies which are so inherent to the religious.

          • Ipsmick

            Of curse they’re fairy stories. No historian would give much weight to the textual reliability of the Bible. And the church has been an appalling agent of evil and misery.

          • FrCherub

            You are ignorant of what historians say about the Scriptures and you statement about the Church being an agent of da da da is more ignorant prejudice. No argument to be found here – just assertion. C u

          • mariandavid

            The Church – not the Catholic Church which did not even exist as the ‘representative of God on earth’ until c600. Prior to that and for an equal time after it was the Church of Constantinople since Rome was merely a barren, forgotten outpost still worshipping Roman Gods – one wonders what the Bishops of Rome were doing while all around worshipped Mithras or Jove.
            And as for the divorce – please, even a cursory knowledge of Medieval Europe would generate endless examples of such.

          • JabbaPapa

            The Church – not the Catholic Church which did not even exist as the ‘representative of God on earth’ until c600

            Utter rubbish.

            The Church is the Community of all the Faithful and Saved in God, the Living and the Dead.

            Christ Alone, in His Incarnation, IS sufficient to define the Church — so that the foundational Act of the Church is Mary’s “YES“. In Earthly terms, the Church was founded by Jesus with His family and with God. NOT by some politician 300 years later …

          • mariandavid

            As an aspiration of individuals to follow the words of Christ you are correct which is why there were a multiplicity of churches presided over by an mass of church leaders with many and variable titles. As an institution which asserted the right and authority to define those aspirations – that did not appear until Constantine.

          • JabbaPapa

            As an institution which asserted the right and authority to define those aspirations – that did not appear until Constantine

            Utter nonsense, viz. Council of the Apostles passim.

          • 100

            WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH

          • FrCherub

            Mariandavid, your sense of history is clearly awry. The New testament, from the time Christ set up the Church is replete with references to the Church. Subsequent breakaways occurred from the 11th century, ie breakaways from the Church. Your account of Rome is lopsided. Yes, for a time Christians were in the minority. So what? The people of Rome eventually came to accept the Gospel and everywhere else that the Catholic Church preached the Gospel had success as well. Re your thing about divorces, you clearly think you know a lot. So inform me by giving me just two examples of divorce for money as a part of Catholic teaching.

          • mariandavid

            FrCherub: With all respect surely you cannot assume that we should rely on the New Testament as a source of reference – or even for that matter as a source of fact – for how important ‘the Church’ was. All that it covers is based on a single source – Paul and his acolytes – in a single half-century and with no evidence whatsoever as to the size of the various individual churches established. And note that as far as I know all the references are to the Greek speaking, not the Latin speaking churches.
            Frankly all that we know of the ‘church in Rome’ apart from the somewhat hagiographic accounts of the various Popes is the impression, for want of a different word, that it was perceived as being closely tied to the mutinous province of Judaea. And an Italian archaeologist has produced evidence which I am not qualified to judge that the Great Fire of 66 was indeed started by so-called Christians.
            No I am not going to bother to cite examples – it was the norm – but I must admit to error on my part> It was not part of Catholic teaching and not the norm (though one could argue that the Catharine of Aragon case proved the procedure) to involve the Pope – lesser and less obedient clergy were the norm.

          • FrCherub

            Well I really think you are wrong on just about every point. The New Testament is a collection of sources put into one volume. You refer to “Paul and his acolytes” – I have no idea how you came up with that formulation. The best scholarship traces the various texts to as early as about AD 45 (eg Matthew and Mark) to much later (eg the Epistles). Scholars are pretty much agreed about the authenticity of the texts themselves. Yes, the texts were all written in Greek, even St Mark’s Gospel which relied on St Peter’s sermons in Rome. Indeed the entire Church used Greek as the main language of communication, including the Church in Rome where the Mass was celebrated in the Greek language and only translated into Latin in later centuries. Where the Great Fire of Rome is concerned the following from wikipedia gives the possibilities: The varying historical accounts of the event come from three secondary sources—Cassius Dio, Suetonius and Tacitus. The primary accounts, which possibly included histories written by Fabius Rusticus, Cluvius Rufus and Pliny the Elder, did not survive. At least five separate stories circulated regarding Nero and the fire:

            Motivated by a desire to destroy the city, Nero secretly sent out men pretending to be drunk to set fire to the city. Nero watched from his palace on the Palatine Hill singing and playing the lyre.[2]

            Motivated by an insane whim, Nero quite openly sent out men to set fire to the city. Nero watched from the Tower of Maecenas on the Esquiline Hill singing and playing the lyre.[3]

            Nero sent out men to set fire to the city. Nero sang and played his lyre from a private stage.[4]

            The fire was an accident. Nero was in Antium.[5]

            The fire was said to have been caused by the already unpopular Christians. This story was spread in order to blame someone else, because rumor had it that Nero started it.[6]

            I think opting for the least likely explanation of the fire is not the way to go. What we know of the Church in Rome is a great deal, some of it from Christian sources others from sources either neutral where Christianity is concerned or hostile. And the information is detailed and most of it agreed. I am astonished that you would think that the case of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon supports you. The Pope refused the annulment (NB not divorce) and that in turn lead to the break of the Church in England with the Catholic Church.

          • mariandavid

            Sorry but this is going off topic: What is the difference between an annulment and a divorce. Is that not the same thing?
            And I think I did not put my point correctly – it was that the Pope would have granted the (whatever) but was overruled by Philip.
            David

          • FrCherub

            When two validly married people separate, the State may grant them a divorce and the two people involved may then validly contract a marriage with another person. Annulment occurs when two people who have been through the proper processes of the marriage ceremony from a State and a Church perspective have nevertheless not contracted such a marriage despite outward appearances. That is to say, that the marriage in invalid. Traditionally this was declared when there was evidence of non-consummation, or where a party went through with the process under duress, ie their consent was forced. Henry VIII wanted an annulment. The Pope refused. The English Parliament granted him a divorce. The grounds for annulment put up by Henry were not without some force. Some believed that the Pope refused the annulment because he felt under pressure from the King of Spain whose sister was Katherine of Aragon, the woman from whom Henry wanted to be rid. As far as I can gather, the case for annulment would not have succeeded anyway. But the point here is that this is not a case of the Pope being bought off by the King to grant the annulment. The opposite is true.

          • mariandavid

            Thank you – I never could understand. Mind you the Henry VIII case is probably an example of someone knowing divorce is ‘unavailable’ and going for an alternative. Certainly neither of the examples you cite are legitimate in his case – the marriage was with issue and there is much evidence it was not forced.

          • FrCherub

            Henry had married his brother’s wife at his father’s insistence. After being married to Catherine for 18 years he realised she was no longer able to bear children and so wanted rid of her because he wanted a son to inherit his kingdom. He knew divorce was out of the question and so petitioned the Pope for an annulment. He based his case on verses from the book of Leviticus which stated: “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: It is thy brother’s nakedness” (xx, 21), and “If a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an impurity: He hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless” (xxv, 5). But, as you say, he was not childless. Henry also translated the last bit to mean having no “sons”. But Catherine did bear him sons. It was just that they died.

          • mariandavid

            But she DID bear a child – a legitimate child, legitimized afterwards by the entire authority of the Church in Rome and Spain (they were two different churches in that time) who became the unquestioned by blood Queen of England. So why would the Pope even tolerate the request?

            And surely Leviticus refers to a brother who is alive – and frankly I have always thought all of Leviticus to be utterly irrelevant to the Christian faith.

          • FrCherub

            Well, Catherine bore Henry 6 children actually, all of whom died young except Mary. The fact that the Pope ruled against Henry re his annulment demonstrates there was never a case for Mary being illegitimate. At the time Spain and England belonged to the Catholic Church. They were not two Churches. In fact the Church of England only formally separated itself from the Catholic Church in the reign of Elizabeth. Henry came and went as did his son Edward to be followed by Mary. Under Mary things returned to normal. Mary died, followed by Elizabeth and Elizabeth goes back to the Protestant reforms and England finally breaks with Rome.

            Where Leviticus is concerned, the verse 10 of chapter 20 makes it clear that the punishment for adultery is death. So if a man takes his brother’s wife, that would be adultery. The case referred to in verse 21 only says that couple would be childless, that is the brother is dead. Henry relied on that to prove annulment. His case was not, and would not ever have been, acceptable in Catholic teaching.

          • mariandavid

            I suppose a more accurate way of putting it was “Henry VIII replaced the Pope” and then “Elizabeth and the Church of England replaced the Pope and the Catholic Church”.

            Surely adultery in this context refers to marriage with the wife of a LIVING brother? As far as I know the only restrictions (and I am speaking here of Christian not Jewish law) was of usurping when marrying the widow of one’s brother the assets of the widow that had belonged to the brother. More accurately land for example deeded by the brother on his wife would pass on to their children and could not be seized by the new husband.

            I always though Henry’s argument over a long dead brother to be desperate device concocted by Wolsey (or Cromwell) to give the Pope an argument for granting the annulment.

          • FrCherub

            Yes, I agree with your first paragraph. Re the second, Henry was arguing that he was forced into a marriage forbidden by the Old Testament. It was never going to work, and the Church forbade divorce. So he made himself head of the Church in England to secure a civil divorce with his own imprimatur. Yes, I agree it was a desperate device. I don’t know if he dreamed it up himself or with the assistance of Wolsey or Cromwell. I shall have to research that bit of the puzzle unless you already have the references for that. Cheers and best wishes in Christo

          • mariandavid

            On this – I was so interested in the annulment issue that I forgot your other points.

            1: I am not challenging the written sources, though note that every single one would be considered biased against Nero. Rather I merely pointed out that excavations suggest that these stories were fabrications because it is clear that the fire started IN the Christian quarter but by whom we cannot now deduce.

            2: I note that you passed over my main point – the New Testament is restricted in its ‘historical’ information to the churches founded by Paul almost all of which (the obvious exception being that of the Epistle to the “Romans” which may be a church or a collective group) were in Greek cities far from Rome. Indeed there is to my knowledge no written evidence and merely some scattered and speculative shard evidence of the Church in Rome for the first century of its existence. Hence my I think justified claim that while the Testament is an imposing recognition of the ministry of Christ and than of Paul it offers no other hints.

            3: I was under the firm impression that the earliest in the corpus was the Acts followed by a generation interval by Luke then the other Gospels with that of John being of a totally different vista and of much later date.

          • FrCherub

            Where your (1) is concerned, there is evidence that the fire was started in the Christian quarter by persons unknown.

            I didn’t mean to pass over your main point. This is such an interesting, and respectful, conversation i got caught up with the myriad of other matters. All historical data is restricted. A principle source of what we know about Caesar’s invasions of Britain comes from Caesar himself. Eyewitness evidence is usually treated with great respect. The authors of the New Testament documents were eye witnesses, giving an account of what they heard and saw, arranging the material for different audiences (eg Matthew written to Jewish people and Luke being written for non-Jewish people). That their accounts are in agreement speaks for their authenticity, and the more so given the slight differences between the accounts. Eye witnesses to any event or set of event are bound to see and/or hear things from their own perspective. Perfect agreement would suggest collusion. To this information is added the oral tradition, what was passed on to the various newly founded Christian communities by St Paul, St Barnabas, St Peter, St James and so on. These apostolic churches (ie founded by one or more of the apostles) knew what the Gospel was. Which is why the Church could sift out dodgy Gospels such as the apocryphal gospels and various other documents.

            So the New Testament is comprised of reliable documents from people who were there (and incidentally supported by the Roman historian Josephus and others), reliable because their authenticity was guaranteed by their links to one of the Apostles and because what was in those documents accorded with the Tradition preserved in the various Apostolic Christian communities or churches around the world of which one was Rome. The Church in Rome was founded by Saints Peter and Paul.

            Re the dating of the Acts of the Apostles, the best scholarship seems to point to AD 63. It is believed Luke wrote his Gospel in AD 62 and then his second volume Acts. The truth is we cannot be too exact about dating the various documents and very good scholars have come to different views on these matters.

          • mariandavid

            Oh I agree with everything you say on the ‘sayings’ and there is no doubt that the written records and traditions (even the hagiographies) of the church give an accurate picture of life within the Christian communities in the Roman Empire. But please forgive me but I remain unconvinced that they offer any material of value on anything else until ‘formalised’ by Constantine. After that church records are of some value (except of course on Julian the Apostate!).

            So you feel that Luke was the author of the Acts? Admittedly the stylistic content is similar but I would have personally placed his Gospel in the Jerusalem/Jewish ‘school’ and the Acts and Letters in the Greek/extra-Jewish school.

            And in terms of received truth I fear that I disagree with the tradition of Peter at Rome – Paul yes – but accept that here, with much regret, I touch on something we are both highly unlikely to agree on.

          • FrCherub

            I think we may be at cross purposes re what we know of what went on in the various communities, including Rome. i was referring to eye witness accounts of the death and resurrection of Christ, his miracles and so on which are not just sayings. re Luke I am really just relying on what the scholars say. I have no preferred personal commitment on those sorts of issues and there are a variety of points of view which must be respected too. Re Peter and Rome, that is a whole different argument. Peter refers to being in Rome. “The Church here in Babylon, united with you by God’s election, sends you her greeting, and so does my son, Mark” (1 Pet. 5:13, Knox). Babylon is a code-word for Rome. It is used that way multiple times in works like the Sibylline Oracles (5:159f), the Apocalypse of Baruch (2:1), and 4 Esdras (3:1). Eusebius Pamphilius, in The Chronicle, composed about A.D. 303, noted that “It is said that Peter’s first epistle, in which he makes mention of Mark, was composed at Rome itself; and that he himself indicates this, referring to the city figuratively as Babylon.” Apart from that there are various references to Peter being in Rome in non-Scriptural sources. But … all that for another day.

        • JabbaPapa

          Martin Luther and Henry VIII were certainly men who founded churches — so who founded the Catholic Church apart from Christ and His Apostles ?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Constantine

          • Marian Hunter

            Correct answer.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Thank you. I shall put the gold star on my chart!

            I despair when articles like this come along – it is fight against illogic, Note the other reply to my ‘indubitably’ correct answer.

            Still, one must try.

          • JabbaPapa

            Don’t be ludicrous, he wasn’t even baptised until he was virtually on his death bed.

          • Ipsedixit

            Christ did not found the Roman Catholic Church. People like you are a gift to atheists.

          • JabbaPapa

            The “roman” Catholic Church is mostly just a phrase devised by Protestants who falsely claim to still be considered “catholic”.

          • mariandavid

            Good point – I would argue Constantine as prior to him the ‘churches’ were nothing but a bunch of local bishops and zealots cheerfully fighting over invented and abstruse aspects of theology. So the ‘universal church’ would be that of Constantinople and Antioch and Alexandria I suppose it than means anything. A

          • pobjoy

            a bunch of local bishops and zealots cheerfully fighting over invented and abstruse aspects of theology.

            That’s hardly possible. The mighty Roman Empire would not have pulled down all of its many temples to many ‘tame’ deities, causing riots, to set up new ones labelled ‘Christian’— even though they served exactly the same purpose as the old pagan temples, and there was nothing to riot about.

          • mariandavid

            Recollect that Constantine was not a Christian when the ‘Christian Church’ was made an official (not THE official) religion of the Roman Empire. He was the ultimate pragmatist and adopted the idea as a means of integrating the – by now – significantly Christian east with the traditional west. It really did not work – it is often forgotten that in the last civil war of the true (that is both the old and new capitals together) Roman Empire that the battle (I think around 370) was between the Christian Army of the East and the Jovian-Mithriac Army of the West. And not for the last time religious wars bred disaster – although the ‘Christian’ army won it was so blooded that it fell to the Goths a decade later.

          • pobjoy

            Constantine was as much a Christian as the Eastern Empire was. Not at all. Your head is in dreamland.

          • JabbaPapa

            Your grasp of history is as certain as that of an oil-coated amputee eel.

          • mariandavid

            And your comment is baffling – for a start there was no Eastern Empire, for a second much of the population in the East (Syria and Egypt) was Christian and for a third as I said Constantine was not Christian. Perhaps you might be more precise?

          • pobjoy

            Poster, if you really think that Rome did as I described because of ‘a bunch of local bishops and zealots cheerfully fighting over invented and abstruse aspects of theology’ you really need your head examined.

            Monday, first thing.

          • JabbaPapa

            there was no Eastern Empire

            Is this some kind of contest to see who can write the worst rubbish ?

            Can I play ?

            — OK : Mike Godwin invented Hitler as a means to troll the internet, but Hitler is in fact an entirely fictitious character created for reasons of Godwin’s affiliation with the Elders of Zion.

            Anyone else want to play ?

          • 100

            what a load of rubbish

          • mariandavid

            You are obviously unaware of the harsh reality of history – there was no Eastern Roman Empire until the mid to late 300’s and even then ‘invented’ as no claimant to the throne would admit to its partition. There were often, both before and after Constantine, multiple rulers claiming sovereignty over the whole, but the Empire was only formally divided with the fall of Rome – I fear that you are confusing what was then renamed the Byzantine with an ‘Eastern’ Empire. Strangely an independent Frankish Roman Empire was more common.

          • JabbaPapa

            I would argue Constantine as prior to him the ‘churches’ were nothing but a bunch of local bishops and zealots cheerfully fighting over invented and abstruse aspects of theology

            You’re completely forgetting the Patriarchs and the Pope.

            Religiously, it was made very clear to Constantine that he would not be able to claim any Spiritual power over the Pope, nor the Patriarchs, nor any Bishops, were he to be baptised. It’s a main reason why he waited until almost the last moment to be received into the Church.

            Constantine’s great contribution was to officially establish that to be a Roman and a Christian was entirely acceptable politically. He founded no church.

          • mariandavid

            Oh yes he did – before there was no universal church of Christ, merely a number of bishops claiming supremacy of which the bishop of Rome was merely one. These titles of Patriarch and Pope come from the founding of Constantine.

          • JabbaPapa

            before there was no universal church of Christ, merely a number of bishops claiming supremacy of which the bishop of Rome was merely one

            That is a false statement — every Bishop is just for starters sovereign in his Diocese.

            You are as anachronistically as falsely attributing political and administrative structures invented by Louis XIV to the Catholic Church.

            The arguments about Primacy have been ongoing for 2000 years, and just because you attribute some completely false modern interpretations to Constantine’s conversion doesn’t make them true or even valuable.

            The French Monastics tried to promote a top-down Papacy on the Abbatial model, as you implicitly (perhaps unknowingly) envisage it, between the late 14th and 17th centuries via the Sorbonne, but their Party was definitively defeated at the Council of Trent.

            To claim that the fierce resistance that several Popes of late Antiquity put up against the pretensions of some Eastern Emperors, Patriarchs, and Bishops to establish the Church as an Imperial Theocracy on the model of Pagan Rome was its diametric opposite is OTOH just uninformed.

          • mariandavid

            I respect where you are arguing from and am not offended. It is just that the claim that the Church In Rome and its Prelate were supreme in reality from the start of the Christian era is simply not the case. In reality it was no more important – many would argue significantly less important than the three great centers of Christian power in the East, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople.
            However, to take up your point about the top-down Papacy it does seem from the fragmentary evidence we have that the Roman Papacy was indeed centralized in the figure of the Pope; whereas in the East the secular power of two of the leaders, Antioch and Alexandria, for certain was much reduced by the separate institution of the monks very few of whom owed any allegiance to any religious or secular power other than their abbots (or whatever the term then used was).

        • Marian Hunter

          Hi Marian please edit your post. It doesn’t make sense grammatically and I am sure you do have a point to make but it is unclear due to strange wording.

          • mariandavid

            The only grammatical point I err on is the excessive use of hyphens – for which I apologize and starting a sentence with ‘and’. I will watch my ways – but in response would say that ‘due to strange wording’ is of itself improper without the insertion of “its”.

          • JabbaPapa

            Et tu, Brute.

            Starting a sentence with “and” is not necessarily a grammatical error — some style and usage acolytes may claim otherwise, but Grammar as such has nothing to do with their pretensions.

            Hyphens are simply an internet shorthand for punctuation and paragraphing that one would do differently on paper.

            due to strange wording” is correct, and you’re wrong to want to insist on definite versus indefinite usage.

          • Sanctimony

            Pedant !

          • mariandavid

            Taken in isolation it is correct – taken as part of a reference to a specific it most certainly is not without the insertion of a clarifier before ‘strange’. But enough of this trivia.

          • JabbaPapa

            Comment by Sanctimony blocked

            No idea what he said, but please ignore this vicious and moronic stalker.

          • JabbaPapa

            No you’re wrong — you don’t normally clarify an adjective, you clarify a noun.

            The phrase “due to wording” is correct, so therefore “due to wording” is too. Words like “its”, “this”, “the”, and so on would regularly refer to “wording”, not “strange”. Adding them adverbially to qualify an adjective is not incorrect either, but it’s false to understand that as a grammatical imperative — it’s more accurately a matter of style or usage.

          • mariandavid

            But surely – taking merely this case as that in point the positioning of the qualifier would be ‘this strange wording’ not ‘strange this wording’? Unless of course one followed the grammatical rules of Star Wars.

          • JabbaPapa

            No, it would depend principally on which exact meaning the locutor wished to convey.

            Your personal idiolectic or dialectic non-acceptance of any particular usage is mostly irrelevant to its grammaticality per se.

            Individual word placement is another question, but such a construction as “strange this wording” is incorrect, normally, not for grammatical reasons, but because usage rejects it (except if you’re Master Yoda and his friends, or you were born prior to the 18th Century, or you are writing poetry). It’s not ungrammatical stricto sensu, because its meaning is successfully and accurately conveyed.

          • 100

            no your wrong! what a load of rubbish

          • JabbaPapa

            🙂

      • LaurenceBoyce

        “. . . as good a religion journalist as it gets.”

        Damian should consider himself to be comprehensively damned with faint praise.

        • FrCherub

          Fair comment Laurence. I didn’t mean to give that impression but I can see how it could be taken that way. So, firstly sorry to Damien. Secondly, what I really meant to convey is that he is a religion journalist who I much admire for his intelligent and insightful reportage of significant religious events. he is a gem!

        • FrCherub

          Fair comment Laurence. I didn’t intend to convey that meaning but that is how it reads. So, apologies to Damian. What I should have said is that he is one of the best religion journalists in the world. He is a very intelligent observer and analyser of Church affairs and entertaining into the bargain.

  • MahmudH

    I’ve never really understood this Catholic teaching. The biblical passage, Matthew 19, says “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” So how come there is no “except for” in Roman Catholic theology?

    • Philip

      Good point MahmudH.

      • Dominic Stockford

        “Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.”

        Add the preceding verse and you find that it is our sin which brought in ‘except fors’. There is nothing good about them.

        Roman Catholic theology has indeed got ‘except fors’, scattered through its dogma in the form of so-called ‘annulments’. Having taken the evidence for these I can tell you that they are nonsense. Ask yourself, how is that crowned heads across Europe get these so easily and Joe Bloggs’s don’t? Because it is not about theology but about pragmatism.

        • MahmudH

          Yes, corruption is a bad thing. But annulments surely aren’t the same thing. Adultery isn’t adultery unless the marriage was valid in the first place. So when Jesus talks about adultery as a valid reason to end a marriage, he’s not talking about annulment. He’s talking about divorce, isn’t he?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Annulments are divorce by another name, is all.

          • JabbaPapa

            That is a false statement — even though some individual Bishops behave as though it weren’t.

    • JabbaPapa

      how come there is no “except for” in Roman Catholic theology?

      There is — it is in the canons concerning the causes of annulment.

      • MahmudH

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but in Catholic theology, adultery is not considered justification for an annulment. I think the Church is correct in this – because an annulment means the marriage never happened, and should only apply if there was coercion, or bigamy, or if it was not consummated.

        What Jesus is talking about there is divorce – the ending of the marriage – not the marriage not having taken place. Just because adultery has happened doesn’t mean the marriage didn’t take place properly in the first place. But according Jesus, and almost everyone else I’ve talked about this with, adultery can, at least sometimes, be a valid reason to end a marriage.

        There may be a legitimate reason why the Catholic church holds its position despite this biblical passage, and if you know why, I’d be very interested to hear it.

        • JabbaPapa

          Adultery can is some cases be considered as a cause for annulment, if for example one of the spouses had a long-term adulterous relationship before, during, and after the marriage. But in itself alone, it can’t be. But it is sometimes used as evidence that there was a lack of proper sacramental intention of one of the spouses.

          There may be a legitimate reason why the Catholic church holds its position despite this biblical passage, and if you know why, I’d be very interested to hear it.

          I’m no expert in these matters, but I do know that the reasons are complex, historical and disciplinary as much as sacramental, religious, and spiritual. The Scriptures can be read in more than one way, and one Gospel lesson does not trump another.

          Complex topic, probably not suited for the limitations of this place.

          • carl jacobs

            So … Adultery, which presupposes the existence of a marriage, can be used to help prove the marriage never actually existed.

            I just love RC theology. Imagine what the Magisterium could do with “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ “. Talk about grist for the mill.

          • JabbaPapa

            Marriage is a Sacrament, not just a contract — and an adultery is still an adultery regardless of whether or not the marriage in question was Sacramental in fact, or not. The civilly married still commit the Sin of Adultery when they are sexually unfaithful. And the divorced still commit Adultery in such cases if they are validly married Sacramentally but divorced or unmarried in the eyes of the State.

            These complex situations are a result of the political redefinition of what marriage constitutes, not of Catholic theology. There is no “Yes Yes” in the real terms of people’s material existence when the State tells them they’re unmarried and the Church tells them their marriages are valid.

            This situation is BTW also the direct fault of the Church of England, when it began promoting the notion that Adultery and Abortion were somehow compatible with Christian Faith.

          • carl jacobs

            Marriage is neither sacrament nor contract. It is a covenant. It is also a creation ordinance which means it is universally applicable. The validity of a marriage does not depend in any way upon the ministrations of the RCC. Confer with Abraham and Sarah in Egypt.

            Adultery is by definition a violation of the marriage covenant. For there to be a valid charge of adultery, there must exist a prior covenant to be violated. The RCC would be using a charge of adultery in order to prove the non-existence of the covenant that allowed the charge of adultery to be brought in the first place.

            This is not complexity. This is just bad Canon law derived from bad doctrine. The RCC needed to find some way to dissolve an indissoluble sacramental bond in order to grant a de facto divorce. And so it reduces itself to this kind of intellectual gymnastic.

          • JabbaPapa

            Talk about “weird theology”, yours is incomprehensible …

          • carl jacobs

            Heh. You would defend RC Canon Law and then call me incomprehensible? That’s humorous.

            There is nothing incomprehensible about what I wrote. It’s actually pretty standard stuff.

          • JabbaPapa

            “creation ordinance” ? “marriage covenant” ? “ministrations of the RCC” ? “non-existence of the covenant that allowed the charge of adultery” ?

            These all sound very bizarre.

            Adultery is by definition a violation of the marriage covenant

            Adultery in fact is by definition the practice of having sexual intercourse with other persons than one’s spouse during marriage.

            Civilly married persons who commit such acts are adulterers, regardless of your silly Protestant “covenant” hair-splittery.

          • carl jacobs

            You mean as bizarre as “This marriage which existed for seven years and brought forth children in fact never existed but the children aren’t illegitimate”?

          • JabbaPapa

            You posit a textbook example of a marriage that is by very principle ineligible for annulment, except for incidences of bigamy or other such gross violations.

          • JabbaPapa

            The non-illegitimacy of such children was clearly and definitively established in the Middle Ages. It is a non-question.

          • carl jacobs

            Which changes what exactly? Which is the legal fiction – that the marriage never existed, or that the children are legitimate? Those two statements cannot both be true.

          • JabbaPapa

            Such hair-splitting is irrelevant to the established doctrine.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s not hair-splitting. That’s the law of non-contradiction. Something cannot simultaneously be both true and untrue.

          • JabbaPapa

            Such children are not illegitimate in the eyes of the Church. Nothing else is relevant, nor has it been for centuries.

            I’m sure there’s a Question about it somewhere in the Summa, but this changes the established fact not at all. And the fact is exceedingly simple.

            If you’re genuinely interested, I’m sure you could look it up yourself.

          • Landphil

            Does the Pope poo in the woods?

          • JabbaPapa

            I should imagine he uses the Santa Marta facilities.

          • If a person lies at the ‘marriage’ then it’s obvious there is no sacramental marriage. Having a relationship before and during such a ‘marriage’ is evidence of lack of intent and would render the service null and void. What’s the issue?

          • carl jacobs

            Probably just my cynicism about annulments in general. You know, since I have seen with my own eyes that annulment is just a fancy dressed-up expression for divorce.

          • JabbaPapa

            I sympathise.

          • If you think that then it’s probably because you don’t want to understand annulments. For example, would you regard “shotgun” weddings as valid? Or, if a man married and failed to disclose to his bride he wasimpotent? Say a woman unknowingly married a serial rapist?

          • carl jacobs

            Oh, yes! That’s why we need annulments. Because of the scores, volumes, scads of women who get married only to discover their new husband is a serial rapist. Tell me, could the marriage be annulled if he became a serial rapist two months after the ceremony?

            As for shotgun weddings, I presume you would exclude the case where the father of the very pregnant Bride is pointing a shotgun (metaphorical or otherwise) at the father of the Bride’s child to insure he does “the right thing”. Which case is not just legend and was certainly considered a valid marriage by the RCC.

            As for impotence, that’s a tougher case. Of course, a marriage must be consummated. But its treatable. And would a failure to disclose cancer be a annulable offense? What if a woman was sterile due to chemotherapy and failed to disclose? Would that invalidate the covenant?

            You are correct, though. There are a (very small) number of cases where annulment is necessary. But most annulments don’t fall into that category and you know it. They are divorces by any other name – a ritualistic bit of legalism designed to evade the prohibition against divorce. It turns on legal fictions like “My husband is a mean sonofabitch, so I must not have been mature enough to make the decision.”

            Horse … Stuff.

          • The point is that there is such a thing as a null and void ‘marriage’. Jack doesn’t doubt the system is abused. Those who do so will have to answer for this. Is the whole system a scam? No.

          • carl jacobs

            The system is intended to be abused. If it functioned just for hard cases, it would 1) be unknown because 2) it would almost never be used.

          • JabbaPapa

            A well-rounded circular argument if I’ve ever seen one …

          • carl jacobs

            There is nothing circular in that argument. If an annulment was granted only because of reasons like “My wife flatly refuses to have s*x with me – ever!” then it would be non-controversial. Why are annulments controversial? Because they are granted for reasons like “being mentally incapable of entering into marriage at the time of the wedding.”

            The woman I know who got an annulment was married to her first husband for seven years. She told me the last time she saw him, she was standing in her kitchen holding him at bay with a butcher’s knife. Now you do the math. Did she want an annulment because:

            1. She was mentally incapable of entering into marriage at the time of her wedding?

            2. Her husband turned out to be a mean abusive sonofabitch?

            She was already remarried to a non-Catholic (nominal Methodist) when the annulment was granted. She wanted the RCC to validate her second marriage.

          • Way too cynical, Carl. Are you an American by any chance?

          • carl jacobs

            Why, yes. I do view the world without the aid of rose-colored glasses. Why do you ask?

          • Oh, you just have an air of confidence that comes from not being constrained by the actual facts of a situation. You have some personal knowledge of annulments (most probably one) so claim to be an authority on the process. America is not the centre of Catholicism – thank God.

          • Sanctimony

            How exquisitely patronising of you…

    • Jesus was allowing for a civil divorce here. The person would be free of jewish familial responsibiliities. However, this did not permit a second marriage which He made clear constituted adultery.

  • Philip

    I’ve seen a sample of the Pope’s handwriting. Some psychologists use handwriting to aid their diagnoses. Manuscript changes with mood. The angle of the script is significant. There is nothing occult or pseudo science about this. It is based on observation.

    The Holy Father’s writing is very small (intellect and introversion). It very slightly changes direction (emotional) the up-strokes are slightly small (he is not ambitious). The downstrokes are small and without a curve (said to indicate little interest in close relationships or sexuality).
    Pope Francis has admitted he is prone to melancholy if spending too much time alone. He has a sense of humour and can laugh at himself and the ailing Church he so wishes to reform.

    He would like this BBC archive commemorating an eccentric Franciscan friar:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hometruths/fowlhabits.shtml

  • Minstrel Boy

    He’s been cruising around Lesbos meeting some Muslim refugees today and has invited 12 of them to stay in his Vatican property. Only 12? He has thousands of rooms in the Vatican and a bottomless purse. I’m guessing that the 12 apostles were thoroughly sifted, as only 1 in 5 male ‘refugees’ on Lesbos is actually Syrian, so presumably the Vatican interviewed 60 to find 12.
    Frankly, it whiffs of just another billionaire posturing as a Socialist with champagne tastes and a fashionable social conscience. Next we’ll have George Clooney, Madonna and Angelina visiting to pick out some cute looking Syrian cherubs.
    Now if Pope Francis had decided to rescue a dozen lesbians and invite them to a long term internship at the Vatican, we would have a real trendy story on our hands and might be well on the way to the next Pope Joan. Men in dresses require constant style advice.

    • 100

      These refugees are not going to want to stay within the small confines of the Vatican for the rest of their lives, so obviously at some stage they are going to stroll into Italy or start the inevitable movement to join their colleagues in Germany or Sweden. Once there they will expect those host nations to provide for them.

      The second that happens then Pope Francis will have become a people smuggler and as such would be liable to prosecution and potentially a lengthy prison sentence as soon as he steps out of the Vatican.

      • JabbaPapa

        These refugees are not going to want to stay within the small confines of the Vatican for the rest of their lives

        Did you think they’re going to be cooped up inside those walls ?

        The Pope is the Bishop of Rome — not the Bishop of the Vatican.

        • 100

          The Pope is the Bishop of Rome — not the Bishop of the Vatican.

          exactly!
          he is dumping them in Italy so the EU has to pay for them not the Vatican .

          You obviously understand nothing about the difference between genuine refugees and well heeled migrants and a PR stunt. were you personally there to confirm it.?
          And stop SHOUTING it makes you sound like a lunatic, then again you are.

          • JabbaPapa

            What a load of rubbish.

          • 100

            Oh now you’ve lost the argument and the plot
            and resorted to one line quips

            how predictable

            Once again please supply me with the link to those laws you refer to.

            Otherwise stop trolling threads

          • JabbaPapa

            Idiot.

            I am not your legal counsel.

            Interested ? Then bloody well look it up yourself. I’m not your lapdog either.

          • 100

            you are an very nasty Ignorant little Troll and a Pious one at that.

          • JabbaPapa

            How awful of me to disagree with the infallible dogma of Your Personal Opinion.

          • 100

            Deus, miserere animae tuae

          • EmpressJadis

            Well this thread is starting to look like great fun – at least the bits where Phil isn’t talking to himself. Will be back later after I have washed my hair

          • carl jacobs

            He does have the advantage of being right, however. Your complaint seems to be “The Vatican is an easy gate into Europe.” Well, then. Italy can control the border with the Vatican. And Germany can deport illegals instead if paying them benefits.

            But “People smuggling?” It is to laugh.

            [Nothing in the above post should be construed as agreement with “you are an very nasty Ignorant little Troll”]

          • 100

            you didn’t read the thread properly did you?
            or the Troll’s fake argument.
            Can you give me a link to the legal arguments that dispute my original argument.?

            1. Troll said they are going into Rome Italy not the Vatican
            2 Germany has not deported any migrants to date, so that’s a vacuous argument
            3. “is to laugh” is really not a valid argument

            If you can provide the necessary legal clauses to back up Troll’s faux facts we could all be enlightened, but if you cant
            well

            Then i guess you are “to be laughed at” Too.

          • carl jacobs

            I thought I read it pretty well, thanks. Here is what you said.

            These refugees are not going to want to stay within the small confines of the Vatican for the rest of their lives, so obviously at some stage they are going to stroll into Italy or start the inevitable movement to join their colleagues in Germany …

            That is the statement to which I responded. You are the one who placed the refugees inside the Vatican. You are the one who expressed concern about them strolling into Italy.

            What happens to refugees in Germany or Italy is not the Vatican”s problem. But “people smuggling”? That hilarious. If the Pope legally brings refugees into the Vatican, is he thereby violating some Vatican law? What you really want is for the Vatican to enforce EU law at the Vatican border. Except that isn’t the Vatican’s responsibility. If Italy is concerned Italy can control the border. That’s what sovereign nations do.

            Now iirc there is some treaty from 1929 or something that defines the legal relationship between Italy and the Vatican. I remember reading it on-line back when there was some controversy over Robert Mugabe coming to a Vatican funeral. You could do the same. All it takes is a search engine and a little effort …

          • carl jacobs

            Here. I’ve even looked it up for you. It’s called the Lateran Treaty of 1929. Start there.

          • 100

            I am fully aware of the Lateran Treaty which sets out the independence of the Vatican state & The Holy See in Italy and the Concordat.

            It does not however address the legality of a Head of state or a Pope (Of the Holy See) to usurp the immigration laws of another Sovereign state.

            If that law exist it would be under UN law or EU law.
            but ill save you the bother of searching, because we both know its does not exist.

            The Pope has every legal right to bring in people to the Holy see. But not to bring people into the EU. Which ( as nice as a holiday in the Vatican maybe) is a dead certainty.

          • carl jacobs

            Who controls entrance to a country?

            The Vatican does not “usurp the immigration law of a another Sovereign state” when said sovereign state simply lets people walk across its border.

          • 100

            and there you have it………………..

          • carl jacobs

            Yes. There you have demonstrated in two sentences the vacuity of your entire argument.

            Have you actually ever traveled to another country where you have to use a passport? Entrance control occurs on the receiving end. It is the receiving country’s responsibility to enforce its own laws. The country of origin does not enforce the laws of the country of destination.

          • 100

            and there you have it, again

          • carl jacobs

            This is why it is appropriate to laugh at hilariously bad argumentation.

            What is the real complaint? “The Pope is DELIBERATELY taking advantage of the open border with Italy to allow refugees into Europe through the back door. This is … People Smuggling!” Assume this is true. One wonders what statute has been violated. Under what jurisdiction could he be charged? Has he violated the laws of Italy? No. Has he violated the laws of the Vatican? No. So … what has he done that is illegal?

            He has “USURPED THE IMMIGRATION LAWS OF A SOVEREIGN STATE.” Now, I suppose this would be legal if there was some treaty allowing it, but since there isn’t any such treaty then it remains a de facto crime against … I don’t know … International law, I guess. This is a great concept with many novel applications – actions are crimes by default unless legalized by statute. What could go wrong?

            Even if the Pope is doing exactly what 100 thinks he is doing, it isn’t a crime. It’s what lawyers would call a loophole. And if Italy doesn’t like it, then it’s on Italy to fix it.

          • 100

            You’ve now entered into your own tautology, and i suspect the next post will descend into Godwin’s law.

          • carl jacobs

            At some point, I won’t even have to post to refute you anymore. I can just let you talk, and trust the reader to stare with amazement and disbelief.

          • JabbaPapa

            Idiot.

            Even Hitler thinks Godwin’s “law” is not to be taken seriously.

          • 100

            just so lost in “Non-SequiturLand” Anyways. It’s interesting to see the lengths to which you will go just to avoid saying out loud the logical implication of what you believe.
            Try back later after you become a functional adult.

          • carl jacobs

            Which would be what exactly? What do I not wish to say out loud? You have no idea how many arguments against interest I am making.

          • carl jacobs

            If you are going to plagiarize my old posts, at least do so with inventiveness. This effort is just … embarrassing for you.

          • JabbaPapa

            I am fully aware of the Lateran Treaty

            That is a blatantly false statement, simply going from the content of your posts in this thread.

          • JabbaPapa

            or the Troll’s fake argument

            What a load of bollocks.

          • Landphil

            Popel smuggling.

          • carl jacobs

            Don’t quit your day job.

          • Landphil

            Clearly you have, dear boy.

          • carl jacobs

            You know. Some posts are just so lost in “Non-SequiturLand” that it’s impossible to form a reply.

          • Daidragon

            Say something coherent or STFU.

          • GnosticBrian

            Exactly right – and she has more than one identity.

            She asserted that Reinhard Heydrich was an evangelical rather than a Roman Catholic and resorted to ad hominem attack when challenged.

        • 100

          also please provide me with the law which gives a head of state (The Pope of the Vatican) the right to move migrants/refugees /whatever, into another sovereign country (Italy) .
          The Pope may be Bishop of Rome , thats just an ecclesiastic term of his governance over the catholic church in Rome nothing else, and he is not the Head of State of Italy or the Mayor of Rome.

          If you come back and say that the Italians have approved it, then why is the Pope grabbing the headline instead of the Italian PM. Because its just PR stunt!!

          Please attach the link to that law/ laws you refer to .

          • JabbaPapa

            also please provide me with the law which gives a head of state (The Pope of the Vatican) the right to move migrants/refugees /whatever, into another sovereign country (Italy)

            I am not your research assistant, but if you were rational you would at least seek to determine the truth of things from evidence, not from your existent position(s).

            Every Nation State has the right to grant refugee status, within the limitations of International Law, independently of whatever anyone else might think. Vatican City is a Nation State.

            Once that status is granted, the rights pertaining to movement are those belonging to the legal, diplomatic, and treaty stipulations that the State in question is a Party to.

            Your suggestion that the Pope has somehow broken the law is therefore entirely groundless.

        • Bonkim

          The Vatican can issue Visas to the refugees – but Italy need not allow them to walk through their lands. Not sure about using Italian air-space.

          • JabbaPapa

            The only people who ever tried that particular trick were the N@zis during their partial occupation of Rome.

            Or, will you be voting for Mussolini in Italy’s next general elections ? (this is actually possible BTW)

          • Bonkim

            Not a bad idea – mistake the Italians did in hanging Mussolini.

          • JabbaPapa

            It was an undercover Soviet death squad, apparently, not “the Italians”.

            Your far-right political ideas are clear from that, though.

          • GnosticBrian

            The Vatican would know all about Nazis – they helped enough of them escape justice – https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/how-the-catholic-church-sheltered-nazi-war-criminals/ .

  • carl jacobs

    “Whistling Past the Graveyard”
    A novel by Damian Thompson

    Chapter One

    “Nothing to see here! Nothing has changed. Move along. Move along.”

    The End

  • Noa

    Will the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Al ash-Sheikh, reciprocate his Holiness’s opening of the Vatican to moslem refugees by throwing opening the church doors of Arabia to persecuted Christians from Syria and Iraq?
    It seems unlikely. given his call for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula and the lack of any churches in Saudi Arabia, Still, we should be grateful that this wise and venerable man has had the foresight to issue a fatwa on chess and to recognise that ISIS is the spawn of Israel.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul-Aziz_ibn_Abdullah_Al_ash-Sheikh#cite_note-5

    • Bonkim

      Now you are asking too much.

    • Daidragon

      Utterly pointless contribution to a thread about catholic misogyny.

      • Sanctimony

        Catholic ?

      • Noa

        A clueless post about obscurantist pinhead dancing when the Pope’s ridiculous posturings actively further the destruction of Christianity.

  • Bella

    Damian has just Tweeted, ” It’s time to say it: Francis is a weak pope.”

    This is worrying. It is either provocative Thompson misinformation or it reveals him to be on an emotional self-destruct trajectory wrecking his academic career before it has begun.
    Courage Dr Thompson. You are as good as the others. Have confidence and remember your LSE tutors.
    Stick to the facts when testing your hypotheses and keep your conservative Catholicism to Sundays and never criticise fellow academics in print. They are an unforgiving lot, even the theologians.

    • LaurenceBoyce

      I say it’s time to sack the Holy Spirit. This is not the first time he has screwed up at the conclave, and now it’s just getting beyond a joke.

    • Noa

      He may or may not be weak. He is certainly an existential threat to Europe.

  • Landphil

    Pope arrested for people trafficking – he said “Hey, I maka no money outta dis”

  • Philip

    Damian: I’m finding it hard to take you seriously. First you describe Pope Francis as “diminished” on BBC radio and now you call him “weak”.

    Is Pope Francis a “diminished” person because he has not had the personal executive power to persuade conservatives? This is not weakness but a determination not to act in a way that will diminish Church unity however much he is convinced his reforms are necessary.
    In a private conversation with his longtime friend from Buenos Aires, Oscar Crespo, Pope Francis reportedly revealed his plans to change important “archaic” parts of the Catholic rules. Crespo claimed the Pope intends to overturn the “centuries-old ban” on Catholic priests from getting married and to lift the banishment of divorcees from the Catholic church.
    I believe he has done the latter.
    Crespo points out that his friend Jorge Bergoglio “does not intend to force through radical reforms at the expense of church unity.”
    “Changes are made either with time or with blood, and I choose peace,” Pope Francis is quoted as saying.

    • Marian Hunter

      I am a Catholic. I am married to a man who was previously married and then divorced. We have been married (not in the eyes of the RC Church) for 17 years. I am not allowed to take Holy Communion. I am allowed to stand in the queue to receive a blessing but not the Eucharist. So no, I do not think that Pope Francis has “done the latter” and achieved the Eucharist for adulterers like me.

      At midnight mass, I looked up at the alter and there was not one heterosexual person out of eleven standing there service mass as well as administering the host. If the LGBT are so well represented why not we, the sinning adulterers who are admonished to go, and sin no more?

      • Jacobi

        How do you know they , I presume you mean the priests, are not heroically chaste?

        • Marian Hunter

          Hi Jacobi my point was they were allowed to receive communion and indeed give communion to those they judged in a “state of grace” which I obviously can never be since I married a divorced man.

          • Jacobi

            Marian, my apologies should have read more carefully. It is so obvious now.

            Two things in my humble non-infallible opinion.

            I admire immensely your honest stance, and understand what you say about some of the the odd types prancing about the sanctuary, certainly in my N.O, parish and I’d better not say any more. There is no need to join the trudge up to the altar for the blessing, you know. You get one at the end and that is just as good!

            Were you in my parish I would make damned sure you were fully integrated. The Parish Council for you lassie. Your hubby could help with the coffee!

      • Philip

        Marian: Thank you for that.
        Is it a conservative traditionalist church? Might you consider a different one and a chat with the priest, especially now after Amoris Laetitia?
        Please come back and report on your experience should you try this.
        I can assure you the priests in my area would not refuse you Holy Communion but then the priests in my area would not dream of reading The Catholic Herald. If they look online it is rather like the 18th Century public paying to see the cavorting of irrational inmates in Bedlam – curiosity value only.

        It would be unfortunate if you attend that church because of the church school for your children. With that attitude it is unlikely that your offspring will keep the faith.
        Kind regards.

        • Marian Hunter

          Hi Philip Children were out of the question due to the “inability” of us to get married again. Even though we married in a cathedral garden by an Anglican Vicar. Not quite the same thing though is it. We fronted up as you suggested to a very nice looking liberal priest called Fr Paul Reardon, who said he wished we had not. He said he knew there were “plenty of peo;ple like us” in the parish accepting of the sacraments and “living in sin and adultery” but we were fool enough to ask for permission to do so. He accepted a bottle of excellent single malt and asked for a donation of 500 big ones so our names would be on the wallkway into the chapel which we handed over with insane speed in the hope he would agree to marry us in the Catholic Church and let us partake of communion, but alas, he was quicker that we were. In fact on Good Friday while we sat silently keeping himself company, the Holy Father came in and told us to leave his church, that we were adulterers. So we did and haven’t been back. I have , husband hasn’t. Best Wishes I wonder if Jorge had this in mind.

      • carl jacobs

        Marian Hunter

        Do you think you have been unjustly treated by the RCC? If so, why?

        I’m not Catholic so I am not implicitly defending Rome’s position with this question. I’m just curious if I have read you correctly.

        • Marian Hunter

          Hi Carl Yes in answer to your question I do believe I have been mishandled the the Holy Catholic Church since I made my first Confession aged 5, First Holy Communion at 6, and Confirmation at 7. For further detail please read my answer to Philip below giving an idea of how I was treated as an adult.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        You must be some kind of masohist. I’d never join a club that would accept me as a member.

      • Sanctimony

        As a matter of interest how did you know that all eleven of those saying the Mass or administering the host were players of the pink oboe ?

        I do empathise with your dilemma as regards to the marriage / divorce nonsense… I have three friends from prominent recusant Catholic families, who, having undergone marital trauma and divorce, have been quietly advised by their Parish Priests to continue with their normal Catholic devotions and participation in the Sacraments…

        My personal take is that the Catholic Church is paranoid about losing its most prominent social and political stars and, wherever it can, fast-tracks annulments for those with money, power and visibility….

        The Catholic Church is snobbish beyond belief…. I personally know of an exquisitely snobbish parish priest of a Catholic Church in Chelsea who delegated a wedding to a junior priest as he didn’t consider the bride and groom to being high-born enough for his sacred consecration of their marriage…

  • Bonkim

    St Francis of Argentina and Brazil – just look at the Miracle of taking in 10 Refugees into the Vatican – Sanctuary Sanctuary they cried and Il Papa responded. Allah be praised – Sainthood not far.

  • Brigantian

    ‘Let he who is without guilt throw the first stone’ refers of course to a woman taken in adultery.
    Certainly in the 1940’s, when my mother stayed in a YWCA hostel in London, the Catholic Church provided the sacrament to prostitutes and regarded this as essential to saving them from a life of sin.
    If divorce is regarded as adultery, surely the same mercy should be offered to divorced partners as to prostitutes?
    Jesus did of course address divorce and widowhood at the same time as asserting that there would be no bodily resurrection. Asexual spiritual resurrection is a concept that Christians struggle to grasp and Muslims cannot even begin to comprehend.

    • JabbaPapa

      hmmmm … making a parallel between divorced-remarried and prostitutes.

      What could possibly go wrong ?

    • antoncheckout

      “asserting that there would be no bodily resurrection.”
      No, He didn’t. he asserted the very opposite.
      He emphasised the corporeal nature of resurrection in his dialogue with Martha about Lazarus – ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.’ (John 11:23-25) and further in John 5 he said “…the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live…. all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out — those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:25, 28-29)
      ‘Rise’ for the Jews of the time meant invariably ‘rise from the grave’, ie bodily resurrection.
      From early Christian times, Christian theologians understood it perfectly well, and wrote extensively on the subject (Paul, Irenaeus, Clement, Justin, Tertullian, Cyril, Augustine etc).
      Belief in the resurrection of the body is after all the core eschatological belief of Christianity, and a basic article of the Creed.

    • pobjoy

      ‘Let he who is without guilt throw the first stone’ refers of course to a woman taken in adultery.

      Brigantian read that this is not part of the Bible, but says ‘of course’. Brigantian is full of angry demons.

    • Sanctimony

      Was not one of Christ’s favourites, Mary Magdalene, a prostitute…. and rumour has it that they may have been married…

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Mary Magdalene, a prostitute … No, early church character assassination. St. Paul, the joker that hijacked Christianity.

        • Marian Hunter

          .

        • Sanctimony

          Did St. Paul meet her on the road to Damascus…. perhaps she was the vision… hot, dusty road… comely wench looking for a piggyback… mirages…. etc etc etc…

          I once had a vision in a bar in Patpong Road in Bangkok…. sadly, when I awoke the next midday, my Marilyn had morphed into Brian ….

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Never barfine a girl with wet hair.

      • Marian Hunter

        No no no, she was not a prostitute, possibly a

        Greek widow left independently wealthy by the death of her soldier husband. Not sure where I read this, I think it was the last book about Pilate, whom I find an interesting figure.

        You can find several references to Mary Magdalene who even wrote her own Gospel. She did not get along too well with St Peter it appears.

  • maic

    If a divorced Catholic really wants to take Communion all they have to do is turn up in a church where they are not known.
    As for all the high level discussion I wonder just how many people outside the full time commentators care a hoot.
    I believe that the Church bureaucracy and its various statements are seen to have little relevance to millions of nominal Catholics – at least in the Western World.
    Rather they use the Church in the same way as they use doctors, dentists and lawyers – an organization to provide a service
    such as weddings and funerals when their expertise is called for.
    Let others fret over what the Pope can or can’t do or what he means or didn’t mean when he makes an announcement.
    Most of us are too busy getting on with our lives hopefully living with a construct of ethics and values which govern our attitudes and actions.

    • JabbaPapa

      If a divorced Catholic really wants to take Communion all they have to do is turn up in a church where they are not known

      They might take the bread, but this would not constitute the Eucharistic Communion, because the obvious flaw of intent and state of mortal sin would annul the Sacrament.

      • Tim S

        It isn’t “bread”. You really are over your head theologically.

        • GnosticBrian

          Speaking truth to JabbaPappa (or any other of her identities) can lead to endless trolling.

          • JabbaPapa

            If all you’re going to do is act as a proxy for my stalker, I’ll block your “contributions” too.

          • GnosticBrian

            For speaking the truth?

          • JabbaPapa

            For repetitiously bombarding me with tediously repetitious lies and slander.

            OK — that’s it, I have had enough of your nonsense. Blocking you.

            EDIT : Comment by Sanctimony blocked.

            Comment by GnosticBrian blocked.

            Comment by Sanctimony blocked.

            Comment by GnosticBrian blocked.

            Comment by Sanctimony blocked.

            Comment by Sanctimony blocked.

            aaaaaah much better.

          • Sanctimony

            Nurse !!!!!!!!!!!

          • Sanctimony

            He had it coming, he had it coming

            He only had himself to blame
            If you’d have been there, if you’d have seen it
            I betcha you would have done the same
            Pop! Six! Squish! Uh Uh, Cicero, Lipschitz!

            Read more: Queen Latifah – Cell Block Tango (He Had It Comin’) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

          • Sanctimony

            Tough sh*t, Brian, she’s banned you … this is better than a Feydeau farce….

          • GnosticBrian

            I’m so distraught, I had an extra digestive biscuit with my cocoa.

          • Sanctimony

            Shut the f**k up, you cretinous ratbag… you couldn’t block a flea flying up an elephant’s derriere….

      • ThirstforTruth

        No…that would not “annul the Sacrament”; it would just make the Sacrament sacrilegious for the recipient, who has “dug” himself deeper into the world of sin.
        The validity of the Sacrament does not depend upon the state of grace of either the
        communicant or the celebrant finds himself in. Read your Catechism, maic, and
        learn the particulars of the faith you profess. It is a treasure-trove of the truth.

        • JabbaPapa

          Not the celebrant —

          Your objection is interesting, so I looked as the sources.

          Catechism of St. Pius X, The Blessed Eucharist, 37 Q. Does he who goes to Communion in mortal sin receive Jesus Christ?

          A. He who goes to Communion in mortal sin receives Jesus Christ but not His grace; moreover, he commits a sacrilege and renders himself deserving of sentence of damnation.

          So my wording anyway was wrong, for which I apologise.

          • ThirstforTruth

            I would suggest you consult the newest edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated by St Pope John Paul II for a fuller development on Church teaching. Not that Truth changes, but the understanding of Truth can be deepened as we come to know more fully the depth of the Mysteries revealed by God. ( see especially CC # 1084 – #1131.)
            No apology necessary as we are all seeking the Truth together and the gospels tell us we must be of help to one another on the journey.
            God bless your sojourn!

          • JabbaPapa

            I would suggest you consult the newest edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

            Why on EARTH should you imagine that I haven’t ?

          • ThirstforTruth

            Because you chose not to quote it but rather a very old and little used edition of the Catechism. Also your erroneous earlier comment about the communicant as well as the celebrant, I thought my “corrective” needed to be sourced.
            I realize we live in the “PC age” where everything and everyone is offended by truth. Truth is, you made reference to a very old edition of the Catechism, one promulgated by St Pius X!. Probably not readily available today and not
            certainly in use. No harm done by doing that but no harm seemingly in pointing this fact out that there is a newer version, promulgated by St John Paul II, which is in current use. Good that you seem to be aware of it; others reading your comment might not be.

          • JabbaPapa

            about the communicant as well as the celebrant

            WHAT comment “about the celebrant” ??? It’s no help at all if you carry on accusing me of being “wrong” whilst inventing stuff out of your own head that I’m supposed to have said !!

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Holy Communion, Batman.

    • Jacobi

      That is of course true, but now divorced and remarried Catholics know beyond any doubt, after two years of unnecessary confusion, that by doing so they, and of course lots of other types of grievous sinners, commit a further grave sin. That’s their problem!

      No need to kid any more!

    • Bosun Higgs

      A person I know very well was married in a Catholic wedding mass, despite having two divorced wives still living (as the priest knew). He has money.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        See, we do have our standards.

        • Jacobi

          That’s a good one Jack . Must tell the priest!

  • C.Caruana

    Muddied waters? And pray who fishes in them if not the devil Mr Thompson?

  • Tim S

    Cardinal Kasper thinks he did and he is not alone.

    • carl jacobs

      More to the point, he thinks he has ecclesial cover to act. It’s a tried and true method. “Leave the formal dogma alone but change the praxis. The formal will follow the functional.” The seeds of Vatican II produce a bountiful harvest.

      This is the end of Roman Catholicism as we know it.

      • GnosticBrian

        So no more child abuse cover ups?

        • carl jacobs

          If by that you mean “No more shuffling homosexual priests around to different parishes so their seduction of teenaged boys remains undiscovered” I would hope so.

          But I was thinking of the explosives that Francis has just packed around the whole Roman sacramental system.

          • GnosticBrian

            I wonder what the supposed founder of the religion would make of the focus on ritual?

          • carl jacobs

            Read the Second and Third Chapter of Revelations, and you will know what He thinks about the subject of churches that fall short.

          • GnosticBrian

            “He”?

          • carl jacobs

            The Son of God rates a capital letter, don’t you think. We neither divide the person nor confound the natures.

          • GnosticBrian

            The son of which of the many, many thousands of gods?

          • carl jacobs

            The Living One, who was, and was dead, and is alive forevermore. The one who holds the keys to death and h_ll. There are thousands of dead gods. There is only one who is alive.

          • Sanctimony

            Doctor says up the Promazine, Carl….

          • GnosticBrian

            Ah, I get you – Prince Philip the living God of the cargo cultists.

          • carl jacobs

            1. I haven’t the slightest idea what you just said.

            2. I presume it was at least more clever than a pedestrian reference to “promazine” – something else I’ve never heard of.

            3. You asked. I answered. The personal stuff isn’t necessary.

          • GnosticBrian

            I’m felt sure that a man of erudition would understand exactly what I was saying – http://royalcentral.co.uk/blogs/insight/the-island-where-prince-philip-is-worshipped-as-a-god-18162 . He is the ONLY known living god I’ve actually come across.

            As to “promazine” – I made no reference; are you confusing me with your nurse?

            You are happy to dismiss the religious beliefs of others but take the hump when your own are are given the same treatment.

          • carl jacobs

            I know you didn’t make a reference to promazine. I didn’t confuse you.

            I’m not really concerned about people dismissing my religious beliefs. That happens all the time – especially on a weblog like this. One has to develop a thick skin. Your assessment however seemed like sophisticated mockery to me. It was that perception to which I responded. Your link makes clear I misread your intent, and so I apologize for jumping to the conclusion.

          • GnosticBrian

            Pax.

          • Bemel Mesre

            Question: Is the son of God another God?

          • pobjoy

            Question: Is the son of God another God?

            The question has no respectable provenance. One can talk about a son of God, with indefinite article, because the Bible refers to all human males as sons of God, in the sense of being created by deity (and human females as daughters, of course). As it happens, the Bible also refers to all humans as gods, because all humans have sovereign choice about whether they will destroy themselves, or not (and the Bible deity made the same choice). Those who destroy themselves are reprobates, those who do not are saints. Destruction is not a once-for-ever occurrence, it is a permanent condition, timeless; it ‘already’ exists’. Likewise, the god-like glorification of those who do not destroy themselves is timeless. Those in this life do not know their natures, gloried or reprobate, for certain, because the purpose of this life is to demonstrate, for those who will destroy themselves, why the state of destruction is entirely justified and deserved.

            So why the definite article? Note that the correct usage is ‘the Son of God’, with capitalisation. That is nothing remotely like ‘the son of God’, that does not even make sense (though Muslims love to make it a straw man). ‘The Son’ indicates the unique manifestation of deity, or ‘God, with us’. So there is one deity, one divine person, according to the Bible. Jesus was the manifestation, upon whom the fatherhood and the spirit of deity, whose role is to inform about the manifestation, depends. Without the death of Jesus there is no Fatherhood of deity possible for anyone. For those who accept the manifestation, deity becomes Father, through the action of the Spirit in the world. These are all ‘roles’ of the same deity.

          • Martin Walsh

            Wrong. The Bible teaches that God is triune – that there is one being of God, shared by 3 distinct persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all coequal and co-eternal. Unitarianism or modalism find no support in the Bible.

          • pobjoy

            by 3 distinct persons

            If Mr Walsh can find reference to ‘persons’ wrt deity anywhere in the Bible, he will be the first ever.

          • Martin Walsh

            I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and not assume that you are asking me to find the actual word ‘person’ associated with God in the bible. If you say yes then let’s go no further because this is entry level theology. God is clearly portrayed as a person in scripture – possessed of attributes of person-hood even down to the use of pronouns …Him, He etc.He refers to Himself as I AM. In each respect the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are portrayed as distinct persons and not as manifestations of a unitarian God.

          • pobjoy

            God is clearly portrayed as a person in scripture

            Indeed. Now where can you find the word ‘persons’?

            In each respect the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are portrayed as distinct persons

            Then there are three persons, three individuals, ergo, three gods. That is what use of the English word ‘person’ indicates.

            ‘person ˈpəːs(ə)n/ noun: a human being regarded as an individual.’

            Now if you want to start behaving as an intelligent human being, and get into proper theology, you need to find appropriate Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek words.

            And if you can, you will be the first ever, be assured of that.

          • Martin Walsh

            You confuse being and person-hood – they are different categories. There is one being of God but it is shared by three persons. A stone has being but not personhood. You and I are both human beings but are distinct persons. I don’t need hebrew or greek to explain these very basic concepts clearly – the english translations (the good ones) do a more than sufficient job.
            Incidentally no need to get personal about it, try sticking to the issue.

          • pobjoy

            There is one being of God but it is shared by three persons.

            That’s technical nonsense: 1 = 3 .

            the english translations (the good ones) do a more than sufficient job.

            But you have not even provided a translation! Just your own ipse dixit circularity. So, find a translation that is ‘more than sufficient’. Many if not all trinitarian scholars have admitted that their view cannot be found in the Bible, and have to resort to extra-biblical sources. So you have your work cut out.

            Incidentally no need to get personal about it

            Those who start by saying ‘Wrong’ and add accusation of ‘entry level theology’ for good measure don’t agree.

            You’re getting off very lightly, polytheist.

            .

          • Martin Walsh

            You don’t understand the difference between being and person. Being ≠ Person. I’d recommend the NIV, NASB and ESV as good versions. As to citations see: the entire prologue of John, John 6:44 (wherein Jesus distinguishes Himself from the Father and yet says He will raise up believers on the last day – a divine act); 8:58 where Jesus affirms His pre-existence; John 14/15where Jesus talks of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father; 17: where Jesus talks of the glory He shared with the Father i.e. alongside Him before the world began…Titus 3:4-7 where Paul refers to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are many many more.
            Given you haven’t provided a single citation for your unitarianism/modalism, it’s a bit rich to accuse me of ipse dixit. I’m not aware of any genuine trinitarian scholar who asserts extra biblical sources are needed to justify the doctrine of the trinity – it is properly and clearly inferred from the scriptures.
            If you take it as a personal slight to be told you are wrong then you probably shouldn’t post comments or even leave the house.The fact that God is a personal is entry level theology – it’s basic catechism content.

          • pobjoy

            You don’t understand the difference between being and person.

            Just like you.

            I’d recommend the NIV, NASB and ESV as good versions.

            That’s a strange, if not suspicious recommendation from one who does not know Greek or Hebrew.

            Jesus distinguishes Himself from the Father

            Of course he did. He wanted people to recognise him as ‘Immanuel’ by their own resources. His words in no way discount the possibility that ‘the Father’ was not himself in supernal state. Thomas finally got it, when he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!”

            Paul refers to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

            But nowhere refers to them as separate persons, which, as I implied by my request in the first place, is the only proof of trinitarianism. So, as there is nothing in the gospels to support trinitarianism, and nothing in Paul’s letters, that leaves the rest of the Bible in which you may pursue your search.

            For copyright reasons, I am unable to meet your request for citations, but all Bible scholars assent to this: “trinity” is a second-century term found nowhere in the Bible, and the Bible presents no finished trinitarian statement.

          • Martin Walsh

            Rather than childish retorts why don’t you explain then how you make being= person because that’s what you did. The classic definition of the doctrine of the trinity says that in the being of God there are 3 persons.
            I haven’t claimed to know Hebrew or Greek. The English translations mentioned are well respected modern translations.
            When Thomas made his statement where was the Father? When God said this is my beloved Son ( at Jesus’ baptism and transfiguration) was it the Father who said it? If so why would He refer to His Son unless they were separate persons?
            When Jesus said I AM who was He referring to? When He said glorify me with the glory I had with you before the beginning of time who was He talking to? Notice all the pronouns. When Jesus said of the Holy Spirit coming from the Father .. John 15:26
            [26] “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.. Is the Holy Spirit a He in this sentence? Is He distinct from the Father and the Son?
            You can provide citatations..you can quote verses all within the law of copyright. Provide me your top 3 verses to prove your case please.

          • pobjoy

            Rather than childish retorts why don’t you explain then how you make being= person because that’s what you did.

            You won’t escape defeat by belittlement. Or by semantic illusion. What you are trying to do is avoid making the absurd statement that:

            The classic definition of the doctrine of the trinity is that the person of God is three persons.

            or, to express it mathematically, 1 = 3.

            You merely swap ‘being’ for ‘person’, when ‘person’ is merely a subset of ‘being’. How is a divine being not a person? If each person is made in the image of God, how is it that each person is not three persons? It’s plainly gibberish. You wrote, ‘A stone has being.’ That is, a stone exists. Is God a stone? But three persons must have three beings, or rather, must be three beings. Ergo, trinitarianism is tritheism.

            why would He refer to His Son unless they were separate persons?

            Jesus wanted people to recognise him as ‘Immanuel’ by their own resources. So the same person spoke from heaven as was spoken of from heaven.

            You’ll get it, eventually. Centuries of polytheism take a while to get out of the mind.

          • Martin Walsh

            Show me where any trinitarian says 1 = 3. You either lack the ability to understand the concept or you are deliberately misrepresenting it.
            Try engaging with the actual argument and not the parody you are presenting.
            Where’s your verses?

          • pobjoy

            So you are beginning to understand. Well done.

          • Martin Walsh

            Ps: nobody claims that the word or term trinity is in the bible but that the concept clearly is and trinity is the word coined to label the doctrine as it is espoused in scripture.

          • pobjoy

            nobody claims that the word or term trinity is in the bible

            How, then, did the apostles pass on ‘the whole will of God’ without using it?

          • Martin Walsh

            The really facetious answer is that they didn’t speak Latin and thus would never have used the actual word which would make me guilty of the same perverse pedantry as you – e.g. nowhere in the bible does it use the word modalism or unitarianism but I grant you the use of these terms to conveniently represent your position.
            The easy answer is that they talked about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. You can fully explain a ‘concept’ without using the label.

          • JabbaPapa

            “‘‘the whole will of God’

            !!!!! ????!!!??!!??? !!

            How can ANYONE except God possibly know His Whole Will, let alone “pass it on” ???

            What is this nonsensical pseudo-theology ?

          • Sanctimony

            You…

          • GnosticBrian

            Personally, I consider ALL Sky Faeries to be human inventions.

            You may find this interesting: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Arianism

          • pobjoy

            There is no need to wonder. It has been said since John Wyclif that all that is required to be accounted righteous by God is to trust him, as Abraham trusted him, without rituals, priests, temples and and paraphernalia. Catholicism is light years from Christianity, and no Christian can be taken in by it for a millisecond. John Bunyan portrayed it as ‘Giant Pope’:

            ‘though he be yet alive, he is, by reason of age, and also of the many
            shrewd brushes that he met with in his younger days, grown so crazy and stiff in his joints, that he can now do little more than sit in his cave’s mouth, grinning at pilgrims [Christians] as they go by, and biting his nails because he cannot come at them.’ The Pilgrim’s Progress

            There are supposedly Protestant cults that are far more credible than the Vatican’s. But they are of diminished use, politically, so they receive little attention in the media.

      • Jacobi

        No it is not. It is the beginning of yet another heretical sect. All getting a bit of a bore to us Catholics. I mean we have seen it all before. And there’s so many real problems out there.

  • Bosun Higgs

    One should not be more Catholic than the Pope. Also, one should not clog up the pages of the Spectator with bitter factionalism and cornflake-packet moral theology.

    • carl jacobs

      One should not be more Catholic than the Pope.

      Why? What if the Pope isn’t a very good Catholic? What if he isn’t a Catholic in any meaningful sense at all?

      Also, one should not clog up the pages of the Spectator with bitter factionalism and cornflake-packet moral theology.

      Who gets to define “bitter factionalism”? And what exactly differentiates “cornflake-packet moral theology” from the acceptable kind of moral theology?

      • Bosun Higgs

        Unfortunately, writers such as Damian Thompson make me uncharitable. It’s a fault, I know, but they are so cocksure and uncharitable themselves that it makes me cross.
        Francis is a man who has devoted his entire life, all his energies and talents, and his soul to the Church. To suggest that he is not a Catholic is both absurd and insulting. He may be wrong, of course, but one cannot be a Catholic without accepting his divinely-delegated authority. Therefore, one must also accept his teaching as authoritative, even when it goes against one’s own wisdom, emotions and learning. It is an important discipline to do so. This does not require hypocrisy or doublethink; one can still disagree, intellectually, while following the Church’s teachings, faithfully. Belief is not the same as faith. Any good married person does something similar from time to time, on a domestic scale; a fortiori, it ought to be possible to achieve the same feat on a religious scale.
        It is obvious that there are factions within the Church, on the issue of communion for those who have, as far as civil law is concerned, remarried but have a divorced spouse still living. As regards bitterness, I cite the following words in the article: ancient (referring to Cardinal Kasper – an ad hominem attack), worrying away (thinking seriously?), disastrous (not what I want?), long-forgotten (wish it would go away?), chaos, yadda yadda yadda, ‘progressive’ (with snide quotation marks), cowardice, hubris, sneaky and muddied. These are not the words of a man who accepts that his opponents may be sincere, well-meaning and intelligent, even if they are very badly wrong.
        As far the cornflake packet, Thompson seems unaware of Jesus’ important exception to His ban on remarrying after divorce. It’s in Matthew 19.

        • pobjoy

          So it is. Do Catholics know where the Bible says that each should test his own actions?

        • FrCherub

          The “Matthean exception” to which you refer is well known to Catholic scholars. The interpretation of it is contested, but on the principle of stet lex difficilior the general principle and rule outlined earlier in Matthew and attested to by Mark must stand. If not you would be interpreting the verse in Matthew 19 to contradict the clear teaching of Christ in the other passages. But thanks for raising the issue because it is a contested question of interpretation between scholars and lies at the heart of Protestant/Catholic difference. But it is true to say that those ecclesial communities which allow divorcees to remarry no longer limit that permission to proved cases of adultery. My former ecclesial community started there but in the end it proved impossible to hold the line at that point.

          • Bemel Mesre

            U R referring to the Bible as absolute. Whereas V know that they were all written by Christs followers in the years after his death. Christ never had the chance to give his stamp of approval. So basically the New Testament is an interpretation of Christ beliefs.

          • FrCherub

            Not at all, Bemel Mesre. Jesus formed a Church on the foundation of the apostles. He gave the Church the power to act in His Name as to matters of faith and morals. The Church determined which Gospels, Letters and other texts should be considered to be the Word of God and which not. The Church did this by comparing documents with the Gospel they knew which came from Jesus via the apostles. Christ gave us the Church to safeguard His teachings on faith and morals. The Church preceded the New testament, not vice versa. And Pobjoy, I don’t understand your point.

          • Bosun Higgs

            We reach the lamentable position where it seems that one must be more Catholic than the Pope, yet more evangelical than a Protestant.

        • Marian Hunter

          That is the whole point of Thompson’s article. Has the ban in some way been lifted by an infallible Pope? Don’t be cross.

          • Bosun Higgs

            It’s the tone and attitude of his article to which I object, rather than the underlying content. He comes across like Martin Luther on a bad day.

          • Marian Hunter

            True Bosun, but we won’t burn him for heresy yet, we Catholics have to be magnanimous and love in ‘agape’ fashion. Now there’s a trendy word I heard at mass the other day.

      • whs1954

        The whole point of the Catholic Church since Pius IX is that it revolves around a cult of the Pope. The whole basis of the Church is papal infallibility, so there’s no such thing as the Pope not being a good Catholic or not being a Catholic in a meaningful sense – the whole idea is an oxymoron – the Pope is Catholic number one and what he says goes. Roma locuta est, causa finita est.

        • JabbaPapa

          it revolves around a cult of the Pope

          Stuff, nonsense, bollocks, and rubbish.

          • Sanctimony

            Ipsissimis verbis ….

        • Burt Valance

          I think I agree with you.

          Another feature since Vatican II is the emergence of the part-time pope. Hence all the language courses (JPII) and books (BXVI).

          The present incumbent has decided he wants to be a theologian this after years of riding around the Buenos Aires transit system.

          I can’t believe I shall see a full time pope again in my lifetime.

    • Jacobi

      You raised two separate issues.

      Being more Catholic than the Pope is rather hard to avoid at present. You’re not a Trendy Leftie, I trust?

      And what’s wrong with cornflake-packet moral theology. A damn sight better in my somewhat lengthy experience than the other sort. Then maybe you are a religious oddity under that curious habit you seem to be wearing?

  • Randal

    Has the Pope apologised yet for his misleading stunt in bringing migrants back as though he were inviting them into his country but actually dropping them off in a neighbouring country, his own country being securely closed and walled against migrants?

    I’m sure he wouldn’t want people to be misled into thinking he was doing something he wasn’t, as would have been the natural conclusion from the media coverage. A cynic might think he welcomed such misdirection, as suiting his obviously pro-immigration political leanings.

  • Watt

    Persecuted Christians in Syria, Pakistan and Egypt look on wistfully as pope Francis rescues Muslim refugees from Greece.

    • Sanctimony

      Yeah… all 6 of them !

      After two weeks in the Vatican they’ll wish they were back in Bongo Bongo Land …..

    • Bemel Mesre

      The Pope behaves as though persecution of Christians by Muslims is not happening. By taking in the very same Muslims he is in fact giving his stamp of approval. The drama of Caliph is UNFOLDING A FEW HUNDRED MILES from his palace.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Interesting Year 1981
    1. Prince Charles got married.
    2. Liverpool crowned soccer Champions of Europe .
    3. Australia lost the Ashes.
    4. The Pope died.

    Interesting Year 2005
    1. Prince Charles got married.
    2. Liverpool crowned soccer Champions of Europe .
    3. Australia lost the Ashes.
    4. The Pope died.

    Lesson to be learned:
    The next time Charles gets married, someone should warn the Pope.

    • whs1954

      Far more importantly and relevant: someone should warn the Australians.

    • Burt Valance

      No pope died in 1981. Although two died in 1978 including one who lasted only a month. During this four week period at the start of the 1978/9 season Birmingham City failed to register a single goal. Thus making them the only team in history never to score during the reign of a pope.

  • Bemel Mesre

    In Hindu thinking the concept of Divorce does not exist. Remarriage is possible only for the man. But in lower castes a sort of divorce and remarriage of both sexes common. In tribal culture Divorce is quite formal. I know a tribal who because of a Huge Govt salary married 20 times divorcing as per their tribal customs.

  • jeremy Morfey

    Ok, so we know the MSM’s take on the Catholic Church, which is only marginally less hostile than that expected from Muslim factions.

    Yesterday, I attended a Service of Mercy, inspired by Pope Francis, and set up by the newest member of the Parochial Advisory Committee (set up to take on some of our priest’s workload, so he can spend more time cooking and walking on the hills) – a lad of 16. He used the church’s youth orchestra, and a youth choir whose average age was about 10. The readings were done by the wrinklies, as indeed I sang the opening anthem with the orchestra behind me and the organiser blowing his own trumpet, literally.

    As well as a selection of hymns, Bible readings, prayers and something from Pope Francis, each section dwelt on the Works of Mercy, familiar to all Catholics, and how they relate to recent events:

    1. To feed the hungry – there was a piece about St Mother Teresa.
    2. To give drink to the thirsty – building a water tank in Ethiopia to relieve an El Nino drought.
    3. To clothe the naked – warm clothes for children in Vietnam.
    4. To shelter the homeless – a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon housing 1.8 million displaced people.
    5. To visit the sick – taking communion to the sick who can no longer come to Mass (this was read out by two very small boys of primary school age who had only just learnt to read)
    6. To bury the dead – the memorial of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
    7. To visit the imprisoned – St Pope John Paul’s visit to the man who attempted to assassinate him.
    8. The charity to which collections were going – in this case to provide music to prisoners, as part of a rehabilitation project.

    I accept that all sorts of important things are discussed by important people in the Vatican, but is it right for the media to dismiss what is going on in the parishes as of no consequence?

    • pobjoy

      There are supposedly Protestant cults that are far more credible than
      the Vatican’s. But they are of diminished use, politically, so they
      receive little attention in the media.

      • jeremy Morfey

        Quite so, and since Vatican II, the Catholic Church recognises their value. Only a couple of months ago, we were asked at Mass to support a service led by the Salvation Army in a recently opened evangelical church in the industrial estate, and very good it was too.

        • pobjoy

          Quite so

          So a Catholic agrees that there are Protestant cults whose members are far more credible Christians than the Vatican’s. So a Catholic agrees that his cult, despite its factual and logical incoherence, receives attention in the media because it is of essentially political nature, rather than valid for religious reasons.

          Can one be a Catholic, and sane?

          • jeremy Morfey

            Can one who writes so maliciously and full of trickery be a Christian?

            Catholics believe in the universality of the Christian faith, and it was with sorrow that some created schisms and separated from the body of the apostolic church. We have moved on since the Reformation though, and as someone who was a child during Vatican II, I actually think the various churches challenging one another, and being ready to step in and hold the cross while another falters and stumbles, is a positive thing.

            It goes on. I once went to a Baptist chapel, founded without hierarchy so that the congregation could claim responsibility and control over Christ’s mission when the Trentine Catholic Church was becoming increasingly authoritarian, merciless and distant. Yet in this chapel, the Pastor did everything – introduced the service, read the lessons, made two sermons, greeted people, re-ordered the church hall over-ruling the elders and sang the hymns, and the congregation sat there like lemons scowling at one another. In my Catholic Church, where the priest claims ownership of the parish, his natural humility, some consider laziness, gives little jobs for very many people – greeting the people coming in, three different people reading the lessons and another the psalm and the bidding prayers, a group serving the altar and holding the candles, another organising the collections and the counting, and a committee to advise the priest on forthcoming events and the running of the church, and The Peace, which we are all invited to do, means that nobody is allowed to be ill at ease with each other before receiving Communion.

            The Salvation Army puts both churches to shame by their relentless work with down-and-outs. Why shoudn’t I, a Catholic, offer them credit for this?

          • pobjoy

            Can one who writes so maliciously and full of trickery be a Christian?

            Indeed! I’m sure that nobody takes a Catholic’s claim seriously, though.

            Catholics believe in the universality of the Christian faith.

            That means that any who call themselves Christians are Christians? Or what?

            The Salvation Army puts both churches to shame by their relentless work with down-and-outs.

            But none of these are Christians, so do address the points made.

          • jeremy Morfey

            ???

          • pobjoy

            Catholics believe in the universality of the Christian faith.

            That means that any who call themselves Christians are Christians? Or what?

          • jeremy Morfey

            So the New Testament teaches, yes they are. It all started in Acts 11:26, over a year when Paul and Barnabas led a church in Antioch.

            Not all Christians are good Christians, as history well shows. In fact, very few if any have spotless consciences, and many Christians have long believed that after death, we come to the seat of judgement, where our lives are taken into account. Catholics believe, as I do from a different perspective, that prayers for the departed are helpful to improve the prospects of a life being considered favourably in heaven. For me, the love they leave behind is pivotal. Love is transferable, and even the worst sinner can be offered love, and hopefully might gain the grace to receive it. That is salvation.

          • pobjoy

            So the New Testament teaches, yes they are.

            Every NT writer except James warned of people who called themselves followers of Christ, but were ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’.

            So you might as well stop posting now, Mr Morfey.

          • jeremy Morfey

            Are you threatening me, or ordering me? By what authority?

          • pobjoy

            😉 Threatening? I’m not a Catholic.

    • davidofkent

      The media to a large extent reflect society. Religions that depend upon the insight of the individual rather than the accident of birth are sinking fast. Islam and Hinduism which rely almost entirely on being borne into the adherent’s family are surviving because of nothing more than the birthrate. Islam attracts converts, to be sure, but very few from Western society, thank goodness. Hinduism probably receives few converts, though I’m not sure about that. Christianity is only growing (marginally) in Catholic countries where birth control is discouraged, but as a religion it is largely irrelevant, though its philosophy is still regarded highly. The Pope’s virtue-signalling won’t really impress anybody since he will simply hand over the refugees to somebody else to deal with.

      • jeremy Morfey

        About 50 years ago, Hinduism did bag one of England’s most famous popular guitarists as a convert.

  • pobjoy

    we were asked at Mass to support a service led by the Salvation Army in a recently opened evangelical church

    It is well known that evangelicals regard each and every Catholic as in need of the gospel of peace as much as a Hindu, Muslim or atheist. This is because every Catholic is without peace; no-one who has a priest can have peace.

    So if there is truth in the above claim, and it’s not unusual, the church referred to is not evangelical. There are many today who have taken up the Jesuit ploy, started in the 1980s, of pretending to be evangelicals.

    • jeremy Morfey

      I looked up the Eden Church just now, and could not find anything to suggest that they were anything but an unaligned evangelical church, and most definitely Protestant. When I went there, they passed judgement on nobody – they did things in their own way, and people take them or leave them on that basis. They must have invited the Sally Army over because they come with a ready-made band. I don’t think they even knew what a priest was.

      • pobjoy

        evangelical church, and most definitely Protestant

        In that case, they believe that Catholics need Christian mission, as all evangelicals believe.

        • jeremy Morfey

          Certainly they do, but where the Catholic church is sound, they are wasting their time, since Catholics provide their own Christian mission. Very often though, the evangelicals keep Catholics on their toes.

          • pobjoy

            The word ‘evangelical’ is not one that ‘evangelicals’ apply to themselves. They regard only themselves as Christians, and everyone else as unjustified, until and unless they commit their lives to Christ. That of course means that they cannot do as the world does, and indeed, as almost every Western Catholic does, these days. Western Catholics are often less acceptable people than the average, because they need a semblance of piety to cover their evils.

          • jeremy Morfey

            All Catholics are Christians, but not all Christians are Catholics. I do not recognise the foible, coming from certain US sects perhaps, that cannot describe Catholics as Christians. It is patently untrue and unfair and betrays a lack of grace on the part of those who insist on doing this. It also makes unnecessary conflicts within the Christian community, and is therefore most unwelcome.

            As I said before, I would not have been baptised a Christian Catholic in middle age, were it not for the change of heart presented by Vatican II. I chose the Catholic Church on my journey to Christ because I love their rituals, their deep and long history of thoughtfulness, their sense of beauty, of family, their respect for life and marriage, and that there are Catholic churches all over the world I can relate to. I feel a delicious sense of naughtiness saying the Hail Mary, and I find a grand patriarch in Rome rather nice, but then I like the Queen too. I did not give up my affection for my village church, which is Church of England (I wound its clock over Easter), and I reconciled myself eventually to the Methodists, one of whom divorced me most cruelly and cut me off from my children just to indulge her own adultery and sense of self-righteousness. It was a Methodist church that provided a cheap meal and companionship on a Saturday night, ostensibly to keep me out of the pub, but it helped me in the dark early days of marital separation living alone in a Birmingham bedsit.

            In my town, in a different building to the Eden Church, is a pretty little newly-rebuilt church, just completed a month or two ago, which calls itself an Evangelical Church. One of their rituals is to be first up the hill at dawn on Easter morning to see in the risen Christ. Catholics tend to cheat a little and do this late the night before.

            Your last paragraph is meaningless gibberish to me. I cannot make head or tail of it.

          • pobjoy

            All Catholics are Christians

            A Christian is one who has a christ, a saviour and therefore lord, because justified by faith. A Catholic goes to Mass sacrifice in order to be justified, by works. A Catholic is therefore by definition not ‘in Christ’.

            You must commit your whole life to Christ in gratitude for atonement, or go to eternal perdition. And you know that.

          • jeremy Morfey

            A Catholic feels the presence of Christ at the ritual of the last supper, and thus feels empowered and encouraged to live out Christ’s mission in life. Salvation is the capacity to receive and to give out love. Without love, faith is just an empty banging gong.

            Your made-up “definition” of Christianity is as weird as the current legal definition of “marriage”. A slave has a lord and master; Christians have free will, and are entrusted to make best use of it.

          • pobjoy

            A Catholic feels the presence of Christ at the ritual of the last supper

            Catholics seem to be set on edge by their Mass. They have emerged from Mass to curse, blaspheme and engage in thuggery. So put your fantasy away.

          • jeremy Morfey

            Here speaks the judge who condemns millions without trial and without evidence.

          • pobjoy

            But you know it’s all true, anyway.

          • jeremy Morfey

            How do you know what I know?

          • Holy God we praise Thy Name

            No one really cares.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            You have the effrontery to speak for everyone on the planet. But let’s examine this statement. You don’t care. You’re a nobody. QED, nobody cares.

          • Holy God we praise Thy Name

            No, seriously, you’re just not worth it. Hence the fact no one cares. No one. Get over it.

    • JabbaPapa

      This is because every Catholic is without peace; no-one who has a priest can have peace.

      Risible.

      • Sanctimony

        A priest is a plague on reason …..

        • pobjoy

          Two priests are a plague.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Is the truth about the 9/11 attacks finally starting to come out? Don’t miss next week’s exciting instalment.

  • Burt Valance

    I was visiting Ilkley recently and entered an appallingly re-ordered Church and confessed to a priest who had the dubious honour of offering Jimmy Saville’s funeral Mass. The Church remained empty as I spoke my miserable sins. Even though the year of mercy is a great idea, this papacy is proving a struggle for me. Francis breaks too many hearts with the sheer ugliness of his religiosity.

  • Holy God we praise Thy Name

    The divorced are losers. The divorced who remarry are desperate losers. Both are laughable specimens, just that the latter are beyond ridiculous. Everyone knows this. Fact.

  • Pip

    The Pope is merely a figure head of the RCC which is in reality a corrupt organised crime sect that is one of the leading instruments of the NWO Globalist elite.

    • carl jacobs

      You forgot to mention that the Pope is a shape-shifting alien from Andromeda.

      • Pip

        Nope he is not but he serves something similar.

      • JabbaPapa

        shape-shifting alien Marxist from Andromeda, you fool !!

        • Sanctimony

          Gratuitous abuse…

  • Rosemary58

    I’m late to your party, again! Here’s something that might re-balance your commentary:

    https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2016/04/23/reflections-on-amoris-laetitia/

  • Dr. Robert Brown

    “But, as one priest-theologian told me, ‘Let’s be honest, no one actually reads these documents.’”

    Which fact is guaranteed by documents that go on and on and on. It also ensures that the secular media will mediate whatever knowledge most Catholics will have of it.

  • Paolo Pagliaro

    Damian Thompson, wake up, please: the hermeneutics favored by Bergoglio is the progressive one, as you can read in his dear fellows’ commentaries – like Spadaro’s, Kasper’s, Snachez’s, etc.
    The document ambiguity is there on purpose: cfr. Bruno Forte’s gossip of a week ago.
    Wake up!

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