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The Heart of Bergoglio Print E-mail
By Robert Royal   
Wednesday, 02 October 2013

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica released a new interview with Pope Francis yesterday, probably timed to coincide with his meeting over three days this week with the eight cardinals (“G-8”) he selected to advise him on reforming the Curia and the governance of the Church. As in the past, he uses phrases that make you worry – as well as think. And unfortunately, it’s looking more and more like he will continue to do that as long as he’s pope. But what emerged most notably in this interview was his wisdom of heart, sapientia cordis, which, it seems, can reach even the most settled skeptic.

Let’s get two of those troubling phrases out of the way. The first might be just a quibble. In conversation with Eugenio Scalfari, a noted Italian journalist who is also a well-known non-believer (but addressed several questions to the pope in a column), Francis denies at the start that he’s trying to convert him, because “Proselytism is solemn nonsense.” This is a perilous way to express a real truth.

Most ordinary people won’t be able to distinguish between what Francis is talking about – an overbearing proselytism – and a proper effort to convert. The Prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus, the Apostles, and innumerable great spiritual figures throughout history all seem to have undertaken the latter – “repent and believe the Good News.” Most people will see this as the pope saying it’s fine to believe whatever they like.

In fact, he says that, more or less: “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight the evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”

This, of course, is not true. Nazis, racists, abortionists, eugenicists, promoters of euthanasia, jihadists and terrorists of all kinds, and various other unfortunate human types all believe they’re right. They’re wrong. And no one in his right mind, let alone the pope, wants them to follow their own conception of good and evil. It won’t make the world a better place.

Such statements are ill formulated. Pope Francis meant to say by the first – and illustrates the point beautifully in the interview – that, at least in certain situations, it does no good to start out by arguing with people. There’s a need to establish a human contact, to understand one another, for a certain human trust to emerge, especially with people who think they already know all they need to about Christianity.

And the second assertion was meant, to put it more precisely, as saying that people need to be encouraged to look more deeply and to act more fully on what they believe to be the Truth. Presumably, Francis is thinking of persons of ordinary good will, as well as hoping that those with faulty, but not irremediable views will come to greater sense of the right and true.

In the flow of the moment, he didn’t get either exactly right – as has often now been the case when he’s thinking on his feet, which he admits he’s not comfortable doing. Yet what he did may be even more important.


Most of what he says about the Church, poverty, mission, women, etc., has been said before and will no doubt occupy most of the commentary to come. But it gets interesting when he turns to Scalfari himself, once a believer, and asks:

you, a secular non-believer in God, what do you believe in? You are a writer and a man of thought. You believe in something, you must have a dominant value. Dont answer me with words like honesty, seeking, the vision of the common good, all important principles and values but that is not what I am asking. I am asking what you think is the essence of the world, indeed the universe. You must ask yourself, of course, like everyone else, who we are, where we come from, where we are going. Even children ask themselves these questions. And you?

That seems an eruption of the real fire at the heart of Jorge Bergoglio, compared to which the verbal slips dissolve like a morning mist. And he got to the heart of Scalfari, who had said earlier when he read Descartes’ “I think therefore I am,” his faith slowly evaporated. 

Now, Francis, who knows a bit of philosophy, replied that Descartes never denied “faith in a transcendent God.” Which is true. He also told Scalfari that he has a soul – whether he believes that or not. And that his soul is touched by grace, even as an unbeliever. So much for not proselytizing or seeking to convert.

But even more remarkably, after the questions in the long passage quoted above, the pope gets Scalfari to say what he believes in: Being. And what is this Being? Scalfari delivers himself of this rodomontade:

Being is a fabric of energy. Chaotic but indestructible energy and eternal chaos. Forms emerge from that energy when it reaches the point of exploding. The forms have their own laws, their magnetic fields, their chemical elements, which combine randomly, evolve, and are eventually extinguished but their energy is not destroyed. Man is probably the only animal endowed with thought, at least in our planet and solar system. I said that he is driven by instincts and desires but I would add that he also contains within himself a resonance, an echo, a vocation of chaos.
So there it is, out in the open. There’s one expression of the knotted modern explanation of man and the universe. Compared to that, Baroque theological disputes look warm, cheerful, and inviting.

Read the whole interview. The human interactions are splendid and the final result sheer delight. I’m willing to bet Eugenio Scalfari never thought that in his declining years he’d be drawn into an interchange like this, which will stay with him forever now – and with us.

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the Westnow available in paperback from Encounter Books.
 
 
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

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Comments (51)Add Comment
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written by DS, October 01, 2013
I would simply remove the letters "un" from the word "unfortunately" in the first paragraph.
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written by Beddoo, October 01, 2013
I know conservatives are quaking in their boots about this stuff. but I think at the end of the day this is going to be a far more effective approach for the world we live in than pb 16.
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written by Gabe, October 01, 2013
In fact, he says that, more or less: “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight the evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”

This, of course, is not true.

Sorry Mr. Royal but I have to differ with you. Francis is quite correct. Yes, there are people in the world who genuinely believe evil is good and good is evil. They become this way through hardened habitual evildoing.

But there are also much larger set of people who are not able to heed their consciences. My friend works with many women who have had abortions for instance who knew what they were doing was wrong at the time and never stopped thinking so, even though they might have rationalized it for years. They caved into pressure from family, the boyfriend, work, financial fears etc. These people did not follow their consciences. If they had things would have turned out differently. Sin is often like that.

What Pope Francis is absolutely correct and quite in keeping with the Christian moral tradition. That an American Catholic conservative could not say: “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight the evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place,” without eliding it with dozens of qualifications and caveats says more about the effect of the culture war on the modern American Catholic mind than anything else.

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written by Michael Paterson-Seymour, October 02, 2013
If, as St Paul teaches, the purpose of the Law is conviction of sin, the Holy Father’s exhortation to follow one’s own conscience (even erroneous) is a sound strategy, for, as Lord Macaulay pointed out, “no man in the world acts up to his own standard of right” and any sincere attempt to do so will show the need for the Physician. This is how the pagan world was converted in the first centuries.
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written by Deacon Rick, October 02, 2013
"I think, therefore, I am. I also love, therefore I am His.
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written by Avery Tödesulh, October 02, 2013
Yep, the more I read of him, the more I think this Francis could be making B-movies with Donald O'Connor!
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written by Sir Mark, October 02, 2013
Oh, for goodness sake, Beddo. Conservatives are not shaking in their boots. Is this how you follow Pope Francis's advice of showing agape?
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written by Jacob, October 02, 2013
I'm looking for commentary on how it's the fault of people who attend Latin Mass that Jose always sounds like Nancy Pelosi whenever he opens his mouth.

Are there any other orthodox folk Jose hasn't demonized while giving a pass to baby murderers? I just want to make sure he gets all of us, so Christ will be proud that we suffered for orthodoxy under a heretic pope.
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written by Jacob, October 02, 2013
Beddoo,

Do you have any proof of your fantasy?

It's ok to demonize the orthodox because Pope Francis, maybe, hopefully might bring new people to the Church like Saint JPII, who never had to be a heretic and please leftists to do it?
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written by Robert Royal, October 02, 2013
Gabe: I made your main point in paragraph 7 of this column, trying to bring out what Francis meant while still pointing to the potentially misleading nature of his words. So exactly why are you telling me and others that I haven't said what I've already said?

Others are now claiming that the problem is translation. As an Italian speaker my entire adult life, I'd caution anyone about making this move. No translation is ever perfect. And the Vatican's are usually quite bad, even when "five experts" have allegedly gone over them. But that excuse does not touch the heart of the matter in these controversies.

The truth is Francis has an exquisite way of touching souls. As a speaker, he's often vague and much in need of further clarification. I think the Church can get used to both.
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written by GKC, October 02, 2013
I definitely agree he needs to clarify the "conscience" thing (and this is where the precision of Benedict is so missed). But to use some parlance of the day, this guy gots it going on. I loved the interview. It was indeed engrossing, and one can see how infectious the man can be, the way he drew Scalfari into the "web." Though myself a very conservative Catholic, I hate the label, and this conservative-liberal distinction is tiring and inaptly put. After the clear teaching and clarification that JPII and Benedict put with regards to how Vatican II should be interpreted, Francis is acting on it. This is a great day and time to be Catholic
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written by Jack,CT, October 02, 2013
Thanks Mr Royal,
perhaps the NEED for explanations
of what the Holy Father is saying all the time is
the problem?
But we have resourses like this site to help, thank
God!
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written by Rich in MN, October 02, 2013
Mr. Royal,
Thank you so very much for putting my mind more at ease. When you were on Raymond Arroyo's "The World Over" last week, you articulated concerns that I know many people -- including myself -- are having. Your reflection today gives me a real sense of relief and a renewed conviction that our Holy Father is "dumb like a fox." While it may not be very pleasant for us to be deluged by papal soundbites being spun out of context by the MSM, it is nice to hear that there is, in fact, an orthodox pastoral context out of which they are being spun.
Thank you.
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written by Walter, October 02, 2013
@Jacob - I can understand your discomfort with the Pope's comments and style, but how exactly has he Pope demonized orthodox believers?
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written by Bill Hocter, October 02, 2013
Robert-I agree with your last comment here. I think that Pope Francis communicates frequently and vigorously enough to provide the clarification that will be necessary. I find myself waking up in the morning wondering what he'll say next!
My very general take on our last 3 popes has been that John Paul and Benedict were very kind, holy popes who emphasized orthodoxy. Francis appears to be a very holy, orthodox pope who emphasizes kindness. We’ve been greatly blessed in all 3 of them. I think Francis is the right man for the time. I do think he will continue to make us conservatives uncomfortable, which as I gleaned from Mr. Beckwith's recent article "Am I the Prodigal Son's Brother?" is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, when the banquet starts, we'd all like to be on the inside.
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written by Ben h, October 02, 2013
I believe that people are trying to put a better translation together. The previous interview was carefully translated from the original to get the same meaning but I think this translation was provided by the newspaper so it does not necessarily capture the nuance of what the Pope is saying in some instances.
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written by Mary Anne, October 02, 2013
Dumb like a fox. That's perfect. I've had siblings born and raised catholic who have left the church years ago asking me many questions lately. All because of Pope Francis. Love love LOVE our new pope! Maybe he is also trying to get us, who think we have so much figured out, to dig a little deeper, huh? Smart like a fox!
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written by dbwheeler, October 02, 2013
Yes, indeed! The Jesuits all tend to be smart like foxes, and little chicken that I am, have always mistrusted cleverness posing as wisdom. Just read what's happening in Jesuit schools and colleges. "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom' and sometimes it is far better to say nothing.
There was an old owl who lived in an oak,
the more he heard the less he spoke,
the less he spoke the more he heard,
now why can't we be like that wise old bird."
"Silence is golden'
Jesus told us to be as wily as serpents, not smart as foxes. As the pope asks of all of us, pray for him.
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written by Beth, October 02, 2013
Thanks for this article--I need help understanding where Pope Francis is going sometimes but I am willing, if not a bit hesitant, to follow.
As a mother of eight children and a catechist at the parish, his comment discussion about each individual's understanding of 'good and evil' made me stop in my tracks. My thought is that he assumes that each individual has had a thorough formation--as a Jesuit, for instance. Unfortunately, the number of Catholics who have had solid formation has dwindled to a slow drip. I have been criticized by aging baby boomers for using the Baltimore Catechism to teach my children the faith. Did anyone notice he asked these very same questions to the interviewer? Who made you? Why? What for? My response to those who question my use of the Balt. Cat. is this, "You at least got the answer to the question. Children for the past 50 years have never even been asked the question."

We have failed to raise our children in the faith; parents as well as the Church. Please Holy Father, in your insistence that we let go of the solemn nonsense and follow our own sense of good and evil, teach us who made us and why.
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written by WSquared, October 02, 2013
when he read Descartes’ “I think therefore I am,” his faith slowly evaporated.

All well and good, but what does it mean to think (especially given that post-modernism has given us examples of thought that actually inhibit thought)?

Everyone uses his reason; the more interesting question is to what purpose, which rather begs the question of how and what one thinks, and what one thinks with.
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written by Thomas Collick, October 02, 2013
Please do not try to say you know "what the Pope meant to say." I believe he said exactly what he meant and I applaud him for it as it brings the Church back to its roots in Jesus. The first role of the church is to love, unconditionally. then we let God work through us to perform what He wants done. since many want to judge so much and make excuses, it is no wonder why the miracles of old do not occur any more as people are not willing to let God work through them and instead want God to do as they say.
Do not attack the priests or pope ad They are representatives of Christ and Jesus take affront for it.
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written by Brian English, October 02, 2013
"My very general take on our last 3 popes has been that John Paul and Benedict were very kind, holy popes who emphasized orthodoxy. Francis appears to be a very holy, orthodox pope who emphasizes kindness. We’ve been greatly blessed in all 3 of them. I think Francis is the right man for the time."

Can we wait a little bit before we declare him equivalent in orthodoxy to JPII and B16? We do know that in the 2005 election he was the progressive alternative to Benedict; we also know that the crew at America, as well as their exiled leader Reese, are giddy with excitement about his performance; and we also know that he keeps giving these interviews where he says cryptic things that many orthodox Catholics find alarming.

I know some try to excuse Francis' statements by claiming they are "nuanced" or require "deep reflection", but I think he should really save that for an encyclical. The general public is not going to meditate on Francis' words in these interviews, so he should say what he means and mean what he says.
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written by Tony Esolen, October 02, 2013
I'm beginning to notice something, for what it's worth. It is that orthodox Catholics, or many of them at least, are attempting to understand Pope Francis' words in the most charitable way, and in a spirit of docility. That was certainly not the case with liberal Catholics, when Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict spoke.
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written by Ted Seeber, October 02, 2013
This interview was not for the general public, it was a prayer for the salvation of one man.
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written by Bill Hocter, October 02, 2013
Brian-I don't think that to "wait a little bit" is an unreasonable stance. I do suspect that the giddiness in some circles will pass. Francis, as Jesus sometimes did when he explained his parables, may also have to speak more plainly at times. As you suggest though, it's still pretty early on in his papacy.

Cheers,

Bill
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written by Rich in MN, October 02, 2013
Beth,
I understand exactly your concern. In the run up to last November's election, I had someone come to my door petitioning for "marriage equality." Noticing a cross on my front door, he identified himself as a devout Lutheran. When I tried to explain to him that I believe children need both a mother and a father, and that God did not design the male sex organ to be placed in another male's derrier -- regardless of how sincere those two men feel about each other or about that act -- I was accused of trying to establish a "theocracy" and of "being high." And this was on the front porch of my very own home. This man was 100% sure that he was promoting good and opposing evil, and what I believed was pretty much Taliban ethics in Christian garb. People of his ilk might take comfort in Pope Francis' recent soundbites. However, we must keep in mind that this Pope is the same person who had described same sex marriage as a machination of the Prince of Lies and, very recently, said that each unborn child bears the image of Christ. I guess I hold onto statements like that as being "reference points" by which to understand his perspective on key moral truths. I pray regularly that this is the 'endgame' that he is keeping in mind with his current 'gambits.' (Sorry, too much chess in my youth....)
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written by Chris in Maryland, October 02, 2013
Amen & Amen to what Brian E and Tony E just posted, and especially to what Tony E just posted.

Self-styled "liberal" Catholic bishops, priests and laity indulged themselves in using The Mass and other parts of "their forum" to openly undermine, criticize and mock JP2 and B16. They were running a close contest with the sedevacantists as to who could smear more.
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written by Mary Anne, October 02, 2013
He's attracting those who have otherwise closed themselves off to the faith. He has everyone's attention. He's ministering to those who would otherwise not listen to a word from any Catholic, much less a pope. He is not condoning or advocating anything against Church doctrine, scripture, tradition. Maybe we can learn from his technique? Pull them in and save the dying souls? Boy, Jesus is sure stirring up the pot, isnt He?!
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written by Louise, October 02, 2013
I really think the Holy Father is pointing out the difference between "trying to convert" and "witnessing to the Gospel". It's more than semantics but a mindset that the Holy Father is challenging. That he gives us a very clear example of what he means by what he does in the interview is most helpful.
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written by Romulus, October 02, 2013
To declare that God became incarnate in Jesus Christ so that all men can discover their common brotherhood is something I'd expect from the mouth of a freemason.

To declare that a spark of the divine is in every person is something I'd expect from a pantheist.

Neither of these statements has any translation difficulties. Both lack the ring of orthodoxy, to say the least.

This is not a communications gaffe. Something's seriously wrong.
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written by Walter, October 02, 2013
"Can we wait a little bit before we declare him equivalent in orthodoxy to JPII and B16?"

This is an utterly conservative Protestant ecclesiology.

Perhaps I can also appoint myself to the orthodoxy tribunal.
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written by Patricia, October 02, 2013
Be aware that in English there are serious mistakes, like the Son incarnate IN the souls...I would also like to understand what the Pope meant with going back to what John and Paul tried though the council in terms of embracing Modernity. I thought some aspects of Gaudium et spes were outdated. Finally, it is neither accurate nor fair to ignore what JP II and Benedict did for ecumenism.Please, explain.
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written by Brian English, October 02, 2013
"This is an utterly conservative Protestant ecclesiology."

So then go complain about it on all the boards where Francis' defenders are insisting that he is just as orthodox as JPII or B16.

"Perhaps I can also appoint myself to the orthodoxy tribunal."

You are seriously taking the position that laypeople cannot form a legitimate opinion as to whether one member of the clergy is more or less orthodox than another?

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written by Walter, October 02, 2013
@Brian English. Yes, I am seriously taking that position. I think the problem is that people confuse orthodoxy with tradition. Francis is orthodox, though in many ways non-traditional.

In the Catholic faith, doctrinal orthodoxy is the responsibility of the episocpate, in union with the Pope. Lay persons can form opinions, but they are meaningless.
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written by senex, October 02, 2013
The purpose of speech, formal and informal, is to communicate—accurately and clearly. Say what you, and mean what you say. As the many comments indicate, people are writing hundreds of words trying to explain and explain away what the pope meant by what he said.

I side with Mr. Royal’s comment last week that the pope needs to measure his words more carefully before he speaks. He is on the world stage now, not sitting in a room with a friend speaking one to one and expecting it will remain just between them.

As some commentators above have remarked, acting in accord with their conscience is a duty, but they fail to recognize that the proper formation of conscience is a perquisite. Invincible ignorance may take one off the hook, but otherwise, a faulty conscience is not an excuse. Read the Catechism 1776-1794. Some may want to revise their position.
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written by Hay-looo!, October 02, 2013
Dr. Royal, you were wonderful on The World Over recently. You made it clear that while Francis has the best intentions, his way of expressing them are less that what we need to hear.

Frankly, I can't take much more of this off-the-cuff commentary from the Pope. If he admits that he does not express himself well "on his feet", then he might consider writing. This misspeaking is becoming an almost-daily event that requires an army of interpreters to wade through it. I see that you, Dr. Royal, have become yet another one of them assigned this thankless task. Francis seems to be happy with his vernacular, so let it stand as it is, without interpretation or inferring a meaning from it that perhaps he does not intend. He is a grown man who can explain himself; he also should see the consequences of his words. We are doing no one a favor, not even Francis, by doing the Limbo to explain his words as he lowers the bar.
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written by James, October 02, 2013
I did appreciate the Holy Father's comment about liberalism -

"Personally I think so-called unrestrained liberalism only makes the strong stronger and the weak weaker and excludes the most excluded. We need great freedom, no discrimination, no demagoguery and a lot of love. We need rules of conduct and also, if necessary, direct intervention from the state to correct the more intolerable inequalities."

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written by Brian English, October 02, 2013
"Francis is orthodox"

So you have appointed yourself to the orthodoxy tribunal? Congratulations!

"In the Catholic faith, doctrinal orthodoxy is the responsibility of the episocpate, in union with the Pope."

They are certainly the ones who are supposed to teach it and safeguard it.

"Lay persons can form opinions, but they are meaningless."

Perhaps to you, but if your parish priest got up on Sunday and announced that Jesus was not God, but just a really great guy, and that He did not physically rise from the dead, you actually believe you and the others in the Church are incapable of forming a valid opinion that that priest is not orthodox?
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written by Bob Rowland, October 02, 2013
I appreciate your cogent remarks on World Over and your discussion about Pope Francis. Ever since my conversion in 1949, I have been and still am a strong defender of the Magisterium and the infallible doctrines of the Councils of Trent and Vatican I. I feel justified in continuing to follow them because VCII did say that it changed no doctrine. So long as I am following them, I don't really care what anyone says a bout me, and I suspect Pope Francis is somewhat like that – the way he plays to those ho knows will do everything in their power to distort and twist his meaning. I am sure, those most devoted to the Church feel abandoned, but I am not one of those. As for the impact of his words on me, at 86 I no one is more set in their devotion practices. Don't expect any change from me.
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written by Sherry, October 02, 2013
Thank you so very much, Mr. Royal, for this article as well as for your interview on The World Over. I am so grateful for The Catholic Thing for its outstanding columnists and content.

"The Interviews" have been difficult for me to digest. However, I value your insights, as well as the insights of other writers of The Catholic Thing, and it has helped me to
come to a place of peace.

The website, "Catholic Education Resource Center" (CERC) has four key analyses of "the interviews" which are excellent - yours, Cardinal George's,
Archbishop Chaput's, and Janet Smith. Taken as a whole, they provide a broad perspective which to me was invaluable. Actually, this weekly summary of key articles is terrific for "one-stop shopping" for highlights of the week.
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written by DeGaulle, October 02, 2013
I'm a bit traditional and find some of Pope Francis' statements disconcerting. This seems a common reaction. However, people of traditional and conservative views are least likely to abandon the Church, so maybe we'll just have to grin and bear it. I do think Francis is orthodox-one only concerned with ingratiating himself with the liberals would not comment so freely about the Devil, the ultimate 'primitive superstition' mocked by the liberals within and without the Church. It seems a risky strategy, this attempting to catch the curious in his net, but the world is in such a state perhaps these risks are needed and what the Holy Spirit has inspired? We should all pray.
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written by Jack,CT, October 02, 2013
@Sherry;thx so much for the information
it will help me a great deal.
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written by Walter, October 02, 2013
@Brian, Francis is orthodox not because I say so, but because the designated bishops with the responsibility (ie, cardinals) elected him. Not a single bishop anywhere in the world has even remotely suggested that Francis has gone beyond the bounds of orthodoxy. They are the ones with the authority. It's a ludicrous suggestion.

And, sure, if your priest preaches that way, walk out. But report him to your bishop, because it's ultimately his responsibility - not yours - to determine what happened, to discipline the priest, to protect his flock and to decide whether to ask Rome to defrock him.
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written by Pay, October 02, 2013
Walter,
The Pope spoke against clericalism. Please take note.
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written by Grump, October 02, 2013
To paraphrase Churchill, if the Pope is someday forced to eat his words I hope he does not get indigestion.
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written by Walter, October 02, 2013
@Pay. I am far from a clericalist and agree that our day-to-day focus should not be on the hierarchy of the Church. However, when a Pope's orthodoxy is questioned -- a most serious charge and a needless distraction -- it should be stated clearly where the authority in such matters rests, and that is with the episcopate.
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written by Carlos Caso-Rosendi, October 02, 2013
Jesus did not send us to convert people. He sent us to the nations to be His witnesses, to live the Gospel and be a model for others of what a citizen of the Kingdom of the Heavens looks like. Proselytizing never worked because there is no material advantage to becoming a bearer of the Cross. The mystery of conversion is an inner move of the Holy Spirit brought about by our witness of the good news of Jesus Christ. Witness, yes. Proselytizing, no. We are in this to gain souls for Christ, not simply to fill in the pews with warm bodies. That is the meaning of the candlelight Mass during Easter. We are to set hearts on fire and for that purpose we have to be on fire ourselves and bear witness.
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written by StatVeritas, October 03, 2013
Dr. Royal you, and others like you need to STOP reinterpreting what Francis says.
Francis meant what he said and what he said is NOT CATHOLIC.
Your problem is that you can't handle the truth and the truth is Francis is NOT talking like the Vicar of Christ.
What he said to Scalfari about Proselytism and let me quote him, this is what Francis said: "Convert you? Proselytism is solemn nonsense."
I'm sorry but this is NOT CATHOLIC especially if it comes from the Pope.
And I must ask you where do you leave Christ command to go and make disciples of all nations Mathew 28:19-20? And what about the various times Christ talked about conversion Mark 1:15, Matthew 26:75, Luke 8:2, and then we have St. Paul Acts 9:1-19, Romans 1:16-17, 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, Galatians 2:20, Galatians 3:26-29
What about the Catholic missionaries like Francis Xavier, men and women who through the centuries have gone to different lands to take the Gospel to the heathens, and to all kinds of non-believers loosing their very lives in the name of that great commission given by Christ himself?
Tell me where do you and Francis leave all these missionaries who have converted so many to Catholicism?
One more question where was Christ in the interview?
I noticed Francis talked about God in a generic way, which gave me the impression he is not talking about the TRUE GOD the ONE AND ONLY GOD. The God of Catholics but instead Francis talks of an invented god made to please anyone and everyone.
And when he refers to Our Lord, the Bishop of Rome does it like the people of the Jesus Seminar Group did (remember them?). For them Jesus was only a man, He was NEVER GOD, and never FULLY GOD AND FULLY MAN and that's exactly how Francis came across when he talked of Jesus.
In my opinion the whole interview was very disturbing, in fact almost everything he has been saying since his election back in March of this year is very unsettling and Catholics should worry and pray because this is a grave matter.
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written by Brian English, October 03, 2013
"Francis is orthodox not because I say so, but because the designated bishops with the responsibility (ie, cardinals) elected him."

So papal electors are infallible? I don't think the Church's history backs you up on that one.

"Not a single bishop anywhere in the world has even remotely suggested that Francis has gone beyond the bounds of orthodoxy."

And as I stated in my post that started this exchange, I think it is too early to reach any definitive conclusions on Francis' orthodoxy. However, some of his statements, especially in the last interview, along with his joyous reception by the dissenters, is certainly cause for concern.
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written by eddie too, October 03, 2013
francis has affirmed Christ's life and teaching on every occasion in which He has addressed them in front of others.

it is a bit puzzling to have people who may not have given their life for the gospel, who many not have practiced the vows of poverty and obedience for over fity years, who may not have received theological training at the doctoral level, who may not have for the past fifty years given their life to the service of Christ, His Church and the salvation of souls, critize francis because his understanding and practice of the faith handed down to us by the successors of the apostles is not what they would like it to be.

such people are far more in the tradition of martin luther, henry VIII and others than they are in the tradition of catherine of siena, francis assisi, john vianney and so many others in Church history.

i do not understand why people are anxious, concerned or depressed about the fate of the Church. i believe Christ is with it to the end of time. if we are concerned about the words of francis we should take that as a sign that there is a great deal of room in our minds and hearts for our faith to grow.

no man knows and understands the totality of the faith and of the Church.
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written by eddie too, October 03, 2013
the detractors of francis appear to believe that others should believe as they believe, not as the Holy Father teaches.

i fail to see how this lends itself to the salvation of souls.

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