The Best Is Yet to Come for Catholicism

Some years ago I co-wrote with longtime Catholic journalist Russell Shaw a book entitled Good News, Bad News (still in print from Ignatius Press). It covers evangelization, conversion, and the crisis of faith, complete with many anecdotes of conversion, including those of well-known men and women.

On the one hand, as we all know, over the last several decades, a great many Catholics have left the faith. For most of us, this phenomenon hits close to home, with examples among family members.

On the other hand, many thousands over the last several decades have rejoined the Faith of their Fathers or have newly discovered the truth and beauty of Catholicism. Every Easter, large numbers are received into the Church and are some of the most fervent practitioners of the Faith. For example, in the United States in 2014, the Official Catholic Directory recorded 39,654 catechumens, baptized, confirmed, and receiving first Communion, and another 66,831 candidates who had already received valid baptisms in another church and who were received into full Communion with the Catholic Church.

This is a very good sign, although of course we need to add many more to that number. And in some ways today’s society should offer fertile ground for conversions. More and more people, including serious Christians from many faltering denominations and many Evangelicals, are realizing that only in the Church that Christ founded can one find the wholeness of the Lord’s teachings, safeguarded from erroneous interpretation. And only there can Christians find all that is necessary for salvation: that is, all the sacraments instituted by Christ to give grace.

Among these, the sacrament that produces most yearning in non-Catholic Christians who are approaching the Church is the Eucharist, the body and blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord. Outside the Church, they have no access to this sacrament that Our Lord, on the night before he died, entrusted to the apostles, who were the first priests and bishops. In many cases, other Christian faith groups do not even have a priesthood, and those that do, such as Episcopalians, do not have the unbroken apostolic succession necessary to confer the true Sacrament of Holy Orders.

One area of the world where the Church is flourishing is Africa, where converts are coming by the hundreds of thousands. The Church is also strong in parts of Poland and Hungary and, surprisingly, of late also in certain regions of France. Some of this is likely due to the realization of the danger that is on their doorstep in the form of Islam. They are also aware that unless they return to the fullness of the Church and its teaching on marriage and particularly being open to life, they will be overrun by Islam.

The Conversion of St. Augustine by Fra Angelico, c. 1430 [Musée des beaux-arts Thomas-Henry, Cherbourg-Octeville, France]
The Conversion of St. Augustine by Fra Angelico, c. 1430 [Musée des beaux-arts Thomas-Henry, Cherbourg-Octeville, France]

And of course the Catholic Church is growing in the Far East, including (despite difficult circumstances) in China. It is only the Catholic Church that produces a Mother Teresa of Calcutta – soon to be canonized and a great example of the power of holiness that comes from the teachings of the Church and its sacraments.

Another magnet to the Church for many people recently has been Pope Francis. Although his style may not be attractive to some Catholics, nonetheless he has made a big impact throughout the world, not only with Catholics but with the faithful members of the so-called Reformation.

There is much more to be done by all of us as faithful members of the Catholic faith, who are called to evangelize in some manner our family and friends, the people we work with, indeed all those we encounter. The best preparation for doing this is to take advantage of the grace of the sacraments. We should also ask the Holy Spirit to help us to be truly joyful in such a way that our happiness will draw people around us to the Church God founded.

We are engaged in a most important struggle for our country. Although waged on many fronts – including marriage and the family, assisted suicide, freedom of conscience, and abortion – all flow from a correct understanding of our all-wise and all-loving Creator’s plan for his Creation.

So our task in this new year is to continue to fight for the right to life from conception to natural death, with no exceptions. Second and very important is to once again be a country that recognizes marriage as solely the union of male and female, as it was from the beginning.

We should continue to pray that all Catholic educational institutions, from grammar school through high school and university, will be completely faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

As we know, coming up in this next year is a crucial presidential election in the United States, and for the first time in many years there are a good number of candidates who are clearly pro-life, pro-family, and pro-marriage. By the end of this year we will either have renewed reason for hope or even greater urgency about our need to convert our culture and its people.

Fr. C. John McCloskey III

Fr. C. John McCloskey III

Fr. C. John McCloskey is a Church historian and Non-Resident Research Fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute.

  • djt4412

    glad to have found this website.

  • Michael Dowd

    Most hopeful Fr. McCloskey. Let us pray that your vision comes to pass.

  • Donald P. Richmond

    Father McCloskey’s otherwise excellent article – most unfortunate in this month where Ut Unum Sint is encouraged – is compromised by his ill-informed Roman Catholic rhetoric. He writes “other Christian faith groups do not even have a priesthood, and those that do, such as Episcopalians, do not have the unbroken apostolic succession necessary to confer the true Sacrament of Holy Orders.” Unfortunately he is dead wrong. I have examined the “pedigree” of my Bishop, an Anglican Bishop, and through him I can trace my lineage to two Apostles. How very odd! An Anglican! But, of course, this is not the point. Although Father McCloskey’s emphasis upon evangelism is essential, he should understand that evangelists are not called to share “Catholicism,” but, far more importantly, Christ and His kingdom. To confuse these is to confound the message.
    -The Very Rev. Dr. Donald P. Richmond, OSA — Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches

    • Michael Randolph

      Episcopalians do in fact lack of true Sacrament of Holy Orders. For reference, please see the papal bull, “Apostolicae Curae – On the Nullity of Anglican Orders” promulgated September 18, 1896, by Pope Leo XIII.

    • GaryLockhart

      Donald, your “pedigree” flows through Henry VIII who was not a Catholic Bishop. Denying that tells us all we need to know about you and your protestant denomination.

    • Manfred

      Dr. Richmond:
      You might want to feview Pope Leo XIII’s APOSTOLICAE CURAE in which he declares Anglican orders to be “null”. The Council of Trent declared that only Roman Catholic priests have the charisms to confect the Eucharfist, and to forgive sins. The Anglican, and therefore Episcopalian clergy, have neithef and they are therefore not priests in any true sense.
      SAINTS Thomas Morfe and Bishop John Fisher were not martyred in vain!.

    • Dave Fladlien

      Dr. Richmond: I’m not a religion expert of any kind; I am a life-long Catholic who was taught in his Catholic high school that the Anglican Church does have valid priests and hence valid sacraments, provided there is an unbroken line of succession, as you indicate in your comments. I was in England recently on business, and stopped into St. Michael’s Southampton, where I encountered a tabernacle. I stopped and bowed before it out of my conviction that if there were any consecrated hosts present in that tabernacle, then I was in the direct presence of Jesus Christ. I’d do that again.

      I have a lot of respect for Pope St. Leo XIII, but I don’t have time to dig into this subject deeply and see what he actually wrote and in what context, so I won’t. I’ll just express the opinion that I don’t think Jesus turns His back on anyone who is trying to come to him.

      About Evangelization, I agree with you that the most important thing is to live and thereby proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but I don’t think that means we can ignore or minimize our very substantial differences. Until we can resolve those differences, I think we have to work together, treat each other as allies and friends, but also acknowledge the importance of our differences.

      Finally, as a Catholic who is a frequent reader of this site, I’m really glad you are reading and posting on this predominantly Catholic website. I hope you’ll continue.

      • James

        Leo XIII is neither beatified or canonized, but rest assured it was definitively declared during his pontificate that Anglican “orders” are not valid, and it was not deemed so without due diligence. The gloss of Catholicism we detect in Anglicanism and Episcopalianism is a relatively new phenomenon that emerged in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It is an affectation and disingenuous. Truly only “smells and bells.”

        • Dave Fladlien

          Thanks for the correction about Pope Leo. I do have a lot of respect for his thinking, though. Which doesn’t mean that I always agree.

          Unfortunately, all of my old course work from high school is locked away in storage over 500 miles from where I live, so if it is even usable anymore, it’s not easy to find, and I can’t say what the source of that concept was that many years ago. It is what I was taught.

          From a technical standpoint it’s possible you are right, though I had a very knowledgeable priest for a teacher in theology (appologetics as it was called then). But to me this isn’t a technical question. Ultimately it is God who makes the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and it is He who will decide it. He has a commitment to do so in the case of a validly ordained priest and will keep that commitment, but if a priest only thought he was validly ordained, but thought so for good reason, I am confident that Jesus will find a way to handle it. He isn’t a person who plays on technicalities, and that I think is the real point.

          • James

            Yes, Almighty God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — can do anything He wants, but He can’t make a square circle. God is Love, and He is Rational.

        • winslow

          “Affectation” is a word which suits Anglicans perfectly.

    • John II

      Well, as a Catholic Christian I don’t buy into your peculiar umbrage, but I think the scare-quotes you attach to “Catholicism” are appropriate. Near as I can tell, Fr. McCloskey doesn’t use that term in the text of his short piece; its appearance in the title may be the work of an anonymous editor.

      I’ve never been all right with that term, and I keep seeing it used by Catholics who should know better. (E.g., Bishop Barron’s recent apologetic titled “Catholicism.”) I think its use may have to do with nothing more profound than unthinking assimilation to the culture, with its implicit sense that the Catholic thing, so to speak, is just another man-made thought-construct.

      To my knowledge, the term “Catholicism” dates back no further than the 19th century, in the so-called age of ideology. The “-ism” business is redolent of nothing more than a bright system of ideas in competition with dozens of others–all systems of thought with strictly human patents and generally short lifespans.

      As a Catholic, I can understand using a term like “Protestantism” at least for historical reference–but I can also understand the Evangelicals rejection of the term.

      Call her the Catholic Church, the Church, the Catholic thing, the Faith–maybe a half dozen other terms. But “Catholicism”? No way. We’re talking about something not entirely of this earth.

    • James

      Christ and His Bride, the Church, are one. Should your “pedigree” be accurate, which is highly doubtful, it appears the laying on of hands neither insures valid ordination or orthodoxy.

    • Diane

      Rev. Richmond, with all due respect, you are wrong. The Apostolic succession must go back to Peter and only in the Catholic Church is it there and only in the Catholic Church will you find the truth and only in the Catholic Church will you find the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist and only in the Catholic Church will you find the fullness of Christianity.

    • winslow

      Dr. Richmond, your typically Protestant rhetoric failed to mention who wrote what you called ‘the pedigree’ of your office. Could it have been an Anglican by chance?

      Bishop John FIsher was the only Catholic bishop left in the sect your founder established. An adulterer, a murderer and a thief, he declared himself its leader and had Bishop FIsher beheaded when he opposed him. That’s where any possible connection between Anglicans and the Catholic Church ended.

      Out of curiosity, did any in your line of succession ordain practicing homosexuals? Did any support abortion rights or ‘gay marriage?’ Episcopalians today don’t even follow the doctrines of their own ancestors. To even suggest they, and you, are descended from the Apostles is absurd.

    • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

      Dr Richmond my views were similar to many on this site who show little kindness to you. Insofar as Holy Orders you likely know we are not in agreement. My views however regarding persons who have different doctrinal positions changed when I taught in Africa 1974 at the Catholic Diocesan Seminary Mchinji Malawi where I then a layman taught alongside an Anglican priest Ronnie Hunt [last name may be mistaken]. He was a wonderful friend. I disagreed with some of our Catholic lecturers who considered his orders valid. But that was not an issue at all regarding our friendship which was important to me especially after I contracted a case of enduring malaria during which he showed much kindness. In the hostile environment of Africa religious differences waned for us. Frequently members of the Dutch Reformed Church from S. Africa would make an overnight or two stay since we were the only sanctuary in that remote area. We got along well although S. Africa was still apartheid. We expressed our differences like men without insult but with mutual understanding. When I required hospitalization I was taken to a field hospital run by two doctors one American one Indian and Canadian nurses all Seventh Day Adventists. They treated me with great kindness and got me well. The two doctors virtually worked around the clock saving lives. Someone on this site said it comes down to our love for each other. It does.

      • Dave Fladlien

        This is a very nice story which contains a lot of hope for all of us Christians.

  • ThirstforTruth

    Thank you for encouraging us to continue to fight for Truth in our hearts, homes, and most especially in our fallen society/culture.
    Many dioceses, in keeping with the call for a new evangelization, are offering programs at the parish level, based upon the Alpha course, originally a Protestant Charismatic program which emphasizes a development of a personal prayer style as a
    way of growing closer to Jesus. Such programs as the ChristLife series ( Discovering Christ), Arise, as well as others being presented, seem far more Protestant than Catholic and inappropriate as a way to begin to evangelize the Truth of our Catholic Faith.
    As a cradle Catholic, I was always taught the way to get closer to Jesus is the Eucharist!
    This was/is the Way He left us to come to Him until He comes again. There is no more substantial way to enter into union with him. We have a inheritance of beautiful prayers, hymns, chants, etc as well as a tradition of pleading for the intercession of Mary, the angels and the saints, as a method of growing stronger in our faith.
    These programs totally ignore these Catholic traditions and truths while touting the Protestant way of personal prayer, heart-felt prayers, as they call them. Not wrong
    or ineffective but, most importantly, not the emphasis of the Truth of the Catholic Church which traditionally has represented the call to come home through the sacraments. Hiding our greatest treasure as a way to grow close to Jesus is not the Way. Nor is simply tacking on to the end of the program, as an after-thought, as is done in some programs, fair to our sublime sacramental system as the way of entering into a life with Jesus.
    I would appreciate your thoughts on these programs and tell me if I am correctly and fairly evaluating these program which seems to be cropping up everywhere in local parishes.

    • gubllod

      As a Chrstian of the Catholic denomination, too, ThirstforTruth, I would have to suggest that, while Christ did leave us the Sacraments, He also told His Apostles not to condemn the one who was casting out demons in His Name but who was not associated with them. [They were complaining to Him.] He further stated that no one may cast out demons who is not inspired by the Holy Spirit. That was a rather strong declaration there which Christ Himself made.

      Fr. McCloskey does not help us any by terming those Christians who do not belong to the Catholic Church as “faithful members of the so-called Reformation”. That doesn’t help anything. It is true that there was a large amount of fraud going on in the name of Christianity and Luther was objecting to this. It is also true that the pope at the time was in agreement with Luther on this but that he and Luther had their arranged meeting aborted because of an assassination plot against Luther or the pope himself. [The Dominicans were afraid they’d lose their power around the Holy Father.] Luther never left the Catholic Church. On his death bed he had only two points to make which he held to and which the Church itself has come around to agree with finally. One point was the priesthood of the believer and the other was the miracle of Ordination which, of course, would dovetail into the first point. Even the Jesuits came out in agreement with that back in the early 1980’s. Faith in Christ won out through God’s grace.

      And, too, we must admit that we have allowed secularism to come into the Mass through a wave of music entirely unsuited to the worship of God. Vatican II was correct in asserting that pride of place still belongs to plainchant, the organ and choir in addition to congregational participation which hitherto was not always the case, especially with respect to congregational participation. Amateurs and exhibitionists used that as an excuse to demonstrate their wares to the detriment of our worshiping of the Lord. Fortunately, that seems to be dying down now as the trend is finally moving away from secularism to a more sacred level appropriate for the Mass.

      In the finale analysis, it all comes down to our relationship with the Lord. While our participation in the Sacraments proclaims our public acceptance of Christ and His sacrifice for us on the Cross, it remains, nonetheless, that which is in our hearts by which the Lord will judge us. Those of us who truly believe that only Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no one will come to the Father except through Him will be saved at the final bell.

      • James

        REFORMation? I don’t think so. Deform and debase is more like it.
        What is there of “reform” about the abandonment of the sacraments, the Magisterium, the Church’s understanding of Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Tradition, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints. Protestantism was a movement utilized to subvert the power of the Church and to empower the aberrant in the political sphere.

      • fromnothingcomesnothing

        “As a Chrstian of the Catholic denomination”? For 1500 years the only Christian Faith subsisted in the Catholic Church. A Christian was either Catholic or living in heresy. Catholicism is not a “denomination”. It is the Church established by Jesus Christ; One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic”. Aside from Eastern Orthodox Churches, there exists today the Catholic Church and then other, non-Catholic, but Christian denominations which lack the fullness of the Faith.

        • gubllod

          fromnothingcomesnothing: It’s not clear just what you are attempting to say here, but the Catholic Church is a denomination of Christianity, though it is the largest one in the West. There is the Eastern Orthodox Church which is also “Catholic”, if one wishes to consider them. The split in that area came along about the 800’s and our Roman leaders really initiated it which led to the big split between East and West two or three centuries later.

          We in the Roman Catholic Church are not the only Christians in the world. Obviously, you may not have heard of the Coptic Christian Church which is very possibly the oldest single segment of Christianity which is also thought to have been the Church founded by St. Philip, one of the Apostles. And, then, there is St. Peter’s experience [recorded in the book of Acts] accepting the invitation to the home of Cornelius.

      • winslow

        If Luther never left the Catholic Church was he talking about himself when he called Catholics ‘papists?’

        • gubllod

          winslow: I wasn’t there to get in on his conversation. I’m not even sure he actually said that. It was true, however, that the Pope tended to agree with Luther and that Luther was on his way to Rome to meet with the Pope on the entire issue of fraudulent indulgences. . . .which is what really triggered the rebellion in the first place. The Dominicans at the time had tremendous power and influence in the Vatican and saw the meeting of the Pope and Martin Luther as a direct threat to their power. Messengers reached Luther, who was on his way to Rome to meet with the Pope, that the Dominicans had planned to assassinate him along the way somewhere so that they would be physically removed from the geographical area. Luther took this seriously and turned back. He and the Pope therefore never met. History does not tell us, if the Pope was ever told about the assassination plot, though it has suggested to us that he was not completely satisfied with everything the Dominicans did.

          In any case the seriousness of the plot was such that the Dominicans did not endear themselves to Luther who was Augustinian.

  • “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Seems to sum it up. 😉

  • James

    Continually we are treated to confections of a bogus optimism, its only relation to reality is its attempt to mask reality and anesthetize us to what we are enduring. One is left in a state of disbelief after reading what Father McCloskey here presents.
    For the last three years we have stomached the most glaring debasement of Roman Catholicism imaginable at the hands of those we need trust. Continually abandoned
    to a state of disbelief, shock, disgust and simple embarrassment at what is transpiring at the very highest levels of pastoral leadership in our Church, and for all the world to see.
    The fiasco now underway was made possible by a similar enterprise of “put on a happy face, and pretend the Church is a happy place,” that Pope Saint John Paul employed (with virtuous intention) hoping somehow a sinking ship could be restored to the sea worthy Barque of Peter without losing the horde of the aberrant. I venerate the man, I count myself graced to have been brought back to the practice of the Faith by his teaching – but his stratagem failed. It only gave cover to a knot of vipers, to a fifth column of what can be termed “transcendental atheists” hell-bent on disemboweling the Roman Catholic Church. Witness the subversion endured by Pope Benedict.
    Given the “…we need not pay too much attention to the African…” mentality in vogue, there is no reason to believe that anything but a superabundance of miraculous intervention will stem the tide, given there are scant few clerics, ecclesiastics or religious who are willing to risk all to speak the truth to power. We are on the third generation of Roman Catholic youth with no catechesis. The engaged faithful are dying off and those few with a few decades left to them are deeply wounded. When will our priests, bishops and religious stop enduring the strap of manipulation that masquerades as a call to evangelical obedience? The abuse of power presently enjoying center stage is sacrilege. Complicity with it only fuels its hubris. Souls are in jeopardy at the edge of the cliff, while those that can bring this charade to an end mull career strategies.

    • Marguerite

      Amen. Excellent! I thought the very same thing after reading this. Here we go again with the optimism of 1963. According to this pontificate, the only devils in the Catholic Church are those who follow its teachings. Why can’t good and holy clerics demand that this pontiff step down.

  • fromnothingcomesnothing

    I am a cradle Catholic. I have attended daily Mass for more than 25 years in addition to two and half hours of nocturnal Adoration weekly. I love the Church and I love, respect and pray every day for our Holy Father. That said, I am very concerned that the Holy Father is doing great damage to the Church by his failure to speak and act with clarity on issues of Catholic belief and practice. I will offer one of many possible examples of confusion actions. To the best of my knowledge, this one is the most recent and is based on a January 25, 2016 article at

    “A group of Finnish Lutherans were offered Holy Communion by priests at a mass held in St. Peter’s Basilica following a meeting with Pope Francis on January 15, according to a report by the Finnish periodical Kotimaa 24.

    “Lutheran bishop Samuel Salmi was visiting the Vatican as the head of a delegation that included a youth choir that was to perform there. Salmi says he met privately with Pope Francis.

    “After the personal audience with the pope, the delegation was present at a celebration of the Catholic mass. According to Salmi, at the time of communion the non-Catholics placed their right hands on their left shoulders, a traditional way of indicating that they were ineligible to receive the Eucharist. However, the celebrating priests insisted on giving them communion.

    “Salmi told Kotimaa 24 that “I myself accepted it [Holy Communion].” He added that “this was not a coincidence,” and nor was it a coincidence when last year the pope seemed to accept the notion of a Lutheran woman receiving communion with her Catholic husband. The original article, written in Estonian, was translated for LifeSiteNews by Voice of the Family’s Maria Madise.”

    It would seem that the Lutherans had a greater respect for the Eucharist than the priests who “insisted on giving them communion.” Don’t we have a sorry state of affairs in the Vatican?

    • Alicia

      Holy Communion to a group of Lutherans from Finland at St. Peter’s Basilica ?
      Please, someone out there, a priest, anyone, explain how this is possible.
      It’s driving me nuts since I read it. Checked again, and no comments.
      Was this OK ? I’m lost. !

    • agape

      I read that too from journalist Edward Pentin at NCR. So the news I read today at Vatican Insider is no surprise.

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    Your message of hope Fr McCloskey is correct and much needed reminding many of us that we can change what seems a wrong trajectory in Church history. I taught in Africa twice once in Malawi prior to studying for the priesthood and lastly as a priest several years ago. What you say of Africa is true. When I first taught there as a layman at the Catholic seminary Mchinji Malawi I was impressed by students who lived in thatched roofed villages some who had such great depth of native intelligence it shattering any preconceived views I had about racial superiority. When I later entered the theologate the rector wrote me saying student admissions were so high they had to move the Diocesan seminary to Zomba the ancient capital where the White Fathers had a larger building. My recent experience in Tanzania was similar. We had many candidates some from the Maasai. Since I retired from my Diocese I’ve been assisting on weekends a wonderful dedicated priest from Ghana much loved by parishioners who continues despite severe medical issues. Now Africa is ending missionaries to us. The Holy Spirit will do His part if we do ours.

    • Sheila

      I totally agree with what you said “if we do our part”. We can change things on our knees, our financial support and other types of encouragements to the people and missions in African countries. EWTN shows some of the Masses and retreats from there. The Bishops and Priests are strong and spiritual. Congregations are huge and full of Holy Spirit fire. It is sad to hear the missionaries will not be coming to share their faith. God bless your work Father and thank you.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        A typing mistake. Sorry Sheila I meant to say Now Africa is sending missionaries to us.

  • Christophe

    Sure, the only issue with Pope Francis is his “style.” This pope is doing immense harm to the Church and to souls. Failure to state this makes the entire article not credible. And, by the way, who are “the faithful members of the so-called Reformation.” Really hard-core Lutherans? Is it a good sign that they like the pope?

    • agape

      Vatican Insider published that Mr. Bergoglio will be in Sweden at the end of this month, to “celebrate the 500th anniversary of the reformation”. How outrageously, alarmingly sad!

  • Fides

    Well said Father.

  • Fr. Kloster

    I was in Rome in October and had the incredible grace to get a 10 minute private audience with Pope Benedict XVI in the papal gardens. I’m a nobody, the Pope mainly was interested in my mission and my work in Ecuador. The then Cardinal Ratzinger had visited Guayaquil in the early 1980’s and he fondly sent his regards to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Guayaquil.

    The day before that, I was the the regular public Wednesday audience in St. Peter’s square to see Pope Francis from near one of the rails (but somewhat far from the main papal platform). Both times that Pope Francis passed us, he looked to the other side of the enclosure. I jokingly told my sister that we didn’t deserve to be seen by two popes on successive days!

    It was there, in St. Peter’s square, that I met an Australian priest who had studied and lived in Rome many years. What he told me about the Sunday Angelus addresses really deeply affected me. He said that Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis normally attracted 5,000 to 10,000 for their Sunday addresses. Most people prefer to attend the Wednesday audiences. However, he said that Pope Benedict’s draw was noticeably larger every Sunday. The rock star like pope (Pope John Paul II) and the media darling (Pope Francis) did not outdraw Pope Benedict. That conversation was most interesting to me. It made me think back to what happened here in Guayaquil, Ecuador in July 2015.

    Pope Francis visited here and the city prepared for 1.2 million at the Mass. Around 600,000 showed up. I know, because I was in the back hearing confessions and saw the many empty enclosures toward the rear. Back in 1985, with the roads and infrastructure much worse, Pope John Paul II outdrew that above number by at least 50%. My point is that we can’t believe everything we hear from the press nor some Catholic outlets about the extent of papal popularity.

    • samton909

      There was an interesting British poll recently, that found that about (If I recall correctly) about 34 percent thought highly of Pope Francis, 40 percent didn’t much think anything of him at all, and about 6 percent actively disliked him. The remainder had no opinion.

      Outside of the media, I haven’t seen many who were overly impressed with him. Most, I think, are a bit confused and don’t quite know what to think of the man. But of course, anyone who is the Pope is likely to be given the benefit of the doubt.

      • Diane

        Those who think highly of the Pope are in the liberal camp, because they think that he is going to embrace homosexuality, contraception and remarriage after divorce. Those who want to see the Catholic Church become just like every other Church. The 40% don’t care and the 6% are the faithful, traditional Catholics that the Pope is now disparaging.

    • veritasetgratia

      thank you so much Father Kloster for sharing your memories with Catholic Thing readers. I was involved in WYD2008 here in Sydney and drew great inspiration from proximity to the saintly Pope Benedict XVI. His insights and gentleness were great gifts to the Church. Please God, other Religious will also share their personal memories of their meetings with Pope Benedict in this time of his life sooner or later. What a blessing for you!

    • BXVI

      Pope Francis is popular with the media, non-Catholics, non-Christians and dissenting Catholics. That is a good thing. But, it does not seem to have resulted in a wave of conversions. It seems to me that he has been popular with these groups because they think a) that he is going to change the Church to accomodate the spirit of the age (this is how they interpret his initiatives in the area of “mercy”) and/or b) that he represents an end to the Catholic Chuch’s claim to be the One True Church (this is how they interpret his initiatives in the area of “ecumenism”). I am not saying that they are right; I am saying this is what they think and hope. In other words, it is not that they are being converted, it is that they think they may, just finally, have converted the Church.

      Pope Francis is clearly less popular with devout Catholics. These are the people who travel to Rome and turn up at audiences and the Angelus. It is not a good thing that he has turned a large number of them off. This is, in part, because they fear the hopes of those described above may turn out to come true. But it is also because he his very hard on us. He constantly scolds and reprimands. He belittles the traditional devotions that we hold dear. We are desperate for something solid and unchangeable in a world that seems to have gone insane, yet he implies that it is a sin to oppose change and admonishes us to be prepared for the “God of Surprises.” In this way, he is very unsettling. In some ways this is good for us, but I think he underestimates how much the sheep need something solid to cling to in these turbulent times.

      Pope Francis has often been called a great pastor. I don’t really see that. He does not focus much on pastoring the flock. His focus seems to be on evangelization – reaching out to the fallen away or those who have never known Christ. Frankly, I am not sure he is very good at it. Mostly, I think he may have made a massive mis-diagnosis of the situation. He seems to think the biggest problem is that there are legions of people who desperately want “mercy” from the Church but that she cruelly turns them away through judgmentalism and “rigidity.” I don’t really see that. Oh, sure, there are always anecdotes, like the corrupt priest who ask for a bribe for granting an annullment. But what I see legions of people who are haughty and who are offended by the very notion that the Church thinks they need “mercy.” They think the Church is wrong and don’t think they have done anything wrong. Their idea of “mercy” is that the Church will become more merciful by changing or relaxing it’s doctrines and thereby no longer “judging” them.

  • Diane

    Father you are right when you say that for many Catholics Pope Francis’ style is not attractive. He is a source of confusion to those of us who have been faithful Catholics for all of our lives. The Church should not and does not need to change for cultural demands. Sin should still be sin and it should be preached from the pulpit and it isn’t. The youth think that there is no sin, because no one tells them otherwise. Do whatever you want with whomever you want wherever you want because your conscience alone will be your guide. Where do the teachings of Jesus Christ, the laws of God, the Doctrines of the Catholic Church and the Catechism of the Catholic Church come in? The clergy are doing a grave disservice to the youth because they are ignorant about what the Catholic Church teaches. The worst problem the Catholic Church has right now is the homosexual clergy, they need to go, all of them, from the top to the bottom. They are destroying our Church from within and are a terrible example to those we would want to evangelize. Because they are living in sin themselves, they want everyone to believe that there is no sin, so they will be left alone. If the Catholic Church is to survive the Church needs to purify itself, now, and begin anew with priests who are faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ, not for those who are in the Church to hide for all of the wrong reasons. If this is not rectified soon, I believe that the true and faithful Catholics will need to go underground to safeguard the truth and stop allowing the Bishops and Cardinals and priests to continue to cause heresy in the Church.

    • kathleen

      Diane, I agree wholeheartedly. We must continue to pray for the Church and show by our good example that we believe in Jesus Christ and His Church. That good Lord will do the rest. Be not afraid!

    • Edwin Woodruff Tait

      I have not heard anything from Pope Francis that remotely hints that he doesn’t believe in sin. On the contrary, he talks about it quite a bit. But like Jesus, he’s more interested in challenging those who think themselves righteous than those who know themselves to be sinners.

      • Diane

        Then, why doesn’t he instruct every Bishop and every Cardinal in every Diocese and Archdiocese throughout the nation both in the United States and in Europe to preach against sin from the pulpit? Why doesn’t he take a stand to rid the Church of all of the sinful homosexual clergy who are destroying our Church. He needs to start telling them they are sinning. He needs to stop the whom am I to judge nonsense and he needs to stop allowing his clergy to offer Communion to those who are not Catholic and to those who are living in adultery. This is not a remote hint to you that he is not preaching against sin?

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Bishops are already instructed to preach against sin by virtue of their office. You seem to be saying that they aren’t doing so, but that’s a huge generalization. And when you say “sinful homosexual clergy,” you mean sexually active homosexual clergy? What about sexually active heterosexual clergy? Are you seriously suggesting that Pope Francis is OK with clergy (whatever their sexual inclination) breaking their vows of celibacy?

          I understand why you connect a strictly enforced closed communion with preaching against sin, but the two ideas are not necessarily connected. Pope Francis appears (and I say this hesitantly, because we’re all building a lot from some very slender hints) to be reluctant to tell people who seek the Eucharist but don’t meet the Church’s requirements that they are wrong to do so, even as he of course is never going to tell them that it’s OK for them to do so. That doesn’t tell me that he fails to take sin seriously. It tells me that he’s reluctant to deny the means of grace to people precisely because he takes the Eucharist seriously as medicine for sin. And yes, I understand that the Eucharist can operate as medicine only for those who do not impose an obstacle by unrepentant mortal sin. That’s why, I think, Pope Francis sees this as subjective. Mortal sin is, by Catholic teaching, subjective–it requires full knowledge and deliberate consent. Hence, Pope Francis is going to uphold the Church’s teaching on who should receive communion in general, while declining to interfere too forcefully with people who subjectively may be seeking the Eucharist in good faith. But again, this is very speculative, and I may be reading my own views into Pope Francis’ practice. This is a huge issue for me personally, because I believe I ought to be in union with Rome (I’m Episcopalian and also have a lot of ties to Methodism), but find it hard say that my Protestant brothers and sisters are outside the Church and incapable of rightly receiving the Eucharist. I also see how many people have been driven away from Catholicism by the perception that the Church refuses to forgive their sins, particularly divorce. I am therefore very sympathetic to Pope Francis’ pastoral practice, even though I believe (as of course he clearly does) that the Church’s teachings on sacramental and moral theology are correct.

          • Dave Fladlien

            For what it’s worth — and I agree with you, we’re almost guessing — I “read” Pope Francis the same way you do on this issue.

          • Diane

            He has scolded the faithful, for being faithful including the Bishops and Cardinals at the synods. He hasn’t done enough to inform people of sin. His year of Mercy does not include justice or repentance.

          • FreemenRtrue

            I was morbidly disappointed in PF when he addressed Congress. Many of the faithful probably wished he had said that no Catholic legislator could in good conscience vote for any legislation that funds abortion. Can we imagine the words of Christ were He to address these people who fund abortion at $500 million a year while pretending they don’t. PF just made a minimal reference to protecting life – just about the least remark he could possibly utter.

      • Diane

        When Jesus was preaching against those who thought themselves to be righteous, He was bringing in His Own Teachings and those of His Father. If following the teachings of Jesus Christ is now considered to be self righteous and for those of us who fight to uphold those teachings, where do we go from here and who’s teachings do we now follow? It is backward thinking. The words of Jesus are the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. Jesus came here to fulfill the law, not to change it.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Following the teachings of Jesus is not the problem. What teachings of Jesus has Pope Francis criticized people for following?

          • Diane


  • Sheila

    Thank you Father for the positive news about our holy Catholic Church. It is encouraging to us “grunts” in the trenches and reinforces our stamina to keep on praying, etc. God bless you and thank you for your priesthood.

  • Very inspiring. Thank you.

  • Duzzie

    I would like to have a definition of “Evangelicals” mentioned in this piece? Although I have never converted I attend Mass with my spouse regularly. Being from an “Evangelical” background I have found more similarity between the two than not and I have learned to appreciate the traditions and beauty in the Mass and find I can mesh the two. Most Evangelicals (depending on what constitutes one) don’t have to leave their churches or give up their doctrines to agree with many teachings and the authority of the scripture taught by the Catholic Church. They also want to see those without any hope or who are spiritually wandering, to find Jesus as Lord and Savior just as the Catholic Church does. Both can work for the good of the Kingdom of God in their own way because the goal is the same and that is to bring hungry and lost souls to salvation through Christ.

    • Diane

      The goal is to become Catholic, where one can only find the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, The Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is where the Life is and only here. I actually dislike the word Evangelical for the Catholic Church, because to me it means something other than the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church where all must come to find the fullness of Christianity.

    • FreemenRtrue

      a house divided against itself cannot stand.

  • Duzzie

    I guess I need to answer my own question as to what the word “evangelism/evangelist, evangelical” is. According to Webster it simply means one who preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ; one who goes out into the world and shares that with others and one who actually does the preaching (Priest or pastor). I see no conflict with the word whether used in the Catholic or the Protestant belief. The Catholic Church does all three on a regular basis and in fact this past Sunday (1/24) there were baskets in the vestibule taking collections to send out the Word to other countries, the Good News! That is true evangelism and it should not be a controversial word in any shape or form. Having attended a Catholic Church as a Protestant (Evangelical) for the past 19 years I have yet to see any conflict in the way the Catholic Church evangelizes and teaches Jesus Christ to others. In fact, I am afraid they far surpass many Protestant churches in this area with their willingness to give, give and then give even more to spread the Gospel to the world. That is one of the reasons I love them so much!

    • bernie

      Give Tom Howard a chance. He really puts it all together.

      • Duzzie

        Like your suggestion. I will give his book a try!

  • David Dickey

    Fr. McCloskey, I would suggest that the reason “faithful members of the so-called Reformation” like Pope Francis is that he is essentially a Protestant, trying to create a church in his own image. And I don’t live in Africa or the Far East. What the deuce is it to me if the Church is flourishing and growing in those regions?

    • ThirstforTruth

      Because if not for them, the universal Catholic Church will die! It is the only place where
      real Catholic teaching is happening with ordained and holy priests. They are even willing to die for the faith….do you think that would happen here, if we are put to the test? Pray for
      them daily that they will continue to have the courage to practice their faith …which is solid.

  • Dave Fladlien

    Excuse me: I don’t really understand what you are saying at all, Father. As I said to Dr. Richmond up above, and repeated to James below in this thread, I don’t have time to do a thorough investigation, and I’m not representing myself as an authority; I am just expressing some thoughts.

    I have two pieces of information, both from sources I consider basically reliable, and one quite a lot more recent than the other. Which would you be inclined to believe? I suspect you’ll say “the more authoritative one”. But in that case I’ll reply that, as I said above, I can’t imagine Jesus, Who is the Ultimate Authority, rejecting the effort of a sincere priest to be close to Him and to bring his congregation to Him. So to me that it the most authoritative statement.

    I respect your views, Father, and the sincerity with which you hold them, but I’ll adhere to what I think is the truth, and especially to what I think is the essence of the matter, just as tenaciously as you will. I can’t be true to God or myself any other way.

    Cornflakes? And we in CA don’t have any monopoly on flakiness! A lot of your fellow New Yorkers are pretty good at that too. 🙂

    • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

      You’re right Dave I removed it. Still you should take a look at Apostolicae Curae.

    • Fr. Kloster

      Dave, there is nothing in the argument of valid Holy Orders that merits an opinion or a guess. Anglican Orders are neither valid nor licit. Any Anglican Bishop must trace his lineage to the Apostles through the Catholic Church. But a line to the apostles does not and cannot prove validity because we are not just Catholic Priests by fiat. We must believe what the Church believes without reservation and must be ordained by a Bishop with valid and licit form (as well as matter).

      The proof of the above is that anytime an Anglican/Episcopal priest converts, he must be ordained a Catholic Priest. The Orthodox do have valid Orders because they never changed the Rite of Ordination. Anyone, and I do mean anyone, who is outside of the communion and authority of their local Catholic bishop is at the least not licitly dispensing the sacraments in the Catholic Priesthood. In the case of Anglicans, the sacrament of Holy Communion cannot be called down upon the altar.

      • Dave Fladlien

        Fr. Kloster: as I have tried to say in my comments to both Fr. Morello and to James as well — and I’m very sorry I apparently can’t say this in a way that is clear — my problem here isn’t about the technical question of valid consecration of the bread and wine. My issue here is with making that question the key question, when I believe that the key question is what Jesus will do Himself about these folks who are seeking Him with a (I assume) sincere heart.

        I am not in any way saying that the technical question is unimportant, though I was taught that their ordination was valid, but I am saying that it isn’t the critical question. To me, and I’ll stand by this, the key issue here, the thing we all strive for here (I hope), is friendship with God and with Jesus Christ. If we are not about that, we can’t be about anything else (cf. Pope Benedict XVI in “The Apostles”).

        So I am — however poorly I express it — trying to get the emphasis in the right place, not to say that the technical questions don’t matter, and not to say that our differences with the Church of England don’t need to be resolved. They are important and do need to be resolved, as I indicated in my initial comments to Dr. Richmond. I hope they will be resolved soon. I hate this division amongst Christians.

        • Fr. Kloster

          I sense your good will in the argument, but unfortunately good will alone is not enough. We have to act on our good will. We have to relentlessly seek the absolute truth. Too many today, I use that as a general provable term, are very lazy where that pursuit of truth is concerned. Settling for any compromise wins us no consolation prize.

          We must worship God in the way He wants to be worshipped. Your argument keeps returning to the unfortunate gap of hoped for resolutions. The sine qua non you are missing is visible communion with Rome. Yes, hope must stay alive until the Final Judgment, but we cannot therefore dismiss eternal truths. I cannot judge any man’s heart, but I must discern, evaluate, and judge his actions. We have inherited Catholic doctrine from the Apostles for a reason that is other wordily; Devine.

          • Sheila

            “We have to act on our good will. We have to relentlessly seek the absolute truth. Settling for any compromise wins us no consolation prize. We must worship God in the way He wants to be worshipped.” Thank you Father for this. I totally agree with your words. It’s not about us and our small thoughts -compared to His neverending Truth and Way. It’s all about God and the holy Path He set in motion for us to follow.
            Inwardly we all know the Truth and it will set us free. Just do it!

          • Dave Fladlien

            Father Kloster, I’ll take one more try, because I think this is really important. I appreciate your desire to spread facts, not mistakes, but as everyone from the Spanish Armada to Adolf Hitler has found out, you will not pound the English into submission, no matter how wrong, right, outnumbered or ill-prepared they are. From Trent to today, the Catholic Church has 500 years of experience proving that won’t work in religion either.

            But if we do what I advocate, which is to accept Anglicans as our friends, our allies in working for Jesus Christ, and as our fellow Christians (which I contend we can do if we trust that Jesus can bridge the genuine gaps between us), then we may at some point find that they *want* to rejoin us, and that we can then resolve our differences without compromising our essential beliefs. It is much more likely that one can resolve differences with a friend than with a stranger.

            The problem with your approach, which seems to be based solely on insisting on mutual acceptance of every element of correctness *right now*, is that it simply won’t work. Meanwhile this disgrace of Christians fighting each other, while our real enemies (anti-God secularists) continue to trample us, will go on. And the gap between us and the Church of England keeps widening (witness differences now about homosexuality), not getting smaller. We are losing this war, and the present approach by both Catholics and Anglicans is doing nothing *effective* about it.

            What I am advocating may never work either, but I think after 500 years of accomplishing almost nothing with the approach you seem to advocate, it is time to give another way a try. That way is not the way of surrendering our beliefs, but it is the way of giving Jesus credit for being able to bridge the gap for us while we try to move forward together inspite of that gap in our beliefs. We Catholics and Anglicans need to focus much more on what we have in common than on where we disagree.

          • Fr. Kloster

            Sorry about my typos. The last line of my last post should have read worldly; Divine. I may be losing my English!

            I’m not advocating anyone be pounded into submission. The truth, is the truth, is the truth. We had a very good priest teach us systematic theology when I was in the seminary. Fr. Turvasi (he died my third year of theology) in his thick Swiss accent incessantly insisted that when we spoke about theology; “you must always be precise.”

            Insisting on the truth has always worked. Jesus didn’t change his teachings just because a large number of Jews did not accept them! There have always been those who walked away (John chapter 6) and those who left Mass early like Judas Iscariot (Matthew 26). There will always be apostates and those who choose to remain outside of the visible communion.

            I just wonder if you know much about sheep. Sheep are very docile and always heed the word of their shepherd. Goats, on the other hand, are very hard headed and often prefer to be alone. Sheep will, with almost no exceptions, instinctively join the flock. The exceptions are the ones who leave the flock when driven by the desire to find a “greener pasture” or are prevented from joining the flock by a fence line.

            The Catholic Church is not mandating that anyone join the Church, nor can She. What She must always do is uphold the doctrines handed down to Her by Christ Himself. Those who remain outside the Fold cannot blame the Church for teaching what Christ taught! Those inside the Fold have no to right to expect the Church to compromise Her indelible teachings either!

          • Dave Fladlien

            “Those inside the Fold have no to right to expect the Church to compromise Her indelible teachings either!” I’m not asking the Church to compromise any teaching, just to regard fellow Christians as allies, not enemies, and recognize what Catholics here in the US don’t recognize, namely that the real enemy is militant anti-God secularism.

            But I’ll accept the fact that for the moment at least I can’t make that point; I don’t want to try to pound you into agreeing either. By the way, no, I don’t know much about sheep. I’ve spent my whole life in cities except those rare and wonderful times when I can get out on the water briefly.

            Thanks for exchanging thoughts with me. I do appreciate your willingness to do that out of what sounds like your very busy ministry. I really did try hard to convey the concepts I believe in. I hope I can safely assume that God isn’t anywhere near as disappointed in the results of my efforts as I am.

  • Tom Williams

    Dear Fr. McCloskey
    Nice piece of optimism. Somewhat void of facts though, for every one coming into The Church, many more are leaving.
    Have you been silenced by superiors?
    I do admit however that those coming into The Church are probably much better informed than those leaving.
    There may be a chance for optimism after all.

  • ve6

    I am a converted Catholic despite RCIA. It needs a lot of work.

    • ThirstforTruth

      You have hit he proverbial nail on the head! The statistics showing the success of RCIA
      are miserable….many convert and then revert…either back to Protestantism or nothing.
      Here is where evangelization should begin….if RCIA does not work, why go through the
      various programs like the ChristLife series, ARISE, and others. We need first to remedy
      the past 50 years of poor Catechesis with solid Adult Education programs in the parishes
      with solid Catholic teaching.

  • BXVI

    Luther was a profane and corrupt man. He was also very likely mentally ill. Unfortunately, corrupt Catholic Popes, bishops and priests gave him plenty of fodder to work with so, yes, those Church “leaders” bear much responsibility for the disaster that was the “Reformation.” Nevertheless, the schism Luther led was and remains an evil heresy that keeps millions of people from joining the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ. Everything we do with respect to Lutheranism should be ordered toward inducing its followers to give it up and join the One True Church. That’s called evangelization. We should not celebrating the Reformation and we should not be holding joint religious ceremonies with Lutherans. By their very nature, such cermemonies lend a credibility to Lutheranism that it does not deserve and which is actually counter-productive if our goal is to get Lutherans to join the One True Church. Yet, Pope Francis actually seems to want Lutherans to stay Lutheran, Anglicans to stay Anglican, and Evangelicals to stay Evangelicals. He has said this explicitly with respect to Evangelicals; his actions indicate he feels the same about other denominations. That seems very much like indifferentism to me. Sorry, that’s just my read on it.

    • dogged

      The five-hundred year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation will be next year. I shall celebrate it; so should you. Without it, the Council of Trent, which reformed many Catholic practices and launched the Counter-Reformation, convened and likely saved the Church of Rome as a viable Christian force in the world.
      The “Lutheran” designation is –dare I say it—archaic. It was used against Luther’s stated
      wishes but we all know the power of hero-worship. Luther never intended to split the church; he demanded reform within the catholic tradition. He noted that your “One True Church” is “wherever the Gospel is preached and the Sacraments administered.” Period. Unfortunately, Father Martin wasn’t encouraged to stay. Hey, Rome’s loss.

      • James

        Having initiated the debacle in earnest, perhaps the Lutherans will be the first to host festivities surrounding the quincentenerary of Trent, commencing 2045, concluding 2063. Thereafter, each year what remains of the most populated surviving protestant communities would assent to the Tridentine tradition, seventeen years in succession, abandoning heresy and reuniting with the Church.

      • gubllod

        AMEN, dogged. You’ve got it right! BXVI has got his history all twisted around some way. His first two sentences have nothing to do with reality, a reality attested to by all of Luther’s contemporaries. Luther was neither profane nor corrupt And he certainly was not mentally ill by any accounts.

        Christianity is founded upon seven general pillars: 1] the Bible as the Word of God 2] the Virgin Birth 3] Christ as True Man and True God 4] the Crucifixion 5] the Resurrection 6] the Ascension and 7] the Second Coming.

        If we read the salutation of the angel Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1:28-33, we see that only one part of that pronouncement has yet to take place and that is the Second Coming. The Lord has given His Son, the Christ, the throne of David, but Christ has not yet come to rule over the house of Jacob. That will come in time. In fact the way world events are now lining up, this may come to pass in the not too distant future.

        • Morrie Chamberlain

          Speaking of pillars, 1 Timothy 3:15 “if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth”.

      • winslow

        If Luther didn’t intend to split the Catholic Church, why did he? Your opinion makes no sense.

    • James

      Indeed it would be refreshing to read Pope Bergoglio desires us to remain Roman Catholics.

    • FreemenRtrue

      Relativism – it’s all good.

    • winslow

      Your read is on it is accurate and perceptive. From the beginning of his papacy the Pope has convinced me he’s a Protestant and a true son of Vatican II. Before that Council it was doctrine that we were not to join Protestants in religious services, Faithful Catholics are the only people he criticizes. He has made no effort, zero, to evangelize Protestants.

  • BXVI

    People should read very carefully what the Pope has said, and look very carefully at the actions he has taken, in the area of “ecumenism”. He announced at the start of his papacy that he felt the Church had utterly failed to meet the mandate of Vatican II with respect to ecumenism and that he believed he had the “audacity” to accomplish what the Council intended.


    Fr. McCloskey, have you read today’s editorial by Pelosi and Richards on abortion? The fact that these two women have not been, even quietly, excommunicated, exposes the modern Catholic Church for the Christian fraud that it is. Alas, you need to find another African to take my place in the pews.

    • Nick_from_Detroit

      If they’re the reason for you leaving the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, how deep was your Faith to begin with, UNCLE?
      Besides, a formal excommunication is not needed, ya’ know? People excommunicate themselves, for the most part.
      Christ’s Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. God Bless!

    • FreemenRtrue

      Don’t leave the Church for the sins of its clerics. I did make that mistake for about 15 years and it had a negative effect on my kids. I was never hostile to Christ, just the jerk in the pulpit, but finally came to know families need to see, and be with, Dad’s in the pews.

  • James

    I have commented elsewhere that my experience has led me to believe that protestant communities have no interest at all in unity with Roman Catholicism. They hold us in contempt at best, but tragically far more frequently we are termed a
    joke. They have no interest in us beyond the deconstruction of Roman
    Catholicism and the concurrent justification of their own historical aberrance
    – theological and moral. Many Catholics engaged in this endeavor appear to
    share that goal and are duplicitous, others are simply delusional or naïve.
    Having spent ten years working in a trans-denominational seminary of great
    repute, I assure you, this is the “oikoumene” reality.
    Mainline protestantism has devolved into some sort of “ethical” cultural society with no regard for the Creed. Roman Catholic theologians burdened with an academic inferiority complex acquired in the late nineteenth century, metastasized through the first half of the twentieth, vested themselves in speculative academic inquiry rooted in skepticism, abandoning authentic theological reflection rooted in religious fidelity sustained by prayer. To the extent Roman Catholicism has collapsed into this quagmire, we have advanced toward unity in disbelief. To the extent we have resisted this grievous gravitational force we are farther afield from each other than we were fifty years ago.
    I suspect ecclesiastics and theologians “in the know” have entirely abandoned Roman Catholicism and have yet to let any of us groundlings in on the secret. The spectrum of ecclesiastics presently holding the reigns makes me think this the likely scenario. The odor of sanctity is not to be detected here, rather the opposite. Pastoral care with benefit of the “wink and the nod” is fraudulent and the work of the Adversary. Accountability, something woefully absent in the post-conciliar Church, starts at the top.
    Does Pope Francis wish to confront and correct the protestant trajectory by which the Church is presently propelled, or is this agenda his, was it his mandate from the conclave? I know what I hope to be true, but the evidence appears to undermine this hope of mine. May the future find my fears unfounded and my hope affirmed and fulfilled.

  • Diane

    Jesus said, Go and Sin No More. He didn’t say let us see what we can do to accommodate your sin. Get real sir!

  • dogged

    I recall that Fr. McCloskey was once interviewed on EWTN during the peak of the Church’s sexual abuse scandal. On the subject of homosexuality, he emphatically stated that the percentage of men with homosexual orientation without the Roman Catholic priesthood was no higher that in the general population. Father’s credibility nosedived at that moment.

    • ThirstforTruth

      The truth is sometimes hard to swallow. The stats quoted by Fr McCloskey were true then
      and still true today…whether you accept this or not. Go online and see for yourself the stats are as were stated.

  • Dr ExCathedra

    In a world where Islam is self-confident, unapologetic and clear (along with the cachet of victim-status) and the Secular Liberalism of the dominant elites in Europe and North America are likewise clear, without self-doubt and on the march, we have a man in the chair of Peter who is a master as the double message and the communication of confusion. How that bodes well for Catholicism is beyond me.

  • winslow

    Your not-so-clever twisting of words isn’t coming off as you hoped it would. Perhaps because you’re not familiar with the Pope’s gospel, It includes communion for adulterers and sodomites, pursuant to the designs of his favorite theologian. His numerous abuses of the Blessed Sacrament are scandalous. Is that enough of a case for you?

    In recent days the Pope has backed off his communion for public sinners mantra, probably because he knows Cardinals Burke, Sarah, Pell, et al wouldn’t let him get away with it. That doesn’t mean he’s suddenly become a Catholic. All it means is he wants to keep his seat. He’s having such a great time being the darling of the secular media the thought of having to go back where he came from isn’t too appealing to him.

  • schiff

    If we would do like Pope John Paul II said in his “Worship of the Eucharist” in 1980 and waste time in Adoration we could change the world..

  • douglas kraeger

    Perhaps it is true that the “best is yet to come” by God’s infinite mercy and grace in spite of the many sins of commission and omission by laity and clergy alike. Perhaps God will bless us with priests who truly do all they can to instill a “true love of All truth so that we may be saved (2 Thes. 2:10)” and people will therefore really work to believe everything that God wants everyone to know and believe and understand the Way God wants it understood, rather than the apparent complacency bordering on presumption against the Holy Spirit of so many “catholics”.
    Does anyone remember hearing a sermon where the priest clearly explained that we need to accept the true love of all truth so that we may be saved? Is it possible that the main reason many do not have a love of truth is that many, many priests have not spoken clearly of the need to have it?