This Disastrous Papacy (by Phil Lawler)

Phil Lawler over at Catholic Culture posted an interesting piece last week, entitled “This Disastrous Papacy.”  We excerpt from it below.  We agree with him, but would simply observe it seems to have taken him a while to realize and report on the extent of the problem:

Something snapped last Friday, when Pope Francis used the day’s Gospel reading as one more opportunity to promote his own view on divorce and remarriage. Condemning hypocrisy and the “logic of casuistry,” the Pontiff said that Jesus rejects the approach of legal scholars.

True enough. But in his rebuke to the Pharisees, what does Jesus say about marriage?

So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”


Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.

Day after day, in his homilies at morning Mass in the Vatican’s St. Martha residence, Pope Francis denounces the “doctors of the law” and the “rigid” application of Catholic moral doctrine. Sometimes his interpretation of the day’s Scripture readings is forced; often his characterization of tradition-minded Catholics is insulting. But in this case, the Pope turned the Gospel reading completely upside-down. Reading the Vatican Radio account of that astonishing homily, I could no longer pretend that Pope Francis is merely offering a novel interpretation of Catholic doctrine. No; it is more than that. He is engaged in a deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches.

For over 20 years now, writing daily about the news from the Vatican, I have tried to be honest in my assessment of papal statements and gestures….But has there ever before been a Roman Pontiff who showed such disdain for what the Church has always taught and believed and practiced—on such bedrock issues as the nature of marriage and of the Eucharist?

Pope Francis has sparked controversy from the day he was elected as St. Peter’s successor. But in the past several months the controversy has become so intense, confusion among the faithful so widespread, administration at the Vatican so arbitrary—and the Pope’s diatribes against his (real or imagined) foes so manic—that today the universal Church is rushing toward a crisis.

In a large family, how should a son behave when he realizes that his father’s pathological behavior threatens the welfare of the whole household? He should certainly continue to show respect for his father, but he cannot indefinitely deny the danger. Eventually, a dysfunctional family needs an intervention.

In the worldwide family that is the Catholic Church, the best means of intervention is always prayer. Intense prayer for the Holy Father would be a particularly apt project for the season of Lent. But intervention also requires honesty: a candid recognition that we have a serious problem.

Recognizing the problem can also provide a sort of relief, a relaxation of accumulating tensions. When I tell friends that I consider this papacy a disaster, I notice that more often than not, they feel oddly reassured…

Francis is our Pope, for better or worse. And if it is for worse—as I sadly conclude it is—the Church has survived bad Popes in the past…We have grown accustomed to looking to Rome for guidance. Now we cannot.

But if we cannot count on clear directions from Rome, where can we turn? First, Catholics can rely on the constant teaching of the Church, the doctrines that are now too often called into question. If the Pope is confusing, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not. Second, we can and should ask our own diocesan bishops to step up and shoulder their own proper responsibilities. Bishops, too, have spent years referring the tough questions to Rome. Now, of necessity, they must provide their own clear, decisive affirmations of Catholic doctrine.

…if I am right, and the current Pope’s leadership has become a danger to the faith, then other Catholics, and especially ordained Church leaders, must decide how to respond. And if I am right—as I surely am—that confusion about fundamental Church teachings has become widespread, then the bishops, as primary teachers of the faith, cannot neglect their duty to intervene.

BCI agrees with the assessment that this papacy is a disaster, and we agree with Phil’s assessment that we will need to put pressure on our diocesan bishops to step and shoulder their proper responsibilities to uphold the constant teachings of the Church.

23 Responses to This Disastrous Papacy (by Phil Lawler)

  1. John L. Adams says:

    Catholics, remember/learn the teachings of the traditional Church. Teachings on heresy and blasphemy are among them. On heresy, the teaching is that if a Catholic speaks heresy, and does not recant his words but continues the heresy, he is excommunicated. If a Pope speaks heresy, and especially if he teaches and preaches heresy, he is automatically excommunicated. if he is excommunicated he is no longer a Catholic. If he is not a Catholic, he cannot be the Pope.
    This “Pope” speaks heresy. He does heretical deeds. Among those are his praise of Martin Luther and his placing a statue of Martin Luther in the Vatican. This “Pope” is therefore automatically excommunicated. There needs be no one, Bishop, Cardinal, or anyone else to announce any declaration. He IS EXCOMMUNICATED! Period! He therefore is not a Catholic and therefore cannot be Pope.
    Fear not Catholics, Holy Mother Church has had periods in its history of enduring anti-popes. We are now in another of those times. The Church has had at least 40 anti-popes. We now have another.
    Unfortunately we also have many heretical bishops. Therefore, they are excommunicated also.
    What does that mean for the leadership of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? Again, fear not. The magisterium continues with many holy, faithful bishops and cardinals. The leadership is still there, it is just smaller than it was.
    Remember the words of St. Paul: “Therefore brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word or by epistle.” 2 Thessalonians 2:14 As well, remember the words of St. Athanasius (the ‘Champion of Orthodoxy’, Doctor of the Church, Archbishop of Alexandria), written in ~ 350 A.D., in a letter to encourage the faithful to persevere in the faith regardless of what the heretics were accusing them to be, he said, “Catholics who remain faithful to tradition, even if they are reduced to but a handful, they are the True Church of Jesus Christ.”
    In Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
    John the Traditionalist, Lover of Holy Mother Church.

    • Ferde Rombola says:

      Excellent message, John. The only thing I would add is, no one, priest, bishop or laity, is obligated to follow this heretical, Protestant Pope. That fact should be announced publicly by faithful bishops. ALL of them all over the world. Perhaps Bergoglio will get the message.

    • mike says:

      John, why do you think Cardinal Arinze is silent? And why is Pope Benedict silent? Surely if Pope Francis was a heretic and leading souls to hell these men would speak up.

    • Trent says:

      I guess some of you are not only more “Catholic” than the Pope, but you’re evidently more “Catholic” that the SSPX:

  2. John Materazzo says:

    BCI may be behind the curve a bit on Phil Lawler’s articles in Catholic Culture. He has written more than a few criticizing our Holy Father’s ambiguity. His latest takes it a chilling step further and prioritizes prayer.

  3. Al says:

    Who are you to judge who is a Pope and an Anti-Pope?

    • D Paul says:

      @Al: You cannot debate without opinions.

      • John L. Adams says:

        To D Paul, Al, Mike and Sarge:
        1. I am not judging. The Church is “judging”. Perhaps discerning is a more correct term. The Church says these things about heresy. I only read what it says. But, one must be able to listen, observe, read, analyze (unfortunately that requires thinking) and connect the dots.
        2. Is quoting, or perhaps paraphrasing, the laws of the Church disinformation?
        3. There are perhaps two reasons (maybe more?) these bishops (cardinals and popes are bishops) are being silent:
        A. They are afraid of the result of their speaking up. If you have
        noticed, there has been some serious backlash to others who
        have spoken against Jorge. Including reassignments by
        B. There is a large segment of the magisterium that are
        Modernists. Perhaps some of those who have not spoken up
        are part of this group. Open your eyes people. There IS a
        conspiracy afoot. I believe it was Pope Pius XII (perhaps
        Pius IX or X or XI?), who made it a rule that newly ordained
        priests must take an oath against modernism, the great
        danger of the age. This was discontinued at Vatican II.
        4. One of the most effective methods used by the Modernists is
        obfuscation. Speaking in vague terms so anyone listening or
        reading think it says whatever they think it says. That way, the
        author of the words has plausible deniability. That is exactly
        what Jorge does. That’s why there is so much discussion on
        this very subject – the vagueness of what he says. Some
        interpret it one way, others another way. And Jorge says, no,
        what I really meant was…(some other vague explanation). As
        Marysong says, deceptive and confusing.
        5. Therefore, it tends to be very difficult to pin the word Heretic on whoever is using these methods of communication. But, even if
        the words themselves are difficult to pin Heresy to, the speaker is
        still condoning heretical acts, as Jorge is doing. As they say, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it’s a duck!
        5. Jorge has not physically, literally excommunicated himself. He was automatically excommunicated by his words and actions. As the laws of the church state.

      • Very nicely put! Thanks for responding.


      • Ferde Rombola says:

        Pope Pius X introduced the oath against modernity.

  4. Sarge says:

    Allowing people to put up posts stating that Pope Francis is a heretic and has excommunicated himself does not enhance the credibility of this blog. Just my opinion.

    • D Paul says:

      @Sarge: Disinformaton?

    • Ferde Rombola says:

      You are entitled to your opinion, Sarge, but it has nothing to do with the facts. If anyone can look at what Bergoglio has done while in the Chair of Peter and not come away with the undeniable conclusion that he is (1) a Protestant, (b) is opposed to the teachings of Christ, (c) that he is a liar and a deceiver, (d) that he is anti-Catholic, (e) that he is a dictator, (f) that he speaks well of every religion except the Catholic Church, and (g) that he has done all he can to destroy that Church, he has his head in the sand and is either a supporter of this heretic Pope or is unable to apply reason to facts. And, BTW, has zero credibility.

  5. marysong says:

    The words of Francis are deceptive and confusing to Catholic ears. Someone has a duty to tell us not to listen to him. They are cowards who will not speak up! We do not have to become crazy for our Pope. AND that I believe is exactly what he is trying to do to us. He may be the False prophet of the Apocalypse. He wants us crazy!

    Don’t laugh! I have been studying from ‘The Book of Destiny’ by Father Bernard Herman Kramer. (Not Father Paul Kramer) Father Bernard studied the Apocalypse all of his priesthood. The book took thirty years to complete. It is a great solace to me. Much of this is explained. The Apocalypse is a Catholic Book. It is NOW!

    It is still available on Amazon. It is something that fills in the holes in your heart.

  6. Concerned Parent says:

    From “Pascendi Dominici Gregis” (On the Doctrine of the Modernists) – Encyclical of Pope Pius X, September 8, 1907:

    “…the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; but, what is to be most dreaded and deplored, in her very bosom, and are the more mischievous the less they keep in the open. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, and, what is much more sad, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, animated by a false zeal for the Church, lacking the solid safeguards of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, put themselves forward as reformers of the Church…

    3. Although they express their astonishment that We should number them amongst the enemies of the Church, no one will be reasonably surprised that We should do so, if, leaving out of account the internal disposition of the soul, of which God alone is the Judge, he considers their tenets, their manner of speech, and their action. Nor indeed would he be wrong in regarding them as the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church. For, as We have said, they put into operation their designs for her undoing, not from without but from within. Hence, the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain from the very fact that their knowledge of her is more intimate. Moreover, they lay the ax not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fibers. And once having struck at this root of immortality, they proceed to diffuse poison through the whole tree, so that there is no part of Catholic truth which they leave untouched, none that they do not strive to corrupt. Further, none is more skillful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious devices; for they play the double part of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and as audacity is their chief characteristic…”

    • John L. Adams says:

      Thank you, Concerned Parent! I have that, but was too lazy to go look it up.
      People, Catholics: Read Pascendi Dominici Gregis!

  7. Sheila Flanagan says:

    Join in prayer to the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph to protect the Church from those who would change her teachings!

    Saturday Mar 18 Feast of Saint Joseph 2017 Public Rosary for Marriage, Boston — From 12 noon to 1PM at Planned Parenthood, 1055 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston; Please join this America Needs Fatima Public Square Rosary Campaign on this special day across the country to restore the unborn to Saint Joseph’s protection and support Traditional Marriage:

    In The Secret of the Rosary, Saint Louis de Montfort said: “Public prayer is far more powerful than private prayer to appease the anger of God and call down His mercy, and Holy Mother Church, guided by the Holy Ghost, has always advocated public prayer in times of public tragedy and suffering.”

    For further information, contact Sheila Flanagan 781-444-3081or

  8. says:

    Good luck getting the Archbishop of Boston to take a definitive position on anything! Prayer has to be the answer.


  9. Captn says:

    Al and Sarge,

    Can you you provide rebuttle with content to any information in this video or even Fr Murray’s comments at 14:25?

    • Sarge says:

      I watched the whole video and there is not much I disagree with. But Matt said Pope Francis is a bad Pope, not a heretic. Being a bad Pope is VERY different from being a heretic.

      • Captn says:

        Great, thanks for your response.

        The issue here is not making statements that are heretical but being vague enough to allow heresy within the church, this is exactly what St Pius X describes in Pascendi. Here’s a quote from a good reference. However if you do not want to read the entire article gist is in the following quote.

        “The debate, therefore, is far from useless, but let us not lose sight of its object: it is not the scandal of a heresy formulated doctrinally; it is the scandal of a praxis that clears the way for a challenge to Catholic truth on the indissolubility of marriage.”

  10. Joan D'Arcy Sheridan says:

    I remember what one prince in Germany said during the Reformation “Fifteen hundred years and one monk?”

  11. I understand and agree with the concern for the Sacrament of Matrimony expressed here by BCI and Phil Lawler. The whole Church must be concerned. However, I cannot help but ask where that same concern has been when it was the Sacrament of Holy Orders that became cheapened by rampant discarding of priests who were merely accused for decades old claims because of the demands of SNAP, and apparently, as this link shows, for nothing more redemptive than money:

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