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Inside the Catholic civil war With Pope Benedict dead, the gloves are off

"Francis 'looked unpleasant' during the funeral. Cardinals from around the world were horrified." (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

"Francis 'looked unpleasant' during the funeral. Cardinals from around the world were horrified." (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)


February 1, 2023   9 mins

In the early hours of January 2, the fully robed body of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was transferred from the little monastery in the Vatican where he had died on the last day of 2022 to St Peter’s Basilica. There is a photograph of his remains being lifted into a vehicle. It’s shocking, but not because it shows a dead ex-pope. It’s true that today’s megapixel cameras conveyed the waxwork sheen of the corpse in unnerving detail, but that was more obvious when Benedict was lying in St Peter’s (and, anyway, we British are squeamish because we don’t open the casket for mourners).

No: the shocking thing about that photo is that Benedict XVI, the greatest Catholic theologian of the 20th century as well as a revered pontiff, is being loaded into a white van. OK, so it’s an undertaker’s vehicle, and everyone is behaving with due reverence, but what was the Vatican thinking? The optics are terrible: Benedict looks like a piece of furniture. It’s hard to escape the suspicion that Pope Francis’s staff didn’t think Benedict merited a ceremonial hearse. At the Requiem Mass, Francis preached a homily in which he mentioned his predecessor’s name only once, and couldn’t be bothered to attend the interment in the crypt. Even the Vatican correspondent Robert Mickens, a veteran critic of Benedict’s, wrote that the Pope Emeritus “deserved better”. Cardinals from around the world were horrified.

Now Francis is paying the price. No sooner was Benedict in his grave than we felt the first tremors of an earthquake that threatens to bury his successor alive. The Catholic civil war has entered a new phase. The Pope has been accused by his enemies of favouring heretics, foul-mouthed outbursts of temper, sucking up to dictators, sadistic manoeuvres against traditionalists, perverting the course of justice, a feeble grasp of Catholic doctrine and — not for the first time — of protecting a sex abuser. Catholic conservatives had been worried for years that when the ancient ex-pope finally died, Francis would be free to pursue his own agenda. For nearly 10 years he stopped short of formally changing Catholic teaching on divorce and homosexuality, restricting himself to giving a nudge and a wink to hardline liberals while missing no opportunity to give traditionalists a kicking.

In a development that would have been unthinkable 30 years ago, Latin Mass parishes and communities are attracting disproportionate numbers of young priests and worshippers. Some of them cultivate a fogyish, holier-than-thou manner that gets up the nose of ordinary Catholics — but most of them are breathing new life into a moribund Church. Pope Francis loathes them. In 2020, with no warning, he banned many of their Latin Masses, and according to multiple sources, at a meeting with seminarians in December he ranted against “fucking careerists who fuck up the lives of others”. In his defence, perhaps the words were less vulgar in Spanish. Then again, it’s no secret in the Curia that the air turns blue when the Vicar of Christ is displeased.

With his scholarly predecessor finally dead, the thinking went, the Argentinian Pope could really let rip. And so his conservative critics decided to get their revenge in first. Benedict’s private secretary Archbishop Georg GĂ€nswein landed a blow within hours of his boss’s death. The ex-pope, he said, was “heartbroken” by Francis’s Latin Mass ban, and no wonder: it was Benedict who reintroduced the old liturgies in his 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum. On January 12, GĂ€nswein rushed out a book, Nothing But the Truth, which claimed that Benedict thought Francis had misrepresented his reasons for issuing the document. It also hinted that he felt his successor was adopting a dangerously careless approach to Catholic teaching on sexuality.

In the same week came more bombshells. To the anguish of the Church’s conservative wing, Cardinal George Pell, former head of Vatican finances, died suddenly after a routine operation on January 10. A few hours later, The Spectator published an article by Pell that tore mercilessly into Pope Francis’s pet project, a forthcoming “Synod on Synodality” whose agenda has been dictated by liberal Catholics who support women’s ordination and are obsessed with placating the LGBT+ lobby. Pell said the synod was shaping up to be a “toxic nightmare” and poured scorn on the working document’s “neo-Marxist jargon”.

Never before had the Australian cardinal expressed himself so bluntly — or so it seemed, until the celebrated Vatican mischief-maker Sandro Magister revealed that Pell was the author of a memo, signed “Demos”, that circulated among cardinals last year. And “blunt” doesn’t begin to describe the language Pell used when writing under a pseudonym. The cardinal — once one of Francis’s closest advisers — described this pontificate as “a disaster in many or most respects; a catastrophe”. He accused the Pope of remaining silent in the face of “heretical” voices calling for the scrapping of the Church’s ban on women priests and gay sex, while encouraging “the active persecution of traditionalists” and writing papal documents that marked an intellectual “decline” from the standards of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Pell warned his fellow cardinals that the Church was heading towards bankruptcy. He accused the Pope of turning the Vatican’s trial of Cardinal Angelo Becciu and other defendants on massive corruption charges into “an international scandal” by shifting the legal goalposts. That was a typical Pell touch: although Becciu had been his arch-enemy in the Curia, he had himself been the victim of a grotesque miscarriage of justice when he was jailed in Australia on false charges of sex abuse, and he did not want to see a fellow cardinal denied “due process”. The memo mentioned the regular phone-tapping that frightens everyone in the Curia, Francis’s habit of ruling through decrees that allow no appeals, and the Vatican’s betrayal of Chinese and Ukrainian Catholics. “The Holy Father has little support among seminarians and young priests,” it added.

Pell would have been amused to watch Francis’s dwindling band of admirers jump like scalded cats when the authorship of the Demos memo was revealed. Given that he had died the day before, they couldn’t savage his memory; nor could they challenge the damningly precise detail in the memo; and perhaps some of them realised that George Pell had never been a traditionalist and, when Francis was elected, had believed that he might be the right man for the job. His despair came from his personal dealings with the Pope, whom he came to regard as devious but dithering and, worse, not fully committed to the Catholic faith.

And then it looked as if another bombshell had landed. On January 20, Benedict XVI spoke from beyond the grave in his final book, What is Christianity?, which he hadn’t wanted published during his lifetime because anything he said provoked hysteria from German liberals. Would Joseph Ratzinger finally settle scores with Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who genuinely had humiliated him by trashing his ruling on the Latin Mass? The answer was no, as anyone who knew Benedict should have guessed. His book is a collection of essays, infinitely better written and, yes, more conservative than Francis’s writings — but the late Pope Emeritus would have considered it just as wrong to break his promise to show loyalty to his successor after his death as before it. So, nothing to see here, then.

But try looking somewhere else, to a book by Cardinal Gerhard MĂŒller, appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Benedict and sacked without warning or explanation by Francis in 2017. MĂŒller, a moderate conservative with liberal friends who seemed like a bridge between the two pontificates, was understandably furious. Recently he has criticised the theological incoherence of this pontificate. On January 27, a book-length interview with MĂŒller entitled In Good Faith was published in Italy. In it, the 75-year-old German cardinal sailed closer to the wind than Pell ever did under his own name. Pope Francis, he said, surrounds himself with “a kind of magic circle… composed of people who, in my opinion, are not prepared theologically”. Papal reforms of the Curia were a disaster, reducing it to “a business that works to provide assistance to ‘clients’, the episcopal conferences, as if it were a multinational enterprise and no longer an ecclesial body”.

What makes MĂŒller’s interview so deadly for Francis, however, is that it is the first time that a cardinal has drawn attention to the Pope’s favouritism towards clergy who have been accused of sex abuse. MĂŒller mentions the “special status” given to Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, an Argentinian protĂ©gĂ© of Francis whom he made a bishop as soon he became pope. In 2017, Zanchetta had to resign from his diocese of OrĂĄn amid allegations of abusing seminarians and financial mismanagement. Francis promptly created a job for Zanchetta in the Vatican overseeing the Holy See’s property and financial assets. This jaw-dropping appointment came to an end, however, when Zanchetta was jailed in Argentina for abusing two seminarians — despite the Vatican’s mysterious refusal to supply the courts with its own investigations into the charges.

This was at least the third time Francis had stuck his neck out — and risked his reputation — to defend a Latin American ally either plausibly accused or convicted of sexual abuse. Now there are questions about what the Pope knew about another of his clergy friends — his fellow Jesuit Fr Marko Rupnik, a celebrity artist whose tacky mosaics adorn churches all over the world and in the Vatican. The Rupnik scandal beggars belief. In 2015 the Slovenian priest seduced a novice nun and then absolved her of the sin of sleeping with him in the confessional. He was convicted of this grave offence — which incurs automatic excommunication — by a church court in January 2020. But his official excommunication was not imposed until May 2020, and lifted that same month because he had repented.

In between the conviction and the official excommunication, however, Rupnik was asked to preach the Lenten homilies at the Vatican in March 2020 and Francis signed off on it. Did he really not know about Rupnik’s trial for the seduction and absolution of a novice, particularly as Rupnik had been ordered not to preach in public without permission or to hear women’s confessions as a “preliminary” measure as early as June 2019? But that’s not the worst of it. Last December, Italian websites began claiming that Rupnik was suspected of serially abusing women in the Nineties. After the reports appeared, a former religious sister gave an interview to an Italian newspaper alleging that during the Eighties and Nineties Rupnik abused half the members of a community of consecrated women he founded in Slovenia. She claimed that he demanded that she play “erotic games in his studio… while painting or after the celebration of the Eucharist or confession”. Those “games” became increasingly pornographic.

Then it emerged that in 2021 the Jesuit order had started investigating allegations by nine women, but that nothing was done because the Vatican refused to investigate them, citing its statute of limitations. In 2022, the Jesuits asked for this to be lifted because the alleged offences were so “gruesome”, but the Vatican again refused. In January 2022, Rupnik had a private meeting with Francis. We know nothing about it, but we do know that in February the Diocese of Rome posted a talk by Rupnik on Eucharistic Adoration on its YouTube channel. And for the rest of the year this celebrity priest swanned around Italy giving retreats.

Last December, the Cardinal Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, Angelo De Donatis, issued a statement claiming that Rome learned of the Rupnik allegations “only in very recent times”. It ended with the statement that his diocese was “comforted by the discernment of her Supreme Pastor”. This prompted a veteran Vatican correspondent, Christopher Altieri of Catholic World Report, to claim that De Donatis was speaking in code. “Basically, Cardinal De Donatis is telling everyone who reads and understands curialese that Pope Francis is calling the shots on this one, and that Pope Francis has Fr Rupnik’s back,” he wrote. This was just before the deaths of Benedict and Pell and the flurry of books criticising Pope Francis. Vatican-watchers forgot about the Rupnik scandal for a few days, then started asking with increasing alarm whether Francis was party to a cover-up.

The Pope seems to have panicked. On January 24, he gave a long interview in Spanish to Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press — definitely one of the safer choices for a pontiff worried about being grilled. Francis called for homosexuality to be decriminalised everywhere, which AP justifiably ran as the headline. Winfield gushed about what a milestone this was for LGBT people, while admitting that the Pope “referred to the issue in terms of ‘sin’”. In fact, he had described homosexuality as a sin, which is not the teaching of the Catholic Church. As a result, he had to write a hasty letter to the Jesuit gay rights activist Fr James Martin explaining that he meant that all sexual acts outside marriage were sinful, though “circumstances may decrease or eliminate fault”. For his critics, it was an example of Francis at his worst: a mixture of confusion, evasion and sleight of hand.

Inevitably, both sides in the Catholic civil war slugged it out over the episode — which was embarrassing for the Pope but at least deflected attention from the very slippery answer he gave when he was asked about his friend Rupnik. To quote AP: “Francis denied he had any role in the handling of Rupnik’s case, other than to intervene procedurally to keep the second set of accusations from the nine women with the same tribunal that had heard the first.” His only decision was “let it continue with the normal court, because, if not, procedural paths are divided and everything gets muddled up”. And, he added: “So I had nothing to do with this.”

This makes no sense. As Altieri points out, you can’t simultaneously claim that you intervened in a procedural matter and had “nothing to do with this”. And then there’s the fundamental question of why the Vatican was so determined to scupper a Rupnik trial by invoking a statute of limitations that Francis could easily have waived. Someone in Rome needs to do some more pushing on Francis’s protection of Zanchetta and others. And here we encounter the infuriating reluctance of accredited Vatican correspondents to subject the ruler of Western Europe’s most corrupt independent state to the scrutiny that any president or prime minister would receive.

As a result, most Catholics, and even some of the cardinals who will be voting in the next conclave, don’t know the extent of the crisis. And that’s why Cardinal Pell, with a heavy heart, wrote the Demos memo. He was doing everything in his power to ensure that the next pope was an orthodox Catholic — not something previous conclaves have had to worry about, but some of the red hats Francis has doled out have landed on the heads of clerics whose views are more liberal Protestant than Catholic. Unfortunately Pell died first, reminding us that a man regarded by countless Catholics as the worst pope for centuries has one precious asset: he’s lucky.


Damian Thompson is a journalist and author

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Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

“Is the Pope Catholic?” so often asked to as a response to an obvious statement, but with the current pope we can’t be so sure. I’m under the impression that this one is more concerned about appearing ‘cool’ than being Cathlolic.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I agree. I was raised Catholic and completely rebelled against the church. I continue to be non-practicing and critical of the Church. However I have always respected how the Church is unswayed by fashionable ideas- unlike most other mainstream Christian churches. Francis clearly wants to be loved and admired more than he cares about the church. When he talks about climate change and other woke matters he sounds like a virtue signalling dimwit.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Johnson
Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

My Catholic coworker has the exact same sentiments and had deep respect for Benedict XVI.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt Hindman
Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Agreed. We benefit from the Catholic Church being stuck in ideas from 2000 years and being unwilling to accept to modern norms. After all, it’s easy for us to take it or leave.

Even if I agree with most liberal ideas, there need to be people holding out against them, making us consider.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

Easy if you do not think of yourself as a created being, with an immortal purpose.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

Easy if you do not think of yourself as a created being, with an immortal purpose.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Not a Catholic.

But isn’t this the way all things are going today? Bear with me in my analysis.

If the Catholic Church is seen as a huge, international organisation with millions of members, the great majority are believers in the words of the gospels and the ceremonies and the awe and the holiness. A very, very, small minority is concerned with global warming or gay rights.

So, the pope who represents this church, is chasing interests which are not concerning the huge majority of members. It doesn’t sound corrupt; it sounds inept. Isn’t it possible to get a new General Manager?

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Popes get voted for when one dies, or, possibly, retires. Only cardinals vote, and the popes make cardinals. Pope Francis has appointed the majority of the cardinals eligible to vote, at his death or retirement.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
John Hellerstedt
John Hellerstedt
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

I disagree: lots of faithful Catholics are concerned about the environment (e.g., global warming) and human rights (e.g., gay rights).

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
1 year ago

Yes treating them with respect; not fawning or making them special. Don’t want to abide by the Catholic Church’s teachings – then leave, as I did. We will rue the day when “The Church” is just another one of the loony christian sects that have spawned over the years. All preaching whatever crap they wish too, to gather adherents. Most are just money pots or havens for the disaffected.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andy O'Gorman
Gareth Rees
Gareth Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy O'Gorman

The RC church is just the original loony religious Christian sect. It is no different in any other regard than later Christian sects whether fundamentalists/literalists or barely believing Anglican groups.

Gareth Rees
Gareth Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy O'Gorman

The RC church is just the original loony religious Christian sect. It is no different in any other regard than later Christian sects whether fundamentalists/literalists or barely believing Anglican groups.

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
1 year ago

Yes treating them with respect; not fawning or making them special. Don’t want to abide by the Catholic Church’s teachings – then leave, as I did. We will rue the day when “The Church” is just another one of the loony christian sects that have spawned over the years. All preaching whatever crap they wish too, to gather adherents. Most are just money pots or havens for the disaffected.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andy O'Gorman
Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Popes get voted for when one dies, or, possibly, retires. Only cardinals vote, and the popes make cardinals. Pope Francis has appointed the majority of the cardinals eligible to vote, at his death or retirement.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
John Hellerstedt
John Hellerstedt
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

I disagree: lots of faithful Catholics are concerned about the environment (e.g., global warming) and human rights (e.g., gay rights).

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I’m not sure why the Pope’s being concerned about climate change is somehow un-Catholic. The Christian belief is that God created the earth and all that is in it and gave it to Man to be his home and to nourish him. If the Pope believs that Man is c*cking-up every thing than it would seem to me that he is right to be concerned.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

Climate change is the most important issue in the world for hundreds of NGOs and all western governments. It is in kind of good hands, then?

Although, yes, the EU wants the Catholic Church to lead. (Possibly it is in the By bul about one world religion? And that not being a good thing?)

If you listen about climate change every time you listen to the radio, and in every other way, there is no need to hear it again on Sunday. Time then, to concern ourselves with the sacred, to talk to and to worship G (I think this post will be flagged if I spell that out!), to think of our death and the last things.

The modern church does not concern itself with Catholic themes, but takes on the themes of the world and all its NGOs.

Seek G first
and this offers an amazing relationship and perspective. Very nourishing. It could possibly fill those people up who fight for climate change in their jobs or at weekly school protests.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Climate change is manifestly not the most important concern in the world except for those naieve and gullible enough to have been duped, conned and misled by manipulated ” science” that 99 pc of people have no ability whatsoever to interperate, but to be fair, like LBGT and racism obsession it is a religion substitute for many who have nothing else.. I am a member of the flat earth society, and am soon meeting Elvis on Mars, … I do hope that this makes you feel better.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

Of course climate has changed throughout time. And sorry you didn’t get the slight derision in the remark that it was such a concern to the West.
I am surprised you feel that your attachment to Elvis and Mars would move anyone. It is a bit mental, whether or not said for “shock” value. Cheers.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

Of course climate has changed throughout time. And sorry you didn’t get the slight derision in the remark that it was such a concern to the West.
I am surprised you feel that your attachment to Elvis and Mars would move anyone. It is a bit mental, whether or not said for “shock” value. Cheers.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

When did the climate not change? How has climate, temperature, carbon dioxide and moisture content of atmosphere changed since early Cretaceous, approximately 130m years ago?

Susie Bell
Susie Bell
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Thank you for pointing that out. The climate has been studied, in detail and recorded, for no more than a hundred years – not a very representative sampling is it?

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Hm. I am being misunderstood here, *fake cry. ;- ). I have been on top of mountains and looked at fossils from sea life. Of course the climate has changed, with mountains where there were once seas!

Susie Bell
Susie Bell
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Thank you for pointing that out. The climate has been studied, in detail and recorded, for no more than a hundred years – not a very representative sampling is it?

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Hm. I am being misunderstood here, *fake cry. ;- ). I have been on top of mountains and looked at fossils from sea life. Of course the climate has changed, with mountains where there were once seas!

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

A religious leader though would presumably talk about spritual aspects of something like climate change. The Patriarch of Constantinople has also written quite a lot of spiritual reflection on the kinds of excesses that lead to abuse of nature, and I’d hardly call him woke.

Gareth Rees
Gareth Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  M. Jamieson

Spiritual aspects of climate change?

Gareth Rees
Gareth Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  M. Jamieson

Spiritual aspects of climate change?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Climate change is manifestly not the most important concern in the world except for those naieve and gullible enough to have been duped, conned and misled by manipulated ” science” that 99 pc of people have no ability whatsoever to interperate, but to be fair, like LBGT and racism obsession it is a religion substitute for many who have nothing else.. I am a member of the flat earth society, and am soon meeting Elvis on Mars, … I do hope that this makes you feel better.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

When did the climate not change? How has climate, temperature, carbon dioxide and moisture content of atmosphere changed since early Cretaceous, approximately 130m years ago?

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

A religious leader though would presumably talk about spritual aspects of something like climate change. The Patriarch of Constantinople has also written quite a lot of spiritual reflection on the kinds of excesses that lead to abuse of nature, and I’d hardly call him woke.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago

I think a pope should stay out of scientific controversies. (Remember what the Church did to the “controversial” scientist Galileo) Man Made ClimateChange is still debated, even if the majority of politicians, activists and MSM, including the BBC, won’t let scientists, who find big holes in the man made “Climate Crisis” theory (the word a Guardian hack invented), discuss the matter anymore. Recent history showed us, what happened to epidemiologists and biologists, who contradicted mainstream thinking during the Covid epidemic. They were shadow banned from social media, governments ignored and marginalised them as they didn’t seem to fit in with the scary propaganda to frighten the public into obedience.
It seems that Francis wants to be part of the current left wing/green agenda, picking up also other fashionable causes, so he can prove himself cool, dare I say woke. Not the way I want my Pope to behave (I am Catholic).

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephanie Surface
Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

The history of the Jesuits is that of a battle between two things: the majority who want a religion and a faith and the minority which wants to manage the countries of the world. The Jesuits tried to control France at the beginning of the last century and this led to a separation of church and state.
In Italy the Vatican has a TV channel and has candidates in government elections. If the current pope wants to control global warning in some way, he should be elected by somebody to have that right. As Paula says, he is elected by a handful of cardinals he has selected. So he most definitely does not have any right to speak for others.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago

No problem with the Pope or any leader being concerned about the despoiling of earth – if the despoiling is validated by evidence: di-oxins, polyphenols + heavy metals in the water table, species loss and over extraction of ground water. The damage these cause is unpredictable but can be shown once it happens. Warmism is faith not evidence based and distracts from genuine environmental issues. Anyone concerned about the environment gets stuck with the warmists image. Juvenile, privelaged soap dodging student hypocrites

Last edited 1 year ago by mike otter
Susie Bell
Susie Bell
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

Who leave a mountain of plastic bottles and other uncompostable detritus after every ‘protest/party’

Susie Bell
Susie Bell
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

Who leave a mountain of plastic bottles and other uncompostable detritus after every ‘protest/party’

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

Climate change is the most important issue in the world for hundreds of NGOs and all western governments. It is in kind of good hands, then?

Although, yes, the EU wants the Catholic Church to lead. (Possibly it is in the By bul about one world religion? And that not being a good thing?)

If you listen about climate change every time you listen to the radio, and in every other way, there is no need to hear it again on Sunday. Time then, to concern ourselves with the sacred, to talk to and to worship G (I think this post will be flagged if I spell that out!), to think of our death and the last things.

The modern church does not concern itself with Catholic themes, but takes on the themes of the world and all its NGOs.

Seek G first
and this offers an amazing relationship and perspective. Very nourishing. It could possibly fill those people up who fight for climate change in their jobs or at weekly school protests.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago

I think a pope should stay out of scientific controversies. (Remember what the Church did to the “controversial” scientist Galileo) Man Made ClimateChange is still debated, even if the majority of politicians, activists and MSM, including the BBC, won’t let scientists, who find big holes in the man made “Climate Crisis” theory (the word a Guardian hack invented), discuss the matter anymore. Recent history showed us, what happened to epidemiologists and biologists, who contradicted mainstream thinking during the Covid epidemic. They were shadow banned from social media, governments ignored and marginalised them as they didn’t seem to fit in with the scary propaganda to frighten the public into obedience.
It seems that Francis wants to be part of the current left wing/green agenda, picking up also other fashionable causes, so he can prove himself cool, dare I say woke. Not the way I want my Pope to behave (I am Catholic).

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephanie Surface
Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

The history of the Jesuits is that of a battle between two things: the majority who want a religion and a faith and the minority which wants to manage the countries of the world. The Jesuits tried to control France at the beginning of the last century and this led to a separation of church and state.
In Italy the Vatican has a TV channel and has candidates in government elections. If the current pope wants to control global warning in some way, he should be elected by somebody to have that right. As Paula says, he is elected by a handful of cardinals he has selected. So he most definitely does not have any right to speak for others.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago

No problem with the Pope or any leader being concerned about the despoiling of earth – if the despoiling is validated by evidence: di-oxins, polyphenols + heavy metals in the water table, species loss and over extraction of ground water. The damage these cause is unpredictable but can be shown once it happens. Warmism is faith not evidence based and distracts from genuine environmental issues. Anyone concerned about the environment gets stuck with the warmists image. Juvenile, privelaged soap dodging student hypocrites

Last edited 1 year ago by mike otter
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Francis the “Pound Shop Pope”
The “I have principles and if you don’t like them I have others” Pope.
That one

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

My Catholic coworker has the exact same sentiments and had deep respect for Benedict XVI.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt Hindman
Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Agreed. We benefit from the Catholic Church being stuck in ideas from 2000 years and being unwilling to accept to modern norms. After all, it’s easy for us to take it or leave.

Even if I agree with most liberal ideas, there need to be people holding out against them, making us consider.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Not a Catholic.

But isn’t this the way all things are going today? Bear with me in my analysis.

If the Catholic Church is seen as a huge, international organisation with millions of members, the great majority are believers in the words of the gospels and the ceremonies and the awe and the holiness. A very, very, small minority is concerned with global warming or gay rights.

So, the pope who represents this church, is chasing interests which are not concerning the huge majority of members. It doesn’t sound corrupt; it sounds inept. Isn’t it possible to get a new General Manager?

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I’m not sure why the Pope’s being concerned about climate change is somehow un-Catholic. The Christian belief is that God created the earth and all that is in it and gave it to Man to be his home and to nourish him. If the Pope believs that Man is c*cking-up every thing than it would seem to me that he is right to be concerned.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Francis the “Pound Shop Pope”
The “I have principles and if you don’t like them I have others” Pope.
That one

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

A better question would be, “Is the Church of Rome Christian?” And articles such as this highlight its serious failings in that area.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic S

Of course they’re Christian – the holy subjects of their $15 billion art collection is testament to this.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic S

Of course they’re Christian – the holy subjects of their $15 billion art collection is testament to this.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I agree. I was raised Catholic and completely rebelled against the church. I continue to be non-practicing and critical of the Church. However I have always respected how the Church is unswayed by fashionable ideas- unlike most other mainstream Christian churches. Francis clearly wants to be loved and admired more than he cares about the church. When he talks about climate change and other woke matters he sounds like a virtue signalling dimwit.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Johnson
Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

A better question would be, “Is the Church of Rome Christian?” And articles such as this highlight its serious failings in that area.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

“Is the Pope Catholic?” so often asked to as a response to an obvious statement, but with the current pope we can’t be so sure. I’m under the impression that this one is more concerned about appearing ‘cool’ than being Cathlolic.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Perhaps this is yet another example of how the leadership of a religion, charity, business or political party can be taken over by careerists and then the original purpose of the organisation is subordinated to protecting those careers?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Very perceptive.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I am actually curious as to why Pope Francis would have been angry at careerist clerics? My RCIA deacon in Germany told me that he needed to find a career and remembered “his grandmother’s” religion. He has a great voice, and likes to sing. He is also excited about married deacons being made priests. Great. He openly told us that he considered the faith “something we don’t believe in anymore.” I will spare spilling more horrors.

Maurice Austin
Maurice Austin
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

It certainly has happened in the Church before – think of the original meaning of “nepotism” and the “cardinal-nephews”. The Church goes through these periods and then takes stock and pulls its socks up again.
It’s time for a sock-pulling, I think.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Very perceptive.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I am actually curious as to why Pope Francis would have been angry at careerist clerics? My RCIA deacon in Germany told me that he needed to find a career and remembered “his grandmother’s” religion. He has a great voice, and likes to sing. He is also excited about married deacons being made priests. Great. He openly told us that he considered the faith “something we don’t believe in anymore.” I will spare spilling more horrors.

Maurice Austin
Maurice Austin
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

It certainly has happened in the Church before – think of the original meaning of “nepotism” and the “cardinal-nephews”. The Church goes through these periods and then takes stock and pulls its socks up again.
It’s time for a sock-pulling, I think.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Perhaps this is yet another example of how the leadership of a religion, charity, business or political party can be taken over by careerists and then the original purpose of the organisation is subordinated to protecting those careers?

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
1 year ago

Quite a depressing read. If the Catholic Church can’t pick a half decent pope what hope does it have? Might seem a small thing but I think the swearing is a really good indicator of his character.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
1 year ago

Quite a depressing read. If the Catholic Church can’t pick a half decent pope what hope does it have? Might seem a small thing but I think the swearing is a really good indicator of his character.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

As a non-Catholic I thought this was a great article – I read it twice.

It made me think of similar actions in our political parties. We have old politicians having ‘ideas’ to appeal to the young. Our politicians might think one thing and get elected on that ticket, but when in power start to make plans of appeasement. Nowadays, there are so many minorities to appease that each statement or action leads to a counter action and then a loss of direction. A holy mess, in fact.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

This is the same with most institutions that the people who rise to the top, benefiting from the hard work and sacrifice of their predecessors, then hack away at the tree beneath them.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

This is the same with most institutions that the people who rise to the top, benefiting from the hard work and sacrifice of their predecessors, then hack away at the tree beneath them.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

As a non-Catholic I thought this was a great article – I read it twice.

It made me think of similar actions in our political parties. We have old politicians having ‘ideas’ to appeal to the young. Our politicians might think one thing and get elected on that ticket, but when in power start to make plans of appeasement. Nowadays, there are so many minorities to appease that each statement or action leads to a counter action and then a loss of direction. A holy mess, in fact.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

A political liberal showing all sweetness and light who is harsh, inconsistent, and dictatorial in private. Wow, that’s never happened before.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

A political liberal showing all sweetness and light who is harsh, inconsistent, and dictatorial in private. Wow, that’s never happened before.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago

I am only half way through the article, but Thompson never disappoints. His hatred for Frances emerges from the screen with force and really hits you. It is reminiscent of the bloody lifts in the Shining.
I don’t know whether he is justified or not, but his articles are always entertaining.

Anyway, the Pillar is not too fond of Francis either, although not nearly as vitriolic, so for a change it would be good to read from someone who actually likes him… There must be someone among the Catholic commentators.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

One last thing:
” Jose Mario Bergoglio”
His name is Jorge. Getting this detail right is rather important if you want to make some kind of point.

Sharon Westby
Sharon Westby
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Austen Ivereigh

Sharon Westby
Sharon Westby
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Aren’t we missing a point here?
Damien is drawing attention to serious divisions in The CC. He loves The Church. It’s always in some crises, it has survived crises before, but when the fight is so blatent and division so wide it’s a problem for the whole world.
The tradegy is that it’s not at peace and that’s something the whole world needs lots of.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

One last thing:
” Jose Mario Bergoglio”
His name is Jorge. Getting this detail right is rather important if you want to make some kind of point.

Sharon Westby
Sharon Westby
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Austen Ivereigh

Sharon Westby
Sharon Westby
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Aren’t we missing a point here?
Damien is drawing attention to serious divisions in The CC. He loves The Church. It’s always in some crises, it has survived crises before, but when the fight is so blatent and division so wide it’s a problem for the whole world.
The tradegy is that it’s not at peace and that’s something the whole world needs lots of.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago

I am only half way through the article, but Thompson never disappoints. His hatred for Frances emerges from the screen with force and really hits you. It is reminiscent of the bloody lifts in the Shining.
I don’t know whether he is justified or not, but his articles are always entertaining.

Anyway, the Pillar is not too fond of Francis either, although not nearly as vitriolic, so for a change it would be good to read from someone who actually likes him… There must be someone among the Catholic commentators.

Matthew Salter
Matthew Salter
1 year ago

This is why so many people think that the church is irrelevant: squabbling over what language is used for Mass, clutching pearls over whether priests are married or not and worrying about bankruptcy. Everything seems to be so inward-facing and more concerned with preserving the corporation than preaching the Gospel or helping the poor and oppressed.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Salter

…and the hypocrisy, entitlement, and delusions of grandeur – oh boy!

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Salter

How you prey is how you believe. And how you believe affects how you orient your whole life. (Trying not to trigger censoring.)

Further, it is beyond language (ideas have different shades of meaning in different languages, and using a holy language lifts one’s own attitude and is reverent to G.) It is also about what prey ers are actually recited and their interconnected meaning.

It also matters whether or not priests are married. Not to the wanna be Protestants amongst the clergy, but to those who understand the aims and values of tradition and their significance to G. (I am using an initial so as not to trigger censors.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Matthew Salter
Matthew Salter
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

How you “prey”. Freudian slip?

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Salter

Nope. Deliberate to avoid the algorithm that seeks to avoid the scary words.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Maurice Austin
Maurice Austin
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

This is just a test to see if “pray” is a scary word.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Maurice Austin

;- ) Hallelujah!

Maurice Austin
Maurice Austin
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

😉

Maurice Austin
Maurice Austin
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

😉

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Maurice Austin

;- ) Hallelujah!

Maurice Austin
Maurice Austin
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

This is just a test to see if “pray” is a scary word.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Salter

Nope. Deliberate to avoid the algorithm that seeks to avoid the scary words.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Has UnHerd really banned the use of the name of God?

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

Nice! I have triggered an algorithm before, using religious terms. I didn’t want to risk a post, since, even if corrected, the algorithm has been triggered, and the post won’t appear. Here. At Unherd.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

Nice! I have triggered an algorithm before, using religious terms. I didn’t want to risk a post, since, even if corrected, the algorithm has been triggered, and the post won’t appear. Here. At Unherd.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

— posted elsewhere

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Matthew Salter
Matthew Salter
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

How you “prey”. Freudian slip?

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Has UnHerd really banned the use of the name of God?

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

— posted elsewhere

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Matthew Salter
Matthew Salter
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Salter

I should emphasize that I say that more in sorrow than in anger. And while the Catholic Church has specific issues, as an Episcopalian I recognize that Protestantism is not free from problems. We all need to do better.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Salter

There is considerably more to it than “squabbling” or “clutching” in such issues, irrelevant though they may seem to a non-believer.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Salter

…and the hypocrisy, entitlement, and delusions of grandeur – oh boy!

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Salter

How you prey is how you believe. And how you believe affects how you orient your whole life. (Trying not to trigger censoring.)

Further, it is beyond language (ideas have different shades of meaning in different languages, and using a holy language lifts one’s own attitude and is reverent to G.) It is also about what prey ers are actually recited and their interconnected meaning.

It also matters whether or not priests are married. Not to the wanna be Protestants amongst the clergy, but to those who understand the aims and values of tradition and their significance to G. (I am using an initial so as not to trigger censors.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Matthew Salter
Matthew Salter
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Salter

I should emphasize that I say that more in sorrow than in anger. And while the Catholic Church has specific issues, as an Episcopalian I recognize that Protestantism is not free from problems. We all need to do better.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Salter

There is considerably more to it than “squabbling” or “clutching” in such issues, irrelevant though they may seem to a non-believer.

Matthew Salter
Matthew Salter
1 year ago

This is why so many people think that the church is irrelevant: squabbling over what language is used for Mass, clutching pearls over whether priests are married or not and worrying about bankruptcy. Everything seems to be so inward-facing and more concerned with preserving the corporation than preaching the Gospel or helping the poor and oppressed.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

A classic example of the dangers of quotas. “It’s about time we had a Pope from Latin America”.

Jane Pou
Jane Pou
1 year ago

He was arch bishop in Argentina but he is Italian

Joshua Maher
Joshua Maher
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Pou

Incorrect, he is Argentinian, having been born in Buenos Aires. His father was an Italian migrant, but Francis only has Argentinian (and Vatican) citizenship.

Joshua Maher
Joshua Maher
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Pou

Incorrect, he is Argentinian, having been born in Buenos Aires. His father was an Italian migrant, but Francis only has Argentinian (and Vatican) citizenship.

Jane Pou
Jane Pou
1 year ago

He was arch bishop in Argentina but he is Italian

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

A classic example of the dangers of quotas. “It’s about time we had a Pope from Latin America”.

andy young
andy young
1 year ago

Just another example of how mankind’s noblest instincts, the belief in something greater than itself, gets corrupted & usurped once it becomes an institution. Heartbreaking.

andy young
andy young
1 year ago

Just another example of how mankind’s noblest instincts, the belief in something greater than itself, gets corrupted & usurped once it becomes an institution. Heartbreaking.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago

This post doesn’t make it clear to this non-Catholic reader that there is a war or what it is about other than a few personal squabbles or disparate skirmishes. For instance, what is the last sentence meant to mean? This is of concern given humankind is at war with itself and if this is a symptom of that war, its battle lines or its shape. Admittedly this reader hasn’t followed any of the links, but that shouldn’t be a reader’s task, unless this one’s mistaken.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

I’d contest that humankind isn’t so much at war with itself, as just starting to come to terms with our humanity, following on from the realisation of our ability to destroy ourselves. We can either retreat back into the comfort blanket offered by organised religion and/or authoritarianism, or accept responsibility for ourselves, with better understanding of the flaws in our humanity. A difficult task on an individual level, let alone as a species. But it’s one or the other.

The culture wars are the playing out of this process on a conscious, global scale, through the advances in communication technology. That it should affect the Catholic Church is hardly surprising. As probably the prime example of the comfort blanket, it cannot stand aside and pretend nothing is happening. It’s been happening since Copernicus.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Hi Steve, I’m less sanguine than you seem to be given the systematic dismantling of the very foundation upon which critiques are premised: biological, social, ethical, moral, political, scientific and – dare I say it – religious (‘obligation, bond, reverence [ … ] to bind’ | OED).

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

I strongly suspect you’ve got the wrong end of the stick (as others may have). The Catholic Church was equally aghast when Galileo, following on from Copernicus, challenged their “very foundations”. It’s not the challenge that’s at fault – it’s the failure to rise to it by taking responsibility for ourselves instead of outsourcing it. That’s got nothing whatsoever to do with what you describe.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Steve, how do you get from Galileo and Copernicus to ‘taking responsibility for (your)self’? How do you take responsibility for yourself if the very concept ‘self’ is increasingly in question apart from whim?

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Self can be rightly ordered. Yes, with work and intention and humility. You are right, do not give in to whim, but to Truth. I am the Truth, the Way and the Light., said someone. ;- )

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

*and the Life! Doh!
Oh, and forgot to say “with grace.” Yet, ask, and you will receive. Ha. I am such a mess from all the silly beliefs I have swam in over a lifetime, but even in me, the grace has been profound.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

*and the Life! Doh!
Oh, and forgot to say “with grace.” Yet, ask, and you will receive. Ha. I am such a mess from all the silly beliefs I have swam in over a lifetime, but even in me, the grace has been profound.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Self can be rightly ordered. Yes, with work and intention and humility. You are right, do not give in to whim, but to Truth. I am the Truth, the Way and the Light., said someone. ;- )

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Steve, how do you get from Galileo and Copernicus to ‘taking responsibility for (your)self’? How do you take responsibility for yourself if the very concept ‘self’ is increasingly in question apart from whim?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

I strongly suspect you’ve got the wrong end of the stick (as others may have). The Catholic Church was equally aghast when Galileo, following on from Copernicus, challenged their “very foundations”. It’s not the challenge that’s at fault – it’s the failure to rise to it by taking responsibility for ourselves instead of outsourcing it. That’s got nothing whatsoever to do with what you describe.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Up to a point. Organised religion is far less comforting that progressive meterialism. Isn’t the comfort blanket the idea that we can do what we like without any consequences? Been like that for some time.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

But as many who pursue progressive materialism are finding, there’s very little comfort to be had after the initial instant hit. And that’s my point. It was perhaps assumed in the first reply that i was advocating on behalf of the progressive stance – far from it. Neither organised religion or outright materialism will succeed in taking us forward.
I’m advocating taking responsibility for our own souls, which by the nature of a mature society should include caring for others. We’ve not yet reached that stage, but i’d maintain that outsourcing the responsibility to an external diety for answers leads to the current floundering when that diety simply doesn’t exist – except in the hopes and imaginations of human beings. So why not cut out the diety and start to rely on that very source of inspiration.
That’s a complex psychological turnaround in a nutshell, and obviously there’s a lot more that could be added. I’d simply add that the current floundering could be seen as a way of working through some of the issues we’re presented with as humans in coming to terms with our humanity. It may take some time, but still, a necessary process to rid ourselves of religious illusions.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Funny that the pro Vatican lot here think they are the non materialists (hint the Vatican has ÂŁ10,000,000,000….in art). They also seem to quite like gold & silks, grandeur, eating well, servants (nuns). As, as for personal responsibility, they basically sell get out of jail cards. You couldn’t make it up.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I have never bought a get out of jail card, and I call myself Catholic. There are wolves in sheeps’ clothing in the midst of the flock, and that is straight from The Book.

It is also something wonderful, to discern. We are given free will and intelligence, and with grace, we allow ourselves to seek good.

Go easy on the stereotypes. Don’t let an imperfect institution keep you from the true, the beautiful and the good. We are in a fallen world. The grace you give is the grace you will receive. Forgive US our trespasses AS WE forgive OTHERS. Yep, we reap what we sow. It is down to EACH of us to achieve our salvation (and as a bonus, let go of our resentments and have better relationships here on Earth.) ;- )

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

“I have never bought a get out of jail card”

You’ve never been to confession, and given back to the Church, financially?

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Confession costs nothing. I don’t actually give to the Church, except for earmarked causes, like mending a roof, or paying for a candle that I have used.
I am wary of how the institutional Church spends its money. I support the religious in monasteries, homeless on the way to church, etc., instead.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Fair enough – at a personal level. Confession does cost though, it’s just that the costs are not wholly visible, and not charged for at the point of delivery. Just like the NHS. But it is all paid for by those that receive the service. The NHS has never been in a position to afford the best art and achitecture, silks and gold – though it has wasted eye-watering sums on dodgy IT projects and consultants!

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Fair enough – at a personal level. Confession does cost though, it’s just that the costs are not wholly visible, and not charged for at the point of delivery. Just like the NHS. But it is all paid for by those that receive the service. The NHS has never been in a position to afford the best art and achitecture, silks and gold – though it has wasted eye-watering sums on dodgy IT projects and consultants!

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Confession costs nothing. I don’t actually give to the Church, except for earmarked causes, like mending a roof, or paying for a candle that I have used.
I am wary of how the institutional Church spends its money. I support the religious in monasteries, homeless on the way to church, etc., instead.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

“I have never bought a get out of jail card”

You’ve never been to confession, and given back to the Church, financially?

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I have never bought a get out of jail card, and I call myself Catholic. There are wolves in sheeps’ clothing in the midst of the flock, and that is straight from The Book.

It is also something wonderful, to discern. We are given free will and intelligence, and with grace, we allow ourselves to seek good.

Go easy on the stereotypes. Don’t let an imperfect institution keep you from the true, the beautiful and the good. We are in a fallen world. The grace you give is the grace you will receive. Forgive US our trespasses AS WE forgive OTHERS. Yep, we reap what we sow. It is down to EACH of us to achieve our salvation (and as a bonus, let go of our resentments and have better relationships here on Earth.) ;- )

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Because we are created. (I studied evolution for four years in college, and it never filled in the gaps.). Because we become better human beings if we know we are loved, and we are. Humans are so small, and yet we can be forgiven and given grace to change our ways and have happiness even when there is darkness and suffering. And because we appreciate how humble we are, we reach out to our fellows. We love G by serving others. Faith and love makes us help our fellows. (It takes time to grow your heart, with lots of prey er and study, and finally filled with grace, when it comes, a gift!)

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Funny that the pro Vatican lot here think they are the non materialists (hint the Vatican has ÂŁ10,000,000,000….in art). They also seem to quite like gold & silks, grandeur, eating well, servants (nuns). As, as for personal responsibility, they basically sell get out of jail cards. You couldn’t make it up.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Because we are created. (I studied evolution for four years in college, and it never filled in the gaps.). Because we become better human beings if we know we are loved, and we are. Humans are so small, and yet we can be forgiven and given grace to change our ways and have happiness even when there is darkness and suffering. And because we appreciate how humble we are, we reach out to our fellows. We love G by serving others. Faith and love makes us help our fellows. (It takes time to grow your heart, with lots of prey er and study, and finally filled with grace, when it comes, a gift!)

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

“Isn’t the comfort blanket the idea that we can do what we like without any consequences?”

Absolutely not. Only ignorami believe that – actually who does believe that? I’m fairly widely read, and I don’t think I’ve heard that sentiment expressed, or rather asserted. Anyhow, if such people do exist, we shouldn’t pay them any mind, whether they are religious or not.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic A
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

But as many who pursue progressive materialism are finding, there’s very little comfort to be had after the initial instant hit. And that’s my point. It was perhaps assumed in the first reply that i was advocating on behalf of the progressive stance – far from it. Neither organised religion or outright materialism will succeed in taking us forward.
I’m advocating taking responsibility for our own souls, which by the nature of a mature society should include caring for others. We’ve not yet reached that stage, but i’d maintain that outsourcing the responsibility to an external diety for answers leads to the current floundering when that diety simply doesn’t exist – except in the hopes and imaginations of human beings. So why not cut out the diety and start to rely on that very source of inspiration.
That’s a complex psychological turnaround in a nutshell, and obviously there’s a lot more that could be added. I’d simply add that the current floundering could be seen as a way of working through some of the issues we’re presented with as humans in coming to terms with our humanity. It may take some time, but still, a necessary process to rid ourselves of religious illusions.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

“Isn’t the comfort blanket the idea that we can do what we like without any consequences?”

Absolutely not. Only ignorami believe that – actually who does believe that? I’m fairly widely read, and I don’t think I’ve heard that sentiment expressed, or rather asserted. Anyhow, if such people do exist, we shouldn’t pay them any mind, whether they are religious or not.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic A
Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Hi Steve, I’m less sanguine than you seem to be given the systematic dismantling of the very foundation upon which critiques are premised: biological, social, ethical, moral, political, scientific and – dare I say it – religious (‘obligation, bond, reverence [ … ] to bind’ | OED).

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Up to a point. Organised religion is far less comforting that progressive meterialism. Isn’t the comfort blanket the idea that we can do what we like without any consequences? Been like that for some time.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

As a Catholic reader I am not clear either 😉

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Let me attempt to clarify that last sentence. Higher up in the paragraph, it states that Cardinal Pell was working to ensure that the Pope who follows Francis will be an orthodox one.

With Cardinal Pell dead, Pope Francis is lucky, because Pell challenged him. There are obvious obstacles to challenging him. Even when it happens, concerns brought up by others are not often addressed. For example “The Dubia Brothers” have never had their dubia answered. Two of those men have since died. In contrast, another cleric, Father James Marin, had his dubia answered within a week,

Maybe read Cardinal Pell’s article to begin with. Follow Damian Thomason’s writings. You will eventually see the challenges and differences in perspectives. It might even help you in your pondering over the idea of mankind at war with itself, and provide some answers.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

*Father James Martin
Damian Thompson.
autocorrect! And unable to edit my original post.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Thank you Paula for your kind trouble, however, my point is that if the issues come down to ‘luck’ then they’re contingent rather than potentially schismatic. But if they are the latter, which the post’s headline states they are, then I do not gain a deep sense from this report of what is at stake, and my concern is that if the church doesn’t understand and articulate unambiguously what is at stake, then humankind is without anchor, ballast or compass.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

The issues do not come down to luck. The author writes that Pope Francis is lucky (again) because, once again, he is not called out.

There is deference in the Church, and deep respect for the office of the Pope, If Pope Francis, or a successor pope, cancelled the Latin Mass, there could be fewer priests who would say this Mass, not wanting to be apostate. That said, it is possible to be within Tradition, within the Church, and not follow the teaching of a particular pope, if what he is teaching goes against the deposit of the Faith.

The By bul itself talks about false teaching, even within the Church itself. Now, as for ambiguous teaching, that is often called out by many faithful, in the pronouncements of Pope Francis. One can look to tradition, as no pope should contradict the infallible doctrine promulgated by previous popes. A pope can be in error, if not speaking dogmatically. Successive councils have worked out points of doctrine, in history, and will continue to do so.

Catholics will not go into schism, if believing. If the Latin Mass is completely taken away, it may be that, from conscience, Mass is said underground. If this looks like apostasy, it has been found that others, even popes, have been pronounced that they were not in schism, in successive councils.

Good news. Man is not without anchor, ballast or compass! Even in darkness! That is the Good News! Baptism and Faith and guidance from the H.G. (aka H.S.) is ever there! Hyperpapalism is what it is called, if you believe that all a pope says infallible. Do not trust in any man. Keep preying and keep seeking and You will know more truth! (Never everything, as we are finite beings.) But it is not true thwt any believer should feel that there is no anchor, nor ballast or compass. Remember J. was in the boat with the disciples, and is present here, today, on Earth!

Find a good church. Read good books. Prey. ;- ) (Yes, trying to beat the algorithm.)

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

The issues do not come down to luck. The author writes that Pope Francis is lucky (again) because, once again, he is not called out.

There is deference in the Church, and deep respect for the office of the Pope, If Pope Francis, or a successor pope, cancelled the Latin Mass, there could be fewer priests who would say this Mass, not wanting to be apostate. That said, it is possible to be within Tradition, within the Church, and not follow the teaching of a particular pope, if what he is teaching goes against the deposit of the Faith.

The By bul itself talks about false teaching, even within the Church itself. Now, as for ambiguous teaching, that is often called out by many faithful, in the pronouncements of Pope Francis. One can look to tradition, as no pope should contradict the infallible doctrine promulgated by previous popes. A pope can be in error, if not speaking dogmatically. Successive councils have worked out points of doctrine, in history, and will continue to do so.

Catholics will not go into schism, if believing. If the Latin Mass is completely taken away, it may be that, from conscience, Mass is said underground. If this looks like apostasy, it has been found that others, even popes, have been pronounced that they were not in schism, in successive councils.

Good news. Man is not without anchor, ballast or compass! Even in darkness! That is the Good News! Baptism and Faith and guidance from the H.G. (aka H.S.) is ever there! Hyperpapalism is what it is called, if you believe that all a pope says infallible. Do not trust in any man. Keep preying and keep seeking and You will know more truth! (Never everything, as we are finite beings.) But it is not true thwt any believer should feel that there is no anchor, nor ballast or compass. Remember J. was in the boat with the disciples, and is present here, today, on Earth!

Find a good church. Read good books. Prey. ;- ) (Yes, trying to beat the algorithm.)

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

*Father James Martin
Damian Thompson.
autocorrect! And unable to edit my original post.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Thank you Paula for your kind trouble, however, my point is that if the issues come down to ‘luck’ then they’re contingent rather than potentially schismatic. But if they are the latter, which the post’s headline states they are, then I do not gain a deep sense from this report of what is at stake, and my concern is that if the church doesn’t understand and articulate unambiguously what is at stake, then humankind is without anchor, ballast or compass.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

I’d contest that humankind isn’t so much at war with itself, as just starting to come to terms with our humanity, following on from the realisation of our ability to destroy ourselves. We can either retreat back into the comfort blanket offered by organised religion and/or authoritarianism, or accept responsibility for ourselves, with better understanding of the flaws in our humanity. A difficult task on an individual level, let alone as a species. But it’s one or the other.

The culture wars are the playing out of this process on a conscious, global scale, through the advances in communication technology. That it should affect the Catholic Church is hardly surprising. As probably the prime example of the comfort blanket, it cannot stand aside and pretend nothing is happening. It’s been happening since Copernicus.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

As a Catholic reader I am not clear either 😉

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Let me attempt to clarify that last sentence. Higher up in the paragraph, it states that Cardinal Pell was working to ensure that the Pope who follows Francis will be an orthodox one.

With Cardinal Pell dead, Pope Francis is lucky, because Pell challenged him. There are obvious obstacles to challenging him. Even when it happens, concerns brought up by others are not often addressed. For example “The Dubia Brothers” have never had their dubia answered. Two of those men have since died. In contrast, another cleric, Father James Marin, had his dubia answered within a week,

Maybe read Cardinal Pell’s article to begin with. Follow Damian Thomason’s writings. You will eventually see the challenges and differences in perspectives. It might even help you in your pondering over the idea of mankind at war with itself, and provide some answers.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago

This post doesn’t make it clear to this non-Catholic reader that there is a war or what it is about other than a few personal squabbles or disparate skirmishes. For instance, what is the last sentence meant to mean? This is of concern given humankind is at war with itself and if this is a symptom of that war, its battle lines or its shape. Admittedly this reader hasn’t followed any of the links, but that shouldn’t be a reader’s task, unless this one’s mistaken.

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago

We Orthodox Christians quite liked Benedict XVI. Probably the best Pope of Rome since the Latins set up on their own in the 11th century, at least from our point of view.
When I left the ongoing wreck of Anglicanism for the Holy Orthodox Church in 1994, I looked briefly at the Latin church and concluded it was running on the same track, just 30 years behind. I guess the next two years of Francis’s pontificate will show whether that estimate was spot on, or whether Benedict slowed the “progress”.

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago

We Orthodox Christians quite liked Benedict XVI. Probably the best Pope of Rome since the Latins set up on their own in the 11th century, at least from our point of view.
When I left the ongoing wreck of Anglicanism for the Holy Orthodox Church in 1994, I looked briefly at the Latin church and concluded it was running on the same track, just 30 years behind. I guess the next two years of Francis’s pontificate will show whether that estimate was spot on, or whether Benedict slowed the “progress”.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

They have all covered up sexual abuse by priests and perverted the course of justice. Benedict was as guilty as Francis. A truly rotten organisation. But the author does recognise it: “Western Europe’s most corrupt independent state”.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

If anyone disagrees with the truth of my statements, please be kind enough to state why (alongside the downvotes).

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I’m afraid that this happens very often and it’s not helpful. Sometimes you will even get down-voted for daring to ask a question or just stating a statistic, if the question or figure is not liked by someone on here. The down votes are often just someone’s feelings (this comment makes me feel unsafe) they don’t come from considering what the original poster says.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

Just an addition, I do disagree somewhat with you, there was certainly plenty of cover-ups, but not by all, and mostly it was from fear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending what was done, but I realise that if they come out and pinpoint a rotten apple the world’s communications media would be all over them, so better keep quiet was the Church’s attitude.

Last edited 1 year ago by Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

Just an addition, I do disagree somewhat with you, there was certainly plenty of cover-ups, but not by all, and mostly it was from fear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending what was done, but I realise that if they come out and pinpoint a rotten apple the world’s communications media would be all over them, so better keep quiet was the Church’s attitude.

Last edited 1 year ago by Linda Hutchinson
Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I totally agree with you. I think UnHerd should take away the downvotes. There are people, who seem to be too lazy or not to take the time to discuss a statement, instead use the downvote

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Actually, I’m not against downvotes (and I’m guilty of using them every day, probably often because my feelings are offended just as Linda says). Downvotesd do tell us something useful (though going back to plit up and down votes would be better). It’s sometimes useful to know why though.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

It would be much clearer if the downvotes and upvotes were shown separately. Then the disparity would be clear, and the passion of the feelings. At the moment 100 upvotes and 99 downvotes would bizarrely show as just 1 upvote!

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

This.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Agree, this would greatly improve the system. I personally never downvote somebody’s view. I rather discuss 
 meanwhile my suggestion had -12 downvotes. Guess my view is not popular 😉

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

This.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Agree, this would greatly improve the system. I personally never downvote somebody’s view. I rather discuss 
 meanwhile my suggestion had -12 downvotes. Guess my view is not popular 😉

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

It would be much clearer if the downvotes and upvotes were shown separately. Then the disparity would be clear, and the passion of the feelings. At the moment 100 upvotes and 99 downvotes would bizarrely show as just 1 upvote!

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

I really like the downvotes. Its the only way to deal with trolls.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
1 year ago

Or perhaps show total votes, and then the upvotes. Surely we can do our own math, and it would give us a sense of degree interest evoked by a post.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
1 year ago

Or perhaps show total votes, and then the upvotes. Surely we can do our own math, and it would give us a sense of degree interest evoked by a post.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Actually, I’m not against downvotes (and I’m guilty of using them every day, probably often because my feelings are offended just as Linda says). Downvotesd do tell us something useful (though going back to plit up and down votes would be better). It’s sometimes useful to know why though.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

I really like the downvotes. Its the only way to deal with trolls.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I’m afraid that this happens very often and it’s not helpful. Sometimes you will even get down-voted for daring to ask a question or just stating a statistic, if the question or figure is not liked by someone on here. The down votes are often just someone’s feelings (this comment makes me feel unsafe) they don’t come from considering what the original poster says.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I totally agree with you. I think UnHerd should take away the downvotes. There are people, who seem to be too lazy or not to take the time to discuss a statement, instead use the downvote

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

If anyone disagrees with the truth of my statements, please be kind enough to state why (alongside the downvotes).

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

They have all covered up sexual abuse by priests and perverted the course of justice. Benedict was as guilty as Francis. A truly rotten organisation. But the author does recognise it: “Western Europe’s most corrupt independent state”.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

For those Catholics who are tired of living under the edicts of such an obviously corrupt hierarchy and Pope, there is an alternative: the Orthodox Church.
Remember, the Bishop of Rome was one of the original bishops of the original church at the time of the apostles. The rest of those bishops are still largely in communion with each other. I know you’ve got 1000 years of teaching (since the Great Schism) that says Peter’s unique commission has been mystically passed to each subsequent holder of that seat. And you would have to give that up. But in light of the mess since Vatican II, do you really believe it?
Orthodoxy certainly has its own problems, but it doesn’t suffer from whiplash caused by the moods of a single man at the top.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

For those Catholics who are tired of living under the edicts of such an obviously corrupt hierarchy and Pope, there is an alternative: the Orthodox Church.
Remember, the Bishop of Rome was one of the original bishops of the original church at the time of the apostles. The rest of those bishops are still largely in communion with each other. I know you’ve got 1000 years of teaching (since the Great Schism) that says Peter’s unique commission has been mystically passed to each subsequent holder of that seat. And you would have to give that up. But in light of the mess since Vatican II, do you really believe it?
Orthodoxy certainly has its own problems, but it doesn’t suffer from whiplash caused by the moods of a single man at the top.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

The phrase “hardline liberals” used here would normally have been described as an oxymoron and would have elicited a chuckle. Now we see it used in journalistic print. Whatever has a liberal class become and what on earth does it think it is?

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

The phrase “hardline liberals” used here would normally have been described as an oxymoron and would have elicited a chuckle. Now we see it used in journalistic print. Whatever has a liberal class become and what on earth does it think it is?

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
1 year ago

“In fact, he had described homosexuality as a sin, which is not the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

If you mean homosexual acts are not considered sinful then that is news to me.

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
1 year ago

Homosexuality, defined as a condition in which same-sex attraction predominates, is not sinful, any more than my propensity towards gluttony is. Homosexual acts are, as I sin if I overeat massively because of my greed.

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
1 year ago

Homosexuality, defined as a condition in which same-sex attraction predominates, is not sinful, any more than my propensity towards gluttony is. Homosexual acts are, as I sin if I overeat massively because of my greed.

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
1 year ago

“In fact, he had described homosexuality as a sin, which is not the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

If you mean homosexual acts are not considered sinful then that is news to me.

Garrett R
Garrett R
1 year ago

What’s the data on the Latin masses? How many younger people did it attract? What was the retention rate? Was it global or confined to a handful of regions?

UnHerd
please, please, please start demanding your writers publish hard numbers and data. If you’re going to make numerical claims, then back them up.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Garrett R

That would be a very niche subject for UnHerd. There are some Latin Mass communities especially in France and the USA that are quite vibrant and probably make more noise than their numbers would justify. In Britain few and far between. You’d think that globally the Vatican had more imporant issues to contend with and would be content to tolerate, if not celebrate, some enthusiasic if eccentric Catholics. Which means the issue is one of principle – and of wider import and interest than the statistics suggest.

G R
G R
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

This is part of my initiative to urge UnHerd to start incorporating numbers and data into their articles. Many of their authors like to make sweeping claims to illustrate a broader narrative with absolutely no back up. Here was the quote in question:
In a development that would have been unthinkable 30 years ago, Latin Mass parishes and communities are attracting disproportionate numbers of young priests and worshippers. Some of them cultivate a fogyish, holier-than-thou manner that gets up the nose of ordinary Catholics — but most of them are breathing new life into a moribund Church.

The point here was to castigate Pope Francis as this merciless, corrupt politician who gets in the way of “real Catholics”. The author even concedes that some of these communities were probably off the mark in their practice. Yet there are no numbers. How do we as readers evaluate this claim within the context of the article? Did Francis shut down 50 Catholics or 10,000? Maybe it does not matter. But my point remains–if this is important enough to be in the article, then the author needs to understand the full impact. Data has a nasty way of confounding narratives.

G R
G R
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

This is part of my initiative to urge UnHerd to start incorporating numbers and data into their articles. Many of their authors like to make sweeping claims to illustrate a broader narrative with absolutely no back up. Here was the quote in question:
In a development that would have been unthinkable 30 years ago, Latin Mass parishes and communities are attracting disproportionate numbers of young priests and worshippers. Some of them cultivate a fogyish, holier-than-thou manner that gets up the nose of ordinary Catholics — but most of them are breathing new life into a moribund Church.

The point here was to castigate Pope Francis as this merciless, corrupt politician who gets in the way of “real Catholics”. The author even concedes that some of these communities were probably off the mark in their practice. Yet there are no numbers. How do we as readers evaluate this claim within the context of the article? Did Francis shut down 50 Catholics or 10,000? Maybe it does not matter. But my point remains–if this is important enough to be in the article, then the author needs to understand the full impact. Data has a nasty way of confounding narratives.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Garrett R

That would be a very niche subject for UnHerd. There are some Latin Mass communities especially in France and the USA that are quite vibrant and probably make more noise than their numbers would justify. In Britain few and far between. You’d think that globally the Vatican had more imporant issues to contend with and would be content to tolerate, if not celebrate, some enthusiasic if eccentric Catholics. Which means the issue is one of principle – and of wider import and interest than the statistics suggest.

Garrett R
Garrett R
1 year ago

What’s the data on the Latin masses? How many younger people did it attract? What was the retention rate? Was it global or confined to a handful of regions?

UnHerd
please, please, please start demanding your writers publish hard numbers and data. If you’re going to make numerical claims, then back them up.

David Simpson
David Simpson
1 year ago

I wish UnHerd and the Spectator would stop trotting out Damian Thompson as if his was the only view on the state of the Catholic Church. I cannot possibly judge whether DT’s views are sensible or not without the benefit of the other side’s point of view. I am a (not particularly good)Catholic and know and respect a number of priests and others, who have met Pope Francis, and who regard him highly. They may be confused or deluded. So also may Damian Thompson. Please be a little more even handed. I suspect for every 100 “young traditionalists” the Church is losing a 1,000 cradle Catholics – DT’s orthodoxy does nothing to draw them back.

David Simpson
David Simpson
1 year ago

I wish UnHerd and the Spectator would stop trotting out Damian Thompson as if his was the only view on the state of the Catholic Church. I cannot possibly judge whether DT’s views are sensible or not without the benefit of the other side’s point of view. I am a (not particularly good)Catholic and know and respect a number of priests and others, who have met Pope Francis, and who regard him highly. They may be confused or deluded. So also may Damian Thompson. Please be a little more even handed. I suspect for every 100 “young traditionalists” the Church is losing a 1,000 cradle Catholics – DT’s orthodoxy does nothing to draw them back.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago

Then there are the Newcastle Cathedral sex parties!

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Divisions within the Catholic church? Hmm it seems to suggest the Holy Spirit is either having a holiday or moving in v mysterious way.
Joking aside, if one believes the catholic God does indeed imbue his Pope with the Holy Spirit then getting partisan about differences is a potential act against that God…isn’t it? I’m not a Catholic but if the Holy Spirit has moved to give you the current Pope who am I or you to question?
The catholic church prides itself on absolute truths. It’s what attracts so many, (albeit forgetting the Church has changed some of it’s absolute truths over the centuries…just a bit more slowly). But it also believes it’s Pope the father of this Church and imbued with the Holy Spirit. In the theological fight does seem to the in-looker they pick and choose when to play the Holy Spirit card.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Divisions within the Catholic church? Hmm it seems to suggest the Holy Spirit is either having a holiday or moving in v mysterious way.
Joking aside, if one believes the catholic God does indeed imbue his Pope with the Holy Spirit then getting partisan about differences is a potential act against that God…isn’t it? I’m not a Catholic but if the Holy Spirit has moved to give you the current Pope who am I or you to question?
The catholic church prides itself on absolute truths. It’s what attracts so many, (albeit forgetting the Church has changed some of it’s absolute truths over the centuries…just a bit more slowly). But it also believes it’s Pope the father of this Church and imbued with the Holy Spirit. In the theological fight does seem to the in-looker they pick and choose when to play the Holy Spirit card.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
1 year ago

The title of this screed against Pope Francis is misleading this is not an article about the catholic civil war it is a Molotov cocktail thrown at the Pope by the conservative side. It is so blatantly biased that it can’t be and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
1 year ago

The title of this screed against Pope Francis is misleading this is not an article about the catholic civil war it is a Molotov cocktail thrown at the Pope by the conservative side. It is so blatantly biased that it can’t be and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Reynaldo Miranda
Reynaldo Miranda
1 year ago

Francis doesn’t seem to me to be lucky, rather frustrated in his desires, or desires that are only destructive, or at best don’t go anywhere at all. As far as his luck goes it’s of the same sort that tyrannical dictators enjoy until it runs out.

Reynaldo Miranda
Reynaldo Miranda
1 year ago

Francis doesn’t seem to me to be lucky, rather frustrated in his desires, or desires that are only destructive, or at best don’t go anywhere at all. As far as his luck goes it’s of the same sort that tyrannical dictators enjoy until it runs out.

Jason Highley
Jason Highley
1 year ago

Man, so many words… please just come home to reformed catholicism (“conservative, confessional Lutheranism” if you must name it). Put this whole debate under the authority of God’s word – not man’s – where it belongs.

Jason Highley
Jason Highley
1 year ago

Man, so many words… please just come home to reformed catholicism (“conservative, confessional Lutheranism” if you must name it). Put this whole debate under the authority of God’s word – not man’s – where it belongs.

John Nest
John Nest
1 year ago

Let’s keep this simple. Draw up two columns – Progressive and Conservative, with Jesus on top. Look to the New Testament and see how many examples we can find to fulfil each criteria. It could be interesting to do the same exercise with Benedict and Francis . Ditto Simon Peter. Supreme Pontiffs have overcome many challenges over the centuries and the Church remains solid as a rock, true to form. The Catholic Church can be many different things to many different people, the clue is in the name. My own relationship with the Church is very much Parent – Child; I appreciate the boundaries and have felt secure to test waters beyond parental home, knowing that one will be welcomed as one finds one own way home. I happen to love a Latin Mass, partly because my mother tongue isn’t English. I gladly give to Cafod but not a penny to White Flower Appeal. Today’s readings focus on Light, with today’s response being “The good man is a light in the darkness for the upright”. I believe Francis to embody the teachings of the Son more closely than Benedict. I think we can all agree that Iesus Nazarenus was a political figure, and that he was neither authoritarian or statist. I’m all for Theology and welcomed the sanctioning of Thomistic Study by Benedict as a tool to address the pressing issues of the day. Terminology such as “civil war” is divisive and polarising, but I guess it’s done its job in prompting a 100+ responses to this article, and indeed prompted me to draw up two camps. I don’t like seeing the Church drawn into the “War on Woke”, but accept that it’s inevitable. We all need to find our own Truth, be it through meditation, prayer or simply sitting still in nature. I’ll end with last line of today’s Second Reading- “your faith should not depend on human philosophy but on the power of God”. The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Deus Caritas Est.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Nest
John Nest
John Nest
1 year ago

Let’s keep this simple. Draw up two columns – Progressive and Conservative, with Jesus on top. Look to the New Testament and see how many examples we can find to fulfil each criteria. It could be interesting to do the same exercise with Benedict and Francis . Ditto Simon Peter. Supreme Pontiffs have overcome many challenges over the centuries and the Church remains solid as a rock, true to form. The Catholic Church can be many different things to many different people, the clue is in the name. My own relationship with the Church is very much Parent – Child; I appreciate the boundaries and have felt secure to test waters beyond parental home, knowing that one will be welcomed as one finds one own way home. I happen to love a Latin Mass, partly because my mother tongue isn’t English. I gladly give to Cafod but not a penny to White Flower Appeal. Today’s readings focus on Light, with today’s response being “The good man is a light in the darkness for the upright”. I believe Francis to embody the teachings of the Son more closely than Benedict. I think we can all agree that Iesus Nazarenus was a political figure, and that he was neither authoritarian or statist. I’m all for Theology and welcomed the sanctioning of Thomistic Study by Benedict as a tool to address the pressing issues of the day. Terminology such as “civil war” is divisive and polarising, but I guess it’s done its job in prompting a 100+ responses to this article, and indeed prompted me to draw up two camps. I don’t like seeing the Church drawn into the “War on Woke”, but accept that it’s inevitable. We all need to find our own Truth, be it through meditation, prayer or simply sitting still in nature. I’ll end with last line of today’s Second Reading- “your faith should not depend on human philosophy but on the power of God”. The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Deus Caritas Est.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Nest
Gareth Rees
Gareth Rees
1 year ago

Ratzinger should have been dumped outside the doors of Vatican City where he deserved to be since his disgrace and being given sanctuary by the institution that is the RC church. He should have been locked up for facilitating child abuse on an unimaginable scale.

Gareth Rees
Gareth Rees
1 year ago

Ratzinger should have been dumped outside the doors of Vatican City where he deserved to be since his disgrace and being given sanctuary by the institution that is the RC church. He should have been locked up for facilitating child abuse on an unimaginable scale.

Aidan Anabetting
Aidan Anabetting
1 year ago

The author of this post seems to assume that ordination of women is self evidently wrong. Even many conservatives would not concur.

Aidan Anabetting
Aidan Anabetting
1 year ago

The author of this post seems to assume that ordination of women is self evidently wrong. Even many conservatives would not concur.

Frances Mann
Frances Mann
1 year ago

There are very many Catholics in this country who do not at all think that Damian Thompson speaks for them. It would be nice if Unherd gave more of them a voice on these matters.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Frances Mann

Damian has a unique, lovely voice, with a U.K. perspective I quite enjoy. I think he is a unique gift here, as are other writers here. This is Unherd, not a sushi/burger/waffle house/oyster bar/ kebap house
.Perhaps dine elsewhere for a varied diet, and enjoy what Unherd serves at Unherd? It is not primarily a religiously oriented magazine, and the internet is vast
Not being mean, but the magazine is not causing you or anyone else harm, because there is no barrier to reading widely. And I do not intend to be mean here.
(Like I am not the only Catholic who can offer an opinion, although I happen to be here, now.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Christian Moon
Christian Moon
1 year ago
Reply to  Frances Mann

What needs to be said? There is space here for you.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Frances Mann

If you want the usual guff about moving with the times, being inclusive and saving the planet there’s the Guardian and a few other places to go to.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Frances Mann

Damian has a unique, lovely voice, with a U.K. perspective I quite enjoy. I think he is a unique gift here, as are other writers here. This is Unherd, not a sushi/burger/waffle house/oyster bar/ kebap house
.Perhaps dine elsewhere for a varied diet, and enjoy what Unherd serves at Unherd? It is not primarily a religiously oriented magazine, and the internet is vast
Not being mean, but the magazine is not causing you or anyone else harm, because there is no barrier to reading widely. And I do not intend to be mean here.
(Like I am not the only Catholic who can offer an opinion, although I happen to be here, now.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Christian Moon
Christian Moon
1 year ago
Reply to  Frances Mann

What needs to be said? There is space here for you.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Frances Mann

If you want the usual guff about moving with the times, being inclusive and saving the planet there’s the Guardian and a few other places to go to.

Frances Mann
Frances Mann
1 year ago

There are very many Catholics in this country who do not at all think that Damian Thompson speaks for them. It would be nice if Unherd gave more of them a voice on these matters.

susie Gilchrist
susie Gilchrist
1 year ago

Strange that I don’t see Catholic and Christian in the same sentence! I am a nominal Anglican and we celebrate the catholic-ie all embracing – church. I don’t find much all embracing about the 21st century Roman Catholic Church. Rather it seems somewhat stuck in the Middle Ages. If you insist that priests are celibate of course you’re going to have men searching for sex wherever they can find it – it’s hardly rocket science! Benedict may have been a great theologian but was he a great Christian?

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

It seems he was a great Christian. ;- ). I personally don’t feel that I am back in the Middle Ages, but here contemporarily with my faith. It isn’t stuck in the Middle Ages, but is informed by the teachings of (someone), whose teachings hold today, as much as it did 2000 years ago.

Yes, twerking, porn and all the other “delights” of today are not necessary nor even enriching to life. There are some great priests who deal with celibacy well and have fantastic lives. However, it seems that continence and chastity is not a value promulgated by the new, often lavender, clubs in seminary, so pornography and continence can be hard for seminarians and priests, as they fall into the louche habits that are promulgated on campus, with resulting porn addictions plaguing many lay men and women today.

And, yes, Catholicism is pretty demanding. You live sort of like a Marine, or Navy Seal, and feel grateful and (humble) pridefulness in your progress defeating habits and habits of mind that are not good for anyone in your mission, which is pleasing G. Knowing that this is continual, and that there are always times of failing, especially when I, and most other Christians, am not even close to a Marine or Navy Seal level, but keeping faith and getting faith through grace, by keeping connection with G. It is pretty wonderful, a challenge and a blessing.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago

Come the Revolution, you will be in the same cell as the Catholics and thinking that the Middle Ages was a time of great wisdom and common sense. Just before you get dragged off to the stake for claiming that a man is not a woman.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

It seems he was a great Christian. ;- ). I personally don’t feel that I am back in the Middle Ages, but here contemporarily with my faith. It isn’t stuck in the Middle Ages, but is informed by the teachings of (someone), whose teachings hold today, as much as it did 2000 years ago.

Yes, twerking, porn and all the other “delights” of today are not necessary nor even enriching to life. There are some great priests who deal with celibacy well and have fantastic lives. However, it seems that continence and chastity is not a value promulgated by the new, often lavender, clubs in seminary, so pornography and continence can be hard for seminarians and priests, as they fall into the louche habits that are promulgated on campus, with resulting porn addictions plaguing many lay men and women today.

And, yes, Catholicism is pretty demanding. You live sort of like a Marine, or Navy Seal, and feel grateful and (humble) pridefulness in your progress defeating habits and habits of mind that are not good for anyone in your mission, which is pleasing G. Knowing that this is continual, and that there are always times of failing, especially when I, and most other Christians, am not even close to a Marine or Navy Seal level, but keeping faith and getting faith through grace, by keeping connection with G. It is pretty wonderful, a challenge and a blessing.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago