Poll taking has its place. But polls cannot establish truth or determine what is right and wrong. All they can do is report what people think at a moment in time.

A poll in Nazi Germany in 1940 may well have reported that most Germans thought Jews could be deported or even killed. But even if 80% thought so, that did not make it right, correct, moral, or in any way decent.

And yet, despite such an obvious example, many people still think poll taking can establish something as true. Or, put more precisely, that what “most people” think about something makes it true. It does not. It only means most people think it.

The Latest Poll is out on the Church and it claims to demonstrate that “most Catholics,” worldwide (with the usual exception of African Catholics) disagree with a lot of teachings of the Church on Marriage and sexuality etc. Not all that surprising in terms of results.

Now such information can be valuable since it reminds us that we who love Church and support her teachings have a lot of work to do to overcome a huge cultural sea-change that has swept the world. Fifty to one Hundred Years ago, poll numbers like this would have been unthinkable, not just among Catholics but among any segment or sampling of anyone anywhere. So this is a sea-change and a sudden one at that.

And before the usual Vatican II bromides come out lets remember that the last hundred years have featured two world wars, the Cold War, The Vietnam and Korean Wars the nuclear arms race, The rise of atheistic Communism, the errors of Modernism, the bloodbath not only of war but of legalized abortion, and the killing of at least 100 million people for ideological purposes by the likes of Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot. Add further the sexual revolution with is resulting STDs, AIDS, contraception, abortion, single motherhood, same-sex attraction, confusion and almost complete sexual irresponsibility, capped off with the rise of no-fault divorce. Add the rise in smoking dope, using hallucinogenic drugs and the stinking thinking that it gave rise to.

Well….you get the point. It is hard to conceive of the 20th Century as anything but a nearly complete disaster, a century mysteriously given over to Satan.

And then comes a poll like this. At one level, not surprising given that many forces of Hell seem to have been set loose. At another level a picture of dramatic the least few decades have been.

Here are a few details. Among the findings:

  • • Only 19 percent of Catholics in the European countries and 30 percent in the Latin American countries surveyed agree with church teaching that divorcees who remarry outside the church should not receive Communion, compared with 75 percent in the most Catholic African countries.
  • • Only 30 percent of Catholics in the European countries and 36 percent in the United States agree with the church ban on female priests, compared with 80 percent in Africa and 76 percent in the Philippines, the country with the largest Catholic population in Asia.
  • • Only 40 percent of Catholics in the United States oppose gay marriage, compared with 99 percent in Africa.
  • • Seventy-eight percent of Catholics across all countries surveyed support the use of contraceptives
  • • Overall, 65 percent of Catholics said abortions should be allowed: 8 percent in all cases and 57 percent in some.

Africa seems to be our tainted flock’s solitary boast and also helps to show that the problem is more about culture than liturgy and Vatican II stuff. The Church in Africa is very Vatican II liturgically and structurally. The main difference there it would seem is that the cultural revolution from the decadent and affluent West has had less impact.

A few thoughts on the poll and the reporting of it.

1. The title of the Washington Post article reporting the poll read in part: “Pope Francis faces church divided over doctrine…” This phraseology is a common but secular way of speaking of the Church and doctrine.  But the Church is not divided over doctrine. Our Doctrine is clear and those who can proclaim it and teach it with authority (the magisterium) are not divided. And even if a few bishops demur or get out of line, the Defined Doctrine of the Church cannot be changed because, it is true.

To illustrate this, consider the following math problem and solve for x: 2(3x – 7) + 4 (3 x + 2) = 6 (5 x + 9 ) + 3.

The answer is tex2html_wrap_inline98

Now lets suppose a lot of folks, say 78%,  look at the math problem and because they are lousy at math just answer the question “not sure.”  Does that mean the answer is unsure? No. Lets say, 62% say the answer is actually – 6.25 and only 28% get the answer right and 20% remain unsure. Does this mean that -21/4 is no longer the right answer?

In other words, Catholics cannot “differ over doctrines” that are defined truth, any more than people can “differ” over the correct answer to this math problem. What is true remains true no matter how many people get it wrong.

Thus, the title of the article might more rightly have said, “Pope Francis faces a Church where many no longer hold the Catholic faith.” Or, “Pope Francis faces a Church wherein the faithful are confused about what the Church teaches and why.”

2. The concept of a poll also reflects a flawed ecclesiology. The implied premise of most secular reporting and commenting on polls like this is that the Church does not reflect the views of her members, and many consider this somehow a failure on the part of the Church. But of course it is not the role of the Church to reflect the views of her members. The job and role of the Church is to reflect the view of her founder and head Jesus Christ.

The real Jesus happen to get nailed to the cross for some of the things he taught. The crowds turned on him in a moment, not because he changed, or truth changed, but because the crowds were fickle and changed.

The Church cannot, and must not look to the views of  her members to determine doctrine. She must reflect her head and founder Jesus, who has given her the Deposit of Faith, to which she must be true.

Regarding the crowds, even including some of his own disciples, Jesus heard “Hosanna” on Palm Sunday, and “Crucify him” by Friday. And thus, the Church which is his body, shares the same lot; namely, that we must preach the gospel in season and out of season. Polls cannot and must not affect this, and those who claim they should have a mistaken ecclesiology

3. In a way, the whole numbers game also presents a false ecclesiology. In one sense, we would all like the Church to be big, it helps pay the bills, and more importantly gives us some sense that we are trying to fulfill the mandate to go and make disciples of all the nations. Of course disciples, means true disciples, not simply those who say they are Catholic etc.

While a big church may also be impressive looking, it is important to remember the Church was at her most powerful when she was smallest. I speak of Good Friday. Jesus is nailed to the cross. And every one of the bishops but one, St. John the Apostle, and all of the Lord’s disciples but about four women, all seemingly named Mary remained with him. There it was, the Church of four or five members, clergy and lay, with her head and founder Jesus. But that day, Satan was defeated and the gates of heaven swung open. And they even made two converts that day, the Good Thief, and the Centurion. Perhaps not a bad day for such a small Church.

The wayward bishops and disciples eventually returned, and the numbers grew. Down the centuries there has been fairly steady growth, marked with some tremendous setbacks: The loss of all North Africa, destroyed by Muslim invaders. The Eastern schism and the western revolt of Protestants. But even when the North African Church was destroyed, Europe lit up,  then as Europe divided among Protestants almost 10,000,000 people came into the Church in Mexico led by our Lady of Guadalupe. Today the Church in the decadent West is dying, Africa is lighting up again.

Numbers are strange thing. The small Church can do magnificent things and even a growing Church has its ups and downs. Polls capture a moment in time, but they are quite poor at seeing the great sweep of history.

Time will prove a wisdom lies, and when the decadence of these times has been buried by its own diseases,  The Church of Christ will still be here preaching the Gospel. Yes it will always be so.

Make what you want of this poll. It does speak of the depths of the modern disconnect from the ancient and venerable teaching of the Church, received from Jesus himself. Many prefer to substitute a fake Jesus who is compassion but without truth; who always says yes, but never no. The real Jesus of Scripture speaks the truth to us, and love and like any truly good doctor, offers healing because he knows there is disease,  and that to refuse to speak of the disease is malpractice

If anything, this poll simply reminds us of why we exist. It cannot tell us what we must do, for what we must do has never changed; we must continue to propose and repropose truth to the human  family of often obtuse heart and wayward spirit.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us…We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God! (2 Cor 5:10-20 selected)

40 Responses

  1. Jennifer says:

    Thank you Monsignor, for strengthening my faith. :)

    • Therese says:

      Will be handing this out to my RCIA class in Mystagogia. Along with the passage about how the people voted for golden idols why Moses was up on the Mount with the God that loves and loves and loves because He who IS, IS Love. There is no love in the idols. There is no love in these things…

  2. lowlypawn says:

    I hope your heart is open to the work of the Spirit, no matter how it manifests. It is true that the case may be as you state–and the role of the Church hierarchy is to remain steadfast in teaching. However it is also possible that the current situation is the Spirit working beyond our understanding as has happened in the past. The Spirit is trying to teach us (once again)–what is the message? I suspect it isn’t as simple as “you are right, and you are wrong.”

    • Your argument may have merit if the issue is about preferences or about diverse forms of ministry, but not if it is about doctrine. The matters in this poll are about doctrine so your thoughts do not apply. The Spirit will not say no and then yes in matters of doctrine.

      • lowlypawn says:

        If only it were a simple matter of “yes” or “no”. I think this represents the problem exactly and which is why I say it’s not a simple matter of “you’re right, and you’re wrong.” As I am sure you already know, matters of doctrine may be refined, even though theoretically the Church can never completely reverse its stance on something.

        Of course we could get in the weeds with various changes over the centuries, and how those changes were explained to still be in line with the faith. But suffice it to say, I still think it would be prudent to keep an open mind.

        Just a suggestion. I’m not here to argue or to antagonize. Peace be with everyone.

        • CS says:

          I’ll never shy from a swipe at The Pope if you can’t mr. Humility: I’m still waiting for the Msgr. Pope analysis of substantial doctrinal REpresentation and REformulation. It’s how the Church can go from “nullas ad sanctum extra Romani Ecclesiam! ANATHEMA! or whatever it is [my Latin is probably off mea culpa]” to “the Church subsists in the Roman Catholic Church” and “separated brethren who nevertheless pursue truth, beauty, and love have every reasonable hope for salvation through the Church of Christ our Lord”.

          Doctrine does not change, but the hermeneutic of that doctrine can be shown as differently as light in night and day. One example might be a third order tertiary teaching about sexual sin, human desire, homosexuality, and marriage – and I’m only beginning to think of the sexual sins and cultural suicide Msgr. Pope cries out to heaven against – but hey at least he won’t be wrong on abortion. May all our persecuted homosexual brothers and friends go easy forgiving Msgr. Pope and the rest of the old stodgy lot that lacks the creativity to see the matter of the Sacrament of Marriage taken outside the confines of the near idolatry of procreative powers that takes place today in Conservative Church (CC) circles. Exciting developments in teleology show *gasp* that even biological organs can be endowed with more than one end at a time – and that some of these ends might not even be essential to their purpose – even more horrifying – some organs (like the genitals and anus) might even be created to “be creative” in the sense even of mere recreational pleasure for the sake of building solidarity and brotherhood. Can you imagine a God that creative, that loving, that forgiving? I bet you can’t – older brother.

    • Donna L. says:

      So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
      2 Thessalonians 2:15

      Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
      2 Timothy 1:14

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

      Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
      Revelation 2:7

  3. Robertlifelonfcatholic says:

    You could say this poll has earned this year’s Fickle Finger Of Fate Award voted on by all the misguided souls who buy into it’s flawed assessment. It was probably the same group that determined that losing two and a half million jobs as a result of the affordable care act will be a good thing because it will allow those people to persue other interest since they won’t be hindered by having to earn a living. Foxes have dens and birds have nest but they will have no place to rest their heads.

  4. Theophilus2 says:

    These polls are depressing but not surprising. I just want to say thanks, Msgr., for this wonderful blog! Lord Jesus come in Glory! Amen

  5. Faith says:

    Thank you so much for this post! It was just what I needed to read. I had a most disheartening religious ed class last night where my 8th grade girls got absolutely angry over the fact that the Church does not allow gay marriage. I talked (probably not very well) til I was about blue in the face trying to explain Church teaching, but to no avail. I tried to explain why the Church can not change its teachings. They thought that was very closed minded. It was disheartening, but your post puts things in a better perspective. I do wish though the Church did a better job at catechizing her children. She does way too little, way too late, especially for public school kids.

    • Donna L. says:

      Faith, if you haven’t done so already, I recommend looking up some of Monsignor Pope’s posts on the issue of gay marriage. They help to explain why the Church does not condone it. I have found when witnessing to others about this issue that it is not enough to say, “Because the Church teaches it.” For those who don’t understand that the Church’s teachings will preserve us, this explanation carries little to no weight. Of course, you have figured that out with your CCD class…! Good luck!

    • r in indiana says:

      Not sure how to explain this to teenage girls, but the church is concerned with our ultimate joy in heaven, not our temporal happiness on earth. Homosexuality is against natural law. It was not meant to be, yet some people obviously suffer from same-sex attraction. It is not fair, but many things are not fair. Otherwise we would all be born skinny and rich. So we wouldn’t need to worry about the sins of gluttony or avarice. Homosexuality just like premarital sex is using another person as a means to an end–sexual gratification. While the other person may be willing, it does not change the fact that we are using them rather than loving them instead of wanting what is best for them which is to follow God´s will for us so we can be holy and find our ultimate joy with God in heaven. I struggle with this issue because I have two dear friends who are gay. I want them to be happy, but more importantly, I want them to know God. I have not discussed my beliefs with them, I know that we have a responsibility to admonish the sinner, but I do not know how to explain this to them in a loving way where they can hear God´s truth with love.

    • Richard M says:

      When parents aren’t forming their children in the faith – that is to say, when they’re likely outsourcing moral formation to the popular culture – it’s an uphill struggle for any outside catechist.

      • Faith says:

        Thank you all. I gave all the various reasons the Church teaches what it does. I am pretty familiar with them though I don’t know how well I presented it. These girls had been completely formed by the culture. They have been catechized by Macklemore. I suspect their parents have no problems with same sex marriage. The big question which hung in the air when the class was finished was: do you go ahead and get confirmed when you disagree with the Church about her teachings? What am I supposed to tell them? They are 13 and 14 years old. I thought I could be a catechist; that I could contribute in that way to passing on the faith, but I feel so hypocritical. I am part of a system that doesn’t work. The whole RE model is terrible. The Church does so very little for these youth. I am quite unhappy with the situation that has been allowed to develop and the very wimpy response by the Diocese and all the Bishops. I feel like we are just letting these children lead lives of superficiality and sorrow. Poor shallow catechises and treating the sacraments like they mean nothing, just rote rituals of passage, has lead to this. We reap what we sow and this is what the Church has sown. It is so tragic. I feel by being part of this very inadequate system of religious education I am just part of the problem. The girls barely get 24 hours of teaching a year. They come from homes where they don’t even go to mass every Sunday. It is consider optional. They know very little of their faith because of course it is not really practiced in the home. This kind of situation should be something that vitalizes us because we hear Jesus Christ telling us as His apostles to go and make disciples of all men. But the Church has for a couple of generations now abandoned the teaching of her own children. May God forgive us. We’ll have a lot to answer for.

  6. BHG says:

    We need to stop asking what Catholics believe and start (keep, really–sorry Monsignor) shouting from the rooftops what the Church teaches! Still in a Protestant country, the Church as merely the sum total of its people and doctrine as what those people decide is pretty inevitable in the public sector.

  7. JohnR says:

    The trouble is simply that the secular media set the agenda. They know nothing about God’s law and they care even less. To “Faith”, may I say that I have had such classes and I have never stepped back from affirming, most assuredly, that God does not support such abberations. God had no hesitation in utterly destroying Sodom for promoting this deviation and he also turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt because she “looked back” (i.e. regretted leaving this den of iniquity). Scripture has other quotes especially St Paul when he deplores those men who lie with other men instead of obeying the laws of marriage. Homosexuality is an absolute abomination. Make no mistake about that! The Church does not do “too little” for public school kids. The ones who do too little are the teachers!! You, “Faith”, are responsible for their knowledge, or lack of knowledge. It is an awesome task to try and teach the truth to Catholic children but if Catholic parents do not do it then Catholic teachers MUST do it and if they do not then the Catholic teachers will have to answer to God for their failure! I was always aware of my responsibility and it has always been a frightening concept!

    • Faith says:

      I do think the teachers do too little and it is because of the whole set up. We have extremely little training and most of the volunteer RE teachers don’t really know the faith to begin with, some do, but don’t know how to convey this well. The books we are given to teach from are embarrassing in their dumbed down attempts to engage the kids and are so diluted in meaning and downright confusing that they have little impact. We never meet the parents. The parent drops the child off and then picks them up. We, the volunteers, have to come up with a way to engage them, not the parish. If I teach that homosexual marriage is wrong but everybody else in their life says it is a good thing, who will they believe? Me? Some stranger they meet with a few times? Or their parents, their peers, their public school teachers, the media, the rocks stars that they spend hours listening to? I think the whole RE system is a failure. I think we need to hold the parents feet to the fire, so to speak. To call them to be accountable and to be faithful. But that takes a lot more work. And most of the parents aren’t faithful anyway. They only have their child in RE because they want to do something and it takes too much effort to actually break away. The Church is complicit in allowing the parents to go through the motions without any meaning. Simply for tradition’s sake. I think in my parish for a long time it was a very liberal one that was pretty wishy washy about everything. I think it has shifted away from that, but I think most of the evangelization effort goes into the school and not the RE program, even though the folks running it mean well. They simply are not given powerful enough tools to build anything. I think we need a paradigm shift when it comes to catechizing the majority of Catholic children. (P.S my name is Faith, really, truly. No need for quotation marks!).

  8. Elisabeth Oldaker says:

    The last pollster asked me what I thought of gay marriage so I said, “I’m all for it–let them suffer like the rest of us.” This sarcasm shows what I think of polls and also what I think of worrying if “everyone else is doing it.” I’m amazed that these situations turn people away from dealing with more important issues, say, abiding by our Lord’s Two Greatest Commandments.

  9. [...] of Washington Another Poll, Another Poor Understanding of the Nature and Purpose of the Church 10 hours ago [...]

  10. Antonja Cermak says:

    The writer states: “It is hard to conceive of the 20th Century as anything but a nearly complete disaster, a century mysteriously given over to Satan.”

    And yet it gave rise to the civil rights struggle, the freedom of women to vote, to work for competitive wages and to be educated as well as men. Those seem to me to be huge benefits to the 20th century. I also support the gay rights struggle. No one should have been raiding gay bars and harassing gay people just for being gay.

    And I also have a hard time decrying the sexual revolution because I’m not sure how much of it was just hedonism and how much of it led to the current autonomy that women (whether married or not) are allowed to have.

  11. edraCruz says:

    This is gloomy. Again the Church is under siege by this poll results that is trying to undermine the Teachings of Our LORD JESUS which is the Deposit of Faith to the Apostles and the succeeding Magisterium. Again, we see the hand of media, academe and seculars (all of the chattering class) in these and of course, the influence of the evil one. But we should see in the deeper sense the need for the Church to stand its ground on The Way, The Truth and The Life. The p-h-o-n-e-y-s (as Prof. Peter Kreeft describe them) seem to be gaining ground but in the depth of their beings they are hurting. Their acts will all the more bring them to destitution and hopefully bring them to the LIGHT. Just let the Church stand its ground and let us go down on our knees, offer our pains and sacrifices and intercede for all the lost souls and evangelize sometimes using words. GOD we know YOU are in control. YHWH EL GIBOR!

  12. D.A. Howard says:

    Msgr. Pope. It has been this way for 2,000 years. I remember the unorthodoxy of doctrine addressed at the Council of Trent the caused a uniform education of priests. However, Africa is getting a reputation as the defender of the faith, although with contraception it may not deserve it. You are correct, there is one answer to doctrine, and most Catholics seem to be missing it. The central issue is that people either do not understand the nature of the Church as a Divine institution, or know the teaching and do not care.

  13. Rodrigo Guerra says:

    Thank you Monsignor for this awesome article. The much beloved and respected Cardinal Henri de Lubac once said: “It’s not a question of adapting Christianity to men, but of adapting men to Christ”. Sadly, it seems that most Catholics nowadays want to enter by the broad or spacious gate that the world offers instead of the narrow path required by our Lord. I think this is why Pope emeritus Benedict XVI wrote: “From today’s crisis, will emerge a Church that has lost a great deal,It will become small and will have to start pretty much all over again. It will no longer have use of the structures it built in its years of prosperity. The reduction in the number of faithful will lead to it losing an important part of its social privileges. It will start off with small groups and movements and a minority that will make faith central to experience again. It will be a more spiritual Church, and will not claim a political mandate flirting with the Right one minute and the Left the next. It will be poor and will become the Church of the destitute. The process outlined by then Cardinal Ratzinger was a “long” one “but when all the suffering is past, a great power will emerge from a more spiritual and simple Church,” at which point humans will realize that they live in a world of “indescribable solitude” and having lost sight of God “they will perceive the horror of their poverty.”

    Then and only then, the Pope emeritus concluded, will they see “that small flock of faithful as something completely new: they will see it as a source of hope for themselves, the answer they had always secretly been searching for. God Bless !

  14. anna in California says:

    Monsignor Pope, I love your posts! I’ve learned so much in this year that I’ve started reading them.

    You are my spiritual father and guide. Thank you!

  15. Joan Nolan says:

    If only the church had spoken from the pulpit over the last 40 years regarding the evils of contraception we would not be in such a sad situation. The silence from the pulpit regarding contraception has been the greatest cancer on the church! We no longer have any idea what authentic love looks like. Her teachings on authentic love are filled with beauty and truth. Those who have heard this truth and live it have strong marriages. Even after the HHS mandate the pulpits remain silent on why the church teaches what she does. Preach AUTHENTIC LOVE!!!
    The pill is a prescription to use each other! Using is not loving. Placing the good of the other before your own selfish desires is a beginning. Pope Paul VI was a prophet. The clergy for the most part ignored and rejected Humane Vitae. Homosexuality, abortion, selective reduction, divorce are all the related fruit from the same tree which root is artificial contraception. Life begins in the domestic church in an act of intercourse. This intercourse is the total gift of each other in marriage. From this gift we are given existence!

  16. RG says:

    About 10 years ago I took a Catholic Bible study class. The topic of contraception came up. One by one the class explained how the Church was behind the times and unreasonable. When the discusion came around the table to me I had the Catechism open and read the the official Church teaching on the subject. The discussion then went the rest of the way around the table and the class leader then looked at me and said,”Well, it looks like you’re out numbered 12 to 1.” I was still holding the Catechism as he said that!

    • Richard M says:

      ”Well, it looks like you’re out numbered 12 to 1.”

      Which is near the odds that St. John the Apostle faced on Good Friday, when the question was mooted: “Do we flee? Or stand by the Lord?”

      With catechists like that, the wonder is that so many Catholics actually believe what the Church teaches.

  17. pburg says:

    The problem is generational. Opposed to the older generations who, despite rejecting the faith, stubbornly identify themselves as ethnically catholic, younger people are simply dropping the faith. Stats will look very different in 20 to 30 years time.

    • Richard M says:

      That’s true: The Gen X and Y’s (and beyond) who remain will be much more intentionally Catholic.

      The bad news is that this will mean the closing of a lot more parishes and schools. Boomer and Silent Generation Catholics may disagree in large numbers with Church teaching, but many still show up to Mass. When they go on to their reward, the generations they raised will not replace them in near the same numbers.

      Liberalism in the Church has as its chief fruit the creation of ex-Catholics.

  18. Maureen says:

    Thanks be to God that the Holy Spirit does not believe in polls!!

  19. [...] Pope Benedict is a fine scholar and professor. He understood that the world had stopped listening. If the Church was a University (which it partly is) its students had stopped attending class and were milling about on the great lawn of the world, tossing frisbees, smoking a bit of weed and talking past each other like forever-sophomores, delighted with all they thought they knew. There was no point, it seemed, in adhering to (or even studying) an old Canon that was presumed to have nothing to say to the age, and was being tossed aside, unlearned. [...]

  20. Ann says:

    Thank you for this blog post, and all of your blog posts. I always learn something.

  21. Nate says:

    This poll tells us several things. Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Phillipines are the areas where the Church still has some traction but the Church’s message is not being heard in many parts of the world, to include Latin America, where Catholics are no more orthodox than North Americans. I am willing to bet that Poland and the Phillipines will lose ground in coming years also. Why? Because cultural Catholicism is dead. People are no longer practicing Catholics because they were born in Ireland or Brazil or wherever. The Church has to compete in the marketplace of ideas and, despite having Truth on her side, has failed everywhere outside Africa. We, laity and clergy, have collectively stopped evangelizing and embraced a false ecumenicism where the falsehoods of other religions or no religion are accepted and pluralism is the new Golden Rule. Even most practicing Catholics think its perfectly ok if someone remains a Mormon, Muslim, etc. Africa has been a success story because evangelization didn’t stop there in the 20th Century.

  22. Peter Wolczuk says:

    Your logic is wonderful and, I strongly suspect, would be a great inspiration for Science Officer Spock and his fellow Vulcans but (trying not to seem cynical) dodging the pain of living for thousands of years in a fallen world (by denying the fallen state) has become so entrenched that something more serious is needed for the human race to hit a bottom and accept Truth.
    Encourage you to keep it up, though. The foundation which you lay may well help us; as a human race; to cross that thresh hold level where we can stop focussing on what we like to hear – instead of what we need to hear.

  23. Don says:

    Thank you, Msgr. Pope. What is reflected in these polls is the very un-Catholic mentality of most Catholics in the West. The concept that they are required to assent to the full Magisterial teaching of the Church in order to be “good” Catholics is completely lost on them. And no wonder, since they have for the most part been told all they need to do is follow their own conscience. Is it surprising, then, that they would pick and choose the doctrines that suit them, thereby remaking Catholicism into a new religion in their own image and likeness? They reject Church’s 2,000+ year old teachings on marriage, divorce, homosexuality and abortion. They are essentially heretics, in schism with Rome, but remaining in the Church because no one insists that they assent to the Truth. How do we bring them back?

  24. Sheena says:

    I agree completely with Joan. This was all the result of the reaction to Pope Paul VI’s teaching in 1968 and as a sad result the Bishops of Canada put out their infamous WINNEPEG STATEMENT and now we are seeing the results of how the dissent of the clergy on this led to more dissent on other issues including the ordination of women. Pope Paul was simply restating what Pius XI said back in 1931 after the Lambert Conference on the state of Christian Marriage because the Protestants accepted divorce and Contraception first and the excuse was made just follow your conscience not what the Bible said. Now its trickled down to female clergy and homosexuality. These are not just Church rule issues they also are about the Natural law as well.

  25. Dino Dino says:

    Simply, “Thank You” for your post.

  26. Margaret Gurnett says:

    Let me echo Dino Dino and say, Thank you Monsignor Pope for your blog. It is a great source of wisdom and comfort. May God continue to bless you and your blog!

  27. Jenny says:

    Msgr. Pope,
    I read your blog every day. Thank you.

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