Pope Francis, rightly or wrongly (wrongly I would argue), is the darling of self-styled “progressives” who like to see him as a model of the “change” they have been waiting for. The secular media in particular style him as moving the Church dramatically in the directions that please them. But in order to do this, they must apply a filter that ignores a great deal of what he actually says and does. As a Catholic and as Pope, Francis is not going to fit into the  media’s (or anyone’s) neat little categories. He is more complex than such convenient little boxes permit.

Pope Benedict too, despite the label of “conservative,” disappointed many conservatives with his views on the economy (as expressed in his last encyclical) and with some of his notions regarding Hell and whether anyone really went there (Benedict tended to be in the camp of Von Balthasar who “dared” to hope that most would be saved). And for all his generosity toward the Traditional Latin Mass, for the record, he never said one publicly as Pope.

Pope Francis, for all the talk of his being “liberal” or “progressive,” has some pretty tough things to say about sin, Hell, and the devil. In his daily homilies, which are not widely published (since they are not per se part of his “official” teaching), the Pope can be quite blunt:

  1. He has indicated that failing to acknowledge and pray to God puts us in the Devil’s camp:  When one does not profess Jesus Christ—I recall the phrase of Leon Bloy—“Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil.” When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil. [1]
  2. He has denounced our smug, modern attitude toward sin or the need for salvation: Walking in darkness means being overly pleased with ourselves, believing that we do not need salvation. That is darkness! When we continue on this road of darkness, it is not easy to turn back. …Look to your sins, to our sins, we are all sinners, all of us. …This is the starting point. [2]
  3. He is dismissive of the Church building on any foundation other than Christ: We can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail. We will become a pitiful NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of Christ. [3]
  4. He speaks of the increasing denial of religious liberty and of the secularism of the West as a form of apostasy: It will do us good to think about this general apostasy which is called a ban on worship and ask ourselves: ‘Do I worship the Lord? Do I adore Jesus Christ the Lord? Or do I in some measure play the game of the prince of this world?’ [4]
  5. In very “un-modern” terms he says that shame needs to be rediscoveredBut shame is a true Christian virtue, and even human. …You need to stand in front of the Lord “with our truth of sinners.”  …We must never masquerade before God. …This is the virtue that Jesus asks of us: humility and meekness. …I do not know if there is a similar saying in Italian, but in our country [Argentina] those who are never ashamed are called “sin verguenza.” This means “the unashamed,” because they are people who do not have the ability to be ashamed and to be ashamed is a virtue of the humble, of the man and the woman who are humble. …Ask for the grace of shame; the shame that comes from the constant dialogue of mercy with Him; the shame that makes us blush before Jesus Christ; the shame that puts us in tune with the heart of Christ. [5]

Allow these examples to suffice to show that Pope Francis can speak in very pointed and decidedly “un-modern” ways. But many in the wider culture and the media prefer to have him filtered so as to make him fit their label of the “change” Pope. The real Francis cannot be so easily pigeon-holed. A scanning of the summaries from the Vatican on the Pope’s daily homilies is a good place to start in order to discover “Francis Unplugged,” i.e., the real Pope Francis, who while stylistically different from Benedict, cannot be so easily categorized theologically.

 In Sunday’s Washington Post however comes a column that describes Pope Francis as no “modern” when it comes to the Devil. He is clear to state that the Devil is no allegory. He is very real and he is after you and your children and ought to be taken seriously. In this matter, Pope Francis has the “old time religion.” Note what the Post reports. (My comments are in plain red text.)

A darling of liberal Catholics and an advocate of inclusion and forgiveness, Pope Francis is hardly known for fire and brimstone.  [Note how the filter is described. As seen above and as any true perusal of Francis’ sermons shows, to say that “Francis is hardly known for fire and brimstone,” is a filtered perception and not the fuller reality. He does speak a good bit about sin, using strong terms like apostasy and pride, and also speaks freely of Satan and Hell. The article now goes on to describe the truer reality of “Francis Unplugged” on the subject of Satan.]

[Yet] after his little more than a year atop the Throne of St. Peter, Francis’s teachings on Satan are already regarded as the most old school of any pope since at least Paul VI. …Francis has not only dwelled far more on Satan in sermons and speeches than his recent predecessors have, but also sought to rekindle the Devil’s image as a supernatural entity with the forces­ of evil at his beck and call. …

A few months later, he praised a group long viewed by some as the crazy uncles of the Roman Catholic Church — the International Association of Exorcists — for “helping people who suffer and are in need of liberation.”…

Since its foundation, the Church has taught the existence of the Devil. But in recent decades, progressive priests and bishops, particularly in the United States and Western Europe, have tended to couch Satan in more allegorical terms. [Sadly, this is true. Many of the same generation of clerics were too ready to consign every possible case of diabolical obsession and possession to the psychiatric community. To be sure, there are times when the real issues are psychiatric. But other times this is not the case, and many times there is overlap. Too easily have we, for over a generation, dismissed diabolical incursion and reneged on our duty to pray for the deliverance of people in crisis and to do our part, in partnership with the psychiatric community.] Evil became less the wicked plan of the master of hell than the nasty byproduct of humanity’s free will.

Even Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, a lofty German theologian, often painted evil with a broad brush. [I’m not so sure about this. To some extent it is true that Pope Benedict had highly refined and scholarly ways of speaking, lots of distinctions, etc., but at the end of the day, I never doubted he knew the devil was real.] 

“Pope Francis never stops talking about the Devil; it’s constant,” said one senior bishop in Vatican City who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely. “Had Pope Benedict done this, the media would have clobbered him.”

Some progressive theologians complain, the pope is undermining his reputation as a leader who in so many other ways appears to be more in step with modern society than his predecessor. “He is opening the door to superstition,” said Vito Mancuso, a Catholic theologian and writer. [Again, filter alert! Pay attention, “progressive” theologians, Francis does not fit your little mold and is not a shill in your program. Pope Francis, like any good Catholic, doesn’t fit into worldly boxes and categories.] 

[These are excerpts from the Post article. The full article is here: Modern Pope, Old School on the Devil.]

It’s good to get a little of this bigger picture out there. I have not said a lot about Pope Francis directly on this blog because I am afraid that too many bring polarized notions about him to the discussion, notions driven not by the real “unplugged” Francis, but rather by a “spun” Francis, a “filtered” Francis.

Debates can surely continue about whether and how Pope Francis’ tendency to speak off the cuff is helpful or not, whether or not he is being played by the media, etc. I will leave these prudential notions to others. But for our purposes here, it probably helps to see at least some evidence that the real Pope Francis, unfiltered and unplugged, is a bit more complex than the categorizers understand. Those of us who strive to be loyal Catholics do well to look a little past the headlines, a little deeper, and listen and pray more than we react. After all he is the Vicar of Christ. And Jesus doesn’t fit into secular boxes or categories either.

I would value your contributions, especially about things that Pope Francis has said that don’t fit the mold, sayings that surprise and cut across secular categories.

By the way, who is in the photo at the upper right? Yup, that’s Pope Francis saying Mass Ad Orientem.

40 Responses

  1. cs says:

    Two weeks ago the world turned to Rome to watch the pomp of dual canonization. It effectively overshadowed the actual message of Divine Mercy Sunday, the request for the Novena of Chaplets, and let the iworld think that the actions shown placed two popes in Heaven.

    Now we’ll have a repeat for Paul VI. Will the media delve into what he meant exactly by his remarks on Satan?

    • I’m not sure it was fair to say Divine Mercy Sunday was overshadowed by the canonizations. What greater mercy is there of God than to grant the grace of holiness and to usher holy men and women into the glory of heaven?

  2. Theophilus2 says:

    I remember this… “Please, let’s not do business with the devil,” he said. “The devil’s presence is on the first page of the Bible and it also ends with the devil’s presence, with God’s victory over the devil”. He warned that demons are always returning with their temptations, and added that “we shouldn’t be naive”.
    From http://www.news.va/en/news/how-to-rout-the-demons-strategy the full homily has the same title. Don’t know if msm was paying attention to such back then. Probably ignored it. Thanks for this and awesome homily yesterday!

  3. James says:

    I think people think Pope Francis is a “liberal” because he’s more concerned about the devil than irregular marriages.

    This says far more about the public than the pope.

    • Baba says:

      Your comment supports the notion that the devil is active among us and doing well for himself, and no wonder the Pope is focusing on that. You are correct.

  4. Andy says:

    The problem though is something that any leader of any organization, regardless of size, will tell you. Perception is reality. People hear what they want to hear, and without subsequent and precise follow up and explanation, it becomes fact. Our holy father is very quick to speak, but his follow up is pretty much non-existent. The result is that the faithful are more and more discouraged, and the dissidents are more and more affirmed and encouraged. This confusion does not lend itself to evangelization like we had with the two prior popes. We Christians have always had the biblical verse “judge not lest ye be judged” thrown at us in just about any argument concerning morality, and now we have direct quotes from Pope Francis such as “who am I to judge”. I find these days to be very disheartening as a result of Pope Francis. I can only hope it is all some big plan the pontiff has.

    • Yes, I keep thinking there has to be steep learning curve when a man becomes Pope. Suddenly the whole world is listening and they don’t understand when he is employing hyperbole, or presuming to hold other things equal (e.g. being clear that sin is sin and the Moral Law isn’t changing while one speaks of compassion for sinners), neither do people in the wider listening audience appreciate the purpose of a subordinate clause or idea. Hence when he was speaking of small minded rules, (if you look at the full text) he was NOT speaking about abortion, but rather things like requiring registration and six-months attendance before a baptism is scheduled. Anyway, a lowly pastor like me can get away with humor, hyperbole etc (within limits) But sadly I don’t think a Pope has that liberty. Benedict too had learn the hard way that when a Pope speaks he has to be VERY clear and NOT presume any real sophistication from his audience as to the nuances of language and canonical distinctions about private opinions and formal declarations.

  5. Steve B says:

    3 things Msgr Pope:
    1) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI problem was he was too smart for the Media (& 99.9999999999% of the world), but he is a devout follower of Jesus Christ and a great Catholic.
    2) Pope Francis is the Media’s darling because they can still ‘spin’ his message to his liking – don’t worry they will turn once they find out he is devoutly Catholic and a lover of Jesus Christ.
    3)Msgr Pope great blog – thank you for your witness to Jesus Christ & the Catholic Church.

    • Pilar says:

      Many thanks for point 1) Steve. Benedict XVI is a great intellect, a music lover, a humble presense. To me he is a perfect Pope. I regret that he was so misunderstood. It makes me think that Cathilic education has to improve (as it was ok for the secular world to misunderstand Benedict, I guess, but I believe that as Catolics we should be able to tie up things together much better. And, perhaps, when a Catholic doesn’t understandcthe Pope that should a hint to attend Mass more often and/read the Gospel privately?

    • Baba says:

      I agree with you but I’m not so sure that all his non-Catholic admirers misunderstand. To focus on forgiveness, mercy, love, example, etc., is not progressive; it is what Jesus emphasized and many times the Catholic Church has focused on the sin instead of on the human being that needs our mercy and God’s forgiveness. Almost all of the New Testament focuses on the positive: have mercy, love one another, heal one another, etc., and not much on the negative: “Go and sin no more.”

  6. Anita says:

    It’s true, you rarely blog about Pope Francis, Msgr. I read you daily and commend you for that. You stayed above the fray and didn’t join in. People should emulate you more often, especially, dare I say, some blogger priests.

    “And for all his generosity toward the Traditional Latin Mass, for the record, he never said one publicly as Pope.”
    Never knew that about Pope Benedict.

    And there we have it – a picture of Pope Francis celebrating Mass Ad Orientem. Beautiful. Bravo, Msgr, for this post.

  7. C Beltz says:

    I think the desire of the Church in the past to increase numbers of faithful actually led to the glossing over of many things satan. Had we had more faith in the Body of Christ, the numbers might have been lower, but the message might have been more consistent.

    That having been said, I beleive each Pope has brought unique things to the Church and am grateful for every one of them. I believe even those that may not have been “all that” still played a part in God’s ultimate plan for our lives. I have no basis to judge the qualifications for the sainthood of Popes Paul VI, Saint John Paul II or Saint John XXIII, but have supreme confidence the Vicar of Christ does.

    BTW, I actually found Divine Mercy Sunday to be more meaningful to me this year than in years past. Perhaps the Canonizations helped?

  8. Mike says:

    During the first few months after his election, Pope Francis made it clear that Satan is a reality and a danger. For doing so, at the time he was said by mainstream media writers to be “obsessed” with Satan.

    That didn’t last long, of course. As soon as they were able to tout what they saw as his friendliness to sodomy or his distaste for the Church’s pro-life message, the guardians of political correctness tossed the Holy Father’s “obsession” down the memory hole. Just try to find a reference to it in a non-Catholic news archive.

    The moral: You, Monsignor, and the Holy Father, I will heed. The Washington Post, not so much.

  9. Gary Martin says:

    My prayer is that he follows Mary’s instructions to go “not that way, but back the way you came. The hour is at hand”. We must go to Him”. If he does this the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, will be strengthened and the souls within showered with Grace.

    He is off to a good start by seeking Mary’s assistance at the beginning of his Papacy. “Behold Thy Mother” may await him at the foot of the Cross. No reporters will be there when this occurs. Everyone will be in hiding except a few. . . .

  10. Pilar says:

    I believe a key point in this topic is abortion. I am 100% anti-abortion, taking my responsibility as a Catholic to protect the life of everyone with the special emphasis on the most vulnerable. I admit that I get anxious when I hear the media hope that Francis might change the Church’s attitute in this topic. But, obviously, the media need to do their homework much better as it only takes reading Evangelii Gaudium to be re-assured by Pope Francis himself on his approach to this.

  11. Branch says:

    I think Pope Francis is a chastisement.

    • Bill Guentner says:

      Can you be more specific? What you write is a serious charge.

      • Branch says:

        We are being taken in another direction from where our prior two Popes had taken us, I believe. If you read, truly read and listen to what Pope Francis is saying – not the media reports, not the explaining away of every ambiguity by papal apologists – I think it will become evident that long-established Catholic understandings (such as, for instance, the integrity and cohesiveness of Canon Law with the whole of the Faith otherwise) are being stripped away, questioned, even ridiculed at times.

        I do not think this is occurring out of the blue. The Church was devastated by the ambiguity of Vatican II and more so, by the revisions to the Mass. That so many have fallen away, that they no longer worship, that seeming novelty and human willfulness is taken as the promptings of the Holy Spirit with little question or discernment tells me that God is allowing us to reap the confusion that was sown. Like the episode at Babel, the confusion and division are evidence that God has been put on the back burner.

        • Fair enough there is a change in emphasis and some ambiguity /off the cuff remarks that require “explanations” etc. But the point here is not that Francis is a clone of Benedcit or really an “arch conservative” but merely that there is a little more to the picture than the media filter would like to show. Francis is more complicated than our little categories and boxes.

          • Branch says:

            I know your point isn’t a clone of Benedict, etc., and neither is it mine in its essence. I was responding to a request for clarification on my original point.

            That said, I don’t buy the narrative that Francis is just a victim of media filter. The more I pay attention (such as to daily homilies) and to the winds of change circling about this papacy, the more it becomes clear to me where we truly are.

            • Why do you use the word “just” when I didn’t?

              • Branch says:

                Because that’s the impression I got from what you wrote: “Pope Francis, rightly or wrongly (wrongly I would argue), is the darling of self-styled “progressives” who like to see him as a model of the “change” they have been waiting for. The secular media in particular style him as moving the Church dramatically in the directions that please them.”

                It gives the impression too that Pope Francis is so enigmatic as to defy understanding, which may get us out of the problem (assuming it is OUR problem) of confining him to our labels, though it creates another in bringing about a papal Gnosticism. What good would the Pope’s example be (whatever example that may be) if it is inscrutable?

                If I’ve misunderstood or misrepresented your view, please forgive me as that wasn’t my intention.

  12. Kurt says:

    “Pope Francis, rightly or wrongly (wrongly I would argue), is the darling of self-styled “progressives” ”

    Really? I am a self-styled progressive and I find the Holy Father at least darling and even more so, inspirational and faith-enhancing. And I’m fully away of all of the comments he has made about sin, Hell and the devil. It doesn’t lessen my views of him and in fact supports my strong opinion.

    It is an odd situation where my respect for the Holy Father is denigrated by a priest of the Church.

    Maybe, Father, a deeper reflection by you as to what it means to be a worthy pastor might lead you to understand that “self-styled progressives” like myself, also are more complex than the convenient little boxes you put us in.

    How about supporting the Pope and finding virtue in other people’s support for the Pope rather than taking cracks at people like me?

    • You misunderstand the point. The point is not whether or not Pope Francis appeals to one group or another, But that Francis is Francis and all will find things to like, and things to be challenged by from him. He does not fit into our little boxes. He is sui generis. You ought not take personally what is not meant personally. And even if you still choose to take offense, that just not mean I gave offense. It is absurd to claim I denigrate your esteem of the Holy Father. I don’t even know you. I am commenting here on the media boxes not yours or mine. You come across as very thin-skinned here. But be of good cheer Kurt, I speak of broader culture, not you personally.

      And as for me being a “worthy pastor” I’ll leave that to people who know me better. You break the very rules you announce for others. I am sorry your anger has apparently led you to make such a nasty personal remark about me whom you don’t even know. But I am not too worried about a thoughtless remark made by someone who doesn’t even know me.

      • Anita says:

        Msgr Pope has been called a lot of names over the years and he has handled them all very well. He doesn’t deserve any of the venom that people spout at him in anger. His blog is not about attacking someone personally but some do take it that way and that’s unfortunate.

        As for him being a “worthy pastor” – that’s a no-brainer.

        His parishioners are truly blessed to have him as their pastor and likewise we too, the millions around the world, who read his blog are blessed to have him nourish us / catechise us with explanations of Sacred Scriptures.

        A good thing to remember while in the blogosphere – never hit “submit” when you are angry.

  13. Cynthia BC says:

    The notion that the devil is an active adversary has pretty much disappeared from Catholic and mainline Protestant pulpits. Preachers who do name the devil and describe the ways by which he insinuates himself into our lives are out-on-the-fringe whack jobs, from which one should back away slowly. The devil is a bogeyman whom foolish, ignorant people feared generations ago, but not today in our enlightened age!

    This year’s baseball season is still young…the NBL’s current first-place teams cannot rest on their laurels. They will face their league and division opponents multiple times over the next several months. Even winning the World Series is but a temporary victory – for next year is another season.

    We would all like to believe that the Resurrection was the final victory of good over evil. If that were so, however, we’d all be back in the Garden of Eden. Christ’s journey among us was to show us how to live for God. He never promised that the journey would be easy or safe, nor that we were guaranteed to end up where we desired.

  14. Jon White says:

    To the Media, “It’s just business – nothing personal.” If the Media can use the Pope’s images or words to further their worldly agendas, they will, because to further their worldly agendas is their business. Truly, they neither love nor hate him – he is just one of the many tools they try to use to “promote their business”, meaning, sell their product and push their favored policies/agendas and oppose the policies/agendas they do not favor. If and when the Media decide it promotes their business to attack and even destroy the Pope, they will do so with no hard feelings; the Media may express regret at having to destroy him and may even shed crocadile tears at the same time. But do not be deceived – “It’s just business, nothing personal.” Just – JUST – as it was in “The Godfather” for the lieutenant of Vito Corleone who tried, but failed to have Vito’s son, Michael, assassinated after Vito’s death. That lieutenant (named Tessio?), in the film version of the story, even shed his own version of crocadile tears as he was led away to be murdered for his betrayel of Michael, saying to his captors, “Personally, I always liked Michael. Tell him it was just business.”

  15. Deacon Peter says:

    Msgr. Pope, Could you give me a reference to Pope Benedict’s leaning toward’s a Balthasarian notion of a scarcely populated hell? I have read a lot of Ratzinger’s theology (particularly “Eschatology” which would have had this leaning,) but don’t recall getting that impression. I know that he and K. Rahner were once colleagues but later parted ways theologically. Rahner coincides more with Balthasar’s theology of hell. Any reference would help.

    Thanks,
    Deacon Peter Trahan
    Archdiocese of Miami

    • Spe Salvi 46-47. While to some extent Pope Benedict was engaging in hopeful speculation, he says in effect that we can reasonably hope that in the end most are saved. This is drawn quite directly from Balthasar. Since Spe Salvi is an encyclical it is most essential that this matter be clarified by Pope Benedict. Sadly it was not, before his retirement.

      • I Like The Church Fathers says:

        “it is most essential that this matter be clarified by Pope Benedict”.

        That’s not likely going to happen. Encyclicals do not generally contain throw away lines. They are deeply pondered and parsed by several high ranking churchmen, including the Pope, before they are issued. The Balthasaresque lines were included in Spe Salvi because Benedict XVI genuinely believes them. Like Balthasar, however, he recognizes that there is little scriptural basis for this view, so it can never be official doctrine. It is simply a hope, based on belief in God’s mercy and sovereignty.

        It is clear that like many deep thinking individuals, Benedict XVI has some philosophical problems with the pessimistic Augustinian view of the fewness of the saved.

  16. AKBob says:

    So much is underreported, or misreported, or “cherry-picked” reported about Pope Francis, we all know. But his latest comments, calling for governments to begin “global redistribution” is nothing less than socialism. I will NOT be going to Heaven for the good works of supporting socialist programs and political parties that promote it. I will be going for the good works of sacrificing my time and treasure.

    The problem is the failure to evangelize by the One, True Church.

    Failure to evangelize has led to an insipid leaven in society, which no longer understands right from wrong.

    The responsibility to evangelize lies at the feet of the bishops.

    A just society would permit people, especially the middle class, to keep their wealth, and then dispose of it voluntarily because of the evangelization done by the Church.

    And the wealthy would be following the examples of Andrew Carnegie and the redeemed Ebeneezer Scrooge; and the Church would not demanding as much from Bob Cratchit or Scrooge’s nephew Fred.

    And regarding Holy Communion and the divorced-and-remarried: even the notorious Frank Sinatra, upon applying for the opportunity to return to full communion late in his life, was denied that privilege.

    Or, must we now make an apology to Old Blue Eyes for those mean-spirited priests who denied him the Blessed Sacrament, even while he made a mockery of his marriage vows?

    This pope is a fallible human like all of us, and puts his foot in his mouth. He should do several things when he speaks on these various topics, not the least of which would be consulting the doctrines of the Church, of which he calls himself a loyal son, and to listen to his predecessors, including Pius XI who said, “No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true socialist.”

    This pope does have virtues, one of which is accessibility. Perhaps he might answer someone’s emails on the confusion and damage he is causing?

    • Your comments here are kind of a hodgepodge of thoughts. Are they quotes? What are these? I am not sure if the term socialist applies, but I will leave sociopolitical commentary to greater minds. That is NOT my field. But to be fair, Pope Benedict called for some pretty non-capitalist things in his last encyclical. JP II also had rather stark things to say about market capitalism. The context of papal speeches on the economy seem to emerge from two sources, one good the other less so. The first source is Catholic Social Doctrine. The catechism contains of lot of this insight in its meditation on the 7th commandment. The other source is that all the recent popes seem to have been raised in the environment of European socialism and this affects their perspective. I think all of us would like for the popes and not a few cardinals in the Vatican to at least be more conversant in market-based solutions as well. But it is not their experience. Distributism might even be a nice middle ground to meet. But all things Roman have been predictably European socialist for decades. The challenge I would issue to folks like you is: Why is this so? Too many conservatives I know would rather stay outside and cast stones rather than seek access and build relationships on the inside at both the USCCB and the Vatican. Influence comes from relationship. Build relationships if you want things to change, and perspectives to broaden.

    • Pilar says:

      Both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis challenge our current society, and therefore capitalism, same that Our Lord challenged the society of the time when he was incarnated. What they say is that business and wealth are undoubtedly good, but that they need to be generated with human dignity and the common good as the main driver. This seems to me, as a Catholic, a self-evident need. I can only guess that non-Catholics who value humanity would also welcome the challenge. Which is very necessary as business has become all about self-interest.
      On the particular point made about “global redistribution”, there is no denial that there are winners and losers from globalisation, and that some poor countries are either exploited or left with no opportunities. This is undoubtedly a problem for the UN to arbitrate and manage, which justifies the Pope’s words to them. Not to you and I with our little wealth, but to the UN as arbiters at the international level. In economic theory terms the line is to iron out the iregularities created by the functioning of the market.

    • I Like The Church Fathers says:

      “even the notorious Frank Sinatra, upon applying for the opportunity to return to full communion late in his life, was denied that privilege.”

      Not true. Sinatra’s funeral occurred at the Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills. The presider was the then Archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony:

      http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/Music/9805/20/sinatra.program/

  17. one anonymous says:

    I don’t know how people can explain the depth of evil, pain and injustice that prevails in this world without a devil! And I am so thankful the Pope is exposing the devil and all his wickedness and snares, for there are many deceptions and they are getting ever more hard to detect in a world upside-down. What seems like a lovely idea, a loving gesture, entertaining, or harmless, can be the disguise of the wolf in sheep’s clothing who is waiting to devour us. It is the proverbial lovely delicious innocent apple that will ultimately poison us. Yes, that is the devil’s modus operandi and always has been.

  18. […] Pics and Video Modern Pope Old School on Devil Exorcism and Church: Pope Francis says Devil is Real Indeed Filed Under: Benedictine Tagged With: Benedictine Oblates, Black Mass, Francis, Harvard […]

  19. AKBob says:

    Being buried in the Church is NOT the same as being eligible to receive the Blessed Sacrament. Of course, any divorced-and-remarried Catholic can attend Mass, and receive a Christian burial. But Sinatra’s walking up to receive The Lord could not be tolerated, with his visibility and track record. Others do so, of course, but they were not the most famous entertainer in the world.

    Many, many divorced-and-remarried Catholics faithfully attend Mass, but do not presume to present themselves for Holy Communion.

    Pope Francis is all over the map, hence the various topics brought up in the first comment. He is springing leaks in the dike and bulwark of the Church’s teaching and doctrines, forcing people who have patiently served decades in the prolife movement, endured liturgical abuses, and remained faithful to the Magisterium, to rush about stomping out the brush fires he has set because he “Speaks from his heart.”

    Perhaps in the confessional he can grant exceptions to the rules, but public pronouncements do incalculable damage and undermine Christ’s teachings: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

    You cannot undo Jesus Christ, “the same, yesterday, today and forever.” He let people walk away in John 6. The Church should do the same.

    This is the tremendous confusion Pope Francis is causing. Is this a matter of misrepresentation or misreporting or selectively reporting his comments or a deliberate fabrication? I don’t think so. How long must we keep making excuses for him, and admit that he needs fraternal correction, as Paul did for the first pope, Peter?

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