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Time for Clergy to "Man Up" – How the Exhortation of St. Catherine of Siena is Still Needed Today!

February 15, 2015

021515True sanctity does not easily fit into our notions of being merely nice or humble. The lives of the actual saints of the Church exude joy and can bring great encouragement to many around them. But it is also true that the great saints were irksome and unsettling to many. Most of the great saints had encountered the holiness of God and wanted to see that holiness be like a fire cast on the earth. When you really want to please God rather than men, you’re not going to be easily silenced in the face of sin and injustice, nor will you be engaging in pleasantries that merely cover over sin.

Catharine Benincasa was such a soul. We know her as St. Catherine of Siena. And though renowned for her love, generosity, and humility, as well as her power to heal, console, and cast out demons, she was no shrinking violet. If she saw something in your soul that was unholy, you were going to hear about it. And it didn’t matter who you were.

St Catherine would meet with anyone from the poorest beggars to kings, governors, bishops, and popes, and none of them were denied her love and encouragement. Neither were they spared the hard truths that God gave her to say. Only God was to be pleased, not man. Spiritual truths were to be extolled over every temporal matter like safety, comfort, and pleasing the powers-that-be.

She loved the Church but remained gravely concerned with the condition of the beloved Bride of Christ. Particularly egregious to her was the condition of so many clergy, right on up the ranks. Even the popes of her time, whom she acknowledged as the sweet Vicars of Christ, and her beloved father (“Babbo” in her native Tuscan) could not escape her expressions of grave disappointment and her calls to conversion.

Of special significance for our time is her exchange of letters with Pope Gregory XI. Though he himself led an exemplary life in many respects, he was a weak, shy, even cowardly man. He was deeply compromised by his temporal ties to power, wealth, and protection, without which he feared he and the papacy could not survive. Nepotism was also a terrible problem, as his own family members kept him wound around their fingers.

Most of the early popes died as martyrs. But by the time of the Avignon Papacy, the popes had become very tied to the world and had “too much to lose.” Instead of facing their opponents boldly, preaching the gospel, and refusing to be afraid, they had fled to Avignon and had been in residence there for decades, living behind fortified walls, protected by armies, and compromised by alliances with secular rulers. It had to stop.

Gregory XI was the last of the Avignon popes, but he only returned to Rome at the prodding of a young woman, not yet thirty, who told him, in effect, to “man up.” Perhaps most disconcerting to him was the fact that she seemed to know of a secret vow he had made to God that if he were to be elected Pope he would bring the papacy back to Rome. How could she know? But she did. Yet after all, was that not why he sought her advice? She knew God, and fearful though her words were, they were compelling, for he knew that God was speaking to him through her. In 1377, after much delay and fretting, he left for Rome.

I want to produce here some excerpts from a letter she wrote to Gregory XI just prior to 1377. I think her words speak to the clergy of today. The specific issues that beset clergy today are somewhat different, but not that different. The Church no longer commands extensive temporal power or rule. But too many (though not all) clergy still exhibit a need to “man up” when it comes to teaching with clarity and authority. And too many clergy, pastors in parishes, and bishops in dioceses, are unwilling to maintain holy discipline or enforce canonical penalties, ever.

St. Catherine confronts this tendency in her letter and does not, to put it mildly, regard this favorably. She sees it as mired in self-love and in the refusal to suffer with the Lord, who died for us at our hands rather than lie to us. She uses the image of a wound that needs to be cauterized with hot irons rather than soothed with oil. But the weak clergy who do not want to hear the cries of protest use only oil to soothe, even though this does not heal and in fact only leads the wound to get worse and in the end cause death. Such malpractice is rooted in self-love, not true zeal to heal and prevent spiritual death.

Well, I have already said too much; I will let Saint Catherine speak for herself. If you think my blogs are long, try reading St. Catherine’s letters! I present here only excerpts of a much longer letter to Pope Gregory; she wrote several others, too. The translation I am using here is from Letters of Catherine Benincasa

In the Name of Jesus Christ crucified and of sweet Mary: To you, most reverend and beloved father in Christ Jesus, your unworthy, poor, miserable daughter Catherine, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, writes in His precious Blood … the soul is constrained to love what God loves and to hate what He hates. Oh, sweet and true knowledge, which dost carry with thee the knife of hate, and dost stretch out the hand of holy desire … [But if a prelate] sees his subjects commit faults and sins, and pretends not to see them and fails to correct them; or if he does correct them, he does it with such coldness and lukewarmness that he does not accomplish anything, but plasters vice over; and he is always afraid of giving displeasure or of getting into a quarrel. All this is because he loves himself. Sometimes men like this want to get along with purely peaceful means.

I say that this is the very worst cruelty which can be shown. If a wound when necessary is not cauterized or cut out with steel, but simply covered with ointment, not only does it fail to heal, but it infects everything, and many a time death follows from it.

Oh me, oh me, sweetest “Babbo” [a term of affection in her native Tuscan which translates roughly as “Papa”] mine! This is the reason that all the subjects are corrupted by impurity and iniquity.

Oh me, weeping I say it! How dangerous is that worm [of self-love] we spoke of! For not only does it give death to the shepherd, but all the rest fall into sickness and death through it.

Why does that shepherd go on using so much ointment? Because he does not suffer in consequence! For no displeasure visits one and no ill will, from spreading ointment over the sick; since one does nothing contrary to their will; they wanted ointment, and so ointment is given them.

Oh, human wretchedness! Blind is the sick man who does not know his own need, and blind the shepherd-physician, who has regard to nothing but pleasing, and his own advantage—since, not to forfeit it, he refrains from using the knife of justice or the fire of ardent charity! But such men do as Christ says: for if one blind man guide the other, both fall into the ditch. Sick man and physician fall into hell.

Such a man is a hireling shepherd, for, far from dragging his sheep from the hands of the wolf, he devours them himself. The cause of all this is, that he loves himself apart from God: so he does not follow sweet Jesus, the true Shepherd, who has given His life for His sheep.

Truly, then, this perverse love is perilous for one’s self and for others, and truly to be shunned, since it works too much harm to every generation of people.

I hope by the goodness of God, venerable father mine, that you will quench this in yourself, and will not love yourself for yourself, nor your neighbor for yourself, nor God; but will love Him because He is highest and eternal Goodness, and worthy of being loved …

O “Babbo” mine, sweet Christ on earth, follow that sweet Gregory (the Great)! For all will be possible to you as to him; for he was not of other flesh than you; and that God is now who was then: we lack nothing save virtue, and hunger for the salvation of souls.

… Let no more note be given to friends or parents or one’s temporal needs, but only to virtue and the exaltation of things spiritual … have that glorious hunger which these holy and true shepherds of the past … hungered and famished for the savor of souls.

… Following Christ, whose vicar you are, like a strong man … Fear not; for divine aid is near. Have a care for spiritual things alone, for good shepherds, good rulers, in your cities—since on account of bad shepherds and rulers you have encountered rebellion.

Give us, then, a remedy … Press on, and fulfill with true zeal and holy what you have begun with a holy resolve, concerning your return, and the holy and sweet crusade. And delay no longer, for many difficulties have occurred through delay, and the devil has risen up to prevent these things being done, because he perceives his own loss.

Up, then, father, and no more negligence! Raise the gonfalon of the most holy Cross, for with the fragrance of the Cross you shall win peace.

We await you with eager and loving desire. Pardon me, father, that I have said so many words to you. You know that through the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh … I beg you to do what you have to do manfully and in the fear of God … Remain in the sweet and holy grace of God. I ask you humbly for your blessing. Pardon my presumption, that I presume to write to you. Sweet Jesus, Jesus Love [Letter to Gregory XI, quoted in  Letters of Catherine Benincasa pp. 49-51].

Such words still ring true in our day! For too many today in the Church would use the “oil” of accommodation to the culture today, a culture filled with sexual confusion, in which disposable marriages and easy grace without repentance are demanded. To heal such wounds, the cauterizing of the hot iron of truth is needed. Applying the oil of consolation may meet with fewer protests from those who are sick from lies, but in the end this does not help heal the putrefying wounds. Despite the protests, only the hot iron will do.

It’s time for clergy to man up and apply the more difficult medicines. May the upcoming synod show forth the vigor and courage to which St. Catherine summons us.

Thank you, Mother Catherine. May you, who converted the heart of Gregory XI and summoned him to courageous manhood, now imbue us, the clergy of today, with that same fortitude and determination to do what really heals, even if the current age protests.

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  1. winnie says:

    Thank you frCharles. I was lamenting before Jesus this morning – can we find another St John Vianney in the Catholic Church. And your blog gives hope. I am from Singapore and not sure if the clergy here would read. Nevertheless, i would copy and paste or link it.

  2. Candice says:

    You’re so good… and right!

  3. Todd says:

    I found a couple of scriptures I think apply as well ‘act like a man’ and ‘do manfully.’

    1 Chronicles 28: [20] And David said to Solomon his son: Act like a man, and take courage, and do: fear not, and be not dismayed: for the Lord my God will be with thee, and will not leave thee, nor forsake thee, till thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.

    (Douay Rheims) 1 Corinthians 16: [13] Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, do manfully, and be strengthened.

  4. Michelle says:

    Thank you Msgr. Charles. You’re very brave. You’ve planted the seed. We need more leaders like you.

    • Thank you. Pray for me and every priest too since we don’t always get the balance right in our parish ministry. Bold preaching has to lead also to a pastoral practice that is increasingly pure and proper, knowing when to apply oil as a salve, but also when cauterizing is necessary. We priests will often err to one side or the other. Pray for courage and wisdom so that we can hit the target the Lord desires.

      • Jim J. McCrea says:

        The book “The Soul of the Apostolate” by Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard says that an intense interior supernatural life allows one to strike the right balance. Without that, one would veer into either softness or harshness.

  5. Gary Lockhart says:

    “It’s time for clergy to man up and apply the more difficult medicines.”

    Bears repeating and not just at the upcoming synod but in chaceries and parishes throughout the world.

    • Max says:

      From what I’ve experienced firsthand in seeing what happens in chancery offices, they are places of suspicion, fear, hatred, gossip, rumor, backbiting and sabotage. I mean, wow, some of the most un-Christian behavior from some of these parish secretaries spreading vicious, incendiary drivel about some members of our clergy who are working so honestly and diligently…golly, does this happen everywhere?

  6. Adam says:

    Let me guess: people have been trying to silence you, and find you irksome and unsettling, so now you’re cloaking yourself in a mantle of “sanctity” to justify yourself. Great.

    • No not at all. Your premise is way off base. I wonder if you have been reading here long. Probably not.

      But one thing to remember when commenting here is to focus on the blog, not the blogger. My motivations etc are simply not the focus here. The content of the article is the focus. How could you possibly know my motivations anyway.

      So just comment on what the article says, say why you agree or disagree and take responsibility for your own view rather than seek to discredit other people you have never met.

    • Joseph says:

      Man-up, Adam. And be not like the first Adam. Thank you, Msgr.

    • James says:

      Spoken like a true Adam, Adam.
      Hint, Adam’s sin, original sin, is intellectual pride – “…to know good from evil…”

    • JohnS. says:

      An interesting variant of the ad hominem argument.

      Have you considered the possibility that you might have guessed wrongly?

      This posting does not seem to be particularly celebrate Father’s sanctity, as much as it speaks to the virtues of courage and commitment in facing hard situations.

      Giving us an example of such courage and commitment (Saint Catherine) would, it seems to me, be the exact opposite of cloaking oneself in “false sanctity”, and more an example of pointing to one who truly exemplifies such.

  7. Nate says:

    Meanwhile, Catholics in the Muslim world and in places like China often suffer greatly and are often martyred for the Son of God and His Church. It would be worthwhile to ask for their intercession that the heroic courage and grace that they had also be given to the clergy in Europe and the Americas (and for the laity, too, of course).

  8. Widami says:

    Good blog as usual.

    Actually, I have encountered many clergy manned up and calling out the evils of others. What I haven’t encountered as frequently are humble clergy who emulate Christ in their own lives of servitude who invite others to repent. In our town we have a man who often positions himself at a main intersection and with bible in hand excoriates passers by to repent or be damned. I don’t think he gets many takers.

    Speak out when needed but attract to Jesus by living example for best chance of success.

    • I think St Catherine would agree whole-heartedly. She was looking for Holy clergy first and foremost and saw that at the time fear of temporal harm kept many of them silent or too rooted in pleasantries. But she was not looking for hucksters who were just trying to act superior or merely vent their anger.

      • T Cross says:

        Dear Msgr Pope,

        In our world today I think St Catherine would be speaking out against the falsehood of Feminism in the Church. It has silenced many bishops and priests. She would tell our bishops and priests to stop equalizing the actions of men and women in the Church and begin teaching the equality of men and women. It would aid you priests in “manning up.” We need to pray and speak loudly on the creation of man in the image and likeness of God, The Trinity, “Male and female He created them.” Jesus submitted himself to the will of the Father and it didn’t diminish His equality to the Father. We are a hierarchical Church, ordained by God to be so. I am a wife of 30 years. My husband and I are equal and we live in our little domestic church in peace and joy. The Church must not walk on egg shells, but march firmly forward in the truth or lukewarmness will root itself.

        God bless you.

  9. FR B says:

    What is interesting is that the pope only “manned up” at the suggestion of a woman. I think this speaks so well to the need for the laity, especially faithful and strong women, to encourage and at times, challenge pastors to lead as spiritual fathers and real men. Celibacy does not mean that a priest has no female presence in his life or that he should only listen to men. Throughout the Church’s history, men have been called to great and difficult things through holy and faithful women. Women can do so much to help priests be the men they are called to be.

    • Jeffrey Job says:

      This dynamic is true for married men also. Men fear failure and loss of respect more than almost anything else. Many a time just thinking about failing morally and loosing my wife’s respect motivates me to be a better man than I would be without her. We men may be called to lead but strong women very often point the direction we need to be “leading!” And I’m good with that.

  10. Max says:

    The sacrifices you make and the witness you give as clergy today…so courageous. What can I do to worthily make a positive impact for my state in life? I just hope I can live up to my vocation as a married man, father and husband. I do what I can, but I never know if it’s ever enough. I want to be a good and faithful servant, not a wicked, lazy servant.

  11. Bill says:

    I read an article by a priest that said it was time for lay people to engage the world and apply our Savior’s teachings. Couldn’t agree more. I also agree that priests must ‘man up’ as you say. I can only remember one priest, 30 years ago, point out the moral problem with our government building up and using a powerful military. It has been a long time since I have heard a priest apply Christ’s teaching to modern day situations. Most homilies I hear are lukewarm and do not shed much light on our time. Who knows why but one can guess. Soldier on Father Charles!!!!!

    • Nate says:

      Bill,

      You must not talk to many clergy. The Catholic Church has long been a witness against the military-industrial complex and the dangers it presents. The Church has also been one its the few institutions to rigorously defend the principles of Just War. Everyone knows what issues the clergy have been reticent to challenge society on and part of the problem is that most of the laity in the pews freak out when their sin is confronted, so many clergy just avoid the issue. Almost nobody is going to challenge a homily on feeding the hungry or the evils of violence but if a priest or nun points out the perils of homosexuality or contraception, they will be ripped apart by many of the ‘nice’ people. Yet, the contraceptive mentality of the last 100 years has murdered more human beings than all the wars in all of human history combined. ISIS can only dream of killing as many Westerners as are killed in abortion mills.

      • Bill says:

        Nate,
        Of course the Church is strongly opposed to unjust war. But few people in the pews have the depth of knowledge you have. A verbal reminder on long held teachings of the Church would be new information for many people. A good example would be the Church’s teaching on usury. Somehow this teaching has slipped off the table in the last 150 years or so. Can the Church’s position on just war meet a similar fate? Yes unless it is constantly refreshed on the minds of all.

        • Nate says:

          It’s very possible that I just happened to be in an atypical situation but, in 2002-2003, the priests and laity I knew taught me a great deal about Just War. I certainly didn’t understand it very well before then. I agree though that it could fall off the radar without vigilance, especially since both political parties favor war to such a degree that we can’t count on informed political debate on the matter.

          • Bill says:

            Don’t forget that around 25% of our Representatives and Senators are Catholic. Now if these Catholics were really believers in the Church’s teaching on just war would we continue to fund our unending wars in the mid-east? These Catholics were, in theory, raised on the teachings of the Church and had the benefit of Mass and homilies. So if the priests and Bishops were publicly witnessing to just war and the moral problem of killing in an unjust war would these Catholics support our aggressive military?

            Secondly, the issue with usury has made the current financial disaster possible. Banks to big to fail and a private bank, the Federal Reserve, creating money out of thin air. This has brought extreme suffering to many in the WORLD. By the Church not publically witnessing against usury the poor are poorer and the greedy are greedier. This usurious system is a world problem not just a first world problem.

            Lastly, Bishops and priests are automatically leaders. They can either lead or not. Their job is the salvation of souls but their position is in the physical world. They must address the physical world just like Jesus did when he drove the money changers out of the temple. If Bishops and priests will not attack the physical world and make the worldly mad at them then they have switched sides and are now the sons of Satan. “The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path.” – or – “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.” – St. John Chrysostom attributed.

            Pray for our priests, Bishops and the Pope!!!!

  12. Eileen says:

    Thank you, Monsignor. I have often thought to write and tell you how needed your voice is today. Where I live, we aren’t given much useful direction from our shepherds, so I often look for the thoughts of good priests on the internet. I am always enlightened and encouraged by your posts. FYI, I love St. Catherine (I’ve visited her home and named my eldest daughter after her!) Nice to see her in the spotlight today.

  13. Mike says:

    As a layman who has been called out by you on occasion in these comment logs when I had it coming, I hope never to stop thanking God for your fearless witness and toil for the conversion of sinners like me. Our diocese and Church are blessed in you beyond merit or measure.

  14. Rodrigo Guerra says:

    Saint Catherine, a great mystic and Doctor of the Church, lived in troubled times. The Papacy was in exile at Avignon, France. She was instrumental in bringing the Popes back to Rome. Her famous Dialogues are written as if dictated by God Himself:

    “But they act in a contrary way, for they come full of impurity to this mystery, and not only of that impurity to which, through the fragility of your weak nature, you are all naturally inclined (although reason, when free will permits, can quiet the rebellion of nature), but these wretches not only do not bridle this fragility, but do worse, committing that accursed sin against nature (homosexual acts), and as blind and fools, with the light of their intellect darkened, they do not know the stench and misery in which they are. It is not only that this sin stinks before me, who am the Supreme and Eternal Truth, it does indeed displease me so much and I hold it in such abomination that for it alone I buried five cities by a divine judgment, my divine justice being no longer able to endure it. This sin (sodomy) not only displeases me as I have said, but also the devils whom these wretches have made their masters. Not that the evil displeases them because they like anything good, but because their nature was originally angelic, and their angelic nature causes them to loathe the sight of the actual commission of this enormous sin.”

    I’ve always wondered how dominicans like Timothy Radcliffe (and many other priests, bishops, and Cardinals) can justify their twisted views given what great dominicans like St. Catherine of Siena and St. Thomas Aquinas have written in regards to that despicable sin against nature that so terribly offends Almighty God.

  15. Richard Connell says:

    If I had to guess, and it would be a guess, I’d guess that the part of the clergy (if I’m using that term correctly here) that is in more need of reform is the bishops. Why? Because the Pope is in such a spotlight that he almost has sanctity compulsion and the priests are overworked, or at least properly worked, to the point that they can’t run amuck too much. I only have a slight clue as to what bishops do on Sundays and no idea what they do during the remainder of the week. If the sense that priests get from bishops that the bottom line is dollars, then the priest is probably going to make efforts to produce dollars. If the sense he gets from the bishops that the bottom line is souls, then he is probably going to make efforts to produce souls.

    Let’s blame the bishops! Sorry bishops! We still luv ya!

  16. kelso says:

    Monsignor, thank you for an inspiring article again. I wrote a biography of Saint Catherine for the website I listed. I titled it from her own words: I Have Seen the Secrets of God. When she heard of the death of Pope Gregory XI, Saint Catherine said: A bad day for Gregory and a good day for the Church.

  17. Mack Hall, HSG says:

    I would like for bishops to respect parish priests. Some (at least) bishops appear (appear) to regard their clergy as hirelings whose first purpose is to raise money for the bishops’ apparently personal indulgences. I would like for bishops to respect the Catholic faithful. Some (at least) bishops appear (again, appear) to be the willing functionaries of whatever dominant secular political factions are in power.

  18. Botolph says:

    Great post! Now we know why Saint Catherine of Siena is a Doctor of the Church!

  19. Janice Conway says:

    I pray that all Priests “man up” as a Bishop, Cardinal and Pope are all “priests” this letter Catherine has written certainly could apply to our times. I have been blessed to know some very holy and wonderful priests. I also know of a priest that truly needs our prayers. He is the type that does not like any sort of confrontation so therefore (and I have witnessed personally) has eaten meat on Good Friday and the person who was with him also did the same and when I questioned him the guest said Father gave him absolution. I have recently had a conversation with someone who is returning to church and I invited him to have a blessing at the Eucharistic and he said yes he would but the same priest had told him a few years ago when he was divorced that it would be ok for him to receive. As Catherine states it is up to our priest to correct any action that we do if it is against the will of the Father but if our priest is the one leading astray…..pray, pray

  20. stefanie says:

    Monsignor, you remain in my prayers as I hope I am in yours. We both are in parish work “from the inside” and know the need to ‘man up’ as necessary for the salvation of souls. Catherine of Siena is my confirmation name! When I was 13, I read a book about her life and she has been my companion ever since. (I actually just found on ebay that very book and look forward to re-acquainting myself with it when it arrives next week)

    Lately — as I’m discerning taking on more responsibilities at the request of my pastor and working more closely with him–Catherine has been frequently in my thoughts. And now, here is your blog post. Thank you, Monsignor, for helping dear Catherine to get such timely messages to me!

  21. Mark M says:

    Thank you Fr. Charles!! We hunger for truth and you feed us. That there were more like you, we pray! We have been, are and will be in our prayers.

  22. Mark M says:

    “You” have been in our prayers; not “we”. 🙂

  23. NIck Clemens says:

    Were all these correspondences in private? Yes we all need to live out our fundamental Catholic convictions. But it appears that St. Catherine was uncompromising on a personal level, not in a public way. This is not a bid to remove the Church from the public square. On the contrary she must remain publicly vocal through our Bishops whose task it is to lead the flock. However, on an individual basis each soul must be saved within itself. I worry about the Church fostering division within her self in the name reform, or renewal.

    • Not sure I follow your concerns. But divisions are inevitable. Jesus himself is the great dividing line and as Simeon foretold is the one on whom many will fall and rise in Israel. He is the sign that will be contradicted by many.

  24. Clayton Williams says:

    I was hoping to send a hand written note to Kevin Knight…He is the editor of “NEW ADVENT” Is it possible that you could please provide me with a Mailing Address…..Thank You ..and God Bless.

  25. Jeannie Prather says:

    You hit, not the nail, but the gong heard all the way to heaven, may it please God!
    I agree with beautiful and favorite Saint Catherine. “To heal such wounds, the cauterizing of the hot iron of truth is needed.” But first, dear Catherine, what we direly need from Monsignor is a refresher course on repentance from the ground that will surely make room for our body, and all the way up to heaven. Let’s begin with the introduction of what is sin…a word that seems to’ve fallen out of favor and the dictionary.

  26. Robertlifelongcatholic says:

    I watched the propaganda video today of 21 ISIS jihadist marching 21 Coptic Christians along the Lybian beach of the Mediterranean Sea. An Islamic terrorist holding a large military knife standing behind one of the 21 Christians said they would be coming for the followers of the cross. They then proceeded to to force the 21 Christians onto their stomachs and simultaneously remove their heads and place them on the back of their torsos between their shoulders, facing into the camera. When you look at a map of the Mediterranean region, right across the pond above Lybia is Italy and in the middle along the west border of Italy is Rome. The jihadist movement and ISIS or ISIL in particular are all over the map in that part of the world. That Pope Francis and the bishops are getting together to discuss how to handle dealing with divorce and homosexuality is a joke. I saw the sea literaly turn red with the blood of those 21 Coptic Egyptians and yet it seems to be business as usual at the Vatican and with the Catholic bishops back here in the states. While the pope fiddles, Rome burns. I saw a second video where ISIL stopped a Muslim woman dressed in traditional black dress and hajib covering her head get stopped in an ISIL controlled town. She made the mistake of wearing a red jacket in public so they tried and convicted her right there on the spot and then shot her in the head. So why aren’t the pope and the bishops making this the key issue in the Church and with their government leaders. If their are so many Catholics and Christians out there why aen’t the leaders of the Church leading and defending our faith and principles? Maybe it’s because they are afraid of offending the degenerate society of which Islam has declared jihad against. It is going to take more testosterone than letters from St. Catherine of Siena to Avignon to put a fire under their buttocks. Just in the past month, Islamic leaders met in Garland Texas for a convention to establish Islamic tribunals to deal with sharia law being adjudicated here in the United States. They now have such a tribunal in Irving, Texas. I would dare the Catholic Church to make an issue of comparing Sharia and Catholic doctrine in a public forum with parishioners and governmental figures.

  27. a catholic psychologist says:

    The unwillingness to “man up” is rooted in fear. Fear itself is based upon the expectation of my losing something to which I am attached. We can ask then, what are those things that I am attached to that makes me afraid to push forward into territory that may cost me. Where is my treasure, where is my pleasure, and what are my vanities? Own up to these, and you will know why I fear to face my enemies.

  28. Joe says:

    Yes, it’s time that the bishops and Cardinals to ‘man up’ with us. On the Laura Ingram radio show today, she said that Catholics, Baptists and other protestants were receiving millions of dollars from the Gov’t to help with illegal immigrate relocation. She is a devote catholic and has no agenda. Is our church in bed with the Federal Gov’t? Msgr. Pope, I thank you for all that you do. I pray our church would be honest with us. Too many have died to protect our borders and our bishops seem to know better. Please stop this deceit.

    • Joe says:

      Msgr. Pope, I apologize about my very last comment. I wish our bishops and cardinals would be straight up and honest with us, as you say “man up”. My prayers are always with you. May the Holy Spirit guide you.
      God Bless…

  29. mary travis says:

    At Lepanto, the response before the battle was a churchwide call to prayer.
    Requested by our Pope.
    The prayer was answered

    To whom do we now appeal for such a prayer for the Universal Church to pray after each Mass throughout
    the earth…or at least begin with us, the United States?
    Msgr., do you know to whom we can go?

    I am an everyday person…..and I believe that they, in the Church leadership,
    whoever “they” are with the power, would not listen to me,
    or read whatever I wished to send them.

    The Blessed Lord told us to “ask and we shall receive”!
    Do we really take Him at His Word? Do our Bishops?
    Where is our leadership in this dreadful time in history?
    As a small beginning I submit this, using the prayer to Queen of the Most Holy Rosary:

    O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary,
    in these times of such brazen impiety,
    show Thy Power with Signs of Thy former victories!

    Look with pity on the Church of Thy Son,
    on His Vicar on earth, and His clergy and laity,
    who are so sorely oppressed in this mighty conflict.

    O Powerful Vanquisher of all heresies hasten the hour of God’s mercy,
    though the hour of God’s justice is so sorely provoked by the countless sins of men.

    O Most Holy Mother, under the title of Immaculate Conception, patroness of our nation,
    spread the mantle of Thy protection over the United States of America, and
    dispense upon her people graces and virtues such that, through their lives,
    leadership and legislation, we (they) may renew and restore our country to
    her founding principles.

    O Holy Mother, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary,
    prayer for us, with us, and through us.

    Amen

  30. Julia says:

    @ Mary Travis et all. Have you been told that Holy Father Francis has called for a world day of prayer. That is for 24 hours continuous prayer on 13th and 14th March 2015.

    Please God we will be making this day of prayer in our own parish church here in the UK.

    I am surprised not to see headlines everywhere on the internet.

    I call that true Spiritual leadership, and it is coming from Holy Father Francis. Where are the devoted loyal Catholics who should be cramming the digital sea with the news so as to get maximum response from the people of God.