Thursday, September 12, 2013

Phrancis on Phire?

So…Pope Francis has made some more comments that are raising eyebrows and leading to blog posts. There are several news stories out there about the Pope’s recent statements to the effect that even those who don’t believe in God can go to Heaven.

Well…we are all aware of how the media likes to jump on this kind of thing and make the proverbial mountain out of the proverbial mole hill. On the other hand, it is possible that the media was handed the mountain and didn’t have to do any work at all on the molehill.

Whatever. I guess I’m just not willing to “go there”. So, whether the Pope uttered heretical remarks, or the media just quoted him out of context, I'm just not going to worry about it, since it was not an official statement of doctrine. 

Okay, that's not altogether true...I do worry about it, but there's really no point in that. I think that, instead of worrying, it is better to look at what the Church actually teaches. So, mostly, I don’t read the reports of the Pope’s doings and sayings. Mostly, I try to steep myself in Church teaching so as to keep my faith intact against any assault, no matter where it comes from. Mostly, I pray. 

That said, I’ll quote directly from SuperTradMum's post, "Putting Out Papal Fires". She has made these excellent points (and please visit her blog if you have not done so; she posts lots of interesting material on many subjects):

First of all, remember that Popes are ONLY infallible when making statements in encyclicals or serious apostolic letters or even motu proprios FROM THE CHAIR OF PETER.

Having said that, this Pope really should be more careful as to what he says to the press, especially the secular press, as the statements are always blown across the world.

Second of all, the Doctors of the Church, ALL GREAT SAINTS, make it clear that men and women cannot get to heaven on their own merits. Living the life of natural virtues do not gain us heaven-some of these notes are in the perfection series. Look at that series for details.

It is clear from the Doctors that these points must be considered:

1) One, natural law is moral and is given to all people whether baptized or not; therefore, all people can try and live good lives, not committing mortal sins, in order to get to heaven.

2) The Doctors agree that one's own merits do not gain heaven, only grace

3) It is almost impossible to be good and stay good without grace;

4) The sacraments give grace.

5) There is invincible ignorance, but that is rare, very rare, as most people in the world have access to truth in the teachings of the Catholic Church-China's rules on Internet prohibitions might cause some not to, but in the West, no.

6) Supernatural virtues are not the same as natural virtues. People do not gain heaven by living in natural virtue.

7) Can and does God give grace in some cases outside the Church? Yes, but all people are saved through the merits of the Catholic Church. If they refuse to follow the Church, that would be the sins of pride, presumption, and arrogance. 

8) Not even Catholics can presume they are saved.

9) God is merciful, but also just. He weighs in on both, of course.

10) Is the Lord merciful? Of course, we cannot sin on purpose and ignore knowledge on purpose and expect mercy.

So, SuperTradMum has given us a nice little catechesis here. Let us focus on that.

And pray. Pray. Fast. Pray. Fast. Pray some more.

And don't forget to pray.


  1. I like your method of just not reading the reports of the Pope's doings and sayings. And prayer. Because that's all we can do anyway and every single blooming day, I'm afraid of what next is going to come out of his mouth. The Eye-Witness blog had a posting today that ended with the perfect description of our Pope: BEWILDERING. And might I add, very confusing. So really, I should try to not read anymore. It just makes me mad...and worried...and mad again.

  2. What I find interesting is that he speaks a lot in "nicey" terms. What I mean by that is all the feel good stuff. I read what he says and then I read past encyclicals when the Popes used to go in depth about the Faith. I don't really find that from Pope Francis. But, I still read what he says. I do love him and I pray for him. He's the Pope, regardless. I just wish he spoke and taught like Pope Pius XII and those before. I mean have you read their encyclicals?!

    You know, I was rooting (in fun terms, of course) for Cardinals Burke and Piacenza at the Conclave. Why? Because they were the closest I could fine to what I just described.

    God bless.


  3. BTW, Don't get me wrong. Some of what he says I find very profound...


  4. "First of all, remember that Popes are ONLY infallible when making statements in encyclicals or serious apostolic letters or even motu proprios FROM THE CHAIR OF PETER."

    This is wrong... the conditions for papal infallibility are clearly set out in the catechism (section 891). You might also want to read the following paragraph (section 892) on the religious assent required of you to teachings of the ordinary magisterium which "are not pronounced in a definitive manner"

    You may also wish to use some common sense and not give the same weight to offhand remarks as to an encyclical. In any case if you really do not understand what he is saying at any given time you might want to assume the failing is on your part, not the pope's.

  5. Good grief, Freyr, it's a blog post, not a dissertation. I think people understand the point - when the Pope is not reaffirming already held Doctrine as part of the Ordinary Universal Magisterium, or speaking in union with a Council, that is, when he makes off the cuff statements like this, alone, on his own, they are not infallible definitions of Doctrine. It was a bit broadly worded, but the point of the post was not to give a lengthy description of the finer points of papal infallibility, it was to remind that these statements are far from infallible.

    Did Philothea intimate she found fault with the Pope? She said she was concerned, but that could be about any number of things.

  6. Keep the Faith...keep the Faith...Pope Francis really does not prod the intellect in the same way that Benedict XVI did (then again, whoever would have been elected would have been a drop off)...Pray for the Holy Father (as difficult as he makes it sometimes)


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