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Friday, March 17, 2017

True and False Mercy: Pope John Paul II vs. Pope Francis

A pope of true mercy who would never counsel
fornicators and adulterers to commit sacrilege!
One of the devils cleverest tricks is to take a truth and exaggerate it to the point that it becomes false.
That's what we're seeing these days with the virtue of mercy. Emphasize mercy to the extreme and you end up eliminating justice. Being merciful to the sinner translates into blessing his sin to be compassionate. Unfortunately, parents tend to do this because they "don't want to alienate" their children. And so they allow their children to blackmail them into approving their sinful lifestyle. 

I've known parents who allow fornicating children to move into their home or visit and share the same bedroom. Their actions not only encourage the mortally sinful behavior of their children, but desecrates their home which should be the holy temple of the domestic church.

We've seen how "Pope Francis mercy" includes inviting those behaving in mortally sinful ways to commit sacrilege by approaching the altar for Communion. We've heard how some married couples are less married than those in fornicating and adulterous (and even sodomite) partnerships. We've heard the approval of cardinals and bishops who dissent from the faith in many areas and also "heard" the deafening silence of many other princes of the Church called to defend the faith.

But one voice spoke the truth loud and clear. Here's what Pope St. John Paul II said in his encyclical Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy):
Conversion is the most concrete expression there is of the effective action of merciful love in human society. The true and proper meaning of mercy is not simply that one gazes, however penetratingly and compassionately, on moral or physical or material evil. No, what is special about true mercy is that it discerns, fosters and elicits good from all the forms of evil in the world and in human beings. Thus, understood, mercy is the central teaching in Christ's messianic message and the power that explains His work.
Pope St. John Paul II's view of mercy is diametrically opposed to what Francis is preaching where unconverted sinners are given carte blanche to return to the sacraments while they continue their sin based on their personal discernment of their spiritual state. Talk about ear tickling! If you feel justified, go forth and continue in your sin.

Bishops in several countries and/or dioceses have implemented Francis mercy instructing their priests to allow those in sinful partnerships to return to the sacraments. (Malta and the Diocese  of San Diego come to mind.) No correction or instruction from the pope has followed these pastoral scandals. Silence from the chief shepherd of the Church implies consent.

This papal behavior is a far cry from what Pope Pius XI and the future pope, Cardinal Pacelli, did in 1938 when the Nazis invaded Austria. After Cardinal Theodor Innitzer bade his flock to welcome the Germans and support the Anschluss, he was summoned to Rome and ordered to retract (by Cardinal Pacelli speaking for the pope). He later became an ardent foe of the regime.

Silence in a time of crisis is devastating. And, in fact, the great poet Dante in his Inferno designated the hottest places in hell for those who refused to take a stand during a time of moral crisis. Here's what Virgil showed Dante in the bowels of hell:
And I [Dante] - my head oppressed by horror - said:
"Master [Virgil], what is it that I hear? Who are
those people so defeated by their pain?"
And he to me: "This miserable way
is taken by the sorry souls of those
who lived without disgrace and without praise.
They now commingle with the coward angels,
the company of those who were not rebels
nor faithful to their God, but stood apart. 
The heavens, that their beauty not be lessened,
have cast them out, nor will deep Hell receive them -
even the wicked cannot glory in them."
Jesus said it in a different way. "But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth." Rev. 3:16

Let us all commit this Lent to praying for the conversion of sinners who are being misled into believing they can happily go on sinning and be welcomed to Candyland on Judgment Day. Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners, pray for us.


Unknown said...

Nice article, Mary Ann. So true and necessary to hear. Now is the time for every faithful Catholic to fearlessly speak up and out in defense of the faith.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to what you suggest when a non-married couple has children? Ostracize the children? I'm not sure that's the moral thing to do. I am one of 9 children from a big, traditional Catholic family and, much to my parents' dismay, only 2 of us are married. I have five sets of nieces and nephews whose parents aren't married - it would be sad and hard to exclude them or their parents from family gatherings and the children have done nothing wrong. My mother once lamented to my oldest sister that she "didn't know where she went wrong" but I think my siblings respect their upbringing, they just don't practice Catholicism anymore for various reasons (we are all in our 30s and 40s). I think Pope Francis has the right idea in taking people where they are in the hopes that they will return to the church again - my brother jokes that he might get married on his 50th birthday, but maybe he means it.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

You love them of course. You deal with the situation and cuddle your grandchildren. You don't tell your children they were right to do things the wrong way. But it certainly is not the little ones' fault. And the first thing you do is thank God your children didn't abort your grandchildren.