Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Guest Post: In Response to "This Disastrous Papacy"

Take the key of repentance and
unlock the treasury of mercy
Editor's Note: I thought the insights and comments in this article were interesting enough to deserve a separate post. I hope my readers agree. Repentance is the key that unlocks the treasury of mercy. When was the last time you went to Confession?

by Catherine Donner

This article is in response to your post from Friday, May 5, 2017 entitled ‘This Disastrous Papacy and the Big Question!’ However, my comments will not address your Big Question.

My first comment is on your quotation from EWTN: ‘This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra…’ Surely the important word here is authentic. The current pope frequently makes statements contradicting the perennial teaching of the church. How can these be regarded as authentic?

This comment is made just in passing and the second of my comments is the real object of this missive. You ask, perhaps rhetorically ‘How many other doctrines have been undermined by this pope in his other statements and writings?’ I shall attempt to provide a very non-rhetorical answer.

My answer does not directly involve doctrines. While Amoris Laetitia (AL) disastrously undermines the three sacraments of Eucharist, Confession and Matrimony, my analysis is altogether much more serious for the Pope had effectively subverted the entire mission of the Church before AL appeared. Many have noted the lack of requirement in AL for repentance. But this lack is first found in Francis’ Misericordiae Vultus (MV), the Bull of Indiction for the Holy Year of Mercy. Mercy is mentioned 164 times in the text, but repentance only once [Section 17]. Confessors, we are told, must always embrace the repentant son just like the ‘father who runs out to meet his son despite the fact that he has squandered away his inheritance’ in the parable of the prodigal son. The implication of this that the father runs out to embrace the son without knowing whether or not he is actually repentant. The word repent does not appear anywhere in MV and nor does either contrite or contrition and nor does the idea of any purpose of amendment. This is not just the elephant in the room, but so big it appears that no-one has noticed.

Before you assume I have become completely bonkers, may I note that it is not my idea and two great saints have taken the same view. Now to my saints: St Augustine and St Thomas More. It concerns Genesis 3 and the story of the Fall, and in particular the chronology.

Adam and Eve are tempted by the serpent, or rather Eve is tempted first and succumbing to the devil’s wiles, she tempts Adam who also eats the fruit. They remain in the garden, making fig leaves for themselves and hide when the Lord God walks in the garden. God asks them why they are hiding, Adam replies that they hid because they were naked. When God asks who told them and asks whether they had eaten of the tree in the middle of the garden, they both make excuses, but they are still in the garden. Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent: the original blame game. Neither repent. God tells the serpent of his fate to be cursed, etc and of the enmity between him and the woman. God proceeds to tell Eve of her woes in childbearing and subjection to her husband and Adam of his destiny of labour and toil. It is only after this that God casts Adam and Eve out of paradise. It is only after they have not only failed to repent but also have failed to take personal responsibility for their actions that they are banished. They did not receive unconditional mercy for they did not repent.

We all hear so much about these days about the God of Mercy, but if mercy can be obtained without contrition, repentance or any purpose of amendment, then why did God not extend that mercy to Adam and Eve? The simple answer is that God does indeed require repentance, amendment, contrition, etc and that its lack is what determined the fate Adam and Eve and the rest of us. But if God, like an indulgent grandfather giving sweets [you in the USA call it candy] to the grandchildren regardless of their behaviour during the previous week, dishes out mercy here, there and everywhere, what is the point of the Incarnation, Our Lord’s Passion, the mission of the Church, the priesthood, the sacraments, prayer or virtue, etc? Mercy without repentance/contrition/amendment is a complete impossibility and this attack in Misericordiae Vultus is on the nature and foundations of the Church. (Never mind the God of Surprises!)

I originally found this in the works of St Thomas More (whom I am studying for a postgraduate degree) and both he and St Augustine state the same: that Adam & Eve’s excuses made the original disobedience worse. More observes that it was at the point immediately after God enumerated the woes that would fall to mankind that their banishment from Paradise occurred, while St Augustine says that their excuses do not excuse but, on the contrary, accuse. Excuses and justifications rather than repentance led to Adam & Eve’s expulsion from the garden. If a lack of repentance or even admission of guilt did not work then, it is not going to work now.

Either I am mad or this is such an enormous problem that, apparently, no one sees it.

I hope this is useful, and not too long. For your information: the reference to St Augustine is from The City of God, Bk 14, Ch 14. The references to Adam & Eve made by St Thomas More are to be found in A Treatise upon the Passion, which is Volume 13 in the Yale edition of The Complete Works of Thomas More. The page numbers are 18/6-8; 22/27-30; and 53/14-20. [This is the only available edition.] There is another reference in More’s Dialogue concerning Heresies, Volume 6 of the same edition, page 405/6-7; and one reference in More’s Confutation of Tyndale’s Answer, page 308/32-309/2. One reference unconnected with Adam & Eve, but on the same topic is: Imitation, Bk I, Ch 2, No 1: ‘We often do amiss, and then do worse by excusing ourselves’.


  1. I have written a short piece as a follow up to Susan's excellent article on "nothingness". She might be interested.

  2. The Papacy is a divine institution established by Our Lord Jesus Christ against which the gates of hell (the tongues of heretics) will not prevail. The Holy Ghost has given us perpetual successors of Saint Peter. The best way to understand the papacy against which Protestantism and countless other ism's have battled for centuries is to see Saint Peter in the back office where he holds the primacy in the Church Triumphant. In the front office is whatever current occupant has been chosen either to punish us or reward us. A pope has to be "backwardly compatible" and as Saint Paul told us "if we or even an angel of light preach to you another gospel then let him be anathema. The Holy Ghost knew that he would allow the chair of Saint Peter to be taken over by heretics. Before that he gave us his Dogma of Papal Infallibility for which we should constantly thank him. Popes for the sheep and popes for the goats. Rewards from heaven and punishments from heaven.

  3. That the papacy is divine does not mean it is immune from problems.
    The catholic church had three men claiming to be pope during the Great Western Schism.

    Now there are two men claiming to be pope.

    It is not possible.

    The safe option is to disregard the probably invalid conclave of 2013 that elected cardinal Bergoglio and continue to see Benedict
    xv1 as the only valid pope.

    Many of the statements and writings of Jorge Bergoglio can hardly be described as even catholic and some which are anti catholic.
    Amoris Laetitiae is not a catholic document and directly contravenes the teaching of Christ on marriage.

    This leads one to conclude that he [cardinal Bergoglio] is most likely to have been excommunicated latæ sententiæ [automatically].

    I am a practising catholic myself and this is the only mechanism that makes any sense of this horrific papal mess.

  4. Catherine,

    Thank you for your thought provoking post. We are living in a time that holds to a therapeutic mindset as opposed to a tragic one. The therapeutic mindset tells us that whatever we have done is in the past and we can just move on. The tragic view of life which is the true Christian view of our temporal existence is that our actions have deep consequences for our soul, for good or bad. At the time of our death the state of our soul will determine our eternal fate; if it is directed toward God then we can be saved, if it's directed at some other desire or sentiment, well then that is where we will end up. Since we all sin, all souls need to be made pure. Jesus' sacrifice allows for this redemption. But true repentance is necessary for our soul to be directed toward God.
    The therapeutic view of our earthly existence that is being sadly taught by both those outside as well as inside the Church is leading to the loss of so many souls in the next life.

  5. Saint Peter holds the primacy in the papacy - until all places in heaven have been taken up by those who have passed through Purgatory. If a soul does not qualify to enter Purgatory then the only alternative is hell for ever. The Chair of Saint Peter is occupied and it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff. All successors of Saint Peter are subject to Saint Peter as is every other human creature. Anyone whatever who separates us from the Church and the faith of Saint Peter is an enemy of our souls. A pope who fails to defend the faith, the church and the sacraments of Saint Peter will lose his soul the same as anyone else. Since 1870 the Holy Ghost has forever without end defined the Catholic faith. The faith, the priesthood and the Papacy of Pope Pius IX is the Catholic Church. Outside of it there is no salvation. The Catholic Church 1870 is the only Church of Jesus Christ. When Pius IX under the guidance of the Holy Ghost defined the dogma of Papal Infallibility the Holy Ghost was paving the way for Antichrist and the final chapter of life on earth. Again, it is a case of popes for the sheep and popes for the goats. Blind leaders for the blind who will fall into the pit together.

  6. I am looking for Catholics to unite in defence of the greatest thing this side of heaven - the Holy Mass. Every living Catholic has a mission to fulfill since the feast of the Immaculate Conception 1965. There is One Lord, One faith, One baptism and one holy sacrifice. Too many Catholics have died since that date without fulfilling this mission. We can only pray for them. For those of us still living we have souls to save and we can all defend the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary or not. If we do not, then we will without doubt be damned.
    Therefore every living Catholic needs to prove that the Novus Ordo mass is the same continual Holy Sacrifice of Calvary or an improvement on the same Holy Sacrifice of Calvary. Let's do it! After all, the activist enemies of all that is holy can get themselves out protesting on the streets within hours. How come those claiming to be Catholic have absolutely no influence whatever on this world that continually shakes its communised clenched fist at Our Lord's Kingdom of Heaven - the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Yes, I am Lourdesman and I apologise for any offence caused but we all have a mission to fulfill and souls to save. Catholics United Against Antichrist???

  7. Marian Catholic,

    Well, my dilemma is whether to allow your posts to remain. I have received so many comments from you consigning me to hell for being an NFP teacher, a person who attends the Novus Ordo Mass, etc. (they are all in my spam folder) that I'm puzzled at this change in tone. I've been praying for you and, in fact, every comment received a Hail Mary to our beloved Queen of Heaven before being consigned to spam.

    These comments will remain for now, but if you return to your ad hominem attacks they will disappear along with the others.

  8. I have to make allowances for people who think they are Catholics and are not. Which mass is celebrated in heaven? Is it the Catholic mass of Our Lady of Lourdes or is it the Protestant mass of Pope Francis? Is NFP allowed according to the infallible popes approved by Our Lady at Lourdes? I pray Our Lady's Rosary every day. I began praying it with my family in the living room since before I made my first communion in 1958. The altar to Our Lady during the month of May was decorated with flowers we picked from our mother's garden. She was there on the mantlepiece at the foot of my bed as long as I lived at home. Every Monday night even the coldest and wettest I was there at the "Miraculous Medal" for her Rosary devotions and Benediction (when Benediction was still available). I stood for the "Hail Queen of Heaven" at the end. I still recite her glorious litany. The miraculous medal is my shield. The month of June which followed was the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of her Son. More devotions. October devotions for Our Lady. More evening devotions. November evening devotions for the Holy Souls. Getting off school to go to the local church to sing the Requiem mass of Pope Saint Pius V in Latin. The men's Sacred Heart Sodality just before my father died when I was twelve and became the "man of the house" God save us from all harm. Catholic Boy Scouts masses, Parades for Blessed Oliver Martyred Bishop of Armagh, processions on Corpus Christi. Ireland was a Catholic country and I loved it. And just to finish off, I would not be alive today were it not for the Great Mother of God, Mary most holy. So yes, do indeed pray for me to Our Blessed Mother but do not expect me to go back to the Protestant mockery of her Holy Mass which I attended for far too long.

  9. I also consider myself a Marian Catholic. I made my First Communion in 1954 and was also raised in a solid Catholic home. Many of the devotions you talk about were common in my home as well. In high school I rose early to attend daily Mass with my mother. I belonged to Our Lady's Sodality. I also believe she saved me by her intercession.

    But if you are correct and the Novus Ordo is not valid, then God has truly abandoned us. In many places the NO is the only Mass available. I love the Tridentine Mass, but I could only hear Mass on Sunday if I refused to attend the NO. Since I truly believe that the Eucharist is our "daily Bread" I will not starve myself by refusing to attend the NO.

    As for the licitness of NFP, one cannot be holier than the Church. Pope Pius XII, in his exhoratation to midwives ( said:

    "Serious motives, such as those which not rarely arise from medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called "indications," may exempt husband and wife from the obligatory, positive debt for a long period or even for the entire period of matrimonial life. From this it follows that the observance of the natural sterile periods may be lawful, from the moral viewpoint: and it is lawful in the conditions mentioned. If, however, according to a reasonable and equitable judgment, there are no such grave reasons either personal or deriving from exterior circumstances, the will to avoid the fecundity of their union, while continuing to satisfy to the full their sensuality, can only be the result of a false appreciation of life and of motives foreign to sound ethical principles."

    Obviously Catholics may not permanently exclude children from marriage, nor may they exclude the fertile periods for trivial reasons. However there are many serious reasons a couple may delay a pregnancy: physical or mental health, the serious illness of a family member that requires their fulltime care, etc. A couple in a financially struggling home, far away from family who have absolutely no support and can't afford to hire any, who already have three or four pre-schoolers certainly have serious reason to delay another pregnancy -- especially if the mother suffers from mental health issues. No one is obliged to have a nervous breakdown.

    When my husband and I taught NFP we stressed that it was about planning to have families. And in almost every class we had a couple struggling with infertility who was trying to get pregnant. I rejoiced with several when they succeeded. After five children a woman I know (who is now deceased) moved into her own bedroom and refused conjugal relations until she passed through menopause. At that point her husband was impotent. Is that what Catholics are called to do. I can testify to the fact it did not help that marriage. Would God be more pleased with that decision than periodic abstinence? Are you saying it is immoral to have marital relations except when a couple can become pregnant?

    God could have made our bodies so that every time a man and wife had relations (except when already pregnant), they would conceive. He didn't. He has gifted us with passions that are accompanied by pleasure: like eating. Pleasure in the proper context is His gift. Dietrich von Hildebrand was one of the early philosopher/theologians writing about the dual purposes of marriage, both unity and procreation.

    Contraception is always evil. Periodic continence for serious reasons is not.

  10. Well, thank you for publishing that. Again, teachings of popes must be backwardly compatible.

    How can we know how many children God might give us?

    No God-fearing Catholic would dare institute seven new sacraments as Paul VI did. Was it the precious blood of Paul VI that saved the world? The New Order mass is a sacrilege invented by enemies of God.

    The Catholic Church does not teach heresy. Ecumenism is a sin.

    There is not one priest remaining on this earth with power and authority from the see of Saint Peter to remit sin including the current occupant of the See of Saint Peter who will incur the wrath of Almighty God and the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul if we are to believe the infallible teachings of his predecessors. I believe the infallible teachings of his predecessors.

    Resort to the Refuge of Sinners is our last means of salvation. Catholic Refugees. We are all refugees. Which seven sacraments do you believe in?

    This vile refugee sinner has no more to say.

  11. We are all "vile refugee sinners" who depend on the mercy of God and must struggle to inform our consciences in accordance with the will of Almighty God. In today's confusion, that is no easy task. In view of so many Judases in the Church, the laity and the faithful clergy and religious must do all we can to promote the authentic faith passed on by the apostles and the Fathers of the Church and the authentic magisterium. Unfortunately today we have a shadow magisterium with Judas bishops and priests who are confusing a large number of people in the pew. And sadly even the pope is a master of confusion, God help us.

    The best thing we can do is pray and fast for the lost. The second best thing we can do is to love them and speak the truth in charity. I don't want anyone to go to hell. If I can, I want to help guide them through the narrow gate onto the road to heaven. May Jesus Christ help us in that holy task.