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Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Is Francis a Valid Pope? Bishop Schneider Believes So.

See Bishop Schneider's website 

One of the voices in the Church that I trust the most is Bishop Athanasius Schneider. Below, I reprint his statement on the validity of a pope, not simply Francis, but any pope. Is Francis a valid pope? He has certainly been accepted as one by most of the cardinals and bishops of the world. Is he a good and holy pope? Stop laughing. 

Things are certainly a mess and, in view of Francis naming most of the electors to the next conclave, it is likely to remain a mess for some time. Read what Bishop Schneider writes. I may post an alternate view if I can find one from a source I can read without nausea.. Unfortunately, many who say Francis is not a valid pope are emotional flame throwers who seem to have the same machines on their backs as the ghostbusters. I listen to them, but have a hard time taking the popebusters seriously.


See what you think. Does Bishop Schneider's document make sense to you?

Bishop Schneider: On the Power to Judge the Validity of a Pontificate

No one in the Church has the authority to consider or declare an elected and generally accepted pope an invalid pope. It is clear from the constant practice of the Church that even were a papal election invalid, it would de facto be healed through the general acceptance of the newly elected by the overwhelming majority of cardinals and bishops.

Even were a pope heretical, he would not automatically lose his office, and there is no one within the Church to declare him deposed on account of heresy. Such actions would approach a kind of a heresy of conciliarism or episcopalism. According to these heresies, there is a body within the Church (ecumenical council, synod, college of cardinals, college of bishops), which can issue a legally binding judgment on the Roman Pontiff.

The theory of the automatic loss of the papacy due to heresy is only an opinion; even St. Robert Bellarmine noted this and did not present it as a teaching of the Magisterium. The perennial papal Magisterium has never taught this as a doctrine. [Bellarmine is often used by those who believe Francis is not pope as a primary authority.]  In 1917, when the Code of Canon Law (Codex Iuris Canonici) came into force, the Church’s Magisterium eliminated from the new legislation a remark of the Decretum Gratiani contained in the old Corpus Iuris Canonici, which stated that a pope who deviates from right doctrine can be deposed. Never in the history of the Church has the Magisterium provided canonical procedures for the deposition of a heretical pope. The Church has no power over the pope formally or juridically. According to surer Catholic tradition, in the case of a heretical pope the members of the Church can avoid him, resist him, and refuse to obey him. All of this can be done without any need for a theory or opinion that a heretical pope automatically loses his office or can be deposed.

Therefore, we must follow the surer way (via tutior) and abstain from defending the mere opinion of theologians, even those of saints like Robert Bellarmine.

The pope cannot commit heresy when he speaks ex cathedra; this is a dogma of faith. In his teaching outside of ex cathedra statements, however, he can make erroneous, ambiguous, or even heretical doctrinal statements. And since the pope is not identical with the entire Church, the Church is stronger than a singular erring or heretical pope. In such a case one should respectfully correct him (avoiding purely human anger and disrespectful language) and resist him as one would resist a bad father of a family. Yet the members of the family could never declare that he has automatically forfeited his fatherhood or been deposed as father. They can correct him, refuse to obey him, separate themselves from him, but they cannot declare him deposed.

Good Catholics know the truth and must proclaim it and offer reparation for the errors of an erring pope. Since the case of a heretical pope is humanly irresolvable, we must, with supernatural faith, implore God’s intervention. For an individual erring pope is not eternal, and the Church is not in our hands but in the hands of Almighty God.

We must hold on to supernatural faith, trust, humility, and a love of the Cross in order to endure such a tremendous and extraordinary trial. These situations are relatively brief in comparison to the Church’s 2000-year history. Therefore, we must not yield to overly human reactions and seemingly easy solutions by declaring the invalidity of a pontificate, but instead be sober and alert, keep a truly supernatural outlook, and trust in divine intervention and the indestructibility of the Catholic Church.

+ Athanasius Schneider

I have to say that this makes sense to me which is why I do not argue the case with sedevacantists whether they reject all popes since Pius XII or only the pontificate of Francis. I've listened to Fr. Altman and read a number of the sede arguments which I find unconvincing. None of those making these statements have any authority to depose a pope. 

The Lord will depose Francis in His time and then we will see what He allows next. Will it be another pope even worse than Francis? That's likely. Do we deserve any other?

Perhaps this is our "desert time." Like the Israelites on their way to the promised land, we have been unfaithful, rebellious servants of the Lord. This painful time is well deserved and may be the winnowing that separates the wheat from the chaff. May God give us all wisdom and grace to pursue the truth in love and faithfulness. And may we not kill one another with the internecine warfare.

17 comments:

  1. I'm with you, Mary Ann. And I seem to always look to Bishop Schneider for the truth, this issue too. I simply don't waste my time wondering and/or arguing on whether Frankie is Pope or not.

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    1. I like the part where he calls for respect and avoiding "purely human anger and disrespectful language,"

      "And since the pope is not identical with the entire Church, the Church is stronger than a singular erring or heretical pope. In such a case one should respectfully correct him (avoiding purely human anger and disrespectful language) and resist him as one would resist a bad father of a family. Yet the members of the family could never declare that he has automatically forfeited his fatherhood or been deposed as father."
      Best wishes for success in this to us all!

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  2. Out of the 30-40 antipopes throughout Church history, most were declared antipopes during their reigns and deposed.

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  3. Bishop Schneider makes a strong case about a Pope's conduct while in office. But what about the primary question? He doesn't address the election, he states in his first sentence a prmise that Francis was elected.

    I ask that Bishop Schneider address these two issues:

    1) Did Pope Benedict XIV truly resign?
    Code of Canon Law (1983): Canon 188: "A resignation made out of grave fear that is inflicted unjustly or out of malice, substantial error, or simony is invalid by the law itself."

    "Substantial error" might well describe Pope Benedict's partial resignation, a resignation of papal office that reserved for himself a separate and continuing papal ministry. Pope Benedict's statement in public audience on February 27, 2013, explicitly confirmed by his secretary Bishop Ganswein on May 20, 2016, evinces Pope Benedict's intention to resign only in part.

    Is this not substantial error? Was the Pope Benedict's resignation not therefore invalid by operation of Canon Law?

    2): Does the college of Cardinals have the power to meet in conclave and elect a Pope when the Holy See is not vacant?

    See specifically the clause in Universi Dominici Gregis (below): "...the College of Cardinals has no power or jurisdiction in matters which pertain to the Supreme Pontiff during his lifetime or in the exercise of his office...".

    Code of Canon Law (1983): Canon 359: "When the Apostolic See is vacant, the college of cardinals possesses only that power in the Church which is attributed to it in special law." [i.e. the election of a pope]

    Apostolic Constitution
UNIVERSI DOMINICI GREGIS
On The Vacancy
Of The Apostolic See
And The Election
Of The Roman Pontiff (1996):
    1. "During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the College of Cardinals has no power or jurisdiction in matters which pertain to the Supreme Pontiff during his lifetime or in the exercise of his office; such matters are to be reserved completely and exclusively to the future Pope. I therefore declare null and void any act of power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff during his lifetime or in the exercise of his office which the College of Cardinals might see fit to exercise, beyond the limits expressly permitted in this Constitution."

    Even if Pope Benedict's resignation is deemed valid, Pope Benedict did not completely vacate the papacy, under the terms of his resignation letter, confirmed by his express intention stated by him on 2/27/13 and re-confirmed by Bishop Ganswein on 5/20/16.

    Whether or not Pope Benedict's resignation is deemed valid, was the Conclave convened on March 12, 2013 not null and void by operation of law, because the Holy See was not vacant at that time?

    These are the only material issues regarding the current purported papacy, both to be judged objectively by Canon Law and Apostolic Constitution: 1) Was Benedict's resignation valid or invalid? 2) Did the Conclave of 2013 have the legal authority, under special law, to elect a pope?

    Issue (2) necessarily requires the determintation that the Holy See was vacated by Pope Benedict. Conundrum: Pope Benedict expressly did not completely vacate the Holy See

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  4. I am NOT a 1958 sedevacanist, but I acknowledge that they do their homework. Bishop Schneider's explanation doesn't make sense to me, see several counter arguments below:

    https://youtu.be/Ijs0IHubtLs?si=AvhSAC8rOZTsNt91

    https://akacatholic.com/non-infallible-doctrines-trustworthy/

    Here's the bottom-line issue: can a valid pope teach poisonous doctrine as part of the Church's ordinary magisterium? Per Vatican 1 and at least up until Pius XII, the answer was "no" - and this protection was not limited to ex cathedra teachings. Bishop Schneider's R&R position ultimately undermines the papacy as it renders it untrustworthy.

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  5. Bishop Schneider wrote that "even were a papal election invalid, it would de facto be healed through the general acceptance of the newly elected by the overwhelming majority of cardinals and bishops."

    "De facto" means existing in fact, even if contrary to law, or not under legal authority, or not by operation of law. Is this a standard to apply to the office of the Vicar of Christ?

    Also, general acceptance of an overwhelming majority of cardinals and bishops- do these conditions currently exist? And what if the general acceptance erodes and the overwhelming majority dissipates ? Does the invalid election remain healed?

    With respect to those of us that prefer not to wrestle with these questions, John 10:1-18, and specifically verse 5 implies that we sheep have a duty to discern between false and true shepherds.

    Shouldn't we all be as well prepared as we can to encourage, teach, and counsel our brothers and sisters who might, say, rely on Amoris Laetitia to persist in mortal sin, on a mistaken belief that it is a true apostolic exhortation?

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  6. Regarding Bishop Schneider and “universal acceptance” being the lynchpin regarding the validity of the papacy, he quotes an interpretation by a theologian, dating back centuries ago regarding universal acceptance.

    However, the interpretation quoted by Bishop Schneider was overridden by the more recent constitution governing conclaves written by PJPII and carrying the full weight of Church law. It’s not just an interpretation.

    The constitution clearly says that an election of a Pope can indeed be invalid under certain circumstances - and this makes it questionable whether an invalid election can be healed via universal acceptance.

    This is the heart of the matter, and has not yet been addressed by the Church, let alone decided.

    I wholly expect, when the histories are written, the Church will properly interpret and abide by the law laid down by PJPII regarding conclaves and declare the conclave to have been invalid.

    This is obvious, either due to 1) a coerced or erroneous and therefore invalid resignation on PXVI’s part and/ or more likely 2) the well documented violations of the new conclave constitutions, by the St. Gallen Mafia, working with the documented express consent of Bergoglio prior to the conclave. (It will be easier to document and therefore prove the latter IMO also.)

    By nature of these violations he would have been automatically excommunicated and therefore not eligible to become pope in the first place.

    “Universal acclimation” is a moot point in that case.

    Eventually “the good guys” like Schneider, Burke et al will have to look at and digest these points. Until they do, unfortunately, their arguments are not sound because they are incomplete.

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  7. Bishop Schneider’s remarks are against Canon law and therefore illegitimate.
    Canon 332. §2. If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.

    Do you see that? “ but not that it is accepted by anyone.”. Any and all Bishop acceptance of a resignation made in substantial error (Canon 188) has no relevance.

    Canon law renders any conclave that convenes from an invalid resignation and illegitimate conclave,
    https://www.barnhardt.biz/2019/02/08/canon-188-which-protects-the-papacy-has-a-canonical-bodyguard-canon-332-2/

    Do laws matter? If not why are they there?


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  8. I've heard that argument and you have the burden of proof that Benedict did not freely resign. This comes from From Martinez at the Catholic Monitor and I agree with him. If you have proof that Benedict did not "freely resign" please present it. Just stating the canon law is not proof:

    "It is also a non-starter even apart from all that, because there can be no reasonable doubt that Benedict validly resigned. Canon 332 §2 of the Code of Canon Law tells us:

    "If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.

    "Now, Benedict publicly and freely resigned his office, and has publicly reaffirmed that his decision was taken freely, in answer to those who have speculated otherwise. He has also explicitly acknowledged that there is only one pope and that it is Francis. His resignation thus clearly meets the criteria for validity set out by canon law. End of story.

    "Some have suggested that the resignation cannot have been made freely because, they say, it was done under the influence of an erroneous theory of the papacy, namely the one described by G√§nswein. But this is a non sequitur, as any Catholic should know who is familiar with the conditions for a sin to be mortal – grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent. My point isn’t that Benedict’s resignation was sinful, but rather that these conditions illustrate the general point that the Church distinguishes acting with full knowledge and acting with deliberate consent or freely."

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    1. The four clauses of Canon 188 (1. grave fear that is inflicted unjustly, 2. malice, 3. substantial error, 4. simony) are independent, because they are conjoined by the word "or". Not "and".

      Pope Benedict's resignation letter, his statement on February 27, 2013, Bishop Ganswein's statement on May 20, 2016, Pope Benedict's continued residency in the Vatican, his continued papal white habit, and his continued bestowal of apostolic blessings in his letters indicate that Pope Benedict intended, and believed that he retained one part of the papal office, and only resigned from another part.

      The issue is whether a resignation dividing the Holy See in this way comprises substantial error under Canon 188.

      A statement by Pope Benedict that Francis is the only Pope, made after the resignation letter was published, only introduces ambiguity, insufficient resolve a substantial error in the resignation.

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  9. Francis isn't the Pope. To be a Pope, you have to be a Catholic - instead, he's just another Leftist eco-nut pagan/atheist. Bringing idols onto the holy grounds automatically disqualified that imposter. Of all the usurpers the Church had, not a single one committed such a grave sin! In prior centuries, this would've resulted in the usurper being instantly put to death. This is the same as the Annas/Caiaphas situation during the time of Our Lord's life on Earth, with Annas/Benedict being the legitimate high priest/Pope and Caiaphas/Bergoglio being an imposter, who was catapulted into this position by various political forces, not the Church.

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  10. Mary Ann,

    My reference to Canon 332 §2 is not the burden of proof portion but instead the "and properly manifested" as well as the "but not that it is accepted by anyone"
    - Was the resignation properly manifested (NO it was in substantial error - see below)?
    - Does Cardinal acceptance Overide the invalidity of a coerced or non-properly manifested resignation? No, this says "but not that is is accepted by anyone". This means that acceptance is NOT a criteria that overides validity.
     
    My argument does not hinge on "burden of proof" or coercion at all. It hinges simply on the document it self (the resignation) at legal document value. In there you can see clearly that Benedict did not resign the office, but the ministry (words matter in a legal document). This means he did not fully resign the office, and thus in "substantial error".
    - Yes I suspect he was pressured, and there was a plot, but that is secondary and not at all needed for the review of the actual resignation document itself.

    Is Benedicts resignation a full resignation of the office? NO IT IS NOT. Read the words.
    Information that helps with the motive (not that the motive is needed, but it adds to the recognition of error).
    1) A younger Cardinal Ratzinger wrote on splitting the papal office into 3 parts (1979 paper I believe). So this idea is in his head, explored territory.
    2) Ratzinger did not do what EVERY SINGLE RESIGNED POPE IN THE HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DID - that is leave the Vatican (or become a prisoner to the new Pope).
    3) Ratzinger kept blessing people with a Papal blessing.
    4) Ratzinger kept dressing as a Pope and held audiences as a "Pope Emeritus).
    All this information is not needed to prove the resignation is in error, but it is useful in establishing motive of the action of the resignation and thereby recognizing this should be investigated (an official inquiry needs to be launched).

    Can. 188 A resignation made out of grave fear that is inflicted unjustly or out of malice, substantial error, or simony is invalid by the law itself.

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  11. “It is clear from the constant practice of the Church that even were a papal election invalid, it would de facto be healed through the general acceptance of the newly elected by the overwhelming majority of cardinals and bishops”

    So a lie becomes the truth if the majority of cardinals and bishops accept it?

    “Even were a pope heretical, he would not automatically lose his office, and there is no one within the Church to declare him deposed on account of heresy”

    Heresy is a rejection of the Catholic Faith. The pope has to be Catholic or else the Apostolic Succession is a lie and Our Lord is not a liar. How about an Amazon witch doctor on the Throne of St. Peter?

    “We must not declare the invalidity of a pontificate.”

    Yeah, well St. Katherine of Sienna did and she was right.

    I wrote Bishop Schneider off a long time ago. He’s got some good qualities and I’ll pray for him but his arguments that Bergoglio is the pope are embarrassing. It reeks of controlled opposition ala your typical country club Republican politician.

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  12. Thank you for allowing this conversation. I will try to be succinct in my points.

    I am unconvinced by Bp. Schneider because he doesnt address the fundamental problem. Validity. He instead is dealing with the after effects, Heresy. To the Fr. Altman position, he may have a point. But on the point of validity, he is absent in dealing with the issue head on, in my opinion. This is like arguing a ticket while presuming the writer was a policeman. If he was not, everything after is moot.

    I am not convinced by the "substantial error" argument. It follows the "IF"... In order for one to argue that the office was resigned under duress etc, one must first prove the OFFICE was resigned!

    The Catholic Monitor quote is unconvincing because it similarly presumes the first part of the Canon it tries to address. It presumes the IF. "IF it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office..." What must be resigned? The office. Did he resign the office? "I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome." Answer: No. He resigned the "ministry." Did he resign the papacy? No, he said "Bishop of Rome." So on 2 counts we are lacking clarity!

    Is there a specific language required in Canon Law? No.

    So can we claim Benedict was ignorant of certain words or language? No. As Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger helped write the 1983 language!

    Can we claim Benedict was ignorant of precedent and the importance of resigning "the papacy"? No. We know that Benedict as a student of history was well aware of Celestine's abdication. "I freely and spontaneously abandon the Pontificate." So Benedict not only was aware of the man, but had available language (reasonable precedence) for proper and clear language.

    - - - - -
    Are there external factors? Yes.

    Benedict's dress and actions. Benedict could have removed doubt by dressing in the black cassock. He could have returned to an honorific that included Ratzinger instead of Benedict. He could have stopped signing documents with apostolic authority. But he didnt...

    Our Lady of Fatima in the Third Secret warned of a simultaneous true pope and a false pope. The Irish prophet St Malachy (if we follow his numbering) had Benedict as the last true pope. St Francis of Assisi prophesied that one of his own would be the false pope (presuming he thought 'Francis' meant one from his order and not literally as seems to have happened). Bl Anne Emerich saw visions of a future pope a prisoner in his own palace (which seems to match Benedict's forced return after leaving and his complete absence thereafter).

    Another strange factor for me is "Windswept House." Fr. Malachi Martin had claimed personal acquaintances with several popes. Whether one believes him or not I leave to others. However, Martin in several interviews and in the book around p.446 that the main issue he saw on the horizon was a Forced Abdication as a real possibility! Heck, the third section of the book is even called "The Resignation Protocol!" (see also p.527 and p.534) And in the book, Martin proposes a 'trick' or a 'way out' so that JPII can placate the evil forces without actually resigning. HOW?? Resign as BISHOP OF ROME! (p.553).

    There was a joke when I was growing up about a man whose neighborhood floods yet he refuses the police, the firefighters, helicopters, etc as he obstinately waits for help from God. Then after dying is confronted by God saying "dude, I sent police, firefighters, helicopters, etc"

    One thing probably means nothing. But a glut of mistakes from a supposed Latin expert? mistakes from the guy who helped create the wording for revised Canon Law?? continued visual cues from his own person? prophesies and one close to the pontificate shouting warnings? and then the same solution proposed being used??..... I dont know, but sure feels like God saying "dude, I sent police, firefighters, helicopters, etc"




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  13. Mark V,

    And then what?

    Andrew,

    Catherine also said this:


    "Even if the Pope were Satan incarnate, we ought not to raise up our heads against him, but calmly lie down to rest on his bosom. He who rebels against our Father is condemned to death, for that which we do to him we do to Christ: we honor Christ if we honor the Pope; we dishonor Christ if we dishonor the Pope. I know very well that many defend themselves by boasting: “They are so corrupt, and work all manner of evil!” But God has commanded that, even if the priests, the pastors, and Christ-on-earth were incarnate devils, we be obedient and subject to them, not for their sakes, but for the sake of God, and out of obedience to Him."
    — Saint Catherine of Siena in St. Catherine of Siena, SCS, p. 201-202, p. 222.

    Amd also said this:

    “He who rebels against our Father, Christ on earth, is condemned to death, for that which we do to him, we do to Christ in heaven – we honor Christ if we honor the pope, we dishonor Christ if we dishonor the pope… I tell you that God will and has so commanded that even if the priests and the pastors of the Church and Christ on earth were incarnate devils, it is seemly that we are obedient and subject to them, not for their sake, but for the sake of God, out of obedience to Him, for He wills that we should act thus.

    “Know that the son is never in the right against the father, even if the father is ever so evil and unjust, for so great is the good which he has received from the father, that is, life itself, that he can never repay him for it. And we have received the life of grace from the Church, which is so great a benefit, that we can never, by any kind of homage or gratitude, pay the debt we owe.”

    From Anne Baldwin’s Catherine of Siena: A Biography. Huntington, IN: OSV Publishing, 1987, pp.95-6

    My point is that it is all very confusing. I choose to follow the faith as taught by the apostles, fathers of the Church, and all the saints previous to the change in the canonization process and those who clearly taught and defended Catholic faith and tradition. I can do that without arguing about the validity of the pope.

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  14. Mary Ann Kreitzer,

    Your response to Andrew presumes the big IF.... "IF the Pope...." None of those quotes apply if the answer is NOT the Pope.


    Your response to me: "And then what?"

    Presuming this is asked charitably, the answer is obvious! This is a return to honesty and rationality of our Faith!

    First we no longer slander the Holy Ghost for having presumed He selected, guided, and has been protecting this error! Next, you would notice that none of my reasons were based on heresy -- that presumed at one point he was pope! Thus secondly all of the documents he produced are invalid and never carried any weight. Evil appointments are also undone. If your goal is "to follow the faith as taught by the apostles, fathers of the Church, and all the saints previous," this does that! And lastly it is a return to Catholicism which is grounded in faith and reason, thus relieving all those who have tied themselves into mental and verbal pretzels desperately trying to wrap their head around obvious contradictions and inconsistencies.

    It is important to note, such an admission is no great "victory." I would not be 'elated' if this were to occur. Like a general who has to admit he is losing and must now retreat to save his troop, I think I would feel far worse. Such an admission would be an enormous world-wide embarrassment to this great Faith that I love! The level of humility this would take would be monumental, to say the least.

    But this would be the beginning of a restoration, a world-wide call to Catholics everywhere to take a more active part in the preservation of their faith. It would be very hard, very hard! We have developed quite a degree of effeminacy in Catholicism. But it would need to be done..... with massive humiliation as our penance...

    just my opinion, since you asked....



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  15. I was perfectly sincere. Once you or I (who have no authority whatsoever) declare that Francis is not a valid pope....then what?

    The Holy Spirit does not choose the pope. He offers inspiration to the college of cardinals. Obviously some of the them aren't listening. Some of them are downright evil in fact.

    But I'm not arguing about this any more. I have no idea at this point who is right. But I have absolutely no authority in the matter and so I simply follow Padre Pio's advice to "pray, hope, and don't worry."

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