Tag: Church scandals

“Even If The Pope Were The Devil Incarnate… “

“Even If The Pope Were The Devil Incarnate… “

St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Saint Catherine of Siena: “Even if the Pope were the Devil incarnate….”
Catherine set high standards – for herself, for her friends, for priests and prelates, and especially for the Holy Father. Again and again she urged the popes, first Gregory XI and later Urban VI, to act like Christ: manly, forgiving, honest, loving. Even if a pope did not act like “sweet Christ on earth,” Catherine believed that the faithful should treat him with the respect and obedience they would show to Jesus Himself. “Even if he were an incarnate devil, we ought not to raise up our heads against him – but calmly lie down to rest on his bosom.”
She wrote to the Florentines, who were rebelling against Pope Gregory XI: 

“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 Baldwins Catherine of Siena: A Biography. Huntington, IN: OSV Publishing, 1987, pp. 95-6.
*Saint Catherine of Siena – (Third order of St. Dominic) TOSD (25 March, 1347 in Siena – 29 April 1380 in Rome), was a tertiary of the Dominican Order and a Scholastic philosopher and theologian who had a great influence on the Catholic Church. She is declared a saint and a doctor of the Church.

The Pope And The Scandal – What Can We Do? 

The Pope And The Scandal – What Can We Do? 

Pope Francis in prayer

What can we do about scandal? 

Reflection for Saturday: The Pope and the scandal – What can we do?

* Our Mother by the Cross. 

Saturday September 15, 2018.


1 Corinthians 10:14-22

Psalm 116:12-13, 17-18

John 19:25-27 or Luke 2:33-35.

I do not want you to become participants with demons.

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and also the cup of demons.

You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons.

Or are we provoking the Lord to jealous anger?

Are we stronger than him? 

(From Saturday’s first reading).

Reflection for Saturday:

The Pope and the scandal – What can we do?

I’m sure you’ve been praying about the scandal of sex abuse, coverups, and the pope. And this is exactly the right thing to do.

We simply don’t know enough to make judgments.

Yes, we can judge the sin and we must do whatever we can to stop it from happening again. But let’s also look at the bigger picture. The real enemy is Satan (Ephesians 6), and his strategy is much bigger and wider than the obvious (damaging children through sex abuse and allowing it through Church hierarchy). Our Enemy wants to destroy the Church. Our Enemy wants to render the Church untrustworthy, thereby keeping people away from Christ in the Eucharist. Our Enemy is trying to destroy us from within. He’s gaining ground right now as we vent our righteous anger against each other and against the Pope.

Praise the Lord, God has given us a way to win this battle!

I am not about to say that the Pope is doing a good or bad job of handling this crisis. I am not trusting my own thoughts and feelings about the Pope. How can we trust our limited knowledge? We do not know the mind and the motives of Pope Francis. We do not know what conversations are happening behind closed doors. And we certainly don’t know the mind of God. What is God doing about purging the Church of evil-doers? Does God want the Pope to resign? Is there a bigger plan that God is working? What good is God planning to bring from the evil, as he promised to do in Romans 8:28?

We’ve read the accusations made against the pope by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former nuncio to the United States, claiming that the pope knew of Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual misconduct yet allowed him to continue in active ministry. And we’re naturally very frustrated that he did not defend himself when asked about it. His silence seems to imply that he is guilty of the coverup that Vigano described.

In righteous anger about the evils of abuses and coverups, we seek an outlet for our passionate desire to put a stop to abuses. We know that purging needs to happen within the hierarchy of the Church. Most of us, however, are not in positions where we can affect change. Lacking an outlet for our passion, frustration gets added to anger, and boom! It becomes explosive.

People are finding something — anything — to do in an effort to make a difference. Some are walking out of Mass. Some are deciding to never return to church. Many more are signing “open letters” to the pope.

But let’s be honest, okay? We don’t have enough information on which to base any decisions. We do not know the mind and the motives of Pope Francis. We do not know what conversations are happening behind closed doors. And we certainly don’t know the mind of God and why he bringing to light now — not sooner, not later — the abuses and the coverups.

What really was in the pope’s heart when he spoke to reporters on August 26 after Vigano’s letter was published? What really did he mean when he said, “I will not say a single word on this. I think this statement speaks for itself, and you have the sufficient journalistic capacity to draw conclusions.” Some say it means he’s guilty. But might it mean that he is so innocent that he assumed that anyone who looks closely at Vigano’s statement would vindicate the pope? Christianity has a long history of Saints refusing to defend their own innocence, because self-defense has too much “self” in it.

What is Satan’s role in all of this? The Bible calls him “the Great Accuser”. We need to be on guard against all accusations, because false accusations and exaggerations of true sins are exactly what the devil uses to destroy from within. Last Tuesday, Pope Francis said in his homily, “In these times, it seems like the ‘Great Accuser’ has been unchained and is attacking bishops. True, we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins so they are visible in order to scandalize the people.” I do not believe that he’s saying that we who are demanding repentance and change are Satan. Remember what Ephesians 6 says about that.

Anyone who does the Lord’s work effectively, making a real difference by winning souls away from Satan, wears a bullseye target on their back — especially those in positions of leadership. The enemy of Christ always tries to destroy their credibility. This is something with which I am very familiar. The Great Accuser has tried to destroy my reputation, my family relationships, and Good News Ministries with false and exaggerated claims. The Lord has taught me that the best response is not self-defense but (1) repenting of any actual sins, (2) prayer, (3) trust in God, and (4) refusing to let the devil ruin my joy. Eventually, the Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) wins this battle. Not me. Not the pope.

We truly and simply do not have enough information to draw any conclusions about Pope Francis. And we need to be okay with that. If we want to be holy — instead of drinking from the cup of demons — we need to trust that God cares (far more than we do!), and that God is the only one who understands the situation fully, and that God is not sitting idly by while his Bride suffers; he is working a plan.

In 2006, I wrote: “God is purging his Church. What he started with the child molestation scandal he will continue against all types of abuses. I’m expecting more scandals to hit the news, after God gives his Church (the beloved faithful) time to rest.”

I also said: “I have had the distinct feeling that the scandals of [2001] were only Step One of the purging God desires for his beloved Church. All forms of abuse within the Church — whether by a priest or lay person or religious or deacon — is anti-evangelization, harmful to the mission of the Church, and an abomination which grieves the Lord and our Blessed Mother.”

What can you do with the passionate energy you have from your righteous anger? Pray the Rosary often for all priests, especially those tempted to abuse their vocations, and for the Pope and all decision-makers in the Vatican, and for the victims of abuse, and for the souls of the perpetrators (who are in danger of ending up in hell). That is your weapon, and through it you fight the battle for justice and truth and holiness.

Beyond prayer, there is something else we can do to make a difference. We can — and must — purge sin from our own lives. We, too, are the Church. Every compromise we make with worldly ideas of what’s right and wrong is a contribution to the demons who are working a concerted strategy to destroy the Church from within.

Saturday‘s Gospel reading calls my attention to: ” … next to the cross of Jesus, there was his mother…”. “Next to the cross” says the verse, not “in front of”, not “behind” but “next to“. Mary was right there beside her Son. She was with her Son. We can say that she even felt the pain of her Son.

Today Mary is our mother and she is with us in our daily sufferings. She feels our pain. She understands our feelings, because she knows suffering very closely. 

Mary looks, listens, feels, and knows how we feel.But she is not content with just looking and feeling; she always turns to Jesus, her Son, because she knows that he can help us. And , as in Cana, attentive and hurried, she takes our needs to him and then tells us: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).

An Exorcist Explains How To Recognize Demonic Activities In Recent Church Scandals.

An Exorcist Explains How To Recognize Demonic Activities In Recent Church Scandals.

By sexually abusing children…He (Satan) wants to destroy the most innocent version of humanity, which is the child.”

Father Gary Thomas 

“Who is going to believe you?” It is the devil’s taunt, according to exorcist, Father Gary Thomas. It is a message to silence sexual abuse victims. And we have learned that same message silenced or impeded the truth of the sexual scandal in the Church from getting out for so long.

Fr. Gary Thomas is the exorcist for the Diocese of San Jose, California. His training in Rome was the subject of the 2010 book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio. Hollywood made it into a movie in 2011 starring Anthony Hopkins.

I recently interviewed Father Thomas for an article about horror movies, although he pointed out that The Rite is really about faith. Although there are horrific scenes in it, he explained that spiritual warfare between the devil and God is very real and it can get scary as it plays out through humanity. It seems that all conversations lead to Rome these days, and that is where ours eventually went — to the real-life horror story within the Church.

Catholics know that the devil seeks our destruction and is forever looking for openings to destroy God’s Church and harm souls. The sex abuse scandal reveals that he found hospitality among those who should have turned him out.

Icon of the Kingdom

“It’s only going to get worse,” Father Thomas said, “but as bad as it is, it has to come out. It is unacceptable.” According to him, the devil used his old standby threat to keep people silent: Who’s going to believe you? We know now that among those that spoke out despite that taunt, the devil’s agents did indeed show disbelief or apathy.

“Convincing people that no one will believe them is what Satan says when something is so outside the bounds of what is reasonable as to be unbelievable,” Father Thomas said. “Reading the accounts of what those children in Pennsylvania went through [as detailed in the Grand Jury Report] we wonder, how could this happen?” he asked. “It’s other-worldly—outside what people thought was possible — that’s what makes it demonic.”

In an article about becoming the solution, Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., founder and president of the Ruth Institute, pointed out that if abusers thought people would speak up and be listened to, they would not have gotten away with so much for so long. If people had listened to poor “James,” when he was abused at 11-years-old, the now 60-year-old man abused by Father Theodore McCarrick, would not have had to suffer in silence for decades. “James tried to tell his parents,” Morse wrote. “They did not believe him, against the word of a respected priest. James began getting into trouble, doing alcohol and drugs. The family thought Father McCarrick could straighten him out. They encouraged him to spend more time with their son.”

Father Thomas noted that sexual abuse involving children, both inside and outside of the Church, is especially heinous. “By sexually abusing children, Satan desires to destroy the icon of the kingdom of God. He wants to destroy the most innocent version of humanity, which is the child.”

The scandalous behavior, in his opinion, was clearly demonic. “With natural disasters, people die sometimes,” he said. “Even if there’s great destruction, we don’t consider that evil because it’s in the realm of the natural. When there’s a car accident, we don’t call it an act of evil. But when it’s outside the bounds of what is conceivable—like murder—we call it evil. ISIS is a satanically driven organization because they have a premediated will to kill as many as possible who don’t believe their way of life. Even drug cartels are demonic and often pray to Satan to curse their drugs and they refer to Satan as their father and pray to him. I’ve seen documentaries on this and attended workshops with government task forces and prayed over some of the cops because of what they are dealing with.”

Pray and Fast

For the sake of the Church, Father Thomas calls on all Catholics to pray and fast and to act wherever possible to root out evil. “It can’t just be the removal of a few,” Father Thomas said. “It has to be a complete reshaping of the paradigm of the way our Church governs; we need a complete cleaning up. We need a lay commission to set up an independent study. The bishops can’t do it; they don’t know how to do it.”

In his work as an exorcist, Father Thomas fasts and prays before confronting the devil. He pointed out that he does so in a reasonable way — not starving himself to the point of weakness — but makes it sacrificial to strengthen him to fight evil. “Prayer, fasting and the sacraments are efficacious,” Father Thomas said, “but it cannot be without the intentionality of action that comes out of prayer. We want prayer to change us and we are praying for a change in the whole Church, all the way up. And we are also praying for the victims who have gone through decades of terrible trauma.”

Father Thomas encouraged Catholics to be strong and be prepared to persevere. “We are in for a long storm,” he said. “The clouds are just starting. However, our primary concern must be the victims who have been violated and firmly and without doubt prevent new victimizations from taking place in the future. There can be no tolerance for sexual misconduct perpetrated by clergy or lay people within the Church now or ever again.”


National Catholic Register

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