Conservative Catholics none too pleased with Pope Francis


The Associated Press has the story HERE:

The Francis Revolution is underway. Not everyone is pleased.

Four months into his papacy, Francis has called on young Catholics in the trenches to take up spiritual arms to shake up a dusty, doctrinaire church that is losing faithful and relevance. He has said women must have a greater role — not as priests, but a place in the church that recognizes that Mary is more important than any of the apostles. And he has turned the Vatican upside down, quite possibly knocking the wind out of a poisonously homophobic culture by merely uttering the word “gay” and saying: so what?

In between, he has charmed millions of faithful and the mainstream news media, drawing the second-largest crowd ever to a papal Mass. That should provide some insurance as he goes about doing what he was elected to do: reform not just the dysfunctional Vatican bureaucracy but the church itself, using his own persona and personal history as a model.

“He is restoring credibility to Catholicism,” said church historian Alberto Melloni.

Such enthusiasm isn’t shared across the board.

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, had coddled traditionalist Catholics attached to the old Latin Mass and opposed to the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council. That group greeted Francis’ election with concern — and now is watching its worst fears come true. Francis has spoken out both publicly and privately against such “restoratist groups,” which he accuses of being navel-gazing retrogrades out of touch with the evangelizing mission of the church in the 21st century.

His recent decision to forbid priests of a religious order from celebrating the old Latin Mass without explicit authorization seemed to be abrogating one of the big initiatives of Benedict’s papacy, a 2007 decree allowing broader use of the pre-Vatican II Latin liturgy for all who want it. The Vatican denied he was contradicting Benedict, but these traditional Catholics see in Francis’ words and deeds a threat. They are in something of a retreat.


In a recent interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said right-wing Catholics “generally have not been really happy” with Francis.

To be sure, Francis has not changed anything about church teaching. Nothing he has said or done is contrary to doctrine; everything he has said and done champions the Christian concepts of loving the sinner but not the sin and having a church that is compassionate, welcoming and merciful.

But tone and priorities can themselves constitute change, especially when considering issues that aren’t being emphasized, such as church doctrine on abortion, gay marriage and other issues frequently referenced by Benedict and Pope John Paul II.

The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, used the word “gay” for perhaps the first time in its 150-year history on Wednesday, in an article marveling at the change Francis has brought.

“In just a few words, the novelty has been expressed clearly and without threatening the church’s tradition,” the newspaper said about Francis’ comments on gays and women. “You can change everything without changing the basic rules, those on which Catholic tradition are based.”

The biggest headline came in Francis’ inflight news conference on the way home from Brazil this week, when he was asked about a trusted monsignor who reportedly once had a gay lover.

“Who am I to judge?” he asked, when it comes to the sexual orientation of priests, as long as they are searching for God and have good will.

UPDATE: This silent video argues that Francis is an “anti-pope” with ties to Islam.





  1. Pat has dubbed me a wingnut (badge of honor?).

    But count me as a conservative Catholic who thinks Pope Francis is just what the Catholic Church needs.

  2. doc: I think your attitude toward the pontiff earns you a plenary indulgence.


  3. Good one:)

  4. By the way, the video doesn’t make any sense at all.

    How did Pope Frances elect himself?

    When has he called himself the anti-Pope?

    What is his association with Islam?

  5. doc: I can’t answer your questions about that nutty video.

    Ask some far-right Catholic extremist.

    I’m sure you’ll find that these people also believe that Obama is a Muslim.

  6. Those are some of the kindest eyes I’ve ever seen in a human being, let alone a Pope. I like him.

  7. Love the quote: “He is restoring credibility to Catholicism.” Laughable if it wasn’t so sad. Tell that to the thousands of children systematically raped and abused by priests and covered up by the hierarchy of the church. No pope will ever attone for that evil.

  8. Ever?

    The untold millions who have had their lives changed for the better from Catholic education, Catholic charities and Catholic health care might beg to differ.

  9. Doc, if you really are a physician as you claim, you are blind.

    There are more than twenty million plus people in Africa alone right now with HIV/AIDS, in no small part do to the church refusing to allow condom use.

    Lets say 10% of those cases could have been prevented through the church approving of condom use…..do you hold the church responsible for those TWO MILLION deaths over the next decade?

    I dunno about your supposed “untold millions”, but personally i would rather be poor and dumb with a condom on than educated enough to know my prognosis with HIV and no available HAART therapy.

    Also, in America, conservative Christian groups speaking out against Gardasil because they think in encourages premarital sex (oooooohhh no, anything but that!). They are causing women to die of cancer because of an invisible man in the sky.

    If you can speak to all of the people “saved” from catholic policies, dont forget all those that die from them too. This pope is a hugely welcomed change, but until condoms are supported, the Catholic Church is a joke.

  10. I’m not a Catholic (that’s how I was raised as a child) any longer but am a devoted follower of Jesus. I have to say that I’m not happy with the Pope’s positions lately. I think he is trying to paint a picture of a tolerant Christianity that cannot judge behaviors (We are not to judge motivations or the heart), but that is a ridiculous notion. If you paint Jesus to be so wishy washy and a people pleaser to all, you dilute him into something he is not. He is completely Holy and righteous and called out his best friends and loved ones when they behaved stupidly. I don’t believe the Pope is being a clear ambassador of Christ right now.

  11. Blind?

    No. Apparently just more aware of how HIV is transmitted and treated. Sure, advocating for other means of prevention is controversial, but it is hardly a death sentence. And condoms are hardly 100% effective.

    The Catholic Church also happens to be one of the largest providers of HIV treatment in the world and it is far from a lethal disease in 2013.


  12. What’s most annoying and disturbing about the Catholic’s church’s position on condoms and birth control is, its all based on the premise that more children born to Catholics means more potential congregants to tithe. It’s all about future revenue projections.

  13. Yup, expdoc, EVER. No pope will EVER attone for the evil that the church propagated by allowing and practically encouraging its priests to destroy lives. I’m fairly certain if that was one of your children who’d been sodomized by a priest and had their life destroyed, you’d think differently. But, hey, keep on throwing out the “yeah, but they’ve done other good things” statistics. If it makes you feel better and justifies your blind faith in a corrupt institution, keep on keeping on. That’s the beauty of the church’s brainwashing. You’re exhibit A on that one.

  14. monkey, had the church looked the other way on adult females doing the same thing that adult males in the church did, would you still say that the children would have had their lives destroyed because of it?

  15. Monkey,

    You may have forgotten that I DO have a son that was sexually molested. Not by a Catholic priest, but of course you realize that Catholic priests account for a miniscule portion of the molestation that has occurred over the last 50 years.

    I also assume you realize that even if the Catholic Church disappeared completely the rate of molestation of children would hardly change.

    Can I assume you are in favor of closing Penn State too?

    There is no brainwashing here. I am a converted Catholic, not a cradle Catholic. What happened in the Church is wrong. The Church has taken many important steps to prevent future incidents (far greater than the rest of our institutions who work with children)and to deal with them in the appropriate manner when they occur.

  16. Your post really helped me to understand about this. It has great details and yet it is easy to understand.That’s what i was looking for. I will definitely share it with others.Thanks for sharing.

  17. Robert: if I’m understanding your question, you’re attempting to say that a female molesting a male is somehow not as bad? Am I getting that right? It’s just as horrible. You need to do a little digging on the effects of molestation on the developing mind of a child. Its impact on the ability to form relationships, to form trust, etc. Children who are molested do not simply grow out of it. They are psychologically damaged in ways that often cannot be overcome with the passage of time and even with therapy. So, the phrase “had their lives destroyed” is accurate.

    No, doc, I remembered. That’s just as horrible, obviously. But, it’s off topic, as is your comparison to Penn State, which holds not even a minuscule fraction of the power and influence of the Catholic Church. Further, there weren’t hundreds and hundreds of PSU staffers involved in the systematic abuse of kids as was the case with the CC.

    We can continue to disagree on this. The molestation scandal in the CC is just a symptom of an institution that is corrupt in many ways and none of their “good deeds” can change that. If anything, those “good deeds” have allowed the CC to get away with much of their evil over the centuries. But, hey, keep writing those checks!

  18. It’s actually not off topic.

    The topic is molestation of children.

    The Catholic Church has no higher number of molestations than any other group or any other group of men.

    The hierarchy of the institution handled past cases horribly but have changed significantly. The great good of the organization is performed by the boots on the ground, not the hierarchy of the Vatican. But you say you will never believe the Church can do anything good. I presume you would be happy to see it go away. Then you should feel exactly the same about Penn State.

    One of the reasons I have so far enjoyed Pope Francis is that he is eschewing the normal hierarchical behavior expected of a Pope and seems to be bringing back more of that boots on the ground mentality.

    You can certainly discount that, but if the Church went away in the next heartbeatm tens of millions of people would have their lives changed for the worse in an instant.


    Experts disagree on the rate of sexual abuse among the general American male population, but Allen says a conservative estimate is one in 10. Margaret Leland Smith, a researcher at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says her review of the numbers indicates it’s closer to one in 5. But in either case, the rate of abuse by Catholic priests is not higher than these national estimates. The public also doesn’t realize how “profoundly prevalent” child sexual abuse is, adds Smith. Even those numbers may be low; research suggests that only a third of abuse cases are ever reported (making it the most underreported crime). “However you slice it, it’s a very common experience,” Smith says.

  19. monkey, never said anything like that. Just wanted to know if you treated both types of molestation the same way. I used to work in a Dom / Rel law office, so Im very familiar with the effects of such acts.

  20. Doc,

    Spending a lot of money on something you are a primary cause of is not really something most people applaud. The Catholic Church treating AIDS is like BP cleaning up their oil spill. Also, condoms are THE BEST method of HIV prevention, this is essentially universally accepted in the medical community. It is a required counseling point to any HIV/AIDS patient for a reason. ABCs, A being abstinent, B for Be faithful, and C for condoms. Arguing against condoms from any kind of medical standpoint makes you look foolish. But I guess you just know so much more about how HIV is spread and transmitted than all of us. I guess the Rockford ID docs just talk about condoms all the time with HIV patients cause they dnt know anything.

    Also, yes if you have HIV in America or Europe I agree your prognosis with HIV is good. But, 70% of the people with HiV/AIDS in the world live in Africa. Doubt they all have access to the thousands of dollars per month HAART regimens. 1.2 million die annually. The Catholic Church has a hand in that due to their idiotic policies. Period.

  21. The Catholic Church is the “primary cause” of AIDS?


    The primary cause of AIDS is a HIV, a retrovirus that is spread by sexual contact or other “swapping” of body fluids. Particular prevalent in IV drug abusers and those who engage in unprotected sexual contact with those who have had multiple partners.

    Does using a condom decrease the risk? Absolutely.

    Is HIV the only risk of unprotected/protected sex with multiple partners? Absolutely not.

    Here is the headline paragraph from the CDC link on condom effectiveness:


    Consistent and correct use of male latex condoms can reduce (though not eliminate) the risk of STD transmission. To achieve the maximum protective effect, condoms must be used both consistently and correctly. Inconsistent use can lead to STD acquisition because transmission can occur with a single act of intercourse with an infected partner. Similarly, if condoms are not used correctly, the protective effect may be diminished even when they are used consistently. The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner. However, many infected persons may be unaware of their infections because STDs are often asymptomatic or unrecognized.

  22. Wow, the primary cause of AIDs is HIV. Thank you so much for that amazing point doc.

    The FACT is, condom use is the #1 way to prevent HIV transmission in sexually active people who are not in a life-long monogamous relationship. The very fact that you are arguing this with me is a great sign as to how your professionalism is conflicted by your religious beliefs.

    No one is denying abstinence and being faithful to one partner are also key strategies, but the FACT is widespread condom use in Africa would lower HIV transmission markedly.

    The CC, in speaking out against the use of condoms, is increasing HIV transmission for every single person that listens to that message. You can’t deny that. 22 million people with HIV/AIDS in Africa, look at condom use statistics and HIV transmission rates and how that number could be changed. Staggeringly idiotic policy, staggeringly evil that the church uses its influence to consign millions to death because of a policy that was formed when people thought a sperm contained an entire tiny human.

    Also yes, I would say that the Catholic church is a primary cause of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, especially in the case of Sub-Saharan Africa. They have the power to help snuff out transmission. They make the choice not to.

  23. I have no conflict between my professionalism and my religion, I am only quoting back to you facts.

    Is the Catholic Church the main source of condoms or could they be provided by some other organization?

    People, including Catholics may choose to follow Church doctrine or not follow it but it is their sexually activity that causes HIV to spread. If they are not going to follow the doctrine on monogamy and intercourse outside of marriage, then why should they follow the dictum on condoms?

  24. Hey doc I don’t like your church or penn state. 🙂 Never good to see you compare your church to penn state either. That is pretty rough. As far as your church having an equal percentage of rapist as the general public, that is pretty sad. You religious folks like to pretend you are better then the rest of us. Shouldn’t your rates of rape be lower then us non believers?

    I do like you though so you have that going for you.

  25. People are people Joe.

    Being a member of a church or even in the clergy doesn’t change that. Anyone who was actually paying attention to their Christianity would realize that. I don’t think the stats were referring to “rapists” either but to sexual abusers as a whole.

    Your comment reminds me of people being amazed that a dentist would have any cavities in his mouth at all.

    And I don’t really like Penn State either, at least on the football field when they play my Badgers. 🙂

  26. Craig Knauss

    doc says “…it is their sexually activity that causes HIV to spread.”

    doc, you should know better than anybody that HIV can also be contracted without sex. Transfusions, “sharps”, etc. can also spread HIV. And yet, there is the dictum on condoms. So if a devout Catholic becomes HIV positive, through an accident, he or she is prohibited (by dictum) from using condoms during relations with his/her spouse. Doesn’t that sound just a bit stupid?

  27. Craig,

    You should actually read my posts, it would avoid alot of confusion on your part.

  28. Hereis another link to help you out. Read it before you criticize.


  29. HIV/AIDS aside, the overall quality of life goes up in society when a population can decide when and how to start a family. Poverty is reduced, education level improved, etc.

    Luckily, the vast majority of Catholics in Industrialized nations do not hold the same archaic and idiotic view on condom use and birth control as the pontiffs of recent past. Look at the birth rates in Italy, for example. Or the USA. Progress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *