Future Bishops and Popes: How Much Authority?

Pope Francis is contemplating a major reworking of the top-level administrative machinery of the Church. Commentators sometimes describe this as “reforming the Roman Curia,” but if the Pope’s own words–together with public and private proposals intended to influence the result–are any indication, the project could extend far beyond  reshuffling dicasteries and straightening out the affairs of the Institute for the Works of Religion (the Vatican bank).

In all cases, “collegiality” is said to be both the working principle and the objective of  reform. The word refers to the doctrine, revived by Vatican Council II, that the bishops share in teaching and governing the universal Church in union with the pope. The question that obviously raises is how it’s to be done.

One answer, a conservative one, is that diocesan bishops make their most important contribution to collegial governance by teaching and governing their own dioceses well. But although collegiality in that sense is essential, it is no less clear that the collegial principle extends to some form of collective participation in teaching and governing the entire Church. Ecumenical councils are conspicuous examples.

The world Synod of Bishops, a Vatican II innovation, was intended as yet another instrument of collegiality. But although the synod has occupied an honorable place in ecclesial life for 40-plus years, its role so far has been confined to advising the pope on questions he selects rather than sharing in the actual making of decisions.

crozierSo where does collegiality go from here? Enter Pope Francis’ project and the maneuvering now underway.

In general terms, there currently are two different approaches on the table. One points to a large scale decentralization of authority, the other, as might be expected, toward dramatic centralization. Advocates of each cite the principle of collegiality as their rationale.

Under the decentralization model, diocesan bishops and, especially, national conferences of bishops would have much greater authority for decision-making than they do now.

Liberals tend to favor that. This is partly out of concern for collegiality and partly because they see it as a way to realize such long-sought goals of theirs as married priests, communion for the divorced and remarried, a more permissive approach to questions of sexual morality, and in the long run perhaps even the ordination of women.

By contrast, some conservatives favor more centralization–and, paradoxically, for the sake of the collegiality principle.

One such plan would call for the creation of a permanent, synod-like representative body in Rome, its members nominated by the world’s bishops and selected by the Pope. Acting in union with the pontiff, and never apart from him, it would have the power to make doctrinal and disciplinary decisions for the worldwide  Church. Its advantage is said to lie in being an authentic embodiment of collegiality that involves no diminution of papal primacy while responding to the need of the universal Church for speedy decision-making and unimpaired cohesiveness in an era of instantaneous communication and globalization.

From October 1 to 3 Pope Francis will meet for the first time with the special council of eight cardinals that he has established to advise him on these matters. (Cardinal Sean O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., of Boston is one of the eight.) While this will be the group’s first face-to-face meeting, the Pope and the eight are presumed to have been in frequent contact and have already spent much time mulling ideas like those sketched here.

Catholics everywhere should be paying close attention. The results could be of huge importance for the future of the Church.


image: shutterstock

Russell Shaw


Russell Shaw is a freelance writer from Washington, D.C. You can email him at RShaw10290@aol.com.

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  • D. Morgan

    If the more liberal interpretation of this occurs, you can kiss the Roman Catholic Church as it now exists goodbye. She will become something akin to the Protestants. Many different branches with nothing much in common but name. Our unity comes from Christ, through St. Peter, down to Pope Francis. Any tampering, any readjusting of authority to the national conferences will destroy the Unity that so many Saints and Martyrs have died for. This left over post Vatican II novelty must stop. Or indeed, only a remnant will be found when Our Lord returns.

  • Bill

    D. Morgan is absolutely correct. Pray God forbids through the Holy Spirit.

  • Howard

    “Acting in union with the pontiff, and never apart from him ….” And never disagreeing with him or opposing him, of course.

    Sorry, but unless there is a divine promise otherwise, you can expect human nature to be running the show. This is what we see in Church history, too. Sure, this may work at times, but eventually a sitting synod would try to depose a Pope or relegate him to a purely ceremonial role. Certainly secular forces, both political and cultural, will try to play off a sitting synod against the Pope.

  • David_Naas

    More like the Anglicans than other Protestants.

  • TeaPot562

    2000 years ago, most then-religions had priestesses. Judaism was a very notable exception to that practice. Jesus could certainly have ordained St. Mary Magdalene or other women IF HE HAD INTENDED to do so. The fact that He ordained only men strongly suggests that only males are supposed to be His priests.
    This has no significance as far as the holiness or eternal destiny of either men or women. In the Divine Comedy of Dante Aligheri, many of the bishops and popes of his day (14th Century) are assigned to Hell.
    Personal opinion is that many men of our day are saved in part by graces obtained because of the prayers of their wives.
    Pray for our priests and bishops, and pray for the Pope.

  • Jacob Suggs

    “And never disagreeing with him or opposing him, of course.”

    This is not backed up by history. Take for example when Pope Paul VI purposefully put together a group of pro-contraception bishops to write up their arguments (which they did, and which were pro-contraception). He didn’t follow their recommendation, because he didn’t find their arguments convincing, but they certainly weren’t shy about disagreeing with him.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Without dramatic change we would not be assured of continuity.

    Everything is different, nothing has changed is the Felt Banner behind which the modern church processes into ecclesiological evanescence.

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    Francis the Bishop of Rome is bringing ONLY CHAOS to the Papacy.
    Is he the False Prophet talked about in the Apocalypse? Everything seems to indicate he probably is.

  • An orthodox Papist

    The sky is not falling. The Petrine Office can find opportunities for more collegiality and we don’t need to conclude that we’ll turn into Anglicans. At the end of the day, the pope can still shut down wayward bishops as was done in the first millennium. It’s worth noting that Pope Francis is no liberal — for example, he has reaffirmed John Paul II’s definitive pronouncement on ordination: “with regards to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and says ‘no,’ Pope John Paul said so with a formula that was definitive. That door is closed.”

  • Deb Daily

    And from that we now have the most prophetic writing of any Pope, Humanae Vita.

  • BillinJax

    “…..responding to the need of the universal Church for speedy
    decision-making and unimpaired cohesiveness in an era of instantaneous
    communication and globalization.”

    This to me is the single most urgent need for the church to be able to maintain its claim to spiritual “Catholicity”. As evil cleverly finds ways to test the tenants of our faith while science and technology propelling us into deep space and mechanical minds to do our thinking for us we have to have the very best of our theology armed by the Holy Spirit in union with the successor to Peter ready and willing to timely sort the Truth from wild imaginations of those eagerly attempting to proclaim we have escaped the bonds of a religious mysticism and Man has become his own God.

    Perhaps what is even more urgent in the minds of Americans is the need to fast and furiously doctrinally distinguish the falsehoods and fallacies in those majority produced laws which force evil practices or requirements upon the moral convictions of a minority with threats of fines or imprisonment.

  • guesto3

    It seems more like you and those like you are the ones set to bring chaos and do the minion’s work of the Church’s nemesis.

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    Yeah right, there is no worse blind than the one who doesn’t want to see.
    Your idiotic comment fits with the liberal Catholic Church of the moment.
    There is 1.2 billion Catholics in the world but only a small number are truly practicing Catholics.

    It is obvious Francis is doing things to undermine the Papacy and it is actually people like you who are being fooled into believing that this liberal way of doing things is the right way to go for the Catholic Church.

    Not too long ago, I come across this video you can watch it on Youtube and it is called St. Malachy’s Prophecy of the Popes and Antipopes (2nd edition), now even though I don’t agree with everything the makers of the video stand for, I must say I really liked this particular video.
    I’m not here to change your mind, but I know I am not the only one thinking that the Bishop of Rome as he likes to called is doing things he should not be doing as the Succesor of St. Peter.

  • Rather, what is obvious is that we have a duty to love our Pope, our father in faith. We have a duty to trust that our Lord will not leave His flock shepherdless. We have a duty not to rashly judge our spiritual leaders.

    We also have a duty not to give too much credence to crackpot Youtube videos.

    Pray for our Pope if you really want things to change. Don’t speak words of division in the combox.

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    And who are you to tell me what to say and what not to say???
    If you don’t like my comment feel free to ignore it but don’t you go around telling me what to say and what to do.
    Today Catholics want a Pope who will say to them go ahead sin all you want, called the members of false religions your brothers and sisters, make a mess, it doesn’t matter what you do, you will go to Heaven anyways.
    That is t he message many are getting from the Bishop of Rome, and everybody is just loving it.

  • Charlie Johnston

    Very bluntly, if you reject the decision of a proper conclave then you believe that the gates of hell have, indeed, prevailed against the Church Christ founded, which means Christ was wrong when He said they would not. If Christ was wrong, our labors are in vain and it truly is all irrelevant.
    But Christ was not wrong. Despite the rantings of that clever and subtle apostle of satan, Maria Divine Mercy, who desperately wants to lead people out of the safety of the Church while crowning herself as the ‘real’ vicar of Christ, the Church remains the ship God gave us in which to weather the storm.
    One thing Christ most assuredly did NOT say is that the gates of hell will not prevail against Maria Divine Mercy. Follow her if you must, but quit pretending you are Catholic. You are simply an exotic new variety of Protestant.

  • MaryWel

    We know that
    Jesus promised that the gates of hell would never prevail against the
    Church. We trust in this. We know the camp is already divided on those
    that say this is a good pope and this is the bad pope. We know that IF
    he’s the bad pope that all his evil will initially be masked well to
    deceive ‘even the elect’. There is no way now to determine what these
    proposed new changes will bring; but we must remember that nothing can
    happen without Jesus permitting it and if He permits it, He’s got it
    covered!! We also know that in the end times, the Church will follow her
    Master. I believe the Passion has already begun and perhaps the
    Crucifixion is not far off … but all that means is that the
    RESURRECTION IS THAT MUCH CLOSER!! So, whether you like this pope or
    not, whether the changes that come in the Church will be good or bad;
    know with certainty that God truly IS in control and certain things must
    pass for prophecy to be fulfilled. Jesus did not shirk from any
    suffering, He accepted and bore all for love of us, can we do any less
    for Him? SO! ~~ If these changes are bad for the Church, blessed be God
    … if these changes are good for the Church, blessed be God!! PRAY,
    TRUST & try not to WORRY!!

  • Joseph

    Accusing this Pope of being the ‘false prophet’ is in itself a ‘false statement’ and a serious sin – we don’t need any modern day pharisees in the Church. Pride is the worse of the seven capital sins, because one is too arrogant to even realize or confess this fault.

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    I’m not worry but I think it is important to be concern, why? the faith of many could damage, it is our obligation as Catholics to be concern for the salvation of others.
    I know for a fact that the Book of the Apocalypse contrary to popular belief is a book of hope. I don’t know when the Lord Jesus Christ will return to the earth, it could happen in the next 5 seconds or in the next millennia, but I do believe His return is the best thing for the His Church and the world.

  • MarSean

    God has perfect plan for our Mother Church and will never let things be not in accordance to His plan. He is always with us from the very beginning and what is happening now are just as normal as it was before.

    He who loads our limit, limits our load.

  • Barbara

    It seems to me that not getting speedy decisions has been a saving grace for the Catholic Church. If the laity will be subjected to a decision made by the Bishops maybe the laity will need a recourse also. Ex. female priest, and or married priest. Consider a female married priest, who also can and no doubt would get pregnant. That would be very complicated and costly to say the least

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    Allow me to laugh.
    First of all what are you talking about?
    I don’t know who Maria Divine Mercy is.
    And you are attacking me without reason.
    I’m not rejecting the decision of a proper conclave either so STOP accusing me of things I have not said, It is called calumny and in case you didn’t know it is a sin.
    Now if you are referring to the video I mentioned in my comment I have clearly stated that even though I like this video in particularly I DON’T AGREE with everything the makers of the video say.
    Why I like the video?
    Well I like the video for many reasons and this is one of those reasons; many have said that the Prophecies of St. Malachy are false or are a forgery and I disagree with that, I think the video proves that the prophecies were authenticated by important experts at the time, and also that important documents can end up being lost in the Archives of the Vatican and the Prophecies of St. Malachy could have been indeed lost for many years in those very same archives as well.
    But really I don’t care what you think. I don’t owe you any explanations.
    I for my part still think that the video was really good.

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    Joseph, Joseph, I think you should re-read my original comment.
    Number two I only ask a question I have seen posted on different web sites.
    And I use the word “probably” I never actually accused the Bishop of Rome of being the False Prophet, but it has crossed my mind.

  • Paul

    Isn’t it sad that we go through the same stuff year after year. The Holy Spirit chose this Pope, as all the others, for better or worse. The gates of hell SHALL NOT PREVAIL! We’d be better off to listen and pray. I also hope this Pope and his team
    tackles the issue of disenting bishops…especially in Canada.

  • iggram

    Using your line, don’t tell me what to say and what to do, I am free to say YOU’RE NUTS.
    Again if you don’t like my comment feel free to ignore it.

  • Charlie Johnston

    Think of what you are saying. The entire college of bishops must be deeply wrong, Pope Emeritus Benedict must be a liar, and satan must have gotten his man in as pope for what you propose to be true. That is the gates of hell prevailing against Christ’s Church.
    Second, you reject the considered decision of the entire college of cardinals assembled and set yourself as the authority. That would do Martin Luther proud.
    Finally, Jesus said that he who rejects His apostles rejects Him. When you reject the collective decision of all His apostles gathered in conclave, you reject Him. Jesus leaves no wiggle room on this.
    I mentioned Maria Divine Mercy because she is the foremost advocate of this apostasy. When I speak to groups, nine times out of ten if the postulate this idea it is because of her.
    These are serious matters. Please consider what you are doing.You endanger the faith of others and put yourself at great risk. And that is no laughing matter.

  • bluesuede

    May the Holy Spirit guide and rule all decisions for the good of the Church and the faithful. They need our prayers.

    My concern is in giving Bishops apparent power that can rival the Pope in any way. All hierarchy are to be subject in obedience to the supreme head of the Church. The Pope, in his prime authority, given by Jesus, is the successor of Peter, any other power or other governing body, cannot be shared, like a congress or a senate would have, with the Pope no matter how good the reason for doing so sounds.

    “…….this is important, on earth there is no external
    tribunal, neither in the
    Church nor in civil society to which one can appeal against his
    decisions. The Pope must
    look for advice, take the steps which prudence demands in the
    delicate function of
    governing the Church, listen to the opinion of his brother bishops,
    etc., but ‘the
    judgment of the apostolic See, whose authority is unsurpassed, is
    not subject to review
    by anyone, nor is anyone allowed to pass judgment on his decisions.
    Therefore, those who
    say that it is permitted to appeal to an ecumenical council from the
    decisions of the
    Roman Pontiff (as to an authority superior to the Roman Pontiff) are
    far from the straight
    path of truth.” EWTN

  • Howard

    See, this is what happens in emails and blogs all the time. The TONE of my original comment was lost.

    If you read the second paragraph more carefully, I was pointing out that both reason and history indicate it is naive to think a permanent synod would never clash with the Pope.

  • bluesuede

    I agree. We have already seen many Bishops and Cardinals choosing their own path apart from the Pope and the teachings of the Church. Any opportunity given to some cardinals and bishops, with their own power apart fromt the Pope, invites schism and heresy.

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    Well, thank you. Coming from you, it means…absolutely nothing.

  • Adrian Johnson

    The Apocalypse says for a fact that Our Lord will not return before the Jews as a whole accept him as THE Messias and mourn that they crucified him. So I don’t expect the last Judgement in the next 5 seconds, or even years. The Church as not even BEGUN to suffer what must come before then.

  • Howard

    Yes, but a poor decision now could cause unnecessary pain later. Let’s say that Francis creates a permanent Ecumenical Synod. Not an ecumenical council, really; it would represent all of the bishops of the world, but they would not all be expected or even allowed to participate, and it would not be called for any specific purpose or with any expectation of ever being dissolved. Maybe things go well during his papacy and for the next few decades, but eventually a majority of bishops chosen for the synod are more aligned with some worldly trend that is in conflict with the doctrine of the Church. These bishops may not accurately represent all of the bishops in union with the Pope, but they do represent a large part of the laity and they have powerful support from secular politicians. This puts the Pope in a position even worse than that of recent Popes: if he retains the Synod, it lends important credibility to heresy and will confuse many of the faithful, but if he dissolves the Synod, it is likely that a new schism will form.

    Rather than leave a ticking time bomb for his successors to defuse, it would be better to find some less dramatic opportunity for increased collegiality.

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    I think you need to read more, many including the late Fr. Malachi Martin thought the Church was going through is Holy Thursday, and some scholars I know about, believe the Church has began her Good Friday.
    The Church just like Her Lord must go through Her own Passion, many believe it has began.

  • Howard

    “The Holy Spirit chose this Pope, as all the others, for better or worse.”

    The cardinal electors chose this Pope, for better or worse. If there is any definitive teaching of the Church that they are mere instruments of the Holy Spirit in making this choice, please share it. The fact that the Holy Spirit prevents any Pope from teaching heresy does NOT mean that each Pope is the direct choice of the Holy Spirit.

    While we’re at it, try taking the second option of your formulation: “The Holy Spirit chose this Pope for worse.” Do you mean by that that the Holy Spirit made a mistake, or that the Holy Spirit intended evil? More likely, you think that the Holy Spirit intended to punish the Church by giving us a Pope much worse than some other options, and that He prevented the cardinal electors from choosing a better option, which they otherwise might have done. Does even that seem an appropriate way to speak of the Holy Spirit?

    It is much easier to treat this election like others, such as that for US president: God permits the electors to exercise their own wills, and if a “worse” choice is made, it is their fault, not that of God.

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    Charlie you need to learn how to read.

  • martial

    Our Lady of Akita: “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, and bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their Confreres. The Church and altars will be vandalized. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”


  • Howard

    You REALLY seem to be selling short the trouble that can be caused by our free wills. It is one thing to say that God will preserve the Church as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, and that the gates of Hell will never prevail over Her, and it is quite another to say that everything that happens in or to the Church is part of a divine “perfect plan”. Look at the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Church, both in the US and in the world as a whole, over recent years. Are you really maintaining that God’s “perfect plan” was for those abuses and cover-ups to take place? Or take the Great Schism with the Eastern Churches. Was that due to the pride and stubbornness of bishops, or was it due to a “perfect plan”?

    Yes, yes, God can bring good out of evil. Yet evil remains evil. It is not for nothing that everyone in the Church militant has to confess that he has sinned exceedingly through his own most grievous fault — not as an innocent pawn in a divine plan.

  • Marty Dancy

    What I see is a growing division between the conservative and traditional Catholics and the more liberal types. If they make things too democratic or collegial, there could be a sort of underground schism of trads and others and maybe even three groups-neo cons, trads, and progressives, as some call it. The church would not really be united like it has been, and each group would consider itself the one that represents the truth or the way the church should be. If one group changes too much, then the other groups would not mix with them and it would appear to be like different denominations in a sort of umbrella system.

  • An orthodox Papist

    Howard — the Petrine office has already had to deal with this same problem with Ecumenical Councils. You are listing problems that Peter has already effectively dealt with.

    The Council of Chalcedon’s 28th Canon declared Constantinople second in primacy to Rome and it was passed during the council — the pope, after the council, accepted all the canons but he rejected the 28th canon as cesaropapism.

    At the end of the day, I think orthodox Catholics who reject liberalism can be comfortable with an expanded role of collegiality. The Pope whether Francis — or one of his successors centuries from now — can deal effectively when such a synod walks off the reservation.

    A more full expression of collegiality will expand the opportunity to bring more Eastern Orthodox and Anglicans back into full communion without walking away from Vatican I and Petrine primacy.

  • iggram

    Ditto: seems like you can dish it out but can’t take it

  • Howard

    I need to clarify: by “this election”, I mean the election of Popes in general, not the election of Pope Francis in particular. There is no good reason to doubt his intentions, but because his way of doing things is so different from that of his recent predecessors, it is by no means yet clear whether his actions will be more or less fruitful.

  • Terik123

    amen. The Orthodox have done it succefully for 2000 years. To often people make religion and how it is governed into idolatry claiming they are preserving a sacred tradition–eg., we have to have the 16th century Mass because it is the only true one–now that is idolatry and we know how God hates that. People who want to prserve tradition as they view it are frightened…they expect that Catholics in the 21st century dare not set their own traditions because they might be wrong and they are incapable of being good Catholics….think again –We are tradition!

  • Terik123

    In the first Council in Jerusalem it was not Peter who pronounced anything –it was James — does that make him tjhe first Pope?

  • Terik123

    your proof?

  • Terik123

    The church teaches that we do not have to accept such prophecies –it makes good conspiracy theories…Jesus promised, again that is JESUS– that the gates of hell would never prevail against the church. Obviously you prefer to believe some obscure saint.

  • Howard

    The term “neo-con” is as meaningless in terms of describing a group in the Church as is “Tea Party”. “Neo-con” means something within the Republican Party, but not within the Church.

  • Howard

    Yes, but every time it happens it causes problems. The fact that it has happened before is precisely why I say that if a synod is to meet PERMANENTLY, the same thing will inevitably happen again.

    There are less problematic ways of facilitating collegiality. Yes, some of these could help with the Orthodox, but they have their own internal problems. It would be easy to make peace with the Patriarch of Constantinople, but that would apparently drive away the Patriarch of Moscow.

    As for the Anglicans, I think they have passed an event horizon. We will rescue survivors from that sinking ship — the more the better! — and we can preserve the best of their traditions, but I don’t think that the Anglican Communion as a whole can be repaired.

  • The “High C”

    No need to worry, God is in charge…what I think personally will happen is a pemanent synod representative will be appointed that will help carry out and implement what needs to be done from the Vatican…

    The other step, to start killing the buearacracy that exists and which holds up any progress of getting orthodox things done…politics need to cease and the lying that goes with it…

    That last part may incude and affect how bishops and priests live and how they lead their sheep…in others words there may be a call for a more simple life as well as meeting the sheep more often…I beleive that this is where Francis will focus…

    Decentralization probably cannot happen because the very nature of unity of the Fullness of Truth is at stake…decentralization cannot work…

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    Why are you picking fights?
    Don’t you have anything else to do with your time?

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    In 1 Thessalonians 5: 19-21, St. Paul writes “Do not extinguish the spirit. Do not despise prophecies. But test all things and hold fast that which is good.”

  • Terik123

    The test has been done –the so called prophecies of Malachy have never been accepted as valid –the church has spoken and again has said that we do not have to believe in any of them that are from individuals–the church will test them, as Paul said to Timothy. It is not up to us as individuals to go against what the Popes have taugjht us in this matter.

  • David Green

    Catholics crack me up saying they are the world wide church or the true church

  • bluesuede


  • bluesuede

    If James made any pronouncement, it was only first in accord with Peter.

  • Lorenzo

    Please visit, http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com, August 17, 2013, 11:50 am. These are prophetic messages from Jesus Christ of what is to come for the Catholic Church, all Christian churches, and so much more. Only through prayer and by the Power of The Holy Spirit will you, the reader, receive the gift or discernment and know the legitimacy of the messages. I have come to believe with my whole being in the Mercy of God and the messages contained as authentically Divine.

  • JohnnyVoxx

    Keep laughing.

  • Adrian Johnson

    I read a great deal, and respect Malachi Martin. Have you read an odd but soundly-reasoned book “Apocalypse Letter by Letter” by Steven Paul? –At least read the review of it on Amazon to see the context. You will see that there is no conflict between what M. Martin says, and what I said.

  • Marty Dancy

    I have heard this term all over meaning a new idea of conservatism, a more lenient type of conservative and it has been used for people in the church but I have not heard that term in politics. I have only heard liberal and conservative on Fox News and CNN. You are the first person who has ever mentioned to me that it could not refer to the church members. It is meaningful to me in that it means the new conservative which is a type of lenient or loosened type of middle of the road person. I see nothing wrong with the term anyway. I know what I mean by it.

  • Howard

    Actually, both Fox News and George W. Bush would be the best examples of neocons. Think of someone who is apathetic about social issues but gung-ho about fighting wars — the sort who says that the Republican Party needs to be a big tent party that accepts those who favor abortion or “gay marriage” so that the party can concentrate on the War on Terror. In other words, a neo-con is not really a conservative at all.

    Within the Church, it seems to be used by traditionalists who describe those who are doctrinally orthodox but who attend the Mass in the Ordinary Form. It is a dismissive term in politics, and it is a dismissive term in the Church. It is used by those who are more confident that Lefebvre is a Saint than that John Paul II is a Saint, canonization be damned. Use it if you wish, but understand the company you are keeping.

  • Joe

    Lord, spare us.

  • Terry Fenwick

    Contemplating? Use your words

  • Jerry

    I’m glad we have a small Remnant who is remaining faithful. They represent a place where real Catholics can flee to.

  • Jerry

    It truly seems like Lefebvre’s group Pius X are the only Ones who are not changing. I kind of like that.

  • Jerry

    Wrong! The Traditions of the Church Sacred and Holy. The Doctors of the Church have validated this over and over again.

  • Linus

    Christ gave the Keys of the Kingdom to Peter, not the Apostles!!!!! Francis should be careful.

  • samhille

    LaSallete! Read it. We are living it. Souls that hold to the faith as held everywhere and by all will cleave to Orthodoxy. Souls who hold to the new order will go the way of the Angelicans and slowly absorb and dissolve.

  • Howard

    The Greek Orthodox say the same thing. So, I fancy, do the Ethiopian Orthodox.

    It takes more than the use of Latin and frilly vestments to make you Catholic.

  • Edward Kasprzycki

    Ordination of women will never happen in the Roman Catholic Church the Popes have said it has been nearly declared infallible– only an anti-pope could do this… do due diligence before you start writing.

  • Dan

    Wow. It seems like this may really happen.

  • Dan

    Yes. Leave that to the Anglicans.

  • wilhelmlna

    Maria divine mercy,,is a bit late,with her prediction .Ivan sad from Medjugorje,our church,all faith alike ,and the world will suffer,while the secrets,start to unfold,and some of it is already here.this was nearly a year ago..Maria has to go places,to keep all her stories going.Only we don’t say pope fracis is the false profit/

  • wilhelmina

    I think we have been there already,and pope Francis with heaven guiding him will know what to do.God bless him.

  • mary salmond

    I’d call this the Catholic Gang of 8. I hope they have much better results than the US Gang of 8. Loved the article on this. All bishops should be in ONE mind with the Pope already. Have heard of New Advent, just never took the time to hook into it. Loved the article headings I saw and will make this a daily read!!!! Thanks. I’m not on social media, though. Don’t plan on it either.

  • allen

    Again day after day the absence of Benedict XVI is felt more than ever…..no question that house cleaning needs to occur….but on the conservative side not the liberal side….have we learned anything from the past 45 yrs plus of liberals who get what they want in the church???? Even some of the hiarchy admit that there was an abrupt rupture in the Liturgy….trying to make Holy Mass more appealing to non-catholics, just emptied the churches……Didn’t Jesus leave St; Peter head of the Church???? and gave him ultimate authority???? Yes the Apostles are the Bishops…..Again seeing the Fruits of Vatican II….have spoiled so much in the Church……

  • pnyikos

    Don’t forget that although St. Peter was the first head of the Church, he spoke to the Council of Jerusalem almost as though the others were his equals, especially James, the head of the Church of Jerusalem (Acts 15). Also, Paul writes in one of his letters that he “rebuked” Peter when he snubbed the gentiles on one occasion.

  • pnyikos

    See my reply to Allen.

  • pnyikos

    What is this “small Remnant” of which you speak? Mr. Matatics and his followers? the Pius X movement? the Old Catholics?

  • dpharisee2010

    My son who went for the feeling good prosperity gospel was always worried that Catholics who are obedient to the pope will just be taken for the rife. What about other domination’s who does not have any AUTHORITATIVE figure, NO ONE oversee the minister going and coming, NO accounting of finances meaning if a minister wanted a private jet, buy private property and vacation place somewhere else, goes for a pricey shopping spree. The pope cannot sneak at the middle of the night and go to the Bahamas to spend a nice, relaxing, freeing vacation without the world knowing in just a blink. THINK.

  • Terik123

    The doctors of the church can write all they want — it is all up to the Pope no matter what they say or publish…no tradition of the church is “holy.” Only people can be holy. A traditionm can easily become an idol — shall Constamntine still rule the church?

  • Terik123

    The same thing happened at the beginnning of the church –bishops fought against other bishops–they violently slandered and probably killed each other –this is not anything new….read church historyu ala people like Cyril of Alexamndria.

  • Terik123

    And your proof from the scriptures? Peter spoke on one issue….Paul on another…James on another —James made the pronouncement collegially. Peter is here an equal.

  • TreeOfLifeSword

    All I know is…we have some ‘Catholic’ politicianswho are doing the work of demons and should be publicly excommunicated.

  • TreeOfLifeSword

    Good one, Johnny. LOL.
    YES, David. Christ did establish the Catholic Church approximately 1,980 years ago. The first 300 years of Popes were martyred but we remain….with the Bride of Christ. Amen. 🙂

  • It’s called fraternal correction. As a fellow Catholic I have a duty to call out my brothers in the faith when they don’t act with the charity they ought. I don’t claim to be any better than you in practicing my faith–I’m just calling this particular instance as I see it.

    Also, I neither get nor desire to get that message from our papa, so I’m not sure how you can speak for Catholics unqualifiedly.

  • bluesuede

    We lose sight of James till St. Paul, three
    years after his conversion
    (A.D. 37), went up to Jerusalem. Of the Twelve Apostles
    he saw only Peter
    and James the brother
    of the Lord (Galatians 1:19;
    Acts 9:27).
    When in the year 44 Peter escaped from
    prison, he
    desired that news of his release might be carried to James who held
    already a marked preeminence in the Church of Jerusalem (Acts 12:17).
    In the Council of Jerusalem (A.D. 51) he gives
    his sentence after St.
    Peter, declaring as Peter had done,
    that the Gentile
    Christians are
    not bound to circumcision,
    nor to the observance of the ceremonial Mosaic Law, but at
    the same time, he urged the advisability of conforming to certain ceremonies and of
    respecting certain of the scruples of their Jewish
    fellow-Christians (Acts 15:13 sqq.).
    On the same occasion, the “pillars” of the Church, James, Peter, and John “gave to me (Paul) and Barnabas the right
    hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they
    unto the circumcision”
    (Galatians 2:9).
    He publicly commended the great charter of Gentile freedom
    from the Law,
    although he still continued the observance in his own life, no longer as
    a strict duty,
    but as an ancient, most venerable and national custom, trusting to “be saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ”
    (Acts 15:11).
    When afterwards some came from James to Antioch and led Peter into
    dissimulation (Galatians
    2:12), his name was used by them, though he had given them no such
    commandment to enforce their interpretation of the concordat which, on
    his proposal, had been adopted at the Council of Jerusalem. When St. Paul after his
    third missionary journey paid a visit to St. James (A.D.
    58), the Bishop
    of Jerusalem
    and “the elders” “glorified the Lord” and advised
    the Apostle to
    take part in the ceremonies
    of a Nazarite vow, in order to
    show how false the charge was that he had spoken of the Law as no longer
    to be regarded. Paul
    consented to the advice of James and the elders (Acts 21:1 sqq.) Catholic Encyclopedia

  • Richard

    The Pope needs to reserve to himself authority to restructure a a permanent synod and change those who are appointed to its governance without having to justify the decision to anyone.

  • Howard

    The problem would not arise from a lack of authority, but from the consequences of using that authority. You can see this already in both the reluctance of the Church to respond forcefully to Catholic politicians who proudly defy Church teachings and in the reluctance of recent Popes to discipline dissident bishops; there is already a concern that the exercise of legitimate authority might lead not to repentance but to schism.

    By the way, to see how all this might play out, see the article in the Catholic Encyclopedia (available online at New Advent) on the Council of Basle.

  • Rt2Life

    It was predicted a small Church, now you will see those not in union with Catholic teaching slip away – hopefully

  • hennee

    The Warning from Maria Divine Mercy

    Saturday, August 17th, 2013

    O, my dear children, how much my Heart grieves for the suffering,
    which faces priests within the Catholic Church, shortly.

    So many precious servants of my Son, whose only desire is to serve God and
    bring souls on the right path to salvation, are going to be faced with trials of
    such magnitude that many will fall away in fear. Many will be blind to the Truth
    and will accept great changes in the Church and will welcome these, in the
    mistaken belief that they are for the good of all. Those who will recognise the
    deceit, which will be presented to Catholics, will run. So fearful of their
    fate, they will leave the Church, for they will be too weak to stand up against
    such wickedness.

    Those priests who will refuse to accept the false doctrine will be
    accused of heresy and many will be publicly rebuked, for failing to obey those
    to whom they answer. Many will be excommunicated. Others will be martyred. Then
    there will be those who will lead the Church – the Church given to the world by
    my Son – in secret.

    They will need to find places of refuge, so that they can provide
    daily Masses and the Holy Eucharist. They will be guided by the Holy
    Spirit and they will be followed by my Son’s Remnant Army, who will remain
    fiercely loyal to His Teachings and Sacraments up to the final day.

  • rodlarocque1931

    I don’t think any conservative or traditionalist would appeal to collegiality as a way of sorting out the mess that currently exists in the Church these days.
    What we need rather than more consultation and meetings and discussions are more decisions, condemnations and discipline.
    All it takes is a strong-minded pope to choose good orthodox bishops, and these bishops will do like-wise, choose good orthodox priests and this mess will solve itself.
    The reason this hasn’t been happening is becasue the last few popes haven’t sorted out in their own minds what Vatican II actually says and what it means. How far should/can the Church go to meet the modern world? Was it a good strategy or not?
    We need:
    -authoritative declaration on Vatican II (no wishy washy language but a clear statement)
    -condemnation of modern errors
    -discipline all levels of clergy, religious and lay employees for violations of doctrinal and moral teachings
    -restoration of the liturgy with clear condemnations of abuses
    If these things are done, the crisis will end within two generations. If not, it will continue to destory the church from within with the bishops sitting around looking stunned.

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    I totally agree!

  • dishalo

    All messages are unapproved until they stop…….We as Catholic’s do not have to believe in ANY Apparitions, by Dogma or Canon. But we k now Our Lady is warning us of what is coming.

  • petitefleur921

    I believe the above discussion doesn’t lead anywhere. Jesus conferred upon Peter the role of Foundation of the Church, not because he was first among the apostles or superior to them. It was because he was the first to recognize and proclaim Jesus Christ as the Messiah. “The Lord asks each of us, who do you say that I am?” If we respond as Peter did, then the Holy spirit will guide us as foundation stones of the Church and use us in our destinies within the Body of Christ. If not….we are lost.

  • Johnathan

    Sounds simular to the Orthodox Church model to me. Which would be fine. Lets face it bishops have been thumbing there noses at rome for a long time. We will have to simply listen to the one that is not a Liberal.