Roman Catholic Cardinal Speaks Honestly; Church Fails to Collapse

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
November 17, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)CHICAGO, IL (TPF) — As the terminator crossed from east to west and Monday morning dawned in Catholic America, early Masses were offered, young Catholic girls and boys trotted off to school, monasteries chanted Lauds, Catholic hospitals changed shifts, Catholic social service organizations opened their doors, and Catholic high schools, colleges, and universities continued to educate their students. The fabric of the Catholic Church in America remained intact, despite the fact that on the previous day, on national television, a Cardinal Prince of the Church reprimanded the powerful Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley of Boston, interviewed on “60 Minutes,” said that the CDF’s investigation into the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States, was “a disaster.” He also allowed that if he founded a church, he would ordain women.

St. Francis of Assisi Church, Chicago

Yet the Church has not caved in, crumpled, or otherwise collapsed. Belief in the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and the sacraments remains intact, such as it is. The only sound that could be heard was the deep, rumbling wail of the episcopal groupthink slowly beginning to crack open.

Cranky Thomist Blasts Bishops’ Toxic Natural Law Groupthink

The Fool is delighted to introduce a new voice from the peanut gallery that is The Pope’s Fool … The Cranky Thomist!

The Cranky Thomist

November 16, 2014
By The Cranky Thomist

I think therefore I am. But what a minute! What happens when I space out? Do I cease to exist? And do I exist again when I start thinking again?

Agnes cartoon by Tony CochranPhilosophy is awesome! However, unorthodox, anti-scientific pseudo-philosophy is not. Case in point—the toxic natural law idea that has gotten firmly stuck in the papal and episcopal mindset for decades now.

The groupthink goes like this: Natural law means that you look at nature and figure out morality from that. First you see that God made man and woman. And then you see that men and women make babies. And then you conclude that contraception is immoral. And homosexuality is intrinsically disordered. And in vitro fertilization is a sin (rather than a blessing that helps people create families). And then you say that all of it is based on the “observance of the precepts of the natural law.” Seriously???

Natural law has been around since ancient Greece and was embraced in the Catholic intellectual tradition by St. Thomas Aquinas. It’s easy enough for anyone to understand, and has nothing to do with looking at nature and making stuff up.

According to Aquinas, natural law works like this. The primary natural law, upon which all other laws are based, is that good be done and evil avoided. So we figure out what makes humans grow towards the good and derive morality and law from that (with good in the Christian sense being defined as that which moves us toward the love of God and fellow creatures in charity). As Aquinas says, “Since good is grasped as always desirable, the first premise in reason’s planning of action is that good is to be done and evil avoided” (Summa Theologica, 1a2ae. 94. 2).

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Pope Francis Issues Starter Catechism for U.S. Bishops

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
November 14, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — The Vatican has released a short, basic catechism of the faith designed for the U.S. bishops and approved by Pope Francis.

Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this special Bishop’s Edition encapsulates the foundations of Christianity, walking the reader through the moral hierarchy of the New Testament by way of its parables. It starts with a meditation on the greatest commandment, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself, there are no other commandments greater than these.” Each subsequent chapter focuses on key moral concepts and their related parables, including God’s Love, Mercy, and Forgiveness (the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin, and the parable of the prodigal son), Christian Love (the parable of the good Samaritan and the parable of the unmerciful servant), and Self-Righteousness and Humility (the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector). The Bishop’s Edition also includes summaries of the theological virtues, the cardinal virtues, and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Pope Francis

Included as well is an appendix on the natural law. A Vatican source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is prohibited from publicly discussing the matter, explained its importance. “The bishops really have no clue about the natural law, which quite honestly, Pope Francis finds rather annoying. Look at nature and derive morality from that? Really? They need to read their Aquinas. We hope this little catechism helps.”

U.S Catholics to Make Nationwide Novena for Bishops, “That They May Get a Clue”

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
November 10, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)CHICAGO, IL (TPF) — The nation’s largest association of Catholic lay people today announced a nationwide novena to pray for U.S. bishops, called “That They May Get a Clue.” The novena, a series of prayers repeated for nine successive days, asks the faithful to call upon the intersession of both St. Anthony, patron saint of lost things, and St. Jude, patron saint of lost causes.

That They May Get a Clue “We need to pray for our bishops,” said a spokesman. “It’s a new era in the Church today; Pope Francis is challenging all of us. But the bishops are looking particularly confused, so I think we need to ask the Lord to give them special graces. You see,” he explained, “the old party line just doesn’t cut it anymore. In the old days, it was enough to repeat whatever the Pope said, condemn contraception, and judge people and whatnot. But now the Pope is asking them to actually think about what it means to be a Christian and a Catholic, and, you know, spiritually lead us. But they’ve been episcopally cocooned for so long, and so allergic to the world with all its relativism and secularism and such, that they really have no idea where to begin. Yet they’re all we have by way of leadership. So we will offer up our prayers for them, “That They May Get a Clue.”

The novena will be prayed from Sunday, November 16th through Monday November 24th.

Progressive U.S. Catholics Not Falling for “Speak Frankly” Appeal; Vast Majority Take a Pass

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
November 10, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)CHICAGO, IL (TPF) — At the beginning of the October 1014 Synod of Bishops at the Vatican, Pope Francis instructed the bishops to “Speak frankly. Let no one say, ‘This can’t be said.’” As excited as U.S. Catholics were to hear this from the Pope, a TPF News Service poll shows that most progressives are not yet willing to fully exercise such an invitation to frank speech. According to the TPF News Service, only 5% of those who are ordained or hold an office in the Church are willing to freely speak their mind.

“It’s all well and good for the Pope to say ‘Speak frankly,’” said one priest, who requested anonymity. “But Canon Law hasn’t changed, and Canon Law required me to make an extended profession of faith and an oath of fidelity when I was ordained, and made me subject to sanctions. If someone decides to go after me, I can be silenced, investigated, sucked up in some so-called ‘visitation,’ or worse. And let’s not kid ourselves. Calling the Church’s judicial procedures medieval is an insult to the medievals.”

Likewise, only 15% of those who teach in a Catholic university are willing to move past self-censorship to speak out on urgent yet controversial topics. “Let’s face it,” said a faculty member. “That John Paul II constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae is still in effect. All professors of theology are still required to have a mandate to teach granted by the local bishop who presumably can yank that sucker anytime he wants. This frank speech stuff doesn’t change that reality. I, for one, won’t be sticking my neck out. I don’t want to lose my job. I’ll stay happily self-censored for a while yet, until I see how this all plays out. Hey, the Jesuits put up with being suppressed for decades.”

“You have to understand,” commented a third. “Conservatives in the U.S. can say anything they want. Like good party apparatchiks in the old days, they just spout the party line. But despite how Pope Francis acts, the Church is still an absolute divine right monarchy. Bishops and pastors still reign supreme. They exercise complete legislative, executive, and judicial power. If you get on their wrong side, watch out.”

“We might want to stick with a blighted intellectual life for a while yet,” said another, also requesting anonymity. “Let the lay people speak up; they have less to lose. I’ll start speaking up when I see the end of the ‘visitation’ of the LCWR, when I see the USCCB un-reprimand Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, and when I see the Vatican un-denounce Sr. Margaret Farley. And that Irish priest, Fr. Tony Flannery, who speaks out on women’s ordination, contraception, and gays? He got stripped of his ministry by the Vatican and threatened with excommunication for heresy. Thanks but no thanks,” he continued. “It’s one thing to say, ‘speak frankly,’ and it’s another thing to actually protect those who do. When the Pope starts repudiating these intellectual smack-downs and standing up for people who speak honestly about the crucial issues facing the Church today, then I’ll start paying attention.”

Pope Declares Obsequiousness No Longer Fashionable; Wants Bishops to Man Up

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
November 5, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Ending an unspoken code that has shaped communications among members of the hierarchy for decades, the Pope has quietly rescinded the practice of obsequiousness, wherein servile deference and fawning to one’s superiors is mirrored by expectations of unwavering obedience from one’s subordinates.

“Enough already,” said the Pope, in his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square today. “It’s sad when you see a man who seeks this office and who does so much to get there and when he makes it, he doesn’t serve, but struts like a peacock, living only for his own vanity,” the Pope said. “We don’t need sycophants and servile flatterers.”

Pope Francis

He said he wants the world’s bishops to be servants and shepherds who use their position to care for people and the faith, not to seek power and boost their pride. This is why the role of a bishop “is not a position of prestige or an honorary office,” he said. “It is a service. Jesus wanted it to be like this.”

Our correspondent on the ground in Vatican City reports feelings of confusion and betrayal among the ranks of many of the bishops, Vatican staffers, and Curial hangers-on. “That’s easy enough for the Pope to say,” muttered one. “He hasn’t been here for decades; he hasn’t been living with this stuff day in and day out for years on end. He expects us to change overnight. But it ain’t gonna happen.”

Pope Delivers Stoles of Mercy to Bishops Worldwide; Many Take a Pass

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
November 3, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — As a followup to his October 31 homily, in which Pope Francis lamented the case of Christians who are so attached to the laws that they neglect the concepts of love and justice, the Pope has sent a gift of a Stole of Mercy, or Stola della Misericordia, to each of the over 5,000 bishops in the world.

In his homily, which followed the Gospel reading about Jesus upsetting the Pharisees by curing a sick man on the Sabbath, Pope Francis said the following, referring to the Pharisees. “This way of living attached to the laws, distanced them from love and from justice.  They followed the laws and they neglected justice. They followed the laws and they neglected love. … And for these people Jesus had only one word (to describe them): hypocrites.”

The Stole of Mercy

Upon hearing of the gift, a spokesman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said, “We are of course grateful to the Holy Father for his generosity. However, in deference to the long Catholic tradition of subsidiarity, the bishops will take under consideration just how far to go in implementing this whole love and justice thing. Practically speaking, we do still have a church to run.”

The stole is of a golden material, and emblazoned with the papal coat of arms.