Pope Francis Tells Synod15 Bishops to Butt Out of Communion Discussion

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
March 29, 2015

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — While generally not one to take topics off the table for discussion (except for the ordination of women), Pope Francis has advised his bishops not to waste a lot of time in the upcoming Synod of Bishops discussing whether divorced and remarried Catholics should continue to be barred from receiving the Eucharist. In his homily earlier this week, the Pope said that the whole question centers on ideology rather than on mercy, so it should be dropped. The bishops should not worry about giving “instructions from on high” and “not be obsessed by the thought of divorced Catholics receiving Communion.” This “focus on appearances” is not important.

Pope FrancisHe further pointed out that the resolution of this question is really not up to them. “When I was a boy, I was taught that the sacraments were instituted by Christ to give grace, and we that receive this grace as long as our souls have the right dispositions. The current Catechism,” he continued,“preserves this teaching. But it does not instruct the clergy to put themselves in the middle of making that judgment.”

As he has done in the past, the Pope warned against being a Church driven by small-minded rules. “Ministers of the Church must be ministers of mercy above all.” Just put the question aside, he advised. Don’t worry about “appearances,” and “leave the sacramental giving of grace where it belongs – between the communicant and God.”

New Survey Finds Catholics Enjoying Not Being Mortified by Hierarchy

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
March 10, 2015

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — As the two-year anniversary of the election of Pope Francis approaches, a new survey shows a huge majority of Catholics view him favorably. “He’s the best,” said Lily Lonigan, a sixty-something Roman Catholic who works at the Polkadot Shamrock Bar, Internet Cafe and Daycare Center. “He acts like an actual Christian, which brings us back to the basics of the faith. But even more than that, his example has muzzled the crazies in the hierarchy,” she said. “Well, at least for the most part. What a relief. Before, if it wasn’t yet another story of a bishop covering up sexual abuse, it was some wing nut firing gay people or spouting off about the President of the United States being a Nazi. I mean, seriously. There was a time, you know,” said Lily, waxing nostalgic, “when the clergy and the bishops were acting in the public square doing honorable things and not embarrassing the faithful. They were on the forefront of the labor movement and of civil rights. Like Father Hesburgh, at Notre Dame. They don’t make them like that anymore. For the longest time, it was all, ‘oh let’s parrot everything the Pope says, that’s how we get ahead, and bag the big diocese and the red hat.’ And then the whole Fortnight of Freedom contraception thing? Really?”

Survey results support her opinion. Of Catholics surveyed, a majority chose “Doesn’t embarrass us” as the most frequent reason to like the Pope. (Multiple options could be chosen.)

Reasons why faithful like Pope Francis

And while the faithful await his evolution on issues relating to women, they appreciate what he has done to date. “I can’t wait until he comes and speaks to the U.S. Congress in the fall,” said Lily. “I’d like to see Paul Ryan blow his so-called Catholic smoke after the Pope’s speech, to try and justify the free market as a moral framework. That’s going to be a doozie!”

Pope Francis Asks for Alms to Support Home for Abandoned Hermeneutics

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
March 1, 2015

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Upon returning from his Lenten retreat, Pope Francis asked Vatican staffers for small donations to support the Casa Famiglia per L’ermeneutica Abbandonati, or Family Home for Abandoned Hermeneutics. The family home, in a small apartment up on the Aventine Hill in Rome, houses the hermeneutics, or methods of interpreting the faith experience, that have been abandoned since the end of the papacy of Benedict XVI.

Home for Abandoned HermeneuticsIn his plea, Pope Francis said that “While we do not look at faith through these lenses much any more, we did at one time, so I hope you can support them with your generosity.”

The hermeneutics of rupture, discontinuity, and continuity were the first to move in to the small home, followed by their little buddy the hermeneutic of novelty in continuity. The hermeneutic of reform resides there as well, but keeps moving in and out. Other house members include once-popular catch-phrases such as the dictatorship of relativism, a hyper-secular modernity, and intrinsically disordered. While not strictly hermeneutics, they too were taken in, as they had nowhere else to go. Not infallible but irreformable is also a resident, but is not doing well, spending most of his days rocking back and forth wrapped in a blanket, muttering darkly that one day, currently fashionable hermeneutics such as the church of mercy and the holy-faithful-people will end up like them, discarded and forgotten.

Pope Francis Gives Progressives Acute Case of Cognitive Dissonance

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
December 11, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Our sources in the Catholic Commentariat are reporting an alarming rise in the incidence of cognitive dissonance among the progressive cohort of the Roman Catholic Church. While discomfort among conservatives is to be expected, what with the Pope’s clear affection for the Good News of the Gospel and its valuing of love and mercy and whatnot, disturbances on the left come as more of a surprise.

Feathers have been ruffled. Noses have been bent out of joint. Umbrage has been taken.

The cohort appears to be resolving into two separate camps: The Aggrieved and The Apologists.

Progressive cognitive dissonance

On the one hand, the aggrieved progressives such as Sr. Mary Immaculata O’Finian O’Toole are outwardly indignant, citing in particular the flaws in the attitude Pope Francis takes toward women. “Feminine genius? Women theologians as the strawberries on the cake? I’ll give him strawberries,” she fumed. “Maybe even some raspberries!” The apologists, on the other hand, point to his age, his cultural context, as well as the peculiarities of rendering his words in English. “If you read what he says in the Italian,” said one apologist, “it’s only mildly insulting.”

The dissonance continues, and if nothing else, provides a spot of bitter joy for the otherwise beset conservatives.

Pope Francis: OMG Stop Firing Gay People

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

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — According to several people familiar with the conversation, Pope Francis was heard sounding off in a quite vexed manner about the too-popular habit of firing staff who have violated the letter of the law when it comes Church doctrine or teachings, but only after such violations have become public.

(NOTE: What follows is an informal English translation by our young staffer at the Vatican of the gist of the Pope’s concerns. It is expected that neither the official Italian version or an official English translation will be made available.) 

“Oh.  My.  God,” the Pope is reported to have said. “What is with these people? All the firings of the faithful who have been known for years to be gay? Or living together outside marriage? But only after it becomes public knowledge?! What, were these actions not considered sins before, when everyone involved knew exactly what was going on? And now with the contracts??”

cincinnati teachers contract

“Here’s the problem,” he continued. “When you fire someone, you make it a thing. It’s in the news. Then the person reacts, and there is a lawsuit. So it creates another thing. Then there’s a third thing, because none of this would have happened had the information not become public, which makes it about the publicity, not the action itself. This paints the Church into a corner, having to deal with all these self-inflicted things, out of which no good could possibly come. That church music director in Chicago? I just put the new archbishop in place there, and now he has to deal with this? And those teacher contracts with morality clauses in Cincinnati? All they do is make the firing more efficient. No wonder we’ve lost an entire generation of young people.” The Pope shook his head. “This is a scandal. The valuing of the appearance of purity above all else.”

The Pope was then reported to go off to pray.

Pope Praying

Pope Announces New Congregation Charged with Noticing the Modern World

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
December 1, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — The Vatican announced today that as part of the reorganization of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis is establishing a new congregation charged with the study the modern world. Called the Congregation for Modernity, it is to be headed by Archbishop Madre del Dio Obviamente.

“Ever since the Enlightenment,” said Archbishop Obviamente, “and especially since the First Vatican Council, the Church and the modern world have had a bit of a rocky relationship. The church is slowly starting to recognize, if not outright admit, that some teachings from that time, although considered ‘doctrine,’ may have in fact been slightly flawed. This includes the papacy’s longstanding condemnations of freedom of conscience, freedom of religion for other faiths, freedom of speech, participation in elections, democracy, historical analysis, ecumenism, literary criticism of the Bible, and the study of the early Church Fathers.”

“As it says in Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes,” he continued, “we must notice ‘the whole human family along with the sum of those realities in the midst of which it lives; that world which is the theater of man’s history, and the heir of his energies, his tragedies and his triumphs.’ Thus, it is time to consider the advancements the modern world has made, in accordance with the natural law, and in light of the actions of the Holy Spirit, who can choose to work outside the friendly confines of Holy Mother the Church.”

When asked the scope of the new Congregation’s inquiry, the Archbishop replied that it would delve into what the secular world considers “progress,” focusing in particular on issues of good governance, including democracy, fair representation, checks and balances, the rule of law, free speech, accountability, transparency, and modern standards of justice. When asked whether any lessons learned would be applied to the governance of the Church itself, Archbishop Obviamente had no comment. He also noted that while the modern world has made great progress concerning the rights of women, the question of gender equality in the Church will not be addressed, due to the special dignity in which women are held.

Other sources in the Vatican were quick to point out that while the Congregation for Modernity is studying the matter, it should not be inferred that any doctrine will ever change. Likewise, Vatican City State will continue to be governed as an absolute monarchy, with the Pope as the Head of State, holding full legislative, executive and judicial powers.

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.

 

Papal Infallibility Switch Found in Vatican Library

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 26, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — The Vatican Library reports that the Papal Infallibility Switch has been located after a long search in the Vatican Archives. A group of prelates from the Roman Curia has taken possession of it. “Who knew there was really a switch?” asked Cardinal Jann Lazzamotti, Prefect of the Pontifical Council for Tribunals. “But when we found it, we flipped that sucker right off,” he said. “It actually looked a little worse for the wear, which makes sense, considering all the mandatums and investigations and silencings of the past few decades, to say nothing of that whole ‘not infallible but irreformable’ thing, which also took a toll, if indirectly. And now that Francis is the Pope,” he continued, sighing, “It’s probably best to give it a rest.”

The Library also reports that the search continues for the Intrinsically Disordered Stamp, known as the Timbro Intrinsecamente Disordinati, which is rumored to exist yet has not been located, despite its constant use.

Papal Infallibility Switch   Intrinsically Disordered Stamp

Conservative Bishops Claim Faithful Easily Confused If Not Gobsmackingly Stupid

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 22, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)

VATICAN CITY (TPF) — In the wake of the 2014 Synod of Bishops on the Family, conservative bishops are voicing serious concerns about the effect of Synod will have on the faithful.

“They’re out there, all by themselves,” said one archbishop, speaking on background, “having to navigate around in the secular world, with all the sex and media and agendas of evil and dictatorships of relativism and whatnot. And then the Pope goes and opens up all these settled questions for discussion,” he said, throwing up his arms. “What are the people to think? It must be giving them enormous anxiety to see their structure of authority shaken. I mean if the Church can’t judge, who can? Love and mercy are all well and good, but they hardly suffice today. You need rules and regulations to maintain pristine doctrinal purity. What we have now is a big mess. I don’t know how the people will handle it,” he sighed. “This confusion is of the devil.”

Meanwhile, The Pope’s Fool News Service reports this from our person on the street, Lily Lonigan, a sixty-something Roman Catholic who works at the Polkadot Shamrock Bar, Internet Cafe and Daycare Center in Chicago. “You know, some part of me feels a little sorry for these guys. They’ve built their whole lives around a certain framework of doctrine, as well as obedience to the Pope, and now all of a sudden it’s all upside down. I get it. But hey, that’s life. You just have to do the best you can.”

Pope Francis Prays that Sheep (Smelly and Otherwise) Now Speak with Honesty and Courage

By The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 18, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Our reporter on the ground at the Vatican reports that after delivering his speech at the close of the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis sat down, lowered his head, and offered the following prayer:

“Dear lord, please help my sheep, smelly and otherwise, speak with honesty and courage on how to best spread your good Word. I realize intellectual freedom hasn’t exactly been nurtured of late, what with the mandatums and the investigations and the firings. But the ball is plainly in their court. The bishops have spoken; now it’s their turn. I pray my sheep will pull their own weight, and give an old pope a break. I may exercise supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power in the Church, but these bishops and curial guys can be tough nuts. I need the help of my people. Lord, give them strength. Amen.”

Pope Francis

Vatican Advises Lying No Longer Necessary for Marriage

By The Pope’s Fool News Service
September 15, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Cardinal Pizzicato, head of the Pontifical Council for Congregations, has issued an advisory to all diocese worldwide informing them that lying about co-habitation is no longer a requirement for Catholic preparation for the sacrament of matrimony. “We know the vast majority of young people don’t heed the Church’s teachings on matters sexual, or even go to church for that matter. So this advisory comes at a good time, to highlight the importance of transparency in the workings of the Church,” he said. “Anyway,” Cardinal Pizzicato continued, “Pope Francis just married 20 couples, some of whom had been living in sin. As you know, the Church is governed as an absolute monarchy, with the Head of State being the Pope. He has full legislative, executive, and judicial powers. So if it’s good enough for him,” the Cardinal said, throwing up his hands, “it’s good enough for me.”

Pizzicato told TPF that while the status quo, in which the faithful ignored the bishops and the bishops ignored the faithful ignoring them, has worked in the past, the winds of change are blowing in a new direction, and it’s incumbent upon the curial bureaucracy to look like it’s accommodating them.

The Vatican’s Congregation for Pontifical Councils quickly clarified that neither the Pope’s private conversations nor his public actions necessarily reflect church policy.