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

Synod Stuns Planet by Proposing Use of “Nice” Words re Gays (UPDATED)

By The Pope’s Fool News Service
Updated October 17, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Roman Catholics around the world were gobsmacked when the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family issued its relatio post disceptationem, or interim report. Variously described as an earthquake, the big one, seismic, groundbreaking, and shocking, on the one hand, and shameful and completely wrong on the other, the relatio suggested that the bishops are considering the possibility of speaking in a more gentle way about cohabiting couples, divorced and remarried parishioners, and gay Catholics and their children. As explained by John Allen on PBS Newshour, it authorizes “people at the grass roots to feel good about the fact that you can be both a faithful Catholic, and you can be friends with gays and lesbians, you can be friends with people who are living together outside of marriage, you can be friends with people who are divorced and remarried,” without approving their lifestyles.

The consensus is that even though no doctrine is changing, the mere fact that the Church’s vocabulary might move from evil, gravely immoral, and intrinsically disordered, to woundeddamaged, and broken, is a stunner. As PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff said, “It’s certainly gotten our attention.” The shift is best summed up by Cardinal Dolan, who said, “The bishops are speaking with immense love and tenderness about their people, especially about their broken people.”

Later Cardinal Pizzicato, head of the Pontifical Council for Congregations, clarified that doctrine was indeed not changing, and that while the Church still considers the homosexual lifestyle intrinsically disordered, sex outside marriage gravely immoral, and Catholics who remarry without an annulment basically adulterers, the bishops are trying to figure out a nicer way to communicate those doctrines.

###

UPDATE: Some words in the English translation of the relatio post disceptationem or interim report of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family have been changed.

The AP reports that “A section initially titled ‘Welcoming homosexuals’ is now ‘Providing for homosexual persons,’ and the tone of the text is significantly colder and less welcoming. … The first version asked if the church was capable of ‘welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities.’ The new version asks if the church is capable of providing for these people, guaranteeing … them … a place of fellowship in our communities.'”

The the original Italian version of the relatio remains the official text, and still contains the original “welcoming” language, leading an Italian cardinal to wonder if Italy would see an influx of gay Catholics yearning to be welcomed into the Church, rather than just being provided for.

Fearing Conservative Backlash, Synod Bishops Suggest Scripture Change

By The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 16, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — An updated English translation for the New Testament has been suggested today by a group of bishops attending the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican. The change would remove the word “welcome” and replace it with “make provision for,” especially in those verses relating to people considered to be the “smelly sheep on the margins.” Cardinal Pizzicato, head of the Pontifical Council for Congregations, explained the impetus behind the change. “For example, in Matthew 25, it would reduce confusion among the faithful if it read, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made provision for me.’ And this one,” he continued, “from Luke, describing the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttering about Jesus. ‘This man makes provision for sinners, and eats with them.’ We don’t want to give the wrong impression. The current wording is too vague and liberal sounding. And well have to see about that whole ‘eating with them’ thing,” he said. “We don’t want the faithful to misinterpret the Gospels and think that it’s okay to sin. Going forward, we also think it’s more comfortable to ‘make provision’ for one another as Christ ‘made provision’ for us.”

When asked why only the English translation of the New Testament is being considered for such changes, Cardinal Pizzicato replied, “I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.”

Bishops Debate Access to Sacraments for Domestic Abusers

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

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — The Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, called by Pope Francis to discuss topics related to the family and evangelization, has articulated the case both in favor of, and opposed to, lifting the prohibition against taking Communion for people who have been divorced and remarried without first obtaining an annulment. Moving on, the bishops then took up the question of access to the sacraments for those who perpetrate domestic abuse. Some bishops were in favor of extending the ban on access to the sacraments for those who abuse, while others were opposed.

Cardinal Pizzicato, head of the Pontifical Council for Congregations, articulated the position of those advocating for the status quo, where domestic abusers are allowed full access to the sacraments. “I mean it’s pretty easy to pick out the divorced who have remarried without an annulment. But how the heck do you know the abusers? Oh, I expect some of them talk to their parish priests about it,” he continued. “But if they stay married, and if they are open to life and actively involved in the parish, I don’t see how it would work.”

Those hoping to extend the ban to domestic abusers point to the Church’s historic, solemn, and settled teaching on the holiness of the powerless, especially children, the gravely immoral sin of harming the little ones, and the need to be in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion.

“You can’t get any more more clear than Matthew,” said Cardinal Corke, head of the Congregation for Pontifical Councils. “We’re talking millstones. Here’s what the Gospel says,” he continued, quoting Matthew 18. “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

“That’s pretty unequivocal,” said the Cardinal. “Jesus chased away the scribes and Pharisees who wanted to stone the woman taken in adultery. But for those who abuse children, it’s the millstone to the bottom of the sea. Doing anything but extending the ban to domestic abusers, especially when children are present in the family, would be shameful and completely wrong.”

Synod Stuns Planet by Proposing Use of “Nice” Words re Gays

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

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Roman Catholics around the world were gobsmacked when the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family issued its relatio post disceptationem, or interim report. Variously described as an earthquake, the big one, seismic, groundbreaking, and shocking, on the one hand, and shameful and completely wrong on the other, the relatio suggested that the bishops are considering the possibility of speaking in a more gentle way about cohabiting couples, divorced and remarried parishioners, and gay Catholics and their children. As explained by John Allen on PBS Newshour, it authorizes “people at the grass roots to feel good about the fact that you can be both a faithful Catholic, and you can be friends with gays and lesbians, you can be friends with people who are living together outside of marriage, you can be friends with people who are divorced and remarried,” without approving their lifestyles.

The consensus is that even though no doctrine is changing, the mere fact that the Church’s vocabulary might move from evil, gravely immoral, and intrinsically disordered, to wounded, damaged, and broken, is a stunner. As PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff said, “It’s certainly gotten our attention.” The shift is best summed up by Cardinal Dolan, who said, “The bishops are speaking with immense love and tenderness about their people, especially about their broken people.”

Later Cardinal Pizzicato, head of the Pontifical Council for Congregations, clarified that doctrine was indeed not changing, and that while the Church still considers the homosexual lifestyle intrinsically disordered, sex outside marriage gravely immoral, and Catholics who remarry without an annulment basically adulterers, the bishops are trying to figure out a nicer way to communicate those doctrines.

The Pope’s Fool News Service asked our person on the street, Lily Lonigan, a sixty-something Roman Catholic who works at the Polkadot Shamrock Bar, Internet Cafe and Daycare Center, for a reaction. Rolling her eyes, she said, “The pathetic thing is that changing vocabulary from evil, gravely immoral, and intrinsically disordered, to woundeddamaged, and broken, is considered earth-shaking progress. When they start ordaining women, gay or otherwise, I’ll start paying attention.”

Catholic Hierarchy Roiled by Outbreak of Discourse

By The Pope’s Fool News Service
September 30, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — In a first since the end of Vatican Council II, members of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church are engaging in public disputations. This phenomenon, harking back to medieval times when churchmen actually disagreed with each other, in public, on the critical issues of the day, has produced shockwaves among the faithful, generating news stories, blog posts, innumerable tweets, and the occasional rant. Dropping the usual obsequiousness with which members of the hierarchy treat each other, some Princes of the Church are busting out with unadorned honesty, unheard of among the gentility of the Church. Cardinal Raymond Burke, speaking of Cardinal Walter Kasper, who claims his position on reforming Church rules align with those of the Pope, threw this one out there: “I find it amazing that the cardinal claims to speak for the pope,” said Burke. “The pope doesn’t have laryngitis. The pope is not mute. He can speak for himself. If this is what he wants, he will say so.”

And Robert Mickens, of late returned from exile and writing his Letter from Rome for ww.globalpulsemagazine.com reports this: “Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp, a former official at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has so far offered the most significant support of the Kasper position. In a 22-page paper he argued for carefully drafting a new approach to marriage and family life that would be marked by mercy, respect for individual conscience and even doctrinal developments. Like the cardinal, he has infuriated the self-styled guardians of Truth who loudly proclaim that Pope Francis does not support the Kasper-Bonny proposals, but who, privately, are not quite sure.”

Move over, Days of Our Lives!

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.

CDF Condemns LCWR for Thomas Aquinas Invitation

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

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has issued a condemnation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for inviting St. Thomas Aquinas to speak at their upcoming leadership conference. Although Thomas Aquinas is a highly regarded theologian and a saint to boot, the CDF has found his work marred with errors. Specifically, the CDF objects to his concept of providence, claiming it is nothing but Conscious Evolution in disguise.  Cardinal Müller, prefect of the CDR, argued that since Conscious Evolution assumes that human beings are positioned at the crest of the ongoing evolution of the universe, any theology that mimics such an idea is flawed.

“The fundamental theses of Conscious Evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation,” observed Cardinal Müller, “and providence is just another name for it.” Cardinal Müller argued that the concept of providence is dangerous because it sees the universe in the process of a constant unfolding, with lifeforms in the physical universe gradually evolving in distinct ways in space-time, driving themselves towards greater complexity and greater consciousness. Even though Aquinas claims that this evolutionary flourishing is aimed at a Trinity-like love of God and fellow creatures in charity, Cardinal Müller feels such thought is unorthodox.

“Listen to this,” he said, “and I’m quoting here right from the Summa Theologica, Part One, Article 22. Aquinas argues that since God has provision over ‘spiritual things, and thus over the whole world as regards genus, species, and universal causes,’ so ‘to providence it belongs to order things towards an end. Now after the divine goodness, which is an extrinsic end to all things, the principal good in things themselves is the perfection of the universe.’”

“Perfection of the universe?” Mueller asked. “What kind of talk is that? And get this, from Article 47. ‘Divinity is better represented by the whole universe than by any single thing. … Not only are individual creatures images of God but so too is the whole cosmos.’ The cosmos as an image of God? Really? And don’t even get me started on Teilhard de Chardin,” he said. “I don’t know what got into Benedict,” he continued, referring to a 2009 homily in which Pope Benedict XVI referenced the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: “in the end, we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host.”

Müller told TPF that he wanted to make it clear he doesn’t want to gobble up particular theologians or otherwise stifle their exercise of intellectual freedom; his intention was merely to help them recover their true religious identity.

To avoid such mishaps in the future, and in keeping with the Church’s initiative of increasing transparency and accountability, Archbishop J. Peter (Why Me) Sartain will discuss future invitations with the leadership of the LCWR in meetings behind closed doors.