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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

‘Afraid of Pope Francis’: A Sobering Email from Father Anonymous

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Editor’s Note: There has been a tendency among some recent critics of The Remnant to confuse our editorial concern over the troubling pontificate of Pope Francis with expressions of indignation over mere personal effrontery. Nothing could be further from the truth. When we note the fact that the Holy Father, for example, appears to be “scolding” traditional Catholics on something of a regular basis, we are not particularly concerned about his less-than-favorable opinion of us as individuals. We are a remnant, after all, whose stock-in-trade is opinion which tends to struggle against the current.  

An attack on traditionalists by the Holy Father does, however, suggest an attack on Tradition itself, on 2000 years of liturgical heritage and the established moral order of Holy Mother Church—the defense of which, no matter how inadequate, is what makes a Catholic a traditionalist.


What is so troubling for many of us is this idea that if Pope Francis is correct in administering these scoldings of Tradition, and if he is right in attempting to establish a new orientation for the Church and the papacy, then it would seem to stand to reason that the Church historically and traditionally was wrong or at least seriously mistaken in both her praxis and teaching for a very long time. By his own admission, Francis is trying to move the Church out of the darkness of her old ways and into the light of modernity.  For nearly 2000 years of Church history, no pope ever spoke of such an idea other than to condemn it as patently false. 

It is difficult for non-Modernists to reconcile novelty with established Tradition, and so we hope and pray we are dead wrong about Pope Francis, and that we are grossly misunderstanding his agenda. Please, God, let it be so!  But this is not about us, so-called “traditionalists” taking umbrage with a perceived insult from the pope. We’re used to the catacombs, and we’ve grown up with the scoldings of post-conciliar Holy Fathers ringing in our ears. But in the dire situation that appears to confront the Church now, as is here intimated by Father Anonymous, we fear that the pontificate of Pope Francis may be setting up to take things to a whole new level, a level no Catholic in history ever imagined possible.

Our fear, then, is for the Church we revere above all else as well as for the hopeless world in which our children will grow up, robbed as it may well be of the moral authority of Holy Mother Church. What will happen to them in the winds that will blow then?

Father Anonymous is not a traditionalist, by the way; he offers the New Mass but, like us, is more than merely apprehensive over the direction in which Francis appears to be taking the Church. If Father’s apprehension makes him a traditionalist, so be it and may God help us all. Pray for Pope Francis and pray that The Remnant's concerns about the present pontificate eventually prove to have been wildly exaggerated. MJM


Editor, The Remnant: I’m reassured to read your articles taking Pope Francis to task for his many attacks on faithful Catholics, while at the same time endorsing the immoral behavior of others.

I am a priest and have been for twenty-five years. I’ve never experienced such a spiritual upheaval in all those years, and, believe me, I have seen what I thought was the worst the Catholic Church had to offer.

Pope Francis’ behavior and his continued off-the-cuff remarks have left me feeling demoralized. I have never experienced such ill-will coming from the Holy See. The confusion the Pope’s remarks is causing among the faithful to whom I minister, and the way his actions are emboldening an already anti-Catholic culture seem to me to have something of the sinister about it. When I look into Pope Francis’ eyes I do not see love and compassion, I see vainglory and cunning.

Now we face the possibility of catastrophe when the Synod reconvenes in Rome this fall. My own archbishop sent out requests for input from parishioners about issues of marriage and family. The questions asked of my parishioners seem leading, as if he’s looking for particular responses to suit a predetermined outcome. I fear, in a way I’ve never feared before, that we’re facing serious doctrinal changes. Although Pope Francis continues to insist that these would only be discipline changes and not doctrinal, my gut tells me that he’s being disingenuous.

This Letter to the Editor Appeared in the Last Print Edition of The Remnant.  To find out what else you missed, subscribe today!

All over the world we’re seeing cardinals, archbishops and bishops affirming behaviors which are unequivocally condemned by Popes and Councils in previous centuries. As I listen and watch these events, in my mind, over and over, I hear the phrase, “the smoke of Satan has entered the sanctuary.” Could it be that all that is happening is truly the work of Satan? I’m not ready to affirm that it is, but in my heart I fear that it may be true. If it is then it may also be true that many members of our hierarchy do not belong to Christ.


I’ve had conversations with priest friends about all of this. We are all fearful for what is to come. None of us feels as if we’re standing on doctrinally solid grounds any longer. We all cringe every time Pope Francis steps in front of a group of journalists. What will he say next? How will he berate those who are faithfully serving Christ? How will he beat up on us this time?

One of my priest friends asked me during a conversation what I would do if the Church does formally approve what it previously formally condemned. I had to confess in all honesty that I’d probably have to leave priestly ministry. He admitted that he’d probably have no choice but to do the same.

My deepest fear is that if Pope Francis continues to push the Church toward heresy that we may experience a war among the faithful that would make Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s opposition after Vatican II appear like a simple objection!

I know you’ll understand why I’m not signing my name to this email.

May God preserve His Holy Church from the forces, visible and invisible, within and without, who seek to destroy it. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners!

Father Anonymous

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Read 22576 times Last modified on Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Michael Matt | Editor

Michael Matt has been an editor of The Remnant since 1990. Since 1994, he has been the newspaper's editor. A graduate of Christendom College, Michael Matt has written hundreds of articles on the state of the Church and the modern world. He is the host of The Remnant Underground and Remnant TV's The Remnant Forum. He's been U.S. Coordinator for Notre Dame de Chrétienté in Paris--the organization responsible for the Pentecost Pilgrimage to Chartres, France--since 2000.  Mr. Matt has led the U.S. contingent on the Pilgrimage to Chartres for the last 24 years. He is a lecturer for the Roman Forum's Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy. He is the author of Christian Fables, Legends of Christmas and Gods of Wasteland (Fifty Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll) and regularly delivers addresses and conferences to Catholic groups about the Mass, home-schooling, and the culture question. Together with his wife, Carol Lynn and their seven children, Mr. Matt currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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