Special Report

When Paul Corrected Peter

By on 9.25.13 @ 6:10AM


Laity and clergy should reject, respectfully, the liberalism of Pope Francis.

In St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, he wrote that he rebuked the first pope, St. Peter, “to his face because he clearly was wrong.” The issue was St. Peter’s capitulation to Jewish culture in his approach to the Gentiles. St. Paul moved swiftly to correct him for the sake of the early Church’s unity and doctrinal fidelity to Jesus Christ. St. Peter, he wrote, had gone wobbly after meeting with a group of Jewish Christians who insisted that the Gentiles follow Jewish rules rendered obsolete by Jesus Christ:

For, until some people came from James [Paul’s reference to Jewish Christians], he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not on the right road in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to [Peter] in front of all, “If you, though a Jew, are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

St. Thomas Aquinas used this episode in his commentary on the right of subjects to resist flaky superiors:

There being an imminent danger for the Faith, prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects. Thus, St. Paul, who was a subject of St. Peter, questioned him publicly on account of an imminent danger of scandal in a matter of Faith. And, as the Glossa of St. Augustine puts it (Ad Galatas 2.14), ‘St. Peter himself gave the example to those who govern so that if sometimes they stray from the right way, they will not reject a correction as unworthy even if it comes from their subjects.” (Summa Theologiae, IIa IIae, Q. 33, A. 4)

All of this is highly relevant to the pontificate of Francis. For the good of the faith, laity, clergy, bishops, and particularly powerful cardinals should start playing Paul to Francis’s Peter, as his culturally conditioned liberalism threatens to undermine the unity and orthodoxy of the faith. Peter snapped out of his pandering phase; let’s hope Francis does the same.

Even if given the most charitable reading, Pope Francis’s recent interview with Jesuit publications was alarming in its spirit-of-Vatican II liberalism. Catholicism is not a personality cult and so Catholics, following the example of St. Paul, don’t need to ooh and aah over unsound, non-infallible remarks, which were made incidentally to publications like America known principally for their heterodoxy.

Some future Edward Gibbon should devote a chapter or two to this grimly comic episode: a Jesuit pope chatting about the appeal of diluted orthodoxy and “pastoral” effectiveness with the least pastorally effective and most heterodox order in the Church. We can’t “obsess” over abortion, contraception, and gay marriage “all the time,” he said, telling his fellow Jesuits exactly what they wanted to hear. They don’t even talk about those issues some of the time.

In the body of Christ, the Counter-Reformation Jesuits served as the Church’s spleen. Today’s Jesuits serve it, if at all, as the little pinky. Left-wing Jesuit ninnies such as Thomas Reese and James Martin turn up on talks shows to soft-pedal Church teaching; Jesuit schools and universities produce an endless stream of pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage graduates; Jesuit seminaries either look like ghost towns or gay bars. Even the liberal Garry Wills is appalled by the order’s decadence, writing in 2002:

Entering the Jesuits used to take one into a stable world; but that is far from the experience of recent times. A thirty-five-year-old still studying theology says: “My novice master left to marry, my formation director left for a relationship with another man, et cetera. One cannot help but get the sense that we of this generation of Jesuits may be the last of the Shakers.”

It says a lot about the crisis in the Church that the first Jesuit pope in history came at the very moment the order was weakest and most corrupt. The Pope’s scolding of “small-minded” restorationists for “pastoral” incompetence is laughable in light of his own order’s disintegration: What exactly would the editors of America and the other Jesuits whose liberalism Pope Francis was flattering in the interview, know about saving souls? Just look at the U.S. Congress: it is overflowing with Jesuit graduates who have abandoned the faith and support abortion and gay rights. Oh-so-pastoral Jesuits, heal thyself.

Has Pope Francis not been paying attention for the last 50 years? The only vibrant religious orders are traditional ones; the only packed churches are traditional ones; the only seminaries producing shepherds for the flock are traditional ones. To use his analogy, at the Catholic Left’s “field hospitals,” all the patients are dead.

Pope Francis has made many commendable remarks about the Virgin Mary, Satan, and the need to go to confession, among others. And some of the criticism does seem petty: Who cares if he bunks at the Vatican hotel or putts around in a used car? That’s fine. But it is not petty, disrespectful, or un-Catholic to object to the liberal parts of his agenda. Indeed, the need for a St. Paul to correct him grows with each passing week as his pontificate emboldens the Church’s enemies and undercuts her friends and most loyal members.

Photo: UPI

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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  1. I believe Pope Francis has spoken of Sin, ROME, September 20, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a meeting with Catholic gynecologists this morning Pope Francis strongly condemned abortion as a manifestation of a “throwaway culture.””Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world,” . The pope told the doctors, “Your being Catholic entails greater responsibility: first of all to yourself, in the effort to be consistent with the Christian vocation, and then to contemporary culture, to help recognize the transcendent dimension in human life, the imprint of the creative work of God, from the very first moment of conception. This is a commitment to the new evangelization that often requires going against the tide, paying a personal price. The Lord counts on you to spread the ‘Gospel of life.'”As he has in the past, Francis condemned a “throwaway culture” that would eliminate the weak and vulnerable in society. “Our response to this mentality is a ‘yes’ to life, decisive and without hesitation. ‘The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are precious, but this one is fundamental – the condition for all the others’”.Concluding, the Pope said, “bear witness to and disseminate this ‘culture of life’ … remind all, through actions and words, that in all its phases and at any age, life is always sacred and always of quality. And not as a matter of faith, but of reason and science! There is no human life more sacred than another, just as there exists no human life qualitatively more meaningful than another”. Pope Francis is the Vicar Of Christ He is guiding The Lost Sheep back to Christ. When Pope Benedict XVI released his first Encyclical GOD IS LOVE some were disappointing because they also felt that Pope Benedict should have been harsher,. In an interview he gave he was also criticized for not speaking enough about Homosexuality Abortion etc. His response was I had 20 minutes to speak I do not want people to think that The Catholic Church is a a series of NO NO NO. He also added that as St. Augustine said if we had more of a sense of humor we could fly like Angels. Another words Pope Benedict had 20 minutes to speak and The MORONIA media Jumped on him. Perhaps as The Cure D’Ars Stated GO TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT NOT THE NEWS PAPERS.I truly believe that Pope Francis is a Holy Man and has done an incredible Job. Pope Benedict stated that when he sees Pope Francis he knows that He made The right decision. To Fill
    The Shoes Of Pope Benedict XVI is not easy since he is one of The greatest minds in The history Of The Church. Pope Francis has his unique gifts also his Love Of Christ shines through clearly and Yes we Must speak of Love also. GOD IS LOVE. I think The criticism of Pope Francis is unfounded. A very wise Priest once said if there is a problem in The Church It is our fault Catholics, WE need to pray more sacrifice. Because we have had very Holy Men as Popes and that is proof of Christ Love us and his Bride The Catholic Church.

  2. I have to agree with the Kissing Of The Koran and Yes I am sick of hearing about the Holocaust since 50 million babies have been slaughtered ,I have heard Pope Francis come out very strongly against Abortion, But when these issues are USED as political tool for Money Hungry politically motivated crooks,rather then moral issues they no longer are credible to those who know nothing of the Faith. The Catholic Church must lead and Pope Francis is dealing with many who are ignorant of the Faith Christ and his Church in order to oppose these horrors one must know the faith. We are NOT living in a Catholic Culture and many have replaced Catholicism for AMERICANISM! The Pope wishes to direct people towards Christ. Pope Francis is correct that when we speak of these issues they must be spoken about in context to the TEACHING OF THE CHURCH. These issues are used by political special interest groups that have corrupted our government. We receive our rights from OUR CREATOR NOT THE GOVERNMENT, The government has no right to decide who is worthy of life that is not their role.. The Government is NOT My Religion.

  3. Judy StJohn says:


  4. I don’t think Mr. Neumayr’s commentary twists the words of the Holy Father. All of the post-Vatican II popes, even Benedict, to some extent, have SAID the right things regarding the faith and teachings of the Church, but they have done little to enforce the Church’s laws. To listen to the media, you would think that the Catholic Church IS obsessed with abortion, gay issues and contraception, but to attend most parishes, you will hear little, if anything about such issues. And the USCCB is too busy promoting the Democratic Party’s agenda to bother with such issues.

    Obsessed? Moral equivalency? 60 years after the holocaust we are still talking about Hitler killing six million Jews. Yet since 1980 1.3 billion children have been aborted worldwide–and it’s an “obsession” to be dedicated to ending abortion? May God have mercy on those of us who are not obsessed.

    The problem is popes and prelates can speak out all they like about protecting the unborn and the intrinsic evil of homosexuality and contraception, but it means nothing if they don’t act. Decades of allowing high-profile “Catholics” to do as they wish (think Nancy Pelosi & Ted Kennedy) has emboldened them and the Church’s enemies. They will continue to ignore the Church’s teachings and even publicly speak against them as long as there are no consequences. Canon 915 exists to be used, not to be a quaint museum piece.

    One can support the pope and be a good Catholic without blindly accepting every word that falls from his lips. Popes can make prudential decisions about pastoral ministry or even disciplinary (or lack of disciplinary) actions and be wrong. The charism of infallibility is seldom used and has a very narrow definition. One can disagree with the direction a pope takes and still support him and pray for him. For instance, when popes kiss the Koran, a blasphemous pseudo-scripture that denies the divinity of Christ, or when they assure Muslims that Ramadan will bear spiritual fruit, many of us find our “Catholic radar” tingling with revulsion. That doesn’t mean we don’t love the pope. It means we love him and the office of pope so much that we hate to see it misused that way.

    We’ve had four decades now of an ungoverned Church and the ongoing disaster has us on the brink of collapse. Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail and I believe Him. However, I hate to see the Church on the ropes, even when I know we’re going to win the fight.

  5. I find The criticism of Pope Francis completely Unfounded and I am saddened by those who wish to twist the words of The Holy Father. I read the interview it was profound and true. We are all aware of the HOT POLITICAL issues that have poisoned The Truth and demeaned Catholic Teaching. The Pope spoke The Truth. Homosexuality Contraception and Abortion have become money making tools for the right and the left. Follow The money. The Pope in his first interview actually stated what Pope Benedict XVI and The Catechism of The Catholic Church teaches with regard to Homosexuality BUT ITS NOT THE ONLY topic and its only motivated by the politics and special interest groups hate the sin love the sinner, We know Lobbying groups are very powerful we have people who use to be pro-life selling their soul and others pretending to be pro life but are only interested in getting elected. The Only REAL pro-Life candidate running for President was Dr.Ron Paul who delivered over 4000 babies and never changed his mind. Always Pro-Life. Ron Paul introduced a bill that would have saved countless lives of the unborn it was not accepted by either party. Pope Francis sees The Truth and like his predecessor is not afraid to state what We as Catholics believe. Homosexuality is intrinsically evil it is a serious disorder. No one is born a homosexual. BUT many come from sexual abuse and the .Pope is reaching out as a The Good Shepard, Feed My Sheep.He is aware of the Political Pandering. Christ was here for Sinners . Bombing Countries and killing countless civilians is intrinsically evil also. The Church Needs To Lead Not Follow The Democratic Party or Republican Party are both the same. Masonry is evil. I like that Pope Francis spoke out against Masonry and Masonic Groups they are evil. Masonry is FORBIDDEN by The Catholic Church .The most eminent danger facing The Catholic Church is disobedience to The Pope. The Church has to Lead and for those who are looking for a FALSE GOD in a Politician they need to wake up fast. The Catholic Church must lead the culture not follow that was Pope Francis message CHRIST how can anyone know about evil if they do not know Christ and HIS Church. Perhaps many should heed the words of Sister Lucia in an Interview “He that is not with the Pope is not with God, and he that wants to be with God, has to be with the Pope.”The Pope Is The Vicar Of Christ On Earth and must be respected twisting the meaning of what he says is plain wrong..DO YOU know how many times he mentioned contraception? Once. Homosexuality? Once. Abortion? Just twice–twice out of 12,000 words.More proof that secular journalists believe in transubstantiation. Jesuits newspapers across the world released a sweeping 12,000-word interview with the Pope. Pope Francis spoke eloquently about art, the saints, the Church, social justice, and prayer. Some of the words he used most include God (37 times), Jesus (26), Ignatius (15), Gospel (14), experience (14), and encounter (10).

    “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.” Pope Francis

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