Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

“A bizarre papal move” by Robert Royal

September 16th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

A friend called my attention to a column a few days ago in “The Catholic Thing,” to a recent article by Robert Royal.  Under a new policy, there will not be reply comments on that site (but such do remain on Facebook).  I appreciate the difficulty of tracking, editing, approving or not the reply comments given the large readership of “The Catholic Thing,” and the necessity to make that change.

It has been a dilemma for Cleansing Fire, too, to promote truth and discussion of what is most important in our lives, yet remain within the boundaries Christ expects of us. Different people will draw the line in different places.  Serious discussion is always welcome; uncharitable and ad hominem attacks are not.  One might argue for a little more laxness on enforcement when the matter is weighty and new ground is being broken, and perhaps less so when the reply is merely sniping. Again, we may each draw those lines differently.

The right to be able to discuss with each other those issues of most concern is provided to us under Canon Law. There becomes a point at which failure to exercise those rights, i.e. to ignore matters of great concern, becomes a greater failing that discussing, learning and deciding matters of conscience and perhaps risking offense to someone in the process.  It is all about motive and intent. But in the Body of Christ we do not have to stand alone.

For some matters, it reached that point for me, where to discuss is less offensive than silence, and I’ve hinted at that a bit recently.  Moreover, the book I wrote last December, debating matters with respect to the Pope’s Encyclical Laudato Si, was driven by a similar concern in the environmental arena.

Now Robert Royal boldly raises issues which I cannot help but bring to the attention of the Cleansing Fire audience if we are to have balanced views, share our thinking, and exhort each other to Truth and to what the Church has always taught. We must remain faithful, always. We are under crisis in the political environment, but also in the Church. Holy Mother Church has weathered many of these storms in the past. The Holy Spirit’s protection will prevail, but there is nothing in trusting in that protection which requires us to keep silence. Or not to pray.

The referenced article is entitled “A bizarre papal move.”  I think we can safely say that over the last three years concerns have been growing.  I am not saying I agree with everything he says, but I hope Cleansing Fire commenters will also reference articles they recommend — on both sides of the issue, and not simply hide out during the turmoil, or be fearful.  Christ clearly told us not to fear.  He also said “Be not anxious.”  Christ says this in 8 places in the New Testament … these exact words. And I think that is the spirit in which to seek information, discuss with brothers and sisters in the faith, and in which to pray. Eight references sounds more to me like a command than just a helpful suggestion.

My testimony and comment in reply to Royal’s article would be the following:  “We the Faithful (laity and clergy) have not been stupid for 2000 years, and we are not stupid today. Those who gave up so much for their faith, including their lives were not stupid either. We honor them too when we live the Gospel life.”  What do you think?


I intend to continue to embrace the words of St. Paul to the Galatians (Chapter 1; verses 6-12).  There is a reason that St. Paul, under the wings of the Holy Spirit, gave us these important words:


Gal 1:6     I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you

in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel–

Gal 1:7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you

and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Gal 1:8    But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you

a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.

Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you

a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed..


Gal 1:11

Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?Or am I trying to please men?

If  I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.


For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached

by me is not man’s gospel.

Gal 1:12 For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through

a revelation of Jesus Christ.


8 Responses to ““A bizarre papal move” by Robert Royal”

  1. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    In my car listening to the Station of the Cross radio program CALLING ALL CATHOLICS (about 5:30 pm on 9/16/16), it sounded like the program host was attempting to calm the fears of the caller who expressed concerns over the Pope’s letter to the Argentine Bishops. That priest’s perspective did not convince me (nor the caller).

    Has Church teaching been changed or not? How can this issue about welcoming people in irregular relationships and irregular marriages to reception of Holy Communion be only a pastoral matter and not doctrinal. Aren’t Church teachings/doctrine pastorally applied to our lives and lived out in the Church and society for the common good and the salvation of souls? This seems to be a doctrinal matter to me!

    While Msgr. Charles Pope exhorts the Church to find its spine so as to be able clearly and lovingly to teach and to apply truth to our increasely secularized society even at the cost of probable persecution, we now are confronted with this leaked letter written by the Holy Father. I, for one, need help in making sense of what Royal calls a bizzare papal move.

    Has any one read or heard any statements from Ramond Cardinal Burke or Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI regarding this matter?

  2. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Our beloved Cardinal Burke did make a statement earlier in the year asserting that Amoris Laetitia is merely a papal reflection which references the Holy Father’s own homilies. Therefore, reasons Cardinal Burke, the document is not magisterial teaching.
    “The Catholic Church, while insisting on the respect owed to the Petrine office as instituted by Our Lord himself, has never held that every utterance of the Successor of St. Peter should be received as part of her infallible magisterium,” Burke wrote.

    Cardinal Kaspar, however, asserts everything now has changed: “…. the Pope’s apostolic exhortation doesn’t change anything of church doctrine or of canon law – but it changes everything”.

    Burke would counter with what he already said: “The only key to the correct interpretation of Amoris Laetitia is the constant teaching of the Church and her discipline that safeguards and fosters this teaching.”

    Am I rigid, uncharitable and wanting no room for confusion?

    Alas, the Holy Father has said: “I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion. But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness, a Mother who, while clearly expressing her objective teaching, “always does what good she can, even if in the process her shoes get soiled by the mud of the street”

  3. raymondfrice says:

    I hope that,with all of the “infused knowledge” that appears on here, readers and staff don’t think that they are in the same class as St Paul. If this is the case, don’t get on any horses for a while.

  4. raymondfrice says:

    Taken from the St Benedict’s parish bulletin which encourages adult religious formation:
    G.I.F.T. for Adults

    Just as we no longer fit into the outfit we wore on the day of our first Holy Communion, our second grade understanding of our Catholic faith won’t fit our adult lives. We are continually invited to a deeper, more complete comprehension of our faith, and G.I.F.T. offers you some help on this journey.

  5. militia says:

    As far as I know there is no biblical verse which says Paul was riding a horse. And to that point, I see no evidence in these comments of anyone’s claiming to be “in the same class as St. Paul.” However, all of us in the Body of Christ — yes. St. Paul’s words in Galatians is great encouragement that we should not believe any teaching, no matter from whom, which contradicts the Bible or traditional Church Moral Teaching.

    Married in the Catholic Church, no annulment, divorced, ‘remarried’ — it’s adultery. Christ said so. That’s a mortal sin which must be repented. Until then, stay away from Communion and don’t make things worse through sacrilege. And if any are misled, especially by the magisterium or by other Catholics, let them be accursed … we don’t need to play Theological Twister to know the truth.

  6. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    It is challenging for me to learn that committed Catholic disciples of the Lord Jesus challenge the thinking, words and actions of the Catholic hierarchy. Yet, it is necessary to reflect upon those challenges because they might in fact facilitate clear headed thinking!

    So, beloved, here is another:

  7. annonymouse says:

    Raymond, I take it you’re referring to Cardinal Burke and his “second-grade understanding” of the faith, or is it St. John Paul II or Pope Benedict you’re referring to? All three have rather forcefully disagreed with the stance taken by the current pope.

    Or are you just referring to all the rest of us here on this site? I hope to someday have a grown-up understanding of the Faith – since I presume your post means you judge you already do, you should count yourself blessed indeed!

  8. raymondfrice says:

    annonymouse says:

    Generally when I am making an entry , I include myself as one of the intended audience. I don’t want to be the one with a ” beam ” in my eye.

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