William Doino on the Pope’s True Agenda

First Things just posted an excellent post by William Doino, “The Pope’s True Agenda.”   It is necessary reading, because it it is a well documented piece showing that Pope Francis doesn’t fit into any of the boxes partisans wish to put him in.  He is not a liberal, nor a conservative, but a Catholic.  Thank God for Bill Doino’s courage.

It strikes me as a bit ironic, especially among those concerned about orthodoxy, that even as people eschew labels and generalizations, they attempt to pigeonhole Francis.  I recently read a post by a well-known theologian, who while admitting he ordinarily argues against the use of labels, decided to use the tags “liberal” and “conservative” just one time in defense of Francis. 

I for one, have never argued that the labels are inappropriate in the concrete because they say something real.  There are liberals and conservatives who are Catholic, and attempt to bend the faith to their party.  This goes on all the time, and even those who say the labels are inappropriate do it.

This is really obvious when the social teaching of the Church comes up.  Both liberals and conservatives have to do a dance to get around the parts they don’t like.  It is the conservatives most of all who tend to be offended by the labels because they say they are for orthodoxy.  Yet the labels continue to be useful so long as peoples’ behavior does not change.

And it is not just the liberals, and conservatives.  There are other partisans, as we all know, who find their own excuses for sowing division.  Pope Francis is not averse to the give and take of public discourse.  He has called for the “conversion of the papacy” and has said:

It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization (32).

But he is fundamentally opposed to the sowing of discord.  This is why just yesterday in an interview he said, contrary to partisan views, the recent synod was not a parliament, and that while he had no problem with the content of the discussions being the subject of news, he did not agree (as a personal opinion) that the names of who said what ought to have been released.  I interpret this as meaning he did not wish to see the formation of parties fomented within the synod, or to give partisan journalists and bloggers fodder for their already loaded canons.

Lest I be misunderstood, I must say once again that for me all this really does not touch upon the question of what Catholics are obliged to believe and what they may legitimately discuss.  This has much more to do with the phenomenon of the information highway.  Even for those who do not read blogs, news is instantaneously and information is regularly filtered through sources who can hardly be said to be objective.  (I will treat of the problem of the Internet in the next post).  It seems to me that there is much more heat than light in the new information democracy, and narratives are created and repeated that are too convenient for the agendas of the creators not be be seriously questioned.  In my opinion Pope Francis’ repeated warnings against ideology are entirely warranted.

Perhaps everyone should calm down and read the Encyclical of Four Hands and Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter in a prayerful and trusting way.  Perhaps we need to confidently entrust Pope Francis’ ministry, which he has received from the Lord, to the Immaculate Virigin.  But I believe, most importantly, that we also need to entrust our own lives to Her as well, so that at the heart of the Church we might work to build in God’s way, rather than tear down in man’s.

12 thoughts on “William Doino on the Pope’s True Agenda

  1. But is the Pope acting like a Catholic? I cannot understand some of his gestures. When Pope Francis reportedly told the mufti twice that they must together adore the Lord, then turned toward the direction that represents the Kaaba and prayed, was he doing what Catholics do?

    I believe that the Pope is orthodox because Jesus said that He had prayed for Peter that His faith not fail, and the Father always hears and answers Jesus’ prayers. If I didn’t have that, however, I’d be somewhat concerned.

    • This Holy Father appears to walk in the footsteps of Christ, and illuminates God’s greatest attribute: mercy.

      Numerous books are being written on this topic:
      “The Church of Mercy” Pope Francis
      “A year of Mercy with Pope Francis” daily reflections.
      “Divine Mercy -A Guide from Genesis to Benedict XVI” Stack pole
      John Paul II: The Great Mercy Pope Kosicki

      Pope Francis is our third ‘Mercy Pope’. He shows us by deeds, words, and prayer what mercy looks like….we would know paradise on earth if we would do the same!

      Ave Maria!

    • If it isn’t true that the Pope prayed facing Mecca, then this is not so big a deal. But even if three Popes in a row have prayed facing Mecca (and I don’t think that that’s accurate), it still is not the way Christians pray. My question is: Did the Pope propose praying in a Mosque facing Mecca? If he did, this does not seem like a small deal. I would rather be put to death than engage in the scandal of facing Mecca to pray.

  2. I agree, Marie. Pope Benedict provided theological clarity, and Pope Francis is showing us through his actions how to bring this message to the world. Truth is never truth apart from love, and love is never love apart from truth… Love must come first for the truth to be heard ~ I think this is what Pope Francis is living and teaching. I also think that the two Popes are beautiful complements of one another, and how beautiful it is that Pope Emerites Benedict is still alive to work in unison with Pope Francis.

    • Forgive me…but I’m not sure you understood my meaning, because I did not understand yours: Pope Francis, by his examples, even through the most recent Synod, is showing the world what mercy looks like; mercy is different from love in the respect that mercy is interested in alleviating the suffering of others, whether it be physical or spiritual. Mercy, through deeds, words, and prayer helps restore souls who might otherwise be left in the quagmire of their sins, or left to carry their own physical and emotional crosses.
      Mercy is not the creation of man and all that was given to him. That’s called love. Mercy is the promise of the Redeemer and His Mother after the Fall. Mercy is our Lady’s Fiat. Mercy is the Incarnation, the birth of the Infant. Mercy is Christ teaching everyone about God the Father…all types of healings….Mercy is the Passion! Mercy is the Holy Sacrifice offered daily for our continuous sins and weaknesses.
      Mercy restored all of mankind to the dignity and freedom that he was intended to possess from the beginning of time.
      Mercy is stepping outside comfort zones for the sake of others…for the love of God…who wants us all to live with Him in heaven for all eternity.

      We are called “to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect”….and if mercy is His greatest attribute then we have “our agenda”.

      Pope Francis is mercy in action….his “agenda” is to shepherd us into heaven.

      (Stepping off soapbox…) 🙂

      Ave Maria!

  3. Father, I wholeheartedly thank you for this post: have been trying to tell pretty much the same, seeing how people repeat/repost the headlines which suite their preconceived notions, without too much effort to actually read or listen – and understand what and why the Pope himself has been saying, getting all worked up for no reason – or for all the wrong reasons, citing their concern for the orthodoxy of the Church, as if the Holy Father were a threat to it, to be set straight by and any Jack and Jane about which way the Church ought to be going and what God’s will is in this respect, so much so one is left to wonder if perhaps these aren’t some crypto-Protestants. As to God’s greatest attribute being mercy (Marie), Thomas Aquinas reminds us it’s both mercy AND justice, if I understand him correctly (I think I do), “God acts mercifully, not indeed by going against His justice, but by doing something more than justice; thus a man who pays another two hundred pieces of money, though owing him only one hundred, does nothing against justice, but acts liberally or mercifully. The case is the same with one who pardons an offence committed against him, for in remitting it he may be said to bestow a gift. Hence the Apostle calls remission a forgiving: ‘Forgive one another, as Christ has forgiven you’ (Ephesians 4:32). Hence it is clear that mercy does not destroy justice, but in a sense is the fulness thereof. And thus it is said: “Mercy exalteth itself above judgment” (James 2:13).” (Summa Theologica, I, Question 21, Article 3)

    • Thank you for mentioning St. Thomas’ valid point of God being both merciful and just. Saint Thomas is one of the many saints discusssed in the book, “Divine Mercy – A Guide from Genesis to Benedict XVI”.
      My comments above on God’s infinite mercy were not meant to discount God’s infinite justice. My comments were made merely to display to others that our present Holy Father is showing the world by his examples, by his leadership, that he is following the path of mercy; the premire virtue, as far as I am concerned.
      There are far too many Catholics complaing about our Vicar on Earth….and that is probably because they don’t read Scripture enough with the eyes of God…or pray with the intention of knowing God’s Will. It’s an unwillingness to trust in God (we’ve not learned much since Adam and Eve…).

      We are a world filled with ‘brokenness’ through our sins, through ignorance, through indifference to love God and those around us.
      Pope Francis sees this brokenness and wishes to see all of us, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, brought as close to God as possible through the virtues of love and mercy.
      **’Aquinas defined the virtue of ‘mercy’ in his Summa Theologiae as “the compassion in our hearts for another person’s misery, a compassion which drives us to do what we can to hep him (ST II-II.30.1).**

      I am afraid that my studies on the virtue of mercy is quite limited so I hope that I have not made any blunders.

      The book mentioned above lists a small number of saints who speak on Divine Mercy: Saints Augustine, Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Francis, Bonaventure, John Eudes, Margaret Mary, Alphosus Liguori, Therese of Lisieux, Faustina, Pope John Paul II.

      We all need to read Holy Scripture with the light of God more, especially the Gospels, then compare what we learn to what we see in Rome!
      Union with God = great joy!! And Pope Francis drips of it!!!! 🙂

      Ave Maria!

  4. Pope Francis is a false prophet and is freemason socialist. It is so hard for me to understand how people can be so decieved by him especially good people in the Church. I have lost count of all the heretical statements he has uttered. He is in favor of gay unions, demoted Cardinal Burke, is actively destroying the Catholic religion by catering to heretics and schismatics. One of his greatest goals is to form a one World Religion and eliminate the Eucharist. Please beware of this evil man who is a close friend of the antichrist. We as Catholics are no obliged to follow a heretical antipope. Please remember the true pope is still Pope Benedict and Francis is an unholy imposter.

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