Sunday, February 21, 2016

Fr. Z Smashes Urban Legend, Critic Socci Hears From Pope BIG UPDATE

UPDATE: Rubbergate and Aviate elevated to Big Deal After All.

Antonio Socci's most recent book The Last Prophecy, is quite critical of Pope Francis. In fact, in one book, He Is Not Francis, Socci questioned whether Jorge Bergoglio was validly elected, a position he has since abandoned.

Socci sent a copy of The Last Prophecy to the Pope. The Pope sent him a thank you letter back, saying he had begun reading the book.

It said, in part, "In reality, critics help Us also, to walk in the right way of the Lord."

You can read all about it at Eponymous Flower, although take their translation slowly and carefully.

Another item the Bear thought he read there, was that after the televised signing of the joint agreement in Cuba between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis tried to renege? The Bear always thought the document was more Patriarch Kirill than Pope Francis. If indeed Pope Francis tried to renege, then the Bear's search fu is weak, because he cannot find a separate story.


On the plane, clearly suffering the effects of hypoxia or other condition that affects one's intellectual faculties, Pope Francis repeated an urban legend that nuns in war torn areas in Africa were allowed to use contraceptives under Pope Paul VI. (Variations ascribe it to Pope John Paul II and nuns in Bosnia.)

Fr. Zuhlsdorf throughly demolishes Pope Francis' statement. It never happened, not under Popes Paul VI or John Paul II. Pope Francis must have heard it from someone, and believed it, unless a bad adviser took advantage of his credulity. Anyway, the Pope said it, no one will see the correction (if there is one) so the falsehood is perpetuated. It is really inexcusable when the Pope gives out bad dope to justify once again turning the perception of Church teachings upside down. See also excellent and thorough article by the Hound.

This is bad.

Even worse, since it has devolved upon Vatican spin doctors to correct the Pope's mistakes, Fr. Federico Lombardi (who is supposed to be leaving -- now please?) repeated the urban legend and confirmed the Pope was talking about contraception. And the decision should be left to the almighty, impartial conscience.

This officially makes it A BIG DEAL.

Even Crux's John Allen (as of February 20) is now on board with the truth: that it was speculative moral theology published in a Catholic journal in 1961. However, the headline reads: "Pope Takes the Classic Vatican Approach on Contraception and Zika." As if the Pope can pick Coke Classic Church teachings, or New Coke Church Teachings, depending on what he feels like.

The Latin American bishops have taken the lead in pushing back on Francis' comment.

Meanwhile, however, the press reading more like Crux's original headline from the 18th: "Pope Francis Signals Openness to Birth Control for Zika Virus." 

This is what most people will believe, and how many priests will set them straight? This is a disaster. You reach a point where just because the Pope has not officially changed a Church doctrine, he has effectively done so. So sure, nothing's changed, except now everybody believes the use of contraceptives is up to everyone's conscience as long as it is "the lesser of two evils," whatever that may be.

  • If Condoms are Okay for Zika, Why Not Aids, Pope Francis? -- The Guardian
  • Pope Francis Condones Contraception With Zika Virus Threat -- NPR
  • Pope Suggests Contraceptives Okay to Slow Zika -- CNN
  • Francis Says Contraception Can Be Used to Slow Zika -- NY Times
  • Pope Suggests Contraception Can Be Condoned in Zika Crisis -- USA Today
  • Pope Francis Suggests Contraception Can Be Acceptable in Regions Hit By Zika Virus -- Wall Street Journal
  • Pope Francis Suggests Contraception Could be Permissible in Zika Fight -- Washington Post
  • In Zika Outbreak, Contraceptives May Be "Lesser Evil" Pope Says -- Catholic News Service
  • Pope Francis Suggests Tolerance for Contraceptives in Zika Crisis -- CBS News
  • Pope Says Contraceptives May Be the "Lesser of Two Evils" During Zika Virus Outbreak -- ABC News

Once again, damn the press for accurately reporting what Pope Francis said.

Why not AIDS indeed? Or we just can't afford another child, so contraception is the lesser of two evils for us, right? See, all those priests who were saying contraception was a matter of conscience were right all along. Pope

Francis has squeezed the contraception toothpaste out of the tube and how, pray, will we ever put it back?

The lesser of two evils: the Pope
handcuffed to his first class seat.
And where do we find the doctrine of "the lesser of two evils?" The Bear is a graduate of the Bavarian Culinary Equestrian School of Theology (Class of 73  -- 1573) and he does not remember the "lesser of two evils" doctrine. It sounds like folk theology. As the Bear recalls, one can perform an act that may result in harm, if there is no intent to cause evil, but it is an unavoidable effect of the licit act. A double effect, if you will. For example, a pregnant woman may have an operation to save her life, even though it will kill the baby. Say, an ectopic pregnancy.

Now the Bear is reaching back five centuries, so his memory may be flawed. But, does our dear old St. Thomas Aquinas say that one may perform a positive evil in order to achieve a good? Bear thinks not, but he is only a Bear. Further education would be welcome.

If our wife should ask us, "Does this dress make me look fat?" would St. Thomas approve of us lying in order to keep the peace and avoid hurting her feelings? What would Honest Abe do?


  1. It is not so much the DVT, but the pulmonary emboli that come after the DVT which are to be feared. Pulmonary emboli--> hypoxia and cardiac strain->death.

    1. In case your wondering, DVT was post-edited out due to length of the article given new material.

  2. Avoid air travel? - Impossible! He so loves giving interviews!

  3. DVT, hey? Is that also what's causing so many airline passengers to become drunk and unruly, and urinate in the aisles these days? You might be onto something there, Bear.

  4. Replies
    1. Socci is now covered. I accidentally posted as my batter ran out of juice. It was late, I was sleepy, and didn't want to go downstairs to get the power cord. That's right. That's the slipshod way we Bears operate. If a problem cannot be solved by biting or smashing, it gets put on the back burner.

    2. "If a problem cannot be solved by biting or smashing, it gets put on the back burner." Bear, I think you and I are related!

    3. Well, let's find out. Are you a Bear? If you don't know, look in a mirror and see if you are covered with corse hair, have long claws, stand about 8 feet tall, and can crush a man's skull with your jaws.

    4. Maybe he thinks you're Yogi Berra?

  5. "What would Honest Abe do?"

    -- He would destroy the Constitution and invade the South. When you're Honest Abe, it's just what you do.

  6. Why bless this old Bear's Copperhead soul! Another Lincoln hater. Somewhere I've got some agitprop I did off the movie Abe Lincoln: Zombie Killer. It was "Abe Lincoln: American Killer" with the number 600,000 -- the number killed in the Civil War. And yes, Honest Abe did suspend habeas corpus -- HABEAS CORPUS -- of all things! The fundamental guarantee that you will not be locked up in a very dark place and forgotten about. I'll dig it out and post it for fun. The Bear operated in Southern Illinois, which just barely stayed in the Union. He would have got Grant in Cairo, but he was well protected and Bears are averse to firearms. This is not the place to go into his other exploits, which, if spread about would even today put the Bear in jeopardy.

    The Bear wonders what Dr. McClarey would think of this! Three lawyers arguing about Lincoln.

  7. If our wife should ask us, "Does this dress make me look fat?" would St. Thomas approve of us lying in order to keep the peace and avoid hurting her feelings? What would Honest Abe do?

    Gee, I don't know! Maybe we should ask Mark "I cannot tell a lie, even to save the life of an unborn baby or a Jew hiding from the Nazis" Shea, who seems to have gotten a bit tight-lipped about his wonderful boyfriend in the Vatican lately.

  8. I thought, according to Fr. Z, that this was just a meaningless airplane comment.

    1. I thought so too. If "meaningless" means does not change Church doctrine, then, yes, it was meaningless.

      But if repeating a false rumor to the press, and having your henchman back in Rome confirm what, at that point, can only be called a "lie," AND using it as precedent for a confused application of moral theology that seems to justify rubbers because they are "the lesser of two evils," AND furthermore drags the individual "conscience" into the picture, the very same dodge used by pro-contraception confessors since day one of Humanae Vitae,

      SINCE this confused mess is broadcast to every Catholic in the world, they will take away from this unholy pas de deux that IF their NEED -- whatever the human imagination may conceive, e.g. too young for children, too old for children, not ready for children, already have a child, too poor for children, etc. -- is a GREATER EVIL than CONTRACEPTION, their CONSCIENCE having rubber stamped the decision informed by their self-interest,

      they are now, in the Bergoglio-Lombardi reformulation of the Church teaching on contraception, ALLOWED to use contraception.

      It is RIDICULOUS to say that when the POPE says something specific on a particular doctrine, and his SPOKESMAN follows up with an official statement, that this exercise is MEANINGLESS. Sorry, but the Church is, in fact, TEACHING, and teaching serious moral error.

      Now you can say it's not "official," or "magisterial," or "infallible," or whatever you want, but the bald fact remains people will rely on THEIR POPE. They reasonably believe him to be stating the truth when he opens his yap.

      It is NOT MEANINGLESS at all. It is the Pope of Rome teaching serious moral error to his adoring sheep, which is perfectly foreseeable.

      I would go further. This Pope has time and again proved himself incapable of avoiding error in his interviews. He has no excuse for not knowing this. THEREFORE, microphones are a near occasion of sin for Pope Francis. He WILL mislead Catholics EVERY TIME he gives an off-the-cuff interview. Knowing that, it is likely a SIN to indulge the delights of his ego. He should have the SELF-DISCIPLINE to remain up front and ignore the reporters. If he proves unable to do so, his security detail should HANDCUFF the Pope to his seat in first class, BECAUSE

      that would be the LESSER of TWO EVILS :-)

    2. I know. I see from your latest post you take a different view now.

      Of course none of this is meaningless. If it were, then Fr. Z would need to edit his entire blog and remove all of the laudable things Benedict (or Francis) said in less formal settings. Then he'd need to revisit the reading Francis through Benedict hermeneutic, which was an early sign of a spin doctor trying to refashion the terrible reality.

      I find Fr. Z disingenuous. Have for a long time.

  9. ABS believes Honest Abe got his nickname for the same reason a 400 lb mobster gets the nickname, Tiny.

    And, like a mobster's thoughts towards those he extorted, Abe did not give a damn about the slaves in the south (see his first inaugural) but he DID demand the south pay him for his protection racket, or else he'd rough-up the south.

    OK, sorry, Bear; that was a tangential hijack but ABS hates all tyrannical, state sovereignty slayers.

    1. Glad to see the Bear is somehow attracting despisers of ol' Abe.


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