Post 178

Please Shut It Off: An Examination of
JHW's “Plea to the Pope”

I have been reviewing the transcript version of LifeSiteNews’ video from July, entitled “Plea to the Pope.” Sixteen speakers express themselves.

What a mess.

At the bottom I give a link if you want to watch this train wreck for yourself.

As for the full names and credentials of these home-video people, you can find those on LifeSiteNews (if you care). I will point out that great trouble is taken there and elsewhere to convince us that all sixteen of these speakers are Really Important Folks. Someone has a Ph.D., and someone is a professor. Someone is a priest, and someone is a deacon. And hey, looksee here: Schneider is an auxiliary bishop! From where? Uh, beats me! Oh let’s see, um, some place in Kazakhstan. Okay. And so on and so on.

(I don’t have anything against Kazakhstan, except that it’s got an ‘h’ where you don’t expect it.)

And in the big picture, it’s probably better for me to use just the surnames. In addition to the fact that the participants know who they are, and the rest of us don’t really care, the day will soon come when all sixteen people will regret what they said.

So here’s what they said.

Video Theme #1: “I pray for the Pope.”

BUCKLEY: I pray regularly for the Holy Father.
MCCUSKER: We really do pray for the Holy Father, but…
NOELL: I would like to say, first of all, that ever since the Holy Father was elected Pope, I have been praying for him. He has been a perpetual intention for me every single day…as I mentioned, for whom I pray every single day…
NOLLAND: So I pray for them…
SMEATON: And I pray for you every day, Holy Father.
STARK: Firstly, number one, I have to say that I pray for him daily, absolutely daily, because I realize the position that he is in, and…
WESTEN: I pray for him every day.

Alright. Prayerful folks, hey? NOLLAND, an “Evangelical Anglican,” says she prays for Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury. That’s nice. Some announce that they pray daily but STARK says he prays “absolutely daily.” Alrighty. Do you believe all of them? I don’t believe JHW. But just so you know, all this praying talk is typical for Christian backstabbers. It’s what they say before they knife you.
Gold medal for most nauseating version goes to STARK. He says he realizes the position that Pope Francis is in. Really? Do you have ANY idea what it is like to be Pope?
Silver medal goes to NOELL. (That’s just way too much drama about prayers.)
Bronze medal goes to SMEATON.

Video Theme #2: “ I love the Pope.” “I love the papacy.”

CLOVIS: One thing as a Catholic that I have always appreciated is that clarity with which Holy Mother Church speaks, and in particular, the successor of Peter, our Holy Father the pope. As a Catholic, I love the pope. We Catholics love the Pope, because as St. Catherine of Siena said, ‘He is sweet Jesus on earth for us.’ . . . And we love you very much, Holy Father.
MCCRYSTAL: I love you, I love your papacy, I love your office
MCCUSKER: Being an English Catholic, the papacy is very important because many of our martyrs died for the papacy, and we have great reverence for the papacy. What we have always found over many centuries is that the papacy is a rock of the truth, of clarity, leading us to Christ.
WESTEN: I love the Holy Father.

Alright. Are you feeling the LOVE? I’m not entirely sure that I do, especially not from JHW. But anyway, the gold medal for gag goes to CLOVIS, and the silver goes to MCCUSKER. MCCRYSTAL gets a bronze.

Video Theme #3: I’m an awesome Catholic, just so you know.

BAYER: And I wrote to you. I wanted to come and see you. I wanted you to meet our family and to show you, on the ground level, how our families live, what are the deep concerns — deep in our souls — and [the concerns] of the so many Catholic families who are living heroic and good wholesome lives . . . And I want to tell you, personally. I want you to meet our children with Down’s syndrome. We want you to meet our little girl who is deaf and who has severe heart defects. We want you to meet our psychiatrically disturbed son and our daughter and our grandchildren. And you know, when I wrote to you Holy Father, I was prepared — and my darling husband was prepared — to take a mortgage out on our home to come. That’s what we wanted to do. We would sell everything off to come to Santa Martha, to meet you, personally, and to present our family to you as an example of the many families who are suffering around the world, living courageous lives and who love their faith.
BUCKLEY: In the words of our Holy Father, ‘I am a son of the Church.’
CLOVIS: Some 34 years ago, I was ordained a deacon in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. And I remember very clearly the Archbishop giving me the Scriptures and saying, ‘Believe what you read, preach what you believe, and practice what you preach.’ This has always remained with me.
DE MATTEI: As a historian, and as a simple baptized man . . .

The gold medal obviously goes to martyr BAYER, who describes her family as if they were medical specimens, and who seems to believe she’s holding up the entire Catholic civilization by her heroic mothering virtue. If I were in Pope Francis’ shoes, and I saw this Bayer lady coming to see me with her “darling husband,” then I would run the other way. Silver medal for CLOVIS’ pointless something or other. Who cares where you were ordained? Bronze goes to BUCKLEY — how icky it is to quote Pope Francis when you are participating in a video which slams him.

Video Theme #4: Amoris Laetitia is problematic

a) It causes confusion; it is unclear

BUCKLEY: But I have to expressed grave concern about the new Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, which is causing confusion…What I see now is that there will be grave confusion between which one is the more correct. What I see is confusion, rather than anything else.
LEYDS: …due to a lack of clearness in some of the footnotes in Amoris Laetitia, we are back at this first council.
MCCRYSTAL: …the ambiguity of Amoris Laetitia…
SCHNEIDER: …the topic which is now causing very much confusion in the Church after the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, [namely] on the topic of the admittance of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion.
STARK: And now we have an important Church document, the Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, which seems to be open to several interpretations, which can be read through several so-called hermeneutics. I think this is a problem because we had Church documents in the past, for example, Familiaris Consortio, which was crystal clear, as, for instance, the documents from the Council of Trent were crystal clear. The faithful really don’t know whom they should follow or whose interpretation they should follow.

b) It increases sin, or does other grave damage

DE MATTEI: The evidence is that the last pontifical document, the Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, is a document which has catastrophic consequences . . . I see the concrete consequences in the life of the Church. And the terrible impact of this document is that many souls are today in a deep crisis of conscience. There is the possibility that a great number of souls will lose their eternal life.
NOELL: We see the effects this has in society when, given this circumstance — this situation that the West certainly finds itself in — (enter stage right) Amoris Laetitia is brought onto the scene. Instead of receiving what we would hope to find, a buttressing and strengthening of the sacred institutions of holy matrimony and marriage and the family, we see something like gasoline being thrown on the fire.
SMEATON: What he has written is justifying adulterous acts. We are already hearing of couples who, on the basis of what you have written, Holy Father, have decided to give up their heroic virtue and fall into objective mortal sin, and to come forward to receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ. I know of Catholics, as I am sure many Catholics know . . . who have been deserted by their spouse, who has gone on to live in an adulterous second union, and they’re left with the children, or perhaps left without the children. But the children, now, and on the basis of what you have written in Amoris Laetitia, they see the mother and father who have deserted the family nest going to Holy Communion. What message does that send to them about the indissolubility of marriage? It sends them the message that marriage is not indissoluble at all.

c) It didn’t say enough in praise of big families

VOLLMER: And I think in the Joy of Love [Amoris Laetitia], which our Holy Father has spoken so beautifully about, not enough was said about the joy of the big family.

d) It was inaccurate

MCCUSKER: This is why it is so difficult for so many people when we see misleading statements, even erroneous statements, in Amoris Laetitia and in other documents.
WESTEN: In the Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, he writes that the Catholic Church has in marriage preparation almost an exclusive focus on procreation to the exclusion of unity and love within a marriage. I don’t know about you, but I know lots of people who have gone through marriage preparation. [They tell me:] ‘When do they mention procreation, ever?’ And this loss of touch with reality, the reality of what is actually going on in the Church, is one of the most concerning things I see.

e) It didn’t mention parents in the part about sexual education

WARD: Many sections later, section 280, separate and almost distinct from the real issue of sexual education we learn this: Number 280 – there is an emphasis on psychological aspects, educationalists, teachers, but there is no mention of parents. And this is in a section headed, ‘The need for sexual education’ The document says that the institutions have failed. But still, it makes no mention of parents.

Clearly, the worst thing that you can say about a document of the Church is that the document will lead people into sin, and cost people their souls. To blame Pope Francis for writing something which would have this effect is extreme. The medals for this section must go to the speakers under 4 (b). The words in this vein really do appall; the contest here is almost too close to call. But I’ll say the gold medal for the most hellish claims goes to SMEATON. The silver goes to DE MATTEI (“the evidence is” ?!) and the bronze goes to Mr. Stage Right, NOELL.

The second worst thing you can say is to say that it is erroneous. Both MCCUSKER and WESTEN have made that claim. WESTEN says the document is out of touch with reality.

Video Theme #5: The Pope is not okay. He is lacking in virtue or insight AND/OR he is doing or saying the wrong thing(s) AND/OR he is failing to do the right thing(s).

BAYER: Holy Father, there are so many things during your pontificate that have troubled our souls. The ambiguous statements that we read, the confusion that we see on a daily basis, it hurts us deeply. And we want to know personally from you, is it the media, is it people behind you [who twist your words], because we can’t believe that our beloved Holy Father, doesn’t say ‘this,’ or says ‘that.’
CLOVIS: In the last two years, things have become very difficult for us Catholics, because, Holy Father, you have not been speaking clearly and have left much confusion, much concern among the faithful, who have only one desire: to love God above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves – and this for the sake of our salvation.
SMEATON: How is it possible to reconcile what you have written with the teaching of the Church, with a tradition of the Church? This is — and I say this with great reverence — a grave error.
SMITH: I think one of the things that I am most concerned about when I look at this papacy and Pope Francis . . . I think that some of the statements that he has been making are causing incredible confusion, almost scandal, within the laity. And I look just to families that I am dealing with in the work that I do – in the marriage and family work that I am involved with. You hear stories all the time of our young children, our teenagers, being totally confused by the comments that are coming out of the Vatican, coming out from Pope Francis himself.
STARK: We are facing a quite complicated situation in the Church right now, because our Holy Father says and does things that create a lot of confusion amongst the faithful.
WESTEN: Right from the beginning of Pope Francis’ reign we found some very difficult things to deal with, particularly as the pro-life movement. There’s been a lot of ambiguity, purposeful ambiguity, leaving things open so that there is confusion. And I think that it does a great deal of harm. You have this scenario where people start to wonder what exactly the teaching is. This is a horror – that Catholics, who believe and love the faith, are now confused on the fundamentals of the faith in these areas where the teaching means life or death, and I don’t mean only physical life or death; it means eternal life or death. In the Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, he writes that … And this loss of touch with reality, the reality of what is actually going on in the Church, is one of the most concerning things I see. And I [raise these concerns] out of great love for the Church. But we need to work for Christ and his truth. And I need to defend my own family, and [statements he has made are] a threat to the faith of my children.

By far and away, the most problematic attacks upon Pope Francis on this video come from WESTEN. He accuses the Pope of “purposeful ambiguity.” He seems to say that the Pope intends to cause confusion, with the implied result that souls are therefore in jeopardy of eternal death. He says he’s going to guard his family against the statements of the Pope. Alrighty. Gold medal for you, WESTEN. Gold medal for most disparaging remarks against Pope Francis. Silver medal for SMITH and bronze for SMEATON.

Video Theme #6: The world is in trouble

MCCUSKER: Today, when the family is under such great attack from national governments and International organizations, we need…
NOELL: We see that the family is under attack. It is in a state of crisis. We know that the family is the basic cell of society. When the basic sell of society becomes rotten, it drags all of society down with it.
NOLLAND: The Pope as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury are facing huge challenges from the pan-sexual revolution. I think they are trying their best, [but] I am very worried about what they are not saying, particularly about how we are losing freedom of conscience, number one. Number two, we are not addressing the LGBT agenda, I think, in the best way. And, [number three,] we don’t seem to be aware of how this revolution is taking over the entire West . . .
SMITH: But, I do feel that he needs to be more explicit because of the climate that he is in.

Video Theme #7: The Church is in trouble; good and faithful Catholics are suffering or will suffer

DE MATTEI: In my opinion, we live in a very difficult moment, perhaps one of the most dramatic moments in the history of the Church. The problem is serious because the current crisis is within the Church itself…the spiritual life of souls is today in great danger.
MCCRYSTAL: There are thousands, if not millions, of souls whose faith is like a bruised reed, a flickering flame.
MCCUSKER: In these difficult times, when we look towards Rome and see confusion, and we don’t see any longer a clear profession of our faith, it is very disconcerting for very many people.
SCHNEIDER: We are living in a very special time of a deep crisis of faith inside the Church. It is not a secret. It is very evident. A lot of people, the simple faithful, are suffering because of the situation of confusion.
SMITH: Things [such as] homosexuality is just a lifestyle, the divorce issue, and divorced couples receiving Holy Communion. This is very confusing for young people who have been brought up in the faith, whose parents have done the best that they can two impart the faith to their children, and then to have this kind of confusion coming from [the top], and many times it’s been passed on through the pulpit.
STARK: …this confusion that we have amongst the Catholic faithful.

Gold medal for annoying drama goes to DE MATTEI. Silver goes to MCCRYSTAL and bronze goes to SCHNEIDER.

Video Theme #8: The Pope needs to DO something.

BAYER: We want you to tell us personally. Can you do that for us, Holy Father? Please.
BUCKLEY: What I would like to see is that the current exhortation should be withdrawn in favor of the original one, Familiaris Consortio, which really says everything we need to know.
CLOVIS: And what we ask, especially with this Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, we ask for clarity, for certainty in what we believe. We ask for confirmation of the Church’s perennial teaching, not just the Church’s teaching, but what Christ himself has said to us . . . And so, I beseech you Holy Father, for our salvation, for the salvation of each and every little one — for the little ones — to give us again the clarity and the certainty of what Our Lord Jesus Christ has given to the apostles and to us for the sake of the salvation of our souls. And we, all of us throughout the world . . . ask you to be a father to us.
MCCRYSTAL: I plead with you to clarify the ambiguity of Amoris Laetitia for the sake of the salvation of souls. God bless you.
MCCUSKER: . . . and request of the Holy Father great clarity in teaching, that we can all be led into the joy of the truth and into the joy of living in accordance with the truth.
SCHNEIDER: It is very urgent that the Pope states more clearly, in a very unambiguous manner — in such a manner which will not leave any space for misinterpretations . . . It’s urgent that our Holy Father Pope Francis may issue or may order that the Holy See may issue a very precise, unambiguous declaration clarifying that it is impossible — and against the uninterrupted and unchangeable doctrine and practice of the Church [and] it is against the word of God to destroy with one strike three sacraments — [to] admit the divorce to holy communion without demanding of them continence and serious conversion.
SMEATON: And I beg you to withdraw it. I shall be writing to my own local bishop to the same effect. And I will be asking everybody I know to do the same. Because, I think that this is, arguably, the worst thing that has happened in the history of the Church. But you can change that.
STARK: I would ask the Holy Father to make clear what the Church teaching is, to make clear that the Church teaching can’t be changed. And, the Holy Father should say that the Church teaching has been the same [since] Our Lord Jesus Christ founded it.
VOLLMER: We need a lot of leadership from the top. We need leadership to teach, to show, young people who are founding families how to found them, how to make a solid basis for [them], and particularly — something which is absolutely being lost — the joy of big families. And I think that we need our hierarchy, particularly our bishops, and after them our priests, to speak to couples, and to warn them of the dangers of the contraceptive mentality . . .

So this is, at the end of the day, a video with sixteen people, who lack consensus about what, exactly, they want Pope Francis to do.

It seems to me that this is a critical piece of the puzzle; wouldn’t you agree? If, after all, the video does not, with one voice, identify what action needs to be taken, then the video is nothing more than a disordered Whine.

If you want something to change, then identify, clearly, what you want to change.

Instead, we have 16 voices but not much overlap as to solutions.

Only 9 of the speakers have a plan, a vision or a request. From what I can see, WESTEN does not request anything of the Pope. Instead, he just talks in generalities about what he, JHW, is going to do. (“But we need to work for Christ and his truth. And I need to defend my own family…”)

I see.

The video is called a “plea” but he does not plead for anything. He just complains and attacks.

As for those who state what they want (clearly or vaguely) BUCKLEY and SMEATON want the Amoris Laetitia to be withdrawn, and CLOVIS, MCCUSKER, MCCRYSTAL, SCHNEIDER and STARK want, it seems, another document or verbal declaration from the Pope. CLOVIS annoys me greatly by presuming to speak to the Pope on behalf of the world. Man! I’m not exactly sure what BAYER wants; she seems to want a hug. VOLLMER is on her own single-issue planet, but I must say I found BUCKLEY, who is over there sulking in the corner, rather amusing. He’s wondering why the Synod was called in the first place: “It’s all the more difficult to understand why these synods were necessary when I think that there already was a perfectly good Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, which was written by John Paul II.” Ha ha! Yeah, just go back to sleep.

Gold medal for most unclear request for clarity (yes, it is ironic) goes to MCCUSKER; STARK gets the silver, and the bronze goes to MCCRYSTAL.

How stupid, that a video called “A Plea to the Pope” leaves the viewer wondering what exactly they are pleading for. Certainly, I see very little unity or clarity.

Final Medal Count, When More is Definitely Not Better:

BAYER: gold (3 points)
BUCKLEY: bronze (1 point)
CLOVIS: gold, silver (5 points)
DE MATTEI:silver, gold (5 points)
MCCRYSAL: bronze, silver, bronze (4 points)
MCCUSKER: silver, gold (5 points)
NOELL: silver, bronze (3 points)
SCHNEIDER: bronze (1 point)
SMEATON: bronze, gold, bronze (5 points)
SMITH: silver (2 points)
STARK: gold, silver (5 points)
WESTON: gold (3 points)

So I suppose you could call it an award-winning video!

What a disaster. They shouldn’t have bothered.

Link to transcript version of the video:

Here’s a link to the video:
And, for those who want to reduce the suffering, here’s a link to the short version: