Catholic Culture Podcasts
Catholic Culture Podcasts

Feedback: the campaign to silence the Pope

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 20, 2009

 Every week one Commentary essay sparks the greatest number of messages from our readers. This week it was my piece, "The Mounting Campaign to Silence the Pope."

I was pleased to note that most readers (but certainly not all) agreed with the main thrust of my argument, and many picked up on the fact that the nastiest criticism of Pope Benedict is coming from within the Church. Here's a sampling; this week I thought it would be interesting to mention where our reader-correspondents live.

Charles Rodrigues of Melbourne, Australia wrote:

I agree with the Pope that all the money spent on condoms and all the condoms available will not stop the spread of AIDS. It calls for a change of attitude and a change of life style that will break the scourge of aids.

It is a question of honesty! Will a loving husband suffering from AIDS insist on having sex with his wife, knowing full well that he will be the cause of his wife contracting aids through his selfish motives? Is it not wise and responsible for anyone suffering from aids to have the respect and decency of abstaining from sex in order to stop this deadly epidemic? Is it beyond human expectation in such circumstances to refrain from sex and preventing the spread of aids?

The risks of contracting aids are too dangerous for those who have aids to contemplate having sex without a sense of guilt. The Pope's call for the practice of fidelity and abstinence especially of those suffering from aids is sound advice. Besides, the Pope is speaking out to Catholics and providing steady guidance to his flock.

Fr. John P. Harrington of Braintree, Massachusetts, looked at the philosophical basis of the argument:

The natural moral law is not an article of faith but a principle of reason accessible to all human beings by virtue of their rational nature. They transcend historical circumstances because they derive as our Founding Fathers affirmed from the "laws of nature and of natures God." The Pope is simply-- albeit heroically given the moral confusion of the times-- articulating these fundamental principles of the human person. The world, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, look to the Roman Pontiff for moral and spiritual guidance on the major questions of the day. He therefore has the right and the duty to pronounce the wisdom of the Church's judgment on these profoundly important moral questions. Not to do so would leave the faithful as well those aspiring faithful at the mercy of the powers of secular humanism.

In the Gospel of John 15: 18-20 Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior instructed his disciples: "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you..."

Another Massachusetts resident, Patricia Samodelov of Quincy, has some doubts:

Seems logical that ANY step taken that might reduce AIDS should be considered. While not practicing birth control for well to do westerners seems logical, in Africa with all the deaths and wars, famines and loss of homes, maybe some slight consideration to those suffering unbelievably needs a hearing. The Church and the pope must preach according to Catholic dogma, but sometimes I wonder if it always applies in all circumstances.

PS And I hate the liberal media.

Louanne Glennon of Falls Church, Virginia, kept it simple:


Regarding the campaign to silence the Pope, Rosa Davidson of Florida says:

You are absolutely right. It is particularly disheartening and offensive to see the attacks coming from within the Church by those who called themselves Catholics but in reality are not.

Nancy Franklin, also of Florida, suggests that a change of tactics might help:

Our pope will experience great opposition as he speaks and acts in truth. How can we let him know of our prayers and support? At this point arguing with his detractors seems only to stir up their ire however consistently and gently speaking the truth may change hearts.

But Donald Ramsey of Miami-- the latest in our string of Floridians-- seems to doubt that anything would satisfy the Pope's critics:

Try though they may (and will), the godless will NEVER silence our Pope. My prayers and the prayers of MILLIONS of faithful Catholics are with him, begging God to defend him in the face of his powerful worldly and ecclesial enemies. They can't kill God, which they would like to do, so instead they attack his Vicar the Pope. In this, in the end, the wicked will lose, as they always do ultimately lose.

Mike King of St. Louis, Missouri, has noticed the media campaign:

The concerted effort of the media to try to silence Pope Benedict's pronouncement of the truth is outrageous. Journalists once saw it as their mission to pursue the truth and reveal it whether or not it was in line with their philosophical beliefs. However, as history has shown, the truth will be proclaimed and revealed regardless of the forces that attempt to control and even silence it. We are blessed with the presence of Pope Benedict and his courage to proclaim the truth to the world even though the media may try to shut him down. What is needed is more men and women with the same kind of courage in every walk of life! God bless Pope Benedict.

And Luciano Toscan (no address given) has seen it firsthand:

How right you Mr. Lawler, I have been on the website of our "national" (publicly subsidized) broadcaster here in Canada, the CBC, and the bias of the reporting and blog comments have been absolutlely disgusting, I tried to post comments yesterday in defense of the Church but, to my surprise? They were not posted. God help us, we are really sliding deeper into the quagmire, God, Mary and St. Joseph, please help, guide and protect our brilliant and great Holy Father, Benedict XXVI.
PS - I don't know if he reads his emails but I did send our Holy Father an email of support admiration after I read his letter to his brother Bishops, a truly remarkable dcoument that shows that he has the heart of a true shepherd.

Bob Skall of Keller, Texas notices how many Catholics have joined the critics, and wonders why disciplinary action is not taking:

What are the reasons preventing the Holy Father from explaining why he is not cleaning house? Authentic Catholics can't understand why he seems to allow the perception that he is fiddling while Rome burns.

Alleged Catholics rejoice at the criticism of the Pope and grow bolder while they continue to hollow out Catholic teaching, and vote for people like President Obama. Are we going to lose a few more generations? Why can't we at least have it explained to us by Rome why it must be so?
As is the case with all evil, "Catholic" termites--especially the militant homosexual and Socialist variety--have wrecked havoc during the last 40 years because they have not been confronted by authority.

Finally, William Campbell of Deans Marsh, Vic, Australia, has some welcome words of praise for the Catholic Culture site:

I thank God that we can still receive honest Catholic news from your site. I reprint your news every week for our parish along with any true statement i can find made by our pope. May God bless your efforts; you have some loyal supporters here.


Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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