Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

The reigning Pontiff of confusion: a continuing story

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 04, 2019

“The Vatican is now sending ambiguous messages on issues that were considered crucial only a few years ago.” I might have written that sentence, but I didn’t. It comes from an op-ed column in the New York Times—yes, that’s right, the New York Times—by the Italian journalist Mattia Ferraresi. Writing about the politics of his native land, he continues:

Francis may have opted to retreat from the political debate on what Pope Benedict once called “nonnegotiable principles”—like the protection of life in all its stages and the promotion of the “natural structure of the family”—for valid reasons. But this choice has left many Catholics confused.

Want to describe this papacy in one word? Confusion.

Which is pretty much what I was saying, more than a year ago, in Lost Shepherd.

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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  • Posted by: Retired01 - Jul. 06, 2019 1:50 PM ET USA

    And, sadly, it appears that we are talking here about confusion created with a purpose. A confusion with the purpose of providing cover for the implementation of the modernist agenda in the Church.

  • Posted by: mclom - Jul. 06, 2019 10:13 AM ET USA

    It's nice to know the NYT will sometimes print a point that favours troubled CATHOLICS.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jul. 06, 2019 8:36 AM ET USA

    The leadership roles get confused under Francis: fundamental principles of Christian morality are redefined by anti-Christian politicians, and the Catholic bishops keep busy acting as "pundits" on random political matters. One of the many major red flags was Francis' dead silence on "gay marriage" when he visited the US exactly three months after Obergefell. And then, Francis attempted to keep secret his meeting with Kim Davis, the clerk who was jailed for refusing to play along with immorality.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Jul. 05, 2019 3:08 PM ET USA

    Pope Francis attributes the influence behind much of his work as Vatican II. Again, the Holy Father attributes the Second Vatican Council as influential in his vision for the Church. He believes he is the catalyst to "move things along", if you will, in making real the vision of the Council. He believes he's making up for lost time. We dismiss this at our own peril. Is he to be the scapegoat? Is he the first conciliar pontiff to surprise the faithful with his decisions? How'd we get here?

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jul. 05, 2019 3:05 AM ET USA

    Interesting turn of a phrase: "opted to retreat from the political debate." In regard to the most serious moral concerns of the pre-Francis Church, it has looked at times as if he has so opted. But just as you are getting ready to count him out, he sometimes comes up with a surprise or two. Since his interests seem more along the lines of prudential and societal, as contrasted with moral, I have no problem with sensible ways to sequester carbon, sensible ways to accommodate asylum seekers, etc.

  • Posted by: Cory - Jul. 04, 2019 10:17 AM ET USA

    I think my one word is Evil.

  • Posted by: MWCooney - Jul. 04, 2019 10:12 AM ET USA

    I will continue to pray for Pope Francis, despite my perception that he is suffering from what I can only speculate is a hardening of his heart. Deus non irridetur!