It’s amazing how many times I’ve heard from fellow Catholics that they think that God directly chooses the pope. Just yesterday someone said that they refused to criticize the pope because he was given to the Church by the Holy Spirit. The Church does not teach that position. According to the laws of the Church, the Cardinals choose the pope while praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

If you don’t believe me, just listen to a previous pope, Benedict XVI. While still Cardinal Ratzinger, he was asked by Bavarian television in 1997 if the Holy Spirit is responsible for the election of a pope. His answer:

“I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. . . . I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined. . . . There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!”

Would we really want to ascribe all of the bad popes of history to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit still guides corrupt popes, particularly by preserving them from teaching authoritatively something false in regards to faith and morals.

Furthermore, the College of Cardinals is a human creation, not subject to any divine promise. The Church does not need to have cardinals, but it does need a process of selecting popes. The current process of electing a pope has evolved from Pope Nicholas II’s bull, In nomine Domini, establishing that the pope should be elected from the college of cardinals in 1059. Previously an election involved a difficult and treacherous balance between the nomination of secular powers, the election of the Roman clergy, and the acclamation of the Roman people. Needless to say, the history of papal elections has been varied and changeable, with the last major revisions to the rules governing the conclave coming from John Paul II in 1996, with tweaks even from Benedict XVI just before his resignation.

The purpose of this clarification is not to demean the papacy or any particular pope but to recognize that God generally acts in and through human agency in the Church. There are particular moments of divine intervention, but God calls us to the great responsibility of cooperating with Him in the life of the Church. Church leaders, including cardinals in the conclave, can make mistakes. God does not abandon us, however, but makes good come from evil, including the corruption of popes, though the remedy to evil may be painful.

Let’s redouble our prayers for the Pope and for all the Cardinals, asking for an outpouring of guidance from the Holy Spirit.

  • Tess208

    Thank you for making this observation public at a time when it was so needed. I think most understood that imperfect men voting for a pope could make mistakes, but the feeling I got was that these mistakes were the product of God letting us learn from them. Because there were so many horrible popes in the past, this seemed plausible. But your point that we, and they, have had free will, free to choose evil let’s say, and that this has always been part of God’s allowance. They were free to choose evil if that was their wish.
    What God will not permit, however, is the perversion of dogma and Traditions of the Church by evil popes, or cardinals who elect them for this reason. Despite despicable past popes, not one has ever been able to pervert Her teachings. Thank you again for your clarity.

  • iggy o donovan

    The Holy Spirit may inspire the voters but we must remember the college of Cardinals is a tiny select electorate which in the past has included many very worldly men.

  • The pope needs to be guided by the Holy Spirit in order to participate in the infallibility within the Church. Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium 12 says: “The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One,(111) [cf. 1 Jn 2:20, 27] cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when “from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful” (8*) [Cf. 1 Cor. 10: 17] they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth.”
    I guess it is possible for a lay person to have a greater participation in infallibility than the pope himself if the lay person is more receptive to the Holy Spirit.

  • Shane M.

    I’m so sick of these closet-Protestants who have somehow infiltrated our church, talking about which popes are legitimate and which are not. It’s all or nothing people………either believe or become a Baptist.

    • iggy o donovan

      Legitimate Popes. Sometimes difficult to tell. At one time in the 1400s we actually had two if not three popes.

  • kiannafleur

    Hi, I was led to this article by someone in a group that likes to refer to the current pope by his last name altered in various ways and surrounded by demeaning insults that are not fit to be applied to anyone. In other words, it goes beyond criticism and into the realm of human respect. The same was true for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI but from another faction, both within and outside the Church. That’s just wrong on many levels.

    It may be that the person who referred me to this misunderstands when I say that the *papacy* is an office instituted by God, or when I say things like, “A priest has the authority to forgive your sins or to withhold absolution.” None of that precludes justifiable criticism. It’s not “clericalism.” It doesn’t deny the laity their rights, either.

    Rights are balanced by obligations. To the people who want to sling insults, I offer the reminder that if we don’t meet our obligations, we aren’t demanding rights, we’re just demanding what we want regardless of what’s good for anyone else. One obligation of the laity is to pray for our clergy and hierarchy, and there are any number of prayers easily found online to show what we should *properly* pray for. Another obligation is to follow the teachings of the Church. If we don’t, we fall out of grace, making our prayers less efficacious, or even without merit. No matter how good or bad the pope is, this is a team effort. We can’t point to someone else’s poor behavior and blame a loss on them – we have to pick up the slack. The goal is the same for all. There is no hate in heaven. If we spend too much time focusing on the negative, we miss the goal. Our Lady cries for her children, even the worst among us. Console her with prayers for the salvation of souls.

  • Great article! Definitely worth sharing; hope this receives a wide readership.

  • sandiego1969

    It does require the cardinals to listen to the movement of the spirit rather than their political loyalties.

    • MaryB435

      And the cardinals have free will, just as do the rest of us. Whether or not they obey the will of God depends on who they decide to serve.
      .
      What do they care about more–the will of God or their political loyalties? I can not know their hearts.
      .
      In ANY event, we must pray for Pope Francis AND Pope Emeritus Benedict. There is much here that has never happened before. Trust God. Keep the faith–even when we don’t have all the answers; God does.

  • DLink

    The more one reads of the history of Popes, it is quite clear that while Jesus established the Church, He left its operations to those here on earth. The Popes, all of them, the good, the bad and the ugly have left their mark in the Church for better or worse. The fact that the Church and the institution of the Papacy survived persecutions, the dark age, heretical revolts and even the improvident actions of some Popes is something of a miracle itself. While I believe the Almighty allows humanity to take its course, I also believe, according to the evidence, He does not let it get too far off the rails.

  • Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been trying to tell people this and they don’t get it and think I’m crazy. I’m sending your article to many people. God bless you!

    • Diana Hayden

      I accept what the article says – it just sounds political… How do you know the Cardinals aren’t influenced by someone or something else…more worldly… Like gossip? Doesn’t burning the votes & waiting for white smoke indicate something? I don’t know… Hopefully, the Cardinals in this manner do listen to the Holy Spirit to guide their decision. 🙂

  • Mike Hurcum

    Matthew 16 [16] Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.
    [17] And
    Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because
    flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in
    heaven.
    [18] And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
    [19]
    And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And
    whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven:
    and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
    [20] Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.

    Seems pretty certain that the voice of God prompted Peter to speak and Christ, the flesh and blood did not tell Peter who Christ was and therefore one can claim it was God himself who made tge choice and we reckon that the Holy Spirit made the communication

    • kiannafleur

      Peter was open to the prompting. He could have remained silent had he chosen. Or he could have said something else entirely. For all we know, God was prompting all the disciples to give the answer.

    • Howard

      Yeah, that was kind of an exception. Things were changed just a bit by some events you should have heard of: the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and Pentecost.

  • David A Jackson

    Agree for the most part; however, it can be said that God did indeed directly choose our first pope, Peter. Did he directly influence the selection of popes after that? God only knows; however, the evidence certainly points to many cases where it would be hard to see his hand. Then again, He is not above using nefarious characters to accomplish his will. But, yes, we should not have blind loyalty to a pope under the auspices that said pope was chosen by God and as such is untouchable.

  • Egan Solo

    Dr, Staudt and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI are right to say that the Holy Spirit does not chose the pope as formal cause, that is a the immediate cause: the conclave does.

    However, it would be preposterous to say that the election of Pope contravenes with God’s reign of his Church. Therefore, God, the first cause of all is also the first cause behind the election of the pope. In that sense, the Holy Spirit does indeed chose the next pontiff.

    As to the assertion that it would be false to ascribe to the Holy Spirit the choice of all these bad popes, folks might want to stew on these words from Ezekiel 20:23-25: “Moreover I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries, because they had not executed my ordinances, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their fathers’ idols. Moreover I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not have life and I defiled them through their very gifts in making them offer by fire all their first-born, that I might horrify them; I did it that they might know that I am the
    LORD.”

    If God gave his chosen people statues that were not good and ordinances by which they could not have life, why would he stop short from giving us a bad pope? If you believe that Jesus is truly governing his Church, then can’t he govern it in and through a bad pope? Of course he can and he often does.

    Translated in modern terms: we get the pope, bishops and priests we deserve: when the majority of Catholics are contracepting, which means living in objective sin and spitting in the face of Christ, why should God continue to grace us with holy leaders when we’re still refusing to listen?

    It’s what you would do for your children when they become obdurate in their sins, refusing to recognize your authority and your love.

    If you happen to be a “Jesus loves me just the way I am,” kind’a reader, you might be tempted to spin the words of Ezekiel in a “it’s not God who’s doing that, it’s us who do it…” and if you do, think then that you would be doing what teenagers do when they want to disparage and ignore their parents words of warnings.

    In summary: the Holy Spirit governs His Church through the good and the bad pontiffs. That’s the power of the Church because it is not of this world. God gave us a string of holy popes and we spurned them by our continued rejection of the truth, fast, prayer, sacrifice and the holy fear of God which is the beginning of wisdom.

    With the close of the year of Mercy and our lukewarm answer, could it be that God has now chosen to bring about the chastisments recorded in Akita Japan? I’m no prophet, and I can’t say, but what is happening now should jolt us to a life a fast, prayer (the daily rosary), sacrifices and weekly confession and frequent communion so that we could apply the words of Padre Pio: Hope, pray and don’t worry.

  • Patric Peters

    Amazing how conservative Catholics are quick to exalt the doctrine of infallibility, but are also just as quick to say that the choice of Pope is not on God’s agenda. May not directly mean to demean Pope Francis, but it sure sounds like it.

    • MaryB435

      “…not on God’s agenda.” That’s too vague, and no one is saying THAT. The cardinals DO pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit DOES guide.
      .
      This guidance is not in the form of audible dictation. There is also no guarantee that the cardinals will obey.

    • Redcross Knight

      With no intent of defending “conservative Catholics”–because whatever that may mean in this instance, it definitely includes tons of people I don’t know–

      Might not someone be quick to do the two things you mention because the person cares about the truth? Both things are true: the pope (and the Church) is infallible in binding doctrinal matters, and the choice of a pope is not guided directly by God.

      There’s no (logically) implicit attack on anyone in pointing that out. See also the last two paragraphs of the article. Its clear purpose is to say that we should pray for the pope, since even popes aren’t guaranteed to act rightly. We should not underestimate the human element of the Church, because if we do underestimate, we won’t do the work God has entrusted to us.

      (“Not on God’s agenda,” by the way, is a slanted way of putting it. The health and well-being of children is “on God’s agenda,” but that doesn’t mean that He directly feeds them.)

      • grateful1

        Exactly right.

  • Dave

    Thank you! I have to rebut this common misunderstanding a LOT on social media, by both Catholics and Protestants.

  • Howard

    And no, God did not want Benedict to resign so that we could have a Pope who would think priests having gay sex with adults is all that big a deal, who not only refuses to take action to clean up this mess, but actually launches a sanctimonious and passive-aggressive attack on those who expect him to come clean and clean up, in order that somehow this would cleanse the Church.

    • Quint Eastwood

      How do you know God’s intervention was not the cause of Benedict resigning? If you believe that that can’t happen then you don’t believe in the Apparitions of Mary.

    • Tom G

      Would you say this about Saint Pope John Paul II? Somehow i doubt it.

      • Howard

        In your mind, what part of my comment sounded like it could refer to John Paul II?

        Or was there nothing at all, and you just say that about everything?
        Me: “Taggart did a terrible job coaching in Monday’s game.”
        You: “Would you say this about Saint Pope John Paul II? Somehow i doubt it.”
        Me: “I would if he coached Florida State to a 24-3 home loss to Virginia Tech.”

      • Tom G

        You’re comparing veiled criticism of Pope Francis to criticizing a football coach? Perhaps you could think of a better analogy.

        Should Saint Pope John Paul II have investigated Marcial Maciel?

      • Howard

        Yes, he should have. And he made errors of commission, not merely of omission, such as when he kissed the Koran. For that matter, Pope St. Peter 1 denied Christ three times and erred by giving in to the Judaizers, which led to him being rebuked by St. Paul. And St. Theophilus of Ardana is said to have sold his soul to the devil — but he repented.

        Saints, even Saints who are Popes, are not gods; they are not perfect. Popes who are not Saints are not perfect, either.

      • Tom G

        Well, then by your own reasoning, you would have to say that the Holy Spirit did not want Pope St. Peter 1, did not want St. Theophilus of Ardana, and did not want Pope St. John Paul II. That is clearly ridiculous.

        I have not said that saints are gods. I have not said that saints are perfect. I have not said that popes are perfect, whether saint-popes or not.

        You have argued that the Holy Spirit does not choose the pope “because look at the bad popes”. By your own silly logic, you would have to say that the Holy Spirit does not pick any pope at all or does not want any particular pope at all.

        You and the author of this post are creating a mystery where there isn’t one. The consequences that logically and necessarily follow from your position are too ludicrous to hold onto. I suggest abandoning them.

      • Patricia Von Plinsky

        Tom G your thinking is way out there. Maybe you should go back to bed and wake up again and try over. I understand Howard perfectly not that I totally agree with everything he has said but all of it makes sense but you don’t make sense at all. Just as the Bible was not written by God (Holy Spirit) but by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit so is our Pope elected that way now. The Holy Spirit doesn’t say this is who you are going to choose but He guides those who are Spirit filled to follow His lead. But man doesn’t have to pay attention to the Holy Spirit and vote how they want. I have my own opinion of who the Cardinals were listening to when they voted for our present Pope but that is my opinion and I don’t believe they were listening to the Holy Spirit at all. This is why we have had some really bad Popes. Try reading a book entitled “The Bad Popes” its an eye opener. It used to be the emperor or King that got involved in the election of the Pope until the Church took full control over the election. I apologize if I hurt your feelings but I have read what you have said and all I can get out of your comments is the need to argue for the sake of argument. I just don’t follow you.

      • Tom G

        Don’t worry, you haven’t hurt my feelings. Yet!

        So let me ask you: do you walk around each day saying to yourself, “The Bible was not written by God but by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible was not written by God but by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible was not written by God but by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.” Is that the point you focus on?

        No, of course not. What you focus on, no doubt, is that the Bible is the word of God. In just the same way, the point of focus with Pope Francis and any pope is that they are the Vicar of Christ and are to be shown the loyalty and deference described in Lumen Gentium. These “the Holy Spirit doesn’t choose the Pope” writers are essentially justifying their willingness to disregard popes with whom they disagree.

      • Howard

        No. You are the one who sees “sanctimonious and passive-aggressive” and thinks “John Paul II”. At least you seem to know John Paul II did not coach FSU football, but then again, maybe you had to Google that.

        I said Peter and John Paul II were not perfect; I did not say they were bad Popes. Of course, you have no argument unless you get to make up an argument to put in my mouth.

        Regardless, there have been bad Popes. We have one right now. He’s still the Pope; we have the evidence. And he is still bad; we have the evidence. And he was chosen by the College of Cardinals, not by the Holy Spirit, just like every Pope has been for centuries. Of course the Holy Spirit influences human beings, but the Church no more teaches that the Holy Spirit directly chooses the Pope than that the Holy Spirit chose Charlie Weis to be Notre Dame’s football coach a few years back.

        If you go back to my comment at the beginning of this thread, you will see that it has hyperlinks; apparently due to the formatting decisions made by the owners of “Those Catholic Men”, hyperlinks do not really stand out. At any rate, my comment was that the original post here was right and the article at https://stream.org/its-a-good-thing-pope-benedict-resigned-and-we-have-pope-francis/ was wrong.

      • Tom G

        No. You are the one who sees “sanctimonious and passive-aggressive” and thinks “John Paul II”. At least you seem to know John Paul II did not coach FSU football, but then again, maybe you had to Google that.

        Ugh. Boring. I didn’t say that I saw “sanctimonious and passive-aggressive”. What are you talking about? Why are you unwilling to acknowledge that you used a dumb analogy? This is pride, kiddo. Just pride.

        I said Peter and John Paul II were not perfect; I did not say they were bad Popes. Of course, you have no argument unless you get to make up an argument to put in my mouth.

        Yet again you are arguing with phantoms. You didn’t distinguish between perfect and bad. You just said the Holy Spirit didn’t want Pope Benedict XVI to resign so Pope Francis (who is bad because reasons) could be pope.

        So wait, your point is merely that the Holy Spirit does not directly choose the Pope? Is that all you’re saying? If so, would you admit that it is God’s will that Pope Francis is the Pope?

      • Howard

        OK, maybe you didn’t see it. It is entirely possible that you are just spouting off without either reading or thinking. Spout away. You’re not contributing anything worth further response.

      • tybroussard

        Tom G just causing confusion. He will try to refute no matter what is said. Use your God given discernment and keep him out of discussion.

      • Tom G

        No, I’m not “just causing confusion”. I’m trying to counter arrogant people in the Church who think it’s their job to confuse people into picking which popes they personally believe were “chosen by the Holy Spirit” and which popes were not.

      • Tom G

        Good grief child. I didn’t see those words and think JPII. I saw your bullshit attack on Pope Francis and wondered if you would apply that same criticism to Pope St. JPII.

      • hamous

        Just reading through your comments on this thread it is quite obvious that the only arrow in your quiver is tu quoque-based whataboutery. It’s boring. Throw in that nice dose of “progressive” condescension and you come across as a little yapping dog, relatively harmless, but annoying.

      • Tom G

        If only I were as humble as you!

      • hamous

        Have no fear. Your narcissism seems to be serving you well.

      • Tom G

        X-D Hahahaha well, I guess I can at least hope that R. Jared Staudt might actually see how Pharisaical his defenders are!

      • hamous

        Actually, I made no comment in support or against Dr. Staudt’s position. I simply pointed out your all-too-common usage of a logical fallacy, by my count eight times on this article alone, in a failed attempt to refute his position.

      • Tom G

        Mmm hmmm. Right. Yeah, your inscrutable need to point out my “logical fallacies” is motivated by nothing more than devotion to the rules of logic. Eyeroll. Who’s the narcissistic one again? Are you familiar with the concept of projection? Please get over yourself. I’m sure Howard can speak for himself. And if he decides not to respond, you don’t need to pipe in for poor, defenseless logic’s sake.

        Oh, and pointing out the logical absurdity that necessarily follows from a person’s position is not the tu-quoque fallacy. It’s actually reductio ad absurdam, which is a helpful tool of dialogue and the search for truth.

      • hamous

        Ah, the classic schoolyard bully taunt: “I know you are but what am I?” Always a winner! Sorry, you don’t get my lunch money today, Tom. Buh bye.

      • Tom G

        By your analogy, I’ve already gotten your lunch money on other days, right? 😀

      • Tom G

        I find your inability to acknowledge your own wrongdoing to be kind of amusing 🙂

        See ya kiddo! Have a good day at school!

  • wva88

    It does not strictly apply, but I think we can learn something from the teaching on the Inspiration of the Bible. The Church never teaches exactly what this means, but she has taught what it is NOT. For example, the following heretical beliefs are excluded.

    1) “Mere Assistance”: The belief that the Holy Spirit gave the authors of Scripture only general goals on what to write and left them alone. With respect to the Pope, this would mean that the Holy Spirit only gives the Cardinals general, abstract, goals of what to look for.

    2) “Subsequent Approbation” – The belief that the Holy Spirit played no role in the actual creation of Scripture, but like Oprah Winfrey put the books on a “you should read list.” With respect to a conclave, this would mean the Holy Spirit plays no role but recognizes the winner of an election.

    3) “Mechanical Dictation” – The idea that the Holy Spirit put the writers in a trance and simply dictated to them, without human involvement, the words of Scripture. This would, in error, give the Holy Spirit complete control over who is elected Pope.

    Scripture is at the same time, fully human and fully Divine, just as at the Incarnation Jesus was fully human and fully Divine. Again, this does not apply strictly to the election of a Pontiff, but it provides a good background for understanding how the Holy Spirit might be involved.

  • mchicha

    Was there a conspiracy or a Cabal of Cardinals that conspired to elect Pope Francis outside of the established canonical rules?
    The evidence seems to point that it indeed happened, which would mean, we do not have a Pope.

    • R. Jared Staudt

      People have raised questions, especially surrounding Cardinal Danneels bio, but I can’t answer that.

      • Tom G

        Unbelievable. You’re really giving comfort to people pushing a conspiracy theory about Pope Francis’s election because “people have raised questions”? In what sense of the term would you consider this article and this particular comment of yours to be loyal to the Holy Father?

      • R. Jared Staudt

        The post: clarifying a common misunderstanding people are raising now.
        On the “conspiracy theory”: acknowledging some outlandish claims made by Cardinal Danneels that he had to backtrack.

      • Tom G

        The post: Were you writing posts like this during John Paul II’s papacy? How about Benedict XVI’s?

        On the “conspiracy theory”: The comment to which you responded asked, “Was there a conspiracy or a Cabal of Cardinals that conspired to elect Pope Francis outside of the established canonical rules?” That comment then essentially said, “If true, the Chair of Peter is vacant.”

        Your response was essentially “yep, people have raised questions about whether we really have a Pope, but I can’t answer them.”

        I’ll ask you again. In what sense of the term would you consider this post and your comment here to be loyal to the Holy Father? Obviously, you don’t have to answer. But if you’re willing, I’d love to hear how you consider your post and commentary to be loyal to the Holy Father.

      • R. Jared Staudt

        The post reflects my loyalty to the Church and the Pope by clarifying the truth regarding how popes are elected. It is my job as a theologian to respond to misunderstandings.

        When people referred to the pope as chosen by the Holy Spirit during Benedict’s pontificate, I responded in the same way. I have clarified this point in the past in my teaching before Francis was pope. I am writing about it now, as I mentioned, because many people have referred to papal elections inaccurately.

        It is a fact that Cardinal Daneels biography and its reference to the St. Gallen mafia has raised many questions. Even Austen Ivereigh’s biography was amended on this point: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/author-cardinals-spar-over-reports-of-conclave-campaigning-33539
        I did not say that I supported any theory questioning Francis’ election, only that people have raised questions based on what Daneels and others, such as Ivereigh, have said.

      • Tom G

        What questions have they raised? And why are you unable to answer?

      • R. Jared Staudt

        I am unable to answer questions on the influence of the members of the self-described “St. Gallen mafia,” on the last two conclaves, because I do not have any inside information on the nature of the group or their activities. If you are interested you could research what has come out about this group.

  • Kathryn King

    Is it true to say that the Holy Spirit gives us the pope we are supposed to have?

    • R. Jared Staudt

      I wouldn’t say that either as I don’t think God would want the terrible popes, especially of the 10th century. I would say that God’s providence at least permits bad popes and that He accomplishes His overarching plan even through them. My main point is that God has not promised direct and supernatural guidance in the selection of a pope. God does not directly choose the pope, but is ultimately in charge and allows whatever happens to happen. We can cooperate more or less willingly with Him. He also allows the Church to suffer, which I reflected on in another piece I wrote: https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/strengthening-faith-in-a-time-of-crisis.

  • Phil Alcoceli

    Great article, Dr. Staudt! We True Catholics are not part of a “tribe”, as some say, trying to defend those who are corrupt, commit grave sins, etc. Indeed, those very same anti-Catholic attack dogs acting as our judges are the greatest advocates, justifiers, celebrants and defenders of the corruption, grave sins, crimes, etc. of those they worship de facto in their aptly called tribes (“you need a tribe to raise a child”, they say). My very long spiritual journey through New Age, Eastern Religions, Buddhism, Protestant Denominations, etc. has given me a perspective where my reverence, admiration, fidelity and total devotion for the Catholic Church is not diminished in the slightest by even the gravest of stains in the HUMAN side of the Church. Jesus, the True Head of the Church, is Infinitely Pure.

    Indeed, in 2,000 years the Catholic Church has endured 8 bad, corrupt Popes so far and is still standing which is one more reason why is so hated by Satan’s children because the Church does not celebrate, approve, promote and legalize their very own sin like they do. Like Mr. Staudt said, prayer is absolutely essential. I’ll add to that knowledge and preparation too, as this present Pope, in sharp contrast with the previous bad Popes who had mostly grave personal sins, is aiming directly at the Heart of The Church, its Teaching Treasure of Truth. We should stand for True Catholicism even if he happens to be Drop-By-Drop-Martin-Luther-Part-Two. For that knowledge I highly recommend the well documented, well researched books about him by George Neumayr and Marcantonio Colonna. We are in for a big fight so we need to reject the passive feminine approach that is so exalted, celebrated, over-spiritualized and monstrified today. We were born, by God’s Holy Will, for such a time as this. Let’s not ever betray the Lord of Glory who died for us.