Is it even possible for a pope (or popes) to “sink” the Barque of Peter?


Whatever the state of the Church back in 1958, one thing is certain, relatively speaking, it was one hell of a lot healthier than the Church of 2013. Again, liberals who rather enjoy believing and behaving as protestants will disagree, but it’s the truth.

Pope Francis pointed out in his recent interview that John XXIII employed an approach to Church governance that is summarized in the following motto:

“See everything; turn a blind eye to much; correct a little.”

I hadn’t heard that before, but it rings true. John XXIII corrected, not a little, but nothing as far as I know. For example, he promulgated the very important Apostolic Constitution,Veterum Sapientia, and yet when bishops conferences and seminary rectors thumbed their nose at it, he did nothing.

Later in his short pontificate, John XXIII ordered that the Catechism of the Council of Trent should be republished, but that order also fell on deaf ears without any repercussion.

The high point of this spineless pontificate came in October 1962. The liberal faction among the Council Fathers’ first order of business at Vatican II was to summarily dismiss the 72 schemata painstakingly drafted over a period of more than two years by the Preparatory Commission appointed by Pope John XXIII for that very purpose. Though the mutiny-bent bishops couldn’t manage the 2/3 majority necessary according to the council’s rules to formally reject the schemata, the pope let them do it anyway.

You get the point.



  1. Majority Rules…2/3 council approval to Reject, but because, it didn’t happen, the Pope, Yeahed It!
    Remember Pious IX made the Popes decree, on Faith & Morals, INFALLIABLITY !

  2. The Church was established as a hierarchical Monarchy, not as a democracy. When modern democratic values flooded into Catholic sanctuaries during and after V-II, much ruin resulted and continues apace.

    “Collegiality” is the wolf of democracy in clerical robes.

    Care to tweet that, Your Holiness?

  3. Very VERY VERY deep sighs from over here!
    Seldom have I seen such a falsified account of the facts or a deliberate attempt to blacken the name of a Fantastic Pope!
    It is not for nothing that he is to be raised very shortly to the rank of Heroic Sainthood! Thus the continued vociferous anti-papal garbage that his heaped out as if it was acceptable whether intellectually, morally or in some ways justified as “a worthwhile opinion” is utterly obscene!
    Lets get some fact together folks shall we? Always a good place to start that is!
    In the first place . . .sorry but I will continue to counter these heretical and mean spirited babblings every time I encounter such rubbish and can do so on here. . .Roncalli was elected as a stop gap for the favourite Montini (later Paul VI) and it was considered a surprise as the eighty year old was already well known for radical acts within Venice his diocese. Indeed Pius XII himself had since the end of the war been more and more uncertain of his own pontificate and the answer it required in a modern world. Commentators have suggested that is a possible reason his encyclical in 1943 “Divino afflante Spiritu” had already spelt the end of the Biblical Commission of Pius X and led the way to others such as “Mediator Dei” which realigned Catholic doctrine and laid the way towards a new council. I mention this because any view of the Pontificate of John XXIII or The Council find their deep roots in Church doctrine of Popes such as Pius 12.
    Second point is that the 51 cardinals at the 1958 conclave were in deadlock over Montini and a foreign cardinal Agagianian (years before the election of John Paul 2) the ballot went to a heavy eleven ballots. The new pope Roncalli chose John as his name in reference to St John and to re-establish the name in favour. The last John 23 had been an anti-pope pirate of centuries before.
    Thirdly the pontificate of this great and much loved pope would include many firsts; these included “Ostpolitik where the Vatican opened friendly negotiations with Russia resulting in prizes and the friendly exchange of the Pope and Moscows Patriarch. In his many encyclicals he was the first to acknowledge state function and duty in overseas aid. In his most famous “Mater et Magistera” he laid the notion of peace and human rights.
    With a sublime sense of humour and friendly persuasion he was the first “humanly approachable” pontiff and won the hearts of many by his visits to prisons and orphanages. As a pastoral bishop he was kindly to a fault and his pontificate won for the Church Universal admiration from both Christian and no Christians.
    Fourthly the Pope called for a Council in July 1959 not on doctrine but to update the church and lead it into a gathering of all the Bishops to present the Church to a new world. Both John and his predecessor as I note had long held these ideas and the Calling of Vatican 2 was to put into modern language the ancient teaching of the Church!
    The Council was to open the Church to the Vernacular and a closer interest in other faiths such as the Jews. The collegiality was to suggest that all the Bishops are responsible for the Church government and understanding.
    This “collegiality” was not a march towards democracy but to allow for the Catholic Bishops to represent both Christ and the Church in their respective diocese. Democracy concerns the rule of the people and the Church has only one ruler, Jesus Christ its Lord! However the notion that the Bishops are responsible for the well being of the Church was new and a master stroke of the Council. It is not new but restates the idea of the Apostolic Church in a new way that reminds (or it should do) the “faithful” that Christ is in his Church and the Bishops, magisterium and Pope are visible signs of that Apostolic connection back to St Peter and the Apostles.

    Furthermore, Cathy it was indeed Pius 9 that clarified Papal infallibility and this was in direct response to the Italians that had in effect robbed him of the Papal states. At Vatican 1 he showed the power of the Papacy even though this was as disliked by a vocal minority as its namesake some hundred years later!
    In order to be infallible the pope must fulfil certain criteria and also it is on doctrinal matters only. Two given in the last two centuries!
    The church as you well know was not founded as a hierarchal Monarchical but as the Body of Christ and equality assumed by the Apostles. Whilst popes have held property, lands etc in the past they were never a monarchy nor equal as such (except briefly perhaps in the Middle ages under men such as pope Innocent). Indeed foreign emperors have up to the election of Pius X been able to interfere in Papal election by veto etc. It is has become a theist autocracy perhaps and rules by Bishop and grouping of Bishops in the Magisterium. It is not a democracy but the Council never suggested it was, rather it suggested that bishops should worldwide hold the power of Christ to guide and assist the Universal church in a fully Apostolic fashion.
    If anything however that lofty presumption has not been fulfilled yet and we still retain a centralised authority in the Vatican. Reasons given are that some bishops believe they are equal and even superior to Pope and Magisterium, Council or Scripture. Rome it seems has not found the obedience from its universal mission it deserves by Teaching or Authority.

    Lastly back to the article, the pope is not there according to the design of Pope John 23 (or any of his successors . .either now or ever will be) to contradict the will of his Bishops. The notion of 2/3 plus one is something that papal elections established and it was Pope John 23 that made that decree for future generations.
    The idea that Pope John 23 was “spineless” is a grotesque insult to the Mercy of Jesus. It befouls the intellect of bloggers on the site and it reflects poorly on the author!
    Basically and I can hardly state this with greater gravity:
    Pope John 23rd was simply wonderful! He was a great man full of genial holiness and sanctified goodness and is a remarkable pope, one of the greatest men ever to sit on the Throne of St Peter!
    To ridicule or deny his sanctity is the clamour of diablos and deserves that vile creatures fate!
    Pope John 23rd was and is now in Heaven, glorified and all Catholics everywhere and in all times should Praise God for his mercy and glory revealed in such a humble soul as Roncalli. Whatever individuals of little mind or character may assume they have discovered, found, exposed is of no interest to the Catholic World whatsoever. We have our Saints and the Church soon to be allowed to recognise his Heroic Virtue will itself proclaim him worthy of our deepest gratitude and admiration!

    • Scampy22′
      I think the Lateran treaty 1929, redeemed the Papacy, so the Infallability in 1870, wasn’t the Nail Breaker, for the Papacy!

      • Cathy,
        Yes Lateran Treaty established the Vatican as Papal property forever and in exchange allowed the Church to recognise Italy and thereby have Religion taught in schools etc.
        It arose because Pius 9 had been intolerant of the loss of power and urbi et orbi had shown the Papacy still had some whack over the secular government in Rome.
        Pius 11 from Benedict 15 and the end of WW1 had decided that the Catholic Church needed a new base. Originally they wanted St John Lateran itself to be the centre but it was less than practical and the Vatican held more room to hold the various offices.
        It is something of an irony that a few that criticised Pope Francis for moving from the Papal Apartments in the Vatican to the hotel fail to appreciate the small living quarters of popes prior to the Treaty and the physical restraints of living in Rome with or without recognition.
        Maybe your friend that visited Rome will have some tales to tell?

    • Two things:

      1) “Whilst popes have held property, lands etc in the past they were never a monarchy…”

      Talk about missing the point by a mile! My friend, as you surely know, we Catholics recognize, worship and obey the kingship of Jesus Christ: the Head of His body, the Church.

      2) To your rhapsodic, presumptive (“is now in Heaven”) gushings about John XXIII, I will merely repeat what I and others have said many times before. The primary objective of the hasty causes for the sainthoods of John XXIII and John Paul II is transparently political: It is the canonization Vatican II.

      • Mark!

        You will understand if I laugh at your whimsical assertions!
        What you and others repeat about the holiness of Catholic Saints is of course your own affair and I wish you well with that one!

        My “gushings about John XXIII” (or JP2) as you will be aware are the opinion of not only the overwhelming majority of the Catholic World, its clergy and its pontiffs but they are on this matter the revelation of Mother Church and the Will of Our Lord Jesus Christ himself! Therefore what a few rabid heretics may or may not “assume according to their own intellects” is I think of no concern to me whatsoever. I hope of course that such persons will reflect on their own sanctity or not in comparison to such a heroic soul and proven friend of Christ.

        That is I think all I dare say on that matter!

      • (In reply to scampy 22)

        “What you and others repeat about the holiness of Catholic Saints is of course your own affair and I wish you well with that one!”

        I spoke not a syllable to that topic.

        Moreover, once upon a time, “the overwhelming majority of the…world” thought their planet was flat.

  4. Reply to
    Mark Higdons reply to myself above.

    I am sorry I thought that:

    “the primary objective of the hasty causes for the sainthoods of John XXIII and John Paul II is transparently political: It is the canonization Vatican II”

    clearly implies that the canonization was a political act (self inherently wrong) and nothing to do with the individuals sanctity or the full acknowledgement of Mother Church that such a soul is in heaven!?

    Furthermore the idea that I was Gushing over John XXIII is rather explicit I would have thought? Something undeserved, an honour paid to an unworthy character by a sycophant admiration?
    Either way Mark I think the implication of your (at best) dislike for the late popes is extraordinary. It hardly does you or any Catholic soul justice and is based rather in ignorance and folly. Such a pseudo intellectual assertion is more about diabolical frustration than Christian brevity.
    My critique against that view held by anybody whatsoever is thereby honourable as Mother Church has seen fit to declare that the souls of these two immensely loveable and beloved pontiffs are in effect in heaven with our Lord and worthy of devotion and acclaim. I am suggesting and I realise that in some circles that presume themselves Catholic such a resounding attempt to justify their lives is foolish. Such weak and anti-Catholic arguments are fortunately the ravings of a fanatical few that persist in refusing to acknowledge the respect and proper devotion owed by the faithful to the wishes of Christ.

    I also note re-reading the above that I did not fully answer your question in part one. That:

    1) “Whilst popes have held property, lands etc in the past they were never a monarchy…”

    Talk about missing the point by a mile! My friend, as you surely know, we Catholics recognize, worship and obey the kingship of Jesus Christ: the Head of His body, the Church.

    Yes Jesus is a King agreed, even as he states before Pilate. (Luke 23;3) We acknowledge his sovereignty over the cosmos and his Divinity as wholly and utterly loveable.
    However since the earliest centuries the temporal power of the Pope has always been officially at least a matter of removed interest. That is that even though pontiffs took to wearing a triple crown this is not from monarchy state but from virtues of the office given.
    The fact is that Catholics do not accept the Pope as a king because as noted Our Lord and King is Christ.
    Whilst the unofficial rule and management over temporal lands was in past centuries (from the Middle ages onwards) often as a monarch for example Julius 2 leading armies etc this was only in regard to protection of the Holy City and not as invasion of neighbours etc. Basically the papacy has relied on foreign monarchs to keep it afloat and only in the 20th century has that interference been put to rest.
    Therefore, I am not missing the point because I am aware that the Papacy is not a monarchy and its sitter the pope is not Christ himself but rather vicar of the Holy City of Rome.

  5. Continued reply to Mark.

    Sorry but I must add something else which is of interest to a reply for Mark.

    Moreover, once upon a time, “the overwhelming majority of the…world” thought their planet was flat.

    It is true that the officials of the Church were wrong over Galileo and Copernicus. So was everybody else in that moment. Luckily the Church admits these errors as historical interpretative ones rather than doctrinal ones.

    Lastly of course and with a view to the (rather radical) Quantum Physics brigade the world is flat from a certain dimension. For example seen from the earth view it is flat and not round. The sphere of the earth (which is not a ball as its belly is wider than its poles) is only visible from extraordinary height or uneven surface. The world as walked upon is flat!
    Quantum Physics understands the version of micro and macro and the way these are viewed both correctly but with different results. Hence the notion that the world is flat is dependent upon a view point and whilst we agree the sphere like earth is spherical in global or astronomical sciences it remains flat in art and human levels.

    Maybe things are a little more complicated than the obvious thereby?

    • Two more things, and then I’m through with this thread.

      1) “Mark I think the implication of your (at best) dislike (emphasis Mark’s) for the late popes is extraordinary.”

      Please don’t presume to put thoughts in my head. I never said I disliked them; never even thought it. As to what they did and failed to do, that’s another story. I continue to pray for the eternal salvation of both John XXIII and JP-II. Paul VI, too.

      2) My point about the flat earth was not to resurrect and replay that particular evolution of scientific knowledge and the Church’s role therein, but to demonstrate that “overwhelming majorities” can, despite their dominant numbers, be wrong in their opinions.

      You can have the last word now, if you want it.

      • Reply to Mark.

        I think I have written what I have written and will not engage in further comments or this matter. The debate will go on and on and on. . . That’s great for Doug’s Blog but a little tiring on the fingers of the bloggers?

        I think we simply disagree and must agree to disagree on this one. I am sure we will agree elsewhere and disagree again also.

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