Question for top Catholic Church clerics: Why the obsession with all things “pastoral”?


by Doug Lawrence

From the sound of things, a person might get the impression that no one in the Catholic Church, prior to 1965, knew anything at all about the proper care and guidance of souls. Of course, that is totally wrong!

The real issue is how the Catholic Church should continue to conduct itself, going forward – whether the church should be IN the world but not OF the world: “If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
(John 15:19)

Or whether the Church should “knuckle under” to the influences of the world, the flesh and the devil: “Having an appearance indeed of godliness but denying the power thereof…” (2 Timothy 3:5)

The Definition of PASTORAL – from the Merriam Webster On-line Dictionary:

: of or relating to the spiritual care or guidance of people
who are members of a religious group

: of or relating to the pastor of a church

Being “pastoral” is not rocket science. The Catholic Church has been blessed with many generations of great pastors. Being pastoral is nothing new. So what are these “obsessively pastoral” modernist clerics trying to say?

In a recent interview, the new head of the USCCB, Archbishop  Joseph Kurtz made the following comments:

Francis’ “primary word is mercy,” said the archbishop, and this emphasis on mercy comes from a deep awareness of his own shortcomings and imperfections. His humility is also the fruit of this awareness, and Archbishop Kurtz identified the pope’s genuine humility as being key to his widespread popularity: “It’s holy and it’s very beautiful. But it’s also very engaging … He seems to remind people of Jesus.”

Throughout our conversation, Archbishop Kurtz kept returning to one particular facet of Pope Francis’ message that appears to have resonated deeply within him: the importance of “accompanying the person.” Pope Francis does not call us to ignore sin entirely… 

Isn’t that special! 


Saint John Vianney, Master Pastor and Patron of Priests,
please pray for the men who presently lead our church.


  1. Why the obsession with all things “pastoral”? That’s easy to answer, because pastoral is relatively easy to do. It’s warm and fuzzy, and can be exercized with little or no regard to any pesky rules. (Plus, in many countries, “pastoral” gets government subsidies!)

    In other words, one can be pastoral in a totally relative way. After all, “Who am I to judge?” I’m just trying to be pastoral.

    Doctrine and Truth, on the other hand, are hard, and often get in the way when one is just trying to be nice. They can, and often do, upset people. Things are just so much easier when they can be marginalized or simply ignored.

    So, “pastoral” is the “light burden” of Churchmen, compared to Doctrine, which is the heavy lifting. That’s why we see more and more of the latter being done by the laity. The prelates are too busy being “pastoral.”

    • I should add here what might go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: “Pastoral” that is uninformed by—and not inextricably linked to—Doctrine and Truth is nothing more than mere altruism. Even the pagans and unchurched can be nice and “decent” people, and have a much better chance than faithful Catholics of not offending anyone. However, they have next to no chance of leading anyone to Salvation.

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