Tuesday, October 24, 2023


By Tim Rohr

According to an FB Page titled "Padre Pio Events Scotland," Pope Francis allegedly said the following this past Saturday during the homily at Mass at Casa Santa Marta:

"Think of a single mother who goes to the Church or the Parish, and tells the secretary: I WANT TO BAPTIZE MY SON." And the attendant says: No, you can't, because you're not married.. Let's keep in mind that this mother had the courage to continue with a pregnancy, and what is she facing? With a door closed! And so, if we continue this path and with this attitude, we are not doing the people, God's People right. Jesus created the seven sacraments and with this attitude we created an eighth: the sacrament of pastoral customs! WHO GOES TO THE CHURCH MUST FIND OPEN DOORS AND NOT TAXES OF FAITH". 

Francis goes on to say some other stuff, which I will copy later, but for now, let's address the scenario Francis presents at the beginning of his homily. 

First, if this pope is the master of anything, he is the master of creating "straw men," or, in this case, since the parish secretary is usually a woman, "straw women." 

Note: Rather than cite several examples of Francis' "expertise" at creating "strawmen," just google "Pope Francis straw men," or read more here

Second, there is NO Catholic Church law requiring that a parent be married as a prerequisite to the baptism of a child. I copy here directly from the relevant section of Canon Law: 

Can. 868 §1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:

1/ the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent;

2/ there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.

There is NOTHING here which requires the parent of the child to be married. NOTHING. (See here for other info.)

And as for the godparent(s):

Can. 872 Insofar as possible, a person to be baptized is to be given a sponsor who assists an adult in Christian initiation or together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it.

Can. 873 There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.

Can. 874 §1. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must:

1/ be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;

2/ have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause;

3/ be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;

4/ not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;

5/ not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized.

There is NOTHING in Church Law which requires either the parent or the godparent to be married. The focus of Church Law is entirely on ensuring that the child, once baptized, will be raised and supported in the Faith. 

So why does Francis pick on poor parish secretaries? 

The short answer is "because he can, so he does." The longer answer is because they are easy "whipping boys" (in this case, girls), and useful for Francis to cast himself as the "Pope of the peripheries" - a common Francis theme - a champion of the supposed outcast, even if the outcast is not actually cast out.

As is his usual, Francis does not spend time on backing up his attacks with any references (since there aren't any), but goes on to justify his stomping on anyone he feels like stomping on by casting himself as a Regular-Joe who eats hot dogs and wears tennis shoes - but who is nevertheless, a saint:

Pope Francis just said, "We need saints without veils, without underwear." We need jeans and sneaker saints. We need saints to go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with their friends. We need saints that put God first and stand out in University. We need saints who seek time to pray every day and know how to fall in love with purity and chastity, or who consecrate their chastity. We need modern day saints, 21st century saints with spirituality embedded in our time. We need saints committed to the poor and the necessary social change. We need saints who live in the world, sanctify themselves in the world and who are not afraid to live in the world. We need saints who drink Coke and eat hot dogs, who are internet users, who listen to iPod. We need saints who love the Eucharist and who are not ashamed to have a beer or eat pizza on the weekend with friends. We need saints who love cinema, theater, music, dance, sports. We need sociable, open, normal, friendly, joyful, fellow saints. We need saints who are in the world and know how to taste the pure and good things of the world, but without being worldly." That has to be us!!!

Those who approach the Church should find the doors open and not find people who want to control the faith. This is what the Pope said Saturday morning during Mass in the Casa Santa Marta. 

My Note: I have no issue with whatever Francis wants to do or say. He is the pope. He is answerable only to God - for Whom he is the Vicar. Meanwhile, though, I will defend parish secretaries - assuming of course they don't do what Francis accuses them of doing. 

As a PS, several months ago I made a couple of posts about the actions of a parish secretary in regards to the funeral of a relative (here and here). Not happy with what the parish secretary said, I made an appointment with the pastor and all was well. It may be, that CATHOLICS WHO CARE, may need to persevere every once in a while. The "secretary" isn't the pastor. 

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