Steve Jalsevac

Another Pope Francis off-the-cuff interview explosion

Steve Jalsevac

Here we go again. Pope Francis has given another mayhem-creating, lengthy, exclusive interview to a major publication.

This one has especially caused jaws to drop as a result of him stating, among other things, that the ‘most serious’ evils in the world today are ‘youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old’.

Oh my.

What have so many been doing all these years, with great encouragement from past popes? Fighting with all their heart and soul the devouring, international monster of the rightly named Culture of Death. It appears now that their priorities were wrong. Or at least that is the impression from Pope Francis, even though we know he holds strong views against abortion and same-sex 'marriage'.

The hundreds of millions of unborn, and now other similarly vulnerable persons, being murdered are apparently not among the most important issues in the world. Nor is the damage done to women from these abortions. Nor the deliberate, moral corruption of millions of children by the sex merchants allied with the population controllers and abortion providers. Nor the blackmailing and economic and other punishments of entire developing nations who resist the de-population elites.

Ok, maybe I am over-reacting. Once I start to read the flood of articles that Catholic publication writers are all again laboring on to explain what the Pope really meant by each of his disturbing new statements, then I will be re-assured. After all, he is the Pope.

There will again be:  he “likely meant”; "his real intent must have been to show”;  “obviously he did not mean this, and instead meant that”;  “What the Pope really meant”; “I can only come to the conclusion that”; “ We may, I suspect presume that”; “We’re not even sure if the Pope’s words were correctly conveyed”; "Seems to me the Holy Father is saying"; etc.

Let me emphasize one thing to those who will undoubtedly jump down my throat over these comments. I am not questioning the fidelity of Pope Francis. I am not trying to undermine the Pope. I am one of the last people who would do such a thing. I agree with his strong emphasis on the high priority that must be given to personal evangelization.

But, it is very plain, from many, many comments from the very best of people, that we have a huge problem here. Pope Francis is saying too many things that could mean this, or they could mean that, but no one is really 100% certain.  He is raising many disturbing questions that only he can clarify.

Some of the comments by Francis appear to betray a considerable lack of awareness of what is actually going on, and has been going on for years, in the developed world of Europe and North America. It appears that, to Pope Francis, there is no deadly, worldwide culture war going on.

As famed Boston College philosopher Peter Kreeft has frequently repeated, "to win any war", one of "the three most necessary things we must know" is "that we are at war." He adds, "If you are surprised to be told that our entire civilization is in crisis, I welcome you back from your nice vacation on the moon."

There are numerous people working hard once again to put the best light or spin on these latest comments by Francis, as is naturally expected of them, since that is their job in Catholic communications. But why should they have to do this over and over again?

It is Pope Francis himself who should be far more carefully explaining to the world exactly what he meant and what his full reasoning was behind each of those confusing, controversial, very puzzling statements.

Then, we will know for certain (we hope) what he really meant. That is what Popes have usually done, but usually when they first make their statements. That is because their words are read and taken very seriously, probably more seriously than words said or written by anyone else on this planet. They are remembered, discussed and quoted - for centuries.

In the meantime, there are a lot of strange things being said and justified around the world now in response to what Pope Francis supposedly said.

For example, at my parish this past Sunday, there was an excellent homily on the angels and on the evil angels and Satan. Abortion was presented as one of the greatest evils in the world encouraged and applauded by the demons. Then there was an announcement about the upcoming LifeChain. The Mass ended with an announcement about a Defund Abortion Rally at the office of a local politician. The parish community applauded the announcement.  It is rare for so many abortion related announcements to be presented at our parish on one Sunday.

Later, out in the parking lot, I overheard a disgruntled older couple complaining about all the abortion talk during the Mass. Then one of them said, “Don’t they know what Pope Francis just said?". I presume that meant that we should not be talking so much about, or only about, abortion. But of course the majority of what was announced and took place at the Mass had nothing to do with abortion.

Then there was a comment yesterday posted under a LifeSiteNews story:

“Well, given Pope Francis's recent comments about the Church being obsessed with abortion, contraception, and gay marriage, I don't blame the Republicans for dropping away from the fight on abortion funding. If the Pope doesn't like the bad press abortion talk gives the Catholic Church, then the Republicans can't be blamed for not wanting to be pummeled by the bad press they get which causes them to lose elections..”

Such things are being said everywhere now. Many immoral things are currently being justified in the name of Pope Francis. More than a few of the public and many in the media are interpreting (wrongly)  the Pope as having said that, "whatever you think is right according to your conscience, is now alright with the Catholic Church."

There is growing moral and theological chaos happening in response to the statements of Pope Francis, especially in reaction to his press conference on the way back from Brazil and these last two interviews.

In one of my past two blog posts on the first Pope Francis interview, I noted that there was a need for much damage control to mitigate the problems caused by the misunderstandings of Pope Francis's statements in the Jesuit magazines interview.

That followed after my first blog noting that Pope Francis certainly has a way of stirring things up.

I really do not want to appear to be critical of a Pope, nor do I think it is normally appropriate to do so. To be frank though, many faithful Catholics and non-Catholic Christians are reeling from these interviews and other off-the-cuff statements of Pope Francis – regardless of what he really meant.

One of my roles is to be helpful to the Church on the matters that I and the excellent LifeSiteNews team have become international experts on. Charity, true love for our brother and sisters in Christ, often calls for some uncomfortable things to be said - with charity.

There are far too many yes-men and women and "professional Catholics" who see their role as one to always spin whatever their religious superiors say or do in the most positive light. And they would rarely, if ever mention to the bishop or pastor that there may be some serious problems with his statements or actions - at least on the controversial moral issues.

That has allowed some terrible things to develop these past 50 tumultuous years in the Church. This yes-man, professional Catholic institutional culture was one thing that likely contributed to the growth of the sex abuse scandals and the Church international development and aid agency scandals and other scandals. Another one of these concerns is the still large number of unrepentant, active homosexual clergy, at all levels, dangerously still in active ministry.

I have never experienced anything like this high level of confusion from a Pope in my 66 years’ lifetime and I assume no one else alive today could have experienced it either. We are indeed in strange and troubling times.

One thing is certain. All Catholics (and I hope many non-Catholics will join in) must pray and fast with intensity for Pope Francis.

A Pope is likely the most prayed for of all persons on earth. Everyday, he is mentioned in every Catholic Mass and he is prayed for in a special way by most religious orders and members of most Catholic movements around the world. So, regardless of whatever weaknesses and poor judgement he may have, there is real hope that any newly elected Pope will grow into a holy, great leader as a result of those prayers.

However, right now we need to add to all the usual prayers some extra special prayer and fasting for Pope Francis because of the current circumstances. Non-Catholics are most welcome to join in as well because of the huge influence on the world that a Pope can have.

To encourage this most necessary prayer, some of the LifeSiteNews staff have set up a special Pro-Life day of prayer and fasting for Pope Francis Facebook page.

The date set for this prayer and fasting is this Friday, Oct. 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the  Pope’s patron. Check it out here. You are encouraged to add a post noting that you are joining in. Also invite friends and family to take part in the effort to pray for Francis.

If we do this, then we can be assured that we have done the very best thing possible in response to this controversy. Words have their limits compared to prayer.

It appears that Francis needs a stronger guiding light to help him in his incredibly challenging role. Inspired, courageous, authentic spiritual and moral leadership is desperately needed to fill a great vacuum of such leadership in much of the world in our time.

If that does not happen, other, extremely unpleasant things are certain to soon fill that vacuum.

We don't want to go there.

P.S. Please keep in mind that this blog is my personal opinion and does not represent an official position of LifeSiteNews.

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Mugging by Catholic bloggers

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac

Now and then various Church officials complain about deeply uncharitable and harmful discussions on some Catholic blogs. Facebook, blogs, Twitter and even email can each far too easily allow angry thoughts that cross people’s minds to be published for all the world to see without the sober second thought that would naturally accompany face-to-face or spoken communication.

There was a recent attack against LifeSiteNews from a very well known Catholic writer and another such writer and her husband. Using these means of unfiltered near-instant communications, they poured calumny and invective on LifeSiteNews and our talented and committed staff.

Critics who obviously know very little about us, how we function, and our editorial decision-making penned very harsh judgments about our motives and other aspects of our work.

Here are just a few samples of what was what posted on the Facebook pages of various well-known and prolific Catholic writers:

  • “Two sentences that make me turn on my bullshit detector: ones that start, ‘Guess what Pope Francis just did?’ and ones that start, ‘According to LifeSiteNews . . . ‘”
  • “lying assholes who attack the Church”
  • “lazy, biased, and stupid reporting”
  • “no respect for LSN as a whole”
  • “an organization with a bad reputation”
  • “no news sense and no conscience”
  • hang your “head in shame for attempting to bring division in the Church through inaccurate and dishonest reporting”
  • “anti-Catholic bias”
  • “They have a distorted view of reality, and no conscience when it comes to reporting lies in order to advance the agenda.”
  • “sleazier than the National Enquirer”
  • “They don't actually do any reporting. They rewrite a lot of other people's reporting without checking facts or giving attribution.”
  • “The narcissism and pride is epic.”

Criticism naturally comes with the territory of journalism and should always be expected. However, when this kind of crude assault is hurled so recklessly from fellow Catholics or other Christians, it does leave us unsettled. Moreover, when such vile language and character assassination comes from Catholics who are published at influential Catholic publications, it is also a concern for the writers’ own Catholic reputation and that of their employers.

LifeSiteNews does not claim to be a Catholic organization. We have many good and faithful Catholics on staff, but we do not claim to be a Catholic organization and our reporting is intended for people of all faiths and even no faith. 

Nothing written by LifeSiteNews ever remotely approaches the level of calumny in the condemnations and criticisms seen in the Facebook posts mentioned. We explicitly forbid our writers from making such comments and are constantly removing similar comments from readers commenting under our reports. That is not free speech. We consider it to be an abuse of freedom. We also have a policy of never responding in kind to such comments.

However, a natural response is: “Where is the Christianity in any of these comments?” It boggles the mind that anyone would publicly exhibit such a total lack of charity for all the world to see and think that they are thus exhibiting love of God or properly defending the Church or Pope Francis.

We often encourage our readers to be very respectful in any communications they make in response to our reports. We recognize that condemnatory, hostile, and disrespectful communications will always cause harm and hardly ever help advance the cause of life and family.

Why the scandal of such ad-hominem attacks are permitted by well-known Catholic websites is a puzzle. LifeSiteNews is only one of many victims who have been targeted and at times harmed by these all-too-frequent, very uncharitable, and careless blog postings over the years. 

Productive dialogue is impossible without mutual respect. Still, we never close the door to future communications if circumstances change. Many of us on the LifeSiteNews team have gone through major life conversions, so we understand the importance of forgiveness and charity.

One of our team did attempt to reach out and dialogue. Unfortunately, all attempts to respond to the criticism charitably, humbly, and privately, resulted in further, public attacks against the professionalism and integrity of LifeSiteNews, and on the personal character of LifeSiteNews personnel.

At LifeSiteNews we welcome feedback and reasoned, respectful criticism. When readers feel we are not doing the job, or are not doing it well, we take it seriously. We try to respond with charity, humility, and clarity.

The feedback we’ve received over the years has varied wildly from being told we are “doing the work of Satan” to the more usual one that we are doing God’s work. We‘ve been told more times than we can count, in emails and personal encounters with readers, that our reports are among the most reliable, trustworthy, and professionally written on the Internet on the issues that we cover. That is truly our aim. We pray and work every day to arrive at that lofty goal. And with your support, your prayers, and your constructive advice, I’m sure we can maintain our current high level of reporting while always striving to improve it even more.

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Thank Canada's Archbishop Richard Smith; watch excellent EWTN coverage of Ottawa march Sat.

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac

Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith’s strong, blunt criticism of Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau’s outrageous announcement that pro-life candidates will no longer be permitted to run for the Liberal Party is a welcome change from the usual silence of Canada’s bishops on almost all such developments.

I really hope many pro-life Canadians thank Archbishop Smith for speaking out and encourage him to continue to publicly hold Canadian Catholic politicians accountable for their anti-life and anti-family pronouncements, votes and other actions.

Here is the archbishop’s contact information:

Most Rev. Richard SMITH
Archbishop of Edmonton
8421-101 Avenue

Edmonton (AB) T6A 0L1

Tel: (780) 469-1010
Fax: (780) 465-3003
Web Site
Message entry page

And PLEASE, don’t criticize him for not doing all that you think that he should have said and done about Trudeau. This was a positive step. Congratulations, gratitude and encouragement is what you should convey.

Hopefully, more bishops will start to publicly hold to account Canada’s Catholic politicians who have very badly betrayed the people of Canada by leading, as have Justin and many other Canadian Catholic politicians, the advancement of the culture of death in Canada. It has been a sordid, terrible record so far, probably worse than in any other nation in the world.

The archbishop proclaimed that Justin’s announcement of his pathetic policy just before the Marches for Life to be "slap" in the face for all those who would be participating in the various marches across Canada. How true that is and I hope Canadians do not conveniently forget this travesty when the next federal election finally comes around.

Voters have a strong tendency to forget these things, much to the benefit of the worst politicians. Hopefully, there will be more strong statements from Canadian bishops around election time in order to refresh memories.

By the way, the EWTN coverage of the National March for Life in Ottawa was really outstanding this year. If you missed it, I strongly recommend that you tune into the replay tomorrow (Saturday) from 1 to 5:30 p.m.

I wasn’t able to make it to the March this year, having just come back from 10 days in Rome and now preparing for Washington next week, but I did catch some of the EWTN coverage and was thoroughly impressed.  If you can’t get EWTN on your cable network I believe the program can still be viewed via the EWTN website. 

Give it a go.  It is a wonderful way to experience the march and a lot of the interviews were great. LifeSiteNews team members John-Henry Westen and John Jalsevac were among those interviewed.

And I must also mention that Sun News gave the Ottawa March for Life excellent, fair coverage. See a list of their video reports here.

Unfortunately, there was one begrudging report in the National Post, "Activists entrench on abortion", by what appeared to be a feminist writer, Meghan Hurley, consistently refering to "anti-abortionists", that had a pro-abortion edge to it. There was also a the predicatable accompanying photo of just a small portion of the massive crowd with emphasis on a large cross in the middle.

The article and the text under the photo presented the ridiculously far too low estimated number of persons present as only 6,000 to 8,000 persons. I don't understand why the Post would allow such obvious inaccuracy and poor reporting to be published as a supposed professional news report on the march.

To anyone who was there, the report really undermined the credibility of the Post. Any reasonably seasoned reporter who was at the event would have easily seen that the number was likely far closer to the march organizers' offical count of 23,000. the RCMP count has always been way off the mark as well and it has always been noticed that both the RCMP and Ottawa police are not not remotely enthused about having to cover the march every year. The pathetic police response to the Femen protesters this year really gave evidence to their atttitude towards the pro-life event - no matter how many Members of Parliament, Senators and Catholic bishops and cardinals are present.  

However, we do have to give the Post credit for publishing a lot of excellent commentaries on the Justin Trudeau statement that no pro-life candidates would be allowed to run for the Liberal Party while he is the leader.

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Legatus Summit blew us away

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac

John-Henry Westen, Jon Fidero and I just came back from attending the annual Legatus Summit in Orlando, Florida that took place this past Thursday to Saturday. It was an astonishing event, in that every speaker was rock solid and of the highest quality from the pro-life and pro-family perspective.

For those of us from LifeSiteNews and many others who heard John Smeaton's talk titled, "Bishops are the first ones called to be untiring preachers of the Gospel of Life", his was the highlight of the conference. Smeaton's current-state-of-the-world speech was high calibre, very well prepared and revealed his thorough knowledge of developments in England, Ireland and much of the world that in the end give cause for alarm, but also for hope. I overheard a few Legatus members state that they were shaken by what Smeaton revealed.

Smeaton's presentation was about far more than just the subject of denying communion to pro-abortion politicians. It is a 13-page masterpiece overview of a world in major crisis regarding the value of human life and what must be done about this crisis. I have personally known this incredible man for several years and can vouch for his competence and the truth of all that he said in his talk.

Smeaton's talk is MUST READING for all good people in order to understand just where we are at at this alarming time in history. He was notably passionate while giving his erudite presentation because he knew he had to be. He knows what is at stake now regardless of the contradictory claims by some that abortion will soon be ended.

This particular audience was one that might be able to do something about the reality of the looming monsters that we are about to face unless strong actions are quickly taken, especially by the leadership of the Catholic Church. There is no way to overemphasize or exaggerate the gravity of the situation. PLEASE read Smeaton's full talk that is linked to at the bottom of the article and then pass it around far and wide. Thank Legatus for allowing John Smeaton this special opportunity to present his prophetic message for the world at such an opportune gathering.

But back to the rest of the conference. The many members of this Catholic Christian business leaders’ organization, founded by Domino's Pizza billionaire Tom Monaghan, that we met during our stay blew us away. It is rare to attend such an event where most people really get it about the culture war that has been raging in the world. We also found everyone we met to be especially warm and gracious personalities and very open to engage in conversation about the difficult subjects that LifeSiteNews covers, no doubt largely because of their personal commitment to live their Catholic faith in all that they do.

Legatus members want to learn more and do whatever they can to help evangelize the world with Christian principles and the saving truths of the Christian faith. We saw that this personally means a lot to these high level business CEOs and their families. We found them to have much higher principles than we normally associate with persons in top business leadership positions.

After having now attended our second Legatus Summit as exhibitors and sponsors, I would strongly recommend membership in Legatus to any Catholic business leader who meets its membership qualifications. Husbands AND wives are strongly encouraged to attend together to emphasize the importance of the married couple and their family as the foundation of society. Legatus is clearly not a typical men-only business organization.

The personal growth experiences and exceptional fellowship opportunities that it offers can only enrich the lives of its members and their families.  Legatus also provides a real benefit to the rest of us who are not business leaders in that these specially gifted men and women are being guided by their Legatus formation to take on larger roles than many of us are capable of to make this a better world. There was a lot of stress on the essential role of the laity, partnering with their bishops, in the evangelizing mission of the Church.

Hats off to Tom Monaghan and his team of leaders and also to the membership of Legatus for incorporating into their business life a high calling to life, family and faith, without which they realize all their other successes would be seriously lacking full satisfaction and meaning. Legatus helps them to open and keep their eyes on God’s rewarding expectations of them. That is a win-win for everyone.

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