See Part 1 of this 2-part article: Members of “very, very Catholic family” condemned by Fr. Larry Richards speak out
May 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The increasingly condemning and accusatory behaviour of Fr. Richards, Fr. Thomas Rosica, Fr. Martin, Cardinal Cupich, Bishop McElroy, Cardinal Tobin and many other clerical Pope Francis papologists has been a unique phenomenon related to the Francis papacy.
The following 84-second video excerpt from a 2017 talk by Fr. Richards, just two months after my encounter with him, explains why Fr. Richards is so merciless with anyone who questions anything about Pope Francis.
His characterization that they “don’t like this pope,” is a belittling diversion away from the real issues. The expressed concerns about Francis have instead overwhelmingly been about fidelity to the doctrines, teachings and firm traditions of Christ’s Church – rather than this pope’s Church.
The fidelity of all Catholics must first and foremost be to Jesus Christ Himself as should also, and above all, be the fidelity of his Vicar on earth.
The questioning of this particular “Peter” are about him causing what many now say is catastrophic confusion with his numerous ambiguities, harmful silences, many contradictions between statements and actions, terrible appointments and worldly top priorities such as climate change, open borders and the UN Sustainable Development goals.
Fr. Richards inaccurately pronounces, with selective quotes, that Catholics must assent to all that a pope says and does. That has never been true. This is where he fails on orthodoxy.
LifeSite reported February 2017 statements by Bishop Athenasius Schneider on this very issue,
As Catholics,” he said, we have “to be submitted, (canonically) I mean, to the Pope, to the Vicar of Christ to accept his authority, to have respect for him, to pray for him, and to have a supernatural love for him.” But, he added, “this does not mean blind obedience; of course no[t] because we are not in a dictatorship.” “In a dictatorship yes, we have to obey blind, or in the army.”
Rather, Bishop Schneider said, “the Church is a family where discussion is possible” and also “correction with respect and with love.” When this is not possible, he added, “there is not a true atmosphere of Church spirituality.” It would be an “atmosphere of intimidation, of repression, of fear and this is not atmosphere of the Holy Spirit.”
Bishop Schneider reflected on the example of laywoman St. Catherine of Siena, who, he noted, the Church recognizes as a saint and Doctor of the Church. While she always kept “a very deep respect towards the Pope and a deep love for him,” he said, she nevertheless “wrote several letters to him with very harsh” criticisms and correctly admonished him which she did “out of love for him.”
“She wrote in a letter to the Pope, ‘Most Holy Father if you will not convert, please step down, renounce the papacy. I write these out of love for your person, for your eternal salvation, and for the Church.’” This letter and the attitude behind it, said Schneider, “is not schismatic, and in no way against the Pope.”
Bishop Schneider counseled against making “the Pope an idol” or practicing “papal latria” or ultimately a “deification” of the Pope. He suggested that the current crisis in the Church may rectify a tendency toward papal latria experienced in the Church in the past hundred years.
Fr. Richards’ sweeping condemnation of all those who respectfully express concerns related to Francis must absurdly logically extend to also include Catholic greats such as Cardinal Zen, Cardinal Sarah, Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Mueller and even Pope Benedict.
Almost every one of the current rampaging accusers of the outspoken faithful, is intolerant of any questioning of Francis. They are conversely very tolerant of the notorious Fr. James Martin or others who openly call for changes to unchangeable Catholic moral teachings.
More than that, it has become obvious that none of them, including Fr. Martin, fears they will be held accountable for saying and doing things that under previous popes would have resulted in strong rebukes or worse from their bishop or from Rome.
Francis is seen as a model to follow
The Holy Father is usually silent about this growing wave of transgressions. In fact, he has given his devotees, especially among the liberal or dissenting clergy, a model to follow.
LifeSite reported in 2017,
The National Catholic Register's Rome correspondent Ed Pentin quoted Vatican sources in November indicating Pope Francis was “boiling with rage” over the criticism of Amoris Laetitia. Italian newspapers reported during the second Synod on the Family in 2015 that a letter from 13 Cardinals asking clarification from the Pope garnered an angry outburst in which the Pope exclaimed, “If this is the case, they [the 13 cardinals] can leave. The Church does not need them. I will throw them all out!”
His incredibly frequent, harsh insults and chastisements of faithful Catholics who express valid concerns about his confusing words or actions, or who frustrate his plans to decentralize the Church and place subjective pastoral considerations above doctrine, are listed at length, with verifications, in the Pope Francis Book of Insults. Clicking on each link brings one to the source of the quote.
This is disturbing reading for those of us who lived through all of the John Paul II and Benedict papacies. Nothing like this occurred during those two papacies.
And like Fr. Richards, Fr. Rosica and others, Francis has been increasingly stating that the respectful critics, who know their faith well, are doing the work of Satan, whom he calls “The Great Accuser”.
In the Gaylord diocese, Bishop Steve Raica is another one to recently join this trend by calling those who have exposed the coverup of a sexual abuser priest in his diocese as being “agents of Satan.” It is catching on – this demonization of the outspoken faithful, whether they be laity or priests, bishops and even cardinals.
Pope Francis’ Christmas talks to the Vatican curia have been especially venomous.
And so, Fr. Richards, with his shocking and sometimes vulgar histrionics*, especially against those who dare to even once express a concern about Pope Francis, may believe that he and other condemners of the faithful are following Pope Francis and doing what he would want them to do.
*Histrionics exaggerated dramatic behavior designed to attract attention. Synonyms: dramatics, drama, theatrics, theatricality, tantrums;
However, we cannot fully lump Fr. Richards in with the Church dissidents since his talks, notwithstanding his histrionics, exaggerations or false statements about persons or organizations, are generally very orthodox and helpfully informative. In his preaching he tackles head on many hard subjects that most clerics today fear preaching about. He is greatly appreciated by many for doing this.
So, there are significant positives and genuinely disturbing negatives about the actions and preaching of Fr. Larry Richards.
Fr. Richards preoccupation with death and killing
As LifeSite reported on March 14, Fr. Richards gave a talk at the most recent Legatus Summit during which he stated, “ A couple of months ago I said something about Church Militant, and they threatened to kill me.”
“Literally,” he continued to tell his distinguished audience of leading US Catholic business leaders. “I got death threats from a good Catholic organization that wanted me dead in God’s name.”
Then, the day after we published our story, he sent out a tweet stating,
“I was wrong in what I said about Church Militant – it was NO ONE in their LEADERSHIP who threatened me – it was one of their FOLLOWERS who called me on the phone and threatened me. I should have made that clear. We need to stop demonizing each other, I will stop first. Peace..”
That is a hugely different story and causes one to naturally wonder if anyone really did threaten his life.
After watching some of Fr. Richards mission talks on line I have seen a definite pattern of him almost gleefully inviting people to wish for his death in order to perhaps disarm his audience that has just been exposed to his shouting, screaming, condemning, very intense speaking style. However. Fr. Richards claims he deliberately elicits anger towards him so that his audience will later remember what he tried to teach them.
In the 2017 talk during which he condemned the Starks he stated,
…you will not go to Heaven even if you say a rosary every day and you go to Mass every day if you’re not a man of love. You will go to Hell! I promise! … You need to be man of affirmation. It’ll kill some of you to say something nice to your wife every day. You usually don’t, and to your children every day. Do you hate me yet (he says to his audience)? Are you praying for my death at this very moment? I know some of you are. I know.
I seriously doubt any of his listeners has ever have wished such a thing.
In his March 17, 2017 Confession talk he stated,
..the fifth commandment, You shall not kill. “Fr., You can’t get me on that one, I’ve never killed anybody.” Oh yea, How about your temper… now you know, some of you think I’m scary too, don’t you. You know you do. I scream a lot. But the point is, I want you to remember this.
So some of you when you go to bed tonight and you’re praying for my death. And don’t waste your time sending me letters. “Father I think you are very arrogant.” I’ve already received those types of letters. I understand. I don’t read anything that comes to me now. It all goes to my foundation. So, and they throw those letters out so I don’t have to deal with them.
…I put emotion into this. I want to make you mad at me so that you have to think about what I said. If you’re praying for my death tonight you still have to think about what I said, don’t ya. That’s all I wanted. Thank you.
A LifeSite reader commented under our report on Fr. Richards alleged “death threat”,
Several months back, I had an encounter with him (Fr. Richards) on social media where he was insulting anyone who ever questions the pope. Several people including me respectfully challenged what he said and he deleted every comment and blocked every person who disagreed with him. Then I heard a clip of his homily the next Sunday in which he talked about this incident and also fabricated the details. He said people were being hateful and attacking him and he “wanted to kill them.”
Then there was his talk to a Women’s conference on October 4, 2014
I was just in Rome …I go to go to confession and I say “bless me Father and it’s been two weeks since my last confession and this priest started to yell at me, I mean not just yell a little bit, I mean he screamed at me. I was totally shocked. I go, “ok, Father.” The priest said, “for your penance you will say a rosary!” I walked out of there. I was so mad. I thought, I had to say my rosary for him because I wanted him dead… I was so angry because he was not a representative of God in any way, shape or form.
Did a priest really scream at him and shout, “for your penance you will say a rosary!”? I doubt it, although the penance given was probably correctly stated.
With the above in mind, I suggest Fr. Richard’s claim that a supporter of Church Militant threatened his life was likely yet another case of him stretching or bending the truth for dramatic impact upon his listeners. Otherwise, he would have naturally called the police, but there was no indication that he did so.
This is hopefully my last article related Fr. Larry Richards and his frequent, public and harmful defamations of many good apostolates and persons. It would be far better if he let his listeners make up their own minds about the credibility and spiritual value of them.
As experience has revealed these past several decades, the remnant of still faithful laity have shown themselves to often have a better understanding and living out of the Catholic faith than many clergy and even bishops who experienced poor formation in corrupted seminaries and Catholic educational institutions.
To the liberal, dissident clergy of today, anyone who fully accepts and defends ALL that the Church has taught, especially on moral issues, is considered “extreme”, “rigid.” But it was the norm to accept all that the Church has taught – until only the last 60 years or so.
Never in 2000 years of Church history would it have been acceptable for a pope to pronounce about cohabiting couples, “I’ve seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitations, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity.”
That is what Pope Francis actually said in June of 2016.
The statement contradicted the catechism and Jesus Christ Himself. It is a great lack of true charity to tell that falsehood to the flock.
The growing number of on line and other organizations that have been trying to defend and proclaim the true teachings of the Church in this time of massive confusion need support and affirmation much more than condemnation.
We should give thanks for what Fr. Richards has done to inspire Catholics and bring many back to the sacraments. But we must also pray that he comes to understand and correct the scandal and harm caused by his reckless, uncharitable judgements of persons and organizations who are sincerely only trying to do the will of God to the best of their ability.
That personal anger issue that he seems to have been talking about for years in every one of his missions and many of his sermons, is something we pray he finally deals with so that his preaching will be even more pleasing to the Master that he serves.
Finally, the faithful Catholics who are reeling from the terrible disorientation that has been rocking their beloved Church during the Francis papacy need the shepherds to take their concerns seriously and to respond as loving fathers would respond.
See previous article: Members of “very, very Catholic family” condemned by Fr. Larry Richards speak out