Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W Hudson and Deacon Keith Fournier

3/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit

We suggest that all of you following this series leading up to the Conclave join with the cardinals, now meeting, in asking for the Holy Spirit to guide their proceedings and the choice they will ultimately make.

We do not take 'iron fist' literally, but as a metaphor for one of the more obvious needs in the Church, that all Catholic educational institutions either embrace the Apostolic Constitution  Ex Corde Ecclesiae (1990) or stop calling themselves 'Catholic.'

We do not take "iron fist" literally, but as a metaphor for one of the more obvious needs in the Church, that all Catholic educational institutions either embrace the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae (1990) or stop calling themselves "Catholic."


By Deal W Hudson and Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

3/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: conclave, new pope, legacy, ex corde ecclesiae, interregnum, new pope, cardinals, Deal W Hudson, Deacon Keith Fournier

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Our Countdown, thus far, has focused on the hostile media's message about the Conclave: "The Church must elect a progressive pope who will not follow in the footsteps of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, but will finally fulfill the hopes born at Vatican II of a democratized institution, one that listens to the enlightened voices calling for women priests, more married priests, acceptance of contraception and same-sex marriage, and an end to abortion activism."

But there are other hopes for the Conclave, voices that are not heard in the mainstream media -- Catholics whose concerns, at best, are expressed publicly on Catholic radio and TV, Catholic blogs, or in emails passed virally along established pro-life, pro-marriage communication networks. These are voices usually ignored by religion writers and correspondents unless they are looking for a quote to caricature orthodox Catholics as mean-spirited and bigoted, in contrast to the justice and charity that characterizes their favorite Catholics.  

We hear these voices, and they are concerned -- in a different way -- about the future of the Church, praying that the true reform and aggiornamento begun by John Paul II in October, 1978, reaffirmed with the election of Benedict XVI April 19, 2005, will continue with the election to be held sometime in the next ten days.

These Catholics, because they are so active in the day-to-day life of the Church, know what goes on in parishes, chanceries, state conferences, and the USCCB. They are holding their collective breath, knowing there is no foregone conclusion given the deep divisions among the clergy and the bishops about the future of the Church.  

We talk to these people everyday. For example, an email exchange about the latest bit of nonsense coming out of a Catholic university, in this case DePaul University, led to the following comment last night from a friend of ours:

"This makes no sense.I hope the new pope will rule with an almost iron fist in regard to Catholic schools and Universities. They should not be able to be called Catholic if they do not support the teachings of the Church. This should trickle down to the politicians too."

We do not take "iron fist" literally, but as a metaphor for one of the more obvious needs in the Church, that all Catholic educational institutions either embrace the Apostolic Constitution  Ex Corde Ecclesiae (1990) or stop calling themselves "Catholic."

Local bishops, of course, have the canonical power to declare any institution or organization no longer "Catholic," as happened recently to the National Catholic Reporter. These type of decisions, call them the "iron fist" variety, do little good if the institution in question has a base of support that could care less, as is the case with NCR. 

That which is not directly funded by the chancery can continue to exists, to call itself "Catholic," in spite of opposition from the local ordinary. Thus, more a prudential perspective, the use of the "iron fist" can easily demonstrate the limits of a bishop's authority more readily than his purported power. It's our observation that bishops, including those working in the Vatican, are acutely aware of this dynamic and seek substantial change in ways that do not expose their incapacity. 

Today, 115 cardinals of the Church are meeting to determine the starting day of the Conclave and to reaffirm the rules surrounding the election, especially the special security measures that ensure the participants are cut off from communications with anyone from "outside." This is particularly important given the spectacle over the past year of the leak of papal documents by the pope's ex-butler. The dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who is leading the pre-Conclave meetings, has said the date may not be announced for a few days.

The cardinals gathered together are aware of the entire spectrum of concerns and expectations in the minds of Catholics around the world. As we outlined on our Day 1 report much of the time spent at the Conclave will be in prayer and worship: The Church, after all, teaches that Her life is directed and nourished by the Holy Spirit:

"The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may 'bear much fruit.'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 737).

We suggest that all of you following this series leading up to the Conclave join with the cardinals, now meeting, in asking for the Holy Spirit to guide their proceedings and the choice they will ultimately make.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.


More Europe

Massive Viking treasure horde discovered HOW?!? Watch

Image of A 47-year-old British man uncovered one of the largest Viking artifact hordes ever discovered, which has over hundreds of artifacts.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A British man has found the largest collection of Viking artifacts ever in Scotland, using-of all things--a metal detector. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Derek McLennan found the trove on land belonging to the Church of Scotland in the area of Dumfries and ... continue reading

Pope Francis Makes Another Impassioned Plea for Christian Unity Watch

Image of Divisions among us, but also divisions among the communities: evangelical Christians, orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians, but why divided? We must try to bring about unity. Let me tell you something, today, before leaving home, I spent 40 minutes more or less, half an hour, with an evangelical pastor. And we prayed together, seeking unity. But we Catholics must pray with each other and other Christians. Pray that the Lord gift us unity! Unity among ourselves! How will we ever have unity among Christians if we are not capable of having it among us Catholics, in the family, how many families fight and split up? Seek unity, unity builds the Church and comes from Jesus Christ. He sends us the Holy Spirit to build unity! - Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Dear friends, let us therefore proceed towards full unity! History has separated us, but we are on the path towards reconciliation and communion! And this is true! And we must defend it! We are all on the path toward communion. And when the goal seems too ... continue reading

'Titanic of the Ancient World' yielding priceless, new treasures Watch

Image of In their assessment of the ship's size, the team also brought up several new artifacts including tableware and an enormous bronze spear, pictured below, that's believed to have been part of a giant statue.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The ancient Antikythera shipwreck, a Greek vessel that sank more than 2,000 years ago in the Aegean Sea has long captivated archaeologists. Since sponge divers discovered it in 1900, researchers have long referred to it in order to understand a foregone ... continue reading

Belgium strikes back against leaders of national Islamist group Watch

Image of Fouad Belkacem alias Abu Imran, the spokesman for the Sharia4Belgium Islamist group, and one of those put on trial.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Belgium has started its largest-ever terrorism trial in the port city of Antwerp. Here, 46 members of the Sharia4Belgium Islamist group are being charged with recruiting scores of young Muslims to fight for the Islamic State. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading

Catholic Church must use power to protect Christians against radical Islam, bishop says Watch

Image of The Pakistan-born bishop, an outspoken defender of Christian rights in his native land before coming to United Kingdom, says that the time is nigh for Rome to take a stand.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Catholic Church must use its global power to protect Christians threatened by Islamic militancy and secularism. That was the message delivered by prominent Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. The Pakistan-born bishop, an outspoken defender of Christian ... continue reading

Ebola cases spreading through Europe deemed 'unavoidable' by health official Watch

Image of While European health workers were most at risk of becoming infected, but added that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the news of a Spanish nurse infected with the Ebola virus, World Health Organization European Director Zsuzsanna Jakab has declared that the spread of Ebola across Europe is "quite unavoidable." She assures the world that Europe is still at low risk and ... continue reading

Extraordinary Synod on the Pastoral Care of the Family Begins. Stop Fighting and Start Praying Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Too much of the back and forth online concerning the Extraordinary Synod on the Pastoral care of the family has only fanned the fires of fear among God's people. It has also given those who oppose the Church, and her liberating message of truth, fodder for their ... continue reading

Discovered artwork asks -- Was Jesus Christ clean-shaven? Watch

Image of Throughout history, the Messiah has been depicted in a variety of ways through holy art -- bearded, clean shaven, light skin, olive skin, long hair, short -- each interpretation reflecting the prevalent society's ideas regarding Him.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The popular depiction of Jesus Christ in Western art usually shows him with flowing, long blond hair and beard. This depiction may not necessarily be the case. Archaeologists in Spain say they have found one of the world's earliest known images of Jesus ... continue reading

Euthanasia takes mounting toll in the Netherlands Watch

Image of Euthanasia in the Netherlands is

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Since legalizing euthanasia seven years ago, the Netherlands has seen a dramatic spike in the number of people who have elected to medically terminate their lives. Intended to ease the suffering of those with terminal cancer, a growing number of patients ... continue reading

Is Pope Francis a Charismatic? Yes, But In the Fullest Sense of the Word Watch

Image of Pope Francis is a good pastor, who wants to ensure that participants in all of these ecclesial movements not fall prey to the danger which enthusiastic movements often face, turning inward or becoming, to use one of his favorite words of warning to the whole Church, self-referential.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

A charism is a grace, a gift lavished by God the Father, through the action of the Holy Spirit. And it is a gift that is given to someone, not because he is better than others or because he merited it: it is a gift that God makes so that, with the same ... continue reading

All Europe News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:54-59
54 He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2014 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was born in Salient in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook

Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter