Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W Hudson and Deacon Keith Fournier

3/5/2013 (2 years 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 (2 years 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'

Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.


More Europe

Pope Francis in hot water? Pontiff receives angry call from German Chancellor Angela Merkel Watch

Image of Pope Francis's remark about Europe and barren women causes Merkel to respond ( L'Osservatore Romano/Getty Images Europe).


In 2014, Pope Francis delivered an address to European Parliament, in which he spoke of Europe's lack of connection among its people. He claimed the loneliness in the country led to an aging impression, like a grandmother who is no longer fertile. Now, two years later, ... continue reading

SCARY POLL: One in four Germans favors shooting illegal immigrants at borders Watch

Image of A political storm brewed last week after Alternative for Germany - or AFD party leader Frauke Petry [not pictured] advocated the right of border police to gun down migrants.


Growing weary of accommodating refugees from such trouble spots as Syria and Iraq, the German people have expressed a rather shocking sentiment in a recent poll. According to the survey - one in four Germans favors shooting illegal immigrants at their nation's ... continue reading

Seven suspects arrested in Spain for smuggling weapons to ISIS - disguised as humanitarian aid Watch

Image of Eighty-two suspects have been arrested in connection with suspected terrorist activities in Spain since the beginning of 2015.


Seven people have been arrested in Spain and North Africa on suspicion of supplying bomb-making equipment to Islamic State leaders in Syria and Iraq - under the phony pretense of sending humanitarian aid. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Six men were arrested ... continue reading

REVEALED: Pope Pius XII's secret efforts to overthrow Hitler Watch

Image of In the late 1990s, debate over whether Pius XII did enough to counter the Nazis reached a high point with the publication of the deeply controversial book,

By Kevin J. Jones, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Pius XII's secret support for the attempted overthrow of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler is the subject of a new book that draws on wartime documents and interviews with the American intelligence agent who wrote them. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "This ... continue reading

Germany cannot take in 'all the world's needy,' Catholic Church says Watch

Image of The anti-Islamic group Periga has encouraged fellow Europeans to join them in marches for


Charity has limits, church officials in Germany say. Taking in the majority of the world's Syrian refugees, representatives from the Catholic Church now say that resources are being stretched to the limits, and new refugees must be controlled. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

Remains of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Leopold Mandic arrive in Rome for Jubilee of Mercy Watch

Image of The relics of the two saints were welcomed to St. Lawrence with a large celebration and procession into the basilica (CNS/Reuters).

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

The partially incorrupt body of Padre Pio has arrived to Rome for the first time ever alongside that of another friar, St. Leopold Mandic, as a special initiative for the Jubilee of Mercy. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Urns containing the relics of Saint Padre ... continue reading

Seeking reconciliation, Pope Francis, and Russian Orthodox leader to meet in Cuba - for first time, ever Watch

Image of The meeting comes after years and decades of previous outreach efforts, which has prevented papal visits to Russia (AFP).


In the hopes of repairing a schism within Christianity, that dates back as far as the 11th Century, Pope Francis will meet with the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in Cuba. The two branches have been estranged because of disagreements over papal authority - as ... continue reading

Woman takes toddler to join ISIS Watch

Image of Tareena Shakil took her toddler to Syria to join ISIS (PA).


Twenty-six-year-old Tareena Shakil told her family she would be vacationing in Turkey with her 14-month-old son. The next time her family heard from her, Shakil and her son were in Syria - and had joined the terrorist organization ISIS. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading

Evidence of the Yeti? Footprints in Himalayan snow said to be of abominable snowman Watch

Image of Among the most elusive of all crypto-zoological creatures, the Abominable Snowman has had several eyewitness accounts. Some Russian fans here pose with an elaborate mock-up of the snowy creature (Lenta).


The abominable snowman, or Yeti, remains one of the world's most elusive crypto-zoological figures. There have been many eyewitness reports of the hairy giant throughout the mountain ranges of the Himalayas for many years. A British man, on vacation in Bhutan, ... continue reading

'I should never have smiled at him': Nightclub owner bans migrants from club when language barrier leads to sexual harrassment Watch

Image of When women began to report migrants harassing them at his nightclub, Jensen decided to take action (Mads Flackner).


Tom Holden Jensen, the owner of a Danish nightclub, decided to ban all migrants who don't speak Danish, English or German from his Buddy Holly club in Søenderborg. The controversial decision was made after several women claimed they felt threatened and intimidated by ... continue reading

All Europe News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Stations of the Cross - Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother HD Video
  • Palm Sunday HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • 10 important things to consider during Lent
  • St. Scholastica: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
  • Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 2:12-18
12 'But now -- declares Yahweh- come back to me with all your heart, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
1 'Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 5:20--6:2
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were urging you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 10th, 2016 Image

St. Scholastica
February 10: St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict, ... Read More