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St. Catherine’s papal correction

November 16, 2017
Laurette Elsberry

Re “Private conscience and the church,” Father John Catoir, Nov. 9:

Father Catoir appears to take offense at recent criticisms of Pope Francis, citing the now-popular, but quoted out of context, statement of Francis: “Who am I to judge?”

St. Catherine of Siena wrote the following to Pope Gregory XI:

“Since (Christ) has given you authority and you have accepted it, you ought to be using the power and strength that is yours. If you don’t intend to use it, it would be better and more to God’s honor and the good of your soul to resign. … If I were in your place, I would be afraid of incurring divine judgment.” Later in her letter she continued, “Cursed be you, for time and power were entrusted to you and you did not use them!”

Was Catherine judging the pope’s soul? No, his actions or lack of appropriate actions.

Father Catoir states that we must be merciful. Yes, but it is not merciful to allow the wolf to savage the flock.

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