Saint Catherine of Siena…

…judges Francis’ idea on Judas being a poor, penitent man

  • ‘The despair of Judas displeased Me more, and was more grave to My Son than was his betrayal of Him’

[God the Father:] Therefore, is this last sin graver to Me than all the other sins that the soul has committed. Wherefore the despair of Judas displeased Me more, and was more grave to My Son than was his betrayal of Him. So that they are reproved of this false judgment, which is to have held their sin to be greater than My mercy, and, on that account, are they punished with the devils, and eternally tortured with them. (Saint Catherine of Siena. The Dialogue, ch. 37)

…judges Francis’ idea on the role of women in the Church

  • Not even the angels have the dignity of the ministers of Christ

I have told you all this, dearest daughter, that you may the better recognize the dignity to which I have called My ministers, so that your grief at their miseries may be more intense. […] no greater dignity exists in this life. They are My anointed ones, and I call them My Christs, because I have given them the office of administering Me to you, and have placed them like fragrant flowers in the mystical body of the holy Church. The angel himself has no such dignity, for I have given it to those men whom I have chosen for My ministers, and whom I have appointed as earthly angels in this life. (Saint Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, Dialogue 9, Ch. 118)

…judges Francis’ idea on confession

  • ‘They are My anointed ones: I call them My Christs’

I have told you all this, dearest daughter, that you may the better recognize the dignity to which I have called My ministers, so that your grief at their miseries may be more intense. […] No greater dignity exists in this life. They are My anointed ones, and I call them My Christs, because I have given them the office of administering Me to you, and have placed them like fragrant flowers in the mystical body of the holy Church. The angel himself has no such dignity, for I have given it to those men whom I have chosen for My ministers, and whom I have appointed as earthly angels in this life. (Saint Catherine of Siena. The Dialogue, Ch. 113)

…judges Francis’ idea on Grace

  • The Pope must consider the evil of the loss of grace in souls

It seems to me that God wishes you to place the eyes of the understanding on the beauty of the soul, and on the Blood of his Son; by which Blood He washed the face of our soul: and you are the minister of It. […] The treasure of the Church is the Blood of Christ, given as the price for the soul. […] It is better, then, to let the gold of temporal things be lost than the gold of spiritual things. […] Open, open wide the eye of understanding with hunger and desire for the salvation of souls, to consider two evils: the evil of grandeur, dominion and temporal goods that you think you should conquest, and the evil of seeing the loss of grace in souls. From this you will see that you are much more obliged to reconquer souls. (Saint Catherine of Siena. Letter 209 to Gregory XI)

  • The Pope should be exemplary in his words, habits and deeds

Be you manful for me, in the holy fear of God; wholly exemplary in your words, your habits, and all your deeds. Let all shine clear in the sight of God and me; as a light placed in the candlestick, of Holy Church, to which looks and should look all the Christian people. (Saint Catherine of Siena. Letter 270 to Urban VI, pg 335)

…judges Francis’ idea on God’s love for sinners

  • God grants mercy to those who emend their lives

I assure you, however, that if you wish to emend your life in the time that you have, God is so good and merciful that he will grant mercy. He will receive you benevolently in his arms, he will make you participant of the blood of the Lamb shed with such a fire of love, for there is no sinner that is so great as to not obtain mercy. The mercy of God is greater than our evil, whenever we might want to emend ourselves and vomit the corruption of sin through confession, with the intention of preferring death rather than returning to what we had vomited. […] Know that if you do not emend, you will go to the darkest prison imaginable and when what should occur through confession and the rejection sin does not, there is no need for anyone to put the debtor into prison, rather, he himself will go to hell in the company of the demons. (Saint Catherine of Siena. Letter 21 – To someone whose name has been withheld reproving grave mortal sins)

  • Darkness and division have come into the world through the lack of the light of justice

And prelates, placed in the position of the prelacy of Christ ton earth, offered Me the sacrifice of justice with holy and upright lives. The pearl of justice, with true humility, and the most ardent love shone in them, and in their subjects, with the light of discretion. […] And, because they first had done justice to those under them, wishing to see them live virtuously, and correcting them without any servile fear, because they were not thinking of themselves, but solely of My honour and the salvation of souls […] They have followed His footsteps, and therefore did they correct them, and did not let their members become putrid for want of correcting, but they charitably corrected them with the unction of benignity, and with the sharpness of fire, cauterizing the wound of sin with reproof and penance, little or much, according to the graveness of the fault. And, in order to correct it and to speak the truth, they did not even fear death. They were true gardeners who, with care and holy tears, took away the thorns of mortal sins, and planted plants odoriferous of virtue. Wherefore, those under them lived in holy, true fear, and grew up like sweet smelling flowers in the mystic body of the holy Church […] without any sin, for they balanced exactly the scales of holy justice […] And this justice was and is that pearl which shines in them, and which gave peace and light in the midst of the people and caused holy fear to be with them, and unity of heats. And I would that thou know that, more darkness and division have come into the world amongst seculars and religious and the clergy and pastors of the holy Church, through the lack of the light of justice and the advent of darkness of injustice, than from any other cause. […] So, were the prelate, or any other lord having subjects, on seeing one putrefying from the corruption of mortal sin, to apply to him the ointment of soft words and encouragement alone, without reproof, he would never cure him, but the putrefaction would rather spread to the other members, who, with, him, form one body under the same pastor. (Saint Catherine of Siena. The Dialogue. Treatise on prayer – Of the excellence, virtues, and holy works of virtuous and holy ministers; and how such are like the sun. pg. 245-247)

…judges Francis’ idea on anticlericalism

  • The reverence for priests should never diminish – due to the authority which Jesus gave them

Have told you all this, dearest daughter, that you may the better recognize the dignity to which I have called My ministers, wherefore this reverence should never diminish in the case of priests whose virtue grows weak […] and you ought to love and reverence the authority which I have given them. […] This, then, is your duty according to the demands of charity, and thus I wish you to act with regard to such badly ordered priests, […] who bring you great Treasures – that is to say, the Sacraments of the holy Church. (Saint Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, Dialogue 9, Ch. 120)

  • “They are My anointed ones, and I call them My Christs”

I have told you all this, dearest daughter, that you may the better recognize the dignity to which I have called My ministers, so that your grief at their miseries may be more intense. […] no greater dignity exists in this life. They are My anointed ones, and I call them My Christs, because I have given them the office of administering Me to you, and have placed them like fragrant flowers in the mystical body of the holy Church. The angel himself has no such dignity, for I have given it to those men whom I have chosen for My ministers, and whom I have appointed as earthly angels in this life. (Saint Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, Dialogue 9, Ch. 118)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Pope should not judge

  • A divine revelation: the devils themselves who incite to sin cannot endure the sight of the horrendous sin

But they do just the opposite to me, for they come to this mystery wholly impure – and not simply with the sort of impurity and weakness to which you are all naturally inclined because of your weak nature (although reason can calm its rebellion if free choice so wills). No, these wretches not only do not restrain their weaknesses; they make it worse by committing that cursed unnatural sin. As if they were blind and stupid, with the light of their understanding extinguished, they do not recognize what miserable filth they are wallowing in. The stench reaches even up to me, Supreme Purity. And is so hateful to me that for this sin alone five cities were struck down by my divine judgment. For my divine justice could no longer tolerate it, so despicable to me is this abominable sin. But the stench displeases not only me, as I have said, but the devils as well, those very devils these wretches have made their masters. It is not its sinfulnesss that displeases them, for they like nothing that is good. But because their nature is angelic, that nature still loathes the sight of that horrendous sin actually being committed. It is true that it was they who in the beginning shot the poisoned arrows of concupiscence, but when it comes to the sinful act itself they run away. (Saint Catherine of Siena. Dialogue, Ch. 124)

…judges Francis’ idea on equality as the source of justice and happiness

  • God made things with differences so that men are able to show love for their neighbors

Although I have given them in such a different way, that is to say not all to one, but to one, one virtue, and to another, another, […] to one I will give principally love, to another justice, to another humility, to one a lively faith, […] I use the word temporal for the things necessary to the physical life of man; all these I have given indifferently, and I have not placed them all in one soul, in order that man should, perforce, have material for love of his fellow. […] but I wish that one should have need of the other, and that they should be My ministers to administer the graces and the gifts that they have received from Me. (Saint Catherine of Siena. Dialogue, Ch. 7)

…judges Francis’ idea on eternal condemnation

  • If he does not amend his life, he will be eternally condemned with great reprimand and reproach

[Our Lord Jesus Christ] O dearest daughter! I have placed you on the bridge of the doctrine of my truth so that he might serve you, o pilgrims, and administer you the sacraments of the holy Church, but he [a priest] stays in the miserable river below the bridge immersed in the pleasures and miseries of the world. There he exercises his ministry, without noticing the wave that drags him to death and he goes with the devils, his masters, whom he has served and by whom he has been openly guided, along the river. If he does not amend his life, he will be eternally condemned with great reprimand and reproach, that your tongue would be incapable of referring. And he, due to his priestly office, much more than any other lay person. For this reason the same sin is punished more in him than in one who would have stayed in the world. At the moment of death his enemies will accuse him more terribly, as I have told you. (Saint Catherine of Siena. Dialogue, no. 130)

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