Evangelii Gaudium a “source of grief and pain for the faithful”

Fr. Franz Schmidberger, Rector of the Society of St. Pius X seminary in Germany has reviewed Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium here. Here are some choice excerpts from his review:

This double objective, together with the loquacious nature of the pontiff, makes for writing that is not clearly structured; it lacks precision, succinctness, and clarity.


The Pope speaks of the Church as if up until now little has been done in the Church regarding the preaching of the Gospel or it has been done in an incomplete way. He complains about an easy, lethargic, and isolated attitude. These constant reprimands are embarrassing. One gets the impression that up until now little was done for the transmission of the Faith and the Gospel. These comments are accompanied with a constant reference to his own person. The personal pronoun “I” is used no less than 184 times, and we are not taking into account the use of “my,” “mine,” and “for me.”  


The Pope then speaks of a sound pluralism. How can we reconcile such pluralism with the knowledge that the second person of the Holy Trinity came into this world in order to save it, with the Truth that Jesus Christ is the source of all graces and that in Him alone is there salvation?

On Islam:

In the next paragraph the Pope reaches a concrete conclusion: “We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition.” This number closes with a scandalous false statement: “Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence”. Did the Holy Father ever read the Koran? 

 Father Schmidberger concludes:

The papal document Evangelii Gaudium may, like dispersed seeds, contain some good aspects. As a whole, however, the document is nothing but a development of the Second Vatican Council in its most unacceptable statements. We cannot find in it any “new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come” (#1), but another fatal step towards the downfall of the Church, the decomposition of its doctrine, the breakdown of its structure, and even the extinction of its missionary spirit which ironically is evoked over and over again. In this way Evangelii gaudium becomes the Dolor Fidelium, a source of grief and pain for the faithful.

As an outsider looking in on the Catholic Church, my sense is that it is becoming “mainline Protestant” at the top, which is what it probably has been for some time at the bottom in the West. As the history of the Church in Quebec and other areas shows, this type of doctrinal drift can eviscerate the numbers of people who hold onto the faith in short order. It will be fascinating to see the long-term impact of this Papacy on the health of the Catholic Church globally. 

1 thought on “Evangelii Gaudium a “source of grief and pain for the faithful””

  1. As a catholic for 64 of my 84 years, I am profoundly sad at the condition of the institutional church the blindness of the hierarchy. The only thing that keeps me going is the notion that my church is also the Mystical Body of Christ, which is incorruptible.

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