Catholic bloggers should listen to Pope Francis’ advice about not allowing rancor to poison our souls

Pope Francis’ Angelus address last Sunday offers us an important reflection on the spirituality of St Joseph that highlights the importance of not allowing rancor to poison our souls. This spiritual advice from the Holy Father is something that all of us who write or contribute to Catholic blogs need to heed and take to heart.

Before looking at Pope Francis’ spiritual guidance we need to be clear about the meaning of rancor. Rancor means ‘ an angry feeling of hatred or dislike for someone who has treated you unfairly’, ‘bitter, long-lasting resentment; deep-seated ill will.’ It is common to see expressions of rancor on Catholic blogs, from Catholics and secularists alike.

Pope Francis said the following about St Joseph’s example that helps us resist the temptation to rancor:

‘This Gospel manifests to us all of Joseph’s greatness of soul. He was pursuing a good plan for his life but God had another design for him, a greater mission. Joseph was a man who always listed to God’s voice, profoundly sensitive to his hidden will, a man attentive to the messages that came to him from the depths of his heart and from above. He did not persist in pursuing his own plan for his life, he did not allow rancor to poison his soul, but was ready to place himself at the service of the thing that was presented to him in a disconcerting way. And it was in this way that he was a good man. He did not hate and he did not allow rancor to poison his soul. But how often does hatred and antipathy too, how often does rancor poison our souls! And this is bad for us. Joseph never permits this to happen: he is a good example of this. And in this way Joseph became freer and greater. Accepting himself according to God’s plan, Joseph finds himself completely, beyond himself. This freedom he has to give up what belongs to him, the ownership of his own life, and this total interior availability to God’s will, grab our attention and show us the way.’

Protect the Pope comment: As a Catholic blogger I know I have to resist the temptation to hate that arises from the just anger I often feel when I report grave injustices committed against the most vulnerable among us, unborn babies killed by abortion. The temptation when reporting, for example, the tragedy of Enda Kenny legalising the killing of babies through abortion is to hate him for the evil he is causing. But I have  prayed to Our Lord to save me from falling into the sin of hate over the past year. It is easy for anger at the bishops silence in the face of this crime against humanity to turn to ‘bitter, long-lasting resentment, and deep-seated ill will’ but this would only compound the evil that is being perpetrated in Ireland. I know I must often pray to Our Lord that He protects me from my passions tipping over into the sins of hate and rancor. I find the example of St Padre Pio a great encouragement to fight against this temptation to rancor, because he did not give way to this sin even though the Church imposed great injustices against him. Padre Pio protect all Catholic bloggers and readers from the poison of rancor.

36 comments to Catholic bloggers should listen to Pope Francis’ advice about not allowing rancor to poison our souls

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick ,
    I know what you mean-truly ……and I’m less controlled than you are.

    But this Blogsite has certainly had an impact with friends , neutrals and foes.
    The wider and longer perspective is better than the immediate perhaps.Just think what it must have been like to have been a group of English and Welsh recusant families in the penal times-who was your friend? …who was your enemy? who were loyal ?….who were traitors to the Faith? who could you trust?
    They held on – the “Tablet” mindset disgraces their memory-but we honour them and that is what matters.
    The Catholic Faith here remains because we have had 450 years of sand kicked in our faces-facing execution , crippling fines and civil disabilities because we never gave in….and that is why we are here.
    We are in sombre times across secular Europe as doctrinaire politicians flounder, their egos refusing to see the obvious. Stiff-necked, arrogant, atheistic secularism in Europe will one day meet ( in my opinion)the blade of aggressive and expansionist Islam.100 years ago the countries of Europe were mostly under the control of 5 seemingly solid Empires-not one survives.
    As a society we can send messages round the globe in a nano-second-technically brilliant….yet murder thousands of our weakest-utterly barbaric.A strange paradox.Let Europe reject its Christian heritage … we await the coming clash….and be prepared to pick up the splintered fragments….”Man-the master of All things”….the biggest conceit of all.

  • Genty

    I have to say that I’m not detecting rancour among Catholic bloggers. A certain anxiety, yes. A certain confusion, yes. But they are pretty tempered on the whole.
    Commenters have often been, well, a lot more forthright. But that is born of concern for the health of the Catholic Church. And righteous anger in the face of what is palpably wrong can be justified; not hate. Ever.
    Nevertheless, the number of mixed messages emanating from Rome are problematic for many of us, I think.
    As we prepare for the great feast of the Nativity, I wish you and all your followers a prayerful, blessed and joyous Christmas.

  • Michael Petek

    When my Dad was a combat soldier he didn’t hate the enemy.

    Mind you, he still killed a whole lot of them.

  • Rifleman819

    Michael ,
    A simple but profound point.

  • James

    but I say love your enemies, pray for them. for your Father in heaven loves the wicked and the good….ahmen

  • Joseph Matthew

    Some of the greatest Catholics of recent times were prepared to even criticize the Holy Father but they did so in charity.And they did so from an authentic love of neighbour.Very different from the bitterness that leads to sedevacantism.

  • Rifleman819


    Indeed , …..but you hold your ground and resist for Christ at Tours Oct 732, Malta May-Sept 1565 and at Vienna 11/12th September 1683.

    Because if you didn’t….. this blog would not exist…and you would be circumcised and speaking Arabic , Turkish or Urdu.

  • Sonia

    But who will protect us from the pope’s rancor?

  • William

    Rancor means ‘ an angry feeling of hatred or dislike for someone who has treated you unfairly’. I do feel rancor towards this new pope, and it disturbs me greatly. But from the first moment of his papacy Francis has made it clear he has not respect for Tradition/tradition. It seems not one day goes by that he isn’t scolding traditional beliefs and practices. And he does like to use derogatory language when referring to anyone who doesn’t agree with him. Francis may indeed by pope, but the Church did not begin and certainly won’t end with him. He causes confusion and people have to bend over backwards, almost daily,to prove he is in fact a Catholic this can’t continue. I’m tired of hearing people say he has to grow into the role of pope, he really means this or look what he didn’t do. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Francis is a liberal and he is going to cause a schism if he doesn’t stop. Cardinals are being removed because they are too Catholic is what it seems like and that is terrifying. I don’t think bloggers need to change. I think Francis needs to change.

  • Rifleman819

    As I have indicated earlier………….in most similar hierarchies…the very top of the tree is also subject to the self same discipline as the most junior.

    Serving officers in all NATO Forces are , subject to national practice, not permitted to make political comments or do political actions.They are servants of their Monarchy , State , Republic etc etc.

    The exception is retired 5 Star officers who are given a x Bench Peerage in the UK and can speak with great authority about defence matters in the National , but not party political , interest.
    The moment the pension is settled and for officers below 5 Star and when they are placed on the Retired List…. the rules change.Likewise with the Catholic church to some extent……
    The Holy Father is subject to Canon Law like any Catholic bishop…..and unless he explicitly acts/pronounces solemnly “ex cathedra” as Supreme Pontiff on Faith and Morals…then otherwise he is subject to the same norms and disciplines as any other bishop.

  • tro

    “I think Francis needs to change.”

    Already, it’s as if Benedict’s papacy never happened.

  • Shaun the Sheep

    William, you express my thoughts and feelings exactly. The difference between Francis and Benedict is like night and day. The faithful, wise people close to him need to get through to him and soon.

  • Well, with all due respect, we are listening to Pope Francis. I have heard legitimate questioning concerning some of his thoughts in respectful tones of discussion(s). This has been met mostly by a vicious attack on accusing people of ‘disagreeing’ or ‘hating’ the pope. Relax those of you trying to defend still a couple of elephants in the room through flowery language etc. Some of us are just trying to figure out these topics he addresses. In the meantime, let’s pray earnestly for our Church , Pope Francis, and ourselves.

  • When our good Lord died on the cross he did not come down as the Jews required as proof in order for them to believe He was God. He gave them a resurrection with credible witnesses. These witness are also required to be holy. This gap of knowledge from “irrefutable proof” to witness proof is called faith! Today, God still uses credible witnesses instead of just manifesting His power. The purpose of becoming holy is so we can be His proof of love toward others. Lovers are serve warriors to others. It is also for the purpose of requiring the souls to come to Christ from their initiative not His. This is our test from God. After we considered His witnesses and His teachings do we respond to love with love? This is the Pope’s point and I think a very good one indeed!

    A King came down from His comfortable throne in heaven to be born in poverty on a cold winter’s night to show us how love functions toward what’s loved. Then, He later dies on the cross to show us how love protects what’s loved. It’s not His move, but ours! How do we to respond to His love! Honor Him in love and make your life one of being a kind serve warrior to others.

  • I guess I am a Catholic blogger, mostly write about my own inner struggles etc. This was well written and hit home. Thank you for your sanity.


  • Kithri

    Makes me very nervous when the world approves of the pope, it does.

  • Ann Malley

    So what is one supposed to do with unwanted feelings of rancor, Joseph Matthew? Rancor incurred, not from a spirit of malice or rebellion, but from Fathers who provoke anger against scriptural admonishment. Or at the very least promote a mishmash of confusion by what they say and particularly what they do not say. Lovely catch 22 – especially when one’s children are being raised amidst all this charitable confusion.

    So have a care when you say that those inside the Church have true charity for their neighbor while ascribing bitterness to Sedevacantists. Gays and those in irregular marriage situations are not the only disaffected groups out there. But then nobody seems to want to address the Elephant in the room, that is those Catholics who love Christ, their Neighbor, the Church, their Children and you who are provoked to anger all the time by those fathers who should be guiding one and all with clear Truth.

  • MDL

    Perhaps a lot of this is meant for chastisement. Offer it up, it will help many souls. The reactions may likely be fear, not hatred. We need to remember the beatitude, blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, they shall be satisfied.

  • Burt

    I think it is easy to keep rancor away if we understand its closeness to arrogance. Quite often our rancor is brought forward by another person’s arrogance in following the faith especially when that person is in a position we want to trust and have an expectation that the person will act in a manner that we feel is appropriate (arrogance). The faith has withstood the failings of man since inception because of faith and trust in Christ…not a faith that causes anger through trusting someone to follow the faith “my” way.

  • RainbowGirl

    God looks at the world differently than we do. Sometimes it doesn’t dawn on us, but God truly wants us all to be one. I believe Pope Francis became Pope because it was God’s Will. We need to listen to him. Did it ever dawn on you that God may be giving us a message? Always remember you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Also, remember that a lot of what the Catholic Church teaches is purely and simply man-made rules. Think about the only commandments that Jesus gave us, to love God and one another as ourselves. I think Pope Francis is right on the mark. I think we Catholics are blessed to have him as our Pope. Please try to look at the big picture, like God does. God is in control here. Do not try to fight God’s Will. You might be surprised at what God is trying to accomplish in His creation.

  • large picture

    I want so much to embrace Holy Farher.
    I also cherish TLM..
    The rite is beautiful, the actions of Holy Father are confusing to me.
    The Pelosi Biden and Kennedy rip(Edward) type of (c)atholics seem to me to be “unsalted.”
    Pope Francis’ taste. :(

  • Joleen Bolin

    All I will say is “I am afraid for the catholic faithful.”

  • artimus

    Wonderful isn’t it. Almost like a breathe of fresh air and reminiscent of Good Pope John XXIII. Alleluia!

  • MFB

    I believe if Jesus Our Lord again will come down from Heaven ,forgiving sinners,prostitutes and tax collectors,those zealosts amongst us will tell Him, Listen sir if you want to be one of us “you have to change” you and your simplicity is bothering us. Is a real disregard for The Truth to accussed Pope Francis of something he is not.

  • Michael

    Of Course time will tell, but I don’t think things are moving in the right direction….so the more we move Liberial, the more we will as the world and the church bash ourselves against Fatima, Akita and the other profhetic messages that saw yes in the end the immaculate Heart will triump, since we are not doing it the easy way ( by the consecration of Russia per fatima) ( or the 5th Marian Dogma) there is always the more difficult path….predicted in Fatima and Akita…..with Chastisements, Schism, tribulations, either way we will give Glory to God, we can be with Moses or the Pharoah…we can either be with Fatima, or the Freemasons. God will still triumph. It will just involve more suffering and if thats God’s will…so be it.

  • Dollie

    If you want the truth then read the catechism of the catholic church.It is all there what the believes on abortion,same sex attraction etc.

  • My concern with Pope Francis is that the WORLD loves him……. know what I mean?

  • What concerns me regarding Pope Francis is that the WORLD loves him TIME Magazine put him on the cover…know the old saying? “When the world loves you……

  • Katalina

    As a matter of fact Benedict has already met with Francis twice in the last few days before Christmas and just the other day had lunch with him and a long conversation. I am tempted to think he knows all about all the things Francis has said and done mostly the FFI mess which is contradicting his wishes for the Latin Mass. He would not want a schism or division in the Church after almost a decade of trying to unify it. He is no longer the ruling Pope but he will not hesitate to speak frankly but politely to Francis on these things. Francis seems to want to stay on good terms with the Pope Emeritus but it is telling he has met with him twice in just the last several days.

  • “I find the example of St Padre Pio a great encouragement to fight against this temptation to rancor, because he did not give way to this sin even though the Church imposed great injustices against him”

    Such as? I was wondering what your explanation of the Stigmata was? Self inflicted or some kind of physical manifestation of mental disorder? According to the Catholic Encyclopedia it generally only affects “ecstatics” which is interesting.

    Of course there was the matter of the “acid letter”… but that could be exagerated.

    Also what’s with the silicon face mask…?

    Have there been any stigmatics since CCTV and round-the-clock monitoring?

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