Former editor of Catholic Herald hopes Pope Francis will turn his fine words on gays, divorced and women into Church law

Peter Stanford, former editor of The Catholic Herald who writes for both The Tablet and the Catholic Herald, has written a piece in The Daily Telegraph in which he expresses the hope that Pope Francis will turn his fine words about gays, the divorced and women into Church law. Along the way Peter Stanford takes swipes at Pope Benedict XVI and all the popes of history.

Here are extracts from his piece which has been published under the headline,’Pope Francis must follow fervour with reform.’

Peter Stanford’s hopes for a change in Church law on homosexuality, the indissolubility of marriage and women

‘For all Francis’s fine words, Catholic teaching remains as hard-line and excluding as it ever was if you are gay, divorced or a woman. Two thousand years of history teaches that the Vatican will never willingly reform itself. It has to be led. So the time is surely approaching when Francis must turn his attention to setting down in Church law the new, inclusive, gospel-based approach he is preaching. There will be plenty of ultra-conservatives in the Vatican and elsewhere right now calculating how long a 77-year-old, with part of one lung missing, will endure before the arrival of another new broom hopefully more to their liking. So there is no time to waste.’

Peter Stanford takes a swipe at Pope Benedict XVI

‘Such words carry moral force not simply because he is at the very top of one of the most hierarchical structures in the modern world, but also because he lives them out every day before our eyes. His predecessor, Benedict, was overly fond of dressing up and elaborate, wordy ceremonies. Francis cut all of that out from the very start, refusing to wear the scarlet ermine cape that is the traditional garb of new popes when they appear to cries of Habemus papam.’

Peter Stanford takes a swipe at all the popes of history

‘Note that, when on the plane back from a triumphant visit to Brazil in July (three million had joined him in prayer on Copacabana beach), he was challenged on Catholicism’s condemnation of homosexuality, arguably the Church’s greatest “sin” in secular eyes. Francis replied with a question. “If a person is gay and seeks God, who am I to judge him?” He might have added: “as has every one of my predecessors for centuries”.’

Peter Stanford even implies Pope Francis will ordain women, despite Holy Father’s words to the contrary

‘Then there have been his remarks on the role of women. John Paul II in 1994 decreed that women’s ordination would not only never happen, but that Catholics shouldn’t even speak about it. “The challenge today,” Pope Francis said in an interview with La Civiltà Cattolica in September, “is to think about the specific place of women in those places where the authority of the church is exercised”.

Peter Stanford even goes so far as to bizarrely write that Our Lord Jesus Christ upset the ‘sacred applecarts of the Church’

‘But then along came Pope Francis, upsetting every one of the Church’s sacred applecarts, just as Jesus once did. He has certainly restored my faith in my Church – up to a point. Time person of the year 2013 is fine as far as it goes, but in 2014 he must be Catholicism’s reformer of the year.’

Protect the Pope comment: Peter Stanford’s authority to attack the teachings of the Church and past popes in the Daily Telegraph is claimed at the end of his piece which states, ‘Peter Stanford is a former editor of ‘The Catholic Herald’.  Stanford has dined off his former role as editor of The Catholic Herald for years, as the liberal media’s favourite ‘Catholic’ expert.  As if this wasn’t troubling (annoying) enough, he still writes the occasional piece for The Catholic Herald. It appears that these Catholic journalists can publicly dissent from, and ridicule, the Church’s doctrine and discipline, and still take money from Catholics.



23 comments to Former editor of Catholic Herald hopes Pope Francis will turn his fine words on gays, divorced and women into Church law


    Stanford? Like all sensible people, I ignore him completely. I wish the editor of the Telegraph would join us.


      (Everything he writes, I mean. I appreciate you’re only reading him yourself as a public service, so we don’t have to. Very noble of you.)

  • Rifleman819

    Peter Stanford…accorded the diadem of St.Guardianista herself, the scapular of smugness, the relic of Stonewall Priory , …the surgical scissors of Mother Superior Stopes……..the 39 Articles of Darwin as carried by Archdeacon Dawkins….now joins the paladins of Dystopia.
    Rejoice ….Te Petrum Stanfordum Laudamus.

    Nah…….. in reality he’s a vainglorious plonker

  • Karla

    Where are some people getting these ideas from that somehow Pope Francis will change Church law? What is this based on?

    It has been noted that Pope Francis had to give authority to the document excommunicating Fr Greg Reynolds, who supported women being ordained to the priesthood and Fr Greg Reynolds was pro homosexual marriage.


    From the recent interview Cardinal Meisner had in which he talked about his meeting with Pope Francis, it does not sound like it is likely there will be a change regarding divorce.

    Women’s ordination:

    “The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion,” the Pope said, “but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general.”

    Women cardinals:

    “I don’t know where this idea sprang from. Women in the Church must be valued not “clericalised”. Whoever thinks of women as cardinals suffers a bit from clericalism.”

  • Michael B Rooke

    In a recent private conversation, Pope Francis has reiterated his view that same-sex ‘marriage’ is an “anthropological regression”.
    The Holy Father was also “saddened” by legislative proposals in Malta to extend equality legislation to homosexual couples, particularly those who wish to adopt.

  • Joseph Matthew

    Poor Peter Stanford. He really does not have a clue about basic Catholic doctrine. But he is to be excused: it must take a good deal of his time to groom that hair of his.

  • Thank you for this Deacon Nick. Thought similar things when I read the article. Appalling! Liberals are starting to deny the Church started in 1968 and move the date forward to 2013.

  • The truth is that Peter Stanford has caught on to the fact that Pope Francis will not reform the Church and is just involved in grumblings as Pope Francis makes it clear, as he did when he mentioned not judging gays as persons, that the Church has a right to its teachings. He knows Francis said this. But since his Catholicism is a political one with little regard for what Jesus said in the Gospesl he believes he and his friends who are of superior intellect can change the Church to suit his needs and what he perceives as the needs of society. When you read Peter Stanford remember that Jesus chose fishermen to be his Apostles, people like Peter with their political agendas demonstrate why.

  • Bob Hayes

    Peter Stanford certainly knows plenty about ‘one of the most hierarchical structures in the modern world’ – the Fourth Estate that is much of the ‘Catholic media’. As Deacon Nick has pointed out, Stanford – like any other mercenary – has touted his services (sic) around said hierarchical Fourth Estate.

  • Jeremiah

    It is you, O Lord, who will take us in your care
    and protect us for ever from this generation.
    See how the wicked prowl on every side,
    while the worthless are prized highly by the sons of men.

  • The issue of women priests is more complicated than the secular atheists understand, and unfortunately, many of our progressive Catholics.

    The principle of complementarity of the sexes suggest that men and women are equal but fulfill different roles. Thus, gay marriage was not merely an issue of two people living together, but of the right of a child to have a mother and a father. Two fathers or two mothers is not the same as having one of each. It also is an impossibility of basic biology. Two fathers ignore the fact that the child does have an actual mother (and vice versa). Calling one father a mother is just semantic posturing, and is pointless. Suggesting that two fathers is the same as having a father and a mother is patently untrue. The quest by some to call things that are different the same is not a sign of equality.

    The same in meeting the role of the Priest in the church. Theologically, it is a male role. Many of the readers here will understand this. Those that don’t – it might be useful exercise to do some research to get a glimmer of the consistency of this point of view. I don’t expect people will always agree with it, but there is some obligation to understand it before tearing it down.

  • Chrysostom

    Why is a left-winger like Stanford writing so frequently in THE DAILY TELEGRAPH? Alongside him, there are other out-and-out lefties including one notorious woman whom THE TELEGRAPH in the past would not have mentioned, let alone made a columnist. Many Conservatives, like me, have stopped THE TELEGRAPH. For those who want an honest Conservative daily, I recommend THE YORKSHIRE POST.

  • James Scott

    “Theologically it is a male role.” The notion of male-female complementarity as justifying the restriction of ordination to males is a prevalent theological opinion – but only an opinion, not actually the formal teaching of the Church, which is confined to the narrow point in the declaration by Pope John Paul II that the Church does not have the authority to ordain women. The crux of the issue is Church authority.

  • William

    Not surprising. He is a typical liberal who doesn’t live in reality but in a world of his own making. Silly but also sad and incredibly immature, self serving and not realistic.

  • Lynda

    It isn’t necessary that the Pope purport to change the Faith or natural moral law. It is the constant refusal to preach, teach and sanctify by means of the upholding of the Deposit of Faith; and the acting and speaking by many prelates, teachers, etc., as though evil was good, and good evil, that has destroyed, and continues to destroy, the Faith of the majority of baptised and prevented the evangelisation of billions of others, so causing countless to lose their souls.

  • SteveD

    As my granny used to say (quite genuinely) of someone not appearing to make much sense, ‘Is he a bit simple?’

  • Pat

    Did anyone ever see that TV programme Stanford made about ‘Pope Joan’? – appalling nonsense dressed up as scholarly research.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>