Our Chat Group Talks About Divisive Times, Heresy, Frank Pavone, and Escaping Satan’s Grip
Our world and Church can seem so splintered that it is the antithesis of unity.
Is there any hope?
The Living Jesus Chat Room members confront this discouraging reality. However, as you will soon discover, they do so from the lens of Salesian optimism. St. Francis de Sales went through a troubling divisive time in the Church in the wake of the reformation, where division at times made way for death.
We have the choice to either despair and think all hope is lost, or we can choose to embrace God’s providence, and that he is infinitely more powerful than any power the devil purports to have.
Yes, there is hope for us and for our children.
Come explore with us and learn more for yourself.
If you would like to chat with Catholics like yourself, why not check out our Living Jesus Chat Room of the Visitation Sisters. Join us at 7:30 p.m. ET each Sunday! We read a passage of St. Francis de Sales and then gather great insights and sharing!
Question: Why do you think it is so important to draw these similarities between today’s woes and that of the time of St. Francis de Sales?
Ines: I think it often feels like what we’re going through is unique and unprecedented. That makes it feel scarier, and the temptation is to despair and/or be angry.
Rebecca: I think it gives us courage and hope that we’ll make some progress in coming to a greater understanding and unity.
Ines: I think it also speaks to the fact that the devil keeps at it, scattering trying to pit us against one another. This is an old trick.
Visitation Sister: I think in my case, as I regard St Francis as my Holy Father or Founder, I like to know what he faced, and it gives me energy to live in a time that resembles his. I can learn from him.
Ines: We can all learn from him. I imagine even more so for you and the other Visitation Sisters.
Rebecca: I think one of the other names of the devil is the scatterer or the divider.
Ines: Yeah… I guess what I’m thinking about is that there’s nothing new under the sun. God has already foreseen every trick the devil plays and we can trust in God’s providence. But it’s hard not to get upset.
Visitation Sister: Yes, but we know that those other times passed and ours will too. But sometimes ours seem worse.
Rebecca: Yes, and I appreciate that St. Francis went through personal faith challenges, too.
Ines: Yes, to both statements, Sister. I do think that social media exacerbates everything in our age. Yes, Rebecca! He is so relatable. The latest debacle surrounding Frank Pavone is a perfect example.
Visitation Sister: Yes, so hard to believe about him, what is happening.
Making a Point
Question 2: If you watched the lecture, what did you find to be the most poignant or significant point that was made?
Lydia: Frank Pavone was a good priest who stands up to evil, he does not deserve this!
Ines: People who support him are up in arms over what they see is a bad move by the Vatican.
Visitation Sister: It is unbelievable truly.
Ines: Yes, as Lydia just said!
Lydia: If a heretic defrocks you, you are doing the right thing. He is being persecuted by evil.
Rebecca: My heart breaks for a woman who survived the Nazi invasion of Poland — from a wealthy Jewish family — has led a simple, caring life here in the US — a master gardener — and now can no longer garden and wants to die. She seems to be reliving her early years as she hears about the war in Ukraine.
Treat Creation as Resembling the Creator
Question: “When we see our neighbor who is created in the image and likeness of God, should we not say: Well, look at this creature, does he not resemble the Creator? Should we not throw ourselves upon his face, to caress him and cry over him in love? Should we not bless him a thousand and a thousand more times?”
Ines: Yes, yes, yes. And it can be so challenging, sometimes, when our neighbor does things that are unlikeable or unholy.
Lydia: Mother Teresa is an example of what St. Francis de Sales said.
Visitation Sister: I think what St. Francis did was love the sinner but not the sin.
Ines: This is what we must do right? Love the sinner, hate the sin. In today’s cultural climate, we are painted as hating both if we don’t condone the sin.
Rebecca: Yes. And Love the Protestant but not Protestantism.
Lydia: Why does the Bible say warn people warn them again and then shake the dust off your feet?
Visitation Sister: For conversion, Lydia?
Lydia: I am not saying not to love them and pray for them, but they are not good examples for children. A choice of a public ongoing life of sin with no effort to repent is not good.
Rebecca: You are right, Ines. We’ve, as a culture, lost the ability to use constructive argumentation. Name calling and generalizations have replaced it.
Niece Declares She Is a Boy
Ines: I’m finding myself in such a situation. My 14-year-old grandniece who is autistic has declared that she’s a boy. My nephew, her father (and also her mom) are fully supportive of this. So I must (and do) love her and pray for this situation.
Visitation Sister: I will join you in that prayer!
Ines: Thank you, Sister. And ask for your prayers as well. She’s extremely vulnerable due to the autism and constantly being online (and being in public school).
Lydia: Yes, pray for everyone, but do not say it is ok.
Ines: No one asks my opinion. I think they know what it is. I only see them a couple times a year.
Gentleness and Humility Will Heal the World
Question: How can we learn from St. Francis and apply his stance of gentleness and humility in today’s climate of despair and hysteria and division?
Lydia: We need God more than ever to save people, but children should be kept away from examples of sin.
Ines: The gentleness and humility is key. Not saying I’m good at it, lol. But yes… not shaming people or hitting them with things they aren’t ready to hear and see. Loving them, inviting them to the Truth. And being humble, to remember it’s not our job to judge people’s souls – although we can judge actions.
Lydia: How do children have a chance to be good with the world the way it is now?
Visitation Sister: I think gentleness and humility are forgotten virtues, but I understood from the lecture that it can be a good approach to what we face even as we do not accept evil. Sometimes militarism, though we may feel it, is not the way to go.
Pray Everyone Out of This Mess
Lydia: The tiny piece of the Church that is left must pray everyone out of this mess.
Ines: Lydia, it’s up to their families and who they allow to form their kids. Public schools with agenda, internet porn and violence … or modeling the family after the Holy Family and teaching their kids about our amazing Faith and God.
Visitation Sister: Yes, the Holy Family and all the saints.
Ines: Sister, yes, I agree. The militarism has also crept into the Church and those who actually do love the Lord and what is right and True. I see it a lot. It can also lead to scrupulosity and a hyper focus on justice without mercy.
Lydia: Mother, the VA Nuns were examples of humility and gentleness.
Visitation Sister: They were well formed in the past.
Lydia: They were amazing.
Visitation Sister: Living up to their example is not easy.
Lydia: The only problem was the world was a big, big shock.
Visitation Sister: Because of sheltering?
Visitation Sister: Maybe all of us in Catholic schools were shocked. I am still shocked!
School Sisters Kind and Sweet
Lydia: They were examples of how God will be to us…kind and sweet.
Visitation Sister: Yes, no hitting.
Lydia: We did not need to be hit. LOL. They spoke softly and kindly and so we all listened.
Rebecca: I didn’t go to a Catholic school until 11th grade, with my parents’ permission but not their approval.
Lydia: I think the Visitation Nuns ran a school more gentle than the average Catholic school. How they had 40 girls sitting quietly not talking or moving, listening and learning was miraculous.
Ines: I’m not always gentle with my middle schoolers, haha. Sometimes I have to bellow to be heard above the din. Then I smile sweetly and they laugh and simmer down. I don’t think St. John Bosco, our patron, would approve. But they are so NOISY sometimes. The 8th graders, anyway. But they know I love them.
Despair in Division or Hope in Unity?
Visitation Sister: Do you all find despair and hysteria in the world right now and division? I am encouraged by St. Francis' approach.
Rebecca: It is definitely there in the world, but there are lots of people trying to be helpers, too.
Ines: Yes, there is certainly division and hysteria in the world. I am grateful for living and working in a Catholic community where there seems to be a sanity and attentiveness to sanctity.
Can We Escape Satan's Grip on the World?
Question: Jesus calls the devil the “prince [or ruler] of this world” (John 12:31), how then can we have hope that Satan will not be the ruler in our lives?
Ines: Jesus said, “I have overcome this world” and told us not to fear.
Visitation Sister: If we stick to Our Lord, we do not need to fear.
Lydia: God gives us peace. Even with the insane world, we can go to Him and find peace.
Ines: The canticle for morning prayer, Sister…there’s a line I’m trying to recall.
Visitation Sister: I prayed morning prayer but can’t help you out at the moment!
Ines: It was the Canticle of Zechariah! Delivered from our enemies, we may serve him without fear; in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
Ines: I love this line. Jesus' holiness is ours, to worship and be in God’s presence without fear. I’m reading an old translation on my phone at the moment.
Rebecca: I have that Canticle framed in the room that used to be my consultation room.
Ines: I love it! This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham; to set us free from the hands of our enemies; free to worship him without fear. Holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
Hope Begets Hope
Question: Why is it important to adopt an attitude that breeds hope and unity instead of feeding off of dissension, despair, and disunity (even when we are faced with many troubling issues and scandals)?
Lydia: Hope and unity would come from having faith that God knows what He is doing for the Church in spite of the current craziness in the world and the Church.
Ines: I agree, Lydia. That kind of despair and disunity breeds schism.
Lydia: Schism comes from heretics.
Ines: There are pockets of schism forming now, from both the “traditional” and the “progressive” angles.
Lydia: The German Church is on the verge of schism with their synods. They are claiming the faith changes and outright contradicting the Church.
Ines: Yes, that’s true. Germany has long been a troubling area for the Church .Lefevre and his band are also schismatic. And there are other pockets of those claiming to be prophets and doing God’s work as the “real” Church. I wonder why. Would be a fascinating study on why dissent breeds so copiously there for hundreds of years. God knows what he is doing. I left the Church once, a long time ago. I came home to the Church almost 11 years ago now. There is no place else to be; I know God has it all in hand.
Lydia: Didn’t Benedict bring Lefebvre’s group out of schism?
Ines: I’m not sure. There are still irregularities. I’ve been tangentially informed about a group around the north country in NY. They are very cult-like.
Rebecca: I have a German goddaughter in her mid-40s, and I ask your prayers that I may be a really good godparent to her in these confusing times. Her father recently died after formally leaving the Catholic Church and was very much into Zen. And her mother is now demented. She’s strong and gentle, though, and very kind.
Ines: Oh, Rebecca, I’m sorry to hear all of that. We will definitely pray for her and for you as her godmother!
Rebecca: Thank you, Ines. Jesus asked us all to be one and hope is a theological virtue, but dissention etc. are not virtues.
Visitation Sister: So, we need to live Salesian optimism. And of course strive to be virtuous, or even heroically so in these days.
Lydia: Praying for the salvation of everyone is the ultimate optimism.
Visitation Sister: Yes, excellent! Like the Fatima prayer in the Rosary, those most in need of mercy to be saved.
Lydia: I do pray that. I just think children need protection from the world while they form their conscience. It is God’s will to save everyone. Jesus died for everyone. He cannot fail; He is God. He will find a way to get to everyone’s free will.
Visitation Sister: This last week of Advent is a good time to pray for them as we approach the great grace of Christmas .
Rebecca: And we can “offer up” all the inconveniences, emotional and physical pains with those of the Crucified as a kind of prayer for those most in need..
Lydia: Baby Jesus is gentle and humble, born in a stable.
Visitation Sister: And easy to approach.
If you enjoyed the above chat, why not check out our Living Jesus Chat Room of the Visitation Sisters? Join us at 7:30 p.m. ET each Sunday! We read a passage of St. Francis de Sales and then gather great insights and sharing!