To Kill the Body…

Madonna Dei Palafrenieri (detail), Caravaggio

… you must crush the Head.

The ongoing battle over who is to blame for the current (because it’s not the first nor the last) crisis in the Church is way above my pay grade. My constant prayer has always been to be an anawim and I just realized I have become what I desired. I have neither the time, nor the energy, nor the mental acuity to read every article, listen to every podcast, and watch every YouTube video created to ‘prove’ which side is correct.  The real crisis is that there is a crisis but everyone is so focused on defending their ‘side’, they’ve all abandoned their primary post of defending the Church. They’ve been so busy telling us who the Pope is not, that they fail to recognize who he is; in his person, in his Office, and in his teaching authority. It has become a “He’s a liar”/”No. He’s the liar” tug of war, inside and outside the Church.

So I’m taking my rope and going home.

I’m sticking with the Head…

… because he is the head. I have been firm and resolute in my defense of the Vicar of Christ because he is the Vicar of Christ. And there have been seven of them in my life and with each one there has been conflict and controversy and criticism both from without and within the Church.  I continue to stand with the Vicar of Christ because Christ stands with him.

Every member of the Church (and many who are not members) are victims of this latest scandal. Each one of us has been cut to the cuore over the shame; the disgrace; the disgust over the putridness with which some of our siblings have soiled our mother, the Church. If there is a dark cloud of scandal over the Church there is even a darker cloud of sorrow over the hearts of her faithful; Bishops, Priests, and laity.

Catholics respond differently to soothing their sorrow: some grab comfort food, others a fine bottle of brandy; the smart ones will grab their rosary or Bible.

Me? I retreat to my library and pull down my ‘Borghese Gallery: Grand Tour’. What some people do with their Bibles, I do with this volume; I open it to a random page and tell the Holy Spirit to “talk to me…I’m wounded…I need Your balm.”  He is always there with a ready remedy.

On this particular day it opened to the Madonna Dei Palafrenieri.  Caravaggio’s masterpiece didn’t just speak to me, it screamed,


The Pope is our head,

… our visible head, until Jesus comes again in glory.  And Satan, taking every opportunity to wield revenge towards God for His action towards him in Genesis 3, is pulling out the most potent weapon in his armory that he has held in reserve for this critical moment in time. Satan is hyperventilating over what he envisions as the completion of his final victory, like the grand finale of a fireworks display –

— the death of the body by crushing it’s head.

I have been accused…

… of being a conflicted, tormented soul because I love the Trindentine Latin Mass as much as I love the Novus Ordo; I love the quiet, up close and personal, contact with Jesus at our Adoration Chapel as much as I love lifting my arms up to Him, together with my brothers and sisters in Christ, in glorious praise at Charismatic Prayer Meetings. I love Priests who wear birettas and Priests who wear baseball caps. I love the music of John Michael Talbot as much as I love the music of Gabriel Faure. And I love Francis as much as I love Benedict, as much as I loved John Paul II, as much as I loved…

The Church has always been a gigantic bottomless treasure chest to me, with every gem imaginable inside. She is both it’s guardian and it’s key.  Some days a princess prefers diamonds and other days she feels more ‘ruby’ish. But every day I get to go to the treasury, because of the head,  and withdraw whatever gems I choose.

Satan is too late,…

… the final victory, as depicted in the detail image of Caravaggio’s painting, has already been accomplished.

I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. (Genesis 3:15)

It only remains to be realized in time and space. The Head remains untouched. Satan loses. For all eternity.


When the smoke clears, as surely it will, the only ones remaining in Christ’s Church will be those standing with His Vicar. 



2 thoughts on “To Kill the Body…”

  1. Thank you Toni for your wonderful and thoughtful article. Sometimes I feel alone out there until I read your blog and others that help me feel that there are others in this crazy world who think like me and love our Pope. It’s like you throw me a life line from the Barque of Peter.


    1. Thank you, Sheila. I’m happy you enjoyed it and derived some comfort from it. There are more of us (Pope lovers) than there are of them but most are busy about doing what God has willed for them; jobs, families, day-to-day saint-becoming routines. And then there is that whole ‘cloud of witnesses’ who have Pope Francis surrounded and secure. We have nothing to fear for “when the smoke clears, as surely it will, the only ones remaining in Christ’s Church will be those standing with His Vicar.” PAX! (is not a disease).


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