Unholy Orders

for defrocked priest Frank Pavone

I heard disturbing news:
Pope Francis fired a priest
For preaching pro-life views
To save some of the least,
Against unholy orders
From bishops from on high.
His empty priestly quarters
Just leave me asking why.

For priests and bishops who
Preach baby-hating ways
And heresies anew,
Pope Francis gives them praise.
It’s like he’s helped molesters
And killers live in ease
And arrested teenage jesters
For toilet-papering trees.



Joshua C. Frank works in the field of statistics and lives near Austin, Texas. His poetry has also been published in the Asahi Haikuist Network.

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70 Responses

  1. C.B. Anderson

    Thank you, Joshua, for reminding us once again that no good deed goes unpunished. The current Roman Catholic hierarchy has a lot to answer for.

    • Joshua C. Frank

      You’re welcome, C.B. I’m Catholic and I agree with your assessment.

    • Jonathan Kinsman

      A point of correction. The Church is properly known as the Catholic Church, although many documents will read “the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

      And I am correctly known as a member of the Latin Rite (there are 20 some) of the Catholic Church, commonly known as “Roman Catholics” thanks to Elizabeth I and her poppa (and their denizens).

      The Church has its share of sinners and as Dante so memorably and visually put them in the 8th circle of the Inferno.

  2. Margaret Coats

    Nice job, Joshua. The action from Rome is rank injustice–and it is a further instance of un-Catholic teaching from that source. As for the cause of the action, it is as Joshua says. Father Pavone’s offense, compared to offenses by some others, has all the weight of the crime of toilet papering trees.

    Whoever knows the Church’s infallible teaching on the Sacraments, knows that Baptism, Confirmation, and Ordination are the three unrepeatable Sacraments that impart an indelible spiritual character. No one can ever make Father Pavone a layman. He can be removed from the payroll, but he cannot truly be defrocked, any more than he can be unbaptized or unconfirmed.

    • Joshua C. Frank

      Thank you, Margaret. It’s true, they always told me that even a bad priest is always a priest no matter what happens, that even a bad priest in Hell still has the indelible mark on his soul of being a priest. And now all of a sudden that’s no longer true?

      The more I learn about Pope Francis, the less I like him. He’s gone on the public record with heresy and done a lot of things I don’t need to mention here, and now this.

  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    The priest’s correct surname is PAVONE, not Parvone. This should be changed in the title and the epigraph.

  4. Julian D. Woodruff

    If over the last 60 years all Catholic clergy had spoken on the sanctity of human life as Fr. Pavone has (and how many in the US can make that claim?), how many lives would have been saved?

    • Joshua C. Frank

      That’s hard to say. I think many would have left the Church over it rather than actually believe what the Church teaches. Personally, I’d rather a smaller professing Catholic population that believes what the Church teaches; at least everyone would know who’s on what side.

  5. Brian Yapko

    A very fine poem, Josh, which spotlights an outrageous injustice. The very idea of the Catholic Church punishing a member of the clergy for speaking out against abortion reveals a shocking loss of moral compass. In an effort to appear relevant and contemporary, too many churches now pander to what is popular instead of what is right. But to have this type of corruption go all the way to the Pope is unfathomable. Where is hope?

    • Joshua C. Frank

      Thank you, Brian. I agree with your assessment. The only things the Church has going for it are the Sacraments and the unchangeable, infallible teachings protected by the Holy Spirit. There have been people in very high levels who tried to change Church teachings (examples: the Trinity and the ban on contraception), but they always failed. Sometimes it was because of one Lone Ranger (it was commonly said that it was “Athanasius against the world” fighting the Arian heresy). There’s no reason to assume they will ever succeed. That’s where hope is—the human element of the Church has gone woke, but the unchangeable teachings, handed down from the days of the Apostles, still can never be tampered with.

  6. Theresa Cummings

    thank you for the beautiful summation about father Frank Pavone. I would watch him on mother Angelica’s Catholic television show. She was as hysterically funny as he was always so serious in his work for pro-life. I cannot believe what the church has done – once again..

    • Joshua C. Frank

      You’re welcome, Theresa. I can’t believe it, either. Francis is the worst Pope we’ve had in a very long time.

  7. Roy Eugene Peterson

    The worst attack is a stab in the back! That pope is an instrument of evil and not a leader of the church. The devil continues to prey upon supposed leaders in high places to spread confusion and calumney!

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Thousands of intelligent and devout Catholics are convinced that Jorge Bergoglio is an Antipope, elevated to power via an invalid resignation and a rigged conclave. If those things weren’t enough, the man has shown himself to be an Antipope by refusing to use the title “Vicar of Christ,” by openly speaking rank heresies, by deliberately demoting and abusing orthodox members of the hierarchy, by expressing contempt for Catholic piety and practices, and supporting both LGBT perversions and globalist agendas.

      Someone might retort “MILLIONS of other Catholics support him!” Yeah, sure. The Novus Ordo pew-warmers and the timeserving members of the hierarchy.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        Whether he is an antipope would be difficult to prove or disprove, and I’m not sure lay Catholics have the authority to make that judgment. However, I’m willing to go on record stating that he’s a really bad pope, and that if anyone should be defrocked, it’s him and his cronies!

  8. Conor Kelly

    Despite Joshua’s poem and the comments of Julian and Brian, Father Pavone was not defrocked because of his pro-life views. If that were the case, then almost every priest in the Catholic Church would be defrocked.
    Just as many of the poets on this site have allowed their political views to pollute their poetry, so Father Pavone has allowed his political views to pollute his pastoral duties. Maybe he should put himself before his constituents instead of before his parishioners to see what support he has.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Kelly, if you think the poetry at this website is polluted, why the bloody hell are you coming here?

      And if you think Jorge Bergoglio isn’t deliberately mixing his political views in with his pronouncements from the Papal pulpit, you’ve got to be deaf, dumb, and blind.

      • Patricia Allred

        Joseph…What a power backed reply.
        You don’t dance and pose in comments, you let it rip. You are a. Blazing Star.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Thank you, Ms. Allred. I long ago stopped trying to speak in moderate tones to the enemy.

    • loretta rivera

      I was just about to post this. Most Catholics do not their priest involved in politics.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        Loretta, last time I checked, the Catholic Church was not a democracy. No one cares what “most Catholics” want. (I assume “want” is the missing verb from your second sentence.)

  9. Conor Kelly

    Despite being deaf, dumb and blind (and Irish to boot) I’m here because I like classical poetry.
    Why are you here? I doubt it has anything to do with poetry.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Kelly, I’ve been writing poetry since 1956. I don’t need to explain my love of traditional poetic forms, or my desire to share what I know with others.

      YOU’RE the one who is here under false pretenses. You have no more interest in what we do poetically at the SCP than a Hottentot has in the Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles.

  10. Joshua C. Frank

    Conor, I just wanted to say, I’m honored. Normally you save the honor of trolling the comments for a poet as great as Susan, and I was starting to feel left out.

    To address your concerns, first, Fr. Pavone was defrocked for going public with his pro-life beliefs and for his successful pro-life activism. Second, I agree with Joseph Salemi’s response to your comment, but I’d like to add, since when is the goal of poetry to be neutral?

    (I tried replying directly twice, but the software had some kind of glitch and ate my replies.)

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Note that Conor Kelly carefully avoided dealing with my comment about Bergoglio’s blatant politicizing. Apparently if you dislike a cleric’s politics (Pavone’s) it’s perfectly OK to cheer when he is defrocked. But if you agree with a cleric’s politics (Bergoglio’s) you maintain a respectful and smiling silence.

      But then again, what else should we expect from a Marxist?

  11. Conor Kelly

    The priest and the pontiff are both anti-abortion. I disagree with both. Your internal Catholic wrangling, Joshua and Joe, like the internal Republican wrangling going on right now, has nothing to do with my politics.
    And while poetry may not be neutral, Joshua, a touch of piety on these pages might be more productive than the tired political polemics that deaden the poems.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Conor, your posts are a biopsy slide of how left-liberal rhetoric works. You lament the presence of political polemics in poems here, but you steadfastly avoid putting your cards on the table about your own political viewpoints, instead posing as the voice of moderation and rationality. It’s a tired ploy. What you really want is for rightists to shut up and just write the sort of mild-mannered poems that you and your friends can live with. In that way, the SCP can become just another venue for your own favored orthodoxies, like all the boring websites run by the leftist lemmings who agree with you.

      Then you try to distract attention from the issue at hand, by bringing up the disagreements between myself and Joshua Frank — as if they had any bearing on the persecution of Father Pavone. The three D’s of left-liberal rhetoric: Divert, Distract, and Dissemble, and hope no one will notice.

      Then you ask for “a touch of piety on these pages” — as if the archives of this website weren’t filled with profoundly pious poems by religious persons of several creeds. But that, of course, is another ploy of left-liberal rhetoric — to suggest that one’s political opponents must be lacking in piety, and that all goodness and morality (by implication) lie at your end of the political spectrum.

      But at least so far we’ve gotten you to admit two things: in your opinion the poems here at the SCP are “polluted,” and “deadened.” In earlier posts you admitted (under pressure) to being a leftist, and writing for Marxist publications. So again I ask: what exactly is your agenda in coming here? It’s certainly not for our poetry, which you dislike. It’s surely not for our rightist opinions, which you despise.

      Have you posted any poems here? Have you made any serious literary critique of the structure of poems here? Have you raised any aesthetic questions, or ventured to express an opinion concerning the movement to revive formalist poetry?

      You’ve done none of those things. You are here solely as a deliberate troublemaker and troll, or what used to be called an agent provocateur. You of course have the right to post here freely (a right which is NOT vouchsafed to the rest of us at left-liberal poetry websites). But stop pretending that you are anything other than an enemy irritant, here to sow discord.

      • Conor Kelly

        Wow, Joe, my mild criticism of dissension within the right has brought forth another diatribe about my left-liberal views (although not as unhinged as that of Brian below). There is not much point in my responding as we will just end up going back and forth interminably like a demented game of ping-pong. But you did ask me some questions and, in fairness, you are due a response. So here goes,

        Question one: Have you posted any poems here?
        Answer: Yes. I have posted two sonnets. One was a translation or a transformation of a haiku by Basho – a Japanese formal poem expanded into an English formal poem. The other was a celebration of Mozart and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this – no less a luminary than Joseph S. Salemi called it “an absolutely fantastic piece of poetic craft.”

        Question two: Have you made any serious literary critique of the structure of poems here?
        Yes. I have commended Susan J. B. for her metaphoric skills, for her linguistic ability and for her humour. I have attacked her political views which, in my opinion, prevent her from realising her undoubted talent. If only she could achieve what Keats called “Negative Capability, that is, when a man (or, in her case, a woman) is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.”
        I have praised some of the work of Cheryl Corey.
        I have advocated for the work of Russel Winick who is, in my view, the most talented poet on this site. His mastery of the epigrammatic form is amazing. However I do feel he has a choice to make. Does he want his fine satirical powers to transform him into a modern Martial? Or does he, as his frequent partisan political poems suggest, want be the next Colley Cibber?

        Question three: Have you raised any aesthetic questions, or ventured to express an opinion concerning the movement to revive formalist poetry?
        Yes. I have responded, not only politically, but also aesthetically to some of the poems I engage with. I may not have expressed an opinion concerning formalist poetry, but the fact I engage with the site and contribute sonnets is an indication of my interest in formalist poetry. My problem with the Scp site is the belief that formalist poetry is aligned to a right-wing view. Can I recommend, Joe, that you peruse the poetry of W. H. Auden?

        I hope I have proved that when you say “You’ve done none of those things” you are wrong. As to my being here to sow discord, what is your alternative – the mutual circle-jerk of self-satisfied self-praise that accompanies the comments on most poems.

        You are right about one thing. I am allowed to post freely here. And for that I would like to extend my appreciation to Mike Bryant who hates virtually everything I say, but who has allowed me to continue to have a dissident voice here.
        Happy new year to all.

      • Mike Bryant

        Conor Kelly, Ron Lockley, Leon Corkly, Trotsky or whoever…
        I’m answering because you praise my forbearance. For my part, I would have sent you on your way long ago. I’m sick of your shenanigans. You are doing what every totalitarian-minded narcissist has always done. Divide and conquer.
        You will find that the good folks at SCP are hard to fool.
        SCP is a site that is in the business of furthering formal poetry. We don’t do that by inviting people to share their poetry and then tearing down their work. You’re supposed to have been a teacher… did you find the good in your student’s work before you let them know how they could improve? If you think you could do a better job go ahead… or, just go.
        I’ve given you too many chances. The only reason you are still here is because Evan, Susan, Russel, Dr. Salemi and The SCP love free speech. There are limits… you’ve been hanging by a thread for months.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        Conor, you haven’t just attacked Susan’s political views. You’ve made plenty of ad hominem attacks against her character, and I’m not yet convinced that there’s no misogyny behind it. As for the idea that her views prevent her from being a better poet, I call BS. She stands up for the voiceless, against the new leftist dictatorship that the Western world has become. Poets are supposed to be a voice for the voiceless, and Susan does this admirably. Picking on our friends while debating with us shows your weak character.

        You, on the other hand, support the slaughter of thousands of unborn children in Planned Parenthood death camps every day in the United States alone (you already said you disagree with the anti-abortion position), and for that reason alone, you have no moral right to lecture us about the alleged specks in our eyes until you take that giant sequoia that is the pro-abortion position out of your own. Until then, I can’t trust anything you say about morality, any more than if you believed that Hitler was right to have millions tortured and killed. (Just so there’s no confusion, yes, I’m comparing liberals to Nazis, as I believe it’s a fair comparison.) So don’t waste your breath trying to convince me of your pro-murder agenda. Like Brian, I was once a liberal, and then I learned that the whole thing is BS, and morally bankrupt to boot.

        I’ve read liberal poetry, and it’s mostly low-quality free verse; at least these days, it’s just bad prose with random line breaks. Constraints improve the quality of art as a rule, and liberals tend to hate constraints imposed on them. There are plenty of liberals who agree with us that formal poetry is a conservative thing, and they hate formal poetry for that reason. The correlation may not be perfect, but it’s significant.

        There’s one thing I don’t understand, though. I’ve written edgier poems than this. I’ve attacked a lot of things cherished by liberals and even many conservatives (birth control, for one). Why did you troll me over this one and not the others?

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Great. You have published two poems here some years ago. And I praised one of them highly. You can see therefore that I do not judge poems by the political views of their authors.

        But you — by your own admission — do so regularly. You praise Russel Winick, but at the same time you urge him not to add partisan opinions to the material he writes. I doubt if you would say the same thing to a poet who included left-liberal sentiments in his work. Winick sometimes expresses rightist views, so therefore his poetry is “polluted” and “deadened,” to use your own words, and he will wind up as another Colley Cibber.

        You say that you have praised Susan Bryant for her “metaphoric skills, her linguistic ability, and her humor.” (Side note: what the hell else is there in poetry?) But her talent is “unrealized” because she does not share your political views, and dares to express her own. And you have praised Cheryl Corey, but you won’t say for what.

        “Self-satisfied self-praise”? Where has anyone who posts here praised himself or herself? And you do not deny that you “sow discord” — in fact, you express satisfaction in being a “dissident voice” in the midst of what you so elegantly call “a circle-jerk.”

        And no one here claims that formalist poetry is inherently linked to rightist viewpoints. We simply happen to be a conservative, rightist group. You don’t need to bring up Auden — if a creep like Neruda can write two odes to Stalin, it’s clear that poetic ability does not follow party lines. But you do, Kelly. It’s patent in the arguments you advance to criticize this website. Everything here is “polluted” and spoiled by the fact that many of us are rightists. That’s why you can dismiss the excellent analysis given by Brian Yapko here in this thread as “unhinged.” Really? Is it unhinged, or perhaps merely too close to the bone for you in its accuracy?

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Conor, to call Brian Yapko (one of the sanest, fairest, most rational people I know) “unhinged” is seriously unhinged! A wise man once told me, “You cannot reason with madness, so don’t try.” I’ve tried in the past… never again!

    • Joshua C. Frank

      I wouldn’t expect our internal disagreements to have anything to do with your politics, just as Joe and I don’t care about the internal disagreements within your party. It’s precisely because the pontiff has taken action against the pro-life cause before (not just this incident) that we both consider his commitment to the cause suspect. We agree on that, and I agree with his replies to your comments as well.

      That you see no piety in these pages just shows that you haven’t read many of our poems. Do you just read the political ones?

      • Joshua C. Frank

        Loretta, do you mean you agree with us, or with Conor? If you agree with us, great! If you agree with Conor, then since you have no published poetry here, you’re most likely here just to troll me, and I’m honored to get two trolls in my poem’s comments section, when even Susan usually only gets one. Either way, thanks!

  12. Brian Yapko

    I’m actually grateful to Conor for posting here and showing his colors as a leftist who has come to troll. I greatly appreciate Joseph Salemi’s spot-on response and pointed observations as well as Joshua’s common sense remarks and unwavering sense of decency. I have little to contribute to this discussion – particularly since I’m not Catholic – but I do have a few things to say about the liberal left as someone who was formerly a liberal (never a leftist, thank God.)

    The mindset Dr. Salemi describes is quite accurate but there are a few additional observations I would make. Liberals have a strong sense of belief that that they are acting out of compassion and “the right side of history.” They are operating from a completely different paradigm than people who are conservative. They believe they have their finger on the pulse of historical inevitability – a progressive march forward towards a vague sense of justice (which usually means erasure) rather than seeing it in the cyclic way that conservatives do. They see statues being brought down and think of it as a form of liberation. I see statues being brought down and recall the Fall of Rome, jihad, the French Revolution, the Cultural Revolution. Who is right here? Well, after having a been a liberal for most of my life I personally have affirmatively rejected the leftist paradigm. It’s too destructive. I finally observed (ever so reluctantly) that most of the people on the left were painfully ignorant of history and painfully self-projecting regarding human nature. They are self-referential. They believe everything they think. They cherry-pick what they want in law and other authority to support what makes them feel good rather than what is actually good for individuals and society. It is a form of profound narcissism which makes them think that they are free from hate and prejudice when in reality all they have done is triage different forms of hate and prejudice than those they criticize.

    As for their profound certainty in the rightness of their causes (I’m reminded of Karl Marx and Emma Goldman or Malcolm X) they go to bed at night absolutely certain that they are promoting the right causes, even when that promotion is objectively destructive. They congratulate themselves on how awakened they are to a higher reality and sense of justice than we poor neanderthal conservatives. They have a way of condescending to people on the right because they can’t conceive that intelligent, educated people don’t think the way they do: atheist, social justice warrior. So, to explain something that doesn’t fit into their narcissistic paradigm, they go for the low-hanging fruit: conservatives are bigots, idiots or fantasists. They cannot conceive for the life of them that they are the ones who are living in a fantasy, that they have mutilated history as much as children with ideological ideas and social engineering experiments. They have no idea how much they look like the scientists who believed in eugenics and phrenology – within the lifetimes of many who are still living. They see themselves as hippies or freedom-fighters when, in fact, they look like nothing more than the Cultural Revolutionists of the 1960s in China, who did what they did in the name of justice and equality.

    The leftist inability to look at his or herself means that the most outrageous things now become not only plausible but compellingly necessary: toppling statues of Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln, distributing free hypodermic needles to drug addicts, performing mastectomies on confused 14 year old girls. And they’ll defend to the death these oddities without stepping back to see how irrational and bullet-headed their actions will actually look 50 years from now. Leftists see themselves as the vanguard of enlightenment and common sense without having the ability to consider the possibility that they don’t have it all figured out– much like 17 year olds screaming at their parents. In short, their reality is subjective and focused on a determination to remake the world in their image – no matter who they have to hurt, what contrary evidence they have to ignore or what they have to burn down to achieve it. Because, after all, they’re so nice.

    • Joshua C. Frank

      Brian, as a former liberal myself, I can say this is a great analysis of liberalism and how liberals think. I don’t know why Conor would call this unhinged other than just to be a jerk. I guess his fragile ego can’t handle someone pulling back the curtain and exposing what he really believes. How sad.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Brian, I have read this analysis several times since yesterday, and it is as incisive and penetrating as James Burnham’s Suicide of the West — even more so, since you go into the psychology and motivational roots of liberalism, while Burnham dealt mostly with external manifestations of liberal behavior.

      I’d like to give a very homely example of the left-liberal compulsion to place “moral” (i.e. ideological) considerations above everything else. My wife yesterday asked me to sweep the street gutter in front of our house, which was packed and clogged with leaves and refuse. I did so with great labor, since the street gutters in New York City have not been swept for nearly two years.

      Why not? Because our last mayor (Bill DeBlasio, a maniacal left-liberal incompetent) insisted that five feet of space be left on every city street gutter as “bike lanes.” He did this out of ideological fixation with encouraging bicycles, as a way to discourage car ownership and thereby “save the planet.”

      But it never occurred to him that as a result, New York’s heavy mechanized street sweeping equipment would immediately be rendered useless, since it cannot fit into a mere five feet of space. So the city’s streets have filled with uncollected refuse, which has: 1) clogged sewer drains, 2) exploded the population of rats, and 3) generated horrid stenches in many areas.

      When this all became inescapably apparent and residents complained, the only thing our brain-damaged liberal mayor could say was “The bigger picture is this — we need bike lanes, because WE MUST GO GREEN TO SAVE THE PLANET!”

      In other words, the moral commandments of the left-liberal succedaneous religion must trump any other consideration or bad consequences. Nothing else matters except the Kantian Moral Imperative to “do the right thing.” And left-liberals are always right.

      By the way, our streets generally remain unswept. The current mayor is too cowardly to rescind the imposition of DeBlasio’s bike lanes. There are still a lot of idiots in New York who think the bike lanes are a great idea, and he’s afraid of losing their votes.

      • Brian Yapko

        Thank you, Joseph. I’m very grateful for your appreciation of an analysis that is really just my calling it how I see it.

        Your New York story about the mayor shackling the street sweepers is an excellent example of what I think we both have been railing about — ideology which is so fervently followed that choices and behaviors abandon common sense because of the need to social engineer. Before I moved to Santa Fe, I lived in Portland for just over 6 years from 2012 to 2018 (big mistake!) and it was poisoned with the same type of thinking as NYC’s mayor now demonstrates. Preserve the bike lanes at all cost, build no new roads because, dammit, we’re going to make you stop using your cars to save the planet.

        As an interesting companion story to yours, I recently learned that because Portland is now allowing the homeless to set up tents on sidewalks (which has taken on a life of its own) a group of plaintiffs made up of people who are in wheelchairs or who are blind have sued the City for violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act. A no brainer. If you’re going to let the homeless take over the sidewalks, you’re going to make it impossible for people with disabilities to pass. And you’re going to end up with human waste and needles and graffiti and broken windows… and on and on. Like I said in a poem a few months ago: these people are drunk on compassion. And it’s really an uphill battle trying to sober them up.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        It’s even worse in San Francisco in some ways. If a homeless person steals your car, it’s only a misdemeanor! The laws there are so lenient for the homeless, and now the city is overrun with them. It used to be a nice place to visit; it hasn’t been that in a long time.

  13. Joshua C. Frank

    Just got the following comment from Fr. Gordon MacRae of Beyond These Stone Walls. (He is a priest who has been in prison for a long time over a false accusation.)

    “Hello Joshua, your poem was just read to me and it was spot on. Thank you very much fro [sic] sharing it with me. With blessings Fr. G”

  14. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Josh, from the spot-on title to the grin in the closing line, this fine poem puts this insidious idiocy into perspective… toss a “clump of cells” into the rubbish and all is well – show those fooled exactly what “medical waste” looks like and that’s a crime! I applaud you for giving a voice to the voiceless and for dealing with the backlash admirably. The closer you get to a troll’s fragile ego, the greater the flack… the truth hurts and the resultant howls are a pain for those in earshot! Truth is rare these days – that is exactly why your poetic words are invaluable. Priest Frank Pavone has my every admiration and so do you! Thank you, Josh.

    • Joshua C. Frank

      Thank you, Susan. Your description of the idiocy is accurate. Just as tens of millions of unborn children worldwide are sent to abortionist death camps every year and that’s all right, but dare to compare it to the Holocaust and suddenly you’re a Nazi.

      It makes me ashamed as a Catholic how woke the human element of the Church hierarchy at every level, from parish volunteers to the Pope, has gone… but, ironically, the fact that Church teaching is still preserved despite this shows that the teachings are divinely protected; every other church, with plenty of wokeness of its own, has caved in to modern culture on many issues where Catholic teaching has stood firm. That fact is how I know the Catholic faith is true when everything the hierarchy does seems to be evidence to the contrary.

      I’m not sure why this poem has been trolled and edgier poems of mine haven’t. In any case, it’s precisely because truth is rare these days that I’m called to write the truth and get it out into the world.

  15. loretta rivera

    It has been a long standing practi9ce of the church not to tell one how to vote. We were always told to vote our conscience. I do not go to church for that reason. Do not tell me you care about the inborn when I see how you treat the children at the Border who you can see. When Lord did, I see you naked and hungry????

    • Joshua C. Frank

      You’re making assumptions about me, none of them warranted.

      First, “vote your conscience” has limits. A Catholic’s conscience must be formed by Church teaching. We would not vote for the Nazi Party, because of their policies of mass murder; similarly, any Catholic with a minimum of knowledge about Church teaching (which, presumably, anyone old enough to vote has) should know better than to vote for a pro-abortion party, such as the Democratic Party in the United States.

      Second, I am just as much in favor of helping the children at the border as I am in favor of helping the unborn. Some treat them in humanely, but that’s not me. You may have seen how I argued with a poet who put the Nazi Party and the Jews on equal moral footing in his poem, precisely because I’m pro-life.

      The analogy you’re using between the unborn and migrant children doesn’t work. The difference is that the unborn are legally not human beings, and so the law allows their mothers to order them executed for no crime other than being conceived and not being wanted. Whereas someone who murders an illegal alien will rightly be charged with murder.

      It sounds as if you’re pro-abortion. (I hope I’m wrong about that.) If so, how can I listen to anything you say about right and wrong when you believe that a mother having her child slaughtered at whim is a good thing? A person who believes such a thing has zero moral credibility, just like someone who believes the Holocaust was good, and for the exact same reason.

      • loretta ll rivera

        NOBODY likes abortion! I realize that some woman will get them, and I want it done in a doctor’s office. If you make it illegal woman will self-abort or not even, go to a doctor. woman will die, and have died. How is this saving the unborn?? You are a Catholic and should know that woman can go to confession and confess this sin, Men go to confession every day and confess getting vasectomies which is serious, sin that will condemn one’s soul/ My job as a Catholic is to pray for sinners .

      • Joshua C. Frank

        OK, good, you’re Catholic. But again, you’re making unwarranted assumptions. You assume that abortions are inevitable regardless of law. However, the abortion rate in every country where it was legalized skyrocketed almost immediately, and in countries where it was made illegal, such as Poland, the abortion rate plummeted to near zero. I did a time-series analysis of the decline of abortion rates in Poland (remember, I work in the field of statistics, so I know what I’m talking about), and the probability that this is unrelated to the outlawing of abortion is infinitesimal. Confession has nothing to do with any of this. If you truly believe that abortion is murder, then you should want it outlawed just like all other murder. If not, please read my poems “What Is Pro-Choice?” and “Elegy for Miran Sutherland.”

        There’s an easy solution for a woman who doesn’t want to die from an abortion: don’t get one!

        Also, there are those who openly admit to loving abortion, such as Planned Parenthood. It makes sense that this would be the case, because they make money from it. When you wonder why things are the way they are, always follow the money.

  16. loretta rivera

    Do not say you care about the UNBORN when we see how you treat the children at the border

    • loretta ll rivera

      Abortion rates don’t drop they are just done in secret. Pretty easy for a man to take this stance, but remember the Lord knows your heart and he knows that if you were put in that position (Well only he knows). He tells us that if we even hate we are guilty of murder, and I believe he said it to people like you to bring you down a notch. You conveniently didn’t comment on the sin of getting a vasectomy . I have a good idea let me put YOUR sins on a placard and march around with it.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        Again, you’re making a lot of assumptions that have nothing to do with anything I actually said. You call yourself Catholic, but you’re pro-abortion. That’s a contradiction in terms, because a Catholic by definition believes what the Church teaches, just as he believes that Jesus is God. Someone who is pro-abortion is not Catholic regardless of what he calls himself, because he denies that the Catholic Church teaches infallibly.

        Even with all your straw-man arguments, you can’t escape the central argument. Life begins at conception, as the Bible, the Church, and even science teach. Therefore, a fetus is a human being. Therefore, killing one is murder. Therefore, someone who supports abortion is little different from someone who supports the Holocaust.

        Contraception (and by extension, sterilization) is even worse, because at least a murder victim has a chance at Heaven, but someone who never exists doesn’t even get that. I’ve written against contraception and all kinds of “family planning” in my poems “Elegy for the Child Neve Conceived” and my Poems Against Birth Control (“Two Empty Chairs” and “The No-Life Algorithm”) for that exact reason. None of this has anything to do with me being a man.

        By the way, why are you attacking me for this poem when I’ve written others that are more explicitly pro-life?

  17. Joseph S. Salemi

    This Loretta Rivera is a perfect example of a Novus Ordo Catholic — pretending to be anti-abortion while bending over backwards to not say anything against the legal machinery that makes mass abortion possible. How comfortable for her! She can claim the mantle of Catholicism while keeping her feminist and left-liberal friends happy. And, of course, she can virtue-signal about “children at the border,” as if this had any relevance to the debate.

    • loretta rivera

      If you e-mail me I will give you my priests name and you can contact him about your concern about me Pretending to be anti -abortion. BACK UP YOUR COMMENTS By the way many of my friends are Republican who agree with me. they do not like abortion. but feel it must remain legal.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        Imagine if I said, “I don’t like the Nazi Holocaust, but I think it was wrong to fight against Hitler.” That’s what you sound like to any pro-life person.

    • Joshua C. Frank

      Yes, she’s made it quite clear where her bread is buttered, and it’s not on the Catholic side.

      • loretta L rivera

        says the man who just wrote a poem belittling the pope.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        I wrote this poem because it’s the pope whose butter appears to be, based on words and actions that are a matter of public record, breaded on the anti-Catholic side. I haven’t belittled him, but spoken about actions and said what they’re like. St. Paul openly rebuked St. Peter (Galatians 2:11-14), and saints have corrected subsequent popes in a similar manner.

        You, on the other hand, belittle people for believing what the Church actually teaches.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        Shoot, I meant to write “whose bread appears to be, based on words and actions that are a matter of public record, buttered on the anti-Catholic side.” Hopefully that will remind me to check my replies more carefully for mistakes.

  18. loretta rivera

    First thing on your placard is you are a LIAR. I almost want to take you into court and make you prove that i like abortion. Please tell all here how you KNOW I like abortion.
    Oh by the way Republican woman also get abortions.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        For once, we agree. I hope to be a saint before I die, but no one is as aware as I am that I have a very long way to go.

        You have a nice night too.

  19. Joseph S. Salemi

    Imagine if someone in Nazi Germany said “I completely disagree with gassing people in concentration camps, but I believe that concentration camps should remain legal.”

    And yet that’s precisely what these “Catholics for Choice” are basically saying about the murder of unborn infants. It indicates either one of two things: they are stupid, or they do not recognize unborn infants as human beings.

    Maybe they should go ask their parish priests if an unborn child is a human being before they come here to shoot their mouths off.

    • Joshua C. Frank

      Except a lot of parish priests are in cahoots with the baby-killers just like Pope Francis has gone on record as being.

      What we have is a strange dynamic in which whether an unborn child is human depends solely on whether he is wanted by his mother. As I wrote in my poem “What Is Pro-Choice?:”

      To liberals, if a pregnant woman
      Wants the baby, it’s her child.
      If not, it’s vermin, it’s reviled;
      It somehow isn’t human.

      Just as the Nazis claimed that Jews and other “undesirables” are not human. “Catholics for Choice” is a contradiction in terms, like “Catholics for Concentration Camps.” Given that California law now allows an “abortion” up to 28 days after the baby is born, we’re headed there. At least the Nazis were more honest about what they did. Liberals kill their victims while pretending to care for them… and then recruit people to their side without their knowing it.

      Maybe they should look at pictures of abortion victims (to use one of my own lines from the same poem, “chopped to pieces like a pig”) before they come here to shoot their mouths off.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Joshua, everything in left-liberalism is about lying and pretending and covering up your intellectual tracks. This policy goes all the way back to the practices of the socialist Fabians in Britain, whose symbol was a wolf in sheep’ clothing; and to the Gramscian directive to undermine all cultural, educational, and religious institutions in the West by penetrating them slowly and sabotaging them gradually from within.

        We haven’t gotten to our current state of moral turpitude and political tyranny by massive revolutionary acts. We’ve arrived here by listening to left-liberals as they lie about their real motives — like Conor Kelly pretending to be a reasonable and open-minded moderate, and by Loretta Rivera pretending to be a serious opponent of abortion.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        Of course you’re right. They’ve thoroughly infiltrated almost everything—churches, schools, governments, media, you name it—and they’re trying to do the same to the SCP. But most of us aren’t that easy to fool!

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