PopeWatch: Self-Absorbed Promethean Neopelagian
Perhaps one reason we have never had a Jesuit pope before, is that so many Jesuits write in a jargon-laden fashion that is hard for non-Jesuits to figure out. Case in point: self-absorbed promethean neopelagian. Pope Francis uses this baroque insult in Evangelii Gaudium:
94. This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings. The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.
Now what does the Pope mean by this, other than he is really ticked off by people who do not believe that Vatican II is the be-all and end-all of Catholicism? I’ll be hanged if I can figure it out. Father Ray Blake at his blog thinks that he knows:
The term “Prometheism” was suggested by the Greek myth of Prometheus, whose gift of fire to mankind, in defiance of Zeus, came to symbolize enlightenment and resistance to despotic authority, it was the name of an early 20th century slightly anarchic Polish political movement but it drew its inspiration from the enlightenment which is perhaps significant here. Perhaps what the Pope is suggesting is something individualistic, something which is actually contrary to Catholic Tradition. It is the self-righteous or as the Pope would say, ‘self-referential’, pretentious Phariseeism that quotes documents and texts to condemn others but actually refuses to be converted by them.
“Neopelagianism” is an easier term, it excludes the necessity of Grace for salvation, again it is individualistic, again it excludes a dependence on God, which is at the heart of Francis’ preaching on ‘mercy’.
He links the whole phrase to those who, ‘observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past’. He has used ‘neopelagian’ previously to describe certain traditional Catholics, well actually the SSPX. I think what he is saying, which the whole of Evangelii Gaudium seems to be saying is that we have be absorbed into the wondrous life-changing joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ rather than being curators of a museum or experimenters in a laboratory.
Uh huh. Well moving right along, Father Z has decided to embrace the term:
Are you a self-absorbed promethean neopelagian?
I have just the thing for you!
I added a new section to my Z-Swag store at Cafepress.
There are bumper-stickers, car-magnets, coffee mugs, buttons and few other items.
Here is a view of the smaller coffee mug. Picture yourself drinking your Mystic Monk Coffee or tea from this fine beverageware.
Don’t like coffee or tea… or Orange Fanta? Get one anyway and put pencils in it.
You surely need a sticker or magnet for your car! Imagine the puzzled looks you’ll get when you stop at a light, drive down the road, and then pull into your parish’s parking lot!
Having fun with impenetrably vague labels.
Go here to read the rest. PopeWatch is puzzled why Pope Francis wants to pick a fight with people who are doing their best to follow the teachings of the Church when the Church is confronted by so many real problems, but perhaps PopeWatch is just a self-absorbed promethean neopelagian elder brother!
Update: Mark Shea is greatly put out by Father Z pandering to his “reactionary” (that is Shea’s new buzz word since Pope Francis came along) readers, and Patrick Archbold at Creative Minority Report responds here.