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PopeWatch: La Vanguardia Interview-Fundamentalists

Pope Francis does not like fundamentalists.  That is very clear from the La Vanguardia interview.

 

Violence in the name of God dominates the Middle East.  

It’s a contradiction. Violence in the name of God does not correspond with our time. It’s something ancient. With historical perspective, one has to say that Christians, at times, have practiced it. When I think of the Thirty Years War, there was violence in the name of God. Today it is unimaginable, right? We arrive, sometimes, by way of religion to very serious, very grave contradictions. Fundamentalism, for example. The three religions, we have our fundamentalist groups, small in relation to all the rest.

And, what do you think about fundamentalism?

A fundamentalist group, although it may not kill anyone, although it may not strike anyone, is violent. The mental structure of fundamentalists is violence in the name of God.

“The mental structure of fundamentalists is violence in the name of God”.  Hmmm, to PopeWatch that statement seems self-evidently absurd, considering the endless variety of groups tagged with the label of fundamentalists, usually by unsympathetic outsiders.  PopeWatch assumes that the Pope is using Fundamentalism in its popular sense of ardent followers of any religion.  It is clear that he is not referring strictly to the Protestant Fundamentalist movement started at the Niagara Bible Conferences of 1878-1897.  In its popular sense, the accusation of Fundamentalism often comes across as mere sneering at people who seem to be more religious than thou.  In that sense it reminds PopeWatch of this George Carlin routine:

 

 

Who among Catholics does Pope Francis consider fundamentalists?  For example, would the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate be considered fundamentalist?  Perhaps the old ladies who say the rosary before mass in my parish?  Perhaps in regard to Christianity he just is referring to Protestant “fundamentalists” like the “violent” hymn singing group portrayed below in the movie Sergeant York (1941):

It is good that Pope Francis is tolerant, because if he was not so self-proclaimed tolerant, one might suspect that the Pope is intolerant of “fundamentalists” who he stereotypes into stick villains.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

32 Comments

  1. As the Fonz used to say, “correctomundo!” Fundamentalist. What is the definition? My own opinion/definition reflects the fact that fundamentals are basic in religion as in baseball. There are some basic non negotiables.
    Truth is THE basic. Our bottom line basics are True. Not opinion.
    Dogmatic is not a dirty word. Jesus IS Lord. Stephen died for it. St. Peter died for that fundamental truth. Were they just crazy?
    Modernist thought is trending ( trending is a big word now- the Current Trend is our new Magisterium)- modernist thought is trending in the Church.

  2. It is not being a True Believer that’s causing wars, it is believing wrongly! Right belief is the answer.
    And that is what the Church has always had to offer. Right belief. Orthodoxy.

  3. Again, I’m disappointed in this Pope. His use of the “F” word shows he has picked up the secular, liberal, media slang to denigrate people who hold to traditional beliefs. How many more unpleasant surprises does Francis have in store for us?

  4. The popes comments re: are down right insulting. Does this mean he would not kiss the hands nor wash the feet of a “Fundamentalist” ?

  5. Here’s what Pope Francis likes in a non fundy, pacifist Catholic moment…Pope Benedict mistaking the prophets for Joan Baez here in Verbum Domini section 42:
    ” In the Old Testament, the preaching of the prophets vigorously challenged every kind of injustice and violence, whether collective or individual…”
    In context, Benedict had just called the massacres of the OT immoral ( Scripture repeatedly says God ordered them).
    Now here is Jeremiah simultaneously refuting both non fundy claims of Benedict…Jeremiah is telling the Chaldeans that they must massacre the Moabites perfectly because the order is from God:
    Jer.48:10…” Cursed are they who do the Lord’s work carelessly; cursed are they who hold back their sword from shedding blood.”
    Elijah killed 552 men for God….he did not challenge ” every kind..of violence”. Eliseus cursed 42 boys who were then killed by bears…he did not challenge ” every kind of violence “. Eliseus was mandated to kill any of the house of Ahab that escaped Jehu…mandated by God. The prophet Samuel ” hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal ” because Saul failed to do it…he did not challenge ” every kind of violence”. Isaiah affirms in chapter 10 that God used the Assyrians as His axe to punish Samaria.
    The papacy on violence has become pacifist due to the type of radically non fundy biblical exegesis that Popes once warned us of but which won the day with the passing of time. It had no effect in infallible matters. But many converts on the net and off implicitly think all papal utterances are quasi infallible. They are not. You’re either pregnant or you’re not. Infallibility is similar.
    Are we to be as violent as the OT prophets were? Absolutely not. Christ rebuked the disciples in Luke 9 because they wanted to imitate Elijah and draw lightning down on a Samaritan town. But Christ indicated in Romans 13:4 through Paul that Christ still affirms execution for criminals. These last three Popes run from that affirmation in practice despite a conflicted catechism article that was half them and half Romans 13:4.

  6. Again, the Pope’s constant use of the interview venue is revealing and troubling. This language has the feel of ‘newspeak’….as if one is listening to a post modernist college professor using blandishments, pejoratives and banalities as substitutions for rigorous thought and analysis. Anzlyne is correct in noting the trend within the Church of “modernist thought” (a contradiction in terms I hastily add). It was this very trend within the Church against which Pope St. Pius X gallantly fought. And yet, the Pope’s homilies and sermons do instruct and are insightful and do aid us in our spiritual journey. I suppose we are left with disciplining ourselves to deal with, as best we can, his polemics while being attentive to the pastoral instruction. Let’s hope, and pray, that the former does not devour the latter.

  7. And can we please dispose of the myth that the Thirty Years War was actually about Catholics v. Protestants? Why, if that was the case, was France, the Eldest Daughter of the Church, supporting the Protestants?

    The Thirty Years War was primarily about national political power, not theological differences between Catholics and Protestants.

  8. “It is good that Pope Francis is tolerant, because if he was not so self-proclaimed tolerant, one might suspect that the Pope is intolerant of ‘fundamentalists’ whom he stereotypes into stick villains.”

    This could well be changed to say the following and still be equally valid:

    “It is good that liberals are tolerant, because if liberals were not so self-proclaimed tolerant, one might suspect that liberals are intolerant of ‘fundamentalists’ whom liberals stereotype into stick villains.”

    None are so unholy, so impious as those who proclaim for themselves a great ostentation of holiness and piety.

    None are so intolerant and unkind and divisive as those who proclaim for themselves a great ostentation of tolerance, kindness and inclusivity.

    That said, the Holy Spirit will protect the Church today just as He protected the Church in the late 15th century.

  9. [br]”A fundamentalist group, although it may not kill anyone, although it may not strike anyone, is violent. The mental structure of fundamentalists is violence in the name of God.”[br]

    An easy finalist for the vapid thing I’ve heard from a Pope since I’ve been Catholic.

    I expect that sort of “insight” from a Daily Kos post, not the Chair of St. Peter. It’s self-evident nonsense.

  10. Jacques Maritain has argued that “If it were true that whoever knows or claims to know truth or justice cannot admit the possibility of a view different from his own, and is bound to impose his true view on other people by violence, the rational animal would be the most dangerous of beasts.” Theirs is the holy crusade of the one who knows against the one who does not know or does not share in God’s grace.

    Of course, as Maritain insists, it is not so. “In reality it is through rational means, that is, thorugh persuasion, not through coercion, that the rational animal is bound by his very nature to try to induce his fellow man to share in what it knows or claims to know as true or just. And the metaphysician, because he trusts human reason; and the believer, because he trusts divine grace, and knows that “a forced faith is a hypocrisy hateful to God and man”, as Cardinal Manning put it, do not use holy war to make their “eternal truth” accessible to other people, they appeal to the inner freedom of other people by offering them either their demonstrations or the testimony of their love.”

    As for democracy, “we do not call upon the people to decide because we are aware of our ignorance of what is the good, but because we know this truth, and this good, that the people have a right to self-government.”

  11. Again Donald and most of the comments are forgetting the context of this interview given to a Jew journalist (or jewish journalist) to a Israeli TV and several European media.
    Of course that the Holy Father is using the expression “Fundamentalist” in the stricto sensu meaning of religious fundamentalists. He has included in this category also Christians who kill non Christians.
    To “Popewatch” in the intellectual honest way one must be aware that this Pope changes views and arguments and word strategies according to the context and the public to whom he is speaking to. He is a very practical and pragmatically men like for instance St Paul did, using different speeches according to the kind of public to whom he speak with, for instance at Athens.

  12. So the Pope tailors his speech for his audience. That is great. AS MRC says, so did St. Paul. That is ok when you are not putting down anyone, especially based on conjecture. It is just best not to cast aspersions. Pointing fingers, laying down debatable judgments only fuels already fiery divisions.

  13. “Of course that the Holy Father is using the expression “Fundamentalist” in the strict sense meaning of religious fundamentalists.”

    What exactly is that “strict sense”? In America, we have Fundamentalist Protestants who are quite rigid in their Biblical interpretation and moral life. But they are not violent towards others nor do they attempt to kill others.

    I suspect there are also Orthodox Jews in Israel who could be called “fundamentalist” but they are quite non-violent.

  14. [br]”What exactly is that “strict sense”? In America, we have Fundamentalist Protestants who are quite rigid in their Biblical interpretation and moral life. But they are not violent towards others nor do they attempt to kill others.”[br]

    Precisely. It is, at best, a repulsive over-generalization. It dilutes and cheapens the meaning of the term “violent.” I have in mind a devoutly fundamentalist Christian who was nevertheless one of the most kindly and–yes–saintly individuals I have ever met. To call him “violent” in any sense is ludicrous.

  15. I truly believe it is unintentional. Here, I think the Pope has picked up on one of the buzz words the lying, liberal (I repeat myself) media uses to off-handedly smear Christians.

  16. Violence in the name of God does not correspond with our time? Saying this does not make it so. It is an aspiration. He sounds like Obama: tell a new story, change the world by changing the story. Jesus did that, once. Done.

    We arrive, sometimes, by way of religion to very serious, very grave contradictions? No, “we” don’t. And even Muslims are not contradicting themselves when they follow the explicit teachings in the Koran in respect to infidels. That’s their Koran, and we can’t unwrite it or rewrite it for them.

    The three religions, we have our fundamentalist groups…. The mental structure of fundamentalists is violence in the name of God? As Dale said, no. Not our guys.

    The sky is blue, the sky is blue, the sky is blue.

  17. The funny thing is, that when it comes to Gospel virtues of love, mercy, fidelity, spirituality, etc., Pope Francis is a fundamentalist. The word can be applied all different ways.

  18. I suspect there are also Orthodox Jews in Israel who could be called “fundamentalist” but they are quite non-violent.

    There are Orthodox congregations which are otherworldly in a manner approaching the Mennonites, both in the United States and in Israel. The complaint in Israel is that they are excused from military service.

  19. Does the Pope not have a public relations department? If he does, they are definitely asleep at the wheel or happy that he is causing such chaos & consternation with his seemingly impromptu speeches–I certainly hope they are not planned speeches.

  20. Philip wrote “I suspect there are also Orthodox Jews in Israel who could be called “fundamentalist” but they are quite non-violent.

    And some of them are very violent indeed. One recalls Gush Emunim and their demand for “the Land of Israel, for the People of Israel, according to the Torah of Israel.” They were largely responsible for the 1979 ruling of the Chief Rabbinate that no part of the Holy Land could be alienated, even in the context of a peace treaty. “According to our holy Torah and unequivocal and decisive halakhic rulings there exists a severe prohibition to pass to foreigners the ownership of any piece of the land of Israel since it was made sacred by the brit bein ha-betarim [Abraham’s Covenant].”

    Their still-thriving off-shoot, the Amana (Covenant) settler movement supports settlements in “unities in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, the Galilee, the Negev and Gush Katif”

    Most EU counties consider them as a hate-group and refuse its members entry to the Schengen countries.

  21. “And some of them are very violent indeed.”

    Some are and some are not. Just as with non-fundamentalists of any stripe. The point being, that violence is not a necessary feature of fundamentalism. Thus, the foolishness of the Pope saying so.

  22. MPS, I cannot help but note that you cite not one violent incident committed by Gush Emunim or its derivatives. There’s been scores of incidents of vandalism and arson on the West Bank and some other areas over the last half-dozen years, but very little has been securely attributed to religious zionists, much less to Orthodox or Hasidic communities. Some of it is indubitably just background noise, some perhaps part of insurance scams, and some fake hate crimes or abuse of local Christian communities by Muslims.
    ==
    Most EU counties consider them as a hate-group and refuse its members entry to the Schengen countries.

    Eurotrash trade in malicious humbug. This is news?

  23. More annoying than Pope Francis forgetting the non violence of the fundy Amish, Hutterites, Mennonites etc. is his penchant for categorizing at all. The insult by category list by him being kept at one website is funny and bizarre at the same time. What I’d like to hear him do is get specific by warning jihadists that God will destroy each of them who kills a Christian. Think me daft? No…I’m just crazy enough to believe the New Testament here as it notes that God will destroy those you are reading about in the news:

    I Cor. 3: 16-17
    “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
    If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person…”

    ISIS shoots a Christian….that ISIS man is a dead man walking but in the deepest sense imaginable. I have been praying for them but with knowledge that God may not save them at all…at all given the above passage and linked to Romans 9:18 ” Therefore he hath mercy on whom he will; and whom he will, he hardeneth.”
    Sermons for fifty years have fled the severest aspects of the NT but that is inderstandable given that much of the audience is children. But Popes have a bully pulpit in which to address not only weapons dealers but weapons users like ISIS and Boko Haram. Oh that’s right…militant Islam is minuscule and not true Islam….although it moderate Islam just fled from them in Mosul.

  24. I have taken the Pope’s reference to fundamentalists as applying sotto voce to militant Islam. Benedict XVI said it out loud at Regensburg and got into a lot of trouble.

  25. “I have taken the Pope’s reference to fundamentalists as applying sotto voce to militant Islam.”

    [br] No, it really isn’t. I really wish it was. He makes a cack-handed moral equivalence stew of it, lumping together all monotheistic fundamentalism as “violent,” regardless of whether they actually, say, behead people or not. Given that the-then Cdl. Bergoglio blew a gasket over Regensburg, there’s no way to read this in a way remotely close to a condemnation. Regensburg was a thoughtful meditation on the interaction of faith and reason. This is bumpersticker progressivism.[br]

  26. William,
    Benedict used indirection at Regensburg by disavowing later the point made in the ancient conversation he quoted. I think he wanted to upbraid militants but thought no one in Islam would see through his indirection. Sr. Leonella Sgorbati was probably killed in Somalia as revenge and God will destroy her killer per I Cor.3:16-17. They …the Popes…worry maybe..maybe…about bringing terrorism to Vatican City…hence the indirect use of another’s words at Regensburg. But if Christians are at risk in Syria, Mosul, and Nigeria and the Sudan…then it is not good if Popes are specifically silent in order to save Vatican City even if as symbol of unchanging security at all levels.

  27. Dale do you have a handy reference link to what Bergoglio said about Regensberg? I am interested. Thanks

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