Sandro Magister is noting that Pope Francis seems to be correcting three errors:
ROME, November 22, 2013 – In the span of a few days Pope Francis has corrected or brought about the correction of a few significant features of his public image. At least three of them.
The first concerns the conversation that he had with Eugenio Scalfari, set down in writing by this champion of atheistic thought in “la Repubblica” of October 1.
The transcript of the conversation had in effect generated widespread dismay, because of some of the statements from the mouth of Francis that sounded more congenial to the dominant secular thinking than to Catholic doctrine. Like the following:
“Each one has his idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight the evil as he understands them.”
At the same time, however, the interview was immediately confirmed by Fr. Federico Lombardi as “faithful to the thought“ of the pope and “reliable in its general sense.”
Not only that. A few hours after it was published in “la Repubblica,” the interview was reproduced in its entirety both in “L’Osservatore Romano” and on the official website of the Holy See, on a par with the other discourses and documents of the Pope.
This gave birth to the idea that Jorge Mario Bergoglio had intentionally chosen the conversational form of expression, on this as on other occasions, as a new form of his magisterium, capable of reaching the general public more effectively.
But in the following weeks the pope must also have become aware of the risk that this form entails. The risk that the magisterium of the Church might fall to the level of a mere opinion contributed to the free exchange of ideas.
This in fact led to the decision, on November 15, to remove from the website of the Holy See the text of the conversation with Scalfari.
“It was removed,” Fr. Lombardi explained, “to clarify the nature of that text. There were some misunderstandings and disagreements about its value.”
On November 21, interviewed at the Roman headquarters of the foreign press, Scalfari nonetheless revealed more details of the matter.
He said that the pope, at the end of the conversation, had consented that it should be made public. And to Scalfari’s proposal that he send him the text beforehand, he had replied: “It seems like a waste of time to me, I trust you.”
In effect, the founder of “la Repubblica” sent the text to the pope, accompanied by a letter in which he wrote among other things:
“Keep in mind that I did not include some of the things that you said to me. And that some of the things that I attribute to you you did not say. But I put them there so that the reader may understand who you are.”
Two days later – again according to what Scalfari claims – the pope’s secretary, Alfred Xuereb, telephoned to give the go-ahead for publication. Which took place the following day.
Scalfari commented: “I am perfectly willing to think that some of the things that I wrote and attributed to him are not shared by the pope, but I also believe that he maintains that, said by a nonbeliever, they are important for him and for the activity he is carrying out.”
But even the calibrated and thoroughly studied interview with Pope Francis in “La Civiltà Cattolica” – published on September 19 by sixteen magazines of the Society of Jesus in eleven languages – has in recent days been taken into the shop of things to be corrected.
On a key point: the interpretation of Vatican Council II.
This has been made clear by a passage of the letter written by Francis himself to Archbishop Agostino Marchetto on the occasion of the presentation on November 12 of a volume in his honor, against the solemn background of the Campidoglio. A letter that the pope wanted to be read in public.
The passage is the following:
“You have demonstrated this love [of the Church] in many ways, including by correcting an error or imprecision on my part – and for this I thank you from my heart – but above all it has been manifested in all its purity in your studies of Vatican Council II. I have said this to you once, dear Archbishop Marchetto, and I want to repeat it today, that I consider you the best hermeneut of Vatican Council II.”
The definition of Marchetto as “the best hermeneut” of the Council is striking in itself. Marchetto has in fact always been the most implacable critic of that “school of Bologna” – founded by Giuseppe Dossetti and Giuseppe Alberigo and today directed by Professor Alberto Melloni – which has the worldwide monopoly on the interpretation of Vatican II, in a progressive vein.
The hermeneutic of the Council upheld by Marchetto is the same as that of Benedict XVI: not of “rupture” and “new beginning,” but of “reform in the continuity of the one subject Church.” And it is this hermeneutic that Pope Francis has wanted to signify that he shares, in bestowing such high appreciation on Marchetto.
But if one rereads the succinct passage that Francis dedicates to Vatican II in the interview with “La Civiltà Cattolica,” one gets a different impression. “Yes, there are hermeneutical lines of continuity and of discontinuity,” the pope concedes. “Nonetheless,” he adds, “one thing is clear”: Vatican II was “a service to the people” consisting in “a reinterpretation of the Gospel in the light of contemporary culture.”
In the few lines of the interview dedicated to the Council, Bergoglio defines its essence this way three times, also applying it to the reform of the liturgy.
Such a judgment of the grandiose conciliar event immediately appeared so summary to many that even the pope’s interviewer, director of “La Civiltà Cattolica” Antonio Spadaro, confessed his amazement in transcribing it from the pope’s spoken words.
Meanwhile, however, this judgment has continued to garner widespread consensus.
For example, in receiving Pope Francis at the Quirinale on a visit on November 4, the president of the Italian republic, Giorgio Napolitano, thanked him precisely for making “resonate the spirit of Vatican Council II as a ‘reinterpretation of the Gospel in the light of contemporary culture,’” citing his exact words.
And praise for these same words of the pope has come – for example – from the foremost of the Italian liturgists, Andrea Grillo, a professor at the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm, according to whom Francis has finally inaugurated the true and definitive “hermeneutic” of the Council, after having “immediately put in second place that diatribe over ‘continuity’ and ‘discontinuity’ which had long prejudiced – and often completely paralyzed – any effective hermeneutic of Vatican II.”
In effect, it is no mystery that “service to the people” and a reinterpretation of the Gospel “brought up to date” are concepts dear to the progressive interpretations of the Council and in particular to the “school of Bologna,” which has repeatedly declared itself to be an enthusiast of this pope.
But evidently there is someone who has personally pointed out to pope Bergoglio that reducing the Council to such concepts is at the least “imprecise,” if not “mistaken.”
And it was precisely Marchetto who took this step. There has always been great trust between him and Bergoglio, with mutual esteem. Marchetto lives in Rome at the residence for clergy on Via della Scrofa, in room 204, next to room 203 where the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires stayed during his trips to Rome.
Pope Francis not only listened to the criticisms of his friend, he welcomed them. To the point of thanking him, in the letter he had read on November 12, for having helped him in “correcting an error or imprecision on my part.”
It is to be presumed that in the future Francis will express himself on the Council in a way different from that of the interview in “La Civiltà Cattolica.” More in line with the hermeneutic of Benedict XVI. And to the great disappointment of the “school of Bologna.”
The third correction is consistent with the two previous ones. It concerns the “progressive” tone that Pope Francis has seen stamped upon the the first three months of his pontificate.
One month ago, on October 17, Bergoglio seemed to have confirmed this profile of his once again when in the morning homily at Santa Marta he directed stinging words against Christians who turn the faith into a “moralistic ideology,” entirely made up of “prescriptions without goodness.”
But one month later, on November 18, in another morning homily the pope played a completely different tune.
He used the revolt of the Maccabees against the dominant powers of the age as the point of departure for a tremendous tongue-lashing of that “adolescent progressivism,” Catholic as well, which is disposed to submit to the “hegemonic uniformity” of the “one form of thought that is the fruit of worldliness.”
It is not true, Francis said, that “in the face of any choice whatsoever it is right to move forward regardless, rather than remain faithful to one’s traditions.” The result of negotiating over everything is that values are so emptied of meaning as to end up merely “nominal values, not real.” Even more, one ends up negotiating precisely over “the thing essential to one’s very being, fidelity to the Lord.” Continue reading
In a USA Today story Illinois is ranked as the third worst run state in the Union:
> Debt per capita: $5,041 (11th-highest) > Budget deficit: 18.5% (9th-largest) > Unemployment: 8.9% (10th-highest) > Median household income: $55,137 (16th-highest) > Pct. below poverty line: 14.7% (tied for 24th-lowest)
Illinois has the worst credit rating in the U.S., having received the lowest rating of any state from both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. Explaining its reasoning, Moody’s pointed to the state’s underfunded pension and ongoing weak fiscal practices such as bill payment delays. Only 40.4% of the state’s pension obligations were funded in 2012, the worst rate in the nation. Illinois also had the fourth-largest debt in the country at the end of fiscal 2011 at nearly $65 billion. The state faced high foreclosure and unemployment rates in 2012, both among the worst in the country. Continue reading
Father Z has what he believes is an important indication that Pope Francis is following in the footsteps of Pope Benedict in how he views Vatican II:
The 450th anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent is coming up on 4 December. We like to celebrate these great milestones in salvation history. So, there are great doings in Trent, in the northern area of Italy which is part of the (also) German-speaking Tirol. As is customary, Pope Francis will send a Cardinal as his personal representative. Who better than His Eminence Walter Card. Brandmüller?
When the Pope sends a Cardinal off on one of these missions, he sends him a formal letter, charging him with his task and indicating something of his own hopes for the occasion. The anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent is no exception.
In his letter to Card. Brandmüller, Pope Francis explicitly cites Pope Benedict XVI pontificate-defining address in 2005 to the Roman Curia in which he spoke about the “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” (e.g., the Karl Rahner crowd and their descendants, still active today) and the “hermeneutic of reform”, or “hermeneutic of continuity”.
In this explicit reference Francis is aligning himself with Benedict and that key moment and concept underlying Benedict’s pontificate.
This comes in the wake of Francis writing to Archbishop Marchetto (refresh your memory HERE), a critic of one of the powerhouses of the ”hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”, the so-called “Bologna School” of interpretation of the Council. Francis surely broke a lot of liberal hearts when he referred to Marchetto (who in this matter is completely aligned with Benedict) as one of the best interpreters of the Council that he knows.
The letter of Francis to Card. Brandmüller is available in the Latin original in the Bollettino. Here is my rapid translation of the first part of the letter, which is the important part. I scaled down some of the flowery stuff. The second part is the usual boilerplate and of less interest.
To our Venerable Brother Walter Cardinal (of the Holy Roman Church) Brandmüller Deacon of St. Julian of the Flemish
Since the 450th anniversary of the day on which the Council of Trent drew to its favorable end, it is fitting that the Church recall with readier and more attentive eagerness the most rich doctrine which came out of that Council held in the Tyrol. It is certainly not without good reason that the Church has for a long time given such great care to that Council’s decrees and canons which are to be recalled and heeded, seeing that, since extremely grave matters and questions sprang up in that period, the Council Fathers employed all their diligence so that the Catholic faith should come into clearer view and be better understood. Without a doubt as the Holy Spirit inspired and prompted them, it was the Fathers’ greatest concern not only that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine be defended, but also that mankind be more brightly illuminated, in order that the saving work of the Lord could be diffused throughout the entire globe and the Gospel be spread through the whole world.
Harking closely to the same Spirit, Holy Church in this age renews and meditates on the most abundant doctrine of the Council of Trent. In fact, the “hermeneutic of renewal” [interpretatio renovationis] which Our Predecessor Benedict XVI explained in 2005 before the Roman Curia, refers in no way less to the Council of Trent than to the Vatican Council. To be sure, this mode of interpretation places under a brighter light a beautiful characteristic of the Church which is taught by the Lord Himself: “She is a ‘subject’ which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God” (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia offering them his Christmas greetings – 22 December 2005).
This is a significant letter.
First, it affirms that we can indeed, and rightly, Read Francis Through Benedict.
Second, it affirms that Francis is, and rightly, reading Francis Through Benedict. Continue reading
The culmination of the Chattanooga campaign, the battle began in the morning on November 25 with Sherman attempting to take Tunnel Hill. His attacks met with no success in the face of fierce Confederate resistance.
Grant ordered the Army of the Cumberland to advance against Missionary Ridge, and the attack began at 3:30 PM. Grant, doubting that the heavily fortified Missionary Ridge could be taken by a frontal assault, ordered that only the rifle pits at the base of the ridge be taken, with the troops to await further order. Thomas launched a four division attack, about 23,000 men. The rifle pits were taken, and the Union troops began to come upon heavy fire from Confederate positions on Missionary Ridge. They immediately began a charge up the ridge to the astonishment of Grant:
Our men drove the troops in front of the lower line of rifle-pits so rapidly, and followed them so closely, that rebel and Union troops went over the first line of works almost at the same time. Many rebels were captured and sent to the rear under the fire of their own friends higher up the hill. Those that were not captured retreated, and were pursued. The retreating hordes being between friends and pursuers caused the enemy to fire high to avoid killing their own men. In fact, on that occasion the Union soldier nearest the enemy was in the safest position. Without awaiting further orders or stopping to reform, on our troops went to the second line of works; over that and on for the crest—thus effectually carrying out my orders of the 18th for the battle and of the 24th for this charge.
I watched their progress with intense interest. The fire along the rebel line was terrific. Cannon and musket balls filled the air: but the damage done was in small proportion to the ammunition expended. The pursuit continued until the crest was reached, and soon our men were seen climbing over the Confederate barriers at different points in front of both Sheridan’s and Wood’s divisions. The retreat of the enemy along most of his line was precipitate and the panic so great that Bragg and his officers lost all control over their men. Many were captured, and thousands threw away their arms in their flight.
The battle of Missionary Ridge was the most stunning example in the War of a frontal attack against a fortified position succeeding. Bragg’s center was broken and his army routed, with headlong retreat being the only course of action open to him. Confederate and Union casualties were each about 10,000 with another 4000 Confederates taken prisoner. Many of the Army of the Cumberland Union troops went into battle yelling “Chickamauga! Chickamauga!” That defeat was now well avenged, and the Chattanooga Campaign was at an end. Here is the report of Major General George Thomas, commander of the Army of the Cumberland: Continue reading
Battle Above the Clouds, the song in the above video, commemorates the battle of Lookout Mountain fought 150 years ago yesterday, part of a series of Union attacks that drove the Confederate Army of Tennessee reeling in retreat from its positions around Chattanooga that it had occupied in the aftermath of the Confederate victory of Chickamauga in September of 1863.
Major General Joseph Hooker was assigned the task of attacking the Confederate position on Lookout Mountain. Grant was dubious that the Confederate positions on Lookout Mountain could be taken, and told Hooker to take the mountain only if it seemed practicable to do so. Hooker had three divisions, ten thousand men, not a much greater force than the 8,000 Confederates that held the position.
Hooker, intent on regaining his reputation as a field commander, pressed the assault. The Confederate defense was hampered by the rough terrain and lackluster commanders who put up a feeble defense. By midnight the mountain was quiet with the Confederates withdrawing in the wee hours of November 25, aided by a lunar eclipse. The battle electrified the North, being hailed as the battle above the clouds, a reference to the mists that clung to the slopes of Lookout Mountain.
Brigadier General John W, Geary, who led one of Hooker’s three divisions, shared the excitement, writing to his wife:
I have been the instrument of Almighty God. … I stormed what was considered the … inaccessible heights of Lookout Mountain. I captured it. … This feat will be celebrated until time shall be no more.
In some ways the battle was actually more of a skirmish. Casualties were light for the Union, only 408. Confederate casualties were higher, totaling 1251, with an additional 1064 captured or missing.
Grant, who had never had any use for Hooker, in his memoirs denigrated the “battle”:
The Battle of Lookout Mountain is one of the romances of the war. There was no such battle and no action even worthy to be called a battle on Lookout Mountain. It is all poetry.
The Union troops who participated in taking Lookout Mountain would beg to differ. After the fighting around Chattanooga was over many of them had photographs taken on Lookout Mountain, clearly proud of their accomplishment:
Here is Hooker’s report of the battle: Continue reading
The hits on ObamaCare keep on rolling. I received in a letter on Saturday from my insurance carrier, see above, advising me that my family health care insurance policy would be going up close to $50.00 per month due to ObamaCare “fees”. (I hate it when a tax is called a fee. When I pay a fee I get something directly in return.) These fees are the “Annual Fee on Health Insurers” and the “Transitional Reinsurance Program Contribution Fee”. (Yeah contribution is a nice Orwellian touch. Contributions are voluntary.)
What are these “fees”? Jim Geraghty at National Review Online explains them to us:
Those of you who still have insurance will be paying more in premiums next year. A bunch of new fees take effect, all written into the law of Obamacare or instituted by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The total amount collected from the fee will be $8 billion in 2014 and will increase to $14.3 billion in 2018. After 2018, the amount will be determined by the annual rate of premium growth. The fee will be divided proportionately between all health insurance issuers, although for-profit insurers will pay twice the amount as not-for-profit insurers. This fee is not applicable to self-funded health plans.
HHS proposes that the annual assessment will cost $63 per individual enrolled under a plan/policy in 2014. HHS will require plan administrators to submit enrollment counts by November 15, 2014. The agency will send out assessment bills by December 15, 2014. Payments will be due 30 days later. Continue reading
The feast of Christ the King is a very new one, although the image of Christ as King is as old as Christianity. Pope Pius XI established the feast with his encyclical Quas Primas in 1925 to remind the World after the horrors of World War I and its aftermath that God was in charge.
This kingdom is spiritual and is concerned with spiritual things. That this is so the above quotations from Scripture amply prove, and Christ by his own action confirms it. On many occasions, when the Jews and even the Apostles wrongly supposed that the Messiah would restore the liberties and the kingdom of Israel, he repelled and denied such a suggestion. When the populace thronged around him in admiration and would have acclaimed him King, he shrank from the honor and sought safety in flight. Before the Roman magistrate he declared that his kingdom was not of this world. The gospels present this kingdom as one which men prepare to enter by penance, and cannot actually enter except by faith and by baptism, which, though an external rite, signifies and produces an interior regeneration. This kingdom is opposed to none other than to that of Satan and to the power of darkness. It demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice, and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross.
Prior to the American Revolution an English aristocrat related an incident in a letter. He asked a servant who his master was, and the man responded unhesitatingly: My Lord Jesus Christ! The aristocrat found this hilarious, but the servant was reflecting a very old Christian view.
Christ Pantocrator is one of the more popular images by which Christians pictured, after the edict of Milan, Christ, the Lord of all. This representation ties in nicely with the traditional American cry of “We have no King but Jesus!” which became popular during the American Revolution. At the battle of Lexington the phrase “We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus!”, was flung back at Major Pitcairn after he had ordered the militia to disperse.
Our wisest statesman have always remembered that behind the trappings of power of this World that God is ultimately the one who has charge of the fate of nations as well as individuals. Abraham Lincoln was utterly convinced of this as he indicated in a letter to Eliza P. Gurney on September 4, 1864 as the Civil War teetered in the balance:
The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein. Meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make, and no mortal could stay. Continue reading
From The Eye of the Tiber, the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net:
Hollywood, CA––”Hello, it’s Pope Francis,” were the first words spoken during a conversation in which His Holiness telephoned Zack Snyder, director of the upcoming film “Man of Steel 2.” “Hello Your Holiness,” answered a dazed Snyder, no stranger to celebrities but still star struck to be speaking to the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ on earth. “Listen, I’ll get to the point,” said Pope Francis, “I thought 300 was awesome, and Man of Steel was pretty great too. But I don’t know about Ben Affleck as Batman in your next movie.” Snyder reportedly stuttered at this point, unsure what to answer His Holiness. “I mean, I trust you as a director and all that, and I’m sure it won’t be that bad, but there really weren’t any better choices? I mean this is the guy that played Daredevil. Did you even see that movie?” Continue reading
Something for the weekend. The Chattanooga Boy’s Choir singing The Battle Cry of Freedom. An appropriate selection as 150 years ago the battle of Chattanooga began which resulted in a complete Union victory. Actually three battles: Orchard Knob, November 23; Lookout Mountain, November 24; and Missionary Ridge, November 25; these engagements were the culmination of the Chattanooga campaign that began when Bragg and his Army of Tennessee, put the Army of the Cumberland under siege in Chattanooga in the aftermath of the Confederate victory at Chickamauga.
With strong Union reinforcements, and with Grant placed in overall command, the siege was effectively broken on October 28, 1863 with the Union establishing the “cracker line” to bring supplies into Chattanooga. With the lifting of the siege and with the Union forces opposing him growing ever stronger, Bragg made the strategic blunder of keeping his main force in place confronting Chattanooga and sent Longstreet’s Corps, 11,000 men, on an ultimately futile campaign to capture Knoxville.
Bragg doubled down on this error by ordering two divisions to withdraw from the lines around Chattanooga and march to the rail head to be transported to reinforce Longstreet on November 22. Seeing the movement of the Confederate forces, Grant decided to launch the long planned offensive against the Confederate positions around Chattanooga, partially to prevent Bragg from reinforcing Longstreet.
Grant ordered 14,000 Union soldiers to seize Orchard Knob, a position held by 600 Confederates in front of the main Confederate defensive lines along Missionary Ridge. The position was taken with light casualties, and it did cause Bragg to cancel the movement of one of the divisions he had intended to send to Longstreet.
Here is Grant’s description of the engagement in his Memoirs: Continue reading
But the most deplorable effect of all is that diminution of attachment and reverence which steals into the hearts of the people, towards a political system which betrays so many marks of infirmity, and disappoints so many of their flattering hopes. No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable, without possessing a certain portion of order and stability.
James Madison, Federalist 62
Harry Reid carried through on his threat yesterday to invoke the so-called nuclear option and take away the right of filibuster in regard to federal appointments except for the Supreme Court. The vote was 52-48 with three Democrats voting in opposition along with all Republicans. In effect the vote kills the filibuster since the majority may get rid of it completely at any time the majority wishes. That this throws out some 225 years of Senate tradition meant less than nothing to Reid and his colleagues, desperate to turn attention away from the disaster called ObamaCare and eager to implement Obama’s scheme to pack the federal appellate courts, especially the DC Circuit, with judges who will uphold the actions of this administration.
The Majority in the Senate always hates the filibuster and the Minority always loves it. There have been many threats by majorities to take away the filibuster, but until yesterday such threats were never carried out. Why? Majorities in the past always realized that one day they would be in the minority, fear of retaliation by the minority in obstructing the work of the Senate and also a realization that the filibuster normally forced the majority and the minority to work together to some extent, unlike the House. Such reasons held no weight with the Democrats yesterday, apparently the senators with Ds after their names, with three exceptions, lacking any concern with what the morrow will bring. Continue reading