PopeWatch: Keep Smiling!

Thursday, October 17, AD 2013

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Father Z, here, links to an interesting story at The Eponymous Flower blog:

Magister Effected Polite but Harsh Criticism of Decisions in the Liturgy by Pope Francis

Finally, Sandro Magister gave his contribution as a lecture on which  Katholisches.info already reported (see separate report Pope Francis and the Liturgy – “Pure Functional Access” Reservations to Tradition, weakness in the knees before the Lord ). Master analyzed in a critical manner, the previous decisions of Pope Francis in the Liturgy: The ban for celebration in the old rite by the Franciscans of the Immaculate, the dismissal of all five consultants for the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, who were close to the liturgical understanding of Benedict XVI., the refusal to genuflect in the Holy Mass at the words of consecration, although from papal Mass to papal Mass always newly   master of ceremonies Guido Marini always included the two relevant points and finally the halting by CDF, that they no longer check the bizarre special forms in the Mass of the Neocatechumenal Way, as Benedict XVI. had ordered. Magister has also expressed the opinion that the Pope is “friendly” to everyone, “except with the traditionalists.”

“Scandal Currently The Dominant Characteristic of Climate in Rome”

The lecture finally came to a scandal. Magister so openly expressed his criticism of Pope Francis, that Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Pozzo had to  leave the room. “The response of Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Pozzo is indicative of the currently prevailing climate in Rome,” the website Chiesa e Postconcilio (Church and Post-Conciliar). “Was it because of the  time for both of them or was it simply a precaution, because of the polite but harsh criticism by Magister of Pope Francis? The withdrawal of a Cardinal during a major event is something glaring. All interpretations are allowed, “said the Spanish Catholic blogger Francisco de la Cigoña.

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5 Responses to PopeWatch: Keep Smiling!

  • Fr. Z received a LOT of responses in his combox about this story. As I wasn’t there, I don’t know why Cardinal Burke got up and left.

    It goes without saying that I was a big fan of Pope Benedict. Some hard core traddies still didn’t like him, but then, I am a trad who watches sports on my 58 inch big screen. I let my kids watch TV and my wife is not forced into long skirts. My 5 year old goes to the public school kindergarten (which I monitor closely).

    Pope Francis comes off at times as petty. His views on the liturgy are obvious to everyone. He does what he wants, which I have seen far too many priests do on far too many Sunday Novus Ordo masses for most of my life.

    Fr. Z rightly has pointed out that Pope Francis has changed nothing about Catholic doctrine or Catholic teaching. True, but….it isn’t his emphasis.

    The Church will survive Bergoglio. She survived Borgia and the antipopes of the 14th century.

  • Over the years, I have come to realize that t,he term ‘orthodox’ is not as unambiguous as those who use it would like it to be. I include myself in this, having described myself and/others as orthodox Catholics. What I came to realize actually was that the ‘measuring line’ or ‘rule’ I or others used was based on what I or others thought/felt was orthodox.

    I did come upon a much more objectively complete (perfect) and satisfying ‘measuring line’ with the Church’s own teaching in Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, when it explicates what it means to be in full communion with the Catholic Church-a communion begun in the waters of Baptism and expressed in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharismt, the Sacrament of Unity. For the Church, there are four ‘markers’ of full Communion: 1) communion of faith (believing all that the Catholic Church teaches) 2) communion of sacraments (belief in and participation in full sacramental life of the Church. 3) communion of governance ( belief in and communion with bishops in communion with the pope 4) perseverance in charity. While the first three are readily discernible, the fourth is known really by God alone. However, this places before us a much deeper awareness of the high calling we have received in being called to faith in and living the fullness of the Catholic Faith.

    It is so easy, in this post-modern world to go with the flow of the age into fragmentation and tribalism. We can actually see it evidenced in our own country. However, the call to and meaning.of what it really means to be Catholic goes way beyond what ‘the world’ offers or desires.

    I am not sure what prompted Cardinal Burke and the Archbishop to leave that forum. From what I know of Cardinal Burke it was not fear. I have spoken in this forum of the recent “turn” of Magister, but as of this date, I still read him. However, picking up on Fr Z’s point and expanding it a bit, it might be high time for all of us to do some self-evaluation, asking ourselves whether my/ our own perspectives on things of the Church are leading further into or away from full communion with the Church of Christ which subsists in the Catholic Church

  • If a guy like Cardinal Burke walks out of the room when you’re talking bad about Pope Francis, the takeaway shouldn’t be, “this is going to be a rough papacy for orthodox Catholics,” but rather, “I should probably shut up because I said something offensive and I obviously don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.” Because when it comes to liturgical traditionalism, Cardinal Burke is like the Rottweiler to Benedict’s Chihuahua.

    Listen, it’s getting to the point where I can’t even read most of the articles on BigPulpit.com and New Advent anymore. The tone they’re taking, and the nastiness they’re showing the Pope (for no substantive reason), just turns me away.

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PopeWatch: Martini’s Pope?

Wednesday, October 16, AD 2013

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Interesting.  Sandro Magister has a post up at Chiesa claiming that supporters of the late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, long considered the leader of the liberal and heterodox opposition to Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, are crowing that Pope Francis is Martini’s dream come true:

ROME, October 15, 2013 – Seven months after the election as pope of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the interpretations of the beginning of this pontificate are contrasting.

Within the Church the judgments most positive, if not enthusiastic, on the first acts of Pope Francis are coming from the supporters of the cardinal who for years represented, with great authoritativeness and widespread consensus, the most clear alternative approach to the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

That cardinal was Carlo Maria Martini, a former director of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, archbishop of Milan from 1979 to 2002, who died on August 31, 2012 after having left his instructions in an interview that was also very critical, published immediately after his death as his “spiritual testament”:

> After Martini, the Fight Over His Spiritual Testament (6.9.2012)

This last interview was conducted by the Austrian Jesuit Georg Sporschill, the same who in 2008 oversaw the publication of the book most representative of Martini, also in the form of an interview, “Nighttime conversations in Jerusalem”:

> God Is Not Catholic, Cardinal’s Word of Honor
(12.11.2008)

During the last years of his life, Cardinal Martini had accentuated his criticisms in interviews and books written together with “borderline” Catholics like Fr. Luigi Verzé and the bioethicist Ignazio Marino, in which he expressed his hope for a bringing up-to date-of the Church also on questions like the beginning and end of life, marriage, sexuality:

> Carlo Maria Martini’s “Day After” (28.4.2006)

In the conclave of 2005, Martini was the cardinal symbol of the failed opposition to the election of Joseph Ratzinger. And the votes of his supporters, together with others, converged at the time precisely on Bergoglio.

Eight years later, in March of 2013, it was again the “martiniani” who backed the election of Bergoglio as pope. This time with success.

And today they are seeing come true, in the first acts of Pope Francis, what for Martini was only a “dream.” The dream of a Church “synodal, poor among the poor, inspired by the gospel of the beatitudes, leaven and mustard seed.”

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12 Responses to PopeWatch: Martini’s Pope?

  • Careful, Don, or the conservative Catholic Executioners of Doubt will have to pay you a visit.

  • No executioner here, just a bewildered Catholic that has to take this in slowly.
    Infant bites I hate to admit.

    Your case above and the chiesa claims are disconcerting. As always prayer and preparedness.
    Scisim growing at brisk pace. It was predicted. I just don’t want to believe it.
    I’m praying were all wrong and Pope Francis defender of the Truth drops his Martini….so to speak.

  • Dale,

    At the risk of sounding naive: Who are the conservative executioners of doubt?

    I mean, there’s Mark Shea and the Patheos set, but I mostly haven’t read them in years because conservatives like me who own guns and vote Republican and support the occasional war the pope doesn’t are public enemy #1 anyway.

    From where I sit, it seems like most on the conservatives I read are freaking out about Francis. And then on the other side, there are the dissident leftie Catholics who have gone into total noise machine mode and are busy taking every Francis phrase they can and spinning it into “we won and he hates you” agit prop.

  • On the post, if I recall the inside stories on the previous election, the Martini set originally had their own candidate, but he was getting nowhere. Ratzinger and Bergoglio both got portions of the JP2 loyalist vote, with Ratzinger getting much more. Then the Martini folks panicked at the last minute in a desperate attempt to vote “anything but Ratzinger”.

    The few remaining libs may have supported him this time around, but that’s partly because the lib wing barely exists anymore and had no real candidate.

  • It’s not you, Darwin. As always, you remain reasonable, and concede that the Pope has moments of imprecision and imprudence.

    As to the rest, we seem to be traveling in different circles, as most conservative types I’ve encountered are in papal-maximalist, shoot-the-doubters mode. I think you’d have to admit the big voices of conservative Catholicism have gone into a full court press for the Bishop of Rome.

  • I think you’d have to admit the big voices of conservative Catholicism have gone into a full court press for the Bishop of Rome.

    You did not ask for a piece of advice, but perhaps you should tune them out and read The Latin Mass. It is the finest Catholic publication out there and written and edited by people who are fairly weary with the mess in the contemporary Church and elect to focus their attention elsewhere.

    Just a thought.

    1. Loyalty is generally a good thing, as is the impulse to put the best construction you can on someone’s remarks. It can be taken too far, of course.

    2. About a dozen years ago, Christopher Ferrara offered that he was a lawyer and read Sacrosanctum Concilium the way a lawyer looking at a contract would, asking the question, “what does it allow the other guy to do to you?”. Waal, you and Mr. McClarey are lawyers and you notice the smelly little rabbit doots the rest of us miss. Personally, I gave one of His Holiness’ prizes a cursory reading and said, “Ach, much ado about nothing”. It did not occur to me that phrases which could be misconstrued by reporters did not break in a random way.

  • Pope Francis does not want to act as an absolute monarch, and is prepared to listen to synods (rather unwieldy bodies which take a year to set up and whose conclusions only cover areas of agreement). Good news for us traddies.

  • It comes down to this. Are people reading Pope Francis in a hermeneutic of continuity or rupture. What we are witnessing are groups both liberal and conservative who are delighting in (liberal) or tearing their hair out (conservative) because they read the Pope with the hermeneutic of rupture

  • Botolph,
    I think you are partly right, but I would add that most conservatives are tearing their hair out not because they are reading the Pope with the hermeneutic of rupture but because the Pope’s imprecision is allowing liberals to do so and thereby misinform the masses.

  • Mike, thanks for the response. There is no question, that Pope Francis’ interviews ( on the airplane after World Youth Day, the “Jesuit interview”, and the secular Scalafari interview) were a new experience for Catholics. With John Paul and Benedict, interviews were either more ‘controlled’ or became books themselves- especially true of Joseph Ratzinger first as Cardinal, then as pope. I believe a couple of issues were at play with Pope Francis: because he did not like to give interviews when in Argentina, he lacked any real experience in giving interviews. Because of the nature of it, I believe the best interview was the Jesuit interview ( organized questions prepared ahead of time; done over period of three distinct days; carefully recorded and later translated by Jesuits who are believers and really cared about the interview for Moore than a ‘news story’. One of the clear messages that Pope Francis was sending, was a message to the Curia- that he would not be managed or controlled by them. One can legitimately say that we wish there had been some control, however, the recent Conclave sent a clear message to the next pope, whoever he would be: reign in and transform the Curia. They were the ones, not everyday Catholics, whom the pope was criticizing. I also think it is at least interesting to note that no interviews have taken place since his three day meeting with his eight member Council of Cardinals.

    When I speak of a hermeneutic of continuity I am speaking of making sure “I” don’t isolate one statement or comment from other statements Pope Francis has made- for example, his real pro- life position manifest several times. His statements concerning the centrality of the Kerygma: the core message of our Faith, is not new, and has been made by every pope but especially John Paul and Benedict. Other comments were almost verbatimm quotes from the Aparecida Statement of the Latin American bishops ( partly repeated at the beginning of George Weigel’s excellent book Evangelical Catholicism). Finally I use hermeneutic of continuity in same way Pope Benedict does/did, seeing things within the continuity of Tradition. The Holy Father has not denied, or changed any teaching of the Church: he cannot (something that some don’t seem to grasp). I sense there were a lot of assumptions made by some during the ministry of Pope Benedict ( for example, that he was moving the Church toward a point in time when the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite would become the real Ordinary Form-yet when did Benedict celebrate the Extraordinary Form at the well televised public Masses? Certainly no one could really claim Benedict was moving the Church to a position of Pre-Vatican II, or to a situation in which Vatican II was relativized, etc.

    There is a new sense of direction in Pope Francis, just as there was with Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II. No one would deny the new sense of direction. Again however, is it due more to Pope Francis who now in charge is delighting in doing things his way? Or is it more accurate to see much if not most of what he is doing in continuity of the ‘job description’ the conclave gave to whoever would be the successor of Benedict.

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  • Sad to say alot of us feel this way….we know Card. Martini was a contender in 2005 or so it is rumored….and so was Bergolio……Thank GOD Pope Benedict was elected….what is worrisome is going forward with the Reform of the Reform and the Mass in the E.F…..

    Just can’t get that feeling we had with Benedict…lets pray for Pope Francis….

PopeWatch: Pope Francis and Satan

Tuesday, October 15, AD 2013

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Well, I must say this will probably disconcert some of the erstwhile newfound friends of Pope Francis among the secular media and reassure orthodox Catholics:

In his Oct. 11 daily Mass homily, the Holy Father warned of the discreet presence of the devil, exhorting those gathered to be astute in their spiritual lives.

“We must always be on guard,” exhorted the Pope to those who attended Mass in the Vatican’s Santa Marta guesthouse, “on guard against deceit, against the seduction of evil.”

Referencing the day’s gospel reading, in which Jesus has just healed a possessed man and is accused of casting out demons by the power of the devil, the Pope noted that often in history there have been those who wish to “diminish the power of the Lord” by offering different explanations for his works, urging that his is a temptation which has “reached our present day.”

“There are some priests who, when they read this Gospel passage, this and others, say: ‘But, Jesus healed a person with a mental illness.’”

“It is true,” he affirmed, “that at that time, they could confuse epilepsy with demonic possession; but it is also true that there was the devil! And we do not have the right to simplify the matter. No!”

“The presence of the devil is on the first page of the Bible, and the Bible ends as well with the presence of the devil, with the victory of God over the devil.”

Observing that the Lord has given many criteria in order to “discern” the presence of evil in our lives, the Pope stressed that “we should not be naïve,” and that one of the criteria which has been given is “not to follow the victory of Jesus” just “halfway.”

“Either you are with me, says the Lord, or you are against me” he said, noting that Jesus came to conquer the devil and “to give us the freedom” from “the enslavement the devil has over us,” which he cautioned, is not “exaggerating.”

“On this point, there are no nuances. There is a battle and a battle where salvation is at play, eternal salvation; eternal salvation.”

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4 Responses to PopeWatch: Pope Francis and Satan

  • For info, a few days before the pope’s homily Fr. James Martin S.J. took notice of Anton Scalia’s mention of Satan in a blog for Time.com. Fr. Martin agreed with the justice and defended Catholic doctrine. Deacon Scott Dodge added his own thoughts to Fr. Martin’s remarks and the pope’s homily in his own blog here:
    http://scottdodge.blogspot.com/2013/10/jesus-did-cast-out-demons.html

  • Any attempt to remove the devil from the NT renders the gospel narrative incoherent.

    Satan, the devil, evil spirits and unclean spirits, along with other names, such as “adversary,” “tempter,” “ruler of this world,” are mentioned over 150 times in the NT The synoptic gospels, in particular, treat both Our Lord’s healings and exorcisms as demonstrations of His power over the forces of evil. This is obvious on the most cursory reading and it is summed up by St Peter in Acts, “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil [τους καταδυναστευομενους υπο του διαβολου], because God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)

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  • This Pontiff confuses me. One minute he is reported to be telling an atheist something that amounts to liberal nonsense and heterodoxy, and the next he is reported to have given a homily apparently rock-solid in its orthodoxy. The liberal news media is all over the first like stink on manure, and completely ignores the second. The liberal news media hate B XVI for his orthodoxy, and love Francis for his apparent lack of orthodoxy. Yet thinks don’t seem quite that simple.

PopeWatch: The New York Times Does a Victory Lap

Monday, October 14, AD 2013

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Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings points out a New York Times piece by Tim Egan:

It is a remarkably nasty piece, so linking to it with silent approval left my jaw-dropping. A bitter taste:

It’s long been known that most North American and European Catholics ignore church teachings on gays, contraception and abortion. These teachings range from absurd to unscientific to outright hateful. Without specifically changing the official line, Francis prompted millions of Catholics to give the church a second look when he criticized the hierarchy for being “obsessed” with those issues. Amen, said nearly 70 percent American Catholics who agreed with him in a Quinnipiac poll.

The anecdotal reaction is equally intriguing. “People come up to me all the time on the street or at a restaurant and say things like, ‘I just need to tell someone how much I like this pope of yours,’” said Father Stephen Sundborg, a Jesuit (like Francis) who is president of Seattle University, based in one of the most secular cities in the United States. “Suddenly, it seems O.K. to be a priest out there.”

All of this is by design. Francis is working two broad strategies. The first is aimed at lapsed Catholics, and those who are open to a spiritual life with an intellectual framework. Thus, he dismissed proselytizing as “solemn nonsense,” in a recent interview. “It makes no sense,” he said of the blunt harangues over whose God is better.

The Jesuits have always tried to get people to think for themselves, to arrive at belief through an arduous process. When bishops started telling parishioners that their gay and lesbian siblings were sinners, and that family planning was a grievous wrong, people stopped listening to them — for good reason.

This father of six thanks you for the gut punch. Which are my wife and I: absurd, unscientific or outright hateful? No, really–Get bent, you smug pr–k.

And, really–the Church had no intellectual framework in the bleak years Before Francis? Waiter, my essay has a Pseud in it–please take it back.

I’d point out the obvious, that Mr. Egan is obsessed with pelvic issues, but apparently this represents an Important Sign. And the home office has said ixnay on that strategy, so there you have it.

On one point, at least, the Era of Francis in America has one point of continuity with pre-Francis times: the desperate craving of American Catholics for validation from non-Catholics. Starting with Rev. Sundborg, but also, apparently, with more grounded members of the church, willing to post screeds like Egan’s without a murmur of protest.

Proselytism may be solemn nonsense, but self-flagellation is in, baby.

If I am coming across as out of sorts, it is simply because I am. In the face of mounting personal stresses, the sense that I am one of the Pope’s redheaded stepsons is a burden I never imagined I’d encounter. Not having any money coming in assuredly plays into my mental state these days, but I’ve been out of kilter since the first faboo interview. Seeing Catholics cite sneering contempt as–I don’t know, the Spirit in motion?– is something I can’t begin to process.

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20 Responses to PopeWatch: The New York Times Does a Victory Lap

  • I fear that this Pope is leaning toward the Marcusian in some of his musings about the Church.

  • Pro-life Catholics are obsessed with Jesus Christ. Pro-choice individuals are obsessed with abortion. The same may be said of homosexuals. Catholic homosexuals practice chastity. Individuals obsessed with lust practice homosexual behavior. The New York Times’ piece proves Pope Francis’ statement that proselytizing to hard-core atheists is “nonsense” totally useless and has no practical value. This said, Freedom of religion must be absolute for when the atheist finds God, the TRUTH will set him free and that he may be welcomed with open arms into the church.
    Right now, in America, Freedom of Religion, all First Amendment civil rights are being obscured, obliterated and are actually being denied, through being granted by our finite government. Not so, the right to worship God in thought, word and deed, in public and in private has not been granted to the citizens by the state. The state is constituted to defend the peoples’ civil rights endowed by “their Creator”. The sovereign personhood of every citizen who constitutes the state is endowed by “their Creator”, by the Supreme Sovereign Being, our God. The finite state has no such authentic authority, as exhibited by the government shutdown, in which Jesus Christ was kidnapped and held captive in the tabernacle in the closed chapels and separated by the state from the hearts and souls of its citizens. The shutdown was used as an excuse to pilfer and plunder the citizens’ civil rights to worship God in speech, in the written word of the Bible as Freedom of the press and in peaceable assembly in community, with people communicating with and observing the reality of our Maker. Petitioning God for Divine Providence as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and in the First Amendment was not only disrupted, these civil rights were denied enmass. Dividing the peoples’ ownership of the land from their common good, imposing the power of the state to remove people from the land, and passing laws to inveigh against the souls of the citizens harkens to totalitarianism and despotism.
    Assuming the power to inveigh against peoples’ souls, the state assumes the responsibillty for the peoples’ untimely and unwarranted death. Has anyone died and died without his Sacraments? Let the state answer.
    Death for government is spelled IMPEACH.

  • “….the desperate craving of American Catholics for validation from non-Catholics.” A deafening roar of approval from without is required to drown out that little voice inside that dares to suggest that just maybe you’re not in God’s good graces after all.
    “No, really–Get bent, you smug pr–k.” Thank you, that sums it up nicely, and I think I’m going to be needing the Sacrament of Penance even more often than usual as this depressing tragicomedy unfurls.

  • Yes, there is a Pope-Watch, because Pope Francis has done everything possible to communicate ambiguity. Part of it is his educational background: Pope Francis has not had years of profound study and training like JP2 nor BXVI, years of refining and studying Catholic theology at a profound level. He had a weak training in the late 60′s at a middling theology school in Buenos Aires. He failed to complete his dissertation and PhD at Frankfurt—that speaks volumes. The last pope who had a such a lacuna in systematics and dogmatic theology was Paul VI (he studied systems at the MIlan seminary and obtained a PhD at the Gregorian in Canon Law, but mainly he was in the Vatican diplomatic corp) and he was at a marked disadvantage in defending Humanae Vitae to its chorus of “New Theologians” like Hans Kung and Charles Curran. Yes, the last pope without a doctorate was Pius X, Giuseppe Sarto: but Sarto was an outstanding student at his seminary, and was from limited financial means, so he couldnt obtain a PhD for that reason alone. He was nonetheless appointed as a teacher in dogmatics and systematic theology, in which he was outstanding, at the Treviso seminary—so again, it is important to have a pope who deeply comprehends Catholic theology. It is important that a pope be able to literately and effectively teach the faith and to comprehend the meanings of his words–just for example, as Pietro de Marco observes, Francis confuses words [“to judge” (“Who am I to judge?” speaking about (are we to presume active) homosexuals) with “to condemn.”] Francis says “proselytism is solemn foolishness, it makes no sense,” rather dismissing great Jesuits before him like St Francis Xavier and Bl. Peter Faber (Faber he says he models himself upon). Is the Great Commission over (Matt. 28:16-20, Go teach all nations..) ? Francis says “Each of us has his vision of the good” … “we must incite him to proceed toward what he thinks to be the good.” Well, we know that Kinsey, Fidel Castro, and Lenin certainly had visions of ‘the good’—-are there no objective elements and standards that the Church teaches is a single objective good? Of course there are. Bergolio/Francis confuses all these. The fact is, that the numerous ambiguous messages and contradictory statements seem to be increasing, and I can predict that soon, in a year or two years, there will be a serious crisis of faith he will have precipitated in the Church (He already did so to a great degree when he called morally committed Catholics “obsessed” about “homosexuality, abortion, and contraception.”) So, quo vadis, Francis? Yes, there is indeed every good reason for a “Pope-Watch.”

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  • “Part of it is his educational background: Pope Francis has not had years of profound study and training like JP2 nor BXVI, years of refining and studying Catholic theology at a profound level.”

    One doesn’t need a PhD or any other degree for that matter to read and insist on adherence to the plain meaning of Scripture and to 2000 years of Sacred Tradition. This comment isn’t meant to denigrate either B XVI or JP II. Rather, it is intended to point out that orthodoxy doesn’t require volumes of education but an insistence that holiness and righteousness come before social justice and the common good that so appeals to Latin American clerics (and most the USCCB, too, for that matter).

  • Yes, Mr. Primavera, but then if you are willing to dismiss all these facts, are you not at a loss as to explain the genesis of Pope Francis’ statements? Do you or do you not perceive that there is a problem?

  • “Do you or do you not perceive that there is a problem?”

    I do – it’s the lack of orthodoxy and of precision. Additionally, when the Pope said in a recent interview, “I have the humility and the ambition to get this done” (or something to that effect), then we see further what the problem is, and it’s not education or a lack of education.

  • Ah, Mr Primavera, now I think I get the drift of your 1st comment above; I wasnt sure which way to interpret it at first.
    As I try to study this man and his comments, Bergoglio’s comments appear cannot but reflect Pope Francis’ theological education. That is an education that is highly charged (or appears to be) with a personalistic relativist interpretation of matters (ex. “Who am I to judge…”) common to the 1960’s and 1970’s, and also he displays a viewpoint that only sees God as immanent, not transcendent (for example, his bowing after the consecration of the species, when even the Novus Ordo rubrics explicitly call for a profound genuflection at this point). His viewpoint reflects much more that of Hans Kung and Karl Rahner than of Ratzinger and Wojtyla. His opposition to clear absolutes (it is reflected in nearly every statement he makes) and his pre-occupation with immanence logically bodes ill for adherents of the TLM (he was no friend of the trad Mass in Buenos Aires during his episcopate), saying the Latin Mass adherents are involved in the Vetus Ordo’s “exploitation” (his exact words). His calling of male religious he dislikes “unfruitful bachelors” and female religious “spinsters” not only really was quite uncharitable but shows that when it suits his bias, he is quite content to judge. There is a lot to wonder about this Pope, and quo vadis.

  • My apologies, Stephen, that my initial comment lack sufficient clarity. I agree completely with your response.

  • Stephen, I hear immanence too, not transcendence.

  • Steve Phoenix

    The theology of most of the last century has been a reaction against what Cardinal Henri de Lubac called “the dualist theory that was destroying Christian thought… which recognized “no other link between nature and the supernatural than an ideal juxtaposition of elements which…were impenetrable to each other, and which were brought together by our intellectual obedience, so that the supernatural can subsist only if it remains extrinsic to the natural and if it is proposed from without as something important only in so far as it is a supernature…”

    He chiefly credits the philosopher Maurice Blondel, who wrote, “First, the scholastic ideology, which still exclusively dominates, includes the study neither of religious psychology nor of the subjective facts that convey to the conscience the action of the objective realities whose presence in us Revelation indicates; this ideology only considers as legitimate the examination of what objectively informs us about these realities as designated and defined. Moreover, and especially, everything is instinctively resisted that would limit the authoritarianism born of an exclusive extrinsicism. And, without formulating it, the conception is entertained according to which everything in religious life comes from on high and from without. Only the priesthood is active before a purely passive and receptive flock.”

    One recalls the personalist philosophy of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI’s emphasis on the receiving subject in the act of revelation.

  • I do – it’s the lack of orthodoxy and of precision. Additionally, when the Pope said in a recent interview, “I have the humility and the ambition to get this done” (or something to that effect), then we see further what the problem is, and it’s not education or a lack of education.

    Dunno. I think there is something to be said for the thesis that the man’s background is such that he is in danger every day of stepping in it in a way none of his predecessors over the last century ever were.

    The Church in the industrial occident has made one tragic set of errors after another over fifty odd years – the 2d Vatican Council, the 1965 and 1970 missals, the breakdown of discipline in the seminaries (1970-198?), the subcontracting of disciplinary matters to dodgy characters in the mental health trade (ca 1982 – ca. 1993 on a large scale; on a small scale earlier and later), the general refusal to defrock any clergy bar at the request of said clergy (1965- ), acceding to a hideous modern aesthetic in church architecture (1950- ), and building seedy apparats engaged in public relations and lobbying (1965- ; with roots earlier). Also, you had some exploding time bombs: the corporate architecture which rendered Catholic colleges vulnerable to secularization and the esoteric social processes which put so many latent homosexuals in the clergy (after 1925 or thereabouts) who came to cause so much trouble (‘twixt 1950 and 1990 or thereabouts). Selecting this man seems like another tragic error. We may have something we have not seen in centuries: a buffoon Pope.

  • Is it a myth or truth that the church was involved in the creation of “artificial contraception” to enhance the ability of natural family planning? Honest to god I was told that once and I just filed that in the round file of my mind. Could anyone verify or debunk that accusation? Thanks

  • No. John Rock, who was a Catholic at the time, led the clinical trials in the development of the first birth control pill. The Church’s condemnation of the use of artificial contraception has been universal since the time of Christ.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rock_(American_scientist)

  • Enovid was developed as a menstrual regulator and to treat conditions such as dysmenorrhoea. Obviously, that is a perfectly ethical treatment

  • I’d submit to a colonoscopy without anesthesia rather than read the NYT.

  • Michael P-S, yes, Pope Francis appears squarely from the descendants of the Jesuit “Fourviere School” of Lyons, which got into a lot of trouble prior to Vat2. De Lubac (who by the way, never obtained a Ph.D nor completed a dissertation either—he was awarded it by the Jesuit provincial at the time [about 1930] because he was designated a rising star, apparently), got into trouble by using patristic & scriptural exegesis and his personalistic interpretations thereof as a battering ram against traditional magisterial teaching (remember Luther? remember also how “scripture scholars” attacked Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae as being insufficiently scripturally grounded? Or how Schillebeeckx attacked Ratzinger’s definition of male priesthood also for “lacking scriptural basis”?)

    But, dear friends, this all may be academic: because I don’t think Bergoglio cares about these matters or their historically traditional basis. It helps to be ignorant: makes it easier to “ignore”, especially facts. Yes, having a Ph.D isnt everything: but it says a lot when you rise to the top of the corporation and make pronouncements as he has made as “Teacher of the Faith.” Air turbulence ahead.

  • Steve Phoenix

    Not only Jesuits.

    There was the Oratorian, Lucien Laberthonnière, who edited Blondel’s publication, L’Annales de philosophie chrétienne.

    Perhaps the greatest scholar of the period was the ex-Jesuit, Abbé Henri Brémond (incardinated in the Archdiocese of Paris), whose « Histoire littéraire du sentiment religieux en France, depuis la fin des guerres de religion a nos jours » [Literary History of Religious Feeling in France from the end of the Wars of Religion to our days] published in eleven volumes between 1913 and 1936, is a classic history of spirituality. His « Prière et Poésie » [Prayer and Poetry] and « Introduction a la Philosophie de la Prière » [Introduction to the Philosophy of Prayer] are based on his unrivalled knowledge of mystical writings and devotional works, which along with his writings on poetry, symbolism and romanticism, earned him election to the Académie française in 1923, in succession to Mgr. Duchesne, the Légion d’ honneur and a eulogy from the French Symbolist poet, Paul Valéry. He was a seminal influence on the Nouvelle Théologie.

    Then there were the great Dominican theologians, Marie-Dominique Chenu and Cardinal Yves Congar and the Oratorian, Louis Bouyer.

  • The spectrum from learned volumes to unwritten remarks, all serving to influence the world’s understanding of the original generous, helpful and divinely inspired writings, has certainly enhanced the shades of gray.

Mary and Us

Sunday, October 13, AD 2013

It has always been the habit of Catholics  in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary.

Pope Leo XIII

 

Pope Francis at noon CST today will be consecrating the world today to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Non-Catholics I think have a hard time understanding what Mary means to us.  Chesterton,  a Catholic convert, comes close I think to conveying some of what Mary means to us in The Ballad of the White Horse:

And when the last arrow
          Was fitted and was flown,
          When the broken shield hung on the breast,
          And the hopeless lance was laid in rest,
          And the hopeless horn blown,

          The King looked up, and what he saw
          Was a great light like death,
          For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
          As lonely and as innocent
          As when between white walls she went
          And the lilies of Nazareth.

          One instant in a still light
          He saw Our Lady then,
          Her dress was soft as western sky,
          And she was a queen most womanly—
          But she was a queen of men.

          Over the iron forest
          He saw Our Lady stand,
          Her eyes were sad withouten art,
          And seven swords were in her heart—
          But one was in her hand.

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One Response to Mary and Us

PopeWatch: Save us Lesus!

Saturday, October 12, AD 2013

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

PopeWatch gets lighthearted for a Saturday morning.  Galloping illiteracy hits the Vatican!  6000 medals commemorating the new reign of Pope Francis have been withdrawn because the name “Iesus” was spelled “Lesus”.  Four medals were sold before the mistake was noticed, and they will now be hot collector’s items.  One wag blames the Lesuits for the mistake.

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28 Responses to PopeWatch: Save us Lesus!

  • I’m sure Opus Del is on the case.

  • @Spambot3049:
    “I’m sure Opus Del is on the case.”

    I cannot grasp your connection of the Lesuits with Opus Del.

  • Maybe Opus Dei did it to make the Lesuits look bad.

  • You crazy theists can say what you want, there’s no historical evidence that Lesus really existed.

  • They have confused Jesus with his good mate Lazarus. 🙂

  • Since the letter “J” did not come into use until the 1500’s – credit given to a monk – in late Latin the letter ‘L’ was used and in ancient Latin the letter ‘I’ was used, So technically using late Latin it is spelled correctly.

  • I’m sure Opus Del is on the case.

    Nah, the Templars are working on it. Coins, totally their thing.

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  • I can’t beleive I wasted 2 minutes of my life reading this childless, pointless article…and another minute commenting. Very annoyed!

  • Blame me for sticking a gun to your head to do both Ez.

  • I didn’t blame you. I clearly blame myself for wasting time.

    (Maybe you want to say I’m not welcome on your blog- in which case, say so.)

    I saw your article linked on Pulp It. Read it, then become thoroughly confused at what point you were making or implying by showing a picture of Pope Francis looking at his watch, then a misprint on a coin.

    What IS your point Donald? You usually have one, otherwise I’m sure you don’t like wasting a precious moment of your time on pointlessness.

  • (Maybe you want to say I’m not welcome on your blog- in which case, say so.)

    I’d guess he was using humor and manners to subtly indicate that complaining about someone saying a thing you thing unworth the time to read, and then posting to complain about it, is foolish.

    I can see how those three points would get past you, though.

  • Jevity.

    Isn’t that the point here?

  • “What IS your point Donald?”

    That post was a pure example of humor Ez. I blog as a hobby and I often like to have fun with topics.

  • Blogging and humour is great. I guess you second guess the humour from a blogger who consistently complains about the Pope. Then you question whether its fun or actually a jibe disguised as fun.

    Also if funny is your point, I guess do it indiscriminately- like posting a picture of Emeritus Pope Benedict sneaking a cigarette during WYD in Sydney. That’s funny.

    Don’t pick and choose your humour. Just saying….

    Ps Foxfier – you’re hilarious. I guess you think so too.

  • “Then you question whether its fun or actually a jibe disguised as fun.”

    Humor is often in the eye of the beholder, but I think the humor in the post was pretty obvious, at least it was obvious to everyone one else that commented.

    “Ps Foxfier – you’re hilarious.”

    I can tell you are new to the blog, Ez. It is always a mistake to wish to mix it up with Foxfier, who has a true talent for combox give and take.

  • Humour is in the eye of the beholder- as in you behold Pope Francis to be a butt of your joke. Ok get it, thanks for clarifying. Totally respectful for a grown man. Ill see if I can find a funny pic of PJPII and PEB to link to.

    Re: Foxfier, that’s your cue Donald to him, to say unleash the dog. Is he your Rottweiler then.

  • Blogging and humour is great. I guess you second guess the humour from a blogger who consistently complains about the Pope.

    Apparently, you’ve been reading a much different blog than this one.

    ******
    I can tell you are new to the blog, Ez. It is always a mistake to wish to mix it up with Foxfier, who has a true talent for combox give and take.

    *blush*
    Not sure if that’s from being flattered or embarassed…. ah well.

    **************

    Re: Foxfier, that’s your cue Donald to him, to say unleash the dog. Is he your Rottweiler then.

    That’s new, usually folks trying to get a reaction call *me* a dog. Sort of.

  • Yes Simcha Fisher is very funny. Donald Scarey Clarey..still figuring it out here.

    Foxfier, it was you that I attributed to being the Rottweiler. I know, wow, too many compliments in one day. You must be chuffed.

  • Foxfier, it was you that I attributed to being the Rottweiler.

    You might want to check your pronouns, then– there’s a reason I’ve got a fox-girl in a cheerleading outfit for an icon, and it’s not because I like cheesecake.

    Also, if you were trying to call me a Rottweiler, then presumably you meant to say:
    “Foxfier– what’s your cue, Donald, to him; to say ‘unleash the dog.’ Is he your Rottweiler, then?”
    Or, a bit less convoluted: “‘Foxfier’? What’s your unleashing cue for him, Donald? Is he your Rottweiler?”

    Finally, seeing as the Pope with whom I feel the most kinship was also frequently called a Rottweiler, your barb missed.

  • About that photo of Pope Francis – will we see it soon on a Samsung wristphone ad?

  • Foxfier, It is with great affection that I call you Donald’s Rottweiler. If you re-read my comment, I did predict you would be chuffed. But, don’t assume that you automatically are anywhere near being in the same league as Pope Emeritus Benedict. I’m sure he doesn’t split hairs.

    Foxfier thankyou for the lesson in…I dont know, is that American English grammar, English English grammar or Australian English Grammar?

    Micha, I didn’t promise any incriminating photos of Pope Francis. You can ask Donald for those. Donald, are you getting a cut for posting them..?

    But if you’re holding your breath Google Pope Benedict smoking. The Malboro man. haha. I’d rather not link to anything by the Huffington Post. Especially on a conservative-blog-that’s-not-conservative-with-its-“humour”…barraboom!

    Oh gosh, I can’t help myself. I should stop getting suckered into pointless debate. I hope someone is laughing…at least…somewhere.

    God Bless the Pope. Francis that is. Pope Francis to you.

  • Micha- sorry, ignore my comment to you.

    I get the joke. That’s funny.

  • Not grammar. Clarity and word choice, like not confusing “he” for “she” or “that” for “what”– with some suggested punctuation, since the jumble of words otherwise was jibberish.

    It seems your reading comprehension is as amazing as your sense of humor.

  • I mixed “he” with “she”? “That” for “what”? Didn’t anyone teach you to be sincere in debates. Sincerity- a basic human virtue. Try it.

    If my reading and writing comprehension is poor, why are you commenting back to me. Sincerity-again, give it a go.

    Like I said, I consider myself to have a good sense of humour; Micha was funny.

    But this post borders on…I don’t know…jibes at expense of the current Vatican administration …because this blog and some of this blog fans don’t like the current Pope. It’s no secret.

    Unless this blog, along with some of this blogs fans refute/deny/clarify the fact that they don’t like this Pope- my point stands.

  • “Sincerity”– you keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.

    As Donald already indicated– I’m rather tenacious, for good or ill.

    It is rather interesting that you’ve done nothing to refute my original observation that subtly, humor and manners are beyond you, and have added “mildly incoherent” to the list.

    …because this blog and some of this blog fans don’t like the current Pope. It’s no secret.

    That’s an even more scurrilous accusation than your notion that I’m insincere.

PopeWatch: A Letter From Grisez

Friday, October 11, AD 2013

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

A letter from Catholic theologian Germain Grisez to Robert Moynihan, founder and editor in chief of Inside the Vatican Magazine:

Dear Dr. Moynihan,

Insofar as I understand what Pope Francis had to say, I can agree with him, but he said some things that I do not understand, and that have already been made bad use of by the secular media. Take the following passage:

“The dogmatic and moral teachings of the Church are not all equivalent. The Church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.”

The teachings of the Church certainly are not all equivalent. There is a hierarchy.

But what is the point of saying that the Church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a “disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently”? Making this assertion suggests, unfortunately, a caricature of the teachings of recent pontificates. I assume Pope Francis would reject that reading. But where, then, is the state of affairs that needs to be overcome?

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17 Responses to PopeWatch: A Letter From Grisez

  • Pope Watch indeed! Could we be overdoing the watching? I don’t recall a Pope Watch when Ratzinger was elevated. I do not want to take issue with your great blog, specially since you are not alone in this Pope vigilantism. I today’s Chiesa blog (thank you for turning me on to another excellent blog) Sandro Magister talks about “alarming” liturgical changes and points towards Pope Francis bowing instead of genuflecting after consecrating. What next? are we going to start timing how long The Pope holds the host up?

    Maybe we need to take a minute to think: What happens if after all our Pope Watching we conclude that we do not “like” Francis, what is next? a call to disobedience?

  • With reference to Darwin’s earlier remarks, since the end of the long 19th century we have had three popes drawn from the Holy See’s diplomatic service, two from the ranks of academic theologians, one a scholar of variegated interests but with a terminal degree in theology, one was an institutional apparatchik who supervised the diplomatic service, and one who served for a month.

    We have had little experience in living memory with an occupant in the chair of Peter whose studies and work history would not have inculcated habits of precision or discretion in public statements.

  • “I don’t recall a Pope Watch when Ratzinger was elevated.”

    We tend to cover most major papal actions here fairly closely, and sometimes critically, although your overall point is well taken. I am doing the PopeWatch series because I detect in Pope Francis the same sort of thinking that was prevalent within the Church during the latter part of the reign of Pope Paul VI, and which that Pope deplored, and which John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI labored mightily to reverse. I think we may well be returning to the bad old days of “spirit of Vatican II” craziness, and I do not think Pope Francis yet comprehends the furies he is in the process of unleashing. I hope I am wrong but I fear that I am probably correct. In regard to Pope Francis, if my fears are realized, I will adopt the traditional Catholic practice when confronted with an uncongenial Pope: point out mistakes and errors and pray for better days under a future pope.

  • Side question: What kind of venue is Inside the Vatican? I thought I’d heard positive stuff about it a while back, but someone sent me this week this appallingly bad piece on “dissent” on Catholic social teaching:

    https://insidethevatican.com/culture/dissent-from-catholic-social-teaching-a-study-in-irony

  • Yeesh that was a terrible post. I have looked to them for factual information about Vatican inner workings and not looked at their editorial stance. From the link below it looks as if Moynihan is quite supportive of Pope Francis:

    http://themoynihanletters.com/from-the-desk-of/letter-89-afterthoughts

  • “In regard to Pope Francis, if my fears are realized, I will adopt the traditional Catholic practice when confronted with an uncongenial Pope: point out mistakes and errors and pray for better days under a future pope. ”

    : )

  • Yes. Each of our words will be under a scrutiny as well.

    Pope more so? Yes. Or maybe not?
    Is he changing the teachings of our Catholic Church? Is he?
    Be careful , for the mercy you give is the measure you will receive. Our words
    do hold much weight…or do they?

  • Philip,

    It is merciful to address flaws. It is injustice not to. How one addresses them is most important.

    Excessive tolerance is false charity. I have, personally, experienced the consequences of this
    excessive tolerance throughout the last more than two decades of my life. It is scandalous.
    It destroys lives. it destroys faith. It destroys families. It must stop. I do not know if Francis will
    choose wisely. I certainly hope he does. But, the only indications I have are his words. To me, he
    is frightening. But, if the Cross is what God wants for me. So be it. Let His will be done.

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  • Karl.

    Thank you. The prayers to Our Lady this weekend will most certainly include clarity for our Holy Father.
    If his words are laying a foundation to support unholy changes to doctrine, then God forgive me for the benefit of a doubt.
    Naive is not an attribute.
    Praying for Our Holy Father.

  • It seems to me there is no problem, but one only for those Rod Dreher termed ‘Mottramists’.
    Unfortunately, many Catholics as well as those outside have this mindset, and are often found to have some combination of a clericalist, pedantic, or scrupulous personality, too. It goes with the territory.

  • I agree totally with this article, and, as usual, many who do not like what it says cannot stay with the issue. This man is dangerously close to being heretical, and he shows considerable shallowness in spiritual understandings., not to mention an incredible imprudence. He is either painfully naive, or something else more sinister is at work. Let us pray for Holy Mother Churhc.

  • It is interesting to agree with Germain Grisez, renown because of the new natural law, which is not natural and is in almost complete disagreement with traditional Catholic natural law.

    But he is right in his concern about the Pope.

  • Sadly, the pope’s comments have been distorted so as to confirm the contention of Clinton’s Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders, who proclaimed that we need to get over our obsessive-compulsive “love affair with the fetus”. As a corollary reflection, it should be noted that it is ironic that the Democratic Party platform
    affirms that no child has any right to be born – and thus that our President had
    no right to be born. That platform and the HHS mandate of the Affordable Care Act assert that any fetus, including Obama before his birth, is merely a preventable disease, a parasite in its mother’s uterus. Obama himself has asserted that, if one of his daughters was pregnant out-of-wedlock, he would
    not want to have her “punished with a child”. With over 70% of African-American
    children conceived and born our of marriage, are we to join with Obama in asserting that these children are punishments, rather than sacred blessings?

  • Yes, there is a Pope-Watch, because Pope Francis has done everything possible to communicate ambiguity. Part of it is his educational background: Pope Francis has not had years of profound study and training like JP2 nor BXVI, years of refining and studying Catholic theology at a profound level. He had a weak training in the late 60′s at a middling theology school in Buenos Aires. He failed to complete his dissertation and PhD at Frankfurt—that speaks volumes. The last pope who had a such a lacuna in systematics and dogmatic theology was Paul VI (he studied systems at the MIlan seminary and obtained a PhD at the Gregorian in Canon Law, but mainly he was in the Vatican diplomatic corp) and he was at a marked disadvantage in defending Humanae Vitae to its chorus of “New Theologians” like Hans Kung and Charles Curran. Yes, the last pope without a doctorate was Pius X, Giuseppe Sarto: but Sarto was an outstanding student at his seminary, and was from limited financial means, so he couldnt obtain a PhD for that reason alone. He was nonetheless appointed as a teacher in dogmatics and systematic theology, in which he was outstanding, at the Treviso seminary—so again, it is important to have a pope who deeply comprehends Catholic theology. It is important that a pope be able to literately and effectively teach the faith and to comprehend the meanings of his words–just for example, as Pietro de Marco observes, Francis confuses words [“to judge” (“Who am I to judge?” speaking about (are we to presume active) homosexuals) with “to condemn.”] Francis says “proselytism is solemn foolishness, it makes no sense,” rather dismissing great Jesuits before him like St Francis Xavier and Bl. Peter Faber (Faber he says he models himself upon). Is the Great Commission over (Matt. 28:16-20, Go teach all nations..) ? Francis says “Each of us has his vision of the good” … “we must incite him to proceed toward what he thinks to be the good.” Well, we know that Kinsey, Fidel Castro, and Lenin certainly had visions of ‘the good’—-are there no objective elements and standards that the Church teaches is a single objective good? Of course there are. Bergolio/Francis confuses all these. The fact is, that the numerous ambiguous messages and contradictory statements seem to be increasing, and I can predict that soon, in a year or two years, there will be a serious crisis of faith he will have precipitated in the Church (He already did so to a great degree when he called morally committed Catholics “obsessed” about “homosexuality, abortion, and contraception.”) So, quo vadis, Pope Francis? And yes, there is good reason for a “Pope-Watch”.

  • I am a very traditional Catholic. I attend the TLM. I love my Catholic Faith with all my heart. I am saddened by the loss of Catholic identity that has taken place in the last 50 years. I feel my beloved Catholic Church has mostly become Protestant, with the exception of my fellow tradtionalists who adhere to the tradtional faith. I agree with all that has been written thus far in this blog. I too, am frightened of what may follow. I feel that not only doctrine, but the Gospel message is becoming “mushy”. I love you, we all love each other and EVERYbody is gonna go to heaven….”
    But most importantly, I am wondering not only about this Pope’s agenda, but WHAT ABOUT those cardinals who elected him. What were they thinking?

  • Humblewriter, I think we are in for serious “unsettled weather” ahead. You may want to read at http://www.chiesa.com erudite Vatican-watcher Sandro Magister’s piece today, “Martini Pope: The Dream Come True.” And dont stop going to the TLM (where ever it may be still found) and saying the Rosary. Here is the link:

    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350623?eng=y

PopeWatch: Frieburg

Thursday, October 10, AD 2013

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

And so it begins.  The diocese of Frieburg, Germany is first off the mark in implementing what I suspect will be called the “Franciscan Reforms” (whether such “reforms” are approved of by the Pope or not):

The Vatican warned bishops on Tuesday not to reform faster than Pope Francis, after a German diocese said that some divorced and remarried Catholics would now be allowed to receive communion and other sacraments.

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13 Responses to PopeWatch: Frieburg

  • “The archdiocese of Freiburg in Germany issued a guidebook on Monday for priests ministering to remarried Catholics that spelled out a way for them to express remorse for their failed first marriage and receive communion and other sacraments.”

    It is called an annulment or the vow to live as brother and sister. The problem with divorce is the broken vow. Now, to accept a liar’s vow is problematic. “Til death do us part” was changed into “til the death of the marriage do us part” which is not part of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. If Pope Francis accepts this secular excuse for adultery, the Pope will have excommunicated all of the faithful. I do not put any money in the collection unless the priest tells me something true about God. Thanks be to God, the newer priests are orthodox and faithful and I have beautiful priests.

  • I can just see that image of the lightning bolt that struck St. Peter’s … shining a flickering light on the pale faces of Mr and Mrs Luther.
    the Reformation seems to be advancing

  • This Is about distortion, fabrication, and omission.

    It is not reform.

    This is another denial of 2,000 years of Church teaching handed down to us from the Apostles who were personally baptized/instructed, in accordance with Christ’s promise, by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

    Mattew 19:3-9; Mark 10:1-12: The man unites with his wife and the two become one. What God has joined let no man put asunder. Christ states, “I tell you” that any man who divorces his wife for any reason other than infidelity/unchastity commits adultery if he marries some other woman.

    Or, it is, “That was then. This is now.” The modernist heresy: that objective truth teachings of the Church are not etrenal but may be altered to satisfy the whims succeeding ages/generations/social media.

    Because Evangelists Matthew and Mark were “suggesting” when they quoted Jesus regarding divorce/remarriage constituting adultery.

    “Maybe the greatest threat to the church is not heresy, not dissent, not secularism, not even moral relativism, but this sanitized, feel-good, boutique, therapeutic spirituality that makes no demands, calls for no sacrifice, asks for no conversion, entails no battle against sin, but only soothes and affirms.” – Timothy Dolan

    Oh, what the . . . “The floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” Ancient St. John Chrysostom

  • I suspect that the prohibition against divorce/remarriage/no-communion will be, in fact, upheld by the Church authorities, but on a practical level, totally ignored by pretty much everyone except a few die-hards. Rather like the whole contraception affair. The catechism and a few pro-lifers says its wrong, but pretty much everyone does it anyway, most catholic physicians prescribe it, NFP classes hard to find, and the bishop don’t want to deal with it.

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  • We’ll have to see how it goes, and it’ll be a while before anything is known. These synods prepare a report, but then the report has to be revised and issued by Rome. the 2012 synod’s document still hasn’t come out, so one assumes it’ll be a good long time before we see anything out of this one.

    Obviously, there’s really no wiggle room for the Church to change practice here. If someone has remarried outside the Church, he’s living in adultery and unless he seeks absolution and intends not to continue to commit adultery, he can’t receive the sacraments.

    Of course, as with so many other moral issues, a lot of rank and file Catholics ignore this and simply receive anyway, and many priests tacitly approve of such arrangements. I had an aunt who’s priest advised her to go get married in a Protestant ceremony rather than waiting for an in process annulment. That was twenty years ago, and nothing has changed since that I can see though some of the younger priests are more willing to actually teach what the Church teaches. That’s the big generation effect that we’re still only seeing the beginning of. In the modern world, there’s no reason for men who don’t believe what the Church teaches to become priests. So while the priests being ordained now are smaller in number, they seem to be in the main very solid compared to those we were getting in the post V2 period.

  • it is a sin to re marry but Jesus never did say that people were not allowed to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist…at least as far as I know….

  • This Pope will be the end of any truth in the Catholic Church. What IS the faithful to do now ? I’ve prayed and prayed but something in my spirit is fearful of this Pontiff.

  • “Even if analogous pastoral solutions have been proposed by a few Fathers of the Church and in some measure were practiced, nevertheless these never attained the consensus of the Fathers and in no way came to constitute the common doctrine of the Church nor to determine her discipline.”

    Especially in the East. This led to the rather curious wording used by the Council of Trent, “If any one says, that the Church has erred, in that she has taught, and does teach, in accordance with the evangelical and apostolical doctrine, that the bond of matrimony cannot be dissolved on account of the adultery of one of the married parties… let him be anathema.” (Sess XXIV c 7) In this way, they avoided anathematizing those Greek Fathers who had taught that marriage could be dissolved for adultery (and on other grounds, too), but who had not condemned the Latins for holding to the contrary opinion.

  • If this situation in Germany were something new, the responsibility could be placed at the feet of Pope Francis. However, while this particular German diocese has recently made this ‘pastoral decision’ (and already challenged by Francis’ Vatican to do nothing before the Extraordinary Synod), this is not a new problem for the Church nor caused by Pope Francis. It began in German dioceses in the 1990’s during the ministry of Blessed John Paul. It was this earlier ‘crisis’ that then Cardinal Ratzinger was addressing as head of the Congregation of the Faith.

    It arose once again in Austria during the ministry of Pope Benedict, led by the former Vicar General of Vienna.

    Marriage and family are fundamental theological givens. It has been researched and discovered that the way of cultures to non belief is by way of the breakdown of marriage and the family. The breakdown of marriage and family has long been happening and is not a recent phenomenon.

    The decision to make marriage and family (with the various pastoral questions arising from this-such as the real pastoral care of the divorced and remarried) I believe first arose within the conclave. This explains his mentioning of the issue in the plane interview after World Youth Day. Certainly it must have been discussed at the recent sessions of the Council of Cardinals (the G 8)

    What I find as very hopeful is that the upcoming synod is an Extraordinary Synod. The last Extraordinary Synod in 1985, under the headship of Blessed John Paul and the guidance of the then Cardinal Ratzinger, gave us the core issue of Vatican II: ” the Church as communion is the sacrament of salvation of the world” . It also gave a ” canonical” form to the 16 documents of the Council, with the four ( on Divine Revelation, on the Liturgy, on the Mystery of the Church, and on the Church in the modern world) as the four key texts that both ground and interpret the rest of the documents. Finally, the Extraordinary Synod called for the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is this Extraordinary Synod as well as the teachings of John Paul and Benedict that will really prevent the Church from the confusion and chaos of the 60’s and 70’s people rightly fear.

    Now a new Extraordinary Synod has been called on the subject of marriage and family. Have we not been attempting to remain faithful to Our Lord in the face of the sexual revolution, of vast social and cultural forces shaking both marriage and family life? This Extraordinary Synod will wrestle with these profound realities and give us, as did its predecessor, a firm foundation and sense of mission and direction.

  • Yeah, I think people need to beware of suddenly attributing every example of deviation within some parish or diocese to Pope Francis. We had exactly these same problems under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and we even saw people selectively quoting those popes to support what they were doing (as well as saying they were waiting for the ever-anticipated “liberal pope” to fix everything.)

    So the behavior on the ground is very much in continuity with what came before. Yes, some of these dissident Catholics are going to announce they’re fans of Francis, but they’re simply doing that as gloss to defend what they were already going.

    It’ll take a while to see if Francis’s style is causing drift in the levels of catechesis and obedience in the Church, but I certainly wouldn’t count on it at this point. Francis does a few things that make liberals happy, but I haven’t seen anything to suggest that he’s not himself quite sound. And we have a lot of things in place now (such as the new catechism) which serve as bulwarks against the kind of confusion that reigned during the 70s when people were running around claiming that everything had changed and there was little with which to rebut them.

  • I think it’s far more likely that Pope Francis is reacting to this — and in pretty quick fashion, for Rome — than that it has anything at all to do with Pope Francis.

    The danger is that, as in this post, people will look at these “reforms” and think they come from the pope and are okay.

  • “Everyone with opportunity to observe it knows that the Fuehrer can only with great difficulty order from above everything he intends to carry out sooner or later … it is the duty of every single person to attempt, in the spirit of the Fuehrer, to work towards him. Anyone making mistakes will come to notice it soon enough. But the one who works correctly towards the Fuehrer along his lines and towards his aims will in future as previously have the finest reward of one day suddenly attaining the legal confirmation of his work.”

    Werner Willikens, State Secretary in the Prussian Agriculture Ministry, 21 February 1934. Quoted in Ian Kershaw “Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris” (1998) p.529.

PopeWatch: A Liquid Message

Wednesday, October 9, AD 2013

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

On Sandro Magister’s website, Chiesa, he has a post by Professor Pietro De Marco who analyzes the messages being communicated by the Pope:

Pope Francis shows himself to be the typical religious of the Society of Jesus in its recent phase, converted by the Council in the years of formation, especially by what I call the “external Council,” the Vatican II of militant expectations and interpretations, created by some episcopates, by their theologians, and by the most influential Catholic media outlets. One of those churchmen who, in their conciliatory and pliable tone, in their undisputed values, are also the most rigid “conciliars,” convinced after half a century that the Council is yet to be realized and that things should be done as if we were still in the 1970’s, in a hand-to-hand with the “pacellian” church, neoscholastic theology, under the influence of the secular or Marxist paradigm of modernity.

On the contrary: that which the “conciliar spirit” wanted and was able to activate has been said or tried over the decades and today it is a question in the first place of making a critical assessment of the results, sometimes disastrous. Even the tenacious proclamation in Pope Francis of the divine mercy corresponds to a pastoral attitude now widespread among the clergy, to the point of that laxity which the pope moreover censures. Not only that. The theme of sin has almost disappeared from catechesis, thereby liquidating the very need of mercy. Rather than promoting generally merciful behaviors, this is a matter today of reconstructing a moral theology less made up of words and again capable of guiding clergy and faithful in concrete cases. Also in moral theology the road to the true implementation of the Council has been reopened by the magisterial work of Karol Wojtyla and Joseph Ratzinger.

Some maintain that Francis could be, as a postmodern pope, the man of the future of the Church, beyond traditionalism and modernism. But the postmodern that most thrives in him – as liquidation of forms, spontaneity of public appearance, attention to the global village – is superficial. With its pliability and aestheticism, the postmodern is hardly plausible in a bishop of Latin America, where until recently the intelligentsia was dominated by the Marxist Modern. Bergoglio’s solid core is and remains “conciliar.” On the road undertaken by this pope, if confirmed, I see first of all the crystallization of the dominant pastoral conciliarism in the clergy and in the active laity.

Of course, if Bergoglio is not postmodern, his worldwide reception is. The pope pleases right and left, practicing and nonbelievers, without discernment. His prevalent message is “liquid.” On this success, however, nothing can be built, there can only be remixed something already existing, and that not of the best.

There are worrying signals of this “liquid” appearance for anyone who may not be prone to the relativistic chatter of this late modernity:

a) the concession to set popular phrases like “everyone is free to do…” “who says that things must be this way…” “who am I to…” allowed to slip out in the conviction that they are dialogical and up-to-date. Presenting himself as a simple bishop to justify hardly formal behaviors, do not cover up and cannot cover up the different weight and different responsibility that instead belong to his words, any word, since the bishop of Rome and the pope are one and the same;

b) the lack of scrutiny on the part of persons of trust, but wise and cultured, and Italian, of the texts destined to be circulated, perhaps in the papal conviction that there is no need for this;

c) a certain authoritarian inclination (“I will do everything to…”) in singular contrast with the frequent pluralistic propositions, but typical of the democratic “revolutionaries,” with the risk of imprudent collisions with tradition and the “sensus fidelium”;

d) moreover, there remains incongruous in Pope Francis this constant taking of individual public communication initiatives and this wanting to be without filters (the symptomatic image of the papal apartment as a bottleneck), which reveal the unwillingness to feel himself a man of governance (something more difficult than being a reformer) in an eminent and “sui generis” institution like the Catholic Church.

His is, at times, the conduct of a modern and informal manager, one of those who concede a great deal to the press. But this clinging to persons and things on the outside – collaborators, friends, press, public opinion, even the apartment in Santa Marta is “outside” – as if the man Bergoglio were afraid he would not know what to do once he were left alone, as pope, in the apartment of the popes, is not positive. And the thing could not last. Even the media will get tired of supporting a pope who needs them too much.

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17 Responses to PopeWatch: A Liquid Message

  • Pope Francis’ always wanting to be in the limelight with the media, never wanting what he says to be filtered by the theologians in the Church, always being at that special place and time for all those photos showing his great humility, never wanting to consult with Tradition and the vast corpus of Church documents before he shoots his mouth off – are those examples of real humility.

    And indeed, if he doesn’t want to consult with his fellow clerics before he shoots his mouth off, is he being conciliar?

    Benedict thought long and hard before he said something. And so did JP II. They wrote well-reasoned documents, and what they said was generally precise theologically. There was no wiggle room.

    It was a sad day when Benedict stepped down.

  • De Marco notes, “The theme of sin has almost disappeared from catechesis, thereby liquidating the very need of mercy.”

    The call to proclaim “Jesus Saves!” requires us to be ready with answers to the questions “From What?” and “For What?”

    From hell? For heaven? Or would that be coming on too strong?

  • This is discouraging. I want to be positive but I am feeling dismayed.
    Catherine of Sienna help!

  • Professor DeMarco was also critical (hyper-critical?) of Pope Benedict. I remember several commentaries written by Sandro over the last few years. I have not read any of his works (not sure if they are translated into English) however my sense is Dr DeMarco has some very strong reservations of the Council and not merely interpretations of it. I would be glad to discover that I have come to the wrong conclusion on his position.

    Pr ofessor DeMarco’s actual criticisms of Pope Francis are as vague as the positions he claims that this post modern pope has. He criticizes Pope Francis for being a solid Conciliarist (man of the Council). Why would/should he or we expect or want otherwise? While the Council was not a rupture in the Tradition of the Church, it marks a turning point within the history of the Church (marking the transition from the modern to post-modern age) just as Trent marked the transition of the Church from the Medieval to Modern eras.

    I am convinced that basically all we are witnessing with Pope Francis ( with the exception of his interviews perhaps) is precisely what the Cardinals in that conclave had clearly discussed, prayed, reflected, discerned and then elected.

  • Fantastic (and really sad and worrying) article by De Marco.

    What can you do despite praying for the Holy Spirit?

  • Make a lot of noise. Dissenters within the Church have gone from victory to victory over the past half century as too often orthodox Catholics have done nothing but pray. Prayer is essential, but rarely is it sufficient. We are God’s tools in this world and it is up to us to take action.

  • Yes, Donald, you are right.

    If noise is also to publish De Marco article in diverse languages, I translated part of the article to my blog written to Portuguese readers (thyselfolord.blogspot.com).

    Marana tha!

  • I just try to follow the best bloggers: you, Edward Peters, Edward Feser and Pat Archbold.

    I am missing some consideration on Pope Francis from people like Peter Kreeft or Dale Alhquist (Chesterton Society). And I am disappointed with people like Jimmy Akin.

  • Why? Because those “voices” have the patience to hold their tongues till more is learned? A noble gesture indeed.

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  • Don’t we have enough crises in 7 months (bad words and phrases)?

    Or, as Donald said, don’t we need “noises”?

  • The Church is hardly in crisis in these last seven months of Popejk Francis’ ministry. Have we forgotten the uproar within the Church over Pope Benedict’s interview when he made a comment concerning the possibility of using condoms by men already infected with HIV? (This in fact was a genuine position put forward by a moral theologian of Opus Dei, by no means a liberal). Have we forgotten the uproar and expressions of both anger and hurt from the worldwide Jewish community when Pope Benedict speaking at the Holocaust Memorial in Israel asked ” Where was God?” (a very legitimate and profound theological question). Have we forgotten the severe uproar in the Islamic world when Pope Benedict, giving a phenomenol lecture at Regensburg, quoted a Byzantine Emperor concerning the turn of the Islamic world from logos and toward the irrationality of violence. The uproar stunned the pope who thought it was a university address and not listened to by the whole world. Finally, have we forgotten the meltdown within the Vatican not only concerning Vatican-leaks but the horrendous in-fighting within the Curia and preventing the Holy Father from fulfilling his projects.

    I honestly do not understand the handwringing, the catastrophic thinking and the chicken little expressions of fear we hear now. It simply is too early to evaluate Pope Francis for weal or woe

  • I want to add to this my concern about Pope Francis’ surprising lack of learning, especially when compared with the last two popes.

    A little comparative theological background might help:

    Cardinal Ratzinger’s doctoral dissertation was on Augustine’s ecclesiology, directed by Munich professor and scholar Gottlieb Soehngen; BXVI’s postdoctoral dissertation was on S. Bonaventure’s theology of history. Cardinal Wojytla’s 1st dissertation (after phenomenological studies in Edmund Husserl) at the Angelicum in Rome about 1948 was on divine-human relationship and personal encounter in the mystical doctrine of S. John of the Cross. JP2′s 2nd dissertation was @ Krakow on the thought of Max Scheler, also a phenomenologist, and a successor to Husserl. JP2 also was a distinguished theology teacher at the Jagiellonian University at Krakow, so lecturing and refining his writing and engaging in controversy literately was a habit for years with him, just as with Ratzinger.

    And now we get to the present pope? Bergoglio didnt finish his dissertation at Frankfurt’s Sahnkt Georgen. At all. (Tauber Zeitung, April 12, 2013). He previously had some psychological education (eg. the word “obsession” about abortion, contraception, homosexuality) but did not obtain either a Masters or a Ph.D. in psych either. (He has Masters degrees in theology, but from Buenos Aires’ Jesuit theologate, not known as a major school in its field). Rather unusual for a Jesuit, no Ph.D. My point is: Bergoglio is not well-trained in systematic theology. He hasnt been a lecturer, a theology teacher. It shows in his statements. I will be more forward: he is the least educated pope, theologically speaking going back far beyond Leo XIII. (It is true that Pius X did not have a doctorate, but he was awarded honors with distinction at his seminary, and he was known to be a top teacher later in a seminary setting.) And this pope? I find his statements quite incomprehensible, and I am coming to the conclusion that he doesnt comprehend what he is talking about, sorry.

  • There is no question that in John Paul II and Benedict we had brilliant popes. In many ways, we have been spoiled as well as blessed in having them. As you pointed out, Pope Francis’ academic background is not the same. Nonetheless, a doctorate in theology is not required for episcopal ordination, the elevation to the Cardinalate, nor a prerequisite for election to the papacy.

    To call into question, Pope Francis’ academic background is a veiled criticism of the pope who called for his ordination to the episcopacy; to call into question the pope who called him to be archbishop of Buenos Airies, and the pope who elevated him to the Cardinalate, never mind all the Cardinals who elected him.

    However, he knows exactly what he is doing. His whole program up until this moment at least has been to bring about the ‘agenda’ which all the Cardinals had discerned in conclave.

    I am sorry Steve, if you cannot understand him/this.

  • Dear Botolph, it seems to me that you are discussing a different subject, and you do not even read Dr. Pietro de Marco’s article (or understand Steve’s argument).

    But, you are right in one important point: popes must be more rigid in choosing their cardinals.

    I did not say nothing about the Conclave, because I have faith in the Holy Spirit, despite many bad popes in history.

    Let’s pray for Pope Francis and do a lot of noises.

  • I understand that people like Botolph will dismiss these serious comparisons I have made so that he doesnt have to confront himself with their implications, For those who will try to appreciate what I am saying, it is this, and disregard it. Botolphites, at your peril: Pope Francis has not had years of profound study and training like JP2 nor BXVI, years of refining and studying Catholic theology at a profound level. He had a weak training in the late 60’s at a middling theology school in Buenos Aires. He failed to complete his dissertation and PhD at Frankfurt—that speaks volumes. The last pope who had a such a lacuna in systematics and dogmatic theology was Paul VI (he studied systems at the MIlan seminary and obtained a PhD at the Gregorian in Canon Law, but mainly he was in the Vatican diplomatic corp) and he was at a marked disadvantage in defending Humanae Vitae to its chorus of “New Theologians” like Hans Kung and Charles Curran. Yes, the last pope without a doctorate was Pius X, Giuseppe Sarto: but Sarto was an outstanding student at his seminary, and was from limited financial means, so he couldnt obtain a PhD for that reason alone. He was nonetheless appointed as a teacher in dogmatics and systematic theology, in which he was outstanding, at the Treviso seminary—so again, it is important to have a pope who deeply comprehends Catholic theology. It is important that a pope be able to literately and effectively teach the faith and to comprehend the meanings of his words–just for example, as Pietro de Marco observes, Francis confuses words [“to judge” (“Who am I to judge?” speaking about (are we to presume active) homosexuals) with “to condemn.”] Francis says “proselytism is solemn foolishness, it makes no sense,” rather dismissing great Jesuits before him like St Francis Xavier and Bl. Peter Faber (Faber he says he models himself upon). Is the Great Commission over (Matt. 28:16-20, Go teach all nations..) ? Francis says “Each of us has his vision of the good” … “we must incite him to proceed toward what he thinks to be the good.” Well, we know that Kinsey, Fidel Castro, and Lenin certainly had visions of ‘the good’—-are there no objective elements and standards that the Church teaches is a single objective good? Of course there are. Bergolio/Francis confuses all these. The fact is, that the numerous ambiguous messages and contradictory statements seem to be increasing, and I can predict that soon, in a year or two years, there will be a serious crisis of faith he will have precipitated in the Church (He already did so to a great degree when he called morally committed Catholics “obsessed” about “homosexuality, abortion, and contraception.”) So, quo vadis, Francis?

PopeWatch: Vox Populi, Vox Humbug

Tuesday, October 8, AD 2013

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Well, I guess this was inevitable.  We are now beginning to see polls which tell us that American Catholics back the Pope because they believe he is taking the Church in a liberal direction:

Pope Francis’ comments that the Catholic Church should not focus so much on homosexuality, abortion and contraception have met with strong approval from U.S. Catholics, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Friday.

Sixty-eight percent of American Catholics agree with comments the Pope made to that effect in an interview published last month in the Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica, while 23 percent disagreed, according to the poll. There was little difference in opinion between observant and less-observant Catholics, women and men, and among age groups, the poll found.

American Catholics also like their new pope, with 89 percent having a “favorable” or “very favorable” opinion, and only 4 percent voicing an unfavorable opinion, the poll found.

“Maybe they were just waiting for a Jesuit,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Francis is the first pope from the religious order of the Jesuits, an order known for its intellectuals and iconoclasts.

In the interview, Francis reaffirmed traditional church teachings, but said the church must “find a new balance” or risk seeing its entire moral edifice collapse “like a house of cards.”

The poll also found that 60 percent of American Catholics support women’s ordination – though the Pope had recently reaffirmed the ban on women’s ordination. Support is highest among those who attend services less frequently and Catholics over the age of 65.

The survey also found that Catholic opinion on abortion is similar to the opinion of all American adults – with 52 percent of Catholics saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with 53 percent of the general public.

 

These Catholics have obviously gotten the message through media coverage of the Pope that the Church, rather than resisting abortion, homosexuality, contraception, etc, is now just going to go with the flow.  Not just laity are getting that impression, judging from a comment left on Pat Archbold’s Pope Traumatic Stress Disorder post at  National Catholic Register:

                     

This weekend our pastor wrote a column in which he compared people who  identify as pro-life to his old friend Tim, a morbidly obese individual who  washed down his bacon-cheeseburger and fries with diet coke in the hopes of  losing weight.  He went on to say that the agenda of pro-lifers is far too  often anti-abortion, when it should be much broader and include gun control,  environmental issues, the death penalty, yada, yada.  Abortion “cannot  trump the vast myriad of other life issues”.  He cited the Pope’s interview  as “long-overdue” support of this position.  Needless to say, those of us  on the parish pro-life committee feel as if we’ve been punched in the gut.   Until this happened I thought you were being unnecessarily alarmist, but believe  me, now I get your point.

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18 Responses to PopeWatch: Vox Populi, Vox Humbug

  • The “common good” is the alibi of all tyrants.

    “[…] Abortion ‘cannot trump the vast myriad of other life issues’.”

    Yes, it does.

    Tens of millions of abortions, universal artificial contraception, euthanasia, gay privileges, etc. are intrinsically evil. They cannot be “explained away” with free (bought with other people’s money) stuff, e.g. health care for everybody.

    “I see.”, said the blind man as he picked up his tools and walked away.

  • “Is this what the Pope intended? I doubt it. ”

    Though I wonder if this was exactly what the cardinals who voted for Francis intended. Less confrontation with governments, less parishioners being able to complain about orthodoxy, less headaches for them.

  • Though I wonder if this was exactly what the cardinals who voted for Francis intended. Less confrontation with governments, less parishioners being able to complain about orthodoxy, less headaches for them.

    Given that the college of cardinals is arguably more conservative now than it was when it elected Benedict XVI (since some old liberals have died or retired and Benedict appointed a fair number of cardinals himself) I find that a little hard to credit.

    He cited the Pope’s interview as “long-overdue” support of this position. Needless to say, those of us on the parish pro-life committee feel as if we’ve been punched in the gut. Until this happened I thought you were being unnecessarily alarmist, but believe me, now I get your point.

    I guess the thing is: If the commenter’s pastor gave this talk now, he almost certainly had the same opinions a year ago or five years ago. He didn’t suddenly become a “seamless garment” wimp, he has been for a long time. So what exactly has changed? He can point to an out-of-context line from the pope. But then, liberal Catholics have been trying to claim that the popes support them for ages (whenever they’re not arguing instead that popes don’t matter.)

    It seems like a lot of the difference is, during Benedict’s papacy (especially very early on when liberals were in despair and conservatives were saying “the cafeteria is closed”) there at least a strong sense among orthodox Catholics that the pope was “one of us” and a fairly strong sense among liberals that he wasn’t one of them.

    This time we have the liberals running around saying that the pope is one of them and he isn’t one of us. I strongly suspect they’re deluding themselves on that, but it does seem like it gets conservative Catholics down.

  • The human being is composed of a human body and a human soul. By not acknowledging the sovereignty of God and the immortality of the human soul, The Ten Commandments and The Catholic Church can be made to appear irrelevant. The purpose of life is to get ourselves to heaven. Do not let them “fake out” your soul. The polls are like football players who grab the ball and make a touchdown for their opponent.
    “VOX HUMBUG” i CANNOT STOP LAUGHING.

  • it sounds to me like some of the liberal Catholics seriously buy a caricature of pro life Catholics as narrow. are they obtuse on purpose?!
    Also— help me out here— there must be a Chesterton quote somewhere about real breadth manifested in narrowness 🙂 maybe similar to the child nurturing role of women being not small, but great…. that could relate to the importance of saving the individual life of persons conceived and yet unborn.

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  • “Given that the college of cardinals is arguably more conservative now than it was when it elected Benedict XVI (since some old liberals have died or retired and Benedict appointed a fair number of cardinals himself) I find that a little hard to credit.”

    So what’s your explanation? Are the majority of cardinals just low information voters who didn’t realize what they were signing on for? I think conflict avoidance is a better explanation. You can be a conservative cardinal and still not want to fight.

  • Over on Ricochet there’s a knock-down fight going on over how one can reject the notion that opposing abortion is any different from the “animal cruelty” of “industrial farming” without reading an article that was over twenty pages when typed up in word.

    The simple fact that there’s a difference between chopping up humans and (feel good goal here) just doesn’t soak in.

  • So what’s your explanation? Are the majority of cardinals just low information voters who didn’t realize what they were signing on for? I think conflict avoidance is a better explanation. You can be a conservative cardinal and still not want to fight.

    Well, obviously I’m having to use intuition here, I don’t have inside knowledge, but I tend to think that:

    a) The cardinals probably knew Bergoglio better then than we do now. They’d dealt with him one on one at various gatherings and had an idea of how he would lead the Vatican and what elements of the faith he’d emphasize (service to the poor, importance of accepting Christ personally, etc.) We just hear about him on the news.

    b) I think we may also not always be cognizant of how different the viewpoint of cardinals is just because of who they are: Most of them are bishops in charge of diocese. Most of the people they interact with on a daily basis are priests and virtually all are Catholic. Most of them are over 60. Many of them don’t use technology much. They don’t know what it’s like to sit in the pews of the average parish of struggle with the parish school as a parent, they know what it’s like to sit in the diocesan offices and deal with the personnel issues that come to them from their priests and lay workers. Also, they have a lot of concerns about how the church is run administratively which may not even be on our radar (some of these relate to scandals that hit the media, but a lot of others are probably things that only show up to people on the inside.)

    I have no idea whether cardinals are liking the interviews or not. But in general I’d imagine they loom a lot larger in the attention of Catholics like us who are used to spending a lot of time in Catholic media and discussion space than they do to the cardinals.

  • “But in general I’d imagine they loom a lot larger in the attention of Catholics like us who are used to spending a lot of time in Catholic media and discussion space than they do to the cardinals.”

    Well, that is likely part of the problem.

  • Siobahn:

    The solution to your problem: locate the nearest Eastern-rite parish and take your family there. Alternately, check the Una Voce site for the traditional masses in your area.

  • “The simple fact that there’s a difference between chopping up humans and (feel good goal here) just doesn’t soak in.”

    When one views man as merely an animal there is no limit on how badly people can be treated by the State, or by each other. Burke noted this long ago:

    “On this scheme of things, a king is but a man, a queen is but a woman; a woman is but an animal, and an animal not of the highest order. All homage paid to the sex in general as such, and without distinct views, is to be regarded as romance and folly. Regicide, and parricide, and sacrilege, are but fictions of superstition, corrupting jurisprudence by destroying its simplicity. The murder of a king, or a queen, or a bishop, or a father, are only common homicide; and if the people are by any chance, or in any way, gainers by it, a sort of homicide much the most pardonable, and into which we ought not to make too severe a scrutiny.

    On the scheme of this barbarous philosophy, which is the offspring of cold hearts and muddy understandings, and which is as void of solid wisdom as it is destitute of all taste and elegance, laws are to be supported only by their own terrors, and by the concern which each individual may find in them from his own private speculations, or can spare to them from his own private interests. In the groves of their academy, at the end of every vista, you see nothing but the gallows.”

  • There is a vast difference in theological training between Pope Francis and at least his two predecessors: A little comparative theological background might help — let me explain.
    Cardinal Ratzinger’s doctoral dissertation was on Augustine’s ecclesiology, directed by Munich professor and scholar Gottlieb Soehngen; BXVI’s postdoctoral dissertation was on S. Bonaventure’s theology of history. Cardinal Wojytla’s 1st dissertation (after phenomenological studies in Edmund Husserl, of whom Edith Stein was an advanced university student prior to her entering Carmel) at the Angelicum in Rome was on divine-human relationship and personal encounter in the mystical doctrine of S. John of the Cross. JP2′s 2nd dissertation was @ Krakow on the thought of Max Scheler, also a phenomenologist, and a successor to Husserl. JP2 also was a distinguished theology teacher at the Jagiellonian University at Krakow, so lecturing and refining his writing and engaging in controversy literately was a habit of years with him, just as with Ratzinger. And the present pope? Bergoglio didnt finish his dissertation at Frankfurt’s Sahnkt Georgen. At all. He previously had some psychological education (eg. the word “obsession” about abortion, contraception, homosexuality) but did not obtain either a Masters or a Ph.D. in psych either. (He has Masters degrees in theology, but from Buenos Aires’ Jesuit theologate, not known as a major school in its field). Rather unusual for a Jesuit, no Ph.D. My point is: Bergoglio is not really that well-trained in systematic theology. He hasnt been a lecturer, a theology teacher. It shows in his statements. He doesnt appear to turn his statements over and over, and work from prepared texts to be sure he communicates clearly, and he is at a disadvantage in learning and training. most notably when compared to at least the prior two papal occupants.

  • they know what it’s like to sit in the diocesan offices and deal with the personnel issues that come to them from their priests and lay workers.

    “Deal with” has a somewhat elastic meaning.

    http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/226359461.html

  • Has he at least been a community organizer?

  • Siobahn’s pastor strikes me as the proverbial doctor who can’t decide whether to start by treating the cancer or the double pneumonia or the sepsis.

    So that patient bleeds to death from the punctured artery.

  • Needless to say, those of us on the parish pro-life committee feel as if we’ve been punched in the gut.
    –Siobhan (as quoted by Donald R. McClarey)

    Dear Siobhan, you must immediately change the name of that committee to the Protect Innocent Life Committee or something else equally unambiguous. Otherwise, you risk ongoing subversion of whatever good you strive to do.

  • “Has he at least been a community organizer?” God love you Jeanne Rohl.

Lepanto

Monday, October 7, AD 2013

 

This year on Sunday October 13, 2013, Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Go here to read all about it.  My parish is gathering together at noon CST on October 13 to pray the rosary at the exact same time that the Pope consecrates the world to the Mother of God.  What better preparation can we have for that wonderful day than to remember today another victory of the Rosary.

On October 7, 1571 the forces of the Holy League under Don Juan of Austria, illegitimate half brother of Philip II, in an ever-lasting tribute to Italian and Spanish courage and seamanship, smashed the Turkish fleet.  This was the turning point in the centuries-long struggle between the Christian West and the forces of the Ottoman Empire over the Mediterranean.  The Holy League had been the work of Pope Saint Pius V, who miraculously saw the victory in Rome on the day of the battle, and he proclaimed the feast day of Our Lady of Victory to whom he attributed the victory.

For a good overview of the battle of Lepanto read this review by Victor Davis Hanson here of  The Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto by Niccolò Capponi.

Before the battle Don John of Austria went about the ships of his fleet and said this to his crews:  ‘My children, we are here to conquer or die. In death or in victory, you will win immortality.’  The chaplains of the fleet preached sermons on the theme:  “No Heaven For Cowards”.    Many of the men were clutching rosaries just before the battle.  Admiral Andrea Doria went into the fight with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe aboard his ship.  Back in Europe countless Catholics were praying rosaries at the request of Saint Pope Pius V for the success of the Christian fleet.

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5 Responses to Lepanto

  • So happy to hear your parish will be praying the Holy Rosary at noon on the 96th Anniversary of the Fatima miracle.

    Our village in Cedar Michigan will have Legion of Mary and KofC members praying the Holy Rosary in a public square for America’s conversion. To date there is 11,200 other cities around the globe praying the exact same prayers for the exact same intentions. All of this on Oct. 12th Saturday at noon.
    Check out ANF.org Public Square Rosary campaign.
    Join in won’t you. Saturday or Sunday you will help to defend our freedoms and help crush the serpents head.

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  • In his famous vision of the future victory of the Church over her enemies, St. John Bosco saw the Pope tie the church to two columns. One had our Lady on top with the word “Lepanto” written underneath. The other had the Eucharist oh top. When the Pope accomplished this, the enemy boats in the vision were sunk both due to a storm and the ongoing battle. There are those who believe that Pope John Paul II was the pope of this vision. Although he was “killed,” afterwards, by the intercession of Our Lady of FATIMA (n.b. reference to the name of Mohammad’s daughter), the Pope is “resurrected” to take up his job anew. If Pope John Paul was in fact the pope of the dream, the tying of the Church would have been the year dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary and the other year dedicated to the Eucharist. Without a doubt, since then the Muslim “fleet” has descended into chaos and confusion (e.g. the Arab spring and the Shiite-Sunni conflict).

  • We too are gathering on Oct 12 at noon to pray the rosary in public at an area park.

  • Jeanne R.

    Great!
    I’m recalling the end of Chpt. 12 book of Revelation……verse 16 or 17; and the serpent waged war with Her offspring, those who abide by the commandments and give testimony of her son Jesus.

    I’m on coffee break, so my quote might not be perfect, but its very close.

    We are making up the heel to crush the head of satan. It’s happening and God knows when it will be finalized.

    Keep on praying your Holy rosaries.
    🙂

PopeWatch: Circling the Wagons

Monday, October 7, AD 2013

 

circling the wagons

 

Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings, continues on with his observations regarding the reactions to Pope Francis.  I was struck by this section of his latest post:

I’ve come to the conclusion that, regardless of the actual temporal length (and may God grant Pope Francis many healthy years), this is going to be a loooooong papacy.

1. The first problem is what my crisis buddy Elliot colorfully describes as “soft ultramontanism.” To which I will add “by reflex.”

This manifests itself in instant circle-the-wagons mentality against any criticism. Sorry, Mark, but this is emblematic. The fact that Scalfari didn’t take notes is majoring in minors. No less an authority than the Vatican itself offers the interview for perusal on the official website.

That strikes me as a sotto voce endorsement of its accuracy. Not very sotto, in fact. More like a megaphone admission.

Also, it seems to me that criticism from such respectable non-fringe figures as Fr. Germain Grisez, fellow Jesuit James Schall and the very level-headed Carl Olson deserve a hearing. Ditto Robert Royal, who was clearly thrown by the first interview.

In other words, those who “get Francis” need to try to understand those of us who don’t. And, yeah, I don’t.

Frankly, the most evident fruit of the papacy thus far seems to be the willingness of orthodox Catholics to break out the cutlery and start stabbing whenever someone expresses unease over the Pope’s actions and words.

2. The substantive criticisms are worthy of consideration.

Arguments like “the Pope is acting just like Jesus” or “you’re just like the elder brother in the Prodigal Son!” aren’t really arguments: they’re declarations of the speaker’s moral superiority, QEDs that are supposed to batter the benighted sinner on the other side into repentance. Quite simply, they won’t do.

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12 Responses to PopeWatch: Circling the Wagons

  • The Devil’s gravest (most tragic) victory in his open-ended struggle to lure all souls to eternal damnation came when he convinced men that he (sin) does not exist.

  • “Frankly, the most evident fruit of the papacy thus far seems to be the willingness of orthodox Catholics to break out the cutlery and start stabbing whenever someone expresses unease over the Pope’s actions and words.”

    To me, this has been the most disturbing part of this entire episode. It appears they have adopted the position that any questioning of the pope’s statements amounts to apostasy.

  • Certainly, nothing makes me as inclined to consider a position crazy as that Mark Shea is taking it with all banners and fists flying, but FWIW: I think that the danger that the “loyal opposition” creates when it gets too eager to state that it’s in the “opposition” by looking for the worst way of looking at every little papal statement (or just throwing up hands and saying, “How can this possibly make any sense?”) is that it ends up lending aid and comfort to the progressive noise machine which is trying to turn this papacy into something of their own.

    That doesn’t mean that it’s necessary to run around explaining papal statements all the time, or to take an overly sunny view of things, but I do think it’s important not to end up going over the cliff like the folks at Rorati Caeli did shortly after Francis was elected and start taking the worst view of everything to the point of distorting and passing on rumors. I worry about those concerned about Francis’s approach heading in that direction.

  • The questioning is good. Upon closer examination, the Pope’s comments are even better, if capable of being open to misinterpretation.

    What we are all dancing around, in our worship of the great trees of Catholic Social Justice and Catholic Family Values, is the inherant dignity of Jesus Christ- a dignity that cannot be denied even by atheists, a dignity shared by every child in a mother’s womb. This fraternity of humanity under a God of Love is the root of our faith, the bedrock of morality itself. It is that forgiveness, that generosity, which Pope Francis is trying to teach by example- the root hidden by two vastly different approaches to the corporal works of mercy that need to be welded into one.

  • Moderation in all things is often not a wise maxim in this life, but in reference to opinions regarding popes it tends to be. Popes are rarely as good as their most devoted fans assume they will be, and rarely as bad as those who worry about them fear they will be. My expectations for Pope Benedict were quite high after his election, and my expectations after the interviews of Pope Francis quite modest as far as his pontificate goes. Events, as was the case with Pope Benedict, will see how my expectations of Pope Francis play out.

  • Darwin, I’d be comforted if people simply acknowledged that the Pope has given the progressive noise machine plenty to work with–obsession, small-minded rules, rebuking traditionalists, shout-outs to the progressives’ hero Martini, etc. They aren’t hallucinating here.

    Some of the counter-apologetic spin of the Pope’s words smack of the “jihad is spiritual struggle” contortions used on behalf of Islam.

    And I doubt I’m going into the same hatefest as RC, but I suppose mileage varies.

  • Dale,

    I think he has given the progressive noise machine material to work with, but I think it’s generally far less than some of his critics on the right would suggest.

    Goodness knows, the “OMG, listen to this new insight!!! If you don’t love this you hate puppies!!!” approach to Francis fandom drives me up the wall. It’s just that I’m also concerned that conservatives not get into the habit of looking for stuff to hate in whatever Francis says. Because at that point, we’ll always find it.

    And I do think that if we focus on reading things charitably, he has some very good things to say. Not to say that everything he says is the best thing he could have said, but that there is indeed very good stuff in there. While I wish Francis was the type to be far more judicious in what he says, I don’t think we’d be better off if he just said nothing.

  • I’m with you, Darwin. I am uncomfortable with the salutary comments of the secular world. Perhaps that is what makes me most cautious. Christ’s message isn’t supposed to mesh with the values of this world and it makes me uncomfortable to have the world at large say “see, he is absolutely right.” Of course it was that way for Christ too as he was led into Jerusalem on an ass. Perhaps, once the secular world figures out that the Pope is still a pope, we will find ourselves in Gethsemene.

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  • Well it was better that Our Lord was riding on the ass than acting like one. If I would have raised kids with this kind of double speak and hope that they were smart enough to figure things out I doubt I would have a family right now. As it is they are all practicing Catholics, very involved with their parishes, with what I believe is a very good understanding of the “truth’s of the faith”. Did we have our problems a long the way, you bet. But they formed a conscience that even when they strayed had given them enough wisdom and discernment to make the right judgments. That’s all I ask is that in matters of faith and morals, every Catholic knows what the Church teaches and then if they don’t want to be Catholic they can leave. As a religious education teacher for over 18 years the confusion that I witnessed among the educators themselves was so disheartening. They taught what they wanted and I believe instructed without the knowledge they needed to pass on the faith. Of course one of the great carrots dangled to get teachers was and is, “you don’t need to know anything to teach CCD you just need to be present” and that’s exactly what we have as a church. Jesus taught plain and simple.

  • I get this image of poor Jorge cum Francis being put in charge of manning the rudder, being told “just don’t steer it into the rocks” and being unable to shift his gaze away from the rocks.

  • This to be has been a continual problem, Ever since his election almost 7 months ago he has done nothing but cause controversy, first by his dress than by his words and now his actions like the FFI fiasco which four Italian Canon lawyers have said a few weeks ago are Grave violations not only of Benedict’s wishes but even going back to ST PIUS V whose tomb he visited. Benedict himself said the actions of Francis have WOUNDED or Hurt his 2007 Moto Proprio. If you recall after his election dissidents in the Church like Mahoney among others were happy now we all know why. He seems to say one thing and then do the exact opposite. I honestly think the Cardinal from Canada would have been a better choice by instead he insisted that the Pope we have now be elected. OTOH, He did manage to stop the strike on Syria with his prayer Vigil a month ago.

PopeWatch: Father Lombardi Explains It All

Sunday, October 6, AD 2013

 

 

Announcing a new series at The American Catholic:  PopeWatch.  I think it is obvious that Pope Francis will be making the headlines on a regular basis,  and I will be commenting on him fairly frequently as a result, hence the new series.  First up, a statement by papal press spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.  I have a soft spot in my heart for press flacks.  They have tough jobs, especially in the wake of feathers hitting a fan.  Then they come out to meet the media, and often have to say the most absurd things with a straight face, and it would take a heart of purest granite not to feel some sympathy for them at such times.  In the wake of Pope Francis’ colorful interviews, Father Lombardi explained what the problem is:

Perhaps the most insightful take on all this came from Lombardi himself, who said we’re seeing the emergence of a whole new genre of papal speech — informal, spontaneous and sometimes entrusted to others in terms of its final articulation. A new genre, Lombardi suggested, needs a “new hermeneutic,” one in which we don’t attach value so much to individual words as to the overall sense.

“This isn’t Denzinger,” he said, referring to the famous German collection of official church teaching, “and it’s not canon law.”

“What the pope is doing is giving pastoral reflections that haven’t been reviewed beforehand word-for-word by 20 theologians in order to be precise about everything,” Lombardi said. “It has to be distinguished from an encyclical, for instance, or a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, which are magisterial documents.”

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29 Responses to PopeWatch: Father Lombardi Explains It All

  • As can be discovered by dipping into Denzinger, in the past, popes were very reticent in their dogmatic pronouncements and were principally concerned to guard against error. Thus, one of the most contentious, which split the French church into warring factions, Unigenitus, the Dogmatic Constitution issued by Pope Clement XI on Sept. 8, 1713, lists 101 extracts from the works of Paschasius Quesnel and concludes, “Declared and condemned as false, captious, evil-sounding, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and her practice, insulting not only to the Church but also the secular powers seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected of heresy, and smacking of heresy itself, and, besides, favouring heretics and heresies, and also schisms, erroneous, close to heresy, many times condemned, and finally heretical, clearly renewing many heresies respectively and most especially those which are contained in the infamous propositions of Jansen, and indeed accepted in that sense in which these have been condemned.” No hint is given as to which censure or censures apply to which proposition and no reasons are given. The task of explaining the condemnation was left to the theologians. The condemnations are de fide, the grounds or reasoning on which the pope relied are not.
    Similarly, in 1679, Pope Innocent XI condemned 65 propositions, drawn from the works of unnamed casuists. It concludes, “All condemned and prohibited, as they are here expressed, at least as scandalous and in practice pernicious.” Here the condemnation applies to each of them, but, again, no grounds are stated, for, after all, Catholics are bound by the Pope’s teaching, not his opinions.
    Modern practice makes it more difficult to extract he dogmatic kernel, but the distinction remains valid.

  • I do think our Pope Emeritous and his predecessor were eminently capable of speaking off the cuff in response to questions whether queried by children or scholars without causing themselves or the Church distress
    What comes out of the mouth reflects years of thinking and praying. The previous two popes were soaked in a different culture and attitude than is at least at first, apparent in this pope.

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  • I’m not a as literate in the Bible as I should be, but it seems to me that the first Pope, St. Peter, really doesn’t have that much to say once Jesus was crucified, rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, etc. I think he only has two books, 1st Peter and 2nd Peter, to his name. St. Paul, on the other hand–not even one of the original Disciples/Apostles, wrote pretty much half the New Testament. Am I wrong on that? Is there a subtle message here?

  • DJ Hesselius

    In Acts, we have five speeches of St Peter: Pentecost (2:14-39); the Temple Beggar (3:11-4:4), First Arrest (4:8-12) Second Arrest (5:29-32) Cornelius Episode (10:34-43)

    Then, if we identify St Mark with the Mark who left St Paul at Perga on Paul’s first missionary journey and later accompanied Barnabas to Cyprus, we find that he was with St Peter in Rome, who refers to him in 1Pet 5: 12-13. This would confirm the tradition that St Mark’s gospel is, in fact, the gospel of St Peter. Indeed, were I to indulge in a bit of Higher Criticism, I would suggest that it is made up of five Papal Allocutions – (1) the beginning of the Galilean ministry to the calling of the
    Twelve (1:2-3:19); (2) the training of the Twelve to their first commissioning (3:20-6:13); (3) the later Galilean ministry (6:14-9:51); (4) ministry on the way to Jerusalem (10:1-13:37); (5) the passion narrative (14:1-16:8).

  • Here we go again. Poor Fr Lombardi needs an explainarion for his explainarion of Pope Francis. This is becoming hilarious.

    It should be obvious that when Pope Francis does media interviews he speaks to Non-Catholics.
    Listen to his homilies if you want direction in your Faith.

    I think this is what Fr Lombardi means.

  • Am I off base in my cautious feeling on Pope Francis? I haven’t had a completely peaceful feeling from the get go and have not fully embraced him yet. I never felt that way about JP2 or Pope Benedict. It’s things like this that only confirm my uneasiness.

  • We would all rest a little easier if we remember that the Pope was chosen by the Holy Spirit, is the Vicar of Jesus and is constantly under Jesus’s watchful attention. Perhaps Pope Francis is searching out the lost sheep and not so concerned about the 99 who are safely in the fold. To dialogue with non-Catholics and non-devout Catholics one needs to get their attention and some good will. You don’t start a useful discussion with a Muslim, for example, buy condemning the Quran but would do better to praise the Quran for bringing the Arabs to recognize the One God.

  • “Anyway, one shouldn’t exaggerate the role of divine inspiration. As one cardinal put it to me after the election of Benedict XVI, “I was never whapped on the head by the Holy Spirit. I had to make the best choice I could based on the information available.”

    Perhaps the classic expression of this idea belongs to none other than the outgoing pope, Benedict XVI, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked on Bavarian television in 1997 if the Holy Spirit is responsible for who gets elected. This was his response:

    I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. … I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.

    Then the clincher:

    There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2013/02/does-the-holy-spirit-pick-the-pope-ratzinger-didnt-think-so/

  • Wait a minute. The Holy Spirit is God. Nothing happens that God is powerless to prevent. All evil that God permits is for the sake of a greater good that will result. There is a reason God wants Pope Francis at this point in Church and world history. Catholics who understand this aren’t worried, but watch with interest to see what the Holy Spirit has in mind. Cardinal Ratzinger’s remarks need to be taken in this context. It’s legitimate to wonder what’s going on, but not to question or doubt God’s judgment and power.

  • “Nothing happens that God is powerless to prevent.”

    Correct, but that is different from God causing something to happen. Much that goes on in this Vale of Tears is because God gives us the freedom to chart our own course. When Rodrigo Borgia was elected pope as Alexander VI, I doubt seriously if God was involved except perhaps to demonstrate that popes could be very evil men indeed and that the Church would survive nonetheless. I normally am very chary of assuming that God is willing anything, unless God gives a clear indication that this is so.

  • First, I confirm your idea of an on-going discussion on Pope Francis and news, etc surrounding the papacy Donald. I am sure it will be done with a Catholic Faith ‘perspective’. Ever since the Lord Jesus said, “You are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build My Church….” we have had a ” theological datum”, a given word of God and structure-ministry.

    I also want to affirm your repetition of Pope Benedict’s ‘minimalist’ understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role in the election/selection of the popes. While each of the validly elected popes leading up to and including Pope Francis are indeed the Successors of Saint Peter, in some cases, the Holy Spirit kept their mouths shut concerning teaching matters of faith and morals (while the mind immediately moves to some popes in the fifteenth to early sixteenth century, actually we had several worse ones in the 900’s)

    As to the format of interview, of which Fr Lombardi spoke, I would say that the first (Jesuit) interview is more reliable for insight into Pope Francis (again interpreting it correctly within all his statements, homilies, addresses) than the second interview. The first interviewee was done professionally, by the Jesuit interviewer, the final form reviewed by the Holy Father, and the translations done very carefully. The second interview was done non professionally by the Italian interviewer with no recording done, then reconstructed from memory and then further complicated by a very poor translation

  • Nevertheless, God’s plan for salvation history cannot be obstructed by anyone, including the Pope. God’s plan includes the good and bad popes, the good and imprudent decisions and statements of popes. We mortals need to wait a long time to see how a papal statement or decision made in our own time turns out in the end. It could be that the Italian journalist in question mis-remembered the exact words of the Holy Father in the context of the statements.

    The Decree on Religious Freedom of Vatican II seemed to contradict clear doctrinal statements of the past, until study and reflection made clear that there is no contradiction but true teaching addressing different issues.

  • “Nevertheless, God’s plan for salvation history cannot be obstructed by anyone, including the Pope.”

    Agreed. The problem is that for mortals it is rather difficult to determine the path that plan is following as we make our way through history. Occasionally that plan also calls upon Catholics to correct Peter when Peter is making a mistake. The great example of Saint Paul correcting Peter himself comes to mind. God uses both great and humble instruments to work His will, the problem of course always being that it is oh so easy for all of us to confuse our will with God’s.

  • How come when Cardinal Burke speaks I know exactly what he means. I prayed that he would be our new Pope. I guess the liberal bias of the Holy Roman Catholic Church was not ready yet for a leader who actually guides the flock in a coherent understanding of the truths of the faith. Or Sean O’Malley? Babel and Diabolical. I don’t even know why we were given the 10 commandments if we can change them to rationalize the whim of human sin. Something will happen, God is still in control of all. “Lead Me Lord”

  • Does anyone know if it is a sin in the Catholic Church, when delivering a homily, that the truths of the faith be taught? It is a captive audience. Personally I am tired of flowery stories that you can “mold” to your own conscience. When I go to my little church in Colorado, even though there may only be 10 people attending Mass that priest delivers a hard hitting, totally Catholic homily based on the day’s Scripture. On Sunday’s his homily always brings in the teaching of the church pertaining to that days readings. It is AWESOME! Of course he has so much time to sit around and think this stuff up. He only has 5 mission parishes that he serves, which are all 15 to 30 miles in every direction. I am assuming he knows more about his faith as he is from Kenya. We have such a hard time ordaining priests you know. He also has a brother who is a priest serving in the U.S. Maybe if these young people were taught the real faith we would have some priests, bishops and cardinals and Popes that knew what they were talking about. I must go now and look up and study the reflection in “Chicken Soup for the Soul” that our homily came from this week. YIKES!

  • It’s significant that Saint Paul was a bishop correcting the pope, not a layperson. We most often can’t be sure we see the truth more clearly than the pope, so as to be competent to “correct” him. First, we need to give it some time to see how things work out.

    H. Lyman Stebbing, founder of Catholics United for the Faith, used to say it’s not solely about what ordinary lay Catholics should do, but about what we usefully and fittingly should do. Unless we have a special way to contact the Pope, perhaps we should continue praying for him and doing what has been given to us to do.

    At least, we have evidence Pope Francis talks to Pope Benedict, an advantage never before enjoyed by a Pope.

    At Fatima Our Lady foretold that all this trouble in the Church and the world was going to happen if we didn’t do what she asked, viz., pray and offer our suffering as reparation for the conversion of sinners. Fatima was not primarily about the Pope and bishops consecrating Russia, but about ordinary laypeople praying and making reparation for the conversion of sinners. We need to pay closer attention to Fatima if we want to see the way out of the current mess.

  • Let the wine breathe will you.

  • With all due respect, Pope Francis is a liberal.

  • Bl. Julian of Norwich: ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.’

    St. Padre Pio: ‘Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry!’

    @FMShyanguya

  • Let us remember that, first and foremost, Papa Francesco is Latin American. Being married to a caleña, I have firsthand knowledge of the typical communication style of people from this region of the world.

    Mi querida esposa, bless her heart, frequently takes five minutes to say something that should take five seconds. On one occasion, when visiting a friend, she blurted out “Penguins Fan has apnea!” Not, hello, how are you, I like you new carpet, none of that.

    In her conversations with her friends, they talk about everything. Nothing is personal. Nothing. Off the cuff? Standard communicating practice if you’re from Latin America.

    Pope Benedict was measured and careful with his words. He spent a lot of his life in Rome…and elsewhere. His German upbringing and his father being very careful with his words were not lost on Joseph Ratzinger. Karol Wojtyla had to be careful about everything he said and did his entire adult life.

    Papa Francesco is not going to change his ways. He does not seem to care about the impact of his words or how they will be interpreted by those who are unfamiliar with his native culture, as he has NO experience with anything outside of his native Argentina until this year. He is 76. For those of us with parents at or near this age….how open are they to any suggestions that require a change in routine?

    Being a “sandwich” dad – I just turned 50, my boys are 5 and 22 months (and my mom is 73 and coming off two major operations this year), it’s time to help the señora get these little terrors in bed.

    Keep calm, pray the Rosary and the Angelus and carry on. I am not going to get upset about the Pope (with the exception of the FFI) unless he tries to deny the Traditional Latin Mass to everyone. Then, look out. Rorate Coeli from April will look like Sesame Street.

  • Could you define liberal please.

    You know I went to a Opus Dei school. I believe my faith to be well formed. I know right from wrong. Even though at times I, a sinner, may convince myself, something is right but really it’s actually a veil disguised as wrong. My conscience tells me so. I believe that comes from a proper religious education and formation- this comes from good schools, but primarily from parents who teach children to have it.

    On the other side of the coin, I see grown adults who were children of very strong Catholic families who went to the same Opus Dei school. Many of them shunned their Faith as adults because they didn’t like the hard line of their youth from their parents. They taught them right from wrong but didnt tell them why and didnt allow them to be emersed with others that werent Catholic. A person was judged who was divorced or co-habiting out of wedlock or going off the rails. I would say I wasn’t as emersed in the conservative side to the degree they were. I love my Faith today. They don’t go to Church.

    Whose “fault” is that. The conservative I suppose needs to be balanced. You need to recognise not all are at the same level as you in their Faith. Not because of the Pope. But down to the upbringing of children.

    You know the Pope has to administer to a larger number of Catholics. Who is he to please? If he is not meant to please the people but God, then why did they elect him and not another Benedict?

    I think all should be looked at in context, and stop worrying, thinking the he is ruining the Church. That’s his style- the Cardinals wanted a man with that style. That wouldn’t be re-iterating weekly that co-habiting is wrong, that divorce is wrong because alot of people left the Church because of these things and he is trying to make them come back to Church and in time their conscience will tell them it’s wrong.

    He is under alot of social media scrutiny today that PJPII wasn’t nor was Benedict. There were no American Conservative Blogs topical apart PJPII every move.

    History will judge Pope Francis.

  • Ez
    Your post recalls St Augustine’s words – ““He stirred many to believe by his words, but many did not believe though the dead were raised. Even his disciples were terrified and shattered by his cross and death, but the thief believed at the very moment when he saw him not highly exalted but his own equal in sharing in crucifixion. One of his disciples after his resurrection believed, not so much because his body was alive again, as because of his recent wounds. Many of those who crucified him, who had despised him while he was working his miracles, believed when his disciples preached him and did similar miracles in his name. Since, then, people are brought to faith in such different ways, and the same thing spoken in one way has power to move and has no such power when spoken in another way, or may move one man and not another, who would dare to affirm that God has no method of calling whereby even Esau might have applied his mind and yoked his will to the faith in which Jacob was justified? But if the obstinacy of the will can be such that the mind’s aversion from all modes of calling becomes hardened, the question is whether that very hardening does not come from some divine penalty, as if God abandons a man by not calling him in the way in which he might be moved to faith. Who would dare to affirm that the Omnipotent lacked a method of persuading even Esau to believe?”

  • I agree Michael. If a mans heart is hard, even our Great God won’t, not that He can’t, He won’t move it. He loves us so much that He won’t even force His will upon us. That’s true love. Our Free Will is His true love for us.

  • Ez

    St Augustine also says, “God has mercy on no man in vain. He calls the man on whom He has mercy in the way He knows will suit him, so that he will not refuse the call.” Thus, Scripture says, ““I will have mercy on whom I will, and I will be merciful to whom it shall please Me” [Exod. 33:19)]

    Again, St Augustine says, “ For they hear these things and do them to whom it is given; but they do them not, whether they hear or do not hear, to whom it is not given. Because, “To you,” said He, “it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” [Matt. xiii. 11] Of these, the one refers to the mercy, the other to the judgment of Him to whom our soul cries, “I will sing of mercy and judgment unto Thee, O Lord.” [Ps. CI. 1]”

  • Our Lord has told us that through our own intercession the most hardened of hearts can be converted. This is why we’ve been incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ. At Fatima Our Lady instructed us through the Angel of Peace and her own words that we have a duty to pray daily for the conversion of sinners (“O my God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee; and I ask your pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee”), and we have a duty to carry our crosses without complaining and offer them “for love of Jesus, for the conversion of sinners and as reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” She promised that if enough Catholics would do this (every day) then many sinners would be converted and there would be peace.

    The hopeful news is that in the last 4 years over 50,000 American Catholics have made a pledge to say this prayer and make this offering of daily suffering every day for the conversion of our country. Around 200 pledges were made in just the past 3 days.

  • Pope is the topmost authority.He should not give occasions for confusion in the minds of believers specially on matters relating to sexual morality and the ten Commandments
    Recently some of his utterances were interpreted by some media as if he was relaxing some rules on marriage,homosexuality etc. The believers should not be given chances for confusion. As far as we know all teachings on sexual morality,abortion etc are not teachings by a Pope but by God.

  • The Pope is the Lord’s chosen and for that we pray for him daily at Mass, Rosary, in our private devotions, etc.
    Thinking of Peter denying the Lord and the rest abandoning Him and Judas betraying Him ‘to go to his proper place’, there is no guarantee that any Pope will be loyal and faithful to the Lord and His teachings.
    The only certainty and assurance we have is that he cannot teach fallibly ex-cathedra and the gates of hell cannot withstand the Church (she takes the battle to them and wins, crushing the serpent’s head).

    PS The Apostles defects and shortcomings are quite evident in the gospels. Will any Pope be immune?

You Never Know When Something Will Come in Handy

Friday, October 4, AD 2013

 

 

John-Henry-Newman

 

 

 

In the coming turbulent days of the pontificate of Pope Francis, and rest assured that such turbulent days are rapidly approaching if not quite here, I rather suspect I will be accused by some of adopting an attitude towards him contrary to the way I analyzed the actions of his predecessor.  Such is not the case.  From a comment that I made on a thread relating to papal infallibility in 2010:

At Vatican I Eric, there was a conflict between those who wanted virtually every thing written or said by a Pope to be considered infallible and those who wanted a restrictive definition.  By and large those who wanted a restrictive definition prevailed.  The problem with a broad view of infallibility is that popes often contradict each other.  Consider Pio Nono’s view of religious liberty as compared to that of Pope John XXIII.

This is a complex area filled with minefields for faithful Catholics, and my thoughts in this area have been aided greatly by the writings of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, especially the essay linked below:

http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/vatican2/newman.html

“It in no way depends upon the caprice of the Pope, or upon his good pleasure, to make such and such a doctrine, the object of a dogmatic definition. He is tied up and limited to the divine revelation, and to the truths which that revelation contains. He is tied up and limited by the Creeds, already in existence, and by the preceding definitions of the Church. He is tied up and limited by the divine law, and by the constitution of the Church. Lastly, he is tied up and limited by that doctrine, divinely revealed, which affirms that alongside religious society there is civil society, that alongside the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy there is the power of temporal Magistrates, invested in their own domain with a full sovereignty, and to whom we owe in conscience obedience and respect in all things morally permitted, and belonging to the domain of civil society.”

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24 Responses to You Never Know When Something Will Come in Handy

  • Daily mass last Wednesday, Feast of the Guardian Angels, the celebrant coul not contain himself. When there is typically no homily, we got a long reflection about the wonderful and timely changes that were coming from our new pope. You are more right than you know. I pray the Church’s guardian angel has his eyes open.

  • Uh… sorry to be offtopic, but if someone wants to send tips or links to one of you guys, how do we do it?

  • Ditto. In my diocesan paper this week, the editorial headline blares “Francis’s Tells Us Not Get Caught Up In Morality, But the Gospel Message.” I thought the Gospel message included what one must do to others as well as to attain eternal life.

  • When the Holy Spirit speaks through the Pope, then the Holy Spirit is infallible. Indeed, when the Holy Spirit speaks, the Holy Spirit is infallible regardless of the one through whom He chooses to speak. That said, not everything that the Pope says is from the prompting of the Holy Spirit. It would do well for us to get away from the cult of personality. That old AA saying – principles before personalities – comes to mind. Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition should guide our thoughts, words and actions in these matters. In these coming turbulent times it behooves me to keep up with my daily Rosary, my daily Scripture reading and frequent attendance at Confession. Without doing those things how can I differentiate between the True and the False?

  • Reminds me of the saying “I believe in the priesthood in spite of priests.” Same with the Papacy.

  • Thanks Don…I struggled through reading Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (struggled because ‘we just don’t speak good English no more’…) and was excited when Pope Benedict XVI beatified now-Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman…these comments are good to find.

    Dave Armstrong, a Catholic apologist, has a book called The Quotable Newman: A Definitive Guide to His Central Thoughts and Ideas…it’s in my lengthy queue for must-reads. I’d wager there are a lot more gems in that.

    I also have to echo Nate’s query…occasionally I run across something that has me say “Someone at TAC needs to hear about this”…without opening you guys up to spam, is there some way to give you guys news or story tips?

  • I think the most shocking thing for me has been the level of anger elicited if you even dare to suggest that we might have to wait and see to determine if Francis is going to be a great pope. If you do not immediately understand how awesome he is, and how really profound everything he says is, then you are either: (1) stupid; (2) a heretic; or (3) maybe you were never actually Catholic in the first place.

  • “(1) stupid; (2) a heretic; or (3) maybe you were never actually Catholic in the first place.”

    Here is a make-believe word for that: adhominemize.

    As in, “Don’t adhominemize me, Bro!”

  • In this world, when anyone presents someone in an all or nothing manner, such as ‘everything he says’, followed by a brickbat for those just considering the same; then there’s a case for further consideration. It’s as if the singer is the song to that someone without regard to the Composer.

    This world is a place where inconsistency causes trouble, dangerous trouble.

  • “It in no way depends upon the caprice of the Pope, or upon his good pleasure, to make such and such a doctrine, the object of a dogmatic definition. He is tied up and limited to the divine revelation, and to the truths which that revelation contains. He is tied up and limited by the Creeds, already in existence, and by the preceding definitions of the Church. He is tied up and limited by the divine law, and by the constitution of the Church. Lastly, he is tied up and limited by that doctrine, divinely revealed, which affirms that alongside religious society there is civil society, that alongside the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy there is the power of temporal Magistrates, invested in their own domain with a full sovereignty, and to whom we owe in conscience obedience and respect in all things morally permitted, and belonging to the domain of civil society.”
    This is the finest definition of the principle of separation of church and state. Thank you.

  • In his Letter to the Dukeof Norfolk, Bl John Henry Newman also reminds us that “Billuart speaking of the Pope says, “Neither in conversation, nor in discussion, nor in interpreting Scripture or the Fathers, nor in consulting, nor in giving his reasons for the point which he has defined, nor in answering letters, nor in private deliberations, supposing he is setting forth his own opinion, is the Pope infallible,” t. ii. p. 110 And for this simple reason, because on these various occasions of speaking his mind, he is not in the chair of the universal doctor.
    Nor is this all; the greater part of Billuart’s negatives refer to the Pope’s utterances when he is out of the Cathedra Petri, but even, when he is in it, his words do not necessarily proceed from his infallibility. He has no wider prerogative than a Council, and of a Council Perrone says, “Councils are not infallible in the reasons by which they are led, or on which they rely, in making their definition, nor in matters which relate to persons, nor to physical matters which have no necessary connexion with dogma.” Præl. Theol. t. 2, p. 492. Thus, if a Council has condemned a work of Origen or Theodoret, it did not in so condemning go beyond the work itself; it did not touch the persons of either. Since this holds of a Council, it also holds in the case of the Pope; therefore, supposing a Pope has quoted the so-called works of the Areopagite as if really genuine, there is no call on us to believe him; nor again, if he condemned Galileo’s Copernicanism, unless the earth’s immobility has a “necessary connexion with some dogmatic truth,” which the present bearing of the Holy See towards that philosophy virtually denies.”

  • Pio Nono and John XXIII did not contradict each other on religious freedom: they were addressing two different matters, viz., whether conscience is the final arbiter of truth on the one hand (no) and whether everyone has a right to seek the truth about God and act according to the truth he discovers (absolutely). Both popes would agree on both points.

    Catholics need to distinguish between what Pope Francis actually says, in the context of what he says, and what the media report him as saying or meaning. Pope Francis knows Catholic moral doctrine and fully agrees with it. He is proposing alternative ways to evangelize, not alternative ways to believe.

  • Is anyone familiar with the writings of an Irish priest Fr. Denis Fahey? He wrote in the 30’s- 40’s his main book being The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World. He laid out the forces that were against the Church and society. The book is still so relevant today.

  • Vatican I wisely limited the infallibility doctrine of the Pope to Ex Cathedral solemn prnouncements. This solemn dogma states that when a pope makes an ex cathedral statement, that statement is equal to dogmas proclaimed by Ecumenical Councils. Both (papal and conciliar) are forms of extraordinary actions of the Magisterium of the Church.

    However, there is the ordinary form of the Magisterium’s ( pope and bishops) infallible teaching in matters of faith and morals. This is one of the great clarifications made during the ministry of Blessed John Paul and worked out by Cardinal Ratzinger and the Congregation of the Faith. However, even this does not make every utterance from a pope “infallible”, etc.

    In a post above Brian makes a great point. He complains about those who go bonkers when one suggests it might take some time to see if Pope Francis ( or any pope for that matter) will be seen to be a good or even great pope. However the same applies when someone suggests it might take time to see if all the fears and criticisms pan out and Francis (or any pope) is a ” problematic”, ” not so good” or even a ” bad” pope.

    While we have been blessed with some very good and even great popes in the recent past, and it is important to recognize that some popes in our two thousand year history have sadly been ” bad”, history reveals that a vast majority were somewhere in the middle. They were neither great or terrible. They simply were the successors of Peter preserving both the teaching and unity of the Church as best they could in the historical context within they ministered

  • “Pio Nono and John XXIII did not contradict each other on religious freedom:”

    Wrong.

    ” 15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. — Allocution “Maxima quidem,” June 9, 1862; Damnatio “Multiplices inter,” June 10, 1851.”

    One of the propositions condemned by Pio Nono in his Syllabus of Errors.

    “14. Also among man’s rights is that of being able to worship God in accordance with the right dictates of his own conscience, and to profess his religion both in private and in public.”

    Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris

    Religious liberty as such did not exist during the reign of Pius IX in the Papal States, as it had not existed under his predecessors. He was somewhat more liberal on the question at the start of his reign. He freed Jews from the Roman ghetto at the start of his reign, and also freed them from the necessity of hearing Christian sermons periodically. These salutary reforms were reversed by Pius after he lost control of the papal states in 1849 and was returned to power by a French army that same year. Pius, although personally affable to people of all faiths, did not believe in religious liberty in any shape or fashion, except the traditional grudging tolerance that the Church extended to Jews.

  • Do I understand your statement/ position correctly Donald-that there is a real (versus perceived) rupture in the Magisterium of the Church(in this case between Pius IX and John XXIII?

  • I think it is an extremely troubling question Botolph, and far keener minds than mine have wrestled with it.

    The best face that can be put on it was done by Cardinal Dulles:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2008/08/003-religious-freedom-innovation-and-development-41

    I of course as an American am all in favor of religious liberty and celebrate that it is now the policy of the Church. However, I am enough of an historian to recognize that the development in doctrine in this area is an extreme one and is almost a 180 degree development.

  • Fair enough Donald. The answer is by no means simple, as Cardinal Dulles well shows. Overall, though, Cardinal Dulles would interpret such a question concerning. The relation between the Magesterium of the 19th century and the 20th/21st centurity as one of continuity and not rupture.

    The declarations of the Church in the 19th century were made in light of and in the context of the principles of the more radical French Revolution and the power of Masonry in Europe and more specifically in Italy. When Pius IX was speaking America was not even a blip on his radar screen. It was the much milder and far from radical American form of Freedom of Religion that became the context within the Church at Vatican II’s teaching on religious freedom to offset at that time the lack of rel.igious freedom behind the Iron and Bamboo curtains.

    Now, in the first quarter of the Twentieth century, we have a new historical context. The Iron Curtain is gone; the bamboo curtain is not what it was, although still a problem. The new context is a widespread “war on Christianity” in many countries, most especially by Islamicist forces (not all Moslems by any means). In the West however we are facing new forces, even here in America-that seem to be attempting to limit freedom of religion merely into freedom of worship. However, this weekend we are witnessing even our Govt’s intervention in our worship ( troubling issue of not allowing priests to celebrate Mass or baptize etc because the Govt is shut down) While I do not doubt that this will be straightened out, the fact that priests who would be volunteering would be arrested if the celebrate Mass or baptize should be recognized by all as new ground, a line that has been crossed.. We all need to become more aware.

    It therefore.becomes imperative that we Catholics work through our genuine questions on the subject of religious freedom-as the Church really understands this teaching

  • lol that should read ” in the first quarter of the twenty-first century”. Sorry lol

  • Actually, Donald, regarding religious liberty and whether or not Pius IX and John XXIII contradicted each other, let’s let the Catechism of the Catholic Church speak:

    2108 The right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to adhere to error, nor a supposed right to error, ( 37 Cf. Leo XIII, Libertas praestantissimum 18; Pius XII AAS 1953,799) but rather a natural right of the human person to civil liberty, i.e., immunity, within just limits, from external constraint in religious matters by political authorities. This natural right ought to be acknowledged in the juridical order of society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right (Pius XII, 6 December 1953).

    2109 The right to religious liberty can of itself be neither unlimited nor limited only by a “public order” conceived in a positivist or naturalist manner (Cf. Pius VI, Quod aliquantum (1791) 10; Pius IX, Quanta cura 3). The “due limits” which are inherent in it must be determined for each social situation by political prudence, according to the requirements of the common good, and ratified by the civil authority in accordance with “legal principles which are in conformity with the objective moral order” (cf Pío IX, enc. “Quanta cura”).

  • I often feel that some theologians are inclined to treat past magisterial pronouncements in the same way that Bl John Henry Newman, in a memorable piece of biting satire, accused his erstwhile colleagues of treating the Fathers: “I read the Fathers, and I have determined what works are genuine, and what are not; which of them apply to all times, which are occasional; which historical, and which doctrinal; what opinions are private, what authoritative; what they only seem to hold, what they ought to hold; what are fundamental, what ornamental. Having thus measured and cut and put together my creed by my own proper intellect, by my own lucubrations, and differing from the whole world in my results, I distinctly bid you, I solemnly warn you, not to do as I have done, but to accept what I have found, to revere that, to use that, to believe that, for it is the teaching of the old Fathers, and of your Mother the Church of England. Take my word for it, that this is the very truth of Christ; deny your own reason, for I know better than you, and it is as clear as day that some moral fault in you is the cause of your differing from me. It is pride, or vanity, or self-reliance, or fullness of bread. You require some medicine for your soul; you must fast; you must make a general confession; and look very sharp to yourself, for you are already next door to a rationalist or an infidel.”

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Sandro Magister on the Gap Between Pope Francis and Popes Benedict and John Paul II

Thursday, October 3, AD 2013

Pope Francis

 

My go to guy when it comes to analysis of what is going on at the Vatican has always been Italian journalist Sandro Magister.  In a column today he explains the great gap between Pope Francis and his two immediate predecessors on the Chair of Peter:

 

 

There is nothing in this program of the pontificate that could turn out to be unacceptable to the dominant secular opinion. Even the judgment that John Paul II and Benedict XVI did “very little” in opening to the modern spirit is in line with this opinion. The secret of the popularity of Francis is in the generosity with which he concedes to the expectations of “modern culture” and in the shrewdness with which he dodges that which could become a sign of contradiction.

In this he decisively separates himself from his predecessors, including Paul VI. There is a passage in the homily that then-archbishop of Munich Ratzinger pronounced at the death of Pope Giovanni Battista Montini, on August 10, 1978, that is extraordinarily illuminating, in part on account of its reference to conscience “that is measured by the truth”:

“A pope who today would not undergo criticism would be failing in his task in the face of these times. Paul VI resisted telecracy and demoscopy, the two dictatorial powers of the present. He was able to do so because he did not take success and approval as the parameter, but rather conscience, which is measured by the truth, by the faith. This is why on many occasions he sought compromise: the faith leaves very much open, it offers a wide spectrum of decisions, it imposes as the parameter love, which feels obligated toward everything and therefore imposes great respect. This is why he was able to be inflexible and decisive when what was at stake was the essential tradition of the Church. In him this toughness did not derive from the insensitivity of one whose journey is dictated by the pleasure of power and by disdain for persons, but from the profundity of the faith, which made him capable of bearing the opposition.”

*

In confirmation of that which distances Pope Francis from his predecessors has come precisely the letter with which Ratzinger-Benedict XVI – breaking his silence after his resignation – responded to the book “Dear pope, I write to you” published in 2011 by the mathematician Piergiorgio Odifreddi.

Both of the past two popes have dialogued willingly with professed atheists and secular opinion leaders, but they have done so in very different forms. If Francis dodges the stumbling blocks, Ratzinger instead emphasizes them.

It should be enough to read this passage of his letter to Odifreddi:

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15 Responses to Sandro Magister on the Gap Between Pope Francis and Popes Benedict and John Paul II

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  • Someone needs to inform Sandro Magister that he’s relying on a “bad translation” from Italian.

    Oh … wait …

  • I have long been a reader of Sandro Magister, and will remain so. I had read the full version of this article Wednesday. Sandro has been a “fan” of Joseph Ratzinger for a long time, predating Joseph Ratzinger’s election to the See of Peter. Having said this however, I have found his accuracy not up to his usual snuff. He has got several things wrong ( hey, he/we are all human lol) I share this as just a precaution in taking everything he writes as gospel.
    One thing I have noticed is that he has found it very difficult,ult “to let go” of Pope Benedict and his ministry. This is not unlike parishioners finding it hard to let go of the former pastor and embracing the new one. It is a very human response.
    What Sandro has done in this article is to try to show how Pope Francis is so different from his predecessors. For example in giving us the wonderful comments about the papal ministry that Ratzinger preached at the death of Pope Paul’s death, Sandro has left an inference that what motivates Pope Francis is desire for acclaim and fear of rejection. Concerning the prohibition of the Extraordinary Form for that particular Franciscan Order (a very complex issue in itself), Sandro mentions that Pope Benedict has told visitors basically that that decision was a slap in the face. I would be stunned if a man of the caliber of Ratzinger would make such an utterance ( even IF he indeed felt that way) given the potential harm that this could bring to the peace and communion of the Church

    Sandro needs to return to Pope Benedict’s hermeneutic of continuity and dispense with his ” spirit of Benedict” interpretations

  • “I share this as just a precaution in taking everything he writes as gospel.”

    Which applies to Popes as well.

  • I was troubled by Pope Benedict’s abdication. I could see no good coming out of it.

  • No less than Dante himself was upset when an old and ‘monkish’ pope of his time, Celestine, resigned. So upset was he that he put him in hell in his Inferno. Thankfully, history and the Lord were more merciful. He is now a canonized saint.
    On an even more fascinating note, Pope Benedict had a special love for him, making a special visit to the place oh Celestine’s tomb and made a poignant address there. This leads many to believe that Benedict had ‘resigning’ from the papacy much earlier than his announcement of resignation.

  • @Botolph,

    You state that Sandro Magister “has got several things wrong” (which implies factual mistakes) but then you don’t mention a single such error. If you consider his opinions “wrong”, it only means that it is your opinions against his. And we don’t know for sure that Pope Celestine V is the nameless figure in Dante’s “Inferno” who made “the great refusal” – it is only a guess.

  • I thought not to mention that. Celestine V is not named in Canto III, the “vestibule of Hell: the opportunists.”

    Some scholars alternately opined that that shade is Pontius Pilate.

    In addition to the deadly sins, betrayal of Jesus, Dante (allegory/fiction) places “poor damned souls” (Kipling) in Hell based on his ideas about their guilt for Church corruption, harm to Florence and affronts to his family’s and his political faction’s interests.

    John Ciardi is fairly convinced it’s Celestine. Here his footnote, N.B. the last sentence:

    “12. •who, in … Denial: This is almost certainly intended to be Celestine V, who became pope in 1294. He was a man of saintly life, but allowed himself to be convinced by a priest named Benedetto that his soul was in danger since no man
    could live and die world without being damned. In fear for his soul he withdrew from all worldly affairs and renounced the papacy. Benedetto promptly assumed the mantle himself and became Boniface VIII, a pope who became for Dante a symbol of all the worst corruptions of the church. Dante also blamed
    Boniface and his intrigues for many of the evils that befell the city of Florence. Celestine’s great guilt is that his cowardice (in selfish terror for his own welfare) served as the door through which so much evil entered the church.”

    Will any good come out of Benedict’s resignation?

  • Sygurd,
    Although Dante and his family were Guelphs, the party favoring the pope over the Holy Roman Emperor, there is no doubt about Dante’s abhorrence of Npope Boniface, the pope at the time of his writing the Divine Comedy. Boniface, not one of the papacy’s greatest examples, became pope when Saint Celestine resigned the papacy.

    As to Sandro, there have been a couple of his columns that have proved off target over the last months- considering how on target he is, Ibdon’t believe that is a bad record. I was just saying be aware of this. More to the point is his love and devotion to the person and papacy of Pope Benedict. I kind of feel for him. As I wrote above is that he reminds me of a parishioner having difficulty letting go of the former pastor and really welcoming the new.

    Devoted to Benedict he needs to keep both Pope Benedict’s hermeneutic ( way of interpteting things) as well as Benedict’s non-imposing manner in mind

  • @Botolph,

    “Although Dante and his family were Guelphs, the party favoring the pope over the Holy Roman Emperor, there is no doubt about Dante’s abhorrence of Npope Boniface, the pope at the time of his writing the Divine Comedy. Boniface, not one of the papacy’s greatest examples, became pope when Saint Celestine resigned the papacy.”

    True but how does this relate to my correction of your statement? If anything, it only reinforces my doubts – if Dante was an enemy of Pope Boniface (which he undoubtedly was), why would he place his victim – as you know, Boniface practically jailed Celestine after his election – in Hell? I also find your explanation of Sandro Magister’s supposed “errors” very subjective and unconvincing. If you can point out his objective mistakes, go ahead and do it. Mere innuendo won’t do.

  • Sygurd, now two have responded concerning Dante and Celestine. These are comments and scholastic dissertations.

    As for Sandro, his columns are available. Go back over the past year and you will find some of his stories that did not pan out or in one case, he misinterpreted. Again these are comments and not scholastic discourse or a debating society. If you take the time to pour over his columns you too will see the few difficulties

  • @Botolph,

    I see that you prefer to be stubborn insyead of looking objectively at the issues at hand. I’ve met this kind of response at other Catholic sites many times and my answer to it is “good-bye”.

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Obama Hearts the Pope

Thursday, October 3, AD 2013

Pope Francis

 

 

Why am I not surprised?

 

President Obama said in an interview on Wednesday that he had been “hugely impressed” with Pope Francis, “not because of any particular issue” but because he seemed to be “thinking about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away.”

“He seems somebody who lives out the teachings of Christ. Incredible humility, incredible sense of empathy to the least of these, to the poor,” the president said in an interview on CNBC. “He’s also somebody who’s, I think, first and foremost, thinking about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away. How to find what’s good in them as opposed to condemn them.”

Pope Francis has given two interviews that were published in the last two weeks in which he has indicated that he wants to see a truce in the culture wars and that the church should put love and mercy above doctrine and judgment. On the issues of abortion, gay marriage and contraception, Pope Francis said, “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” adding, “We have to find a new balance.”

These words may offer a ray of hope to Mr. Obama, who has been locked in a standoff with Roman Catholic bishops in the United States. The bishops are suing the Obama administration over a mandate in the president’s health care law that requires Catholic colleges and hospitals to allow their employees access to free birth control, including morning-after pills that the bishops say are abortifacients. Declaring that President Obama is a threat to the church’s religious freedom, the bishops have mounted a major campaign to rally Catholics across the country to oppose the contraception mandate.

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15 Responses to Obama Hearts the Pope

  • Baby murderers always love him.

  • Oh brother, we are in trouble. But this Church has survived for 2,000 years, and it will survive Francis. I am just going to hate seeing the good work of JPII and B16 undermined.

  • Does that mean the rest of us “token” Catholics who live in our narrow minded, Beatitude, 10 Commandment, Corporal Works of Mercy, seven Sacraments following fantasy lifestyle have no worth? I am going to write to that Pope!

  • Herod lives in Obama….what a jerk…he twists the words of Pope Francis just as bad as the press….

  • I imagine the Pope returns the hearts.

    Even as the wicked refuse to join in the blessed endeavor, they are to be loved as enemies are loved in Christian charity. Because as long as they live, there is the possibility that they may come to a better mind.

    That possibility is really slim when the Church hearts the wicked.

    Guess from whom I got all that.

  • The secularists love this guy. Now being secularists they love him because they project on him their own graven images. What I haven’t been able to figure out is to what extent he is in fact giving them aid and comfort knowingly.

  • To a large extent we’ve had good Popes for the past several centuries. But we have rebelled against God by thinking in our hubris and arrogance that we can create the Kingdom of God on Earth through our own good works, and then we have the unmitigated gall to call that social justice. Now we have Pope Francis. God gives us the leaders we deserve. It’s 1st Samuel chapter 8 all over again.

  • T Shaw – tell – I can’t guess

  • Anzalyne: That would be St. Augustine.

  • Encyclical? No! Papal Bull? No.
    Interviews given. Pope Francis is being….well himself. He might be stirring it up to say the least…but let’s not forget these are interviews in Italian and then translated with a possible twist.

    Interviews are not Encyclicals.

  • Guilt by association is a lazy and irrational form of criticism, whether it comes from the left or the right. It’s interesting how some conservative Catholics are at pains to deny that Pope Francis is saying anything new, while others seem to fear that Nancy Pelosi has taken over the Papacy. I think philip has the right attitude. A couple of lines in a personal interview does not spell crisis in the Church.

  • “It’s interesting how some conservative Catholics are at pains to deny that Pope Francis is saying anything new, while others seem to fear that Nancy Pelosi has taken over the Papacy.”

    Conservative Catholics do not come from a clone factory with the same views imprinted upon their DNA so naturally there will be a divergence of opinion. The fact that Obama admires the Pope is not guilt by association but rather an assumption by him that this Pope will be better for him politically than the last one. Thus far, judging from the confusion and hits to morale that Pope Francis has, through his interviews, sown among some people who should be his most loyal supporters, I would say that Obama is dead on accurate in that assessment.

  • …let’s not forget these are interviews in Italian and then translated with a possible twist.

    Sure. Well then. Let’s check in with an Italian atheist to see what he thinks the Pope said (per Sandro Magister):

    One passage of the article of August 7 in which Scalfari posed questions to him was already indicative of the positive idea that the founder of “la Repubblica” had formed of the current pope:

    “His mission contains two scandalous innovations: the poor Church of Francis, the horizontal Church of Martini. And a third: a God who does not judge, but forgives. There is no damnation, there is no hell.”

    Scalfari is pretty clear on what he understood the Pope to say.

    No hell. No heaven. Just people, striving to love, or to conquer, each other on earth.

  • Let’s pray for truth to prevail and that the guidance of the Holy Spirit will lead our Holy Father to Sheppard Gods people, self-rightious and humble alike.
    Room for atheists…..always welcomed home in Gods timing.

  • The man first was a Catholic, then a Jesuit. Does that say anything?

Wanted: Full Time Papal Translator

Tuesday, October 1, AD 2013

 

Pope Francis

 

I am glad that Pope Francis seems to be enjoying being the Pope so much.  He certainly seems to be having a high old time, giving colorful interviews that raise the spirits of the enemies of the Church while depressing the spirits of many orthodox Catholics.  The latest colorful interview was with the atheist founder of La Repubblica, Eugenio Scalfari, the largest newspaper in Italy, which was published in La Repubblica.  Go here to read it.

Pat Archbold at Creative Minority Report, notes some of the many, many questions raised by this interview:

In other words, another week, another papal interview with several “What the flock?” quotes?
Before I start, let me stipulate that just like before, if you turn your head 30 degrees to the left and squint, everything the Pope says can be squared with Catholic teaching, as if that still matters anymore.
Let’s start off with the biggest “Really?!?!” quote.

The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old. The old need care and companionship; the young need work and hope but have neither one nor the other, and the problem is they don’t even look for them any more. “

Really?  The most serious evils afflicting the world?  Surely Miley Cyrus should have made the list, no?  If not Hannah Montana, then, oh I dunno, millions o’ dead babies annually?  Maybe them over youth unemployment?  I am sure I just failing to understand the context here, again.

 

It’s a joke I tell him. My friends think it is you want to convert me.
He smiles again and replies: “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.

 

To which I tweeted “‘Cause Jesus said “Go therefore and make disciples…listen and improve your knowledge of the world around you!”
The Crescat at Patheos (Both noted  for their radical traditionalism, right?) seems to agree when she similarly wrote in response “Ha. Ha. Lulz. You mean this bit of nonsense. —  “Go therefore and teach all nations…
I think there is a real danger of confusing proselytism with evangelization.
CCC   The missionary mandate. “Having been  divinely sent to the nations that she might be ‘the universal sacrament  of salvation,’ the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder  and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to  preach the Gospel to all men”:339 “Go therefore and make  disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and  of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I  have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the  age.”340

Your Holiness, is there is a single vision of the Good? And who decides what it is? “Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good.”

Again, it can be seen with certain context to be true, but the context is lacking and the takeaway as clear as the truth here is muddied.

But Wait. What if I encourage people to  move towards what they think is Good, I might accidentally proselytize.   I am so confused. 
Continue reading...

63 Responses to Wanted: Full Time Papal Translator

  • Some thirty years ago, my high school French teacher told the class that if we “needed to give a story in order to explain why the answers to her test questions were correct, they weren’t.”

    Why do I have a sad, sinking feeling that if we have to give a story (usually multiple ones) to explain why the Pope is completely, utterly, totally orthodox, he isn’t?

    Maybe I’ve just had a long day.

  • “If the Church becomes like him and becomes what he wants it to be, it will be an epochal change.”

    Oh boy….change. Can’t wait (/sarc)

  • The Church has had good Popes. The Church has bad Popes. The Church will survive. The gates of hell will not prevail. But God still gives us the leaders we deserve.

  • The Church has had weak, incompetent popes too. As well-meaning as he may be, I’m afraid Francis will be remembered as such.

  • The Pope actually said in this interview: “I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.”

    More here:

    http://www.repubblica.it/cultura/2013/10/01/news/pope_s_conversation_with_scalfari_english-67643118/

  • Thankfully the nature of the Office tends not to lend itself to the cult of personality, over time. Once you’ve seen one Pope you’ve seen em all. I don’t know why this Jesuit is the Pope but AMDG, as they say.

  • I think Fr, Z’s take is much better than the useless hyperventilating we see in some other quarters:
    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/10/pope-francis-interview-in-la-repubblica-or-is-this-now-my-fate/

  • Oh, and about the proselytism issue. I think Pope Francis is in line the CDF under B16:

    “In this connection, it needs also to be recalled that if a non-Catholic Christian, for reasons of conscience and having been convinced of Catholic truth, asks to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church, this is to be respected as the work of the Holy Spirit and as an expression of freedom of conscience and of religion. In such a case, it would not be a question of proselytism in the negative sense that has been attributed to this term.[49] As explicitly recognized in the Decree on Ecumenism of the Second Vatican Council, “it is evident that the work of preparing and reconciling those individuals who desire full Catholic communion is of its nature distinct from ecumenical action, but there is no opposition between the two, since both proceed from the marvelous ways of God”.[50] Therefore, the work of ecumenism does not remove the right or take away the responsibility of proclaiming in fullness the Catholic faith to other Christians, who freely wish to receive it.” (Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization #12 Emphasis Added))

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20071203_nota-evangelizzazione_en.html

  • There has already been a great deal of questioning concerning the translation of this interview. However for some, that will make little or no difference. He is the pope, the bishop of Rome. He is Peter for us at this time. Peter has never been beyond questioning: Paul shows us that (Galatians 2) Having said that however where does genuine questioning end and psychological then semi formal schism begin?

    See if we begin picking Francis apart-and again, every word frm his mouth is not the word of God, on what basis do we complain, criticize and worse those who have ‘ held themselves apart’ from Pope Benedict or Hohn Paul II or Paul VI etc if recent popes belong in a category of questionable (and this is true for both Progressives and ultra traditionalists) then is it not also true we can criticize etc Pius XII, Pius X, Pius IX and the list goes on?

    This is why the hermeneutic of continuity is so necessary in order to maintain a needed equilibrium rather than becoming radicalized in either the Progressive. Or Traditionalist extremes

  • So here is my having-slept-on-it take: Both interviews attempt to thread the needle on being faithful to conscience. What remains unsaid is the connection between conscience and natural law. Take as a given that His Holiness isn’t saying that truth is whatever we want it to be. He cannot be carving out a relativist position since that would directly conflict with the Church’s consistent teaching that there is objective truth, objective rights and wrongs. He was speaking to Atheists and Agnostics in the published open letter last month. He was speaking to the laity, both churched and unchurched, in the America interview. He is again speaking to Atheists in this second interview. In all of them he says that faithfully following one’s conscience is a PATHWAY to salvation. Nothing revolutionary there. Not often said in Catholic circles since we like to think of the faith as a consistent and absolutely necessary whole but consistent with broader and deeper Church teaching nonetheless. What IS new is that he isn’t saying that the conscience one is following has to be PROPERLY FORMED for it to be a pathway to heaven. That is new and can only be predicated by acknowledgment that there is a blueprint for Truth imprinted on the human person – i.e. Natural Law is the foundation of the pathway to heaven. Looked at in this light, it is a starting point for the Agnostic, the non-Catholic, and the not-practicing Catholic. It seems like His Holiness is saying “look, the fact that you aren’t an awful person and that you care about being a good person indicates that God is already touching you. You can’t help it. God brought you into being and, having been touched by His hand, you cannot help but to want the Good. That is the start of something great and the Church is here to help you up that path.” Linking this up to the America Interview, His Holiness seems to be saying to the the practicing Catholic community “you aren’t helping people who are beaten and bloodied on the roadside, you are walking past them like the judgmental Pharisee in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. These brothers are at the path and your insistence that they immediately become what God means for them to be in order to be worthy of conversing with is an impediment to their discovering God. Stop it! Engage our brothers where they are and walk with them to the inn. Heal them as best you can and give the inn keeper (the Church) the means (be good stewards of what God has given you) to care for them. We’ll take it from here.” Stated differently, I think the Church is saying to the unchurched and the not-practicing-Catholic “we want to help but you have to let us” and to the practicing-Catholics “you have to engage the world and bring them to our doors by your love. We’ll take care of them once you bring them home.” Such are my thoughts at this point. I reserve the right to revisit them.

  • A very charitable interpretation David and I hope you are right. My guess right now, based upon this repeated pattern of interviews, is that at best, at the very best, we have a pope who engages his mouth without making sure his brain is following along. If the pope truly means all the glop and confusion he has been dishing out, God help us, and I mean that as a prayer.

  • I agree with David. However I offer these two thoughts, or words, Babel and Diabolical. The problem is most people whether Catholic, or not, haven’t a clue of the true teachings of the Catholic Church. The flock of the last 40 years has been subject to physco babel from our leadership, blatant disobedience from those given the very minds of all of these souls leading to mass confusion of, and total blind disregard of the true church. For this I believe they will be judged. Not by man. But what do I know? Hmm.

  • Pope Francis seems to have two favorite parables
    1, The Good Shepherd where he leaves the 99 who are in the fold to find the lost sheep
    2. The Prodigal Son where the guy who stayed home got no parties and fancy clothes because he’s there all the time.
    or
    Maybe his favorite film is “Keys of the Kingdom” where the priest on retirning from China says in a homily: “All athiests are not godless men. I met one who I hope is now in heaven” and he adds “A good Christian is a good man but I found that the Confucians had a better sense of humor.” (See my review in “Christians in the Movies.”)

  • Pope Francis has been going after the lost souls of his flock, the black sheep, but cannot succeed by destroying the flock or by leading the black sheep further away.

  • “The Pope actually said in this interview: “I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.”

    I loved that line. For a humble guy, he sure calls a lot of attention to himself.

    “If the pope truly means all the glop and confusion he has been dishing out, God help us, and I mean that as a prayer.”

    We know that in the 2005 conclave that Francis was the progressive alternative to B16. We also are painfully aware that the crowd at America, including their exiled leader Reese, as well as many other progressive Catholics and fellow travelers, are thrilled with Francis.

    For commentators in the Catholic Blogosphere to insist that orthodox Catholics are crazy for being concerned about Francis’ cryptic comments is, itself, insane.

  • Well, if the Holy Father needs a translator perhaps the author of this perceptive article should apply:

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/10/francis-in-dialogue-with-the-world

  • I am concerned Mr. English but I am doing what I can to make sense of what I’m reading. Paul got into it with Peter and, so, changed his mind about forcing Gentiles to become Jews in order to become Christians. Popes can be wrong about really important stuff. But I am not Paul. I am a poorly catechized Reagan-era Catholic who is trying to raise children who are better Christians than I am. That requires wrestling with Scripture, the Catechism, and a whole lot of other stuff like this. His Holiness is more likely right than I am so I am setting aside my worries and fears in hope that he can lead me more effectively than my poorly prepared self can.

  • Pingback: La Repubblica Pope Francis Interview - BigPulpit.com
  • Here’s the problem: Jesus descended to Earth in order to covert you and me. Once, people were religious and their harvests (spiritual not humanistic/materialistic) were plentiful; at present they are scanty.

    Where is the zeal for the salvation of souls?

    There is no progressive or traditional.

    There are the Gospel, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

    All else in vanity.

  • GJF, Thank you for linking to the article. I mostly agree but I don’t like this part: “Unless the day comes where he breaks with defined teaching, he will have my respect and obedience, and I will keep any transient dyspeptic moments to myself.” I’m with the commenter who noted that that is the last thing that I can imagine Pope Francis wanting – to suffer in silence and ignorance and not let anyone who can help us figure it out and move on. It is FAR better to share our fears and confusion and let others heal us than to hide the wound until we get gangrene.

  • I figure the folks who don’t want the Church will find ways to justify it, and the folks who know what’s up will stick to it… the only worry is for the folks in the balance.

    I must assume that he’s focusing on folks that aren’t in the USA!

  • Thank you for sharing Mr. Petrik. The article provides much new perspective for me.

  • If the Pope did say that he “had the humility and ambition to do something” that’s worrisome to me. If I recall in the Screwtape Letters that the uncle Devil said that the best way to get a believer was to make them proud of themselves for being so pious. I may be wrong but I think that true humility involves not being conscious of being humble.

  • If the Pope’s comments are meant to bring the lapsed Catholic back to the Church or encourage non-Catholics to join I think that is great.

    Based on how he can be perceived my concern is twofold:

    1. They will find an orthodox parish and feel unwelcome.
    2. They will find an unorthodox parish and feel welcome.

    LB

  • It’s becoming apparent that the more the pope speaks, the more he makes the case for the SSPX.

  • Respectfully, if he just didn’t speak, there would be no need for translators. Lord, have mercy on us.

  • Time our stellar post-conciliar papacies stopped behaving like rock stars and governed The Roman Catholic Church properly. No wonder it is full of filth and de facto schism. They neglect their episcopal pastoral duties. Sex, abuse and money have corrupted the so-called Conciliar church of “love”, while fewer than 20% of neo-catholics attend Sunday Mass.
    They should stop making ambiguous public statements and desist from excessive ecumenical and interconfessional activities that propagate indifference and confusion.

  • Respectfully, if he just didn’t speak, there would be no need for translators. Lord, have mercy on us.

    A traditionalist priest of my acquaintance who objected to the peripatetic quality of John Paul’s pontificate (and the volume of his talks and writings) put it this way: “the Pope’s not supposed to say too much”, as it introduces opacity into teaching.

    Yep.

  • At the outset do the first Big Interview the Holy Father says something to the effect that he is not one to speak odd the cuff, but that he always weighs his words and the effect they will have. I truly hope this is just one more piece of evidence of his deficient self-knowledge.

  • Pope Benedict said in his book on Jesus that it wasn’t an exercise of the Magisterium, so “everyone, then, is free to contradict me.”

    That would be a great disclaimer that should be written in big letters before any of these interviews by Pope Francis.

    Off the cuff interviews are not part of the magisterium.

  • “Off the cuff interviews are not part of the magisterium.”

    Bingo.

  • Two things strike me after reading the full interview:

    1) In this one there’s really not much to get upset about. I understand why people got worked up about the big America interview, in that it was a very deliberately put together and translated interview, and it was immediately followed by every MSM and dissident Catholic outfit shouting, “Pope says to shut up about abortion and gay marriage!” So at least there was a reason to get worked up there, though it was based on willful distortions by biased parties of what was being said. This, on the other hand, is a transcript by an atheist of a brief discussion that atheist had with the pope. The English translation is clearly pretty rocky, but reading the whole thing it’s pretty clear from the article itself that the pope isn’t saying most of the things that people are freaking out about. So, for instance, he says in a disarming sort of way that he’s not just there to proselytize the guy, but then he spends that last quarter or so of the interview clearly trying to draw him towards an understanding that the beliefs he had constitute a dim awareness of God. He talks about conscience in a way that sounds somewhat relativistic, but the he talks about how any sense we have of right and wrong comes from our encounter with the good. Etc. Moreover, this is a pretty obscure article in its English manifestation. It’s not like there are MSM or dissident Catholics running around saying, “Look what the pope says!” so I’m not really sure why people are bothering to worry about it that much.

    2) One of the things feeding all this frenzy is that there’s simply way too much coverage of the pope right now and its suffocating. I mean, we’re getting near the point where if the pope says “Pass the bread” at dinner, people will publish it and then worry that this means he doesn’t believe in the real presence. This “interview” is pretty clearly just a case of the pope spontaneously choosing to meet with a public critic and having a conversation with him in order to try to awaken some sort of realization of the truth in him. It’s not an encyclical. It’s not even an address or homily, it’s just a conversation. I think there’s something to Art’s point that the pope doesn’t need to be talking all the time, but obviously, this isn’t a matter of that pope literally having to be silent all the time. At least, it shouldn’t have to be. It shouldn’t be impossible for the pope to simply have a conversation with an unbliever without the whole world picking apart every line of the conversation to decide if it could have been better. He’s simply too much news right now and I wish the people would just stop covering it so much. Give it another year and the novelty will doubtless wear off and we’ll hear a lot less about it, but in the mean time, sheesh.

  • Please don’t make me listen to Jose the South American anymore.. I know how humble he is, but I really don’t need him to tell me how humble he is and how I’m a heretic for being partial to orthodoxy anymore!!!

  • Traduttore traditore…the Vatican is bad at communication to the secular world. It is frustrating and confusing to the faithful that misinformation or distortion of Catholic teachings filtered through the media is occurring so frequently. Pope Benedict was frequently misinterpreted, by design, now we appear to have yet more inventive interpretation of what ought to be clear, concise and unambiguous. Pope Francis is new to the office but those around him need to curb his instinct to act as if still an ordinary. Whether he is comfortable with the title or not he is Supreme Pontiff. Next time he ventures to chat with the secular press he might bear that in mind.

  • Darwin,

    Those are excellent points.

    I imagine I will have to keep those in mind throughout his Pontificate.

    LB

  • You certainly did to miss the point regarding the comment about youth unemployment as being one of the most serious evils that we are dealing with. And you sardonically respond with:Really? The most serious evils afflicting the world? Surely Miley Cyrus should have made the list, no? If not Hannah Montana, then, oh I dunno, millions o’ dead babies annually? Maybe them over youth unemployment? I am sure I just failing to understand the context here, again. Well, my response would be help the youth and you help the problem of the aborted babies, after all where do you, “Oh I dunno,” think they come from…

  • I think one area that we may need to explore is the cultural nuances of a Latino pope vs European. This could be related to some of his communications (just a guess). The culture often is communicated with more expression points, exaggerations, etc. than we are accustomed to. If so, I trust we and the pope will get better over time.

  • “Well, my response would be help the youth and you help the problem of the aborted babies, after all where do you, ‘Oh I dunno,’ think they come from.”

    Wrong! Conversion and repentance, holiness and righteousness come BEFORE prosperity and health, NEVER afterwards.

    Observe in the healing of the paralytic lowered through the roof of a house that Jesus does NOT meet the physical needs of the paralytic first. St. Thomas Aquinas in his Commentary on the Gospel of Matthews points out that like a good doctor, Jesus cures the CAUSE of the illness and does so FIRST, NOT the symptom. We know from elsewhere in Sacred Scripture that the entry of sin into the world brought disease and death. This is the cause of joblessness, hunger, destitution, poverty and all the myriad ills that afflict mankind – the serpent’s cry, “Non serviam!” This is what Jesus addresses FIRST – NOT social justice nonsense. Indeed, Jesus in reading the hidden thoughts of the Scribes and Pharisees, asks:

    For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

    The harder task is to heal the scarred and wounded soul, and it is this harder miracle that Jesus tackles first. Yet nowadays there remains this godless, sickening, putrid tendency in various Catholic jurisdictions and Protestant denominations to place primacy on social justice issues to the exclusion of the more important spiritual needs. Maybe this is because meeting a person’s spiritual needs is too hard for them. Perhaps this is because of the desire to see something happen. I think it is the hubris, the arrogance, the unmitigated gall of liberal progressives who believe that through their own works they can create the Kingdom of God on Earth by their own hands. It is time to jettison into the refuse can of fecal matter the malodorously bankrupt gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price for the Gospel which Jesus the Living Christ preached: Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand!

    The young and the old will be best served by carrying the Gospel of salvation to their souls. That is what Jesus did to the Paralytic FIRST, and THEN and ONLY THEN did He heal his physical body.

  • The Holy Father TALKS TOO MUCH and not very clearly. There is never that single memorable and powerful sentence or image that delivers. I find myself ‘awash’ in verbiage and THEN I have to go to Father Z to parse each word and show it is not REALLY as bad as it sounds.

  • Transparent: No more TLM for an order which is the reason for its growth,
    translucent: seeing the church as a field hospital for the wounded,
    and opaque: allowing correction of scandal and heretics to continuously slide to the detriment of souls.

    Jesus’ parables didn’t use sheep and vines for nothing.

  • Pope Francis addressed “those obsessed with abortion” and obsessed with gay issues, that is, the abortionists and the militant gays. Pope Francis did not address pro-lifers and so-called straights, those who adhere to the truth and enjoy their relationship and conversation with God. In Pope Francis’ interview with professed atheist, Eugenio Scalfari, editor of La Repubblica, Scalfari described the Big Bang theory invented by the Catholic priest, George Lemaitre and attributed to the English scientist, Hubble, which is the creation of time and space and which infers the atheistic theory of evolution, but from what? Hawkins theory of the law of gravity which has been proved to be nonsense? Scalfari did not and could not say. Pity the atheist and his poverty stricken life. Scalfari’s reasoning did not arrive at the First Principle, the Unmoved Mover, the Creator WHO is outside time and space, the Omnipresent, the Omnipotent, all loving, almighty God.

    “It’s a joke I tell him. My friends think it is you want to convert me.
    He smiles again and replies: “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”
    Proselytism by an atheist is solemn nonsense, for the atheist abandoned his reasoning when the atheist abandoned his immortal soul.

  • I agree that some of the commentary on some or the more conservative Catholic blogs have been unduly alarmist and over the top. That said, can we at least agree that the notion that youth unemployment and loneliness among the elderly are “the “most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days” is kind of silly? And the reference to obsession with abortion can admittedly be justified on the theory that “obsession” with anything is by definition disordered, but substitute “gassing of the Jews” for abortion and one should be able to understand the discomfort many serious Catholics are feeling.

  • “…but substitute ‘gassing of the Jews’ for abortion”

    How about substituting “concern for the poor” for abortion. Then you’ll see if such people are serious.

  • How about substituting “concern for the poor” for abortion. Then you’ll see if such people are serious.

    Serious about what, Phillip? Poverty is endemic in this world; mass legal abortion is not. Charitable endeavours can ameliorate some suffering, but only improved productivity can make for generalized alleviation. That is the work of merchants and industrialists, not people working in philanthropic concerns. As for ‘youth unemployment’, the major part of the bill for that can be served on those who wrote the labor law here there and the next place, or who composed corporate, commercial, and tax law so haphazardly administered as to force most businesses (and their employees) off the books. (I have not noticed the elderly are particularly ‘lonely’ outside of nursing homes, but I live neither in Argentina nor Italy nor France. Residents of nursing homes have quite a complex of problems in addition to lonliness).

  • Art,

    Thanks for proving the point. First, this is not to denigrate the poor, but to point out that if one is serious about Francis’s comments, then one should also be able to insert “the poor” instead of “abortion.” If the relationship with Christ is what is essential, then any obsession, even a very good one, is secondary.

    Having said that, you are very wrong in other ways. Abortion is completely banned only in a very few countries and even in those where it is legal there are always illegal abortions.

    Beyond that, extremes of poverty should be solved. But not all poverty is a moral evil. Some have enough to live a dignified life while being poor. This is not a moral evil. All abortion is a moral evil. So equating poverty with abortion is weak at best and you have in fact inverted their moral value.

  • So equating poverty with abortion is weak at best and you have in fact inverted their moral value.

    I have neither equated them, proved your point, or inverted their moral value. I have pointed out that they are problems of a different character, have to be addressed with different means, and that the degree of success you have will not be similar at all. Stop being dense.

  • Yes, and I have pointed out the nature of the difference of character (one is always evil whereas the other not), how you have confused the nature of those evils, and pointed out that both are actually quite prevalent.

    Thank-you for allowing me to correct your errors.

  • But if we are to talk about density (not that I will claim that for you) the post you originally commented on had nothing to do with solutions to poverty, abortion etc.

    Again, it was to point out that if one is serious about Francis’s comments on a person’s relationship to Christ, then one should not be obsessed either about poverty or abortion. A liberal would be as convicted as a conservative.

  • Thank-you for allowing me to correct your errors.

    Please stop being passive-aggressive about picking fights.

    We get it. You and Art disagree. Please stick to arguing the solid facts or pointing out the places you disagree, instead of that lukewarm snark.

  • Sorry Foxfier. Not passive aggressive at all but replying to the very inappropriate “dense” comment by Art.

    As to the errors, those are noted in my initial response to Art. If you disagree with those, please feel free to.

  • Then respond to it– don’t get snarky with the “thank you for allowing me to correct your errors” stuff.
    That sort of behavior is part of why calls for charity and good manners gets such a bad name.

  • But as with many blogs, much is lost in interpretation. My comment was originally to Mike Petrik. As noted several times, my comment was regarding those who might denigrate conservatives in light of the Pope’s poorly worded comments.

    To slightly change Mike’s comment:

    “And the reference to obsession with abortion can admittedly be justified on the theory that “obsession” with anything is by definition disordered, but substitute “obsession with poverty” for abortion and one should be able to understand the discomfort many serious Catholics are feeling.

    My point again being, that if one takes Francis’s words seriously about a relationship with Christ, one should accept such a statement. But I think many liberals would not. I think they would be as angry as some conservatives are when he references abortion.

    My comment had nothing to do with solving social problems, nor the role of the market, nor did it make any reference to elderly in Argentina.

    It was merely asking cognitive consistency among liberals.

  • Isn’t that so much better than a humorless, paternalistic and various other unpleasant characteristic flavored one-liner?

    (note: that’s why I was being careful not to pick sides; you both have a point, they’re just in totally different directions)

  • “Then respond to it– don’t get snarky with the “thank you for allowing me to correct your errors” stuff.”

    Again, it was addressed. If you have a problem with my points then address those. This is merely what you are asking.

    And again, do you find the “dense” comment good manners? If so, please address that.

  • “Isn’t that so much better than a humorless, paternalistic and various other unpleasant characteristic flavored one-liner?”

    You mean like this one.

  • Art was directly responding to a missing of his point after reiterating his point, regardless of how politely it was done; you were using a passive-aggressive one liner because you felt slighted, without bothering to likewise reiterate your case until three comments later, AND the one-liner was at best an example of “offensive charity.”

    Again, it was addressed.

    Not until you were repeatedly challenged on it.

    Rather ironic that you are upset about someone objecting to a perfect example of what the Pope most likely is doing– using an example that can easily be misinterpreted as equating two disparate things, even though the original example was clearly different.

  • Actually it was addressed in my very first comment to Art at 11:35 with the absence of any comments. It was in response to the “dense” comment that I responded in a similar vein.

    I responded again in the 2:52 comment before you joined the conversation. It was addressed a third time in the middle of these comments (crossed posted.) So it actually was addressed several time.

    I suspect you have not examined these closely.

  • Foxfire to Phillip: “We get it. You and Art disagree.”

    Actually, I’m not completely sure they do disagree. Art is correct that poverty is not an evil in quite the same way abortion is and that the latter is more analogous to the murder of Jews. But I don’t think Phillip disagrees with Art about that, but was simply observing that many liberal Catholics would not have been so sanguine about the Pope’s comment had he referred to poverty instead of abortion. On this, he is undoubtedly correct and I would be surprised if Art disagreed. The fact that the analogy is weaker than the one I offered would seem to be an indictment of such liberals precisely because the evil of abortion is of a higher grade than that of materialistic poverty.

    Assuming I’m correct (and I might not be), I regret my unintentional invitation to this violent agreement masquerading as an argument. I am not so much interested in highlighting the conservative/liberal divide that Phillip pressed, as I am in sharing my observation that the Holy Father’s statement seems to treat abortion as some sort of technical moral flaw as opposed to a holocaust in its own right. I do find it disturbing and puzzling.

  • Thank you Mike …. all seems to clarify why the pope has interpretive problems.

  • Thank you Mike. Always, you are a better writer than I am.

  • Pope Francis: ‘”The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old. The old need care and companionship; the young need work and hope but have neither one nor the other, and the problem is they don’t even look for them any more.”

    Jesus Christ

    For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. (Matthew 26:11)

    “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

    “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

    King Solomon

    “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2nd Chronicles 7:14)

    —–

    Poverty can never, ever be eradicated until sin is defeated. Conversion and repentance, holiness and righteousness come before, never after physical health and material well-being. The story of the paralytic in Matthew chapter 9 demonstrated this. Jesus healed His soul BEFORE his body. Too many in the Church currently place way too much emphasis on social justice nonsense to the exclusion of the spiritual. You want to help the poor? Get their souls saved! St. Thomas Aquinas comments as follows:

    “This paralytic symbolizes the sinner lying in sin; just as the paralytic cannot move, so the sinner cannot help himself. The people who bring the paralytic along represent those who, by giving him good advice, lead the sinner to God.”

    Help the poor! Help the rich! Get their souls saved from damnation and hell. Do that FIRST because that’s what Jesus did to the paralytic.

  • I will wait awhile before forming an opinion of Pope Francis and his approach to the mission of the Church. He is a human being like Peter of whom Our Lord said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith may not fail; and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, strengthen thy brethren”. So let us join our prayer to that of Christ for the Holy Father. Let us also pray for ourselves and the sorry state into which Christendom has fallen. How many French, the children of the Eldest Daughter of the Church, attend Sunday Mass, seven percent? And in the rest of Europe or even the United States, are the numbers of the practicing faithful what they once were? Furthermore, while the United States has a fertility rate sufficient to replace those who die, the demographic decline of Europe casts an ominous shadow over the continent of our ancestors. Not a single European nation has a birth rate sufficient to survive intact to the end of this century. “The prognosis is grim. Between 2000 and 2050, world population will grow by more than three billion to over nine billion people, but this 50 percent increase in global population will come entirely in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as one hundred million people of European stock vanish from the earth.” (Death of the West-P. Buchanan) In Russia, two thirds of all pregnancies are aborted. In Germany, sewers have had to be redesigned to work with lower flows and in some parts of that country, the wolf is literally at the door. Wolves are returning to areas from which they had been driven by centuries of dense settlement. The invasion of the wolf is a manifestation of nature asserting herself and filling every niche and void. According to a UN report published in February 2001, Europe will lose almost a quarter of its indigenous population by the year 2050. Not since the Black Death of the Fourteenth Century has Europe been confronted with such a demographic crisis. The Plague killed a third of the people in Europe, but a loss of a quarter of the population by infertility is actually a worse situation. The Plague was democratic, taking, without discrimination, the old and the young. Infertility takes only the young, while leaving the old dependent, and a burden on those too few to support them. It takes a fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman to make up for the death rate in the developed world. A partial excerpt from the World Population Data Sheet 4 tells the story:
    France, Norway, Denmark and Finland have fertility rates of 1.8; Serbia, Montenegro, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Sweden have 1.7; Luxembourg, Belgium and Cyprus have 1.6; Malta and Estonia have 1.5; Georgia, Russia, Austria, Portugal and Switzerland have 1.4; Romania, Lithuania, Croatia, Spain, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy and Germany have 1.3; and barely keeping up at a fertility rate of 1.2 children per woman, are Moldova, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia and Slovenia. That Saudi Arabia’s fertility rate of 4.5 and Pakistan’s rate of 6.3 are typical of Moslem countries tells the rest of the story.
    What has happened to the inhabitants of what was once the Christian Continent? The people who received the Gospel and commingled with it: the intellectuality of the Greeks, the practicality of the Romans and the vitality of the Celts and the Teutons to bestow the brilliance of Western Civilization upon a world that had grown dark. Has the rich soil of the continent from which sprang forth Renaissance, Enlightenment, Science and Industry gone fallow? Perhaps it is diagnostic to note that the preamble to the constitution of the European Union deliberately makes no mention of God or that Europe has any Christian roots. “Let us put this in different terms: the attempt, carried to extremes, to shape human affairs to the total exclusion of God leads us more and more to the brink of the abyss, toward the utter annihilation of man.” (Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Aka: Pope Benedict XVI) It certainly appears that Pope Francis has a mission almost impossible. The Shoes of the Fisherman are large indeed and the journey in them will be long and hard. Let us pray.