The Inner Contradiction Of Assisi III
To say it with King Theoden, “and so it begins”: the dreaded Assisi III is upon us.
I cannot avoid noticing that in these last days, the secular/atheist press has given some space (more than I ever dared to dream) to the criticism from conservative Catholics of the past Assisi exercises, and the efforts made by the Holy Father to make things differently. You find in the so-called “Guardian” one of the frequent examples of the last weeks.
One cannot avoid a smile at seeing that the numerically still small fraction of conservatively minded Catholics is now so much in the centre stage of Catholic life that even the dark red “Guardian” notices its presence. Still, it seems to me that already today – and very probably, more so in the next days – it can be easily said that this Assisi gathering brings to the light the mistakes of the past ones. In his effort to let people know how to do it right, the Holy Father brings to the attention of the Catholic world how, in the past, it was made wrong. This, of course, provided that this gathering doesn’t give rise to scandals, which – though I am personally half-optimist, as long as I can – remains to be seen.
If Assisi I and Assisi II were right, then there was no necessity to point out to the differences. If they were wrong, then I continue not to see the necessity of, one generation later, informing the Catholic planet of the fact. It seems to me a bit as if the Vatican would promote a new and orthodox version of Jansenism in order to show that what was done wrongly in the past can be done rightly in the future.
Add to this that I am very afraid to be submerged by the worst possible “we are the world” rhetoric, the piercing smell of peace and love molasses already reaching these not-so-delicate ears.
We will see how this pans out. I trust that it will not be anything anywhere similar to the 1986 gatherings in his heretic potential, but I am afraid that it will still be much different from how Conservative Catholics would have done it.
If they thought they had to do it, that is; which I personally don’t believe at all.