Play With Fire And You’ll Get Burned.

If you are as stupid as that, wave your lighters....

I received a message with these lines:

I was made aware of the event at Assisi from an acquaintance in California (I am in Tennessee now) who is into all the New Age religions. I found it amazing that she was looking forward to seeing the Peace Gathering in Assisi and at first I thought it was a bunch of New Agers taking over our Beloved Hallowed ground of St. Francis and St. Clara! Then when I saw it announced as being covered by EWTN I was shocked. I watched it for a while and had to turn it off as I was getting horrible feelings from it.

I can’t stop thinking of these words, because this simple episode shows in a crude way what happens when we – or the Vatican, or the Pope – play with fire.

The fact is, that we Catholics spend far too much time analysing every word the Holy Father has said, or the minutiae about why this or that is, if unusual, still compatible with Catholic thinking. For example, we are not allowed to pray together with people of other religions, but then it’s not explicitly forbidden that the pagans and we plan to pray separately, after we have gathered in the same place. Similarly, we are not saying that it is fine for others to be part of other religions, but we stress how good they are whilst they are part of another religion. Hey, we come even so far as to say how good they are even if they follow no religion.

Whilst we discuss about the orthodoxy of the small details, the world at large understands exactly the message that – at least officially – was meant not to be spread around: how cool it is that everyone gathers together to tell each other how cool they all are. Hey, they’re all for peaaaaace so they must be all right, right?

I also liked the reader’s observation about the “horrible feelings” she got looking at the thing on EWTN. In fact, it seems to me that in such matters the sensus fidelium – and I mean here the real one, the sincere religious feeling as it has been traditionally lived – is the best indication to judge these events: if it feels so wrong, it can’t be right. We all have these feelings, which is why we instinctively react – better said, our souls react – to things that whilst not necessarily forbidden – like the guitars in the church, the protestantisation and/or banalisation of the Mass – nevertheless are wrong because they go against the way Catholic spirituality has always been lived.

Astonishingly, it seems to be one of the biggest worries of theologians to persuade us that there must be a new and better way to do things, than how they have always been done.

You know what? There isn’t. What has always been true is still true, what has always been felt as wrong will always be felt as wrong, and how many more or less intelligent Assisi exercises are called to life will change a bit less than zero in this matter.

I do hope that this mistake – a mistake which, I am afraid, will haunt this papacy and will be remembered everytime the undoubted achievements of the present reign are remembered – does not inflict too big a damage to the reconciliation talks with the SSPX. Unfortunately, the media flop of the initiative does not necessarily mean the theological implications will be forgotten soon, and rumours that the SSPX is oriented to refuse the preambolo dottrinale have already started to spread around the net. Would you want to be a SSPX bishop explaining to the members of the congregation that it is fine to invite a voodoo priest to talk in church? Me neither…

It would be a real shame if it turned out that Assisi III played an important role in the (possible) decision of the SSPX the Vatican is not trustworthy enough, and the process of reconciliation will have to wait for a Pope completely free from Vatican II infections, and ready to embrace Catholicism without lazy compromises with the need for popularity, or with the desire to please the rapidly aging trendies and sandal-wearers.

Please read the initial message again, and see if it doesn’t resonate with you. Whilst we talk about doctrinal nuances, the world out there thinks that the Church is so keen to mix herself with the pagans. Congratulations.

How about the Pope participating to the next Telethon (or some other “thon”) together with Richard Dawkins and Stephen Fry? Working “all together” for a good cause (wouldn’t it, ohhh, be ohhh so beautifuuul?) they could stress how much good militant atheists and perverts can do! “Atheists And Christians against poverty”, how does that sound! Think of it: everyone working together, Christian and Atheist, normal and pervert, how very edifying! We are the world! Where’s Oprah?

The only good thing of Assisi III is it made sure there will never be an Assisi IV, but its last message is still clear: play with fire, and you’ll get burned.


Posted on November 5, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. “Unfortunately, the media flop of the initiative does not necessarily mean the theological implications will be forgotten soon, and rumours that the SSPX is oriented to refuse the preambolo dottrinale have already started to spread around the net. Would you want to be a SSPX bishop explaining to the members of the congregation that it is fine to invite a voodoo priest to talk in church? Me neither…

    It would be a real shame if it turned out that Assisi III played an important role in the (possible) decision of the SSPX the Vatican is not trustworthy enough(…). ”

    I could not agree more.This appears to be a critical point. But, if we turn this point on its head, it means: If the SSPX doesn’t refuse now, while they would have an excellent and even understandable reason to do so, there is hope of reconciliation within a short time. The temptation to refuse the preamble must be great indeed, and not only in the “Williamson” corner of the fraternity. The rumours are solidifying. The Superior of the German District of the SSPX draws a very negative picture of the chances for a full reconciliation:
    [audio src="" /]
    First, he summarizes the well-known historical situation from his perspective. After that the interesting part follows, where he describes some of the intractable and (his word) irreconcilable differences between the SSPX and the Vatican. Most of it is already well known, but the emerging picture is not a pretty one. For example, he verily dismembers the “Hermeneutics of continuity” while acknowledging that it is the key point of the doctrinal preamble. He never says “we reject the preamble”, but some words come pretty close.
    Pater Schmidberger is, I think, usually rather moderate (for the SSPX). If he views things so negatively, then we all ought to worry.
    And more than that, to pray.

    By the way: Why are you so sure that there will be no Assisi IV after Pope John Paul III., formerly Cardinal Schönborn, has been selected to be Benedict’s successor? 😉

  2. Another comment: My Italian is rather limited, but I believe “Per la pace e la fratellanza dei popoli” means something like “For peace and the brotherhood of peoples”. If so, wouldn’t it be uncomfortably close to freemasonry?
    I don’t know the source of this picture or this slogan, but I hope the source is not within the Church.

    • Catocon,

      it is my belief that the organisers of this thing do not even know what freemasonry is. Peace and brotherhood are, in my yes, buzzwords put there for the benefit of the idiots, who are given the possibility of making themselves beautiful without noticing the others see that they are just idiots. Nothing is easier and more senseless than to just be “for peace”.


  3. Catocon, your message had unfortunately been sent directly to spam so I hadn’t noticed. It happens to the best blogs, I am told.. 😉

    I agree with you, but honestly I can’t say that I would feel angry at the SSPX if they would refuse. Sad as it is to say so, the Vatican might not be ready to face full orthodoxy yet..


  4. P.s. Bbbrrrr…..

    if “John Paul III/Schoenborn” is elected I’ll begin to pray for his painless death on the very day… Thankfully, I think he has pretty much as many chances as Elton John…..


  5. M,

    Aren’t you a bit too harsh here? Agreed. The voodoo priest and the Wiccan high-priestess would be pushing the limits but love (the Christian way) and understanding is the only way to win people over to the True Faith.

    Orthodoxy is not synonymous with elitism (which is the feeling I sometimes here). True orthodoxy means being able to dialogue and also respect the others point of view. Dialogue doesn’t mean that you concede or allow commonalities to other faiths at all. No, no…I think Catholicism is way too radical a way of life and spirituality for any of them to understand…The New Agers can infer whatever they want, the truth remains singular- Christ alone can save.

    In peace

    • Remediaf,

      there’s always someone for whom we are too harsh.

      “Love” can certainly not express himself with blasphemy or paganism, nor is orthodoxy something elitist. Orthodoxy is, well, orthodox.

      Moreover, orthodoxy means “conformed to established doctrine”, not “being able to dialogue”, let alone “respect the other point of view”. Every pot-smoker can say that he “respects the other’s point of view”, but this doesn’t make him orthodox. IN fact, the same concept of orthodoxy meaning “being able to dialogue” is possibly the least orthodox concept imaginable.

      The idea that Catholicism be too radical for them to understand is also rather singular. Christ was shocking for sure, but he never said anybody was exempted from following him, let alone listening to him.

      Finally, please reflect on your own words: if it is not true that Christ alone can save, than we can be as sensitive as we want. But if it is true, than we must say the truth without any regard for pagan sensitivities.


    • M,

      The Holy Father certainly did not participate in any pagan ritual or encourage blasphemy…on the contrary he brought the whole host of religious before the Blessed Sacrament which is the most powerful way man can encounter his God (even if he doesn’t recognize him there). If at all, I find Assisi a new way to bring the Gospel to even those who oppose it on fanatical grounds.

      I certainly do not think that any Catholic would look at Assisi as an opening for pagan ritualism in Catholic tradition (New Agers can think what they like…). Besides, our Pope Benedict is one of the most staunch traditionalists Pope’s ever to have led the Church .I should like to think that he knows what he is doing even when it seemingly seems otherwise…

      Catholicism is radical because Catholics believe that no man’s efforts can garner him heaven. Salvation is God’s gift…it can never be earner. Which is why surrender to God’s Will is so important. Every other religion has prescribed steps to attain salvation eg: the Muslim has his hag, the Hindu his pujas it’s endless… There the emphasis is on Man’s doing.

      In Catholicism, the emphasis is on God’s giving and Man’s receiving.

      Christ alone can save but how we bear witness to that truth is also important. It is through us that others encounter Christ. By being sensitive I was not referring to the idea of joining in ritualism of other faiths but being considerate to listen to what they say and with every grain of truth that they speak point them to the Truth-bearer. Listening does not entail agreeing with the other; listening opens doors for the other to hear you too. Maybe that’s the only chance they will ever have of knowing Christ through you.

    • Renediaf,

      I have not said that the Pope wanted to encourage blasphemy, so you are escaping into fantasy accusations.

      As to bringing pagans in front of the blessed sacrament, it doesn’t do much if those same pagans do not care for the Blessed Sacrament.

      If you think that Pope Benedict is one of the most staunchly traditionalists to have ever led the Church, you must be born after 1962, and not know much of the history of the Church, and the undoubted fact that he knows what he’s doing doesn’t mean that he is doing the right, or the Catholic thing. Popes make mistakes like everyone else, though the V II generation seems not to know this, particularly when it’s convenient.

      Being “sensitive” when you are not making an effort of conversion means to encourage pagans to stay where they are. Which is exactly what has happened in Assisi.

      Jesus said “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.

      he didn’t say “go ye into the world, and be considerate, and listen to what everyone else has to say”.

      I think you have made your point sufficiently, though.


%d bloggers like this: