Daily Archives: March 22, 2013
Sometimes I think professional journalists have their boss telling them “give me something new within 4pm!”, and that's that; then it is the poor devils' job to deliver some rubbish with pretence of originality within the given time, or else…
I can, frankly, not find many other reasons why a piece would be published like the one to be found in the Catholic Herald, signed by one Jose Maria Poirier about the Pope who “enters the fray” but, erm, also exits it.
Mr Poirier has figured everything out, and one can only envy his sureness of touch whilst the rest of us are rather in the dark as to what kind of Papacy we are going to get.
After the usual introduction, the author informs us the fact the Pope “addressed himself to Rome” (that was a surprise, I must say…) “might also appear to be an ecumenical gesture that embraces the Anglican, Lutheran and even Orthodox faiths”. What? How does the one lead to the other? Besides, are not the Orthodox far nearer to us (theologically,liturgically, and in matters of Faith and Morals) than the Lutherans and, good Lord, the Anglicans? If the Pope sneezes, will this be taken to signify an ecumenical gesture that embraces the Wiccans?
After more blabla (” a change that is as impossible as it is necessary”: logic clearly isn't the author's forte, but hey, it sounds daring) we are told about the Pope's “diplomacy across the religions”, and we know diplomacy is the new evangelisation. Enter Abraham Skorka, widely reported on the net as a vocal supporter of “homosexual unions”, and together with whom the Pontiff authored a book. How bloody ecumenical, and how little evangelical. Skorka is also on record with saying the new Pontiff will “search the Truth”, which says you a lot about the intellectual depth of the man.
But the most interesting part hasn't arrived yet. Apparently, the Church now has a “central problem: how to combine centuries-old tradition with the 2013 generation and current cultural sensitivities”. It may seem the usual peace and love waffle, but it isn't: “combine” here clearly means “make compromises with”, “make people happy”, “be popular and attractive”. This Church changes, “evolves”, “becomes”.
Do you want proof? We are informed that the Church seems “out of touch” and “unattractive”, and someone should tell the man the Church is supposed to be so, then if you are “in touch” and “attractive” for the world you are most certainly doing things the wrong way. But hey, the man clearly lives in the Seventies, so don't wake him up.
Dulcis in fundo, the prophecy. After telling us pretty much exactly what the Pope will do and how, the man proceeds to tell us it wouldn't be too bold to presume Pope Francis will, “after a few years”, resign!
The poor Pontiff almost hasn't started, and the conciliarist troops already dream of the CoE Pope: a stint at the top, and then please be considerate and make place for someone else, so we can continue to become more “attractive” and “in touch” with the next one, and in tune with the “2018 generation”.
Heavens, if these are his friends, Pope Francis certainly does not need enemies.
I read (and hear) around that the secular Press will distort the message of the Pope be emphasising only the parts that are useful to them; and for this reason, one should avoid criticising the Pope as “too liberal” in order to avoid, in a way, unwittingly helping them to do their evil work.
I am unsure whether the thinking is entirely correct.
On the one hand, the Press can certainly influence reality, but it can never create it. If anything, I have the persistent suspicion the mass media are far less influential than they think they are. Berlusconi is living evidence of that, but everyone living in England knows decades of raving lunatics at the BBC have had a limited influence on the Country at large (the country has changed of course; but certainly not because of the BBC, the collapse of the so-called CoE certainly playing a far bigger role).
The consequence of this is that whilst the media can try to smuggle the narrative of the “liberal Pope”, they'll never succeed unless the Pope agrees. Let this Pope consistently thunder against the evil of our times (not the easy ones that find everyone in agreement, like consumerism; but the difficult ones that divide societies in two, like abortion) and see the liberal Media drown in ridicule trying to ignore him or, far more probably, attack him all right.
Then there is, of course, the question of the Pope himself. Like the professional media, Catholic bloggers do not create reality, they merely report or comment on it. The reason why so many bloggers and commenters are afraid that this Pope might not be orthodox is not that they have decided to abandon themselves to a collective bout of hysteria, but rather the fact that his past behaviour and his first actions as Pope have given them more than sufficient reason to be afraid of it. We cannot ignore this reality and hope the liberal press will not notice it. They have, in fact, noticed so well they lavish praise on him; and whilst I am sure their cockiness will soon make place for more sobering thoughts, it is certainly not a cockiness coming from nowhere or the fruit of mere wishful thinking.
The Pope is the only one who can shape his Papacy and the way it will be perceived, and there is no way the mass media will ever manage to silence his message: the Catholic audience is far too vast, the professional media far too diverse in their political orientation, and the private blog and forum activity far too atomised and interconnected to make this even thinkable.
The real question is here not how we react to Pope Francis, but what kind of Pope Francis will choose to be. If he is an orthodox Pope, no power on earth will prevent the message from being spread. If he is an heterodox one (certainly not the first, and something very much in the cards in Catholicism, particularly in these troubled times; but you can delve in the past and find Popes like John XXII, too) there is, again, no chance on earth the news will spread like wildfire all over the Catholic planet. There are simply too many God-fearing and properly instructed Catholics around for any “South American” antic to go unnoticed, and even in this sense the barrage of criticism because of the Mozzetta is certainly to be welcomed.
In modern, pluralistic societies the media can never change the perception of reality to the point of shaping a new one: there is no Dr Goebbels around, and as long as we have pluralistic, free societies (imperfect as they obviously are) there will never be.
Pope Francis already got a first taste of the way Catholics can be vigilant whilst they are obedient. It is said he is one able to listen, so let him listen. Whilst I have very factual reasons to fear he might be a bad Pope, I think he is an intelligent man and hope he will – helped by the special Grace afforded to the position – understand the old Cardinal will have to make place for the new Pope. Still, he is the one in charge and he is the one who will, with his actions, determine the reactions. The mass media will, ultimately, not be able to change a iota in that.
Jimmy Akin has a very interesting article about the way Church prelates should act in the face of Anti-Christian legislation. It seems to me, though, that he reaches, in part, the wrong conclusions.
The intent of the author is to analyse what the then Cardinal Bergoglio might have said (but no one knows whether he has) concerning Sodomarriages, and to justify his behaviour if he really did it. I think the explanation goes too far.
The central point of the article is the way Catholics (the bishops, the cardinals, the priests on the ground, but also activists and lawmakers) must act on anti-Christian legislation in a democratic environment, namely:
1. try to avoid that it becomes law.
2. try to kill it if it does, and
3. try to tear it into pieces as soon and as far as possible if option 2 seems, at some point, not realistic.
Up to here everything is very fine, and the author brings some useful examples of this concerning pro-life legislation in the US: Roe vs Wade is there, an outright repeal is not in the cards for now, and the work is therefore focused on measures taking away the evil from Roe vs. Wade, so to speak, one limb at a time.
Where I think Mr Akin is getting to the wrong conclusions is when he says that then Cardinal Bergoglio – if he really did so; which we don't know – might therefore have been done the right thing if he proposed a “civil union” legislation at the national level to avoid the bigger evil of impending Sodomarriage.
Now, this cannot be right. Firstly it is un-Catholic, and secondly it is illogical.
The Church never tolerates “lesser evil” thinking. Until an evil legislative measure has become the law of the land, there is only one duty, and this is to fight it with all the Church's strenght. To propose or promote or in any way facilitate a law which is a worsening of the present situation because a “worse worsening” might otherwise happen is not Catholic, and is in clear contrast to what has been said before. Firstly you make everything on earth to avoid Sodomarriage legislation; secondly you make hell on earth for the politicians who dared to approve it to get it repealed. If after a number of years it should be seen that it partout does not work, then you work to tear the bad situation to pieces one limb at a time.
Look at the Papal States, deprived of sovereignty in 1870. Firstly they have fought against the army of the Kingdom of Italy; secondly they have tried to reverse the situation after it had occurred, desperate as the situation appeared, among other things forbidding Catholics to take part in elections; at some point (in the Nineties of the XIX century) they have started serious talks about how Church and State could live together, and at the appropriate juncture they have acted to improve on the existing situation. They certainly haven't thought for a moment “The Kingdom is going to invade us soon, so let us try to find a compromise that damages us in a lesser way”.
The illogical part comes from the consequences of this thinking. If to put, so to speak, point 3 before point 2 were a permissible step, there would be no boundaries to what the Church would approve. The threat of Sodomarriage would be enough to let them propose civil unions; the threat of polygamy would be enough to let them propose Sodomarriage, and the threat of bestiality would be enough to let them accept or propose polygamy. If to run one step ahead were the way to get the Church to get into “damage limitation” mode, there is really nothing which Church prelates cannot be moved to approve. The Cuomos of this world would simply adopt the strategy of legislating one half step at a time – with the Church's support – rather than one step at a time without it. It just doesn't make sense.
Thinking of today's England, the consequence of this would be for the Church to embrace either civil partnerships (which are there already) or a sodomarriage legislation with some special guarantees for the Catholic church, as the so-called same sex marriage legislation has already passed the first hurdles and might well become law at some point. If the Church doesn't fight tooth and nail against it, that is.
The reasoning doesn't make sense also because the experience shows us that such lesser evil legislation unavoidably leads to the proposal of the bigger evil, and I do not know of any country where “civil partnership” legislation has quenched the calling for so-called same sex marriages. To propose such legislation is tantamount to delivering ourselves to the Enemy in installments.
The Church is in the business of blocking evil before it occurs, and fighting it after it did. She is not in the business of caring that, at every given day, the faithful may be given half the load of manure in order to avoid secular lawmakers to unload the entire load. You just don't propose or facilitate a lesser abomination to avoid a bigger one.
The conclusion from this is that if really Cardinal Bergoglio proposed such a measure – which we don't know; and I'd say he didn't, unless perhaps in a “brainstorming” exercise reaching conclusions whose erroneous nature he must have immediately seen – then Cardinal Bergoglio was obviously wrong in doing so. We should analyse the clergy's actions in light of what they are or were supposed to do, not try to find justifications a posteriori for when they didn't. There is nothing like retroactive infallibility of the future Pope anyway.
Having said that, I found the article very interesting in the way it explains the approach to effective action in the face of evil – when teh action is the appropriate one – and though I would share it with you.