God, Sin, Saints, And Francis.
Traditional Catholicism has always been very logical.
If God is the source of all that is good, it unavoidably follows that people are good in proportion of God's love for them. If God loves them more, they will have more of that most evident manifestation of godliness that is goodness.
Therefore, the saintliest men and women are such certainly through their own effort; but they make the effort to such an heroic degree because they are loved most.
This utterly politically incorrect, Un-egalitarian Truth has been believed by countless generations of Catholics without any problem. Ultimately, Padre Pio is vastly better than I am, because God loves him vastly more than he loves me.
If one does not accept simple truths like this, rebellion can't be far away, because then there would be something fishy or arbitrary in the way God selects his great saints, and one would feel treated “unjustly” at not being so loved by God as Padre Pio was; though how many would really want to have his lifelong suffering and tribulations is, I dare to think, a different matter.
God loves me, then, vastly less than Padre Pio. He clearly loves me – and all of us – with a love no human mind is able to imagine; but still, with a love vastly less strong than the one he has for Padre Pio; a love that was – had to be, if we are coherent – there before Padre Pio was born in the first place.
Once upon a time, things were very linear, very simple, and utterly logical. If saintliness is a gift from God coming from His love for us, my duty as a Catholic is to try my best to be as good as I can; so that the growth in holiness, once achieved, may be in itself the proof of God's love for me. Those whom he predestined, he also called, and justified, and glorified.
God first predestines some; and then, to the predestined, he gives ways to, so to speak, learn the trade of saintliness and become proficient in it. This, because he loves them more. If, therefore, one manages to become a saintly man this is in itself, so to speak, the proof of the pudding. If he weren't loved more, he wouldn't be saintly. His efforts at being saintly have been inspired in the first place, and subsequently crowned with success, because he was loved more.
Makes sense, right?
Well, apparently, not entirely. Or not for all. Or, at least, not for some.
The Bishop of Rome – the oh-so-modestly-driving, Mozzetta-shunning, feet-of-infidels-washing, friend-of-newsagents Francis – seems to either think differently or, more probably, seem to want you to think differently.
No,” he said, “you are not excluded! Precisely for that reason you are preferred, because Jesus prefers the sinner, always, in order to pardon him, to love him. Jesus is waiting for you, to embrace you, to pardon you.”
The idea here is not that the sinner must never feel excluded – of course he must not; what are we, darn Calvinists? – ; the message is that the sinner is, in some strange way not explained to us, preferred and loved more. Preferred, mind, not “even if a sinner”, but preferred as sinner, or better said preferred because a sinner.
One wonders. Extremely saintly people like Padre Pio – one who, even as a child, talked to angels like I talked to my grandmother – must obviously be loved so much less, and not preferred at all; because heavens, if one is so boringly good, what great desire will God have to wait for him, embrace him, and pardon him? Compare the great saint, if you please, with the drug addict, the alcoholic, the sodomite, or the child rapist. How much must God love them! Ah, if I were at least a coprophagous man (for you Greek majors: a shit-eater), I could certainly claim to be preferred to Padre Pio! (though, sadly, certainly not to all the pedophiles and sodomites out there)…
Let us leave the jocose world of the paradoxes aside, and let us examine the brutal truth of today's Catholicism. What we see – in Bishop Francis as in many others – is the unspoken desire to let people feel good, full stop. As we are all sinful, to let people feel good unavoidably becomes to let people feel good in their sinfulness. This goes, with an attitude than I can only call Jesuitical, so far as to imply that great sinners are, in some way, special: more loved, and preferred.
That this puts the very concept of morality upside down escapes Francis, because Francis isn't fine or smart enough for Beethoven, much less Aquinas. What counts for Francis is, though, not to be smart or even logical – almost no one is nowadays, so who cares – but to be popular, hip, modern, daring, and oh so refreshing.
This aim he has obviously achieved. Read his words again, put them in the luv and joy context of V II, and you will immediately realise what he has in mind is the awakening of the emotional, cosy feelings so typical of our times.
“Gosh, I must be loved so much!” , thinks the crack addict as he steers the next high…
As I write these politically incorrect words, I can almost hear the high-pitched whining of the bitches of political correctness of both sexes and none. They will certainly call me monstrous, because I lack the feeling and compassion for said drug addicts, & Co.
What they neglect to think, though, is that logic and Christian morals are nothing to do with… feelings; on the contrary, there is no religion on the planet as divinely logical as the True One. Wrong is wrong. Feelings about it are neither here nor there.
As for compassion, I declare that the emotional sissies – of both sexes, and none – do contribute to create the very problems they claim to be so compassionate about; if not with positive help and approval, at least with the implied acceptance and the complicit silence that make them accessory in the others' sin; whilst, no doubt, feeling awfully good with themselves, and undeniably saintly.
Bishop Francis belongs to this category of people and is, in fact, their undisputed torchbearer. Whenever he opens his, alas, Jesuit's mouth, you know something will be wrong somewhere, but he will sound good everywhere.
A Dolan without the gluttony. This is the … bishop of Rome we have. I am afraid a Francis with the gluttony might even be his successor.
Pray for Francis with all your heart. If not for love of him – not easy, I am sure – at least for love of Christ and His Church, of his guardian angel, and of his immortal soul.