Daily Archives: September 20, 2013
And so we are, the day after, reflecting on the latest antics of a man who is frankly surpassing every limit of Catholic decency.
Before we examine in detail some of what has emerged, I would like to make some preliminary consideration.
1) Do yourself a favour, and read (or re-read) first what Pius VI had to say about heretics – and those who would like to become such – in Auctorem Fidei. Know how heretics – both formal and material – think, and learn to detect the heresy even when sprinkled with affirmations of orthodoxy. This is vital, because no heretic or “revolutionary” Catholic – much less a Pope – would ever dare to be unceasingly intent on his work of demolition, without feeding his unknowing pigeons with some convenient orthodox bird food whenever necessary to keep them well-fed and reasonably happy. True, Francis up to now has been very stingy even with the orthodox bird food, but I attribute this to his excess of demolishing zeal. This might well change in the future, if and when the flak grows stronger or the criticism threatens to seriously damage Francis’ media icon. Then you will see the bird food being distributed more abundantly. The pigeons will eat it enthusiastically, whilst swallowing all of the heretical one with it, without a second thought.
2) Read what Francis says not in isolation, but within the greater frame of what he has kept saying in these last six months. One misunderstanding is one misunderstanding, and two misunderstandings can be a painful coincidence; but thirty misunderstandings are not even carelessness; they are not of this world.
3) Bear in mind that I have not – nor do I intend to – read all the 12,000 words. If you think this does not qualify me for a credible exam of the papal enchilada, I ask you not to say a word of criticism of Marxism before reading Das Kapital, of Nazism before reading Mein Kampf, and of the mad nuns before reading their books. Realise that Francis does not give a 12,000 words interview in order for 1,1 billion Catholics to read all of them. He gives a 12,000 words interview in order for 1,1 billion Catholics and countless non-Catholics to read the headlines and the quotes. In case you still don’t get it (but I am sure you do) the 12,000 words are there merely to muddy the waters, so that the orthodox parts – that obviously do not make any headlines, as desired – can be used against those who dare to criticise Francis for the scandalous bits. Again, the text mentioned on 1) is your friend.
Let us, therefore, examine some of his words. Not the comments, not the attempts of the press to spin him and make him even worse than he is – and they do it, incredibly; they do it big time. Liberals are always so hard to please… – but what he has himself said. Again, let us keep in mind that what is expected or old does not make it in a newspaper article, what is unexpected or new does.Yes, there will be many expressions of orthodox faith. Of course there will be many of them. In 12,000 words there’s plenty of space, eh, ah, no?
“Thinking with the church, therefore, is my way of being a part of this people. And all the faithful, considered as a whole, are infallible in matters of belief, and the people display this infallibilitas in credendo, this infallibility in believing, through a supernatural sense of the faith of all the people walking together. This is what I understand today as the ‘thinking with the church’ of which St. Ignatius speaks.”
He refers here, I think, to the sensus fidelium. He uses an extremely dangerous phrase, “infallible in matters of belief”, without the proper context within the phrase; making of them, so to speak, a new infallible Magisterium for those who read – as desired – the snippet. Of the sensus fidelium Ratzinger already said: “It is certainly not a kind of public ecclesial opinion, and invoking it in order to contest the teachings of the Magisterium would be unthinkable, since the sensus fidei cannot be authentically developed in believers, except to the extent in which they fully participate in the life of the Church, and this demands responsible adherence to the Magisterium, to the deposit of faith.” Of course, theologians and priest bloggers will run to tell us that Francis did not say that the majority of poorly instructed Catholics decides about “changes” in the deposit of the faith. But the use of such charged words without the necessary explanation (that is: without the explanation of what this infallibilitas in credendo most certainly is not), it’s either not there or it did not make the newspapers. I can’t be bothered to look if it’s there, so sure I am the part already mentioned is the one meant for picking up by the press. Why am I so sure? Because I have been reading all the nonsense of this man for six months now.
We must all train ourselves to read Francis through Francis. When we do, we discover that what he wants to say is clear enough.
“Vatican II produced a renewal movement that simply comes from the same Gospel. Its fruits are enormous. Just recall the liturgy. The work of liturgical reform has been a service to the people as a re-reading of the Gospel from a concrete historical situation. Yes, there are hermeneutics of continuity and discontinuity, but one thing is clear: the dynamic of reading the Gospel, actualizing its message for today—which was typical of Vatican II—is absolutely irreversible.
I see two and a half huge problems here. The first is the concept of “actualising” (forgive the English spelling) the Gospel. If it sounds stupid, it’s because it is. If it sounds Presbyterian, it’s because it’s stupid. Christ did not die on the Cross so that Francis may “actualise” His Truth. And please make no mistake here: it is clear enough from the entire Francis-planet that by “actualising” he does not mean “tweeting Bible verses” or “having a Vatican Youtube channel”. He means changing attitude, which can only cause a shifting in values. You can judge (yes, judge!) for yourself how Catholic such “dynamic” is; that is, you can do it if you have paid attention to what has happened in the last 50 years. The other problem is the attempt to remain blind in front of the catastrophe, a “Francis moment” already examined here. The third, but lesser problem, is the attempt to depict V II as someway infallible and certainly irreversible. Bollocks, of course, but the leitmotiv of the last decades and therefore, in itself, not new.
A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’
Here, my dear readers, we need to be strong, and stay calm.
In all centuries past, the answer of the Pope (of every Pope. No exception. No, I really mean no one) would have been:
No, of course I don’t!
Fairly easy, right? Doesn’t challenge anyone. Of course, the fact itself that the question could be posed without everyone exploding in a roar of laughter is highly disturbing. Still, it would have been so easy.
But you see, then the image of the “who am I to judge”-Pope as the Dalai Lama In White would have been compromised. Therefore, Bergoglio does not even muster the courage to give such an easy answer as that, but he boasts of his reaction instead. I never thought I’d see the day, that’s all.
“When I went through my lung disease at the hospital, the doctor gave me penicillin and streptomycin in certain doses. The sister who was on duty tripled my doses because she was daringly astute; she knew what to do because she was with ill people all day. The doctor, who really was a good one, lived in his laboratory; the sister lived on the frontier and was in dialogue with it every day. Domesticating the frontier means just talking from a remote location, locking yourself up in a laboratory. Laboratories are useful, but reflection for us must always start from experience.”
Another very dangerous comparison, potentially explosive and actually, already exploded. I can’t avoid reading in this a very simple message: theory (doctrine, orthodoxy) is fine and good, but when you dig deep in the belly of the favela (put here your favourite social cause) other rules apply. The “dialogue” with the “frontier” makes you intrinsically better at understanding reality, whilst the theoretical clergyman or layman (that is: the orthodox people who don’t know the reality of the favela) are talking from a “remote location”. Again, this links to what he said about the shepherd that must smell like his sheep. I smell filth here, and cannot see how one with this thinking can have any real determination in stopping it. The corrupted priests are like the “sister on the frontier”, you see, and all that jazz…
““The young Catholic churches, as they grow, develop a synthesis of faith, culture and life, and so it is a synthesis different from the one developed by the ancient churches.”
What is this? Seriously, is this a Pope? Or the Circus Bergoglio? Do I have to pay a ticket for this?
Please, please, do not say “taken out of context”, “in reality he wanted to say the contrary”, and the like. Can’t you see all the elements of, ahem, Bergoglism? The “young” churches “grow”, and they grow in a different way than the ancient churches.
You are the past, Baby Jesus. Say hello to a new “synthesis of faith culture and life”; a “synthesis” that cannot but be, if you are honest with yourself, a new religion.
Then from here:
The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently,” Francis said. “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.”
“Church” is not capitalised. Very bad, and hopefully a typo. It is not clear why there should be a “multitude of doctrines”. On the contrary, Catholicism is so beautiful because so divinely logical, coherent and wonderfully held together by a superior, unifying wisdom. If the young Jorge Bergoglio had been paying attention at school, or in seminary, he wouldn’t talk such rubbish now. The “new balance” smells of Neo-Modernism like an Argentinian favela smells of canalisation, or lack thereof. The idea that it be bad to “impose doctrine insistently” is worse than stupid. For many centuries, doctrine has been hammered into the head of people since they were little children. It did them a lot of good. It would have done Bergoglio a lot of good, too. I seriously doubt he knows the Ten Commandments, or the works of mercy, by heart. If he does, it’s even worse, because then it’s clear he doesn’t care for them.
“The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,” he lamented. “The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.”
The Jesuit alarm went on big time here. Seriously, how can he say to an undetermined, planetary mass of readers “Jesus has saved you?”. Who is he, God? Or could you say, who is he to judge? I thought I will only know when I die whether I am saved or not. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross only makes this salvation possible, but in no way achieved. If this were the case, the Pope would be the first who has made himself redundant. As to the “ministers of mercy”, again, if he knew that to admonish the sinner is a work of mercy he would not talk this rubbish.
I must be wrong, though. We are saved. My bad. I just didn’t know we are Protestant now. Actually even more “saving” than Protestant, because this is addressed to everyone, not just Christians.
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible,” he said. “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”
Insist only? Insist ONLY? When has Francis ever mentioned abortion, condemned so-called “gay marriage” (no “so-called” for him: marriage it is, clearly) or contraception? Isn’t he not the chap who said there’s no real need, people know already? His first half-courageous words I have read from his concerning abortion are of today: no doubt, the result of the brutal flak against the new icon of the humble quasi-non-Pope.
And what is that is not possible? Did the Church not expand the most when it seemed impossible? I write about these issues incessantly and my readership expands faster than the Church does in every country you could care to mention. I am not even a priest, just an angry amateur blogger layman writing in a foreign language! Can you imagine what would happen if the Pope were to start doing the same and “insist” on the core issues? People have a desperate need for sound words! Desperate! What is this man’s priority: gossip?
Dulcis in fundo, let us repeat the last part of this astonishing statement.
“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.”
This is 100% Grima Wormtongue when Gandalf meets Theoden, and is utterly, utterly disturbing. Surrender to the new times, is what he is clearly and simply saying. Yes, you don’t have to formally approve of them; just shut up – most of the times, at least – and live with all the abominations of the day. Adapt, because if you don’t do it your moral edifice will collapse like a house of cards.
How can the moral edifice of the Church, of obviously divine origin and scope, collapse unless it get “adapted”? Is this some kind of sick joke? Is it the First of April and I haven’t noticed it?
Here, it can only be that the link between the “balance” and the “collapse” was taken completely out of context. I have no other explanation. Otherwise, it would be unprecedented even for Francis. A Presbyterian on steroids. Disturbing. Still, one must realise with some alarm that the phrase has “Bergoglio” written all over it. Again, I do not want to believe it. I merely point out to how easy he made for the press to make the utterly stupid and utterly brutal link: adapt or collapse. Certainly, this happened because of his unguarded expressions.
The sum total of all these assertions – all of them, word for word quotations – and of all that Francis has said, and omitted to say, since the beginning of the pontificate – is clear: don’t fight it. Francis espouses a defeatist line somewhere between Chamberlain and Quisling, with some very worrying streaks of Grima Wormtongue.
I do not think Jesus on the cross – or any time before, or after – was very worried about adapting his message to the times, or having the moral edifice of His church fall like a house of cards (that Francis would use such an image of speech referred to the Church, which is indefectible, is in itself a scandal as it suggest an organisation that could be wiped out, though this is not explicitly said). Actually, if one does not believe that Christ’s message is, in its entirety, valid independently of the times and the concrete situation, I question his right to call himself a Catholic rather than, say, a Presbyterian. The same I allow myself to think if, in a similar way, one should think the way the Church has dealt with the message of Christ – with such abstruse initiatives like evangelisation, and staunch defence of orthodoxy – were now past “sell before” date. We see here, again, Neo-modernism at work. Neo-modernism, I add, of a particularly brutal kind.
Or perhaps does Francis think that these are bad times for a staunch defence of orthodoxy, but there have been much better times in the past? Was it easy to defend Catholicism when the French Revolution ravaged Europe? Was it easy to defend Catholicism when Hitler sent thousands of priests in concentration, or even extermination camps? Was it easy to defend Catholic orthodoxy when the Communist siren lured the poor all over Southern Europe? Was “liberation theology” of any kind whatsoever an option then? And if not, why? What about the Cathars? What about the Saxons? What about the Hussites, the Lutherans, the Calvinists?
No. Defending Catholicism has never been easy, though at times this has been done better, at times less well, and at times very badly. Catholicism is, be it sodomy today or communism yesterday, uncomfortable, countercultural, never looking for the easy answers. Again, Popes have varied greatly. But what we have now on the sea of Peter is no Gregory the Great; rather a cowardly Liberius, suggesting that we do not insist on such stupid things as putting orthodoxy before all else, or being so “uncharitable” as to say to a sodomite that – bar an always welcome repentance – he is surely on his way to hell.
This man doesn’t even have the guts to say that God is against homosexuality. He suggests we focus on gossip instead. Because you see, other than the battle against institutionalised sodomy, the battle against gossip can certainly be won, right?
Francis must wake up, and I mean he must really wake up. He has been playing the populist provincial Peronist Archbishop for too long; he must see, surely, that this attitude will cause immense damage to the Church and the Papacy, at least as Church and Papacy have been understood for 2000 years, before the populism of the favela prophets entered the corridors of the Vatican.
Time to wake up for us, too, and stop pretending nothing is happening here.
The man is bombarding us with his revolutionary nuCatholicism like it’s Dresden in February 1945. We can’t pretend it’s carnival.
On the usual Rorate Caeli, read the words of the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, about some current issues.
Let us be judgemental, and let us quote it in its entirety.
“Harmonizing Ukrainian legislation with the European one, we quickly adopt the diseases of the Western society. In European legislation I see no mention of the Christian roots of the culture. We are mistaken if we think that in order to have European prosperity we need to come down with these illnesses,”
He said that in today’s society, which does not live according to God’s commandments, there are different ideas of morality and values. Often in the name of so-called tolerance, says the head of the church, life is destroyed, which, conversely, must be protected.
“Among the requirements of the European community are pseudo-values. The EU looks like a teenager who is testing the limits of morality and needs a Christian education. Europe was built not on same-sex marriages, but on the respect for human dignity, the protection of human rights and freedoms, on honesty in politics and business. On these foundations Europe arose, but it has forgotten about it. These are the values which today the church defends in our society. When it comes to the protection of life from its natural beginning to natural end, then it is the basis for the opposition to euthanasia, abortion, and other acts that violate the dignity of life”…He refutes the assertion that if Ukraine adopts the law on gay marriage, then it will join the European community. “I can affirm that it is not so. Sometimes our legislators, so as to not implement other bills, implement ones like this. It is much easier for them in Europe and in Ukraine to vote against the traditional family than against corruption, the unfair judicial system that tolerates selective justice. They focus on minor issues so as to not solve the main ones.”
Why can’t Francis talk that way, you will ask?
Well, because he does not believe that way, of course.
More on this to come soon. It might take some time; please cut me some slack, I also have to fight with the usual duties and chores of daily life.
Dear readers, I kindly ask you to use the comment box of this post to make the following:
1. Post a quotation, or quotations, of the passage or passages of the 12,000 Words interview that you find problematic, or disturbing, or questionable.
2. State in two words (three will be fine…) why you were negatively surprised by the quote.
3. Post the link to the source.
4. If you found something you found beautiful or very well said, please mention it too. Heavens, it can't have been 12,000 words of rubbish; though I understand this is Jesuits talking to a Jesuit, so the risk is there.
Please post only direct quotations of Francis' words. We are not interested in what the press extracts or infers from his words (I have read a couple of very wild things), but only in his very words.
Also, please do not comment here on anything else.
As here we are, apparently, confronted with a massive attack on Catholic sanity – though in what I have read up to now I have found, oh joy, nothing that would constitute, to my knowledge, an heretical statement – instead of the usual one or two headline-grabbing, popularity seeking exercises, the best thing to do is to dissect the corpse of the rotten mentality of this disturbing man and use it to affirm with as much clarity of thinking as we can muster the beauty and sanctity of Catholic teaching.
Which should, think of it, be the job of a Pope.
Pray for him, too. Pray for him.