Daily Archives: October 3, 2013
It might be useful to expand a bit on a couple of the controversial statements of the Bishop of Rome in the recent interview: those concerning the “proselytism is nonsense” stunt. .
As the headlines, even when true, only report the actual words, the context can help us to better see what the situation was and was Francis was doing. In addition, we can use this to observe the way communication works, and apply it to all the other pieces of nonsense the Bishop of Rome continues to regale us with, and which are too numerous for a blogger who also has a job to examine in detail.
I have read the Italian of the text, and can vouch for the correctness of the translation.
Please consider that Repubblica is one of the biggest newspapers in Italy. It is not read by theologians, but by millions of John Does (or rather Mario Rossis, or Giovanni Colombos). Francis knows this perfectly well. He also knows the readership of the newspaper is one of leftists, generally entirely godless or tepidly cafeteria Catholics. This is not a newspaper bought by people of conservative attitudes, or by people ready and willing to give his every word the ideal, theologically appropriate Catholic interpretation after they have spoken with their parish priest.
Let us see.
Ora son qui. Il Papa entra e mi dà la mano, ci sediamo. Il Papa sorride e mi dice: «Qualcuno dei miei collaboratori che la conosce mi ha detto che lei tenterà di convertirmi»È una battuta gli rispondo. Anche i miei amici pensano che sia Lei a volermi convertire.Ancora sorride e risponde: «Il proselitismo è una solenne sciocchezza, non ha senso. Bisogna conoscersi, ascoltarsi e far crescere la conoscenza del mondo che ci circonda. A me capita che dopo un incontro ho voglia di farne un altro perché nascono nuove idee e si scoprono nuovi bisogni. Questo è importante: conoscersi, ascoltarsi, ampliare la cerchia dei pensieri. Il mondo è percorso da strade che riavvicinano e allontanano, ma l’importante è che portino verso il Bene».
And here I am. The Pope comes in and shakes my hand, and we sit down. The Pope smiles and says: “Some of my colleagues who know you told me that you will try to convert me.”It's a joke I tell him. My friends think it is you want to convert me.
He smiles again and replies: “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us. Sometimes after a meeting I want to arrange another one because new ideas are born and I discover new needs. This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.”
The dynamic is clear enough. Francis says a light joke to Scalfaro about “attempts at conversion”. The other jokingly answers “same here”. At this point, Bergoglio launches an abrupt “proselytism is solemn nonsense”.
The reader does here what everyone of us does when he reads or talks: he follows the conversation. The Bishop is immediately linking “conversion” to “proselytism”, and calls the latter “nonsense”. He does not say anything on the lines of “I'd love to convert you, dear Dr Scalfari, but I am afraid it won't be that easy, or that fast”. This is the kind of answer a gracious Italian Catholic would have given; I mean spontaneously given, during a jovial conversation, because he is a Catholic. He does not even say “I wish I could make you understand how important salvation is for you, but I must pay attention that my imprudent enthusiasm does not result in the opposite of my intent”, thus making clear that if badly made, proselytism can backfire.
No. Francis is very brutal. It goes directly to the core of the matter (conversion) and says that… proselytism is nonsense. He says this, full knowing his words will go around the world as meaning the very words he has said: proselytism is nonsense. Not “some proselytism is nonsense”. Not “proselytism can be nonsensical”. Not “proselytism is good, unless it is made by a fool”. Nothing of all this. He says
“Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense.”
To expect that the millions of readers of Repubblica and all over the world understand these words as anything different from what they very obviously mean is, truly, a solemn nonsense, and it makes no sense.
Also, Francis does not say that, say, after the two have improved their acquaintance he hopes he might persuade Scalfari to come closer to God, and perhaps to explore again, together with him, the reason of the Faith in friendship and without prejudices. He is not interested in converting the man at all, be it in the long or in the short term. He simply acknowledges the two have chosen very different ways and is very happy for this to be so, because “the important thing is that [their separate ways] lead toward the Good”.
Scalfari could have said exactly the same words to Francis, and no one in his right mind would ever interpret this as a desire of conversion to atheism.
“But Mundabor” – you might say – “you are now dissecting and analysing every word! Francis cannot dissect and analyse every word before he speaks!”.
To this I answer:
1. He can (in a way). This is an interview for a newspaper, not a live TV show. He could certainly ask to read the final draft and have the parts that aren't good or do not reflect his thinking to be taken away. If he hasn't done it, well he is a vainglorious fool who knows he tends to talk a lot of rubbish but thinks an interview on Repubblica is more important. Besides, I cannot imagine Scalfari would have said “no: either the text as it goes out of the recorder or no interview”. That's why you make newspaper interviews nowadays.
2. Think of how conversations happen. You have a leading idea that you want to express, and your words spontaneously express the idea you have formed. Our communication is spontaneous and authentic exactly because we do not have time to chisel two minutes on every word. What the heart feels, the mouth will tell, because words are but the expression of the concepts we have in mind. This is why when we are in conversation we generally do not stop our interlocutor asking to repeat the concept three times with different words. This is also why when – which at times happens – something isn't clear we stop the interlocutor immediately and ask him to explain it again; or why when we understand we might have expressed ourselves badly – also a rare occurrance: the mouth has generally no problem at all in expressing what the mind thinks – we immediately correct ourselves.
Not here. Francis is very sure of what he says. No qualifications, no distinguos, no problem at all with planting “proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense” in the middle of the conversation and leaving it there. What the heart has felt, the mouth has spoken.
It astonishes me that it could be any differently, not only here but in every interaction. If we had to apply the method some suggest we apply to Francis to every interview, newspapers and TV interview would be a solemn nonsense, they would make no sense.
I insist on this latter expression. Read it again. When I write “it's a solemn nonsense, it makes no sense”, does anyone have a doubt about the meaning of my words? Really?
And by the by, do I really have to spend one hour and more at the keyboard for such a simple concept? Isn't it what Francis has already said? Do you remember the “Rehab” post?
Do you need to convince the other to become Catholic? No, no, no! Go out and meet him, he is your brother. This is enough. Go out and help him and Jesus will do the rest”.
For heaven's sake, let us stop telling tales to ourselves.
Understandably, many good Catholics are now praying every day that the Lord may, in His Mercy, free us from Francis, the Scourge of Catholicism. They rightly reflect that due to the unique position of this man, as I write this on the morning of the 3 October 2013 it is fair to say no one else on the entire planet is making – unwittingly, I hope – the work of the Devil as effectively and as destructively as this man.
Still, it must be very clear to us that what we – as Catholics and Christians – are collectively living is nothing more than what we have collectively deserved, and the Lord's Justice has now descended upon us in a way that is impossible for us to ignore any longer.
It is as if the Lord would – in a way, of course – say to us: “So you love ecumenism, don't you? Care a lot for “religious freedom”, right? Live happily with abortion, am I wrong? Are so full of understanding for sins that call to heaven for vengeance, aren't you? Well, boys 'n girls: let's see how you like this…“.
After which, he allows the Cardinals to commit the Stupid Act Of The Century and appoint an ignorant, hypocritical, morally very questionable, fake humble, unaware of Catholicism, clearly heathenish, popularity-worshipping, camera-loving, logorrhoea-plagued, beauty-hating, provincial Argentine Peronist as Pope.
Punctually, the man begins to give them – and all of us – overdoses of what they – and all of us – have been tolerating for decades. Better still, the man brings the many budding heresies of the V II to ripeness, like a peach in August. With him the Neo-Modernist heresies, up to now mixed with Catholic Truths, become of age, and want if not the sole attention, certainly the main place at the Catholic table.
You loved ecumenism. Enjoy Francis being consequent and saying that, then, there is no need to convert anyone. No! No! No! Hey, God isn't Catholic, says he! (a Sign of the Cross is here certainly in order).
You loved religious freedom. How about a Pope fighting for the right of Muslim to eat halal meat? Or paying attention that his sodomy-loving Jewish buddy eats kosher? Do you really like to be forced to have the couple of faggots “sleep” in your bed and breakfast, in front of your family? Is having to pay for other people's abortion and contraception tolerant enough for you? How do you like the obvious faggot soldier on the shower near you, talking of his impending “marriage” with his “love” whilst he looks at your buttocks?
You were happy to look the other way about abortion, and always said you were “personally opposed”; but you clearly wanted to be nice at all times and not impinge in the “right” of others to kill their baby in the womb. How about a Pope who says a yearly multiple Holocaust on a planetary scare is something we should not obsess about, and the biggest problems in the world are… youth unemployment and old people's loneliness?
You were happy to be so silent about sodomy. How about many countries exposing your children to sodomy as a human right even at school, whilst the Pope does not say one single word against sodomy, doubling it with “who am I to judge” and the invitation not to be “obsessed”? I am sure I have left aside a lot, but you get the drift.
Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.
Sow the Novus Ordo mass, reap the Pinocchio Mass.
Sow ecumenism, reap indifferentism or outright New Age rubbish.
Sow religion freedom, reap the persecution of Catholics.
Sow Vatican II, reap Francis.
We are being deservedly punished. We are being shown on our flesh the folly of our ways, because we were so blind and stupid we did not get that, to make one example for all, the Assisi gatherings – particularly the first – are blasphemy and abomination.
We collectively pay the price of our collective folly. We collectively deserve every mouthful of excrement this unspeakably unworthy Pope will thrust down our throats; feeling, no doubt, extremely humble as he does so, and reaping the lavish praise of all the wrong people, from perverted singers to abortionist organisations, and from liberal journalists to the holocaust-promoting President of the United States, who has just joined the long list of his fans.
The only way out now is to denounce the excrements for what they are, and hope the Divine Spoon will be taken away from us soon.
But truly, we have deserved every spoonful. God does not owe us an orthodox Pope. We may hope he takes Francis away from us; but if we are honest with ourselves, why should He?
Sow the error, reap the spoon.
“St. Vincent of Lerins makes a comparison between the biological development of man and the transmission from one era to another of the deposit of faith, which grows and is strengthened with time … The view of the church’s teaching as a monolith to defend without nuance or different understandings is wrong.”
Pope Francis, “12,000 words interview”, Civilta’ Cattolica/America Magazine, 2013.
“Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that … dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.”
Pope St Pius X, “Oath against Modernism”, 1910.
Yes. It’s as bad as this.
The Oath Against Modernism.
St. Pius X, pray for us!
To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.
I . . . . firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day. And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:90), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time. Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time. Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical’ misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and lord.
Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm. Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.
Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.
I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God. . .
His Holiness St. Pius X, 1 September 1910.