Daily Archives: October 25, 2013
Spot The Waffler
Well, Father Z made my day today.
He reports a quotation from JP II. Pope Wojtyla was being interviewed by Vittorio Messori. Being one in the mould of Bergoglio, Messori asks the Pope, of all things, whether he was not “obsessive” about pro-life issues.
Now stop a moment and reflect on the forma mentis of those like Messori. To them, the unpleasant parts of Christianity are those to be glossed over as fast as one can; one who insists on such disharmony-creating ideas like fighting against abortion must, therefore, be forcibly suspected of being “obsessive”. Personally, I would be ashamed of even thinking, let alone asking, such a question to anyone, let alone a Pope. But I digress…
Pope JP II answered as follows:
The legalization of the termination of pregnancy is none other than the authorization given to an adult, with the approval of an established law, to take the lives of children yet unborn and thus incapable of defending themselves. It is difficult to imagine a more unjust situation, and it is very difficult to speak of obsession in a matter such as this, where we are dealing with a fundamental imperative of every good conscience — the defense of the right to life of an innocent and defenseless human being.”
By all the liturgical and ecu-maniacal shortcomings of Pope Wojtyla, I doubt Francis will ever express himself in such clear-cut way, even if he were to be Pope for the next 77 years. More worryingly, I doubt Francis thinks like Wojtyla did; because as I have just said, what the heart feels the mouth will tell.
Little review: what did Francis mouth tell? A generally smart commenter, signing as “the chicken”, has made the googling for us:
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. 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.”
“The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus.”
The difference is like the day and the night, and it is serendipitous that JP II spoke exactly about the issue of “obsession”.
Another commenter, signed David Andrew, has a rather insightful, if far too gentle, contribution:
this is a beautiful illustration of precisely why so many serious-minded, orthodox Catholics are confused and upset with the seemingly endless instances of the current Bishop of Rome making oddly-constructed statements that are then quoted out of context by the liberals. For whatever reason, Francis seems completely incapable of making an eloquent, unequivocal and direct statement in answer to a question such as this when being interviewed, thus giving the mainstream, liberal, small-”c” catholic press ample room to twist and torture his words which then sews confusion.
Well, I must disagree in that after several openly subversive interviews followed by the correction of exactly nothing, it seems clear to me who is wanting the twisting of sound Catholic teaching. Still, the point is well made: the one talks straight of unpleasant things, the other simply waffles around.
I do not know about you, but I find it highly disquieting that the French clergy has now decided to change the French text of the “Our Father”. Do they really think they know better than past generations? Do they really think there is more value in choosing a supposedly more accurate or convenient translation than by leaving the faithful safe in the knowledge they will die with same prayers they were born with?
This “change” introduces the very dangerous concept that the Church might have done things the wrong way even in fundamental things like the “Our Father”. “Look” – the French atheist will say to his friends – “these people say they are the depositaries of eternal truths, and now say to us even in the case of their most important prayer they didn't get it right”.
If you ask me, the vernacular version of the most common prayers should be the one that has been honoured by centuries of private devotions, not the one the last translator who has come around thinks appropriate. A prayer is more than its words. It is an entire world. You don't mess with it.
If the slow usage of the centuries has the effect that the way people understands the meaning of certain words change, then – if you ask me- the proper meaning should be duly explained, not the words changed. The Creed in English says “he descended to hell”, and it is part of Catholic education to know this is the limbus patrum and not the Gehenna.
If we start to play with words in this way, soon nothing will be safe anymore. Is the Hail Mary orthodox? How can I know, if I am praying the version given to me by a XXI Century Jesuit?
Tradition is just this: traditio, “transmission”. Let's transmit to the next generation the prayers we have received from the preceding one. Let's explain what there is to explain. Let us not make linguistic experiments with prayers.
I often say that what was good enough for my grand-grandmother is good enough for me. I can't see why the Our Father should be an exception, nor can I imagine an army of French grand-grandmothers led to erroneous belief by a wrong interpretations of the Our Father.
They were Catholic, you see. They knew things. They weren't people who do not even know how to make the sign of the cross and whose prayers must be dumbed down to match with how dumb they are.
Personally, I think the French clergy should focus their effort on explaining and evangelising, rather than running after language usages of people who don't know jack about what the clergy themselves should teach them.
How Do You Judge A Papacy?
The Creative Minority Report asks how we judge a Papacy.
My answer is very simple: by the ability of the Pope to defend the deposit of faith and the entirety of Catholic teaching – even if not directly linked to the deposit of faith – and transmit it intact to his successor.
These are, to me, criteria that comes before everything else; which is why in my eyes Alexander VI was – with all his shortcomings – a vastly, vastly better Pope than our present ringmaster and bad-entertainer-in-chief.
The other criteria that are proposed or suggested are, if you ask me, merely effects of a good papacy, or symptoms of a bad one. Number and quality of vocations, mass attendance numbers etc. will all tend to reflect the way the Church – starting from the Pope – is run. As the fish stinks from the head down, a good Pope will in time cause massive ripple effects throughout Christendom, and a bad Pope likewise.
In short: the truth about a Pope is seen at the way a Pope deals with the Truth.
Which is why Francis is such a disgrace.
Strange works of Mercy
The usual nutcase auxiliary bishop has now advocated putting the defence of life and the fight against poverty on the same footing. This looks like a seamless garment, or rather like a shameless bishop. No doubt, he hopes Francis reads him. No doubt, he also hopes he is seen as “in touch with the times”, which is rather useful if you are aiming at your own diocese.
The absurdity of the reasoning is apparent to everyone who doesn't vote for Obama: abortion is murder, and feeding the hungry etc. are works of mercy.
Therefore, to put the two on the same footing is like saying that, in actual fact, it is a work of mercy not to murder one's own baby.
Such are our bishops.