Daily Archives: March 21, 2014
And it came to pass Bishop Gaenswein allowed the world to know the Pontiff Emeritus had written a sort of commentary of the draft of the Papal interview with Civilta’ Cattolica, the 12,000 word exercise due to the fact that Bishop Francis does not like giving interviews.
This interview was scandalous enough. But it could be that without Benedict’s notes (which might have led to adjustments in the end) it could have been even worse.
Soon thereafter, Francis writes a long letter to Scalfari, even more scandalous than the interview to Civilta’ Cattolica, and inter alia lets the first bomb about “conscience” and “salvation for atheists” explode. Shortly after the letter, he doubles with the notorious interview, which was more a carpet bombing in Dresden style.
Knowing what we know now, we can safely conclude as follows:
1) Benedict must have received a draft of the interview already checked by Francis, then elementary courtesy demands no other behaviour. You don’t ask a Pontiff Emeritus to OK a draft you have not checked for accuracy first. He is not your under-under assistant just come out of the Seminary. Francis, then, does receive drafts, and he does read them.
2) Benedict does not receive, as far as we know – but it would be strange if Gaenswein would just keep this covered – neither the draft of the original letter to Scalfari, nor the draft of the Scalfari interview. Am I bad in thinking Francis feared he would receive not four, but fourteen pages of comment? Why, otherwise, would one avail oneself of the services of a fine theologian in the first occasion, but not in the second and the third?
3) How can even the blindest Pollyannas now declare that the Pope does not receive and reads drafts of interviews? Or that he is so reckless that he gives them green light for publication without even reading them? After we know he asked the draft of the Civilta’ Cattolica interview to be read by the Pontiff Emeritus? Really?
Just three thoughts, really. But I wanted to share them. We should not forget old scandals just because we are confronted with ever new ones.
“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.
The Germans have a beautiful saying; they call it DieLKW-Theorie.
The theory in question says that if you want to avoid close scrutiny for your project, you can submit to the deciders an entire truckload of documents at the last minute, pointing out that the decision is now expected very fast or else the client will walk away. The deciders have therefore the double whammy of time and sheer quantity of material put in front of them, with all the bad news conveniently buried in the middle of the paper avalanche. Only the strongest will resist the trick, but many are those who will cave in, faced with the pressure of angry salesmen threatening to lay at their feet with the powers that be the charge of every misconduct from, and including, Adam. Every time this happens, men are divided from boys; then you discover that just a…
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This is an excerpt from the Mario Palmaro's interview, already mentioned on this blog. You find the complete text in the usual Rorate.
The fact that a pope is “liked” by people is completely irrelevant to the two-thousand-year logic of the Church: the pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth and he has to please Our Lord. This means that the exercise of his power is not absolute, but is subordinate to the teaching of Christ, which is found in the Catholic Church, in Her Tradition and fostered by the life of Grace through the Sacraments.Now, this means that the pope himself can be judged and criticized by the [ordinary] Catholic, on the condition that this happens in the perspective of love for the truth, and that as a criteria of reference, Tradition and the Magisterium are used. A pope contradicting a predecessor in matters of faith and morals has to, without question, be criticized.We must distrust both the worldly logic where the pope is judged by democratic criteria which satisfies the majority, and the temptation to “papolatry” according to which “the pope is always right.” Furthermore, for decades now we have become used to criticizing many popes from the past in a destructive manner, exhibiting scarce historiographic seriousness; well then, we don’t see why reigning popes or the most recent ones are spared in any way from any type of criticism. If Boniface VII or Pius V are judged why not also judge Paul VI or Francis?
The late Mario Palmaro (for the repose of whose soul I invite you to pray once again) seems here to answer questions that have not been posed yet; in the sense that the poor man could not have known the outlandish position that one must be sure that he will be a Great Saint before daring to publicly criticise the Pope.
But this is not why I write this blog post. I write this blog post to drive home the concept that Catholic bloggers criticise the Bishop of Rome because they love Christ and His Church, and they will criticise him according to their way of loving Christ and His Church: some of them more emotionally, some others in a colder way. Padre Pio never stopped and thought twice what he was doing before slapping one in the face, out of love for the one he was slapping; and what a blessing, a slap in the face from Padre Pio…
I have in the last weeks stumbled upon many blogs critical of the Pope, as Voris' outlandish claim that every prelate should be criticised with the exception of the Pope has made them emerge in my PC screen. They are written in all possible tones, and actually in different languages; they reflect different temperaments, experiences, and blood pressures; but I have not found one, not a single one, by which the love for the Church and the care for the souls of the faithful was not the motivating factor for their criticism. The argument of the “nasty bloggers” is disingenuous, to say the very least.
The comment boxes are, admittedly, a different matter. Due to the modern ideas of “tolerance” seemingly dominating the modern blogosphere, cranks of all types – from the aggressive Sedevacantist to the conspiracy theorist to the terminally obsessed – populate them and create this image of the “traddie crank” as the prototype of the person wishing hell to 95% of the human population; a perception magnified by the cafeteria troops, who identify with them everyone more than 20 cm away from a tambourine. I do not follow this editorial line, and cull messages of more or less explicit sedevacantist or conspiracy theory flavour with beautiful regularity. But the fact it, you can't browse around without reading them.
On the other hand, when people are angry it will come out. It is right that it be so. Good people get angry, too. Righteous anger is not a sin, and only the cafeteria troops, to whom every anger is wrong, will see a sin in it. Methinks, their Jesus spent the day picking daisies.
Still, to throw away the just criticism of an utterly disgraceful Pope – a Pope who, if he said the same things as a parish priest, would be considered unworthy of the habit and worth of defrocking from every sound thinking parishioner of his – with the bathwater of emotionally supercharged, grumpy old men does not seem the thing to do. The problem is there, and it is a huge one. Those who focus on side effects of the problem rather than on the problem itself have simply missed the point.
The dying Mario Palmaro obviously saw the point. Dying, he decided to die expressing a charitable, but extremely firm, criticism to the end. I have no doubt that he was never moved either by personal animosity toward Francis, or by desire to aggrandise himself at the expense of a Pope; an impossible feat, this one: then no Catholic will ever love to criticise, or read a criticism of, the Pope. Which is another fact that the “critics of the critics” continue to ignore.
Of course the Pope should be criticised. If he has deserved harsh criticism, of course he should be criticised harshly. He should be, in fact, criticised in such a way as to counteract, as much as possible, the immense fallout of his reckless statements. He should be criticised by exposing those mistakes he has not recanted from – that is, to today: all of them – again and again, lest he should think that he can do and say whatever he pleases and give scandal at every turn, and everything will be forgotten in a matter of weeks because “hey, it's old”.
This Pope also has an extremely disquieting trait; a trait that was, to my knowledge, not present in any of his predecessors, and certainly of none of them since the beginning of mass communication: an unprecedented willingness to make an ass of himself in a very public way, whenever he thinks this will serve to increase his popularity.
In Francis the Pope is nowhere, Jorge Bergoglio is everywhere. If he thought that being photographed with a red nose – symbolic of a clown – would help his popularity, he would do it (oh, wait!). It is not clear, then, why he should be allowed to make such a clown of himself, but others should not point out to what kind of clown we have as a Pope. If you refuse to be blind in front of the heresy, you must also refuse to be blind in front of the tomfoolery, and the continuous scandal given not only by questionable statements, but by the relentless quest for a stage so typical of this man.
To think that this man, so obsessed with his own glorification, so astonishingly vain as to see the very Papacy exclusively through the lens of his own mass approval, should be believed “humble” by the world is, in fact, another demonstration Christ is giving us of how stupid the world is, and how foolish it is to follow it.
“Enjoy” (so to speak) the red nose. It's not photoshopped. It's not leaked. It's not a slip of the tongue. Open your eyes, look at it long and hard. This is how he wants to be seen by the stupid world, so that the stupid world may recognise his own.
This is the Papacy of the XXI century. This is what Francis is doing to the Papacy.
It astonishes me how most have not understood (yet) what kind of monster we are all nurturing with our tax money.
Brussels is becoming more and more a supranational Big Brother (the dictator, of course), where the opinions about freedom prevailing at any time – and widely shaped from extremist interest groups, perverts’ lobbies, and easy populism of the day – are happily imposed upon hundreds of million of people, whilst we are told this is salutary, and for our own good.
The latest (or one of the latest) madness is the proposal of some former EU Heads of State to create a “surveillance unit” for “intolerant” citizen.
The Gestapo mentality of this is mind-boggling: no judicial control, no suspicion of criminal offence (which would require a criminal investigation; which is not what this is about): a purely administrative surveillance machine, spying on the lives of all those they don’t like and tarnishing them with the official EU stamp of “intolerance”.
How seriously incapable these people are of understanding freedom is shown at the very clear words of the report:
“There is no need to be tolerant to the intolerant,” it states, especially “as far as freedom of expression is concerned.”
This thinking is the democratic understanding of people raised in Communist states (a number of the proposers actually are). The very principle of tolerance demands that, whenever tolerance is offered – and it must not be offered in everything – it protect everyone, including the intolerant; then otherwise it is not tolerance at all.
The second part of the statement quoted above shows all the absurdity of the thinking: if freedom of expression is not tolerated there is no freedom of expression, period.
I grew up in a country where the freedom of expression was limited only in very extreme manifestations that went against the very grain of common sense and pointed to an system of values superior to democracy (say: blasphemy, whereas this is meant as blasphemy of the Lord, not of Manitu or the Great Teapot In The Sky), but was otherwise considered the very blood of freedom; where it was normal to find publications from extreme right to extreme left; where you could – and still can – openly deny the Holocaust if you feel so inclined – which I find stupid; but it’s not for me to demand that people don’t say stupid things – without any fear of being put under surveillance by some obscure apparatchik; and where you could buy old racist, Nazi-like publications like “La Difesa della Razza” from street sellers without anyone taking scandal. I marched into the then Rizzoli bookstore in Rome and asked to buy “Mein Kampf“, just to see if I could. I could. The very courteous employee did not even raise an eyebrow.
This, my friends, is freedom.
In this XXI century, the dictatorship of “tolerance” is advancing fast; words do not mean anything anymore; “tolerance” is a one-way road, and this is openly admitted and proudly stated.
The proposers of this measure are all former Heads of State or Government, either directly or indirectly democratically elected. They are either to stupid to understand freedom, or cynically ride the tiger of “intolerance with the tolerant” to pursue their own interests. They must be really deranged in order not to see where this leads to: more power for the Gaystapo.
It tells you something about the erosion of the very concept of freedom that is taking place in the minds of the people; an erosion positively driven by supranational entities (like the UN, and the EU) presenting themselves as the good teachers slowly raising us kids to correct understanding. There is no tell you what a danger this creates, as measures adopted in one single country would cause immediate suspicion in many others, whilst the EU allows Brussels committees to work as incubators of illiberal policies that are then imposed on all countries as a European policy by way of decisions of organs whose degree of representativeness can be defined laughable at its best, and too far detached from the people of the European Union anyway.
The European Union is a diabolical construct. What started as a way to improve commerce and economic relationships – a worthy aim on its own – has long become the political project of a Big Nanny superstate with the same respect for thre freedom of its citizen of a Leonid Breznev. This is not about a better economic environment anymore, or about closed ties making wars more difficult.
Your own freedom is at stake. Not in the obvious manner of, say, an Anschluss, but in the far more subtle way of having your brain moulded, since a child, according to the wishes of a small clicque of people who have nested itself in the vital centres of power (the organisations and lobbies and donors who influence the appointments to key places) and, from there, steer the immense herd of stupid cows – yes, you – into believing absurdities like “there is no need to be tolerant to the intolerant,” especially “as far as freedom of expression is concerned.” In fact, the very fact that such proposals are aired and proposed a EU policy by certainly influential people show the fullness of the decay of the concept of freedom in Europe, and how Brussels is the perfect incubator for every threat to it.
The EU must die.It must be killed as a political project and be scaled back to what is sensible: the easing of commerce, the opening of markets, the economic benefits deriving from the (sensible) standardisations of common goods, from screwdrivers to potatoes and from gherkins to car tires.
The best way to vote in the upcoming elections for the EU Parliament (a misleading expression anyway; in no European democracy the organs of the Executive have so much power as in Brussels) is to give contributions to the dismantling of this immense repressive apparatus.
If you need further proof the EU is a satanic machine meant to nanny all of us out of Christianity, you only need to read this Rorate post, which reports the Slovakian Central Bank decided to proceed with the coinage of a special 2-Euro commemorative coin in honour of the Saints Cyril and Methodius.
The EU had previously made resistance because the original design contained – shock! horror! – a.. a… a… Cross!
Seriously! If we start putting crosses on coins, where will it end?! People going to Mass? It’s the thin end of the wedge!
The mere sight of a cross was evidently too much for the satanic EU, which initially let it be known coins cannot contain religious symbols. Later, it was told this was not official EU policy, but the policy of some countries, which might make it not possible…
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The arguments in defence of the indefensible become more and more outlandish. I will leave all the side noise (I doubt Thomas More would have made a TV sender “where lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed”, either…; but seriously, I won’t waste my time with that) on the side, and address one question:
should we limit ourselves to writing letters to the Pope?
No, we shouldn’t.
Firstly, the problem of a Pope giving scandal in public is only in a secondary and accessory manner the problem of the salvation of the Pope’s soul. It is in the first line a problem for the millions of souls who are confused by his outlandish or heretical statements. The Pope is one soul, but the souls who are endangered are millions. As we are taught that every soul has infinite value and dignity, there is no reason whatsoever to sacrifice one individual soul – much less, countless millions of individual souls – to any raison d’ Etat whatsoever.
If I were to write a letter to the Pope – which I won’t, because I am smarter than wasting my time in this way; then I might as well write a letter to Father Christmas; and honestly I can’t listen to certain suggestions without feeling treated like a child of the relevant age – this letter would not be read by, and would therefore not profit any, of the countless souls already mentioned.
I do not write a blog – nor does Michael Voris run a TV channel – to improve the Pope. We do it in order to allow a Catholic voice to reach an audience of immortal souls who would otherwise be confused and possibly led into perdition by the outlandish or outright heretical messages spread by the clergy. If one doesn’t write a blog or a TV channel in order to save souls, one wonders what it all is about. Voris himself states he is worried for the salvation of souls. Unless, it appears, the Pope is the one endangering millions of them. In that case, please limit yourself to a letter.
The salvation of souls is, though, the motivation for all of us, without any exception. If Michael Voris’ aim were simply to move Cardinal Dolan as an individual to behave in a Catholic way, he could simply write a polite letter to him stating a thing or two about Catholicism. But this is not what he does with his TV channel. The reason he runs an internet TV channel is exactly in order that he may reach an undetermined number of people and help saving their soul: either the pewsitters out there, or those who used to be such, or those who might become such. In everything a public Catholic outlet does – be that a widely known TV channel like CMTV, or an obscure blog like this one – the salvation of the souls concerned should be, I have always thought, the motivating factor and principal aim.
Catholics don’t live in solitary islands. Our faith teaches us to care for each other, to stay near each other. If the Pope confuses countless Catholics, I cannot consider this merely a matter between the Pope and myself, in the sense that my duty to give witness of sound Catholicism cannot be limited to – of all people – the Pope. Catholics are a like big cooperative. We are, literally, all in the same Barque. If my neighbour is struggling, I will help my neighbour as good as I can, I will not simply think “oh well, I have written a letter to the Captain, so I have done enough”. If I see that many in the barque are running the risk of falling overboard, I will not simply send a billet to the admiral; rather, I will help as many of those who are in the barque as I can.This is the only way of action I see, that is compatible with our Christian duties to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, and admonish the sinner. I positively refuse to blatantly ignore what is happening all around me just because the need to instruct, counsel or admonish has been originated by the Pope. To do so would be, in my eyes, a betrayal of those same values of brotherhood in Christ I claim to profess.
Secondly, it must be clear to the dimmest intelligence that the suggestion to write personal letters to the Pope is mere escapism. No intelligent person should ever give intelligent people suggestions that are so obviously, absurdly inadequate. Yes, Pope Francis might read one letter in three thousand that he receives, and if you are homosexual he might even phone you afterwards. But no intelligent person would suggest the mere act of writing a letter with an infinitely small chance of being ever read by the addressee is anything more than a very lame excuse to appease one’s conscience as countless souls are endangered by Francis’ antics.
Thirdly, the Pope does not confuse faithful individually (I mean, I am sure he does that, too; but this is not what we are talking about), but very publicly, worldwide. A TV channel does not produce for one video for every individual, but each video for many viewers, worldwide. A blog is not created to send individually written posts to individual readers, and so on.
The media are public. The papacy is public. The Church is very obviously public. To think that public problem may be pushed in the realm of private suggestions is nonsensical, mere escapism, and a very lame excuse for doing nothing.
No, such outlandish suggestions just do not make sense.
Educate yourself. Read good books about sound Catholicism. React to the confusion of these times by becoming better instructed, so that you may better resist the satanical influences of our times.
Save the stamp. Writing letters to the dust bin is not the answer.