Must read post about Pope Francis and the “phoney war” being waged over him

Over at The Sensible Bond there is a must read post.  Here is a sample with my emphases:

The phoney war in the Church: five linguistic thoughts on THAT interview

Like speed, language is also war. It’s the stuff of propaganda. It’s the stuff of rousing pre-battle speeches and of post-battle excuses. It’s the handiwork of spies and the tool of diplomats. Yes, language is war in every possible way.

Language is like an ensign or a set of colours. Let me give you an example. When I first married my wife, I moved to South London and we attended a church which had a very fine priest. Sadly he retired shortly after I arrived in the parish and he was replaced by another priest – a withered-looking Irish man who seemed allergic to people. I saw the cut of his jib, however, right from the first Mass I attended at which he was the celebrant. Following the Offering Prayers, he said to the congregation: ‘Pray, sisters and brothers …’ Afterwards I said to my wife, ‘That’s the signal, we know where he is coming from now.‘ My wife was skeptical, however, and little did either of us suspect the next chapter… Which occurred when we wanted our baby baptized. ‘Oh, you don’t need to rush into things,’ he said. ‘It’s a big thing welcoming a new person into a family, so it can be organized later. We don’t want to be injudicious [sic].’ My wife was on the verge of tears and desperate to argue the case. I just looked at him and thought to myself that I knew half a dozen priests who would baptize our child the next day if I asked them to.

But you see, it was all in the language. I knew what clan he belonged to almost from the minute he spoke. It doesn’t always work that way, but sometimes it is just very clear …

************

And so we come to THAT interview. I keep coming up against the argument that Pope Francis is working marvels for the image of the Church. His tangible support for the poor is extraordinary, people say, and nobody can criticize him from that. St Francis of Assisi has always been popular even with people who instinctively loathe Catholicism, so placing his papacy under that sign was, from a PR perspective, shrewder than shrewd – or, to use an old favourite, ‘more cunning than a fox who has just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University.’

But since language is war, let me state some of my difficulties with the interview in terms of its language. We don’t have much more to go on at the moment:

The language of mercy – for that is how it has been justified – has led to colossal misunderstandings in the last seven days. Pope Francis is loved but for all the wrong reasons: because it is thought his words open the door to the relaxation of “bedsheet dogmas” or open the sanctuary gates to the swish of women in chasubles. In other words, if he has one thing in common with Pope Benedict, it is this: he is misunderstood. But here is the difference: Benedict was misunderstood and hated while Francis is misunderstood and loved. And why? On matters of sexual ethics, Benedict told the hard truth but tempered it with kindness. Francis is all kindness and seems to assume that because he is a “son of the Church”, nobody will mistake his meaning. [RIGHT!] But really, if you’re the Vicar of Christ, would you rather be hated because you told the truth (albeit kindly), or loved because someone thought you were changing the truth? [I made that decision a long time ago.] And while we’re on the topic of telling people they are loved rather than telling them off, the biggest popular devotion in France in the 19th century was that of the Sacred Heart – an iconic expression of God’s love for every individual – and the Republicans still loathed and persecuted the Church! Sometime, you just cannot win.

The language of latitude. We have to put an end to the growing false memory of Benedict which even the language of Francis is contributing too. Pope Francis has spoken about “small-minded rules“. I would love to ask him what rules he is thinking about. The Church purged itself of a shed-load of small-minded rules after the Council. Recently, Catholicism has been characterized not by small-minded rules, but by a minimalist approach to the law. Legalism has been out for decades. [Not only is it out, but anit-nomianism is in!]

Likewise, Francis’s concerns over what we might call “campaign doctrines” (abortion, etc) is perturbing. When he says that the Church’s pastoral ministry cannot just be “obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines” (just after mentioning gay marriage and abortion), it is as if he is blaming the world’s inability to understand the Church on those who have given their lives to fight the genocide of the unborn or defend Christian marriage. [I have gotten a lot of email that uses - unsurprisingly - the same image: people feel "stabbed in the back".] His language aims of course at toning down dogmatism; yet, its moralistic expression (“the Church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed”) implies that the Church has gone about banging on about abortion like some revivalist temperance preacher. If you find any priest thumping a pulpit over abortion or over any sexual sin, do let us know. [Right.  Where are these priests, anyway?] In fighting with this caricature as if it’s true, Pope Francis does nothing other than flatter those who have carefully crafted such an image out of half lies and distortions.

The language of omission – this is a tricky one since no interview is exhaustive. Still, it is always interesting to see how key questions are characterized by those who speak. On the Extraordinary Form – which, in another linguistic coup, is now being called the Vetus Ordo (because it is no longer deemed extraordinary, just old) – the pope says, “I think the decision of Pope Benedict [his decision of July 7, 2007, to allow a wider use of the Tridentine Mass] was prudent and motivated by the desire to help people who have this sensitivity.” But, that is only half the story. [I still have to post on the differences in meaning between "prudent" and "prudential".]Anyone who reads Summorum Pontificum will find that is it not only a matter of traditionalist sensibilities. Rather, it is a question of preserving the heritage of the Church. Rather, it is a matter of influencing the Ordinary Form (in a reciprocal relationship theoretically). Like all the language issues I have pointed out, this crucial omission is deeply connotative. If the Extraordinary Form is about sensibilities (as Francis says here), then it is simply a sideshow for traditionalist nostalgia. If it’s a heritage for the entire Church (as Benedict wrote), then it cannot be swept under the carpet. So what does Francis think exactly?

And by the way, was there in the interview any mention of cracking together the heads of those responsible for covering up abuse or for slowing down its expurgation? While we are on the topic of omissions, why did he have nothing to say about that – a subject on which the Church’s leaders have tended to be silent…? Why mention devolving the CDF’s doctrinal work but pass over the biggest scandal of recent times? It’s not as if, in not mentioning it, he can keep it out of the headlines…

The fig leaf of orthodoxy

[...]

The language of dynamic(s) .

[...]

In war, truth is not the first victim. Charity is. I confess it here, dear readers: I’m struggling to be charitable about our pope, and you must pray for me! He has done nothing yet – like our priest in South London. But already I hear the rhetoric and I sit very uncomfortably in my seat. No – more than that – this interview has wounded me more than almost anything Benedict ever said or did (and Assisi III was a low point).

I applaud Pope Francis’s talk of mercy. But I don’t see why it must require such underhand and unwitting blows at souls who have been generous and courageous in defence of the unborn or in defence of orthodoxy. Would he ever have spoken in a way that condemned crusaders against poverty? And, worse than all, when I see the glee of those against whom defenders of the unborn and defenders of orthodoxy have struggled for so long – their joy at having a pope who so tickles their liberal fantasies – I wonder what spirit is abroad. When Francis says that in a field hospital you must treat wounds before treating blood sugar levels, I’m minded to remind him that people die of diabetes every day.

We are in the period of the phoney war, dear readers. As yet, we have more talk than action.

But I hope and pray. I hope and pray on my knees that we will not see the initiation of Francis’s ‘new historical dynamics’. Truly, I dread to think what they could be.

Agree with him or not, I give him serious Fr. Z Kudos for his clarity of thought, his willingness to post these thoughts, and his fine writing.

 

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117 Responses to Must read post about Pope Francis and the “phoney war” being waged over him

  1. “So what does Francis think exactly?”

    Isn’t this essay really arguing that he’s said enough to make it pretty clear?

  2. McCall1981 says:

    It’s a really interesting point he brings up, that Francis didnt address the abuse scandal (and hasnt really addressed it much at all). Its probably even more telling that the media didnt even notice he’s avoiding that subject. Makes me think he was sekected to be the nice guy, PR Pope that gives Church a nice image and sort of changes the subject away from the scandals. I’d be ok with that since it would Francis’ “changes” are more about style than substance.

  3. GAK says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z, for posting this. Thanks to the author, too, for the time & talent he put into writing it. I appreciate his insights.

    My bottom line is this (and I take the occasion of this post to make it, though it is an observation that I have gathered from a number of places and is not a direct response to this author): I am deeply troubled by what I see as an exaggerated emotional reaction by so many Catholics to this interview.

    By and large the responses I see are: I feel, I feel, I feel. I’ve done, I’ve done, I’ve done. We feel, we feel, we, feel.

    I feel stabbed in the back. I feel disappointed. I feel angry. I’ve done so much pro-life work. I’ve done this, we’ve done that. Doesn’t the Holy Father know this? Doesn’t he appreciate me? Doesn’t he understand me? Doesn’t he understand us? Doesn’t he know what we go through? Doesn’t he know how they will use this against us?

    I’ve been aghast in the past year to see the degree to which devout Catholics follow the immaturities of the secular culture. So often the reactions of devout Catholics to various issues are that it is all about me and my feelings.

    I realize that’s an astringent criticism to make.

    When have we become incapable of hearing another person (the Holy Father no less!) give his sustained input on numerous topics and not be able to consider his comments apart from our own selves and our own emotions? When have we become incapable of pulling back and being calm, rational, observant, critical, trying to see a bigger picture that is about a lot more than me and my pro-life work and my feelings (to take an example)?

    I find this deeply troubling. I think this type of reaction could be a sign of devout Catholics who are not rooted in prayer but rather activism. And it is a sign to me that the Holy Father is spot on in most of his approach. Our hearts have become set upon things that, while good and true and necessary, are not in themselves THE final good.

    I also see a very strong undercurrent of responses by people who are dismayed because their family members, or co-workers, or non-Catholic Christians, or lukewarm/liberal Catholics, have contacted them saying, “SEE! Your Pope agrees with ME not YOU.” Exchanges like these can be difficult. They force us to center ourselves in prayer and respond with truth and love to the person who misunderstands the interview. It’s not easy. But if our primary reactions to such occasions are to be upset with the Holy Father that he put us in this situation, I will tell you straight out, that is a reaction of PRIDE. It is the reaction of someone who recoils from criticism, who recoils from having others think (even erroneously!!!!) that he or she is in the wrong.

    If we can’t suck it up, and calmly and patiently explain to others where the Pope is really coming from, if our reactions are of aggravation and pride and anger because a liberal friend is chortling, if our reactions are to have our feelings hurt and to be discouraged and want to take our ball and go home, then you know what: THE HOLY FATHER IS RIGHT. OUR HEARTS HAVE BECOME SKEWERED AND THEY NEED TO BE RE-CENTERED.

  4. anilwang says:

    I pray for that Pope Francis recognizes three things (that unfortunately reinforce each other):

    (1) If western society doesn’t recognize sin, it cannot recognize Catholic mercy or see it as the ultimate evil. A number of Catholic institutions have been forced to shut down because of this.

    (2) The Corporal Works of Mercy are important, but we mustn’t forget the Spiritual Works of Mercy which are more difficult to live out these days. It’s tough to admonish the sinner or instruct the ignorant of the faith without getting mocked or hated. It’s no surprise that Priests and Bishops tend to focus on the Corporal Works of Mercy (which makes them popular and loved) and not the Spiritual Works of Mercy (which makes you hated and ignored) and given concupiscence, it’s no surprise that they’ve used any excuse (valid or not) to ignore their obligations on this front (especially in TBI).

    (3) These days mercy is equated with “secular tolerance” which is inherently atheistic and viruently anti-Catholic. So unless mercy is protected reinforced by doctrine, mercy will kill the Catholic faith. For example, in my province of Ontario, the government imposed Gay Straight Alliances on all schools. The Archbishop of Toronto proposed an anti-bullying club based on Catholic principles for all bullying. It was on the way to be passed in the school boards but the government strongly opposed that anti-bullying wasn’t specifically promoting the gay agenda. The measure to obey the archbishop failed because enough school board trustees hid behind the banner “GSAs are completely compatible with the Catholic Faith, since we must be merciful”. If the board meeting happened after TBI, there probably would have been no point in fighting.

    I don’t know the situation in Argentina. Perhaps these problems are scarcely significant than the opposite problems (e.g. excessive scrupulosity, emphasizing the Spiritual Works of Mercy at the expense of the Corporal Works of Mercy, ruthless secularism lacking in mercy so Catholic mercy is the “only game in town”). But the cancer of the above three in Western society is being thrust on all nations, so if those problems don’t currently exist, they will.

  5. I could not agree more with both the author of the ‘The Sensible Bond’ post, and Anilwang. Both really hit the nail on the head.

  6. kpoterack says:

    “On the Extraordinary Form – which, in another linguistic coup, is now being called the Vetus Ordo (because it is no longer deemed extraordinary, just old) – the pope says, “I think the decision of Pope Benedict [his decision of July 7, 2007, to allow a wider use of the Tridentine Mass] was prudent and motivated by the desire to help people who have this sensitivity.” But, that is only half the story. ”

    True but, if this is his real view, it doesn’t surprise me at all. From the moment PF came out on the balcony without the papal mozzetta and did the Holy Thursday foot washing business – that told me one thing. But then he celebrated a fairly solemn Good Friday liturgy and later a beautiful NO Latin Mass on the Feast of St. Peter and Paul (I know I was in St. Peter’s) – as well as one on the Feast of St. Joseph’s earlier – but then there was the business in Rio. Anyway, I came to the realization that PF has no consistent position on the liturgy. Somewhat like JPII, but much more Jesuit-like. In other words, the liturgy has never been that big a thing to the Jesuits, PF included.

    When I was in Rome, the word I heard from insiders was that PF really doesn’t have any strong tastes in regard to the liturgy, he just doesn’t want a papal Mass to last more than two hours. Which fits in with the classic short-Mass Jesuit stereotype. (Although two hours is rather generous by that standard.)

    So, I would not be surprised at all that he just sees a bunch of different “sensitivities” out there to be pleased. At least to some degree. I don’t mean that he is going to go out of his way to please wacky liturgists. To the contrary, and we shall see, but it increasingly seems to me that he will not consciously try to undo either the EF or even the reform of the reform of the OF. I don’t think he wants to expend much energy on these matters. I am not saying that he won’t let people into power who will end up causing some damage (I don’t know), but I don’t see that he has a particular agenda in regard to the liturgy that he wants to implement.

    Folks, it is up to us to build for the future.

  7. Patrick-K says:

    I think this article is overdone and overly emotional. I think it comes down to this: if Pope Francis is being “misinterpreted,” who is actually at fault? In other words, is it really possible for anyone who takes 30 minutes to an hour to actually read the interview in its entirely to honestly and logically conclude that the pope has changed or intends to change any point of doctrine whatsoever? I don’t think that it is. I think the interview taken in toto is clear. I think that any honest reader can not conclude that Pope Francis approves of abortion or homosexual acts. It is always possible to twist someone’s words to make them appear to mean something other than what they plainly do mean. The fault for doing so lies with that person and not with the pope. I hope faithful Catholics start placing blame where it really lies — the reality distortion field that is the MSM — and not on our Holy Father.

  8. mamajen says:

    Boy can I relate to that baptism story!

    I posted Pope Benedict’s remarks about Summorum Pontificum on the Reading Francis Through Benedict post, but Pope Francis’ “sensitivity” remark is absolutely in line with what Pope Benedict himself said. If there was a greater purpose for Summorum Pontificum, Benedict didn’t mention it in the interview I found.

    I think it’s different when you’re thinking about the language of someone from your own culture who speaks the same native tongue that you do. In the case of our popes, most of us are relying on translations and are unfamiliar with the cultures that they came from. I think it makes a difference. That isn’t to say there’s no room for improvement as far as Pope Francis is concerned, but I’ve thought that of all the popes in my lifetime.

    I can understand why people would feel stabbed in the back, but as was said on the other post, we should never stop learning. Is there something more we could be doing or a different way we could approach things that would get through to people better? There may not be many Catholics thumping pulpits, etc. but I have most definitely encountered protestants who are like that, and I’m afraid that we too often let them take the lead. We need to take the reigns and show people what Catholics are all about. We can’t let people who hate who hate the Catholic Church define us, even if they are mostly on our side with regard to moral issues. Whether we particularly like what Pope Francis said or not, I think we can all agree that we’re not exactly winning the war and perhaps we need to change things up somehow. So instead of getting defensive, let’s think.

  9. HeatherPA says:

    This article is something to re-read and digest over some days. I think it is good writing that squares up how many of us feel exactly. We need to pray for each other more than ever before…

    And this comes now, when we have won so much ground in the pro life positive. It is deeply distressing.

  10. Filumene says:

    I agree with him. I believe he was inspired to write this, because it helped me to sort my own thoughts about all this. I have a feeling , I won’t be the only one moved by the honest and spiritually clear insight here. It’s so “on the ground” ….realistic.

    I’m sick of all the hair splitting and diplomacy. It’s a “near occasion” to compromise. The compromising of clarity, which is a precious commodity these days.

    We need more courage and charity like THIS.

  11. GAK says:

    Patrick-K, I agree with you entirely.

    And, if we are going to use battlefield terms, I think a whole lot of Catholics are mistaking their own particular battlefields for the War. We’ve got a general who has lived his life on another continent from where our battle currently is, has spent recent months surveying the War at large, and has given us some opinions about the War at large. His broader survey will of course be tinged with his own particular experience in his own particular battle. He can’t help that.

    And a lot of people will not even stop to consider his point of view. They want a general focused on THEM, supporting THEM in the way THEY think best, addressing THEM, thanking THEM. Problem is, THEY are only one portion of his militant flock. Only one part of it.

  12. GAK says:

    Increasingly, I think the Church will shrink, as B16 thought. I think it will shrink for the reasons he thought. Further, I think it will shrink because some who were devout when they had a Pope whose personality, training, education, preferences, holiness, and virtues matched their own preferences, they were happy to be faithful soldiers. But now that they have to stretch, pray, think, contemplate, consider from another view, endure emotional discomfort as they try to bear with, set aside some of their own (even very noble) preferences, they find the papal shoe no longer fits. Some will drift away. Some WILL chose themselves, at the end of the day, over the Chair of Peter.

    This is a general comment, not directed at anyone here.

  13. MikeM says:

    I’m pretty sensitive to linguistic cues, so I’m naturally a little sympathetic to this… but I’m also well acquainted with the surprises that come when you rely on them too heavily. Pope Francis’ language is (perhaps deliberately) mixed. My (not necessarily well founded) interpretation is that Pope Francis is basically trying to avoid being Benedict-ed. Benedict dedicated the overwhelming majority of his Papal efforts to emphasizing the Gospel message in a very positive way. He focused on Faith, Hope and Love, and most of his writings are about the need for personal encounters with the Lord. But, the media did everything they could to prevent that message from getting through. Since the full message of a Pope isn’t going to wind up in the NYTimes, I think that, since neither half of the message is helpful on its own, Pope Francis figures that he might as well steer the media coverage to things that will play well in hopes that that way more people will get to the rest of it.

  14. Filumene says:

    GAK,

    You have a good point. But, speaking on my own behalf, I look at it the same way you should with your own family members. If you TRULY love them, you will be true and faithful to them . No matter the climate. No matter what you get out of the relationship. Same as with the Pope. I don’t have to feel emotionally connected to him, to love him. I do love him, because he is my Holy Father.

    Just sharing a perspective…. :)

  15. The Masked Chicken says:

    “But now that they have to stretch, pray, think, contemplate, consider from another view, endure emotional discomfort as they try to bear with, set aside some of their own (even very noble) preferences, they find the papal shoe no longer fits. Some will drift away. Some WILL chose themselves, at the end of the day, over the Chair of Peter.”

    So, are you saying that St. Paul should not have withstood St. Peter to his face or that St. Catherine of Sienna should not have told her pope to, “Play the man?” Were they thinking about, “me, me, me?”

    What is very striking is that so many people of good will can have such disparate interpretations of what Pope Francis is doing or saying.

    I sympathize with all sides and I am taking a sabbatical from making comments on Pope Francis, since, unlike St. Paul and St. Catherine, I am not a saint and I am learning, the hard way, that, where there is a multitude of words, sin will not be lacking.

    The Chicken

  16. Patrick-K says:

    Just to clarify, I think this article does make some reasonable points and that we don’t always have to agree 100% with the pope. On the other hand, I also think it does strike a couple of low blows, particularly, “fig leaf of orthodoxy” which is not the most charitable turn of phrase.

  17. GAK says:

    Thank you, Filumene.

    It sounds like we are on the same page.

    The person with the approach you describe might not have affection for Pope Francis, might not choose him as Pope given a choice. But that same person also would not criticize him based upon that lack of affection, lack of an emotional connection, or lack of personal preference.

    One of the good points I thought the poster made is that the Holy Father can be naive in assuming that because he IS a good son of the Church, everyone will get and appreciate that and therefore know where he is coming from.

    No, MaskedChicken. That’s not what I said. You missed my point. Why on earth does my defending the Holy Father in this instance, and then pointing out that some people ARE obstinate, lead to the conclusion that the Pope can never be criticized any way shape or form. Geeze. Did I say that? Even remotely? No. Again. I see that as a response based on emotion. Not based upon what I actually said.

  18. yatzer says:

    It does help, when you have lost longtime friendships and been called names for being pro-life, to have some real support at the top or at least not be undermined. I don’t pretend to know what the Pope was thinking, but I know what it felt like to rather weary me. Nevertheless, Viva Christo Rey and His Church, and the Pope.

  19. McCall1981 says:

    GAK,
    “One of the good points I thought the poster made is that the Holy Father can be naive in assuming that because he IS a good son of the Church, everyone will get and appreciate that and therefore know where he is coming from.”
    It seems like the argument is about whether or not he actually is a “son of the Church”. If it becomes established in the publics mind that he is, then maybe the controversies will start to die down.

  20. Bosco says:

    Powerfully written personal analysis. Admirable amount of thought went into this. Thanks, Father Z.!

    @Il Pollo,
    Salute!

  21. Stu says:

    The “stabbed in the back” feelings have been expressed in my circles as well by those who are deeply involved in the pro-life movement.

    As a Naval Officer (retired), I think it is absolutely important that in delivering a message that leaders make sure they are not undercutting those who work for them in achieving the organizations goals. While certainly unintentional, Papa in effect undercut many of his own “soldiers” who are out every day fighting for justice on important moral issues. In doing so, they feel abandoned and are left with difficulty in making the case for the cause to a society that will now be quick to say “Don’t obsess over such things.”

    No one doubts that Papa has a “pastor’s heart” but quite frankly, he isn’t Father Bergoglio anymore and the World is not his parish. While such glib talk and the pastoral emphasis was certainly necessary when he was priest working down in the trenches himself where he no doubt established long-term relationships with individuals who were struggling in life, he is now the head of the Church and therefore has to take into account his job of managing the big picture all while using his priests to do the job of being pastors in the field. This is very similar to the whole “foot washing “controversy. In carrying out that display in the manner he did (no one doubts his authority to do so nor his motivation), he again undercut his priests who have been fighting the good fight in their parishes to abide by the Church laws on this custom. It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Papa is rightfully calling us to be better and evangelizing the world and bring sinners into the “field hospital.” But in delivering that message, care needs to made that we aren’t damaging the abilities of our own forces to carry out those duties.

    My two cents from the cheap seats. I love the Pope and wish him the best. (I’d love a chance to discuss this with him).

  22. MrTipsNZ says:

    I think the writer of this post (Ches @ SensibleBond) articulates very well his concerns and has some good points re language, ie. of course it’s a weapon of war.

    But a deeper issue is one of mindset. Pope Francis is Latino, South American. The mindset and psychological wellspring from which he draws is foreign and frightening to an Englishman as it is difficult for them to understand. Pope Benedict is German and that is a much more comfortable prospect, language aside.

    Pope Francis is the first South American Pope. Europe and the English speaking world is going to have to take 5 years to understand him because the psychological sea change in terms of the use and nuances of the language of war need careful interpretation. Fiat.

  23. veritas76 says:

    I agree with Stu… as one who has dedicated much of my life to the pro-life movement, I certainly feel quite ‘stabbed in the back’ in some regard. I am trying my hardest to trust that the Holy Father has a broader vision for what is going on in the world than I do, and I will always stand by him as the Vicar of Christ, even when it is difficult.

    That said, if I were to have five minutes with Pope Francis, I would love to ask him: if his goal was truly to show that the Church is more than a ‘disjointed multitude of doctrines’, why did he choose to use those three examples of issues to make his point? Why could he have not used other social doctrines of the church – such as alleviating the sufferings of poverty, labor laws, or even immigration – to make his point? Certainly there are folks who push those social doctrines to the furthest ends of obsession as well, and in certain cases, entirely take them out of the context of the teachings of Holy Mother Church. What could have possibly been so important and specific about using homosexuality, abortion, and contraception as examples — other than to undercut and effectively belittle those who are striving to make those teachings known to the world?

    The other aspect that is difficult for me to grasp is that the Church is not ‘obsessed’ with these issues… the WORLD is obsessed with them, and because of that, the Church has been put on the defensive. If these issues weren’t shoved in our faces all the time by the judicial system, congress, media, and the culture as a whole, we wouldn’t HAVE to ‘obsess’ over them! It seems that we’re being chastized for bringing the Church into and responding to the modern world — just as our friends from Vatican II asked us to do!

  24. lana says:

    Stabbed in the back?? Shouldn’t the 99 stay in the sheepfold?

  25. WesleyD says:

    I know I sound like a broken record, but:

    The pope did not say that people are “obsessed with abortion [et al.]“. He used the word “obsessed” in the paragraph following the place where he referred to abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.

    The New York Times and the AP put them together into one sentence, not Francis.

    Reasonable Catholics can debate Fr. Z’s proposal to “Read Francis Through Benedict”. But even if you disagree with this proposal, do you really think it’s prudent to “Read Francis Through The New York Times”?

  26. donato2 says:

    I do not have any deep fear that Francis will try to change Church teaching or do anything that will lead to a change in the teaching. What troubles me is that Francis does not seem to understand the indispensable role that the Pope plays in the spiritual battle over abortion and marriage. The Catholic Church is the wellspring of the pro-life movement and of efforts to defend marriage. As such the Pope is necessarily both the leader and symbol of the defense of life and marriage. Thus, to have a Pope say, “let’s tone it down and back burner these things,” is like having your general say in the midst of battle “you’re on your own.” It is incredibly demoralizing.

  27. Johnno says:

    GAK -

    The problem at hand is that Pope Francis is carrying on the same ‘vague pastoral talk’ (the key word being ‘vague’ not ‘pastoral’) approach to the secular world that has never worked, and will never work. Not only that, his equally vague criticisms can easily be used to attack those on the front lines who are doing teh right thing. And he’s misguided if he imagines that the problem of the Church is being too focused with certain issues, when it fact the very reason the state of the world is the way it is, is because of precisely the opposite reason. If ones house is on fire, the immediate thing to do would be to address the fire and put it out, not ignore it because the tap is also leaking or the clothes aren’t ironed and we should devote time to that. Some thigns are more important than others and more immediate of our attention than others.

    The faithful Catholics, as usual, are being hung out to dry by the priests and bishops. We want the Pope to fix this, not continue to accuse us of being the problem, or say things in such a way that the world imagines he’s on their side. That’s the bottom line.

    The Pope really has ONE Job to do. Preach the Gospel of Christ CLEARLY so that his listeners can understand clearly what he means and therefore what Christ wants and expects of us to be saved. If he can’t do that, then what’s the point?

    This is NOT about Me, Myself and I or what I want… You accuse us of wanting the Pope to only pay attenion to us. It’s the opposite. The Pope and Church for the last few decades has been too enamored with the world to its own detriment. How you can misinterpret someone trying to warn you that the house is on fire as somehow being selfishly motivated is entirely nonsense! The ones long been neglected are the faithful trying to preserve what is sacred and desperately holding on to and trying to drag others away from the cliff.

  28. Johnno says:

    Patrick-K -

    The Pope must put an end to vagueness and speak clearly. It is confusing and destroying the world and lives. He and much of the clergy continue to blindly believe in the V-II pastoralist approach despite all its failed fruits. The media can’t spin everything if the Pope is clear, like when he was when he spoke to Catholic Gynecologists about abortion. Do you see stories on that? Hardly! But the interview contained many vague points and equally vague criticismsthat depending on the listener, his words can be taken any way one wishes. That’s the problem.

    It takes two to tango. We have the pairing of the Pope and the secular press. And with the ‘Big interview’ the Pope was given the lead, and wishing to improvise, stumbled, and the witless partner, mistakenly following through, is happily spinning her way over the balcony. The faithful Catholic is trying to point out that we ought to stick to the rules and the dance steps as they are given to us and be considerate of the surroundings to avoid this; yet there are other apologists of freestyle dancing telling them to quiet down and pretend that it didn’t matter because somehow it is the world’s fault for mistaking the charleston for the rumba despite that the Pope tried to incorporate a mishmash of both into the waltz in a bid to please everyone that might be in teh audience.

  29. WesleyD says:

    Another point. Francis’ words last Friday about abortion were some of the strongest and most poignant that I have ever heard. Francis personally joined in a March For Life. On both of these occasions, he spoke directly about abortion and there was no ambiguity in what he said.

    In the Big Interview, he had some ambiguous things to say. He said that “the dogmatic and moral teachings of the Church are not all equivalent”, and faulted those pastors who are “obsessed” with imposing all these different teachings as if they were equally important. He did not say that abortion was one of the less important moral teachings! Now, I can see how someone might argue that Francis meant to imply that abortion was a minor teaching in this passage. However, given that the next day he said that abortion is the “unjust condemnation” of an “unborn child” who “has the face of Jesus Christ”, I find this argument very hard to accept — do you really think that Francis thinks that the unjust killing of the unborn Christ is just some minor peccadillo?

    And let’s not forget something else Francis said just seven days ago:

    A widespread mentality of the useful, the “throw away culture” which today enslaves the hearts and intelligences of so many, has a very high cost: it requires eliminating human beings, especially if physically or socially weaker. Our answer to this mentality is a decisive and unhesitant “yes” to life. “The first right of a human person is his/her life. He/she has other goods and some of them are more precious; but life is the fundamental good, condition for all the others” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, November 18, 1974, 11). Things have a price and are saleable, but persons have a dignity, they are worth more than things and they have no price. Because of this, attention to human life in its totality has become in recent times a real and proper priority of the Magisterium of the Church, particularly for life which is largely defenseless, namely, that of the disabled, the sick, the unborn, children, the elderly. . . . Never neglect to pray to the Lord and the Virgin Mary to have the strength to do your work well and to witness with courage the “gospel of life”!

    Pro-lifers, whose work is often unappreciated even by your fellow Catholics, the Pope is saying loud and clear that your cause is rightly a “priority” of the Magisterium. If you feel thrown under the bus, can you really say it’s because of what the Pope said and not because of how the media has spun it?

  30. Mr Tips wrote:

    “Pope Francis is the first South American Pope. Europe and the English speaking world is going to have to take 5 years to understand him because the psychological sea change in terms of the use and nuances of the language of war need careful interpretation’”

    Exactly.Let’s not get demoralized.As Wesley noted

    :”we don’t read Pope Francis through the NYT. ”

    It reminds me of when some people took it upon themselves to interpret Vat II through the media.I was thankful Pope Francis didn’t talk about the sex abuse scandal.I doubt he deliberately avoided it-imho the media has pounded the scandal into the ground already. Finally i found an article titled Pope Francis hates us. If Our Holy Father doesn’t beat the war drums in every single comment doesn’t mean he’s not fighting the war. Here’s the list the article put up:
    POPE FRANCIS HATES US

    Here, a collection of his very worst quotes on the issue.

    1. A Senate vote on gay marriage is a destructive pretension against the plan of God

    From a letter to the Carmelite Sisters of Buenos Aires on the perils of marriage equality:

    “Let’s not be naïve, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

    2. Gay marriage will destroy the family

    More from the same letter to the four monasteries of Argentina:

    “The Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family… At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children.

    3. Gay parenting is a rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts

    Again:

    “At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”

    4. The political struggle against marriage equality is war

    And finally:

    “The bill will be discussed in the Senate after July 13. Look at San Jose, Maria, Child and ask them [to] fervently defend Argentina’s family at this time. [Be reminded] what God told his people in a time of great anguish: ‘This war is not yours but God’s.’ May they succor, defend and join God in this war.”

    5. Gay adoption is discrimination against children

    According to the National Catholic Reporter, Francis called gay adoption a form of “discrimination against children.” A comment that resulted in a public rebuke from Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who said that Francis’ remarks suggested “medieval times and the Inquisition.”

  31. Stumbler but trying says:

    @ GAK and Patrick-K,
    Great posts! Agree with you both. I still believe the interview the Holy Father gave will stand the test of time as to what he is trying to actually say. Amidst the clamor and the clanging of emotions and personal bias or dislike of Pope Francis, well, we need to take a deeper look into ourselves as to the why that is. I still remember what he said to all of us…TRUST IN GOD.

    Bending the knee, in prayer, helps because it is not all about ME! There is so much more to the Holy Father than this interview just as there is so much more to the Church than the interview. Nothing has changed nor will change.

    Let’s pray sincerely for each other…our brothers and sisters are dying in the Middle East for THEIR FAITH! They do not have the luxury we have to haggle over what the Holy Father said or did not say…their churches have been burned, their priests either murdered or kidnapped. I believe we are spending too much time here rehashing rather than praying…in the meantime, the devil has succeeded in further sowing seeds of division and discord and disdain among God’s faithful.

    No one is coming home as long as they see what is going on. Who wants to?

  32. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear GAK,

    No doubt there have been and will continue to be a lot of knee-jerk reactions being printed in comment boxes across the world.

    Yes, your call for less emotionalism and ego is a good thing, but at least some of the comments I have read have been well-thought out and reasonable. Whether they are right or not I cannot say.

    We don’t really have an argument between us as long as we both realize that different people’s reactions are in different parts of the Venn diagrams for logic and emotion

    The Chicken

  33. RC2 says:

    But Father, But Father….

    Is there really NO obligation on anyone’s part to listen to the whole of the Pope’s teaching instead of proof-texting? Must we all adopt a “what has he done for me lately” approach?

    I’m not suggesting the interview is beyond criticism, but many of the criticisms aren’t fair. For example, Francis didn’t say that marriage and abortion are small-minded rules. He said we have to get beyond small-minded rules — and he has told us 50 times over since he was elected what he means: the priest who won’t baptize the infant of a single mother; the parish secretary who makes the couple coming to get married feel like they’re a burden on the pastor’s schedule instead of welcoming them with joy that they’re getting married. The pastors who hide behind administrative tasks instead of having “the smell of their sheep” on them. These things are in his book w/ the Rabbi, and he has repeated them many times in many ways since his election. I understand why the press doesn’t get it — but what is our excuse for not knowing what he means when he’s said it so often?

    He DOES say we shouldn’t overwhelm people with multiple doctrines, but so did Benedict. Here is Benedict back in 2006:

    “Faith is above all faith in God. In Christianity it is not a matter of an enormous bundle of different things; all that the Creed says and the development of faith has achieved exists only to make our perception of the Face of God clearer. He exists and he is alive; we believe in him; we live before him, in his sight, in being with him and from him. And in Jesus Christ, he is, as it were, with us bodily.

    To my mind, this centrality of God must appear in a completely new light in all our thoughts and actions. …this is what enlivens activities which… can easily lapse into activism and become empty.”

    So now compare that with Francis:
    “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. 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. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.”

    I am sorry, but what I’m mostly learning from this episode is that few of us, even among his fans, were really listening to Benedict and no one is really listening to Francis, either. I mean, we listen, but we cherry-pick what we want to hear and rate it up or down rather than giving the teaching time to ripen in us over time and really “hear” it. Benedict preached continually about the need to engage the world, to listen to it, to enter into the Court of the Gentiles. Francis calls it the culture of engagement — he’s on the same page.

    And we might notice, too, if we read his many speeches, that Francis praises and quotes Benedict all the time — almost obsessively ;) .

  34. GAK says:

    McCall1981–I don’t think Fr. Z, on this blog, has called into question whether Pope Francis IS a true son of the Church. I don’t think MOST devout Catholics call into question, at ALL, whether Pope Francis truly is a son of the Church. That doesn’t mean he’s perfect as Pope.

    Johnno—I have considered your viewpoint. I have concluded I don’t agree with it. I also didn’t accuse you of anything. Do you see the emotional tone in your phrasing? Do you see how you reacted emotionally because you felt defensive about what I said? You reacted very, very strongly to my position–when that isn’t called for. Ironic, no? That I made some arguments on the Holy Father’s behalf and some people cannot even respond to my few comments here without getting agitated. THAT is the very problem to which I called attention.

    Do I think legitimate criticisms can be made of Pope Francis? Yup. Do I think he has a deep enough appreciation for the Latin Liturgy? Nope. Do I think it would be ideal to have a Holy Father who did? Yep. Do I think any one Pope ever encompasses all of the “ideals” that a Holy Father could be? Nope. Do I hope he grows to a greater appreciation, and expresses that appreciation clearly and publically? Yup. Will I in the meantime consider that he, as Pope, is grossly deficient due to that lack of appreciation? Nope. Will I call into question his status as a true son of Holy Mother Church because he doesn’t see everything the way I see it, express everything the way I express it, and have all of the talents and graces I myself have been given? Nope. Will I continue to thank the Lord each day for this tough, holy, gentle, generous Pope? Yup.

    You know, I’m going to be so bold as to highlight our host here for a second. I’d guess Fr. Z has pretty strong emotions. I’d guess he has some pretty strong preferences. I’d guess he FEELS any number of things about Pope Francis on any given day. But I’ve not once thought he lets his emotions and personal preferences interfere with making a fair criticism of what Pope Francis has actually said, actually meant, and actually done since he was elected.

    That’s the kind of maturity I see lacking in a lot of comments around the internet. No one has to like the Pope. But if you profess to be a loyal and obedient Catholic you should treat him in a fair manner.

  35. GAK says:

    Another issue that I see is that it is often very difficult for devout Catholics to separate themselves from the objects of their devotion. I might adhere tightly to the Latin Mass and love it for all of the right reasons. Just because I have a good and true and noble devotion to the Latin Mass, however, doesn’t mean I can equate MYSELF with the Latin Mass. A lot of people do that. They see the Latin Mass under appreciated and they take it personally. They THINK they are defending a beautiful form of the liturgy. And that is partly true. But it is also true that to a large degree their egos are wrapped up in that liturgy and the fire that really gets them going is their feeling slighted.

    This isn’t surprising. It’s part of fallen human nature. But it is something to guard against.

    A simpler example is someone who lays down his life for pro-life work. He really does pour his heart and soul into it. He sacrifices himself for it. He then becomes emotionally unstable when his work is criticized. He is incapable of separating his own at times imperfect decisions, his own at times imperfect work, from the cause at large. He takes any criticism of his work as a criticism of the Church.

    This is common but must be guarded against. It’s a pattern I see in those who don’t care for Pope Francis. If he doesn’t show signs of appreciating their work/cause/devotion, they presume he doesn’t appreciate and understand the Church at large. Maybe not. Maybe he’s criticizing people, not the tradition or heritage or wealth or beauty of the Church. Again, that’s not to say he’s perfect. But there is a middle ground between not-perfect and not-a-true-son-of-the-Church.

  36. GAK says:

    McCall1981–Maybe I misread you in my first reply? Are you saying that the secular world doesn’t know he’s a good son of the Church? If that’s what you are saying, then I see your point. Like I said, I think the Pope is naive regarding the world’s understanding of who he is and what he stands for. He relies upon the world knowing who he really is, whereas many don’t know. He relies upon a frame of reference that is not established to many. And in doing that, he can misstep and be naive.

  37. GAK says:

    The Chicken, I don’t think we disagree about that much at the end of the day.

    I don’t discount the role of emotions. What I take issue with is when people immaturely think if they feel something it therefore must be correct. They set their own emotions up as the barometer of what is true. They kid themselves into thinking they are being rational when they are not.

    I take issue when people construct arguments and pretend the arguments are rational when in fact they are not, because the basis of that argument is raw emotion, not an objective stance. A lot of people do that. A lot of people can write volumes and sound like they are having a rational discussion. But if you dig deep enough, the baseline for the argument is principally raw emotion. This is evident, for example, when someone ALWAYS has a reason why Pope Francis is wrong, no matter what he says or does. They always have a “reason.” But those “reasons” are generated by the emotions of fear/antipathy/pride etc. They aren’t based upon an objective stance. Because if they were, then that person would be able to concede a point now and then, be fair, and stay calm for the most part.

    I also take issue when people think they are defending Holy Mother Church when really, to a high degree, they are reacting based upon their own wounded egos. Again, this is a general comment, not aimed at anyone in particular.

  38. benedetta says:

    The Holy Father said, just as Pope Benedict said, that we shouldn’t “always” speak of these topical issues…abortion etc. Of course the NY Times and company, Pelosi, et al want you to hear that he said “We should NEVER talk of abortion etc. And yet, the NY Times chose not to report that the Holy Father exuberantly joined the March for Life in Rome very soon after his election. Exactly how, the NY Times and others choose not to report the millions who March for Life in this country. And somewhat like some pastors will forbid prolife work in their parishes. And the way the nuns on the bus believe that it is unnecessary to advocate for life.

    In the years following VII in this country, some clerics took it upon themselves to present an agenda that they lectured the faithful was grounded in the actions of Popes or the Council, with much shaming and guilt and with little specific references to actions or teachings of the Church. These clerics did numerous damaging things, to people and places, with the pretext that VII justified them. It wasn’t VII that was to blame, or the Popes, but the clerics who used their authority and the whiff of clericalism to shout down any opposition or challenge to their agendas. Now, the laity, thanks to VII, is much less inclined to tacitly accept an argument that goes like this, “Pope Francis says NEVER talk of these things” therefore “We forbid discussion of these magisterial teachings in this parish”. So, NY Times et al can trumpet whatever it wants. The infiltration agenda won’t work this time.

  39. Johnno says:

    GAK -

    What does the ‘emotion’ have to do with anything? And why wouldn’t one emotionally react when trying to point out what went wrong? Either what I said is correct or it isn’t. Don’t dodge the subject and deflect the points. The topic is the vagueries of language, nothing to do with the Pope Francis’ opinion about the Latin Mass, or the other things that you are mentioning because you’ve had other emotional experiences with some of its supporters that may rightly or not criticize the Pope about.

    My main point, which you’ve ignored to address, is that the post-VII vague speaking pastoral approach doesn’t work, regardless of whether one is the current Pope, the previous one, or a layman. It is a perfectly fair criticism to point out how many in the Church, even the Pope continue to sow confusion by not being explicit about what they are talking about, especially when speaking to a post-Christian world that has no idea where they are coming from, and about whose designs the post-VII Church continues to be incredibly naieve about while filled with an unfounded optimism that they will change if we continue down this path.

    You continue to accuse others, for example, in the pro-life movement, of not being able to take ‘criticism.’ What criticism? Has Pope Francis made any explicit criticism? Or did he just elude to something vaguely? I’m sure pro-life people would dearly like to know what particulars Pope Francis doesn’t like about them, but it’s hard to know when Pope Francis hasn’t explicitly stated what and why. That’s the problem! If anything this vague pointless, undefined ‘criticism’ or pro-life groups only feeds the ego of abortionists who may interpret it to mean that the Pope is telling pro-life people need to ease off a bit, at that the Church is ‘progressing’ by softening its stance, which means they have to turn up theirs until the Church falls beneath their feet… Like we need to sit down and be calm about the fact that millions are slaughtered or a daily basis. When the enemy is burning down your house and attacking your gates, you expect us to sit back and drink a kool-aid and put a smile on our face and temper our emotions?

    Show us objectively then why you think it is ‘rational’ to give way to the enemy again and again and again; an enemy who is already so far advanced and happily taking advantage of us? Whose engines are still being fueled with Catholic Money? Do you think the stern warnings of the Apostles and Christ and Our Lady and all the pre-VII Popes were just ‘emotional’? I believe the REAL Problem that the Church suffers is that of EMOTIONLESS APATHY! This is why the children of darkness are succeeding. They are full of zeal, which we lack, because we constantly tell the Holy Spirit to turn down the flames a little because we need to be ‘nice’ and ‘non-judgmental’!

    We understand the Pope isn’t omniscient, and his experiences are different from us. But it’s his duty to be aware of our concerns, and at the very least to acknowledge them without continuing to further erode them by some haphazard comment. It’s a tough job for a reason, and lives and souls are at stake.

  40. The Masked Chicken says:

    I wrote a really, really long comment about the place of emotion in argumentation, especially with regards to Pope Francis, but with heroic restraint, I have e-mailed myself a copy and decided to sleep on whether or not to put it in a combox. You know how they always say that you should never condemn someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, well, I figure that is about right, because by the time you are ready to condemn them, you are a mile away and wearing someone else’s shoes :)

    The Chicken

  41. amenamen says:

    “A volcanic flow of ideas”

    The interviewer, Father Antonio Spadaro, SJ, said, “Talking with Pope Francis is a kind of volcanic flow of ideas that are bound up with each other. Even taking notes gives me an uncomfortable feeling, as if I were trying to suppress a surging spring of dialogue.”

    When I finally read the whole interview, and then re-read it a day later, I found this observation to be true. I realized that Pope Francis had made reference to several dozen authors, books, artists and musicians, historical events and theological terms, many of which would be totally unknown to the general public, and unfamiliar to non-specialists. I have been looking up quite a few names and terms, some of which I recognize, some I do not. The cumulative effect of this effort is a bit overwhelming. Has anyone in the secular media, or elsewhere, tried looking up the barrage of obscure 17th century -and 5th century and 20th century – authors, and even explaining some of the basic theological and ecclesiastical terminology? For example:
    the Homilies of Bede the Venerable [origin of his motto, the call of St Matthew]
    Caravaggio [painting of the call of St Matthew]
    the Via della Scrofa in Rome [where you find Caravaggio's painting]
    “the missionary spirit” – a salient point for the vocation of the young Bergoglio
    “non coerceri a maximo, sed a minimo divinum est”
    Rules for the Discernment of Spirits [not explained, but pervasive in the whole interview]
    Rules for Thinking with the Church (Sentire cum Ecclesia) [again, pervasive]
    the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus
    the requirement of a Jesuit to “manifest his conscience” to his superior
    the distinction between ascetical theology and mystical theology
    the Epitome Instituti, 17th century compendium
    the contemplative life versus the active life
    “contemplative in action”
    “holy mother the hierarchical church” [a phrase from the Exercises]
    the Chinese rites controversy [Matteo Ricci]
    the Malabar rites
    the Paraguay Reductions [the setting of the movie, "The Mission"]
    “the fourth vow” of obedience to the pope [not all Jesuits were permitted to take it]
    Father Pedro Arrupe, and his connection to Japan
    St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis Xavier
    Bl. Peter Faber – his cause is “still open” [any bets on how much longer?]
    Pius IX
    Miguel A. Fiorito and Jaime H. Amadeo [editors of Faber's works]
    Michel de Certeau [another editor of Faber]
    the role of “silence” in the Spiritual Exercises
    “the Spiritual Exercises” [does this expression mean anything to secular readers?]
    Louis Lallement
    Jean-Joseph Surin [wow ... just look this one up on Wikipedia]
    “Blessed Imelda” [a child-saint, incorrupt, but used as a metaphor]
    “the People of God” [a term with a long, complex history; Jews or Christians?]
    the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Second Vatican Council)
    sensus fidei, versus “populism”
    Mary’s Magnificat [many Catholics know this term, but everybody?]
    Joseph Malegue, “Black Stones: The Middle Classes of Salvation” [anybody read this?]
    hypomene (patience)
    his grandmother Rosa’s last will, [just curious, but will we get to read it?]
    Salesian missionaries in Patagonia [missionaries in Argentina, not very long ago]
    fruitfulness and fatherhood in a celibate vocation [the media ignored this]
    bad nuns and priests are “unfruitful bachelors and spinsters” [the media ignored this]
    the Dark Night of the Soul
    “socially wounded” homosexual persons
    dealing with post-abortion grief [the media ignored this]
    the Camaldolese monk, Gregory XVI, elected in 1831
    St. Anthony the Abbot
    the dicasteries of the Roman Curia (how many are there?)
    the Synod of Bishops (how many have there been?)
    the pallium [how many Catholics recognize one when they see one?]
    collegiality
    Petrine primacy
    the Ravenna Document [have you read it?]
    “female machismo” (did the pope just coin an unforgettable phrase?)
    an “empirical eureka” (another one)
    “the feminine genius” (I think this was coined by JPII)
    “hermeneutics of continuity and discontinuity” (Benedict XVI)
    Puccini’s opera, “Turandot” (can you quote full stanzas by heart?)
    Dostoevsky
    Holderin
    Alessandro Manzoni, “The Betrothed”
    Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ [finally, an author in English!]
    Chagall, “White Crucifixion” [interesting artwork for a Hassidic Jew]
    Mozart’s Mass in C minor (or major, whatever)
    Clara Haskil
    Beethoven
    Furtwangler
    Bach, “St Matthew Passion”
    Wagner’s “Ring”, “Parsifal”
    Fellini, “La Strada”
    Anna Magnani and Aldo Fabrizi
    “Rome, Open City”
    Cervantes, “Don Quixote”, the bachelor Carrasco
    “El Cid”
    “La Casada Infiel”
    “La Celestina”, by Fernando de Rojas
    Borges
    the Centers for Social Research and Action
    St Vincent of Lerins, “Commonitorium Primum”, in the Liturgy of the Hours
    [n.b., the Pope says his Office in Latin, from a breviary worn from use]
    the “Winged Victory of Samothrace”
    Caravaggio, Chagall, and Dali [how often are they mentioned in the same sentence?]
    Thomas Aquinas
    Ulysses and the Siren
    Tannhauser
    The First Week of the Exercises
    the Contemplation for Experiencing Divine Love

    The media, secular and religious, have put so much focus on several sentences – whether quoted or misquoted – that a large part of the lengthy interview, or most of it, has gone past us, or over our heads. I do not mean that it is beyond criticism, but that a lot of it is unexplored, unfamiliar territory for many people reading it or reading about it.

  42. GAK says:

    Bravo, Chicken! Bravo! I do that sometimes, too. Mostly when I’m peeved, but it’s a good idea in general.

    Johnno. I made some general comments about the criticisms I have regarding how some people react to Pope Francis.

    You popped your head up, addressing me, and wrote a bunch of stuff about what the Pope was really saying and why he is really wrong.

    I didn’t pretend to be interested in the viewpoint you set forth, at any point, in my comments here. My original posts had nothing to do with concrete arguments that could be made against the Pope. My post had to do with those who argue based only upon, or principally upon, emotion/antipathy, whatever.

    Your response to that is that I haven’t responded to your points. Really? You didn’t respond to mine.

    I’m not going to engage your specific opinion about the Holy Father’s interview because that’s not what I set out to do. As I said above, I don’t agree with your position. But that’s another discussion. One that I think has already been talked to death.

    So for you to say that I’m dodging the discussion, when you keep bringing up a discussion that is NOT the one I started, is inaccurate. In fact, I’d call that, well, dodging the discussion.

  43. Pingback: One of the better critiques of Pope Francis’ interview | Foolishness to the world

  44. The Cobbler says:

    “…the Extraordinary Form – which, in another linguistic coup, is now being called the Vetus Ordo (because it is no longer deemed extraordinary, just old)…”
    I hope the author is not advocating the progressive false doctrine that oldness is inferiority. As for extraordinary, there’s a sense in which the extraordinary form certainly ought to be extraordinary, but it’s the loose English sense of the term akin to how we use “really” when we mean truly; in the stricter sense of what is the more common or normative, I believe traditionalists almost by definition wish the extraordinary form were ordinary! (Considering the logical parallel between Novus Ordo and Vetus Ordo, I’m not inclined to place all weight in the historical circumstances that led to a variety of names for the old form until Summorum Pontificum classified it as an Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and everybody picked up on that as commonly known and agreeable. If we’d all switched to calling the Novus Ordo only “the Ordinary Form”, maybe I’d find it less odd for someone to highlight, as an example of a “linguistic coup”, the use of the parallel term “Vetus Ordo” despite the greater commonality of “Extraordinary Form”.)

    Tangentially, to paraphrase The Incredibles, when everything’s extraordinary nothing will be. ;^)

  45. lana says:

    GAK, your 12:51 post earlier today was very, very good.

    I forget what spiritual book said this: if anything stings you, dig to the root and you will find pride.

  46. JARay says:

    Ches@the Sensible Blog has always written sensible posts. He is a University lecturer and his speciality is language. I have been a supporter of his blog and writings for several years now. I support what he has written here.

  47. JARay says:

    Tut tut. It’s the “Sensible Bond” not the Sensible Blog. Silly me!

  48. lana says:

    As Archbishop, Pope Francis once said of St. Therese: “Whenever I have a problem, I ask the saint not to solve it, but to take it into her hands and to help me accept it, and I almost always receive a white rose as a sign.”

    It seems like those who are calling on Pope Francis to ‘fix his problem’ are in for a long wait.

  49. MikeM says:

    amenamen,
    I noticed the constant stream of references to literature, art, music and theology. Maybe that’s part of why I received it more warmly than some here. Such references definitely carry some currency with me.

    It made me think, perhaps we could elicit a stronger opinion about the liturgy if someone got Pope Francis some tickets to one of the new stagings of an opera classic at the Met. Then we can say “It’s as bad as what happened to the liturgy!” :p

  50. RobW says:

    I’m sick of reading the world loves Pope Francis. The world does NOT love him and never will. They like him because his words are easy to take out of context and that helps them soothe their aching consciences. One things for sure, priests that never preach on hard issues never will now.

  51. Palladio says:

    I love His Holiness, both present and emeritus, each seemingly so different from the other. I pray for them–no kidding–every day. But without casting aspersions I say that the article left me cold. I pray for its author, whose crisis in conscience, whose unburdening of his soul, or whose–whatever the article is about–self-expression with regard to the Vicar of Christ on Earth chosen by the Holy Spirit, might be better left to the confessional.

    What I am learning is this: the Pope is NOT the CEO, subject to self-interested investor criticism or jittery market concerns. By the will of God, he is one link to our eternity. Serving God, he serves man and, as such, participates in the life of the Church and inscrutable Providence, which life and Which Providence stand beyond, Catholics know, the ken of the faithful. Too many of the faithful come off sounding petty and faithless, trusting to a. the grotesque secular media b. the dubious blogosphere and c. themselves. No amount of reason seems to satisfy them: not the Pope’s learning, his fruitful, fatherly, influence on priests in Argentina, his humility, his love for the poor, his demonstrable–and endlessly demonstrated, as by Father Z himself–orthodoxy. Nor is it any matter to them that not one year has passed in his pontificate. These are some of those who, understandably, decry the “Spirit of V II.” Are they sure that they themselves are not spokesmen for that demon, protestant in root and branch in their baseless hypercriticism, however refined?

  52. lana says:

    Well said, Palladio.

    I am happy that the world loves Pope Francis. I hope many who had written the Church off due to misconceptions and bad example will come and take a closer look and souls will be saved.

    I don’t think a priest who already (prudently) spoke (infrequently) of abortion and the hard issues (as Pope Emeritus Benedict did and Pope Francis does) will stop doing so altogether.

  53. I never paid much attention to the media when they painted Pope Benedict the XVI as some rabid dog and am not going to pay much attention as they paint Pope Francis as a squishy Pillsbury dough boy.
    Trust me,there are still enough people out there who hate Francis for as much the same reasons as they did Benedict.That said, something in Fr Z’s commentary stood out to me more than anything Pope Francis or the Sensible Bond said.Fr Z’s response:

    “If you find any priest thumping a pulpit over abortion or over any sexual sin, do let us know. [Right. Where are these priests, anyway?]

    There’s the real problem the Church is having. I’m a few months away from 61 yr old and i don’t recall even ONE sermon of that nature.Whether it’s abortion,gay marriage or contraception.I worry more about that than anything Pope John Paul II,Benedict or Francis has said.

  54. Nancy D. says:

    A dialogue of doublespeak on same-sex relationships with Abraham Skorka:
    Skorka: Jewish Law is clear-homosexuality is not allowed. On the other hand, I respect everyone as long as they are modest and keep their private lives to themselves…
    Bergoglio: …Today, living together before getting married, even though it is not right from a religious point of view…If there is a union of a private nature, their is neither a third party, nor is society affected.Now, if the union is given the category of marriage and they are given adoption rights, there could be children affected. (See page 115-117 of the pope’s book, On Heaven and on Earth)
    This pope believes that as long as a same-sex sexual relationship is private, does not include children, and is not called marriage, “who am I to judge” their conduct?
    Since it is true we are called to witness to The Word of God, The Truth of Love, is private and in public, there is no such thing as a “private relationship”.

    Fatima, true or an unbelievable incredible coincidence?

  55. Nancy D. says:

    “Even though it is not right from a religious point of view…”
    Relative doublespeak, it appears this pope is a master of doublespeak.
    Pray for Divine intervention. What is needed is a Miracle, and every Miracle requires an act of Faith.

  56. lana says:

    Boxerpaws, I have heard several homilies – infrequent, but I have heard them. Almost every priest has spoken on them at least once, that I have heard. I have heard them more recently (in the last 10 years, say) than in the previous 10. I even heard one about cohabitation. The least-spoken topic is contraception, even though I know the priests are orthodox in that area. And I often hear prayers of the faithful in which the priest prays for life from conception to natural death.

  57. Palladio says:

    Actually, my former parish prayed to stop the “sin of legalized abortion” at every Mass. It prayed outside of an abortion mill every month or so, weather permitting. My present parish prays against it, and against those aforementioned sins, too. But neither parish is as obsessed as some bloggers seem to be about certain sins. At all events, anecdotes go only so far, faith infinitely further, and action informed by faith is what the Pope is OBVIOUSLY calling for, in the spirit of an impeccable orthodoxy. I am with the Pope, not with protestants.

  58. lana says:

    Nancy, the context is this:
    “Fifty years ago, concubinage, or co-habitation, was not very socially common like it is now. It was even a clearly derogatory word. Later, the whole thing changed. Today, living together before getting married, even though it is not right from a religious point of view, does not have the same negative connotation in society that it had fifty years ago.”

    He put that clause “even though it is not right from a religious point of view” in there to make it _clear_ that it is wrong. Try reading the sentence without it.

  59. Bosco says:

    Sheep-gate is upon us, I fear.

    Speaking of gates and the ‘salvation’ (not redemption) of men:

    “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:24

  60. lana says:

    Finally “from a religious point of view” needs to be seen in the context of the whole discussion, in which they differentiate between ‘an anthropological point of view’ and ‘a religious point of view’.

    Your other sentence is taken out of context as well. In fact, he says at the beginning that he wants to speak on this point with Rabbi Skorka not from a religious point of view but based on anthropology. “The legal problem of assimilating (gay unions) to marriage has arisen, and this I consider an anti-value and an anthropological regression. I say this because it transcends the religious issue, it is anthropological. If there is a union of a private nature, there is neither a third party nor is society affected. Now, if the union is given the category of marriage and they are given adoption rights, there could be children affected. ” His sentence that ‘nor is society affected’ is from a strictly anthropological point of view, in the context of a debate, not from a religious point of view. If you asked him about the religious point of view, I am sure you would get a very different answer.

    So, do not worry – the Holy Spirit knows what He is about. :) We are very blessed to have this Holy Father.

  61. Lana(thanks for the reply)wrote,” I often hear prayers of the faithful in which the priest prays for life from conception to natural death.” Ditto.
    “I have heard several homilies – infrequent, but I have heard them.” You are fortunate Lana. :) Their being infrequent is a tragedy.

  62. Bosco says:

    @lana,
    “It is said that God chooses some Popes, tolerates some, and positively inflicts some upon the Church. Let us pray for a Pope squarely in the first category, invoking the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima and praying the Rosary frequently for that intention.” – Christopher A. Ferrara -

  63. lana says:

    One last word to Nancy about debates – when I talk to my teenage children on these topics, they say to me ‘Mom, it is not helpful to me to hear about the Communion of Saints and how sins affect everyone. When I talk to my friends at school, they don’t understand any of that. I want to hear arguments that I can use with non-believers.’ So, I thank then-Cardinal-Bergoglio for the extra ammunition. We need to be first be able to speak to the world in terms it can understand. This is not ‘double-speak’.

    Boxerpaws – Well, it seems that Pope Francis is saying that it should _not_ be frequent, although it should not be absent either as in your case. When he wrote as Cardinal, he said _at times_, in this passage I am reading (thanks to Nancy) from “On Heaven and Earth”. : Page 114:
    “The religious minister, at times, draws attention to certain points of private or public life because he is the parishioners’ guide. However, he does not have the right to force anything on anyone’s private life. If God, in creation, ran the risk of making us free, who am I to get involved? We condemn spiritual harrassment that takes place when a minister imposes directives, conduct and demands in such a way that it takes away the freedom of the other person. God left the freedom to sin in our hands. One has to speak very clearly about values, limits, commandments, but spiritual and pastoral harrassment is not allowed.”

  64. lana says:

    @Bosco – No matter what we get, it is what is best for us. But we do not have a Borgia pope here. Pope Francis is completely orthodox, prays 3 Rosaries a day, an hour of Adoration, etc. etc.

    As to the duties and attitudes of the faithful toward the Holy Father , regardless of any personal faults, there is a fantastic article here: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=594

  65. robtbrown says:

    1. No South American is as un South American as Argentinians.

    2. On more than one occasion Cardinal Ratzinger said that too much had been said on the moral issues and too often. His alternative, however, was a more contemplative understanding of the liturgy (which included Latin and ad orientem celebration). This is not an option for Francis, whose Jesuit alternative is Mission.

    3. I knew many Argentinian priests in Rome, two are bishops. None of them ever made comments like those of Papa Bergoglio. His comments are more typical of a Jesuit than an Argentinian.

    4. Ignatian spirituality is ordered to Mission, and is not liturgical. It has produced high powered intellectuals and simple missionaries. In their heyday Jesuit theologians were masters of Ecclesiocentric theology (AKA Roman theology), unlike St Thomas’ Theocentric and Christocentric approach. They were very strong in moral prescriptions and proscriptions, but they were always balanced by references to Divine Mercy.

    With the death of neo-scholasticism (and Roman theology), Jesuit theology became almost Missiology. Moral doctrine was usurped by the Existentialist generalities of Rahner’s Fundamental Option. And specific moral precepts (e.g., sexual) were replaced by general precepts (feeding the poor, etc). This, IMHO, is what we are seeing in Pope Francis.

  66. lana says:

    @Nancy – when I talk to my teenage children about these types of issues – they say to me “Mom, it is not helpful to hear about the communion of saints and how sin affects everyone. When I talk to my friends about it, none of them understand any of that. I need arguments I can use with non-believers.”

    That is what Cardinal Bergoglio was doing. We need to _first_ speak to the world in terms it can understand, and then later, if they are receptive, lead them to the other things. This is not double-speak, just common sense.

  67. robtbrown says:

    One other point:

    The Jesuit approach is eclectic rather than synthetic, which means it is often not integrated. And so it would not surprise me that there will be Abp Marini as Prefect of the Congregation of Rites and Sacraments and the SSPX reunited with Rome.

  68. robtbrown says:

    lana says:
    @Nancy – when I talk to my teenage children about these types of issues – they say to me “Mom, it is not helpful to hear about the communion of saints and how sin affects everyone. When I talk to my friends about it, none of them understand any of that. I need arguments I can use with non-believers.”

    That is what Cardinal Bergoglio was doing. We need to _first_ speak to the world in terms it can understand, and then later, if they are receptive, lead them to the other things. This is not double-speak, just common sense.

    The problem with what you say is that certain specific moral questions have also become political matters.

  69. robtbrown says:

    If there is a union of a private nature, there is neither a third party nor is society affected.

    If that was ever true, it is not true anymore. Laws equating homosexual unions with marriage, the adoption of children by homosexual couples, and the use of IVF have definitely affected society.

  70. Robtbrown wrote:

    “The problem with what you say is that certain specific moral questions have also become political matters.”

    Very true. I don’t think Lana was denying that they are also a political matter though.

  71. lana says:

    @robtbrown – It seems to me particularly because they have become now political matters that we need to know the appropriate level of apologetics to use for different audiences. So I guess I am not getting your point.

    I once went to a court proceeding for a gay marriage issue to show support. The lawyer on ‘our’ side did not make a single cogent legal point but only talked about God. The judge. who seemed sympathetic to his cause, tried to put words in his mouth trying to come up with something appropriate for his case. It was eventually decided against since the other side was much better prepared, in legal terms. “Our” lawyer only responded with platitudes that did not address the points being made by the opposing lawyers. Jesus tells us to be wise as serpents or something like that. And He rebuked this type of attitude, saying ‘the children of the world are wiser in their own matters than the children of light’.

  72. lana says:

    @robtbrown – What Cardinal Bergoglio wrote was: “If there is a union of a private nature, there is neither a third party nor is society affected. _Now, if the union is given the category of marriage and they are given adoption rights, there could be children affected._”

    So, the Cardinal is saying that making the jump from private to ‘marriage’ would affect society. Which is the same thing you are saying.

    Note what the Cardinal said was said from an anthropological point of view only. From a religious point of view even private affairs affect society, but he was not getting into that aspect.

  73. Bosco says:

    @lana,
    “No matter what we get, it is what is best for us. ”

    Your observation, and the path of logic which leads to it, is similar to a philosophy I have read of before:

    “…all is for the best.” Voltaire, ‘Candide’, Chapter 1

  74. lana says:

    @bosco – I thought it came from “All things work out for the good of those who are being saved.” or something to that effect from St. Paul.

  75. Bosco says:

    @lana,
    My mistake. I wasn’t aware you were referencing St. Paul. I was just being a bit mischievous (a thing that can be used to help hone the finer points of a discussion.)

    I’ve found the quote from Candide:

    “Observe that noses were made to wear spectacles; and so we have spectacles. Legs were visibly instituted to be breeched, and we have breeches. Stones were formed to be quarried and to build castles; and My Lord has a very noble castle; the greatest Baron in the province should have the best house; and as pigs were made to be eaten, we eat pork all year round; consequently, those who have asserted all is well talk nonsense; they ought to have said that all is for the best.”

    Cheers,
    Bosco

  76. lana says:

    And there are actually a lot more quotes supporting that. “The Lord chastises every son He receives, so accept the discipline of the Lord.” Not everything has to be ‘our way’ and the way we want it to be, for it to be from God. On the contrary.

    I personally think Pope Francis is category one, but even if he’s from the other categories, I would not dream of posting my doubts for anyone to read and to be tempted by them, as the author of the article above has done. That belongs in the confessional. Pope Francis is God-sent. David did not dare touch Saul, the Lord’s anointed, even knowing that Saul had fallen out of favor with God.

  77. lana says:

    Ah, sorry, Bosco, I read your second post too late. I didn’t mean to preach at you in my first paragraph. I am sure you agree with me.

    But I now have to clean the house!!

  78. Bosco says:

    @lana,
    Indeed it’s a fine line striking a balance between clericalism (the thing that got us into a desperate state here in Ireland) and pointed (though charitable) observations shared with fellow religionists.

    The difficulty is as you suggest. There are so many bruised reeds and smouldering wicks out there in cyberspace these days that one needs be supremely prudent with one’s observations. (Isaiah 42:3)

    Peace,
    Bosco

  79. robtbrown says:

    boxerpaws1952 says:

    Very true. I don’t think Lana was denying that they are also a political matter though.

    I never said she was. My point is that if they are immediate political matters, then they cannot be ignored–nor addressed with platitudes. NB: Some questioned why the pope in Brazil had nothing to say about abortion, which was a pressing political question during his visit.

    Two points:

    1. This pope, like JPII, was unknown to the world when he was chosen. JPII was incredibly popular–until he began to speak about controversial issues.

    2. Current tactics by homosexual activists are causing confrontations. In Rome there has already be a problem with them kissing in churches.

  80. Bosco says:

    By the way, I want to say again how grateful I am to Father Z. for this blog. God bless him. I don’t know how he does it.
    He lets the big dogs bark and growl; the younger ones scamper and frolic; and the puppies chase their tails while only infrequently and judiciously using his leash.
    Kudos, Father Z.

  81. Supertradmum says:

    We have got the pope we deserve and who was formed in the rot of the seminary training which caused Vatican II, and set in between the wars, and in the 1950s, when he would have been in seminary. He is not a pope who is a scholar. He is not one trained in good Thomistic philosophy. He is not speaking to priests, as did Benedict , over and over.

    He does not have the Germanic bent for logic, not the Polish instinctual love of democratic freedom.

    The Church is going into a time of deep and widespread persecution. We have a leadership crisis. He is not evil, he is not bad, but neither is he “the man of the hour”. I believe the Holy Spirit is in charge of the Church and that God allowed this man to be elected. But, perhaps his persecution, when it comes, like ours, will be part of his salvation.

    My faith, thank God, is stronger than one man, and I am not into the cult of personality. I pray daily for Pope Francis. When he moves back into the Vatican apartments, I shall know he has come to accept his real role, which he has not, in my mind and that is the leader of a Church under siege, which he just does not see.

  82. benedetta says:

    Another point that Pope Francis has made over and over again which is reinforced in this speech when he talks of a “missionary” proclamation of the Gospel, is the fact that all are works are dead letters if we do not also proclaim the Gospel and introduce others explicitly to the Way. In the U.S., in Catholic publications and universities, there is much talk in favor of gay marriage, supporting choice, and accommodating the abortion mandate, as well as talk in favor of political agendas which are claimed to be rooted always in Catholic social teaching. People are threatened that if they do not support the agenda they are false Catholics and do so at their own moral peril. In reality, if these teaching orders and publications do not also in advocating for their political positions bring people to the Gospel, overtly, explicitly, without apology or second guessing, they too are a moral house of cards, or, as the Pope has also said many times, just another “NGO”…an atheist, amoral, beaurocrat, pushing his or her way, with a righteous spin to boot. Without salvation it’s only talk and only politics and lacks an encounter with Christ.

  83. jhayes says:

    Bosco wrote: “Your observation, and the path of logic which leads to it, is similar to a philosophy I have read of before: “…all is for the best.” Voltaire, ‘Candide’, Chapter 1″

    What Voltaire wrote was “Everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds” (Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes possibles) .

    But he was mocking the philosophy of Leibniz.

  84. StWinefride says:

    Bosco: He lets the big dogs bark and growl; the younger ones scamper and frolic; and the puppies chase their tails while only infrequently and judiciously using his leash.

    Funny! Speaking of dogs, and at the risk of Father Z using his leash, I’m going to post this very sweet commercial for Cesar dog food that is on over here in Europe at the moment! The music is ‘Walk through the Village’ by Tom Hodge:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXBqbkT1Wrs

  85. Jack Hughes says:

    Supertradmom “we have the pope we deserve”

    By that logic what did the Catholics of the 30′s, 40′s and 50′s do to deserve the crap priests of the seventies? What did the various Pius’s do? The Church in the US and UK was booming (there was serious talk of Britain becoming a Catholic country again according to Dr Shaw).

  86. Bosco says:

    @StWinefride,
    Thanks for the link!
    Probably one of the sweetest most poignant adverts I’ve seen in many a year!

  87. Bosco says:

    @jhayes,
    Merci! I defer to you, Mon Ami. I’ve read more of Julia Childs’ works throughout my life than Voltaire’s.

    I knew Candide was written as a mockery. But then not knowing me, how would you know I knew? You know? 8-)

  88. Johnno says:

    GAK -

    “Your response to that is that I haven’t responded to your points. Really? You didn’t respond to mine.”

    -You already stated that “(you) didn’t pretend to be interested in the viewpoint (I) set forth”, so at least you’re honest about your intention.

    ‘So for you to say that I’m dodging the discussion, when you keep bringing up a discussion that is NOT the one I started, is inaccurate. In fact, I’d call that, well, dodging the discussion.”

    - The topic is with concern to Pope Francis’, and by extension, the V-II pastoral approach of vague generalities, is doing more harm than it is good. Your points were to try and frame such criticisms as being just emotional and illogical outbursts of pro-life members and traditionalists who can’t take criticism from the Pope having knee-jerk responses to the Holy Father. I addressed you by saying that ‘emotion’ has nothing to do with it, and that if the Pope made any criticisms, we hardly know what they are other than to scold such people in the eyes of the secularists as being ‘obsessive.’ Like as if the killing fields in our local neighbourhoods and the open destruction of liturgy and abuse is just some paranoid conspiritorial fantasy we cooked up and the Church is actually ‘doing fine’ and ‘never been better.’

    Nobody (well nobody here), is saying Pope Francis is pro-abortion or pro-homosexual or a heretic. However he, and the Church as a whole need to speak clearly enough so that everyone is certain on what the Church teaches, especially in a time where much of teh actual theology and morality has been hijacked by modernists. There a reason that companies and the government spend large sums of money on PR and marketing. It’s so that people can get the precise message they want them to convey, and much of them are engaged in deliberate deception. Is not the Gospel and moral law of more importance?

    Do you imagine that the ‘war to control speech and language’ is non-existant? Or is that the particular viewpoint you’re not interested in discussing, which just so happens to be the subject of this blog entry?

  89. Palladio says:

    First of all, amici omnes, the character assassination of the Pope would be insulting if it were at all remotely convincing. As it is, it is bathetic. There is the feeble stereotyping of him as “a Jesuit” as perhaps the most common tactic. Ergo, gluc. There is the distorting the translated bit already perhaps misquoted in the original and taken out of context: you count the levels of unreality; Plato had his cave, latter-day Luthers have theirs. I’ll stop the list there.

    On another note, @ supertradmum, you say the Pope is not “a scholar,” but he has authored a steady stream, it seems, of books in Spanish since around 1982. I am a scholar, but I have not read his books. Based on his range of reference, and polyglottism, I’d say he is a striking intellectual and humanist, at the very least, though naturally I am open to suggestions. I don’t much care that he is not a second Benedict XVI–for who could be?

  90. GAK says:

    Supertradum—I don’t share your conclusions and concerns. Yet I also don’t underestimate the graces that will be given to the Church through faithfulness such as yours.

  91. The Masked Chicken says:

    I was trying to stay quiet, really, I was, but reading all of these comments reminds of a scene from McLintock, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara:

    George Washington McLintock: [through gritted teeth after knocking Jones down] Now, we’ll all calm down!

    Drago: Take it easy, boss, he’s just a little excited, that’s all.

    George Washington McLintock: I know, I know. I’m gonna use good judgement. I haven’t lost my temper in forty years, but pilgrim you caused a lot of trouble this morning, might have got somebody killed… and somebody oughta belt you in the mouth. But I won’t, I won’t… The *hell* I won’t!

    [belts Jones in the mouth]

    To begin with, a lot of people have been making the observation that arguing from emotion and not reason somehow makes the argument a form of pride or, at least, one that can be discounted. Because humor depends on mis-uses of logic (the logical mechanisms of humor is a hot topic in humor theory right now), I have, of necessity, had to become an expert on logical fallacies. Technically, the generic class of emotionally-driven or emotional-inducing rhetorical fallacies are lumped together as argumentum ad passiones, the appeal to suffering. It is classified as a fallacy type because it appears to ignore reason and facts in favor of emotional states.

    It has been known since the 1990′s, however, that appeals to emotions are not, necessarily, fallacious forms of argumentation. Douglas Walton, in Canada, has written several books debunking this notion.

    http://www.dougwalton.ca/

    His many articles are on-line at the site for download.

    In fact, outside of mathematics and pure logic (although echoes can be heard, even there), all human arguments are compound arguments, composed of both an affective and a rational component. In a properly constructed argument, both sides are represented and both sides point to the same truth. In the real world, almost no one, at all times, produces perfectly balanced arguments in terms of the intensity of affect and reason. Some are more prone to affect, some to reason. The important point, and one that has been overlooked in rhetoric for a long time, is that even though the expressive nature of the argument might be unbalanced, the declarative truth might be the same. In other words, two people might see the same truth, but one person might express the situation in reason while the other expresses it in emotion, but both are valid forms of argument as long as the declarative truth is derivable from the particular type of expression.

    Thus, in such a heated topic as how to interpret Pope Francis’s utterances, it is a form of ad hominem to dismiss someone’s remarks, much less counsel them about them, simply because the remarks are 8o percent emotional and 20 percent rational. I know, I know, generations of students studying argumentation in English classes have been told that one must have facts, supporting arguments, etc., and that special pleading, appeals to pity, and the like, are bad form, but they have been informed wrongly, at least to an extent. Special pleading is a perfectly good form of argumentation if there is, indeed, a special case that demands attention (the classic example of valid special pleading is Christ’s comment that he had to go to the Cross). In the case of special pleading, the argument is contained within the expression of the need instead of being articulated, separately. In fact, this is the obverse of the, “boy who cried wolf,” (BWCW) syndrome. In the BWCW syndrome, multiple false reports of the same phenomenon desensitizes the listener to an eventual true utterance, but in special pleading, the first instance of the report is discounted because of multiple pre-existing cases of a perceived truth (i.e., no one else needs to do this or that). In the BWCW syndrome, the nth utterance is discounted at the listener’s peril; in the case of special pleading, the first utterance is discounted at the speaker’s peril. In both cases, however, a declarative truth is uttered, either eventually or immediately, but the surrounding counter-examples drown out the perception of the truth claim.

    So, I have a great deal of pity for people who express heightened emotions at Pope Francis’s utterances, even though they may not be expressing themselves in linear reasoning. My job, in charity, is to re-assemble the arguments in a more balanced form so that the truth or falsehood of the argument can be made plain to the majority of people. This takes effort and is not the way that most combox discussions are run (that would really prove the charity of the people making comments).

    Emotions, even strong ones, are not, necessarily, signs of either pride or what psychologists would call, “displacement.” They may simply be caused because one side of the brain is firing more strongly than the other, like one sometimes sees in split-brain patients where the right hand covers the left so that it can’t steal the show. How a person responds is partially a matter of how the person is constructed. Most people can be trained to respond in a primarily rational manner, but in times of stress or when one is tired, or when one is in a hurry to make a comment, as many people are in the comboxes, the dominant mode of communication often expresses itself.

    Again, it is uncharitable and ad hominem to counsel those sorts of emotionally labile people to stop what they are doing or even insinuate that they or their arguments are, somehow, defective. These sorts of arguments may only be ignored at one’s peril. I am giving this extended treatment (Walton has many more examples and a whole book on special pleading, for example) because I have seen many, many comments pointing out how emotional the responses in the combox has been and chastising those who have not responded in a calm, rational manner. That is really unfair to many of the people making comments who, if given more time, might re-construct their comment in a less emotional fashion. If their primary expressive mode is not rational, but emotional, because of the slap-dash nature of comments (their are like a rolling group of cattle – if one is not out in front, one risks either being run over or left behind), they construct their arguments with the elements at hand, which, for them, sounds overtly emotional. That does not mean that their argument can be brushed off. It means that on must spend time reconstructing the argument in a linear fashion and then commenting on the material within that argument. This would turn comboxes into Scholastic disputations, which often took weeks to conclude, but, if truth is your aim, then you owe it to listen to all claimants.

    These are points not commonly available in classes on logic and rhetoric, but they should be included, because we do a disservice to the truth to claim fallacies where there aren’t any, necessarily.

    Now, on the opposite side, a rational argument can be perfectly fine, but perfectly wrong. The classic example is the sorities-type paradoxes, like the Unexpected Hanging, where the reasoning that says that the man cannot be hung is perfectly valid, but wrong. It is important to remember that even in so fine a rational game as chess, when someone makes an exceptional move, even to this day, an exclamation mark is placed after it in the records. A perfectly rational Spock is not fit to be a man. One cannot make humor perfectly rational. Even the most perfect scheme must have its nod to Providence, because, by definition, a perfectly rational argument would be a perfectly self-sufficient argument, depending upon nothing other than its rationality for truth and such a condition belongs to God, alone. Man does not generate the axioms of his logic in the first instance, only as derivative beings.

    Sorry, to go so long, but I think it is important to make an argument in support of those who are caught up in the moment.

    Some other, more specific, responses:

    1. “But without casting aspersions I say that the article left me cold. I pray for its author, whose crisis in conscience, whose unburdening of his soul, or whose–whatever the article is about–self-expression with regard to the Vicar of Christ on Earth chosen by the Holy Spirit, might be better left to the confessional.”

    Really? Apparently, you haven’t, recently, read Can. 212:

    “Can. 212 §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare [a magazine interview is not a declaration] as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

    §2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

    §3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful [that includes in comboxes and blogs], without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.”

    “Are they sure that they themselves are not spokesmen for that demon, protestant in root and branch in their baseless hypercriticism, however refined?”

    That is way over-the-top. You have not proven nor provided strong evidence that their criticisms are either baseless nor hyper. You are as guilty of over-emotionalizing the topic as they are with this rhetoric.

    2. “With the death of neo-scholasticism (and Roman theology), Jesuit theology became almost Missiology. Moral doctrine was usurped by the Existentialist generalities of Rahner’s Fundamental Option. And specific moral precepts (e.g., sexual) were replaced by general precepts (feeding the poor, etc). This, IMHO, is what we are seeing in Pope Francis.”

    THIS is an interesting hypothesis that should be put on the back-burner and re-examined as the evidence comes in.

    3. “I never paid much attention to the media when they painted Pope Benedict the XVI as some rabid dog and am not going to pay much attention as they paint Pope Francis as a squishy Pillsbury dough boy.”

    Bravo! That sounds like some of the finest common sense I have heard in this discussion. Yes, that is my opinion, but he already has the first part right.

    4. “That is what Cardinal Bergoglio was doing. We need to _first_ speak to the world in terms it can understand, and then later, if they are receptive, lead them to the other things. This is not double-speak, just common sense.”

    No, that is exactly double-speak if the audience cannot tell that you are using restricted terms in a way different than they are. Speaking to the world in terms they can understand does not mean using the same terms in a different way or without adequate definition to clue in the audience that the words are being used ina different way.

    5. “If there is a union of a private nature, there is neither a third party nor is society affected.”

    ??? St. Paul would, strenuously disagree. When on member of the body of Christ falls, the whole body suffers. The Church is a society connected to a larger society, so, yes, society will suffer. Even speaking anthropologically, man is subject to the natural law and an unnatural union of a private nature can never be wholly private, even if there are no children, because the union, by its very nature, affects the attitudes and action of at least the two parties involved and they are connect in an indissoluble way, by anthropology, to the rest of society, on whom their actions and thought will have an affect. No man is an island. No two men or women or man and woman are a continent unto themselves.

    6. ““Our” lawyer only responded with platitudes that did not address the points being made by the opposing lawyers.”

    That, is a flaw in the jurisprudence system that cannot recognize higher laws than its own. One can construct positive law so as to circumscribe even virtue. The lawyer who one wan not necessarily right. He, presumably, just has the support of bad laws. What can an ethical lawyer do? Is winning the only point to the adversarial process?

    More, I could say. Away, I must go. Argue, keep going. Out, will truth. Not, I am Yoda.

    The Chicken

  92. GAK says:

    Johnno, I don’t see the point of continuing. I can’t make myself any clearer.

  93. GAK says:

    Thanks, Chicken.

    Though I didn’t say arguing from emotion is a form of pride. I said you have to dig deep to get to the source of the emotion. Often, that’s pride.

    Emotions can be neutral, good, or bad. Having a strong emotion doesn’t mean you aren’t also being rational.

    But sounding rational, likewise, doesn’t mean someone is BEING rational. Sometimes arguments and rational-speak are really just the top layer and when you dig down, something else is at the foundation, entirely. A lot of educated Catholics are really good at throwing arguments around. That doesn’t mean their positions are, at base, rational. We have to sort through these things, get to the bottom, and discern what the true motivation is.

  94. GAK says:

    Someone could be a total hothead AND be a really logically guy. The fact that he’s all fired up by emotion doesn’t mean he’s not being logical. It depends on what he allows to prevail. Some great debaters are emotional, because they care about their topic, and it gives them the fuel to construct really solid arguments.

    But some people posture as rational, logical, analytical, and they pride themselves on it. But the foundation of everything they think, everything they say, every stance they take, is ego, or emotion, or prejudice, or whatever. That person might speak in syllogisms that are air tight. That doesn’t mean the motivation beneath it all is rational. (And logic, as we know, and analytical ability can be completely separate from the truth.)

  95. Nancy D. says:

    The fact is, since the pope, in his own words, in his own book, On Heaven and Earth, confirms the rumors that he does not recognize the sinful and destructive nature of same-sex sexual relationships that are private, do not include children, and are not called marriage, the election of pope Francis is not valid as prior to his being elected pope, he was not in communion with Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
    http://www.dailycatholic.org/cumexapo.htm

  96. pannw says:

    Supertradmum says: his persecution, when it comes, like ours, will be part of his salvation.

    Over the last few years, I have been convinced that we are on the verge of at least a major chastisement, very possibly the prophesied Minor Chastisement of which there would seem to be nothing MINOR, or even that the rise of Antichrist is very near. When USofA reelected the most pro-abortion president imaginable and he was sworn back into office within days of the 40th anniversary of the legalization of child murder, almost all doubt was removed (since I feel 40 is a quite significant number throughout salvation history…). In any case, I have been studying up on scripture and the prophecies of old and new (Birch’s Trial Tribulation and Triumph and Walford’s Heralds of the Second Coming, etc…) Through that, I have wondered about the Pope who would be forced to flee and suffer a cruel death…and feared so much that it would be my beloved Benedict, since the world has been spiraling so rapidly down the sewer these years. It was the one source of comfort I could find when he resigned, that he would not be the one. Then, when I was watching after the white smoke, and waiting to see our new Pope come out onto the balcony, it crossed my mind that perhaps it would be this man. Then, out came Pope Francis, and the look on his face… just thinking of it often brings me to tears. My first thought was that he looked like it was the first thing to cross his mind. Maybe he was just a bit shell shocked, ??? But as I watched it, I thought he looked like a man condemned. My heart went out to him and now I think about it this time, I am ashamed that I have not prayed for him fervently every single day since then.

    I can’t help but disagree with the notion that he does not realize the Church is under siege.

    That said, I still can’t quite decide what to think of what he is up to. I admit to worrying a lot at first, mainly about the liturgy, but my priest, whom I respect and trust, and who was very devoted to Pope Benedict and has done things like removing the table altar and returning to the high altar ad orientem, introduce polyphony and chant, etc, noted that Pope Francis wore the amice, and concluded that ‘it’s going to be okay’. So far, my parish has not experienced any adverse affects from Pope Francis. I also have read headlines and become highly concerned, but then, I read what Pope Francis actually said, and realize it isn’t heretical. While I still wonder if he is being terribly naïve, (simple as a dove, but not wise as serpents…) and creating opportunities for his words to be used against the Church and her teaching, I sometimes think maybe he is really wise as serpents, or more accurately, cunning as one. I can’t quite put my finger on it, or explain it, but I keep looking at what he’s actually saying, then how it is being spun, and then what he is actually DOING, like excommunicating the dissident priest, the very strong address to the gynecologists on life, and then Cardinal Burke’s comments so forcefully calling for Pelosi et al to be denied Communion…. While Cardinal Burke has long voiced that truth, it was interesting timing. I almost feel that Pope Francis is allowing his words to be used to disarm the heretics/dissidents and then, bringing down the hammer, so to speak. I pray it is so and soon! I don’t know; maybe it is all just a coincidence, but until he says or does something heretical, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. So far, everything he has said and done OFFICIALLY, seems to be right on, even if not necessarily my preferred STYLE of speaking or I don’t care for his choice of vestments.

    God bless him and grant him strength and wisdom, and have mercy on us all.

  97. lana says:

    @Chicken

    4. “That is what Cardinal Bergoglio was doing. We need to _first_ speak to the world in terms it can understand, and then later, if they are receptive, lead them to the other things. This is not double-speak, just common sense.”

    No, that is exactly double-speak if the audience cannot tell that you are using restricted terms in a way different than they are. Speaking to the world in terms they can understand does not mean using the same terms in a different way or without adequate definition to clue in the audience that the words are being used ina different way.

    lana rplies —– It is not doublespeak because, as I said in the post above, Cardinal Bergoglio announced at the outset of the discussion that he was going to discuss the topic NOT in religious terms, only in anthrpological terms. That is why he wrote about private unions not having an effect on society (as opposed to the effect of legalized marriage). I am sure Cardinal Bergoglio agrees with St Paul and with you and with me. But, as he said at the start, he is not going to be discussing about religious merits such as the ones that you bring up in number 5. You have to get the book and read the whole thing.

    Regarding the canon you referenced: Many of the negative comments I see about the Pope are not being made ‘with due reverence’, and they are not being made, at least in the comments sections, by people who (in general, and myself included) have either knowledge, expertise, or prestige.

  98. Bosco says:

    @The Masked Chicken,

    Here’s a movie quote for you my feathered friend:

    “Gentlemen, at this moment, I want you all to forget the flight plan. From this moment on, we are improvising a new mission: How do we get our people home?”
    - Mission Control Flight Director Gene Kranz ‘Apollo 13′ -

  99. Bosco says:

    @lana,
    “Many of the negative comments I see about the Pope are not being made ‘with due reverence’”… That is entirely a judgement call on the part of each reader. One person’s straightforward opinion is taken by some readers as stridency and by others as understatement.
    “…they are not being made, at least in the comments sections, by people who (in general, and myself included) have either knowledge, expertise, or prestige.” Don’t know what that means really.
    You want CVs or resumes?
    I suspect, in the interest of egalitarianism or out of humility, any number of contributors have studiedly refrained from throwing their credentials around in the com-box.
    Just sayin’ that’s all.
    Peace,
    Bosco

  100. robtbrown says:

    Lana says,

    Note what the Cardinal said was said from an anthropological point of view only. From a religious point of view even private affairs affect society, but he was not getting into that aspect.

    I have no problem with him speaking from an anthropological punto de la partenza.

    I have–as no doubt you do–serious moral problems with homosexual unions, etc. The pope needs to explain the Church’s teaching, not only referencing faith but also by reason alone. (Moral questions are considered dogmata mixta–they can be known not only by faith but also by reason). Marriage is a natural institution, Sacramentalized by the Church.

    When arguing with people who not only lack faith but also are deficient in reason, I object by referencing the Free Exercise Clause of the 1st Amendment: The govt cannot interfere in the free exercise of religion. And, as we all know, American public schools are now actively promoting the equality of homosexual unions, which I maintain is a denial of 1st Amendment rights.

    Fire burn and caldron bubble.

  101. lana says:

    Ooops, sorry, Chicken. I didn’t read your number 5 fully before I wrote my last post. I also would think that even anthropologically it hurts society even if it’s just a private union . But I am no expert. I was just explaining (trying to) what the context was of the Cardinal’s statements. Some people are very upset because they are reading into it as if those were his religious views, and they are not.

    @Bosco – Yes, I suspect there are a few pros in here. That is why I said ‘generally’. :)

  102. lana says:

    @robtbrown – I will have to tell that First Amendment one to my kids. Thanks!

  103. robtbrown says:

    Supertradmum says,

    When he moves back into the Vatican apartments, I shall know he has come to accept his real role, which he has not, in my mind and that is the leader of a Church under siege, which he just does not see.

    My understanding is that part of the reason he is not in the apartments is to keep from being isolated, which limits input and output to a close circle of people he didn’t select.

    NB: Benedict had Gänswein to keep him informed, but the pope didn’t get much cooperation in what he wanted to accomplish from the likes of Bertone, Canizares, and Levada.

  104. lana says:

    @Bosco – you raise an interesting point with Canon 212. If a member of the lay faithful (only in keeping with his knowledge, prestige, etc.) and in view of the common good, needs to make statements “even to the rest of the faithful”, shouldn’t he give his credentials so as to have credibility? Otherwise, what good are his combox comments, amid so many others?

    @Supertradmum, did you read in TBI where Pope Francis explained that he had an inspiration that told him ‘No” to the Papal apartments? Hope that helps!

  105. Supertradmum says:

    lana, well, if the Pope is inspired, what can I say about moving. However, to me, it is extremely symbolic. Like a king not moving into his castle–but sitting outside. Very humble in a way, but not a helpful symbol for leadership in a Church demanding such.

  106. Bosco says:

    @lana,
    “…shouldn’t he give his credentials so as to have credibility?”

    The short answer, in my opinion, is ‘no’. The immediate reasons ought to be readily apparent; however, if you’d want me to elaborate (in broad strokes) let me know.

  107. Nancy D. says:

    Lana, lust is a sin. God desires we overcome our disordered inclinations so that we are not led into temptation, but become transformed through His Gift of Grace and Mercy.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lust

    Men and women are designed in such a way that it is physically impossible to engage in same-sex sexual acts without demeaning the personal and relational Dignity of those persons engaging in same-sex sexual acts, thus same-sex sexual acts can never be ordered to the good of the other.

    Salvational Love Is personal and relational. To Love according to The Word of God, Jesus The Christ, is to desire Salvation for our beloved.

    As the mother of a daughter who has developed a same-sex sexual attraction as the result of the perfect storm that was greatly influenced by a date-rape her freshman year of college and the lack of appropriate counseling from her Jesuit University, I know that although there are good Jesuits, the purpose of a confused response in regards to the truth about the inherent personal and relational dignity of the human person, is to cause confusion, not to help lead others to Christ.

  108. robtbrown says:

    Palladio says,
    There is the feeble stereotyping of him as “a Jesuit” as perhaps the most common tactic.

    How familiar are you with the thought of Molina and Suarez (SJ, not the OP who was Master General)? And Balthasar? Much different than M & S, but then he left the Society. Have you ever done the Exercises? What do you think of the application of the senses? What do you know of the common Jesuit approach to analogy? And of the Jesuit role in ignoring the Platonic elements in St Thomas (and in general, theology)?

    The Jesuits have a unique approach, and it is likely that taken as a whole they have been the most impressive religious order in history. Ignatian Spirituality has facilitated their entrance into almost every aspect of life. They have been engineers, attorneys, physicians (an SJ friend is an endocrinologist) professors, missionaries, etc.

    Ignatian spirituality is very concrete and produces zeal rather than balance. Consequently, in theology it seems to prevent their theologians from holding two different (but equal) concepts at the same time. For example, for years they pushed the Church as One (cf the 4 marks), deemphasizing the Catholicity. Then in the 20th century they pushed the Catholicity of the Church, all but forgetting the Oneness of the Church.

    Through it all they remain Jesuits, an order founded during the Baroque age–and now rejecting almost anything that smacks of the Baroque. In researching my dissertation, I was surprised that De Lubac, much of whose research went into relocating the neo-Augustinian roots in Medieval Theology, finally comes to typically Jesuit conclusions.

    No doubt Pope Francis is a man of prayer, a bright and a highly educated man (one strength of the SJ’s is that they never suppressed talent) and a great example of Jesuit eclecticism. Although I think it’s a bit early to be assuming certain things about him, nevertheless, most are reactions to comments he has made. He was elected to re-structure and clean up the Curia, and his comments on the Mercy of God are certainly appreciated. But I’m not sure that references to the Mercy of God are all that effective in the political battles over matters like abortion and homosexual “marriage”, esp when some of the advocates claim to be Catholic. Further, some of his comments have produced anxiety in those who suffered in the persecution of anyone who wanted Latin Laturgy.

    BTW, when Cardinal Ratzinger was Prefect of the SCDF, various documents were produced on the importance of General Morals (Veritatis Splendor) and Specialized Moral Questions (e.g., IVF), there were also documents on matters of Faith. As Pope he had very little to say on moral questions.

  109. Palladio says:

    Actually, I know a fair amount about the Jesuits, as I was, as they used to say, “trained by” them. I read Latin and Greek and speak, read, and write some few modern languages, as well, thanks to them, I also owe my love of philosophy to them, as those a generation or more before me also owe their love of theology (as opposed to religious studies) AND philosophy. Not least, , thanks to them, I never swallowed all the -isms disgorged by the post-modern university, which have left it in ruins, and which I have had the dubious distinction of having survived to teach in four of them. I have published on one Jesuit who lived a good long span of time from the sixteenth to the seventeenth centuries, and I am especially familiar with the history of their pedagogy from even before the promulgation of the Ratio. Jesuits ministered to my family in Maryland in the seventeenth century. A great grand uncle was Provincial for the Midwest, and the president, that is, is rector, of any number of Jesuit colleges and universities in the 19th and 20th centuries. I could go on and on, but I see no point to it–the spirit of your many questions is a question to me, too. What I do know of the Jesuits, historically, is that clichés just don’t cut it, especially as applied to the Vicar of Christ on earth. While I see more clearly now than ever the “anxiety” of which you speak, and I am sorry for it, I would want to say to my friends in Christ how deceptive are emotions of all sorts, angst included.

    Honestly, the nit-picking of the Pope has got to stop. Deo gratias, our pastor quotes him–today, on a moral question, based on the last Gospel reading–often and movingly. Ad multos annos.

    As for the Jesuits, their own head wrote some years ago that the Company would be carrying on thanks to the laity: there are not remotely enough Jesuits to head or to man their institutions. I suspect it’s the middle of the end to them, once a great order.

  110. Nancy D. says:

    http://www.presenttruthmag.com/archive/XIII/13-3.htm

    There is a difference between costly Grace and its counterfeit, cheap “grace”, and that difference makes all the difference.

  111. Nancy D. says:

    That being said, Christ Was Baptized into His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church; there are not various denominations of The Word of God because there is no division in His Church. Outside Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, there is no Salvation, for it is through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the Unity of God’s Holy Spirit, that The Body of Christ exists.

  112. jhayes says:

    NancyD wrote: “Outside Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, there is no Salvation”

    Lumen Gentium clarifies that:

    16. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18*) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues. But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things, and as Saviour wills that all men be saved. Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life

    [No person is saved except through the merits of Christ's Sacrifice and also through the mediation of the Catholic Church, no matter how that happens.]

  113. slainewe says:

    robtbrown proposes:

    “Ignatian spirituality is very concrete and produces zeal rather than balance. Consequently, in theology it seems to prevent their theologians from holding two different (but equal) concepts at the same time.”

    The above struck me because I am a bit dumbfounded by the “Church as field hospital” analogy. The Sacraments of healing are essential elements of the Church mission, but they do not constitute the whole mission, anymore than a MASH unit constitutes a whole military endeavor. Does not the field hospital exist to heal soldiers to return to the BATTLE – which is the primary mission?

    If His Holiness were to have a heart-to-heart with the Judie Browns and Michael Vorises of our day, would he tell them that their zeal is misguided; that they should “put away their swords?”

    Are we experiencing a feminizing of the papacy which corresponds to the 40 year feminization of the Church at large since Vatican II?

    (Or am I following the media mistake of reading comments of His Holiness out of context?)

  114. robtbrown says:

    Palladio,

    1. Emotions may be rational or irrational. In so far as lovers of Latin liturgy were ostracized and denigrated for years and in so far as traditionalists (of whom I don’t consider myself one) seem to be the only group the pope has spoken negatively about, I would say that the anxiety of some is rational.

    2. The Jesuits have been an order without a branch of sisters and without a lay association. IMHO, the latest move to create a kind of Jesuit tertiary is an attempt to keep control of their US universities. BTW, I am told there are considerable Jesuit vocations in India. Unfortunately, they are not receiving the very thorough education of Jesuits of old.

  115. KristinLA says:

    Well said, veritas76:
    “The other aspect that is difficult for me to grasp is that the Church is not ‘obsessed’ with these issues… the WORLD is obsessed with them, and because of that, the Church has been put on the defensive. If these issues weren’t shoved in our faces all the time by the judicial system, congress, media, and the culture as a whole, we wouldn’t HAVE to ‘obsess’ over them! It seems that we’re being chastised for bringing the Church into and responding to the modern world — just as our friends from Vatican II asked us to do!”

  116. lana says:

    @Nancy,

    I am so sorry to hear of your situation and I will pray for your family. And it is so good to see you stand by the truth because many parents in such a heartbreaking situation ‘cave-in’ and pretend evil is good.

    But I want you to understand that Pope Francis did NOT say, in the passage you quoted, that private homosexual unions are OK. You are taking him out of context, as I explained above. And it would be very sad to see you leave the one Holy Catholic Church over a misunderstanding.

    In my prayers,
    Lana