First comment on the Pope’s new Apostolic Exhortation

The new Apostolic Exhortation is out: Evangelii gaudium.  In English it is some 51000 words.  It is a slog.

It is not an encyclical.  It is not an apostolic letter.  It is only an apostolic exhortation.

I caution all of you (and myself as well) not to rely only on accounts or summaries of this document in the New York Times, or Fishwrap, or … name your liberal source… or trad source for that matter.  I am for now avoiding reading about it.

See if you can avoid getting kicked by the knee-jerks.

I will have more observations later.  However, as I have begun my work on it – and when I land on something that I sense will be controversial – one of the things that I constantly remind myself of is “About whom is the Pope talking in this phrase?” and also, “What does that really mean?”   Half the time, when I review his daily sermons, I have a hard time figuring out what on earth he is talking about.  What on earth does he mean by “ideology”, anyway?  When he talks about people who do “X” (something bad), I am often often hard-pressed to determine precisely to whom he is referring.  I am finding that in this document too, but I still have a lot more to read.  What does “promethean neopelagianism” mean?  Anyone?  It may be that something – a lot? – is being lost in translation.  Moreover, we are only getting snips from the fervorini.  That’s a problem.  I digress.

And former Father Greg Reynolds of Australia is still excommunicated.

UPDATE:

In my desire to see what the Latin for  – I am not making this up – “sourpusses” is (no. 85), I discovered that there in no Latin version yet.

I wonder what it will be?  There is a phrase from Plautus in Epidicus: “Quid illuc est, quod ill caperrat frons severitudine?”  That could work.  Plautus’ style and Francis’ style have something in common.  There are others ways to describe such a person: supercilia adducta.  We have contractio frontis for “frown”.  A person who is grim is taetricus.

 

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66 Responses to First comment on the Pope’s new Apostolic Exhortation

  1. Fr AJ says:

    It made the top of the hour radio news, 2nd item. They said it is the Holy Father’s vision for the future of the Church: helping the poor.

  2. Geoffrey says:

    Will there be an official Latin text? So far, it isn’t on the Vatican’s website. I know some apostolic exhortations that are directed to a local church are usually only published in the vernacular, but since this one is for the universal Church, is the Latin text just delayed? Or…?

  3. mburn16 says:

    I’ve done my best, since the Pope was elected, to give him breathing room. I’m finding myself increasing unwilling to continue to do so. He might be a slum Pope, but I’m not convinced that gives him the moral right (even if it does give him the legal right) to create a slum church. Even if it isn’t his intention to strip down altars and robe Priests in little more than old drapery, this will inevitably be used – just as so many of his recent actions and words – by those who seek exactly that end.

    The rebellious left the Church. It seems more and more like the Church is going to leave the faithful behind in order to chase them. I suppose I can forget about seeing the Papal Tiara back in my lifetime – I need to be more concerned about losing the organ and the incense.

    Since, as Catholics, we believe that Papal infallibility applies only to a very limited category of official pronouncements concerning doctrine, and specifically DOES NOT extend to the selection of the Pope himself, I have no problem joining with most of the rest of traditionalists in voicing my opinion that Francis’ election was a severe mistake that require decades, if not generations, to recover from.

  4. Imrahil says:

    God gave to the French the land, to the British the sea and to the Catholics the clouds of dreaming.

    (Adaption of a proverb from times when the ones originally mentioned in it, the Germans, had not yet some guilts upon their consciences which might make that look strange to the outsider.)

    I don’t say we should not expect good things or be glad when we do receive them, but if not… we can still dream. And that’s not nothing.

  5. merlk says:

    And what the problem with it, except length? [Maybe we should read it before guessing?]Even Rorate’s reaction mostly positive.
    P.S. Original language of the Apostolic Exhortation is Spanish.

  6. Unwilling says:

    The Latin is not out yet. Proceed with caution. In the English, see the confusion over gender-neutral plural “the life within them”.

    Then the sentence context (with the hapax legomenon “abortion”). “[214] …when the life developing within them is the result of rape or a situation of extreme poverty. Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?”

    How “moved”? Moved away from valiantly protecting that life? Feel pity? Or what?

    Anyway, only the Latin is protected and who am I to judge?

  7. merlk says:

    Father, of course. :) I was simply surprised by such a scepticism in your post (or it’s simply misinterpretation of your words from my side?). [It is simply misinterpretation on your side. I haven’t written much about the document, have I?] I read it almost 8 hrs. ago and must say, from my point of view, it’s mostly good and sound document of the Magisterium.

  8. ntombes says:

    As to our “sourpusses” (85), the Spanish is “cara de vinagre” and Italian is “faccia scura.” Sourpuss does a good job of maintaining an idiomatic tone, I suppose.

  9. rtjl says:

    I skimmed over it quickly and haven’t read it in depth. Having said that, I am impressed. It has some pointed criticism that seems aimed directly and justifiably at me – and people like me. It is a very readable document – especially as far as apostolic exhortations go. It is admirably concrete and does not seem to confine itself to vague generalities. My sense is that it will deserve and repay a close, careful and meditative reading. It is also a document that will need to be shared and discussed with others. I think this may be the true watershed in Francis’ papal career. This is the point at which the real Francis will truly come into focus.

  10. HolyPhoenix says:

    I imagine the media is being nonsensical again?

  11. capebretoner says:

    Made fatal error & read a BBC article… Am now in need of a glass of wine & some Handel to cheer me up….and settle my stomach..

  12. mr205 says:

    The one line that has made it into every MSM article I’ve read is the rejection of women’s ordination. Now, that line is buried at the bottom of the articles of course. Almost like, we feel like we have to tell our readers this one little thing is in their we can’t stand, lol. I doubt Evangelii gaudium will get much MSM attention. There isn’t anything in their as far as I’ve seen that they can distort in their effort to destroy Catholic moral teaching. If their was, we would have had BREAKING NEWS ALERTS.
    Let us all remember to serve the poor and evangelize the world as the Holy Father commands. I’m looking forward to reading and studying the document.

  13. Geoffrey says:

    “I have no problem joining with most of the rest of traditionalists in voicing my opinion that Francis’ election was a severe mistake that require decades, if not generations, to recover from.”

    Aside from the fact that His Holiness has only been on the Chair of St Peter for 8 months, maintaining such an opinion is dangerous. “Ubi Ecclesia ibi Christus, ubi Petrus ibi Ecclesia…”

  14. Robbie says:

    I see one big positive from this. These are the Pope’s words written by his own hand. These aren’t answers to an interviewer nor are they the interpretations of an interviewer. If the comments are confusing or are in need of clarification, then it’s because the Pope has not conveyed his thoughts adequately.

    I’ve not read the product yet. I’ve only read news stories on it, both from the right and left side of the spectrum. All I know is this. Rorate has found both good and bad while Fr. James Martin is over the moon. I’m pleasantly surprised by the former and frightened by the latter.

  15. Here is what the MSM is presenting to people; a CNN article states the following:

    The Pope also hinted that he wants to see an end to the so-called “wafer wars,” in which Catholic politicians who support abortion rights are denied Holy Communion. His comments could also be taken as another sign that he plans to reform church rules that prevent divorced Catholics from receiving the Eucharist.

    “Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason,” Francis said.

    “The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”

    CNN may not be revealing all of the Holy Father’s thoughts on this matter, but the public needs to be aware of some things as well. St. Therese of L. also spoke of Holy Communion using similar words. I have no doubt however that she would have said that the unrepentant notorious criminal during her time, Henri Pranzini should not approach the altar until he had received sacramental absolution for his grave and obstinate sin.

    There should be some distinction mentioned by the Vatican between “nourishment for the weak” and of acknowledging that there is obstinate grave scandal occurring by prominent Catholic politicians who confuse the faithful by their support of abortion

  16. Robbie says:

    This is just one perspective, but these comments from John Allen make it sound as if Francis has become the Occupy Wall Street Pope. Notice as well, Allen takes a swipe at this liturgical nitpickers.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2013/11/26/seg-pope-changes.cnn.html

    This is just one of the story though. I’m sure there are more charitable readings of this document. What has been written will be hashed out over the coming days and will, hopefully, hue more towards the right wing of the Church then the media would have us believe. I continue to reserve judgment.

  17. Robbie says:

    In regards to position #54, I didn’t know Pope Francis used Paul Krugman as a ghost writer! :-)

  18. LadyMarchmain says:

    I admit that I haven’t read it all, but I’ve read most of it, and found much to admire in the heartfelt simplicity of a basic Christian message.

    On the other hand, the charitable ecumenism so sweetly braved in the sections on inter-religious dialogue turns to some hard labeling and even judgmental imputing of baser motives in the section on worldly spiritualism. What I found particularly hard to swallow is the imputation that those who adhere to tradition–whether of theoria or praxis–are deemed to lack concern for Jesus Christ or others, when it is precisely love for Jesus and for others that draws us to the most sustaining grace of his mass and seek to make it available to those who are starving for it.

    Here are the relevant words:

    “The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.”

  19. LadyMarchmain says:

    P.S. Robbie, it looks as though Rorate mainly took quick vital signs to see how the document referenced Vatican II. The NY Times put such a spin.

  20. kpoterack says:

    As Fr. Z said, sometimes I am not quite sure whom Pope Francis is talking to and what exactly he means. It is clearer now, given various other things he has said and done (e.g. affirming the value of the ‘Vetus Ordo’ to Cardinal Castrillon and recognizing the charism of the FSSP in a letter to them). Still, there are certain things where one is not exactly sure what he means. Other passages are very good and clarify matters (#214 on abortion, #36-39 on the ‘hierarchy of truths’). Here is one passage I truly found puzzling:

    (#32) “The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”.[36] Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated.[37]

    Now, he footnotes John Paul’s Apostolos Suos (footnote #37) which, I thought, more or less settled the matter of bishops conferences.

  21. Thanks to the generous ‘Catholic Files,’ Evangelii Gaudium is available in a variety of formats, including for eReaders, over at: http://sperolaus.com/2013/11/download-evangelii-gaudium-ereaders-etc-mobi-epub-pdf-docx/

  22. kpoterack says:

    Lady Marchmain,

    This worries me a lot less. He had earlier (back in June) made the charge of “neopelagianism,” but now clearly doesn’t mean it as a blanket condemnation of all who love tradition. He has since sent a letter to the FSSP praising their charism, told Card. Castrillon that he has no problem with those who love the Old Mass and organize for its promotion, has allowed the use of St. Peter’s for numerous such celebrations (e.g. Una Voce). I think we can safely assume that he is referring to particular traditionalists who are guilty of those things.

    What concerns me is that, still, some of his language might embolden more liberal types to push for doctrinal and disciplinary change. Things that won’t be good for the Church (and that he will have to clean up.)

  23. ClavesCoelorum says:

    Here we go… German public TV saying “The Pope is reconsidering Papal Infallibility”. A quick word search of the Exhortation reveals SHOCKING news: No, he isn’t.

  24. Supertradmum says:

    The continued clarification of the sacredness of life and the appeal to natural law regarding abortion is excellent; the section on women priests (no-nos) is also clear. Love the “crying out for vengeance” phrase, taken from the Old Testament and CCC on the sins which cry out to God.

    Also like the long bit on the secularization of world and the idolization of money. I also like very much the note that families have not passed down the Faith. The language on the whole is against modernism, but I think one needs to read this long exhortation slowly.

    I appreciate the Pope’s reference to cynicism, which is wrecking the optimism which should be found in youth. I also very much like his reference to the weakness of looking at religion and spirituality as an appendage to life, leading to individualism.

    I need to digest the rest.

  25. Is it time for a new Catholic blog? Perhaps one with a spiffy new title like

    WDTPRS: What Did The Pope Really Say?

    Might draw readers in droves. After all, inquiring minds want to know.

    [Too tiring. Even compared the the fever swamp of liturgical translation.]

  26. Fiat Mihi says:

    No Hungarian translation?

  27. janeway529 says:

    Fr. Z, maybe it’s time to learn Spanish? I hear that it isn’t too far away from Italian. ;)

  28. Clinton R. says:

    I am troubled by the Holy Father’s desire to decentralize the papacy and embrace collegiality. This approach is nothing short of a disaster. The Lord gave the keys to Peter, not for Peter to give them to Judas. The situation with the Church in Germany will be a crucial one as to what direction Pope Francis will go vis a vis increased authority for the bishops.

  29. Robbie says:

    I share the same concerns Clinton R does. A decentralized papacy that embraces collegiality, to me, means the potential for confusion. For example, the German Bishops might decide communion for the divorced and remarried is fine. On the other hand, the American Bishops or the African Bishops might say no. So in other words, Catholics in one portion of the world may practice things differently than Catholics in other parts of the world.

    Of course, this all depends on what issues are devolved from the papacy. Regardless, a diminishment of the powers of the papacy certainly seems to be something that wasn’t in line with the thinking of the pre conciliar Church. In a 1978 interview before the second conclave, Cardinal Siri, certainly a man of the pre conciliar Church, expressed a desire to turn away from the collegiality.

    Recently though, Francis has spoken about the “hermeneutic of continuity” so I wonder if sharing power with the Bishops is the kind of issue this concept was meant to embrace?

  30. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
    mi ritrovai con una faccia scura…

    (Help! Might that mean I’m a self-absorbed Promethean neopelagian?)

    When I put ‘grumpy cat’ in the Google translate it said ‘lienosus’

    I really should read some S.J. Perelman

  31. Satan doesn’t seem happy with what our Pope has written. His effigy was burned by anti-life protestors in Argentina:

    http://nonangelussedanglus.blogspot.com/2013/11/popes-effigy-burned-in-argentina-as-he.html?m=0

  32. Father, in the pressing matter of how to say “sourpuss” in Latin, may I suggest simply severior, taking a cue from Catullus #5, his famous Vivamus atque amemus poem?

    We could render his
    rumoresque senum severiorum
    omnes unius aestimemus assis!

    As something like “and let’s price out all the grousing of sourpuss old geezers at one thin penny.”

    That’s my $0.02 (asses duo)

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  33. John of Chicago says:

    After a very cursory read, many key parts of “Evangelii” seem strongly reminiscent in content and style with the “Seamless Garment/Consistent Ethic of Life” taught by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. There’s no overlap in the Pope’s bio with Bernardin’s that I’ve ever heard so this may just be similar minds thinking alike. (Wonder what Cardinal Bernard Law has to say about the Pope these days because he really ranted publicly against the whole Seamless Garment approach back when he was in Boston.)

  34. Lin says:

    “Half the time, when I review his daily sermons, I have a hard time figuring out what on earth he is talking about.”………..I thought it was just me! I have a very hard time reading and understanding the point of most of the Pope’s sermons. I do not remember having this problem with JPII and Benedict XVI.

  35. Kathleen10 says:

    As an American I feel pretty schizophrenic.
    In the political realm the head of our government, President Obama, is busy centralizing power to our huge, bloated government in ever new and disturbing ways. Many fear the eventual result.
    In the faith and religion realm the head of our church, Pope Francis, is implying he will distribute power to our Bishops, who may use that power in new and disturbing ways. Many fear the eventual result.
    And right now we actually have a government who is using the policy of “redistribution of wealth” in frightening ways, and one hates to see that un-American mantra supported.
    May I add my checkmark to the category of those who find it hard to know what Pope Francis is talking about at times. Too vague. At first I assumed it was a translation thing.

  36. Lin says:

    Schizophrenic and terrified! Add to that a progressive pastor who believes that Pope Francis will validate his spirit of Vatican II. And most recently, one has to be afraid to walk down the street for fear of being sucker punched. The rate of change in the world today sure has escalated!

  37. Guido03 says:

    I’m confused. Can someone please clear up for me the what the pope means regarding decentralization as it relates to doctrine? How can that be decentralized? Isn’t that HIS job to define doctrine? It can’t really be up to individual conferences, can it???

  38. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Apparently, a Promethean ethic in Spanish is defined like this: “esta ética prometeica, presuponemos que el individuo posee el máximo de libertades para decidir en torno a esas cuestiones vitales.” Or to translate it into English: “This Promethean ethic — we presuppose that the individual possesses the greatest of liberties to decide about these vital questions.”

    Sounds sorta like a libertarian value system?

    I really really recommend the Spanish version. It is MUCH clearer, and the English translation is muy stinko. I don’t know who’s doing it, but he totally loses the Pope’s parallelism and changes his sentence constructions around in weird ways that mess up the point. Yes, English isn’t Spanish, but this is ridiculous.

    [This is going to be a problem, isn’t it.]

  39. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Oh, here’s a better definition of Promethean in Spanish. “One says it of any action with the purpose of improving the human condition, without taking notice of difficulties.” It’s also used for human suffering, which a quote I found said is deemed Promethean because humans suffer from not being able to be gods, and not being immutable.

    So this sounds more like Utopian, except that there’s a certain dignity and admiration for the impossible courage of aiming at what can’t be done.

    I would really like a native speaker to comment, though! Dictionaries only go so far!

  40. goodone121 says:

    @Guido03, That can be decentralized, as it is not his job alone to define doctrine-it seems to me you have conflated “doctrine” with “dogma”, the latter being a subset of the former which does require the assent of the Pope.

  41. romanrevert says:

    For those concerned about Pope Francis, may I suggest you listen to these two excellent sermons given by traditional priests and posted on Audiosancto.org. I had similiar concerns and these sermons helped to put me at ease. Here they are:
    http://www.audiosancto.org/i/958 – Christ is the Point
    http://www.audiosancto.org/i/959 – The Vicar of Christ the King: True Devotion to the Pope

    If you have not discovered audiosancto, please go there and listen to these sermons. They truly feed my soul – moreso than the “chicken soup for the soul” sermons routinely heard at my parish on any given Sunday. Enjoy!

  42. jjoy says:

    I’ve read about half of the document. It strikes me as being quite Cursillo-ish in style.

    As to the collegiality/decentralization part, I looked up the Canon Law references in the footnotes, which seem to indicate they would have a consultative role, so probably an increase in dialogue (Lord, save us from committees!).

    Pope Francis has quoted quite a variety of sources from all over the spectrum. As I was reading, I kept thinking that he’d get points taken off his essay for overuse of quotations! :) At the same time, I remembered Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI explaining that collegiality meant not only having consultation with the current crop of bishops, but with those of all that came before down the centuries. So lots of quotes from V2, Paul VI, John XXIII, but also Aquinas, Irenaeus, the CCC (which itself draws from loads of traditional sources), and of course JPII and BXVI.

    My impression is the hermeneutic of continuity will win the day.

  43. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: the ne0-Pelagianism passage, here’s my translation of the Spanish version, which may show more of the Pope’s thought. It’s pretty clear that he’s not talking about everybody traditional or charismatic, but rather about the flakier folks involved in closely related twin errors. The danger he sees is locking oneself up inside one’s own world, instead of being interested in God.

    “This worldliness can feed itself especially in two ways, deeply married together.

    “One is the allure of Gnosticism, a faith locked up inside subjectivism, where only a fixed experience interests one, or a series of judgments and knowings which supposedly comfort and enlighten; but definitely, the subject stays shut up inside the immanence of one’s own reason or one’s sentiments.

    “The other is the auto-referential and Promethean neo-Pelagianism of those who, at bottom, only trust in their own strength, and feel themselves superior to others through carrying out fixed norms or through being unbreakably faithful to a certain characteristic Catholic style of the past. It is a supposed doctrinal or disciplinary safety, which gives way to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism — where in the place of evangelization is something which analyzes and classifies everybody else, and which in the place of easing access to grace, wastes energy on controlling it.

    “In these two cases, what really interests them is neither Jesus Christ nor everybody else. They are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is not possible to imagine that from these spoiled forms of Christianity could sprout up an authentic evangelizer dynamism.”

  44. DisturbedMary says:

    I’m praying for Pope Francis through St. Maximilian Kolbe. This is from the Kolbe Reader:

    When he sees the luxurious residence or the charming country house of a wealthy person, a poor workingman often asks himself: “Why is there such inequality in the world?”
    How many volumes have been written about equality among men! How much blood has been spilled for this idea! And yet, in spite of it all, we still have the rich and the poor…
    Let us imagine that one day all the inhabitants of the world would assemble to put into effect this sharing of all goods; and that in fact each person, granted that the world is very big, received an exactly equal portion of the wealth existing on earth.
    Then what? That very evening one man might say, “Today I worked hard: now I am going to take rest.” Another might state, “I understand this sharing of goods well; so let’s drink and celebrate such an extraordinary happening.” On the other hand, another might say, “Now I am going to set to work with a will so as to reap the greatest benefit I can from what I have received.” And so, starting on the next day, the first man would have only the amount given him; the second would have less, and the third would have increased his.
    Then what do we do? Start redistributing the wealth all over again?
    Even if everybody began to work right away with all his might and at the same time, the results would not be identical for all. There are, in fact, different kinds of work which are unequally productive; nor do all workers enjoy the same identical capacities. This leads to a diversity of results achieved, and consequently to differences in people’s profits.
    What would have to be imposed so that, once the division of goods was accomplished, people could continue to live on a basis of equality understood in this sense? All workers would have to perform the same tasks, all possess equal intelligence and ability, have similar professional training, the same degree of health and strength, and especially the same ability and desire to put forth the necessary efforts. All of this is quite utopian.
    To continue the argument, even if there were only two persons in the world, they would not succeed in maintaining absolute equality; for in the whole universe there are no two things completely identical in every respect…
    In spite of this, the human mind still desires to bring about certain equality among men. Is there any possibility that this can happen? Yes, no doubt. Every man, whoever he is, whatever he possess and whatever he is capable of doing, owes all this to God the Creator of the universe. Of himself man is nothing. From this point of view all of us are absolutely equal.
    Furthermore we all possess free will, which makes us masters of all our actions. This too constitutes the basic equality of all men on earth. But the use made of our free will is not the same in all cases; it depends in fact on each man’s own determination, on the extent to which he makes use of this precious gift; for not all do so to the same degree. It follows that not even after death will perfect equality be achieved; it will not in fact exist, because every man will receive a just reward or punishment according to his deeds, good or evil.

  45. Suburbanbanshee says:

    More of my translation from the Spanish version. The Pope continues to emphasize that the problem is not tradition or weirdness, but looking at a mirror instead of looking at God:

    95. This shadowy worldliness manifests itself in many attitudes apparently opposed to each other, but with the same pretension of “dominating the Church’s programming slot.”

    In some, there is an ostentatious worry for the Church’s liturgy, doctrine, and prestige, but no bothering themselves that the Gospel should make a real insertion into the faithful People of God and into the concrete necessities of history. So the life of the Church turns itself into a museum-piece or into a possession of the few.

    In others, the same spiritual worldliness hides itself behind a fascination to show off social and political conquests, or in a vainglory tied to practical matters, or in a captivation with the dynamics of self-help and auto-referential fulfillment.

    One can also turn it into diverse forms of showing off oneself to oneself in an busy social life full of outings, reunions, dinners, receptions. Or one can deploy oneself well in a businessy functionalism, weapons loaded with statistics, planning sheets, and evaluations, where the principal beneficiary is not the People of God, but the Church — as an organization.

    In all these cases, one does not bear the stamp of Christ incarnated, crucified, and revived; one is shut up into elitist groups; one does not go out to search for the lost, nor for the immense multitudes thirsty for Christ. Already there is no evangelic fervor, but the spurious enjoyment of an egocentric self-satisfaction.

  46. Suburbanbanshee says:

    More of my translation from the Spanish version:

    96. In this context, it feeds upon itself — the vainglory of those who conform themselves with any power, and who prefer to be generals of defeated armies instead of being simple soldiers of a squadron that keeps on fighting. How many times we hear them with expansionist apostolic plans, meticulous and well-drawn up, characteristic of defeated generals!

    So we deny our Church’s history, which is glorious by being a history of sacrifices, of hope, of everyday battle, of life unraveled in service, of constancy in work which tires one, because all work is “the sweat of our brows.”

    In exchange, we entertain vain people speaking about “that which one will have to do” — the sin of “habriaqueismo” — like they’re spiritual masters and pastoral wise men who mark it off from outside. We cultivate our imagination without limits, and we lose contact with the suffering reality of our faithful people.

    97. Whoever has fallen into this worldliness looks on, from overhead and far away; he rejects the prophecy of the brethren; he disqualifies anyone who questions him; he constantly emphasizes outsiders’ errors, and obsesses himself with outward appearance. He has deployed the reference of the heart to the closed-up horizon of his immanence and his interests; and as a consequence of this, he does not learn about his own sins, nor authentically open himself to pardon. It is a tremendous corruption with the appearance of good. That is what prevents one putting the Church in a movement of the going out of “Yes,” of a mission centered on Jesus Christ, of handing over to the poor.

    God deliver us from a worldly church in spiritual and pastoral clothing! This asphyxiating worldliness becomes healed by taking in the taste of the Holy Spirit’s pure air, which delivers us from being self-centered, hidden under a religious appearance that’s empty of God.

    Do not let us steal the Gospel!

  47. Geoffrey says:

    “Yes, English isn’t Spanish, but this is ridiculous.”

    “This is going to be a problem, isn’t it.”

    Hence why an official Latin version would be ideal. I have a bad feeling there may not be one forthcoming, since there is a historical precedent for apostolic exhortations to be only in the vernacular language (Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, Africae Munus)… even though these had a specific (non-universal) audience. I hope I am wrong…

  48. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Oops. Make that:

    “We shouldn’t let ourselves steal the Gospel!”

  49. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Oh, shoot. And the other guy’s translation is right about it. The Pope had just used that meaning of si a few lines back, and I still missed it.

    So make that “….the Church in a movement of going out from herself, of mission centered on Jesus Christ, of devoting herself to the poor.”

  50. LadyMarchmain says:

    kpoterack, Thank you, I will try to focus on the positive.

    Suburbanbanshee: thank you for providing a more nuanced translation from the Spanish, that is much appreciated.

    I see your point, but it does seem as though a binary is being set in place whereby those who are concerned about the liturgy and doctrine, by having this focus, “[fail to bother] themselves that the Gospel should make a real insertion into the faithful People of God and into the concrete necessities of history. So the life of the Church turns itself into a museum-piece or into a possession of the few.” Or might it be fair to say that Holy Father intends a hierarchy of spiritual goods in which Christian action is privileged over liturgical worship?

  51. kneeling catholic says:

    Dear Suburban B,
    ….“The other is the auto-referential and Promethean neo-Pelagianism of those who, at bottom, only trust in their own strength, and feel themselves superior to others through carrying out fixed norms or through being unbreakably faithful to a certain characteristic Catholic style of the past……

    This passage smacks of Balthasar’s ‘Razing the Bastions’. I hope and pray it is a phase that the Holy Father will grow out of. It is not hard to see that it is aimed at 90% of the visitors to WDTPRS.

    It is a simple re-iteration of HH’s earlier comments, his kind words to Achbshp Marchatto not withstanding, and shows that we cannot be done praying for HH! Francis may not be the man to judge flaming homosexuals, but in his mind–I fear– he has already sentenced us!

  52. I’m going to read it in Spanish and English and come to a conclusion later….

  53. tcreek says:

    Paragraph 253 – … Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.

    “… and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” ??? proper reading???

  54. Unwilling says:

    verdadero… veritable… wahre…

    To me, the truth is special. The truth has always consoled me. I like an attractive story as well as the next man. But the truth is the truth is the truth. Wishing something so does not make it so. The world would be wonderful if… does not change the world. Only by facing the truth can we avoid falling.

    — authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.
    — porque el verdadero Islam y una adecuada interpretación del Corán se oponen a toda violencia
    — le véritable Islam et une adéquate interprétation du Coran s’opposent à toute violence
    — denn der wahre Islam und eine angemessene Interpretation des Korans stehen jeder Gewalt entgegen

  55. donato2 says:

    The criticism about “ostentatious” concern with the liturgy reminds me of the liberal claim that Catholics are obsessed with sexual issues. The liberals came in and tore down morality and when Catholics objected they called the objection an obsession. Same way with the liturgy. The liberals came in and wrecked it and they deem the repulsion about it an obsession.

  56. sirlouis says:

    A sermoner will have to judge whether Francis’ hints about preparing a homily are helpful. I’m not a sermoner, I wouldn’t know. But I am an economist and I can say that his grasp of economic thinking and of economic realities is abysmal. His statement that markets are absolutely autonomous is flatly wrong, his assertion that the financial crisis was due to that autonomy and to financial speculation is demonstrably false, and his implication that free markets exclude whole classes of people is a contradiction in terms. Searching for something charitable to say about all this, the only remark I come up with is that among his brother bishops he is far from alone in his ignorance of economics and business.

    I spent the greater part of a day reading the exhortation very carefully and thinking about it almost word by word. Others may find something of great value to take away from it, I found nothing that speaks to the world I know and the concerns I have. I wash my mind of it.

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  58. jhayes says:

    It would interesting to know what Francis has in mind to do here

    47…The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.[51] These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.

    [51] Cf. SAINT AMBROSE, De Sacramentis, IV, 6, 28: PL 16, 464: “I must receive it always, so that it may always forgive my sins. If I sin continually, I must always have a remedy”; ID., op. cit., IV, 5, 24: PL 16, 463: “Those who ate manna died; those who eat this body will obtain the forgiveness of their sins”; SAINT CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA, In Joh. Evang., IV, 2: PG 73, 584-585: “I examined myself and I found myself unworthy. To those who speak thus I say: when will you be worthy? When at last you present yourself before Christ? And if your sins prevent you from drawing nigh, and you never cease to fall – for, as the Psalm says, ‘what man knows his faults?’ – will you remain without partaking of the sanctification that gives life for eternity?”

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  60. goodone121 says:

    @sirlouis, he may be talking about Libertarianism, which I can see playing a role in the current crisis. As to the reason he believes, there is an article (on the Atlantic, but they give quotations to verify) that economically, even if not metaphysically, the Pope is in the camp of Karl Polanyi-the article in question is here.

  61. penitentman80 says:

    @goodone121: Respectfully, I do not see how Libertarianism played a role in the world economic crisis. There is not a single gov’t mired in the current crisis who arrived there by way of actual free market economics. The current world economy is far closer to Corporatism (fascism), than anything resembling Austrian economics (Libertarianism). In fact, corporatism is the very strategy that destroyed the Argentine economy. Apparently, His Holiness did not quite understand this fact from his life lived there.

  62. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    tcreek and Unwilling:
    No footnote(s) to Paragraph 253. Is he, perhaps, following:

    the writings of St. Paul of Antioch, Bishop of Sidon (and/or the subsequent expansion in name of the people of Cyprus: Muslim-Christian Polemic during the Crusades. The Letter from the People of Cyprus and Ibn Ab? ??lib al-Dimashq?’s Response, edited by Rifaat Y. Ebied and David Thomas)?

    or ‘Christoph Luxenberg’, The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the Decoding of the Language of the Koran (the English Edition of 2007 translating Die syro-aramäische Lesart des Koran: Ein Beitrag zur Entschlüsselung der Koransprache of 2000)?

    If so, it would be good to state that clearly! An explicit acknowledgement that ‘inauthentic Islam’ and ‘the improper understanding of the Koran’ have tens of millions (at least) of disconcertingly violent followers engaged (among other things) in slaughterous internecine warfare wherein each faction is convinced that they are supremely the authentic proper understanders (as well as in the martyrdom of Christians on a massive scale), would also be in order as mere common honesty.

  63. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Read “Abi ?alib al-Dimashqi” with macrons over the vowels in question.

  64. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Read “Talib”with a point under the ‘T’ as well.

  65. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    “They are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism.” Remember William F. Buckley’s “Don’t let them immanentize the eschaton!”? Any chance of a Franciscan debt to Eric Voegelin (see his Science, Politics and Gnosticism (published by Regnery) with its account of Prometheanism)?

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