Something is screwy in the head of Madame Wile E. Defarge. To wit, in his recent twirl into sycophantic papalotry, he compares those who are calling for Francis to make things clear and help us properly to deal with the root problems of most of the clerical abuse crisis (homosexuality) to Jansenists. ROFL.
What comes to mind is the line in the movie: “You keep using that word. I don’t think that word means what you think it means.”
Winters/Defarge has gone down this silly Jansenism road before. Over at First Things he got beat up by a girl in 2017 for his stupid comparison. HERE You would do well to read that piece before you read the deceptive piece at Fishwrap.
We have to have a taste, first, of Defarge from his platform at Fishwrap.
What is interesting about the comparison with Pope Leo’s condemnation of Americanism is that the relationship of ideology and ultramontanism is now reversed, adding another layer of weirdness. In 1899, Leo framed his central concern about the American Church in this indictment:
[Ask yourselves as you read this. What group in the Church is he describing?] The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind.
Today, it is American conservatives who resist the “new opinions” that Pope Francis has brought to the fore in his exercise of the Petrine ministry. [They are resisting in those ideas things are clearly contrary to the Church’s perennial teachings! They are not, like those described by Leo, trying to adapt the Church to the world!] Their devotion to the papacy, once their calling card, is now abandoned because the pope espouses some theological nuance they have been trying to stamp out as heretical innovation. [When nothing else works, invoke “nuance”.] Except there is nothing “new” about mercy, and it is mercy that has been the central theological principle of this pontificate. [See what he did there? Because “mercy” is an old idea, and because Francis and Co., talk about “mercy”, therefore if you are against what Francis and Co. say about “mercy” you must have some NEW idea about mercy. Hence, you are like an Americanist condemned by Leo XIII. ]
Mercy was not much valued by the Jansenists in the 17th century, and it is positively detested by the neo-Jansenists of our time. [So now, leaving aside his knitting for a moment we returns to his inner Coyote and straps on a couple of ACME rockets. They don’t just resist what Francis and Coyote/Defarge say about mercy, they detest mercy. Is that even slightly plausible?] Jansenism is a heresy and it, too, produced a schism. It was 15 years between the condemnation of Jansenism in the bull Unigenitus Dei Filius in 1713 and the submission of Cardinal Louis de Noailles of Paris in 1728. Then, some souls were led astray by the schismatics just as now some souls may be led astray by the neo-Jansenists supporting Viganò. [Good grief! This is sheer hysteria.] Make no mistake: This is not about protecting children or vulnerable adults from sexual predation. [Ummm… well… yes, it is.] The people defending Viganò shared the conservative theological critique of Francis that was dying out for lack of traction. They were calling for the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl before the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released. [Calling for Francis to accept the resignation Wuerl submitted is tantamount of Jansenism. I see.] They have been stoking the flames of anti-Francis fervor on EWTN and in the pages of First Things and at conferences sponsored by the Napa Institute long before Viganò was sacked as nuncio. What this week showed is that they see no downside in coming out of the closet and demonstrating for all to see and without ambiguity where their loyalties lay. [And not he is into full spittle-flecked nutty.] Now we know beyond any shadow of a doubt. How lucky they are to have a pope who is so committed to mercy.
You already know what is wrong with all of this.
The “mercy” of which Lafarge/Coyote is talking sets aside a) truth and b) truth about our relationship with God. First, he – and Francis, too, it seems – want people who are not in the state of grace to receive Communion. Why? Because there are some moral ideals that most people can’t live up to. So, that violates the truth of what and who the Eucharist is and it violates the nature of man. We can choose, with the help of grace, to strive after the ideal.
So… who really, what group, has the “new ideas” again?
Winters/Lafarge/Coyote has embraced the opposite position, namely, that people can’t live up to impossible ideals, because he wants to justify a certain kind of sinful behavior.
My heavens they are desperate! They’ll say anything to divert attention from the real problems.
Remember: Winters has gone down this silly Jansenism road before. Over at First Things he got beat up by a girl in 2017 for his stupid comparison. HERE