Another trip, another presser, another post.
A priest friend wrote to me:
I’m writing a new prayer for all of us … a “Nine Hour Pope Plane Ride Novena.”
I will write now what I have written before.
Again, when I am elected Pope, We shall take the name of Pius X-II (“Pius Decimus Secondus” – or maybe “Clement Ganganelli”), We shall not give interviews or press conferences. We shall forbid the Lord Cardinals from speaking to the press without permission. We shall disappear into the Apostolic Palace for lengths of time so long that the press will begin to speculate that We may have died. Our encyclicals will be limited to five pages in Latin. And Our first act as Supreme Pontiff will be to suppress the Jesuits.
Now … gulp… to this presser. And these remarks aren’t intended to reveal everything I think about it.
First, I read the transcript. I posted the link above.
Next, and this is important, I remind everyone that the Roman Pontiff doesn’t teach doctrine on faith and morals through off-hand comments to journalists ON AN AIRPLANE RIDE! So, relax about the contraception comment. It was meaningless. Moreover, I am pretty sure that that anecdote about Paul VI giving permission to African nuns to use contraceptives is an urban legend. We had a discussion about that in the COL Forum, which I ran for a long time. One of the former staffers is now working to dig up the files on that. More later, I hope.
As far as weighing into the issue of the American Presidential campaign and Donald Trump, after having celebrated Mass virtually on top one of the most politicized lines in the world, the US/Mexican border, I found his assertion that, as Pope, he doesn’t get into politics (“[I]l Papa è per tutti, e non può mettersi nella politica concreta, interna di un Paese: questo non è il ruolo del Papa.) fairly amusing. Moreover, his quip about building walls not being Christian is odd, considering that right outside the door of Santa Marta, where His Holiness lives, is a Big Damn Wall™ that encircles the Vatican City State and that after Francis’ election the Holy See had to buy an entire street from the City of Rome that runs alongside that BDW near to Santa Marta in order to create a secure No Man’s Land.
In any event, I don’t believe for an instant that the Holy Father understands anything about the positions of the any of the candidates in this presidential election cycle in any comprehensive way. He seems to have been reacting only to what the journalist included in his question about Trump. So his answer… meh. Unfortunately we are now going to have to hear incessant commentary on it.
And he really doesn’t know the 2003 CDF document on “Considerations Regarding Proposals To Give Legal Status To Unions Between Homosexual Persons”? Okay. Maybe he doesn’t. Who cares? WE know it! And it is online right HERE.
That 2003 CDF document, especially addressed to politicians, says:
10. If it is true that all [ALL] Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, [!] in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications.
When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.
When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided. This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.
11. The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, in the Audience of March 28, 2003, approved the present Considerations, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered their publication.
Now that this document has come up again, people will look at it again. That’s a good thing that came from this presser. So, maybe Francis doesn’t recall immediately the content of the 2003 document, but he did affirm that Catholic politicians have to vote according to their conscience, and that their consciences have to be properly formed. ”
[U]n parlamentare cattolico deve votare secondo la propria coscienza ben formata: questo, direi soltanto questo. Credo che sia sufficiente. E dico “ben formata”, perché non è la coscienza del “quello che mi pare. … A Catholic member of parliament must vote according to his own well-formed conscience. That’s it. I would say only that. I think that’s enough. And I say ‘well-formed’, because it isn’t the conscience of ‘whatever I like'”.
Right. Well-formed according to the mind the Church. And the mind of the Church on homosexual unions and our obligation to resist any of that business is certainly and clearly spelled out in the 2003 CDF document. NO! to homosexual unions.
Also, Francis did a pretty good job with the response about civilly remarried people receiving Communion. He said, among all the verbiage, “No”.
And he couldn’t have been clearer about what he thinks about abortion.
In sum, the Pope went to Mexico and he emphasized a few things which he thought were important to communicate there. Fine. However, those things will now be buried in the news cycle because of his off-the-cuff quips. The sliver of the MSM news cycle that includes the Pope will now obsess mostly about things that the Pope probably didn’t want to emphasize with his Mexico trip.
The moderation queue is ON. I will cull comments severely. Don’t even bother if you simply want to bash the Pope.
I’ve deleted a lot of comments. Some of them were not bad, but I knew they would just stoke a fire I don’t want burning. The others… some of you lost my respect.
In a comment (not passed) one person wrote:
“Yes, there will be fallout and damage from this, but it is superficial.”
You can determine whether or not this is “damage”, but this gave Mr. Trump the news cycle for a couple more days very close to the South Carolina primary.