You recall that Mickens was fired by The Tablet because of his horrid online denigration of Benedict XVI. HERE
Recently, Archbp. Rino Fisichella announced a couple initiatives for the Year of Mercy to boost confessions and to bring the relics of saints, Sts. Padre Pio and Leopold Mandić, to Rome so that pilgrims may venerate them more easily.
On the promotion of the Sacrament of Penance, Mickens scoffs…
No, he called the presser to offer details about two events that are taking place in the next several days leading up to Lent.
Both of them are aimed, fundamentally, at one thing — getting people to go back to confession, a practice most Catholics gave up a long, long time ago.
Well, good luck, fellas.
Pope Francis is popular and influential, but it’s unlikely that even he will be able to spark a revival in a practice that most Catholics know (correctly) is not essential to their membership in God’s household.
But this is one verdict of the “sensus fidelium” that it seems the pope does not want to acknowledge.
Apart from the obvious point that Mickens doesn’t understand sensus fidelium, Francis is now being attacked from the Left because he talks too much about confession!
Clearly the emphasis on confession from Fisichella is what Francis wants him to say.
Not essential to membership in “God’s household”…? Good luck with that, my friend. I respond… GO TO CONFESSION.
In any event, Luther would be proud of this. To wit, about confession:
I consider one of the greatest plagues on earth whereby you have confused the conscience of the whole world, caused so many souls to despair, and have weakened and quenched all men’s faith in Christ. (Luther’s Works Vol 34.19).
Going on, let’s see what sort of view he has of the notion of confession, absolution, mercy…
Archbishop Fisichella noted that these [Missionaries of Mercy] envoys would have the “mandate to announce the beauty of the mercy of God while being humble and wise confessors who possess a great capacity to forgive those who approach the confessional.” [He really doesn’t like this, does he.]
We don’t have a list of these 1,071 missionaries of mercy, because the archbishop said if the names of these “super confessors” were published they might be subjected to an avalanche of emails and phone calls. Really? Are there that many people out who have committed one of the five sacrileges that only the pope’s delegates can forgive? [Even if there were only a few…. What’s his problem?]
In any case, the “missionaries of mercy” concept sounds extremely dubious. Some would even say kooky. [I grant that I scratched my head a little when this was announced and wondered what it was about, but… “kooky? See what contempt the Left has for the Church’s affirmation that there is such a thing as personal sins?]
But wait… he goes on …
But not nearly as kooky and outright weird as the second Holy Year “event” that Fisichella unveiled last week.
Here it is: the Vatican will be displaying the bodies of two dead Capuchin saints for an entire week for its Holy Year pilgrims to venerate. They are shipping them in from their normal resting places on either ends of the Italian peninsula.
It’s more than a little ironic that Fisichella, who is considered to be one of Italy’s most intelligent theologians, is being asked to promote this medieval, pietistic practice. He’s the same theologian who, along with then-Cardinal Ratzinger, help ghostwrite John Paul II’s 1998 encyclical, Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason). [Of which, I’m sure, Mickens is a huge fan.]
He did his best to make a kooky idea sound as reasonable and normal as possible by emphasizing that “urns containing the relics of Saint Leopold Mandi?? and Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina” were being brought to Rome. [Yes, the body of Padre Pio will be in Rome, so that pilgrims who might come to Rome once in their lifetime won’t have to go to San Giovanni Rotondo. Also, Pio was a great confessor. He would regularly read souls and expose the sins that penitents didn’t confess. No wonder the Left hates this idea and calls if kooky and weird. Pio reminds people of their sins and the need for confession. The bodies of saints remind us that we are going to die and, if we don’t repent and amend our lives, we won’t be admitted to heaven. St. Leopold Mandi? was physically deformed in life and had difficulty walking. Perhaps he might inspire people on pilgrimage. Will Mickens mock the handicapped people who come to venerate St. Leopold as being kooky and superstitious?]
But they are not urns. They are glass coffins.
And under each of them is showcased the embalmed corpse of a bearded friar dressed in a new brown Capuchin habit.
These life-sized “urns”, as the jubilee organizer calls them, will be displayed in two different churches in Rome for public veneration on Feb. 3 and 4. Then on the evening of Feb. 5 the two transparent caskets will be carried in a long, solemn procession from the opposite side of the Tiber River all the way up and into St Peter’s Basilica.
The dressed-up corpses (let’s call them what they are) will then be placed in front of the main papal altar for veneration for the next several days until Ash Wednesday.
Fisichella said people would be able to view them in the same way folks paid their respects to John Paul II in 2005 as he lay in state several days prior to his funeral.
But this is not a wake and the two Capuchin saints did not give up the ghost only yesterday. Padre Pio died in 1968; and Leopoldo Mandi? in 1942.
But, beyond all that, this is the 21st century. Not the Middle Ages. [Sounds like a Lutheran.]
Do the men in the Vatican — including our dear Pope Francis — really think that dressing up dead bodies, even of the holiest of saints, is really going to help people “understand the ways in which God’s great love manifests itself in their daily lives”? [Maybe he understands more than you.]
Most reasonable Catholics — Italians included — disagree with the need for such props and gimmicks the jubilee committee is using to promote the Holy Year. [Promoting confession and displaying the body of Padre Pio… “props and gimmicks”…]
The Vatican — and, again, even the pope — categorizes these as “popular devotions.” But most of them are rooted in Mediterranean superstition and folklore. [Still channeling his inner Luther.] They are completely unnecessary for living the Christian faith and, in some cases, may even detract from the true message of the Gospel. [Which, no doubt, Mickens knows better than everyone else.]
Leave aside the ridiculous notion of cheap grace. This is grace cheapened. [A famous phrase of Dietrich Bonhoeffer… Lutheran.]
(Note: Venerating lifeless corpses has absolutely nothing to do with believing in the communion of saints!)
I’m surprised he didn’t get into indulgences.
Maybe that will be in his next column.
The National Schismatic Reporter actually published this disgusting rubbish.