I’m sure you’ve heard the word “jesuitical”.

16_11_04_JesuiticalYou may have read about how, during the airplane presser on the way back from Sweden, Pope Francis was asked a question about the ordination of women.  The Pope slammed the door hard, saying, “Never“, which on my planet, which on your planet, is an adverb that means “not ever”, “at no time”  HERE

BUT WAIT!  On Planet Jesuit, “Never” is far more … flexible.

I’m sure you’ve heard the word “jesuitical”.

One of my regular correspondents reacted to a piece at Jesuit-run Amerika about the Pope’s words. You’ll be shocked to learn, I’m sure, that the Jesuit publications does a logical fan dance to make never mean “well, maybe someday”. It’s Jesuit reasoning at its entertaining best!

Everyone understood exactly what Pope Francis said. But on Planet Jesuit, black is really white… or vice versa, depending on the results you want.

Bottom line: They want the ordination of women and they’ll do anything, even to a Pope’s clear words, to obfuscate and sow confusion so as to keep creating questions and pressure.

Meanwhile, as a salutary amusebouche before going over there to read, here’s something I spotted during my early morning review of overnight action on the interwebs:



Over at the often-amusing Eye Of The Tiber I saw this:

Pope Francis Confirms Doctrine Of The Resurrection Will Last “Forever”

The Church’s belief that Jesus rose from the dead will stand forever, Pope Francis said Tuesday.

The 79-year-old pontiff made the declaration in response to a reporter who asked whether he thought the Church would always insist that Jesus actually rose from the dead.

“St. Pope John Paul II had the last clear word on this and it stands,” Francis said during a news conference aboard the papal plane.

The reporter then went on to ask, “Forever, forever?”

“If we read carefully the declaration by St. John Paul II, it is going in that direction,” the pope responded. “St. John Paul II said, ‘In order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to do away with the Resurrection, and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.’”

The reporter followed the Pope’s statement by insisting that many people have long rejected the “archaic notion” that Jesus rose from the dead, namely atheists, agnostics, and “members of many other religions as well.”

“Do you not believe that this antiquated belief is a barrier to your desire for reconciliation with other world religions and philosophies?” the reporter asked.

“You know what? I’m going to go ahead and confirm a few more things for you,” Pope Francis responded.”Let me tell you what else I’m going to confirm. I hereby confirm that the Cubs will lose the World Series. I will also confirm that the Cubs will take another 71 years to get to the World Series and that the Padres will take 71 years to get to a .500 record. I confirm that you are going to continue to ask me stupid questions. Lastly, and more importantly, I confirm that I’m kind of shocked that I just gave a plane interview and confused no Catholics about my stance.”


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  1. Taking into consideration the words of Bishop Morlino about those who do not follow what the Church teaches brings to mind one of my favorite quotes of St. John of the Cross. The people like those in this article have left the Church while continuing to walk through Her doors pretending to be Catholic. Mentally and spiritually they have left the Church . St. John of the Cross said,

    “If they were of the Truth, they never would have left. But, since they never really were of the truth, they couldn’t remain.”

    I hope that what I am trying to relate makes some sense.

  2. Kerry says:

    SemperfiCatholic, “Oorah!”

  3. pelerin says:

    What an impressive quote from this American Bishop. A real treat, truly brilliant. He is so right.

    The following are examples of comments I have seen on the Catholic blogosphere which seem to indicate that the Bishop’s words are very necessary today. They appear to demonstrate the failure of catechetics over the last two or three generations.

    ‘I am a practising Catholic and I disagree with some church teachings.’

    ‘I am a Roman Catholic who still believes in all the things I was brought up to believe. I attend Mass every Christmas but that’s about it.’

    ‘Je suis catho fervent non praticant.’ (I am a fervent Catholic, non practising)

  4. pseudomodo says:

    The Holy Fathers jesuitical response is perfectly understandable to anyone who watches the British Antiques Roadshow, where the appraiser asks the elderly lady, “What would you say if I told you that this enormous ugly brooch you are wearing is worth £50,000?”

    Her response, “NEVER!”

  5. Pingback: FRIDAY MORNING EXTRA | Big Pulpit

  6. Lepidus says:

    Here are the headlines from the diocesan paper in Milwaukee: “Pope says ordination of women not likely”. After reading what the Pope actually said online before seeing this, I just shook my head. (Note, I’m not naming the paper so as not confuse it with with a similarly named publication that Fr. Z often quotes and write for).

  7. THREEHEARTS says:

    So you all know my name and know where I am coming from , it is Mike Hurcum
    Let me make comments that will cause many problems.
    1 Christ died, got up out of the tomb and left this world for heaven. Did he not lead the Hebrews in Limbo to heaven???
    2 then He came back to earth visited with many of His disciples all over Judea and probably elsewhere. Is this not the second coming and his visiting so many, a bi- location or even tri or many locations. He flashed literally around the world.
    3 Why did he do this and to whom did He appear. We know from scriptures He did visit. Who else must He have visited or must have saw Him. We pay, so many of us, lip service to His Love and mercy, not, I think, cognizant or fully understanding what He came for and what He lived for and how He lived. He was able to fully suffer such a dreadful passion and agonizing death upon the cross because He was fully en-grained in His Love. It was His nature. He knew of no other way to live. His life was perfectly disciplined to love and to be merciful. Next time many of us see Him at, what the Jews call, the particular judgment He will be the implacable judge.
    Now His mercy had to be the same as in His first coming and there were many alive for whom He still had the greatest affection towards and his discipline made Him see them. I mean of course the Jews who murdered Him. You can deny this all you like and many of you will have a different opinion that what you have read. But for your consideration think of it this way there is not one contemporary writing of His time that says they did not see Him or denied His ressurection. Even Peter was it or Paul who talks about the 500 or so that watched Him leave at what we call His Ascension. They His, I mean Jesus. killed Stephen what would they have done to the 500 if the temple could have proved these first Christians were lying. They must, the temple, in reality have had the power of life and death over the jewish faithful. Raed the passion and see how they frightened Peter.

  8. Polycarpio says:

    The piece at America Mag makes one fair point, which is that the words *we* use to speak about this issue have import and say almost as much as what the Pope said. For example, Fr. Z. states that “the Pope said ‘never’.” And while I agree that this is what his words mean and that it’s the only possible conclusion to draw from his words, and the only possible conclusion to draw from Catholic practice, history, dogma, etc., the fact remains that, technically, the Pope did not, in fact, “say ‘never’.” As the America piece factually recaps, the reporter’s question had the word “never” and then the Pope “started his answer with a conditional clause, and then said that ‘it goes in that direction’.” Do words matter? Often they do. For example, I take umbrage to many stories I saw reporting the story which blared about the Church’s “ban on women priests.” To my mind, you cannot “ban” that which does not exist and cannot exist. You cannot “ban” a conceptual impossibility. You cannot “ban” unicorns.

    Now, granted, the rest of the discussion at America goes off the rails when it attempts to relitigate “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis,” but at least the introduction, which focuses on what Pope Francis said and did not say, struck me as valid. What I find interesting and notable about the Pope’s approach is that, on one level, he seems to be washing his hands of the issue. He appears to demur on it, as if he is saying ‘I defer to John Paul on this; I am not going to touch this hot potato.’ If that’s his approach, then he is not slamming the door that hard, because he is not going as far as he could go if he were to add his own statement of conviction, by saying “this is what John Paul said and I too have looked at the issue and agree entirely with his conclusion.” But you can also argue that such an approach would actually be softer and more muddled, because it would open the question up to constant reexamination, and that his current stance at least makes clear that John Paul’s word was “final” and should not even be further commented on, even to indicate the current pope’s personal agreement. I think the latter is the correct hermeneutic for reading a pope–to always assume continuity and harmony with other pontiffs; the way Popes should be accorded the benefit of the doubt in Catholic discourse. But it’s necessary to look at the words used and not used and assess them to come to this conclusion, I think.

  9. The Masked Chicken says:

    “As the America piece factually recaps, the reporter’s question had the word “never” and then the Pope “started his answer with a conditional clause, and then said that ‘it goes in that direction’.”

    = if you read the declaration carefully, this is what it seems to mean or it leans toward that meaning.

    One can have different referents for never:

    1. Never, up to now, but maybe something, later, continuing
    2. Never, up to now, but definitely something, later, continuing
    3. Never, up to now and definitely never, later, continuing4
    4. Never, up to now and maybe never, later, continuing
    5. Never, up to now, but maybe something from now to then and definitely never, after then
    6. Never, up to now, but definitely something from now to then and definitely nothing, after then
    7. Never, up to now, but definitely something from now to then and maybe never, after then
    8. Never, up to now, but maybe something from now to then and maybe nothing, after then
    9. Something, up to now, but definitely never from now, continuing
    10. Something, up to now, but maybe never from now, continuing
    11. Something, up to now, but maybe never from now to then and maybe something, after then
    12. Something, up to now, but maybe never from now to then and definitely something, after then
    13. Something, up to now, but definitely never from now to then and maybe something, after then
    14. Something, up to now, but definitely never from now to then and definitely something, after then

    If multiple gaps of time are allowed, let S = something, N = never (no occurances), and [] = time interval, then one can have an infinite number of variations on never:

    [S][N][S][N], etc.


    [N][S][N][S], etc.,

    So a negative or positive partial Never.

    Clearly, St. John Paul II meant [N].

    The Chicken

  10. WesleyD says:

    No matter how clearly Catholic teaching is stated, those who choose to reject it will invent a way.

    The most disingenuous part of America Magazine’s article was the passage which asks:

    And what is the church to make of the phrase “[to be] definitively held,” which was not a traditional description of the authority of a teaching?

    Those very words appear in Vatican II’s Lumen gentium 25, which reiterates the teaching on papal infallibility from Vatican I’s Pastor aeternus, and goes on to state that infallibility covers not only those doctrines that are solemnly taught by popes and councils, but also any doctrine that is taught by all the bishops of the Church “as one to be definitively held [definitive tenendam]”.

    Does this mean that while the folks at America Magazine say they love Vatican II, they haven’t actually read its documents? Or have they read this document and are just pretending not to recognize the phrase “to be definitively held”?

    And this isn’t new language. The adjective definitivus is directly connected to the noun definitio, which is one of the most ancient terms for an act of infallible teaching. Note that it is derived from “finis“, which means “end” — as in, “the pope hereby ends the debate.”

  11. Polycarpio says:

    @ The Masked Chicken

    I warrant that “never” always means “never,” but it never means “never” if someone (Pope Francis) doesn’t actually say it.

  12. jaykay says:

    Pelerin: “They appear to demonstrate the failure of cathechtics…”

    Worse than that… it’s the failure of basic Logic. “Je suis catho fervent, non practicant”.

    Ummm, let’ see: how about: “Je suis vegetarien fervent, non practicant. Pour moi, le biftek, bien cuit.” Yes, that works. In an alternative universe. It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.

  13. Norah says:

    C S Lewis
    Letter to Dissenting Priests [Anglican but applicable to Catholic priests]

    It is your duty to fix the lines (of doctrine) clearly in your minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession. This is your duty not specially as Christians or as priests but as honest men. There is a danger here of the clergy developing a special professional conscience which obscures the very plain moral issue. Men who have passed beyond these boundary lines in either direction are apt to protest that they have come by their unorthodox opinions honestly. In defence of those opinions they are prepared to suffer obloquy and to forfeit professional advancement. They thus come to feel like martyrs. But this simply misses the point which so gravely scandalizes the layman. We never doubted that the unorthodox opinions were honestly held: what we complain of is your continuing in your ministry after you have come to hold them. We always knew that a man who makes his living as a paid agent of the Conservative Party may honestly change his views and honestly become a Communist. What we deny is that he can honestly continue to be a Conservative agent and to receive money from one party while he supports the policy of the other.”

    –from Christian Apologetics by C.S. Lewis, Easter 1945.

    (Reprinted in God in the Dock pp. 89-90)

  14. Joe in Canada says:

    Hey, at least it’s a contender for the Bill Clinton “it depends on what the meaning of the word’is’ is” award.

  15. benedetta says:

    “Maybe someday?” also means “not today” or “tomorrow” or “the next day” but it may mean, when certain authoritative types “feel like it”?

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