Wile. E. Defarge goes to the zoo.

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

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. richiedel says:

    It is very merciful to children now and to the future generations in the Church to oppose and work against those structures which perpetuate cover up of child abuse.

  2. Spinmamma says:

    But this red herring sounds so intellectual and all. Those silly Orthodox peasants–so simple minded and unable to follow nuanced arguments. Sort of like those peasant fishermen that first caught Our Lord’s attention. Having been around lawyers all my working life, I see this as another version of the lawyerly Rube Goldberg argument, wherein, through mere words, devoid of real world experience, one is taken far from reality as each unquestioned notion builds on the last. C,S. Lewis illustrated this nicely in “The Silver Chair,” as the Lady of the Green Kirtle convinces the children that their reality in the world of Aslan and the light of the sun is a false dream and only her dark reality is true in order to keep them under her control. Until Puddleglum, the good old, practical Marsh Wiggle, ends the spell of her song by stomping out her magic fire with his webbed foot, getting horribly burnt in the process. (The smell of his burnt feel helped rouse the children back to the truth.) Any sincere, prayerful Christian has observed with astonishment and wonder the work of God within himself as he is remade from the inside out, over the years, into something so much better–a new person as Our Lord promised. How terrible to try to take that hope and experience away through specious argument that denies the capacity of the individual to respond to Grace, and the saving power of Grace, freely given. Thanks for stomping on the fires, Father Z. I know your feet get burnt from time to time.

  3. MitisVis says:

    I cannot but delight reading Jessica Murdoch’s assessment of Winters and Reads outbursts. Her crushing rebuttal is delivered with merely a review of the simple truths and a gracious helping of intellectual honesty. Like a wise loving mother telling her children “see the disobedient bully sticking his tongue in the light socket and crying about it?” Apparently Winters doesn’t realize how badly he came out last time, or has forgotten, my bet is on the former.

    However she did express the root of out current situation when she stated:

    “Both Read and Winters level the false accusation of Jansenism against those who merely uphold the perennial teaching of the Church on the worthy reception of the Sacrament.”

    How is it we have a great majority who do not know, let alone love what the church teaches and claim the title catholic? It may very well be they have no idea whatsoever
    of what they speak rather than just outward dissent. The mercy they wholeheartedly seek is contained within the church and one could wonder if the Wiley Coyote himself wouldn’t be amazed if he actually knew. Others such as Fr. Martin obviously know and have rejected with a sort of mental superiority and self agenda motivated cause, but those whom attempt to fight back shadows might be lost souls without an anchor in the true teachings of the church.
    The schism he refers to without his knowledge is of his ilk and mindset. But again it is all a distraction from the Homosexual Problem and will continue to be an effective buffer and time waster to the detriment of all who love the church and want reform.

  4. Ms. M-S says:

    War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, Everyone belongs to everyone else, You shall be as gods, Francis is the pope of mercy, yadda yadda yadda. Fr. Martin, you can say anything you like, but even the weight of 1700 words doesn’t make it true. Go read Benjamin Wiker’s National Catholic Register article (“From a Moral-Historical Perspective this Crisis is Worse Than You Realize”), and realize, before you talk about history, which side of it you’re on.

  5. BrionyB says:

    Same old story, isn’t it? Mercy for adulterers, homosexuals, promulgators of heresy. Precious little for the victims of abuse, or for those striving to live chaste lives despite great difficulties (in a world that mocks them for even trying), or for priests who stay true to tradition and are brave enough to speak unpopular truths.

    “…it is mercy that has been the central theological principle of this pontificate.”

    He should ask the Franciscans of the Immaculate about that. This false, self-serving, selectively applied “mercy” makes a mockery of the whole concept.

  6. JonathanTX says:

    A sincere question: we may not be there yet, but at what point does it become appropriate to ask whether Pope Francis is promoting heresy?

  7. Mark says:

    Isn’t it interesting how much these people talk about mercy but never once mention going to confession for the sacrament of reconciliation? Mercy is freely available there, why aren’t they leading people to be reconciled to God and to receive His mercy?

  8. DeGaulle says:

    I’m disappointed in the position taken by Piers Paul Read. I’ve always found his writings eminently orthodox. Perhaps the poor man has been blinded by the ‘Francis effect’.

    Read is coming from an entirely different place to Winters. He is a man who has, in his writings, severely criticised the suppression of the existence of Hell by certain factions in the Church and has been a notable antagonist of Liberation Theology. He has certainly been no cheer-leader for Jesuits. Nevertheless, that last paragraph represents a monumental and incoherent cock-up. I can only hope that Read has confused himself, because it simply cannot be said from the details provided earlier in his own article that Antoine Arnauld’s point was that people should only receive the Eucharist in a state of grace. The latter’s error was to arrogantly take it upon himself to assume that those receiving it weren’t in such a state. If Read hasn’t confused himself, it is sadly necessary to suspect that he has engaged in a mendacious sleight-of-hand in his final paragraph.

  9. “How lucky they are to have a pope who is so committed to mercy.”

    I am Catholic and I don’t believe in luck! I certainly don’t feel blessed with this pope in the Chair of Peter. I know God has His reasoning but I will never understand it unless I make it to Heaven and it is revealed to me. I pray God to clean up the mess and maybe all this is the start of the answer to that simple prayer. Thank you, Vigano’!

  10. Dismas says:

    Either he is externally prevented, or holds to a quixotic scrupulosity, but thusfar he has utilized only indirect methods. That said, I have deemed it best to limit any exposure to whatever comes from him, directly or not.

  11. jaykay says:

    “How lucky they are to have a pope who is so committed to mercy.”

    Or what, exactly? The Pope is 81, and won’t be around for much longer, in the way of things. Sounds like a member of the Red Guard making threats against “reactionaries” – circa early 1976. And how ironic for him to be using phrases like “coming out of the closet”.

    But yes, the papolatry is hard to take from such sources. To go back to the earlier imagery, it really does smack of the Red Guards and the deranged madness of that time. In Jung Chang’s great “Wild Swans” she recounts how people were so scared that they wouldn’t even burn or trash old newspapers because they all had images of the Great Helmsman, so they could be accused of “disrespect” if they did so. A riot occurred when someone inadvertently sat down on one. And, of course, there was no lack of fanatical, sycophantic crazies to fan the accusatory flames.

    With knitting in hand, doubtless.

  12. Gaetano says:

    It takes talent to lose a fight to your own strawman.

  13. GregB says:

    The views stated by Madame Wile E. Defarge sounds a lot like the Parable of the Dishonest Manager in Luke 16:1-13. Selling out God so that the progressive dishonest managers can curry favor with the world.

  14. Arthur McGowan says:

    Like Wile E., all liberal commentators are capable of writing thousands of words about the dubia without ever answering them. And, of course, that would take only four words.

  15. robtbrown says:

    Winters says,

    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. 

    McCarrick was enthusiastic about those

  16. robtbrown says:

    McCarrick was big on those nuances.

    Btw, they are not innovations, but they have much in common with certain problems in the 12th century.

  17. Pingback: Viganò Watch: Monday First Edition – Big Pulpit

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