A quick look at some ‘c’atholic media

It is necessary from time to time to put on the forensic pathologist cap.

I always feel like I need to wash with bleach after I read this stuff, rather like the investigation of a crime scene where the deceased isn’t… new.

What’s going on these days on the catholic Left?

First, in view of the upcoming Synod (“walking together”) on the Amazon,  we glance at the Jesuit-run “semi-official” journal, La Civiltà Cattolica, allegedly vetted by the Secretariat of State.   This is behind a paywall… so only the cash-flush and/or ideologically committed have easy access.

Amazonian Indigenous Spirituality and Care for the ‘Common Home’
Adelson Araújo dos Santos, SJ
13 August 2019

The blurb in the email alert communicates what they want us to know.

How spirituality in Amazon contributed to Christianity

The indigenous people living in Brazil and Pan-Amazonia therefore have a mythological legacy that remains alive.

Indigenous spirituality is based on the experience of the forest peoples: their myths, rituals and their way of relating to nature.

As in Christian spirituality, it is also from the religious experience of the indigenous people that we can derive the basic elements and paradigms of the elaboration of their understanding of God and of themselves.

What could possibly go wrong with Jesuits writing about the intersection (syncretism?) of the spiritual myths of pagans (certainly demonic) and Christian (generic?) spirituality?

Perhaps one of you have access to the whole piece. I don’t.

Another organ of the ultra-Left, La Croix International has behind its own paywall – hence it is not for the disposable-income challenged and is mostly for the ideologically pure – this nutty offering.

‘How America wanted to change the pope’ An archbishop’s claim that Francis was complicit in covering up sexual abuse within the Church amounted to an attempted coup d’état Nicolas Senèze
Vatican City

An ultra-conservative fringe of the American Catholic right has fomented a coup against Pope Francis.

Introduction: From Santiago to Dublin – or how the pope’s trip to Dublin in Aug. 2018 marked the beginning of an attack against himRead exclusively the first chapters of the book by Nicolas Senèze, permanent special envoy of “La Croix” in Rome, to be published by Bayard Publishing on Sept. 4. Pre-order from your bookseller.

On Sunday morning, Aug. 26, 2018, there was great excitement at The Alex, the small hotel in central Dublin where the Vatican housed journalists following the pope on his trip to Ireland.After rising at 4:30 a.m. to board the flight that would take Francis to the Marian shrine in Knock, in the west of the country, people at the Vatican were stunned by a bombshell dropped by a former Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, and published during the night by several…

That’s as far as you can get without coughing up money better spent elsewhere.

You can see where this is going.

Then over to Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter). There is so much that’s dreadful there… just pick a link, any link. These stand out, however.

Tackle clericalism first when attempting priesthood reform
by Fr. Peter Daly

Essentially, priests are bad. They need to be re-educated so that they no longer understand themselves as being different in any way from any other person. He works from a definition of clericalism provided by the Ass. of Catholic Priests.  Telling.

The last in a list of symptoms of clericalism: “When thriving parishes are closed because there is a shortage of priests when there are deacons and lay people readily available to keep the community going.” In cauda veneno.


Churches’ struggles could be a staging ground for the new vessel
by Ken Briggs

It’s scrambled, to be sure, but this stuck out…

The churches’ struggles at this time could become a staging ground for that new vessel. I’m guessing that the deck would be cleaned for the emergence of a global, essentially single church with various branches that attract seekers who find an appeal in a church that doesn’t crave approval from the culture or that damns but respects it and offers its own breadth and depth of life and faith. A different kind of hope not dependent on societal success. [Gee… a single global Church that doesn’t conform to the world… hmmm… sounds familiar.]

Not long ago, churches were chided for having an “edifice complex,” an outsized attachment to sanctuaries that begged for architectural and cultural awards. Bigness and ostentation told the world that the churches belonged in the realm of makers and shakers. The American way was anchored to a model of “growth,” the gross national product being the measure of national pride and health, “winning” in everything from Olympics to Oscars the ends sought.

A Christianity aborning could be imagined as a modest partner in a larger, global community of religions, surrendering privilege and assumed primacy to humbling sharing of a commonly recognized mysticism.

And there’s this…

Faith is something best ‘lived on one’s feet’
[María Teresa (M.T.) Dávila is Associate Professor of the Practice, Religious and Theological Studies, Merrimack College.]

On one’s feet… not on one’s knees.  Immediately one wonders if there will be a mention of prayer in this piece. Nope.  The beginning, so you can get the flavor…

La fé se vive de pié. Faith is lived on your feet. On whatever motors your body. Faith calls the body to become incarnate in the realities in which Christ too becomes incarnate. These past few weeks have seen tremendous movimiento – movement. People of faith, of all ages, abilities, sexual orientations, religious traditions, genders and ethnicities have mobilized! They moved into spaces and advocated for dignity — their own and others. They clamored in the streets and in the halls of political power for human rights for those who are held captive. They bore on their bodies and in their witness some of the injustices being heaped upon the most vulnerable.

There’s a lot more of this. I’m sure you now want to put on your Che beret and make large character posters. Yes, I mixed those together.

Meanwhile, Fishwrap’s tricoteuse MSW (aka Madame Defarge) is still bashing Pres. Trump while he croons in the direction of Elizabeth Warren. Also, a few days ago he typed up a paen of Francis’ recent letter to priests so cloying that you feel like you’re drowning in Lyle’s Golden Syrup. It’s “remarkable… most exemplary… quintessential Papa Bergoglio”. Oh his “brutal frankness”, the “deeply spiritual insight… the deeply [again] traditional understanding…”! It’s not all like the “the programmatic, managerial understanding of the life of the church we encounter so often in this country, so focused on who has power.” No no. Instead, “Francis’ spirituality is also very traditional and very vibrant [verily]: No flashy new lights for him.” Don’t forget the “practical pastoral wisdom” which is “so simple and yet… profound”. Then again, he is “deeply [again] rooted in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council”.

We are informed by Madame Defarge… and maybe you can figure out what the heck this means, “Pope Francis’ way is not the way of the “heroic priesthood.” You will find no Jungian archetypes here.” Apparently Francis also has an “anti-Pelagian approach to discipleship”.

And, right on schedule, there is the programmatic diminishing of the priest and priesthood which so characterizes everything Fishwrap is about:

And so far from encouraging any vision of the priesthood that emphasizes the distinction between the lay faith and the ordained ministry, he reminds the priests to be encouraged by the fact that “our people have a ‘nose’ for things. They sniff out, discover, new paths to take; they have the sensus fidei (cf. Lumen Gentium, 12)… What could be more beautiful than this?” Again, it is not just his fidelity to Vatican II, it is how he makes the teachings of that council fresh.

Very deeply!

The thing that Fishwarp doesn’t get is that is that for someone to have the sensus fidei they have to have fides in the first place. To have the sensus fidei fidelium, you have to be faithful.

Anyway, Defarge’s panegyric soars to this high C:

This short text will go down as one of the paradigmatic documents of this pontificate. It breathes faith, hope and charity. It displays a wisdom of years and a still youthful heart. Deeply [again] rooted in the tradition, it does not treat the tradition as a source of proof texts and footnotes but as a springboard from which to vault into the challenges of our day. It is one of Francis’ finest, simplest, most profound texts, and I hope the priests of our time can and will receive it as such.

It doesn’t treat tradition as a source of proof texts! What he is really saying is that the clock started in 1963 and, after bad period of about 35 years, it was restarted in 2013.  Outside of that very deep time scheme, we don’t have to pay a lot of attention to, you know, documents and other Councils and outdated stuff like that.

I am reminded of another of the New catholic Red Guards, now a venerated comrade who fell in his marching through the streets, little book held high, as he sloganed his way along against the Four Olds.  What was it he wrote? Pope Francis…

“breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is ‘free from disordered attachments.’ Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.”

Apart from it being highly weird, that was one of best/worst examples of sycophantic crawling you will find from that end of the spectrum.  Truly exemplary.

And… it was plagiarized.

MSW also got a bit oily.  However, I admit that found Francis’ letter at least engaging. Frankly, I expected it to be yet another round of his beating up on priests, but it was – mostly – benign and encouraging.  I am not convinced that it was entirely written by Francis. That’s okay, of course. Popes have ghost writers and what they sign belongs to them.  Was Spadaro’s hand in it?

I agree with Fr. Jeff Kirby writing at Crux (!) that there is a lacuna: a call for personal repentance. Of course such a letter, which needs to be short, can’t mention everything. That element, however, ought to have been included.

And I am still struggling with Francis’ description in the letter of the Church… the CHURCH, mind you, and not just her members… as being like a Bride (so we know he is talking about the Church) “sorpresa in flagrante adulterio… caught in flagrant adultery… Esposa sorprendida en flagrante adulterio”.

Francis offers this puzzling image in conjunction with a reference to Ezekiel 16 which contains 63 of the roughest verses in the whole body of Scripture.  Ezekiel describes the relationship of God with faithless “Jerusalem”, likened to an orphaned girl whom the Lord adopts and lavishes good things upon, eventually wedding her. But she is unfaithful and becomes an adulterous whore. She will be punished and humiliated, but the Lord nevertheless is faithful to his covenant and is forgiving. This is a head scratcher. If it were clearer that Francis is talking about the Church considered in the individual members who comprise her rather than the Church, spotless Bride of Christ, so in unity with Christ that they are like one Body, the Body of Christ.  Members… okay.  I wouldn’t bat an eye. As a matter of fact, I’d be inclined to applaud. But it is not clear to me that he is thinking of us, her members. Am I wrong?  Seriously.  Read it for yourselves.  HERE

In any event, that’s enough of this.  No energy or will to look at Amerika.

I’ll go use some eyewash now and get on with my day.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Unwilling says:

    “adulterous Church” The Pope seems to be careless with what he says; so it is sanguine to hope for a clarification that will settle any matter. Is the adultery of the Mystical Body or of the sinners? Sounds like two clear choices. But… Like the idea he subscribed of “God willing many religions”. He did later confirm that this would be permissive will. But has that confirmation proven to be a final clarification? No. I agree with using the quotation from Fr Rosica; this Pope is an absolutist ruling subject to no discipline.

    I respect Holy Orders and the holiness of (prima facie) any man in them. I also remove my hat before any woman wearing a habit.

  2. Speaking of Father Daly’s latest offering at the N”C”R…the latest wasn’t so terribly awful; not like the prior two. The last one boiled down to this: the solution to the “problem” of the priesthood is less cross and more sex! At least, that’s how I wrote about it on my blog a week or so ago! ICYMI…

  3. You wrote: The Pope seems to be careless with what he says; so it is sanguine to hope for a clarification that will settle any matter.

    Here’s the problem. He used the very same image in a talk to Roman clergy some time before. He footnoted it. As a result, this is what he really meant.

  4. jaykay says:

    “our people have a ‘nose’ for things.”

    If what he means by “our” people is those of like mind to him, then it seems pretty obvious that one of the things they don’t have a nose for is B. as in B. and…

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