Some reading for the road

As I prepare to make a trip, I find good reading is available.

First, from The Catholic Thing:

Drawing Bright Lines
by David Carlin

I’m an old man, and though I hope, and on certain days even go so far as to expect, that the Catholic Church in America will eventually recover from the very bad slump it has been in for the past few decades, I fear that I won’t live long enough to see this recovery.

When I’m on my deathbed (a piece of furniture I hope to avoid for at least a few more years), in order that I may die with a smile on my face, I will ask my grandchildren to bring me news of any signs of Catholic recovery. “Report to me,” I’ll ask them, “any bishop who has been brave enough to excommunicate a Catholic pro-abortion politician. And tell me about any diocese in which it has been discovered that there is not a single example of a homosexual priest.”

[…]

Next, something sent by a friend. At Church Life Journal:

When a Pope Writes and the Church Rebels
by Richard Yoder

A papal document seems to change Church teaching, dividing the Catholic world. Much of the controversy depends upon divergent disciplines around the reception of Holy Communion and different ideas of sin and grace. What seemed pious and holy yesterday is now condemned as heresy. Much confusion ensues. When asked to clarify what he means, the Pope refuses. Resistant bishops are threatened and punished. Invoking the Tradition of the Church, four bishops mount an ecclesiastical challenge of the document, with others soon joining. They become popular heroes, especially after their leader is publicly humiliated and demoted by Church authorities. Their partisans think of themselves as a remnant of the faithful, holding carefully to the Truth of Christ in a time of general darkness. They find their own positions foreshadowed in prophecy. They blame the Jesuits and the hierarchy for this period of widespread apostasy and confusion. They claim to discover the Jesuits teaching idolatry and compromising with paganism in their missionary efforts. They circulate their ideas through samizdat, popular polemics, and oppositional journalism. They become increasingly skeptical of Papal power.

Is this the Church of today, under Pope Francis? No, it is the Church of the early 18th century, in the tumultuous years after the Papal Bull Unigenitus. This landmark document of 1713 wrought a major trauma in the life of the Church when it first emerged. Unigenitus, like the wider Jansenist crisis to which it contributed, is mostly forgotten among the faithful today.

[…]

I am reminded of my own reminder that Popes come and go. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are significant and some aren’t. The same is to be said for Councils and for the decades we live in.

Whatever our situation is, this is the time that God wanted us to be here. Hence, it is an honor to serve in in this set of circumstances, no matter what they may bring. This is our time to make a difference.

Also, my friend Fr. Lang of the London Oratory has a good offering at Adoremus Bulletin. Fr James Bradley of the UK Ordinariate commented on Twitter that this helps fend off the reification of sacraments. His argument might be a touch subtle. However, this caught my eye. Remember… We Are Our Rites.

Newman’s love for the Divine Office illumined his path towards the Catholic Church. When in spring 1842, beset by doubts in the theory of the Via Media, he retired to Littlemore for a period of prayer and study, joined by a number of like-minded friends, the daily recitation of the Roman Breviary (with some omissions, such as the Marian antiphons) became a staple of their community life. After Newman and two of his companions were received into the Catholic Church on October 9, 1845 by Blessed Dominic Barberi (1792-1849), a small but significant change occurred in the community’s daily prayer. While they had recited the Latin text in the Anglicizing manner familiar from school and university, after that momentous day they adopted the Italianate pronunciation known as “Church Latin.”

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8 Responses to Some reading for the road

  1. Percusio says:

    There is certainly much said about the comparisons of the present and past of the Catholic Church with regards to dissension. As I thought about Mr. Yoder’s brief excerpt from the original I was wondering if this comparison is a good comparison. For myself, his comparison to the past just didn’t seem to equate. It is true that I know little about “Unigenitus”, but if the comparison plays out, is Mr. Yoder saying it is a papal bull which introduces something which seems to break from the Traditional teaching of the Catholic Church? Are we more enlightened after reading it or are we left with our jaw dropped and asking, “Am I reading this correctly. Is this now acceptable whereas in the past it was wrong?” Does there exist a constant chipping away of the Tradition of the Church to the point that many begin to see that Tradition is no longer Tradition but tradition and changeable? It seems to me the better way to view the present situation is to ask, “Which would you prefer if you valued your life? Gangrene in the leg or in the brain?” For the sake of the health of the body a person with the proper authority or “office” can perform the surgery by cutting the leg from the body and maintain a “healthy” person. But to perform surgery by the removal of the head for the sake of the body isn’t going to work. We see that a body whose infection is in the governance of the body is quite serious and more detrimental. I regret I do not know my history as I should, but idolatry, purposeful misty darkness in teaching from the head of the Church, failure to address the health of the Church and acting upon the infection, the replacement of orthodox Catholics in key positions of the Church with those who support immoral teaching… I just do not see this as equating to a past papal bull which does not appear to be “heretical” to the acceptance by the highest authority of pachamama and its worship in the location of the head of the Catholic Church. Has this ever happened, perhaps. This is closer to fulfilling what will come to be with the anti-christ then it has ever before, that I know of. No I am not saying that the present Holy Father is an anti-christ. I am saying that from the very sacred space of the head location of the Church is emanating the worship of a false god. Incrementalism.

  2. Amerikaner says:

    There is a danger that the current crisis of the Church may also bring about neo-Jansenism.

  3. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Seriously? Somebody is defending Jansenism as okeydoke, on the grounds that occasionally some of their opponents confused them with Calvinists, and that occasionally there were “miracles”? [That’s how you read it?]

    If you read anything written by Jansenists as instruction, you will see the same thing we have all seen on the Internet — some group with a few good ideas opposing bad ideas, but slowly going over the edge on the other side. Jansenism was weirder than the average error, because it erred in so many different directions on so many topics, and it kept so many Catholic trappings while dispensing with substance. So of course it is difficult to describe adequately.

    You get people reporting “miracles” or saintliness in that situation, and they are almost always delusional or demonic.

    The main thing to be learned is that the errors were not fought in a way that dealt with whatever underlying problems were causing so much resentment and rebellion in the French Catholic Church. There were crazy things going on that made other crazy stuff look reasonable by comparison.

  4. Kathleen10 says:

    I understand why people would say this type of thing. After all, the very ground under our feet is shifting. It’s mind blowing for people, people are seriously unsettled by these times, and why not. The one thing we could count on is gone. People can say it’s not gone, but in some key ways, it is. And indications are it’s not coming back. I can toss glitter with the best of them if it’s needed, but these are sobering days, and it’s getting harder to toss that glitter.
    The pope blessed a demon idol and blessed a pagan ceremony on sacred ground that now needs to be re-consecrated because it has been profaned. We have a pope who refuses to genuflect or kneel before Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. He refuses. The word is he does not believe in the resurrection of Christ nor that Christ was divine. His best friend the atheist said that and at this point he’s the most credible guy in Rome. And a 1000 other attacks and outrages.
    And we can’t get one guy to do his job and denounce him. Not even one.
    Sorry, I don’t mean to be a downer…here comes the glitter…wheeeee!

  5. carndt says:

    I can not be scandalized by Bergolio because he IS NOT the Pope.
    “ I am simply acknowledging objective truth, which I have the capacity to do as a rational intellect.”-AB
    I continue to pray for the one living Pope, Benedict.

  6. RLseven says:

    No pope is perfect. They are humans trying to do their best with what they’ve been called and chosen to be/do. I think that when people focus entirely on the Pope’s flaws, and constantly feed their hostility toward him, they are missing the ways God is acting through this person. The Pope is doing something different; how do we know that he is not listening to God and is being led this way? Mostly, the Pope is exemplifying the love and mercy of Jesus more than law and judgment–and that has been truly a gift for our Church. I feel sad for those who are blind to this. [I’m glad you think the same about Alexander VI and John XII!]

  7. TonyO says:

    Mostly, the Pope is exemplifying the love and mercy of Jesus more than law and judgment–and that has been truly a gift for our Church. I feel sad for those who are blind to this.

    There is a very important point to remember about mercy and justice in God’s work and in the Church: in God, His mercy and His justice are united, they are not even distinct (though they seem distinct to us creatures who are limited). In the Church which must act through human instruments, His mercy can operate outside the ordinary vehicles of grace – the Sacraments – because God is not limited to the ordinary or to the channels he put in the hands of the Church’s ministers of the sacraments, but for those priests, it belongs to mercy to note and take account of justice as well.

    So, for example, God can give grace to a person to move him to seek Him and to confess Christ, without that person first having any desire to do so. But the Church cannot baptize an adult who does not have any desire to be baptized. God can by grace induce a person to want forgiveness, and to want to be united in grace with God, without any pre-motion on the man’s part to ask for that grace. But the Church cannot forgive someone who has no repentance in his soul, and the forgiveness she offers depends on his willingness to make reparation for the temporal punishment due for sin – i.e. for the sake of justice. Justice and mercy are entwined.

    Indeed, in the grand scheme of things, all the graces and mercies the Church has at her disposal are there only because of the divine justice of Christ’s satisfaction for sin through his passion and death. The Church can no more be a vehicle of mercy without being aware of justice, than she can be a vehicle of mercy without relying on the springs of that mercy in Christ’s salvific death.

    The “law” that God gives us is sweetness and light: “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; (Psalm 19) A true understanding of law rejoices in them and seeks to bring everyone to rejoice in them.

    Christ told the Apostles: “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” In order to decide to forgive or to hold them bound, the Apostles had to pass judgment on them in some sense (not the final sense of whether a person is saved or damned). So it’s part of the job of a bishop, not something he can avoid if he is carrying out his mandate from Christ.

  8. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z wrote: “Popes come and go. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are significant and some aren’t. The same is to be said for Councils and for the decades we live in.

    “Whatever our situation is, this is the time that God wanted us to be here. Hence, it is an honor to serve in in this set of circumstances, no matter what they may bring. This is our time to make a difference.”

    TonyO wrote: “Christ told the Apostles: “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” In order to decide to forgive or to hold them bound, the Apostles had to pass judgment on them in some sense (not the final sense of whether a person is saved or damned). So it’s part of the job of a bishop, not something he can avoid if he is carrying out his mandate from Christ.”

    Good point. “Walking together” and “Who am I to judge?” can rapidly turn into dereliction of duty, laziness, fecklessness, and even surrendering to Modernism.

    An article from Crisis magazine “The Year of Mercy is over. It’s time for a Year of Justice.”

    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2019/the-year-of-mercy-is-over-its-time-for-a-year-of-justice

    “Pope Francis’s decision to declare the Year of Mercy owes much to Cardinal Walter Kasper’s book Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life.”

    “In Mercy, Kasper argues that mercy is “much more fundamental because God does not answer to the demands of our rules.” In Kasper’s confused explanation, justice becomes synonymous with these so-called “demands of our rules.” Kasper goes on to characterize “justice alone” as “very cold,” whereas mercy “sees a concrete person.”

    “By his reasoning, there is (quite literally) no such thing as a just man. Justice is a property of mere abstract and contrived “rules.” Only mercy becomes a virtue which human beings can embody and exercise.”

    “And yet justice, too, is a source of healing. Marie Collins, an Irish abuse survivor, remarked: “While mercy is important, justice for all parties is equally important.” She worries that, “if there is seen to be any weakness about proper penalties, then it might well send the wrong message to those who would abuse.””

    “Collins’s comments touch upon a problem that has permeated the Francis pontificate. In spite of his outspoken concern for economic and ecological “social justice,” he defines justice against mercy.”

    ____

    Justice can focus the mind of the perpetrator. And, there are numerous other problems with this pontiff and much of the Vatican hierarchy. Blessed be the name of the Lord.