The other day I posted about Antonio Socci’s remarks at Libero about the Benedict XVI piece in Corriere della Sera. HERE I also posted about a new book by Lamont and Pierantoni which is a provocative compendium about Francis. HERE I mentioned, too, work on a bullet-point compendium that Steven O’Reilly posted on his site. HERE
I wrote to those who will dislike the very existence of such a book as that by Lamont and Pierantoni, and who will summarily dismiss it’s conclusions, that they themselves should put together their own compendium, a defense of all that Francis is, has said, and has done.
I was informed that Mike Lewis at Where Peter Is took up the challenge. Sort of. I’ll get to that.
I wasn’t much interested in what he posted, but he used an image of a plate of pasta which suggested to me that he could have a) a sense of humor and therefore b) a decent motive and c) perhaps it was an olive branch. As it turns agere sequitur esse and he used it as a cheap shot since I sometimes post food posts here. I guess food is bad. Or maybe good food is bad… or something.
I won’t go into length responding to Lewis, because his whole post drips nasty. Why bother.
Lewis manifestly wishes me ill and has worked to harm me personally. When I wrote my posts about praying for enemies [HERE], this is the group of people I had in mind. I will, nevertheless continue on the uphill rocky and narrow path and I will pray for him.
Back to the pasta image. His image of pasta at the top of his post is apt: the post is tantamount to spaghetti thrown at a wall. Nevertheless, a few strands merit attention.
Lewis wrote: “To my knowledge, you [meaning me] have never responded to anything we’ve ever published on this site.”
That’s because. Mr. Lewis, I never look at your site. I didn’t know it, or you, even existed until quite recently. It took some urging from others to get me to respond this time, given your open bad will towards me.
Lewis wrote: “In what I believe was our only direct interaction on social media, I asked you a question and you responded, ‘That was a good example of an Alinsky tactic. I won’t play your twisted game,’ before blocking me.”
On Twitter I often block people who are rude. Lewis didn’t get special treatment.
Moreover, if I brought up Alinsky, I must have had a good reason. Saul Alinsky in his Satanically-dedicated Rules For Radicals [US HERE] recommends this technique:
- RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
That’s exactly what Lewis and others he associates with have been doing to me. I do not know the cause of Lewis’s hatred, but I hope he uses the rest of Lent to consider his course. I submit to him that it is anything but Christian.
Lewis: “Fr. Zuhlsdorf, we [sic] respond to your challenge with the work of this website.”
“…with the work of this website”. Okay. But that isn’t a response to the challenge I issued.
What I am looking for is a compendium … like the other guys did; that compendium book or else the sort of compendium that Steven O’Reilly posted on his site.
O’Reilly defends Francis against the “Benedict is Pope” theory, but he he does not let Francis off the hook for the strange things he has said and done. It’s worth a look. HERE O’Reilly could have, like Lewis, written: “This whole site/blog has been….” But no. He took the time to put together a list of the posts with bullet points which he thought supported his position.
So, I don’t think saying that “the work of this website” is a response is helpful.
Look. I haven’t spent time at that blog and I absolutely won’t have time to do so in the near future. If I missed something, I’d like to know so I can – in fairness – acknowledge it. If there is, buried in there, some sort of compendium like to those I mentioned, please let us know in the combox.
Lewis: “Fr. Zuhlsdorf, engaging in productive dialogue and debate is a two-way street. That wasn’t on display here.”
What is on display is a continuation of your campaign, with others, in personal destruction. I do not believe that in “taking up the challenge” there was a good motive, which is at the very core of productive dialogue. I truly want to give people the benefit of the doubt. However, the fact that wrote your post in the style that you did suggests a determined lack of good will.
For the readers’ background, Lewis took part in an organized a “cancel culture” terror campaign – there is no other way to describe it – against my bishop, in order to hurt him and in order to hurt me personally. It’s not that they just disagreed with what I think and they wanted to dismantle some position I hold, they wanted to harm me personally. They know that their status as lay people allows them with impunity to say any damn thing they want, true or not, about clerics – who can’t “fight back” in kind – no matter how it hurts them.
I throw the gauntlet back. Well… I’ll flip it back over my shoulder as I walk away.
If Lewis creates such a compendium (not just points to the whole site) great! I’ll acknowledge and when I have time, perhaps I’ll look at it with an open mind. If it already exists, great! Ditto.
If he does it/did it readers here and elsewhere could have something useful.
Nota bene: We will have compendia, as it were, of arguments a) against Francis being the true Pope, of arguments b) in defense of Francis being Pope but not being entirely favorable toward him, and of arguments c) for Francis and also enthusiastic to the point of euphoria.
There are a lot of people out there who might benefit from having pages with easily identifiable topics with links in the various positions.
If done well, those arguments which are persuasive will persuade and those that aren’t, won’t.
Moving on, there were couple of comments under Lewis’ post which need attention.
Lewis: “He [I] is incardinated in an Italian diocese near Rome, apparently never ministered there, then worked for a while in the Vatican before moving back to the US, supposedly to pursue graduate studies (which I suppose he never finished).”
I was for quite a while rector of church in Velletri, which I also helped to rebuild/restore. It had been damage by American bombs in WW2 since it is on the hills above Anzio.
Lewis, and a lot of others, haven’t the slightest clue about my life, but they jabber all the same, in a hurtful way, which in some contexts could get them sued. Anyway, he allowed his commenters to engage in rash judgment and detraction… and added disinformation.
I suggest for us all in this time of Lenten preparation a reflection on the “Golden Rule”.
Commenting on that site in the combox is also Robert Fastiggi, a pretty smart guy who teaches at Sacred Heart in Detroit.
Fastiggi says a) I embrace “tradition” (why he added scare quotes, I’m not quite sure) but b) I did an un-trad thing by “departing from some very traditional sources by endorsing a book that claims that Pope Francis (and therefore other popes) can teach heresy.”
“very traditional sources“ as opposed to … what?… merely traditional?
Anyway, Fastiggi brings up a position St. Robert Bellarmine takes in De Summo Pontifice about Popes which was endorsed by Vatican I. Prof Fastiggi wonders how I can “reconcile endorsing a book that claims a pope can teach heresy [mentioned at the top, etc.] with the clear teachings of St. Robert Bellarmine and Vatican I?”
Did I? No, on both counts.
Firstly, I didn’t “endorse” the book in the sense Prof Fastiggi intended to convey: eagerness, etc. , as in “Wow, what a great book, surely it’s right.” I wrote about it because it is useful. Someone who is really into the question will find this a useful book. Frankly, I think the fact that books like this are coming out at all is pretty darn sad. But this is the deck we’ve been dealt. These are our times. Maranatha.
Second, Prof Fastiggi seems to have confused, conflated Vatican I’s teaching about infallibility with the notion that a Pope can never get anything wrong about faith or morals, or anything else, either in private thoughts or public statements, a kind of ultramontanism on piety steroids.
Vatican I didn’t say that Popes can’t err at all. Popes can be wrong, about a lot of things. They can even say in public things that are wrong about faith and morals. While St. Robert Bellarmine personally believed that a Pope cannot publicly teach heresy (he was in the minority on this point), he also admitted that his opinion was not certain. On the other hand, Bellarmine did hold as certain that a Pope cannot define a heretical teaching that the faithful are bound to believe. That is what the Church teaches. That is what Vatican I endorsed. Vatican I didn’t endorse Bellarmine’s (minority) belief that a Pope can’t ever be wrong. Vatican I endorsed Bellarmine’s correct position that Popes cannot err when they define doctrine that must be accepted on faith and morals.
There is a good post with quotes from Bellarmine on this at Eric Giunta’s Laboravi Sustinens. That would be a good starting place to untangle what Bellarmine thought. Ironically, the post is entitled “Where Peter Isn’t”.
And with that I turn from this distasteful but necessary post to many other pressing things, with a request for prayers.