Today at The Catholic Thing there is an essay by Francis X. Maier about how Francis is perceived by the left and by the right (to use rapid, sketch terms).
In the main, he seems to be willing – as Catholics ought – to cut Francis some slack. He makes the point that Catholics love their popes. My phrase, but something he clearly expressed: “Like many American Catholics, respect for the Holy Father is hardwired into my DNA.” He is right to underscore such a thing, for it is incumbent on Catholics to love. We are not, however, commanded to like our neighbor… any neighbor, far or near.
What struck me was Maier’s bit toward the end, which makes a point I’ve been making here for a while. My emphases and comments:
The pope’s closing remarks to the 2015 synod on the family came across to many of those present as petulant and scolding. [This is the synod that was clearly “rigged”, even to the point of concluding documents being written already as committees met, books were stolen from participants’ mailboxes, and Card. Kasper’s curious ravings were on high display.] And his promoters in the years since have, to put it mildly, lacked charity in dealing with anyone seen as “conservative,” and thus inimical to the Francis pontificate’s more progressive approach to the issues of Church and world.
That word – progressive – warrants some scrutiny. It brings to mind the philosopher Augusto Del Noce’s prescient essay, “On Catholic Progressivism” (collected here). Writing in the turmoil of the late 1960s, he noted that, whereas popes like Leo XIII had sought “to bring the modern world into line with the eternal principles,” progressivism and related forms of religious thought pursue the “exact inverse, since they seek to bring Catholicism into line with the modern world.”
He added that, while [NB…]
. . .a discussion with a Marxist intellectual is possible, it is not so with a Catholic progressive. Not because we despise him, but because he despises his critic, treating him already from the start as somebody who stops at mere formulaic intellectualism. Therefore, one does not discuss with a Catholic progressive, but in front of him, just hoping that our arguments may provide an opportunity to stimulate his critical reflection.
A resounding YES!
The attack on traditional Catholic sacred liturgical worship does not stem merely from a desire to “bring Catholicism into line with the modern world”, which is the agenda of the virtually papalotrous left who have anew become high from sniffing the spirit of Vatican II. It’s not just that they understand that the content of the traditional forms of worship is a constant check on their project to convert the Church into an NGO with themselves as the powerbrokers. They don’t like the people who like traditional liturgy. It’s the people they are targeting. Thus, the additional twists of cruelty in their machinations.
This is the same view that brought forth from Hillary such phrases as “basket of deplorables”.
Just a little more of Maier’s piece, the peroration:
Times have changed since Del Noce. But not necessarily for the better. One of his main concerns with Catholic progressivism was its tendency to downplay and surrender metaphysics, leading to the loss of the supernatural and a religion of purely horizontal ethics. In other words, a flattened out “faith” entirely explainable by social science and foreseen more than a century ago by the father of sociology, Auguste Comte. [The essence of Modernism is the reduction of the supernatural to the natural.]
Del Noce also noted, oddly, that “If we recall that Comte envisioned an alliance with the Jesuits, [!] and their conversion to positivism, we may well say that, with respect to some of today’s Jesuits, he was truly a good prophet. Only his timing was off.”
Note that bit about the surrender of metaphysics. This is the thrust of Thomas Stark’s difficult but important explanation about how Kasper, and those around Francis, have substituted philosophy with politics. They don’t have objective underpinnings, premises and procedures. They have polls. And they lie with their polls, as is evident in the claims that Traditionis custodes was founded on a survey of bishops. They had a predetermined outcome in mind and then used politics, purely horizontal “ethics” to ground that outcome.