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Saturday, January 30, 2016

"The Thinking Housewife" Almost Never Mentions Love, Compassion, Mercy Or Forgiveness

Image result for pope francis washing and kissing feet
According to "The Thinking Housewife," Pope Francis is "promiscuously 
humble"

The word "promiscuous" derives from the Latin for "thoroughly mixed." In this photo, Francis is kissing the feet of Islamic criminals. 
After a fashion, I suppose the pope is being promiscuous.



"Lebanese Catholic Civil War Killer Apologizes For His Self-Righteous Crimes"
(An epiphanic radio interview)

Greetings,

After brief meta-level analysis of "An Interview With Pope Francis" - http://www.thinkinghousewife.com/wp/2013/09/an-interview-with-pope-francis/ - I am pasting your entire text with inter-linear comments.


Here's what "the forest" looks like when not distracted by "the trees..."

Your entire discussion contains no reference to "the poor" which, as we know, is Francis' primary focus.  



Similarly, the words "mercy," "compassion" and "love" are nearly absent from your post, and when they do appear they play ridiculous roles.

You make three references to mercy, the first two mocking and faulting Francis' merciful disposition, and the third pointing out the perverseness of Francis' mercy. 


Even if you are right about Francis, the absence of any positive enjoinder to be merciful is pathognomonic of what's gone wrong in conservative Catholicism. 


In addition to criticizing Francis' false mercy, you refer to his "promiscuous humility," going on to say that Francis "revels in his humility." 


In a final reference to humility, your reader Jeannette V. informs us that "Francis is very proud of his humility."

Revealingly, you make no reference to love, and the only other references to love are from "Mary" who refers to God's perfect love (with no enjoinder that humans practice it), and Leo who observes that "The culture teaches that people are but meat pillows, so go ye and fornicate. Love has become indistinguishable from lust." 

I wonder if Jeanette V. could find the courage to observe that "you are very proud of exhorting no one to mercy, love, compassion or concern for the poor."

Ermine capes, yes. (Pope Francis insults the splendor of papal monarchy by not wearing an ermine cape.)

But mercy, love and compassion? No mention.

James' Epistle: "Judgment Without Mercy Will Be Shown To Anyone Who Has Not Shown Mercy"



The poor? No mention.

Here is St. Basil the Great's commentary on compassion for the poor.

The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry.
The garments hanging in your wardrobe are the garments of those who are naked.
The shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of one who is barefoot.
The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor.
The acts of charity you do not perform are so many injustices you commit. 

(I was educated by Basilian priests at Aquinas Institute and St. Michael's College, University of Toronto)

More on St. Basil at http://paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com/2013/09/st-basil-great-on-biblical-literalism.html

***

In the following quotation from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, I encourage you to substitute the word "person" for "Government." 


"The immortal Dante tells us that divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted in different scales. Better the occasional faults of a Government that lives in a spirit of charity than the constant omission of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference."


For too long, the choir has been preaching to itself. At bottom, Francis is pointing out that such self-absorption is not only theologically incestuous but constitutes a deep well of counterproductive alienation that can - and should - be remedied by openness, perspective and proportion, not to mention action that prioritizes the poor. 


Bad Religion is commonplace across the Abrahamic spectrum, manifesting most saliently in Pharisaic certainty of salvation for "the chosen few" - and corresponding certainty that "infidels" are damned. 


Jesuit friend, Tom Weston, says "You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out God hates all the same people you do."  

The Catholic Church is long overdue for a pope grounded in a religious order with deep intellectual traditions to compensate the excesses of popes coming from diocesan ranks who express views disproportionately biased toward "crowd control" and the imposition of "fall-in-line" discipline.

In the end, "the truth is what it is" and papal proclamations to the contrary are sometimes no more useful than the Vatican's condemnation of Galileo. 


Why do conservatives impose strict controls on "open flow" conversation? 


It is commonplace on "the left side of the aisle" to present right-wing views, just as I will publish our entire "exchange" -- including your article, "An Interview With Pope Francis." 


Will you even be tempted to do the same? 


What are you hiding? (Perhaps from yourself...)


Here is my series of posts about Pope Francis' recent interview, mostly based on verbatim excerpts:

Pope Francis: Conservative Columnist Michael Gerson's Superb Summary
To Defend Church Teachings Without Different Understandings Is Wrong

If Christian Legalists Want Everything Clear And Safe, They Will Find Nothing

If A Person Is Totally Certain, This Is Not Good

The Universal Church... A Nest Protecting Our Mediocrity?

"Eventually people get tired of authoritarianism"

Pope Francis Is Shifting Catholic Church's Priority From Dogma To Mercy

Church May Fall Like A "House Of Cards" If It Prolongs Its Sex Obsessions
Supplemental Posts:

Americans generally -- and "conservative" Americans in particular -- are blind to the fact that unregulated Capitalism promotes The Seven Deadly Sins better than Beelzebub himself.

The growing breach between the piggish rich and the structurally-unemployed poor is an inordinately corrosive factor contributing to the decline of the American family. In light of the concentration of ever more wealth in the pockets of "The 5%" -- and the correlative decline of 40% in an average Americans net worth since 2007, it is necessary that both parents hold jobs when, in fact, all the families I know would prefer to have one parent at home, at least through high school. Half of all American jobs have salaries lower than $27,000.00 a year.

"Politics and Economics: The 101 Courses You Wish You Had"

An Interview with Pope Francis


Laura Wood, The Thinking Housewife

IN a massive, 12,000-word interview with Fr. Antonio Spadaro of La Civilt√† Cattolica, Pope Francis expounds upon the worldview that has emerged in his confusing statements in recent months. His remarks in the interview, which has no authority as Church teaching and represents his personal views, lack clarity also. But the Pope makes it clear just how deep his liberalism runs. He calls for a “dynamic of reading the Gospel, actualizing its message for today.” He envisions a Church that moves with the times. He posits the need for “real, effective change,” apparently to further the project of Vatican II. He refers to Church teachings as “a disjointed multitude of doctrines” and, most shockingly of all, says that if the Church does not find a “new balance,” “the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards.” The Pope, in other words, does not seem to believe even in the permanence of the Church.
Alan: Pope Francis refers to the collapse of "the moral edifice of the church" which, judging by Laura's criticism of contemporary Catholicism, is well under way. How, I wonder, did "the permanence of the church" manifest during centuries of slaughter -- Cathars, Huguenots and other "infidels" -- plus centuries of "Bad Popes" whose malfeasance fouled St. Peter's Chair from 896 to 1534 A.D.? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bad_Popes  And what of Francis' namesake whose stated mission was the literal-and-figurative re-building of a collapsed church? Was he too unfaithful to "monarchical splendor?"
The Supreme Pontiff says the Church has made too much of the social issues of abortion, homosexuality and contraception, which explains his silence and lack of support for the tens of thousands of Catholics who took to the streets in France to protest a new marriage law. He says traditionalists are rigid and doctrinaire. He speaks of finding God in the moment, rather than in theological certitude, presenting Catholicism as something almost akin to Zen Buddhism. 
Alan: Catholic mystics have traditionally found God in the Eternal Now which is specifically where The Living God lives. The most existential utterance ever recorded was God's self-definition: "I am who am." No statement could direct us more clearly to Present Time and the God who is present in this moment, which is, was and forever will be Now. On the other hand, I know people who have found comfort and confirmation in "in theological certitude" but I have never known anyone who, actually, found God there. 
It’s important not to probe any one thing the Pope says too intensely as he is a man of weak intellect. Nevertheless, there is coherence to his diffuse statements and his promiscuous humility, the coherence of a crusading revolutionaryThe Pope calls on Catholic to embrace constant “uncertainty.” They should, it seems, be good little relativists just like everyone else.
I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds…. And you have to start from the ground up.
But what has caused these “wounds?” It appears from the context that condemnation has wounded these sinners. The Pope offers no words on sinners who want their sins embraced too.
Alan: Many of these wounds have been caused by the Church which voices its "love for the sinner" but insures that the homosexual sinner feels like sub-scum. The signal sin of our time is Greed (and Cowboy Capitalism's correlative propagation of all Seven Deadly Sins) - http://paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com/2013/03/capitalism-most-powerful-engine-of.html - but no capitalist will ever be made to feel the opprobrium which the Church has piled on gays and lesbians for lesser sins or, what in Jesus' "silence-is-consent opinion," may prove to be no sin at all. (Oh, oh. I'm going to hell... and Laura's readers will cheer!)
Here are some excerpts from this very long interview:
“Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” He stares at me in silence. I ask him if I may ask him this question. He nods and replies: “I ​​do not know what might be the most fitting description…. I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.” [Right away, the Holy Father denigrates his authority. The Pope revels in his humility.]
Alan: The phrase, "The Pope revels in his humility," exemplifies the ideologization-of-theology which Francis rightly spotlights as a shortcoming of the contemporary church. The ideologization-of-theology is a patent absurdity to which Laura's readers will likely respond, in concert with Tertullian, "I believe because it is absurd." (Notably, Pope Benedict XVI faulted this very phrase. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credo_quia_absurdum)
“I do not know Rome well. I know a few things. These include the Basilica of St. Mary Major; I always used to go there. I know St. Mary Major, St. Peter’s…but when I had to come to Rome, I always stayed in [the neighborhood of] Via della Scrofa. From there I often visited the Church of St. Louis of France, and I went there to contemplate the painting of ‘The Calling of St. Matthew,’ by Caravaggio. [Why doesn't he know Rome? Once again, he deliberately diminishes his authority.]
The pope explains why he refuses to live in the papal apartments. The papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace is not luxurious. It is old, tastefully decorated and large, but not luxurious. But in the end it is like an inverted funnel. It is big and spacious, but the entrance is really tight. People can come only in dribs and drabs, and I cannot live without people. I need to live my life with others.” [His duty to uphold the splendor and monarchical character of the papacy is secondary to his personal desire for sociable quarters. This reminds me of the woman who abandons her family because it does not make her happy.]
Alan: "His duty to uphold the splendor and monarchical character of the papacy?" I would love to have Yeshua weigh in on this one...
John XXIII saw all things, the maximum dimension, but he chose to correct a few, the minimum dimension. You can have large projects and implement them by means of a few of the smallest things. Or you can use weak means that are more effective than strong ones, as Paul also said in his First Letter to the Corinthians.
I believe that we always need time to lay the foundations for real, effective change.“This discernment takes time. For example, many think that changes and reforms can take place in a short time. I believe that we always need time to lay the foundations for real, effective change. [In other words, the reforms of Vatican II, in which the Church embraced the modern world, did not go far enough. "Real, effective change" is on the way.]
“When you express too much, you run the risk of being misunderstood. The Society of Jesus can be described only in narrative form. Only in narrative form do you discern, not in a philosophical or theological explanation, which allows you rather to discuss. The style of the Society is not shaped by discussion, but by discernment, which of course presupposes discussion as part of the process. The mystical dimension of discernment never defines its edges and does not complete the thought. The Jesuit must be a person whose thought is incomplete, in the sense of open-ended thinking. [Translation: Life is ever uncertain. We must not follow hardened moral rules. We must be "open-ended" thinkers.]
Alan: Whatever their benefit may be (and benefit certainly arises from "moral rules") the "hardening" of "moral rules" propels many believers to disdain openness, ultimately conducing to the development of hard hearts. Many traditional Catholics have become hardhearted and, ironically, to the extent that they are hardhearted they see themselves as God-ordained champions of virtue.
[He speaks of his experiences as a superior of a province of the Society of Jesus.] “My authoritarian and quick manner of making decisions led me to have serious problems and to be accused of being ultraconservative.
The consistories [of cardinals], the synods [of bishops] are, for example, important places to make real and active this consultation. We must, however, give them a less rigid form. I do not want token consultations, but real consultations. The consultation group of eight cardinals, this ‘outsider’ advisory group, is not only my decision, but it is the result of the will of the cardinals, as it was expressed in the general congregations before the conclave. And I want to see that this is a real, not ceremonial consultation.” [The Pope here echoes a regular theme of Vatican II reformers who emphasize collegiality and the lessening of papal authority.] 
Alan: Yes, Vatican II, a valid Council of the Church (evidently more valid than the First Vatican Council which ram-rodded "papal infallibility") emphasized collegiality and less monarchical papal authority. If, as I believe, "the profoundest truths are paradoxical," the relative relationship between collegiality and the authority of the pope is mutually enhancing and mutually ennobling. 
Thinking with the church, therefore, is my way of being a part of this people. And all the faithful, considered as a whole, are infallible in matters of belief, and the people display this infallibilitas in credendo, this infallibility in believing, through a supernatural sense of the faith of all the people walking together. This is what I understand today as the ‘thinking with the church’ of which St. Ignatius speaks. When the dialogue among the people and the bishops and the pope goes down this road and is genuine, then it is assisted by the Holy Spirit. So this thinking with the church does not concern theologians only. [Translation: The Church is a democratic institution and the people have flawless judgment.]
We should not even think, therefore, that ‘thinking with the church’ means only thinking with the hierarchy of the church.”
“This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.” [So much for Jesus's words, "For the way is small and the gate is narrow." The Church must not be exclusive.]
Alan: Laura advocates exclusivity and catholicity in the same breath. 


I rest my case. 


Although "dueling bible verses" can be played ad nauseum, I suggest that the "small, narrow gate" more likely refers to the difficulty humans have embodying Yeshua's prime directive: 

Matthew 5:43-48

The Message (MSG)
43-48 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” - http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205:%2043-48&version=MSG
“The young Catholic churches, as they grow, develop a synthesis of faith, culture and life, and so it is a synthesis different from the one developed by the ancient churches. For me, the relationship between the ancient Catholic churches and the young ones is similar to the relationship between young and elderly people in a society. They build the future, the young ones with their strength and the others with their wisdom. You always run some risks, of course. The younger churches are likely to feel self-sufficient; the ancient ones are likely to want to impose on the younger churches their cultural models. But we build the future together.” [There is no Church. There is an endless flow of history.]
During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.
A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. [The Pope is eager to show off his amazing mercy. But it is not the Pope's or the priest's mercy that ultimately heals the sinner. The sacraments are the true source of healing. The Church has never taught that any sinner should be rejected. Its most sacred sacraments have always honored the person no matter how much he has sinned. The Pope here is oblivious to the modern homosexual's desire for approval not of himself as a person but of his homosexuality. His statement is clueless as to the war against the family and the social institutions that support the family. 
Alan: The family is an irreplaceable treasure. However, Laura loses perspective "around" this issue and obsesses about it with the same unhinged perseveration that conservative Catholics have obsessed about "abortion, gay marriage and  contraception. It is possible to remove our wagging fingers from other people's pants - at least occasionally. If there were more perspective-and-proportion as Pope Francis exhorts, we could bring a measure of focus to the signal sin of our time - Greed.  By "following the money" -- always a good idea! -- we see that "Big Money" secures ever more "devil's dung" by selling limitless crap as a sine qua non of achieving "capitalist success" through passionate promulgation of all Seven Deadly Sins. http://paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com/2013/09/pope-francis-calls-money-dung-of-devil.html
The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus.
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”
“Vatican II was a re-reading of the Gospel in light of contemporary culture,” says the pope. “Vatican II produced a renewal movement that simply comes from the same Gospel. Its fruits are enormous. Just recall the liturgy. The work of liturgical reform has been a service to the people as a re-reading of the Gospel from a concrete historical situation. Yes, there are hermeneutics of continuity and discontinuity, but one thing is clear: the dynamic of reading the Gospel, actualizing its message for today—which was typical of Vatican II—is absolutely irreversible. Then there are particular issues, like the liturgy according to the Vetus Ordo. I think the decision of Pope Benedict [his decision of July 7, 2007, to allow a wider use of the Tridentine Mass] was prudent and motivated by the desire to help people who have this sensitivity. What is worrying, though, is the risk of the ideologization of the Vetus Ordo, its exploitation.” 
Alan: Reviewing Laura's article and the dialogue it inspired, I am struck that the life and teaching of "Jesus" is invoked only once in 11,000 words. On the other hand, there are multiple references to majestic "ecclesiastical vestments" as if Catholicism should be, on some fundamental level, an awe-inspiring fashion show.  http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2013/09/vetus-ordo.html#.UkLpkYaURKY
Laura's reader, Don Vincenzo, says: "I have mentioned before that especially incisive commentary about the Vatican’s current state of affairs can be found on European blogs in general, and the Italian in particular. In a recent story, the pope was shown blessing a cleric in attire that confirms that he has very little interest in tradition, even with respect to the raiment of the pontiff. Upon his election he refused to use the sedia gestatoria, used for centuries to carry popes aloft during a ceremony. He also, upon his installation, eschewed use of the mozzetta, the white damask and ermine cape. What the pontiff seems to favor, as indicated in a recent photo, are vestments in which the “Alpha and Omega,” symbol of the timeless and eternal Church, that appear ”un-Traditional.” A minor point? Only if you accept that this deviation from the traditional is accidental; I do not." 
Rome is burning, but not because the pope "eschewed" an ermine cape but because the ermine cape - a bit of dead animal slung over the new pope's shoulders - has been used all these centuries without any sense of cognitive dissonance. (It strains credulity that this is being discussed.)
Yes, in this quest to seek and find God in all things there is still an area of uncertainty. There must be. If a person says that he met God with total certainty and is not touched by a margin of uncertainty, then this is not good. For me, this is an important key. If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble. Uncertainty is in every true discernment that is open to finding confirmation in spiritual consolation. [An open endorsement of relativism.] 
Alan: The issue of relativism is not unrelated to Einstein's Theory of Relativity and the central role that relativity plays in the elaboration of science and technology. To deny relativity as a physical principle, and by extension, to deny its proper impact upon philosophy and even theology is analogous to the church's infamous denial of the sun's centrality in the solar system and the mistaken world view that arose from that factual mistake. 
 — Comments —
Mark B. writes:
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible,” he said. “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”
In my experience, the Church doesn’t talk about these things at all. That’s why John Paul and Benedict had occasion to.
 Jane S. writes:
First a hate-America president. Now a hate-Catholicism Pope.
Laura writes:
That’s sad.
If leaders reject their own authority then they ultimately reject the very entities they govern. Although of course Obama doesn’t reject his own authority and neither does the Pope. They just reject their authority in the traditional sense, as protectors of an inheritance.
Leo writes:
Wow. I read the interview from soup to nuts and got a completely different take on it. And the last time I was accused of being a liberal Catholic was by my aunt who was a follower of Marcel Lefebvre.
Let’s see, now: The Church is to heal the wounds caused by sin in the world. The first one he mentions is homosexuality. God loves homosexual sinners and wants to heal them. The sovereign cure for sin is going to Confession.
Why does he not know Rome well? Probably for the same reason I don’t don’t know Rome well though I’ve spent an aggregated five months or so there over the years. It is not my home, and when I go there I sometimes have other things to do than be led around on tourist tours. He probably knows some cities in Argentina pretty well, I’ll bet.
He has a duty to uphold the splendor and monarchical character of the Papacy? Honestly? To overawe the rubes? The Popes have been de-emphasizing this since the reign of John XXIII. I find his choice of lodgings a little peculiar, but not subversive.
“Real, effective change” does sound Obamaish, doesn’t it? I wonder if he means what you fear he means. I don’t think he’s advocating for wholesale desecration of all that’s holy. I do note that in many respects the renovation of the Church intended by Vatican II has been an abject failure. Might he be meaning a “real, effective change” along the lines that the Council Fathers originally had in mind? I’d like to know more.
His remarks on the Vetus Ordo are not that encouraging, though historically the Roman Pontiff has had a tendency to supress all Rites save the Roman Rite (Mozarabic, etc.). We must be “open-ended thinkers.” Fine for the Jesuits (the context of the remark), I guess. For now I’ll just say ‘placet juxta modum.’
On collegiality, it does not necessarily imply a lessening of authority. I have a couple of stories that JPII convened collegial consultations and then issued his document in the name of the bishops.
“The Church is a democratic institution and the people have flawless judgment.” and ” The Church must not be exclusive.” These are pretty contentious readings of what he actually said. As for the people’s sense of faith, we have historical instances of the faithful resisting the errors of heretical bishops, and there was once a time when the people were actually widely knowledgeable about their faith. And note that he does say, ““And, of course, we must be very careful not to think that this /infallibilitas/ of all the faithful I am talking about in the light of Vatican II is a form of populism. No; it is the experience of ‘holy mother the hierarchical church,’ as St. Ignatius called it, the church as the people of God, pastors and people together.”
A hierarchy necessitates both higher and lower orders. You say, “There is no Church. There is an endless flow of history.” That’s not what he said. The Church exists within history. He does place a high value on process, that’s for sure.
I’ll conclude with this: Often we in the Anglosphere and the West think the world revolves around us and our problems. Our perspective is not universal, whereas the Pope’s must be. That is always going to kick up regional tensions when the Pope doesn’t address local concerns as quickly or effectively as we would like. Even so, every Pope is the son of a local church, this one is from South America. So I expect that he is still using the ‘language’ of Argentina, which is what he is most familiar to him. I don’t know enough about the issues in Argentina to be able to ‘translate’ Francis into terms currently in use here in the USA. To conclude that Francis hates the Church on the basis of what we’ve seen of him so far is a shocking overreach and much mistaken.
Laura writes:
I do not think he “hates” the Church. Rather he seems to reject fundamental aspects of it, especially its hierarchical nature, views of sin, and ancient liturgy, which is, well, at the center of it all.
As for his comments on homosexuality, his points about accepting the sinner were not objectionable in and of themselves. There is great confusion in the world about what this means and he adds to the confusion. Many churches are accepting not just the sinner, but the sin. The Pope offers support to the homosexual as he is but not to those fighting the normalization of  homosexuality, such as this Austrian priest who was forced into resignation for his comments condemning homosexuality.
Your aunt was on to something. So was Marcel Lefebvre. 

Marcel Lefevbre and the Second Vatican Council 

Appointed by Pope John XXIII a member of the Central Preparatory Commission[31] for the Second Vatican Council, Lefebvre took part in the discussions about the draft documents to be submitted to the bishops for consideration at the Council.[32] During the first session of the Council (October to December 1962),[33] he became concerned about the direction the Council's deliberations were taking.[4] Lefebvre took a leading part in a study group of bishops at the Council which became known as the Coetus Internationalis Patrum (International Group of Fathers).[Notes 10]
A major area of concern at the Council was the debate about the principle of religious liberty.[Notes 11] During the Council's third session (September to November 1964)[34] Archbishop Pericle Felici announced that Lefebvre, with two other like-minded bishops, was appointed to a special four-member commission charged with rewriting the draft document on the topic,[Notes 12] but it was soon discovered that this measure did not have papal approval, and major responsibility for preparing the draft document was given to the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity.[35] Instead of the draft entitled "On Religious Liberty", Lefebvre and Cardinal Alfredo Ottavianihad supported instead a text dealing with "Relations between the Church and State, and religious tolerance."[36] The Coetus Internationalis Patrum did, however, manage to get the preliminary vote (with suggestions for modifications) on the document put off until the fourth session of the Council, but were unable to prevent the adoption, on 7 December 1965, of the final text of the declaration Dignitatis humanae by the overwhelming majority of the Council.[Notes 13] The expressed view of some that this overwhelming majority was only due to intense lobbying by the reformist wing of Council Fathers among those prelates who initially had reservations or even objections,[37] however, is not accepted by all observers. Lefebvre was one of those who voted against the declaration, but he was one of those who added their signature to the document, after that of the Pope, though not all present did sign.[Notes 13] Lefebvre later declared that the sheet of paper that he signed and that was "passed from hand to hand among the Fathers of the Council and upon which everyone placed his signature, had no meaning of a vote for or against, but signified simply our presence at the meeting to vote for four documents."[38] However, the paper on which his signature appears, and which was not "the relatively unimportant attendance sheet which Lefebvre recalled in his interview", bears "the title Declaratio de Libertate Religiosa (along with the titles of three other documents) at the top," and "(t)he fathers were informed that if they wished to sign one or more documents, but not all of them, they could make a marginal annotation beside their name, specifying which documents they did or did not wish to sign. No such annotation is found beside the names of either Lefebvre or de Castro Mayer, which proves that they were prepared to share in the official promulgation of that Declaration on Religious Liberty which they later publicly rejected."[39]  
As proof of the radical nature of this interview, I offer a personal experience I had today. I was shocked to find earlier this week that the alumni magazine at the Catholic college our younger son attends published two wedding announcements (complete with photos of the grooms) for same-sex “marriages.” One of the “grooms” was a divorced man and his former wife attended the wedding.
I wrote to the editor of the magazine and to the superior of the religious order in charge of the college. In the latter’s reply today, he defended the wedding announcements, quoting at length words from this interview. The Pope, he concluded, has commanded us to be merciful to the “marginalized.” The use of the term “marginalized” to describe the grinning, tuxedo-clad grooms surrounded by a sea of grinning “Catholics” in the obviously lavish “wedding” of the divorcee was intensely nauseating. But isn’t that what the Pope said? We must accept the sinner as he is: ”In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this.” Within hours of the publication of these words, a priest thousands of miles away was using them to justify the endorsement of same-sex “marriage” by the administration of a Catholic college.
This understanding of mercy is perverse. St. Augustine said, “Woe to he who trusts in mercy with the aim of sinning! How many this illusion had fooled and led into perdition! Woe to he who abuses the goodness of God to offend Him more!”
If I am misreading this interview as calling for an entirely different Church, what I would call a Counter-Church, then obviously other people are too. Perhaps as the Pope said, “When you express too much, you run the risk of being misunderstood.”  Strange that instead of guarding his words, he invites further misunderstanding with this long interview, which, as I said, has no authority but is likely to be taken as authoritative.
Why does he not know Rome well? Probably for the same reason I don’t know Rome well though I’ve spent an aggregated five months or so there over the years.
But you were not a Cardinal who visited Rome many times and you have not devoted virtually all of your life to the Church, which is based in Rome. Actually, it is not that he does not know Rome that is a problem, it’s that it’s an inappropriate thing to say publicly. If a king of England were to say, “Well, I don’t know London very well,” it would be depressing and suggest that he did not care to know about the greatest city of his kingdom.
He has a duty to uphold the splendor and monarchical character of the Papacy? Honestly? To overawe the rubes?
And you call yourself a Catholic? You sound like a Protestant to me.
No, not to overawe the “rubes” but to give them spiritual sustenance in visible form. Perhaps you prefer Marxist palaces and those splendiferous ski chalet churches that are the fruit of Vatican II. You do not seem to be awed by St. Peter’s. By the way, rubes devoted their earnings to build the splendor of the Church and the palatial atmosphere. The monarch gives up his freedom and the simple life to feed the souls of rubes with the dignity and beauty of his office.
On collegiality, it does not necessarily imply a lessening of authority.
It seems that he is saying it does. I am not a canon lawyer. But I do not recognize this article of faith in my readings of Church doctrine:
And all the faithful, considered as a whole, are infallible in matters of belief, and the people display this infallibilitas in credendo, this infallibility in believing, through a supernatural sense of the faith of all the people walking together.
If people possess this infallibility as a whole, why do we need the Church at all? Perhaps I don’t understand his meaning here but then he certainly is not being clear to the normal person, who would be inclined after reading this, I would think, to trust in his own judgment.
These are pretty contentious readings of what he actually said. As for the people’s sense of faith, we have historical instances of the faithful resisting the errors of heretical bishops, and there was once a time when the people were actually widely knowledgeable about their faith. And note that he does say, ““And, of course, we must be very careful not to think that this /infallibilitas/ of all the faithful I am talking about in the light of Vatican II is a form of populism. No; it is the experience of ‘holy mother the hierarchical church,’ as St. Ignatius called it, the church as the people of God, pastors and people together.”
But people are not widely knowledgeable of their faith today. Taken in the context of his insistence that the papacy is a low and humble office, his comment here that he is not a populist rings hollow.
I’ll conclude with this: Often we in the Anglosphere and the West think the world revolves around us and our problems. Our perspective is not universal, whereas the Pope’s must be.
The plight of faithful Catholics around the world is remarkably similar. They need the support of the Church hierarchy in order to fight moral relativism and political suppression.
Laura adds:
Interesting that despite all these words from the Pope, he says nothing, not one single word, about the obvious crisis of decorum in the modern Church, a crisis which is merely a reflection of the vulgar kitsch of the Novus Ordo liturgy and its destruction of the sacred.
A reader at Tradition in Action today sums up the goings-on in his own parish, which are typical:
There is no Sunday that I do not witness one, and typically more, of the following irreverent behaviors at Mass:
Women dressed in short-shorts or skirts so brief one can only pray their posture is better than their sense of propriety… and hope no dropped object must be picked up.
Men wearing sloppy T-Shirts with logos both secular and profane (The likeliest time to see a man in a suit and tie is when he has mistaken the Sacrifice of the Mass for a more formal occasion).
Children whose parents bring snack bags, beverages, toys, coloring books and the crayons that come with them lest conduct proper to occasion need be taught.
Adults with bottled water, sipped throughout the Mass, lest they perish before the final blessing.
The certainty that at least one cell phone will blast loudly despite the opening request to “turn them off” (You’ve missed the fullest experience of the New Church unless you’ve listened to the William Tell Overture during the Consecration of the Body & Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ).
Young people and adults alike texting at length during Mass.
The Touchy-Feely-Fest parishioners are directed to slavish upon one another after the Consecration to prove their regard for the stranger next to them is every bit as high as their regard for God.
Enthusiastic applause during and after the Mass in tribute to some person or persons other than God – but always, always for the choir who has set us on our way home with tunes so sticky & sweet it takes until mid-day to shake them from your head. That and the drum roll rimshot the organist makes on his magic music machine for the occasion of a particularly lame joke by the priest.
The swarm of hen parties after Mass in front of the sanctuary. If you have in mind Prayers for After Mass, you can just tuck that missal away.
[...]
There are other things less common but sights not soon forgotten. The woman throwing her head back to administer nose-drops in the pew ahead of me pops to mind. Oh. Well, that and the guy with the bottle of Ensure the other Sunday. You know…lest they perish.
And who in the church can forget the posters under each saint’s statue promoting a fund-raising festival?…the ones with graphics of swaying hula girls in coconut-shell bras…
Nonetheless, gratitude swells the heart for our church being yet spared the inclusion of Liturgical Dances, which is to say nymphs in diaphanous dresses leaping about the altar. While these performances are indistinguishable from rituals by Druids at Stone Henge during High Solstices, they are not to be confused with any pagan counterpart.
It can be argued that America is in a cultural collapse, but nowhere will you find more slobs than under the roof of a Roman Catholic Church.
I will not embarrass her further by bringing in spectators to the Roman Circus within.
Felipe writes:
Leo writes:
I’ll conclude with this: Often we in the Anglosphere and the West think the world revolves around us and our problems. Our perspective is not universal, whereas the Pope’s must be. That is always going to kick up regional tensions when the Pope doesn’t address local concerns as quickly or effectively as we would like. Even so, every Pope is the son of a local church, this one is from South America. So I expect that he is still using the ‘language’ of Argentina, which is what he is most familiar to him. I don’t know enough about the issues in Argentina to be able to ‘translate’ Francis into terms currently in use here in the USA. To conclude that Francis hates the Church on the basis of what we’ve seen of him so far is a shocking overreach and much mistaken.
As a Brazilian, I’d like to clarify this: No, he is not speaking the “language” of Argentina as there is no such a thing when it comes to moral issues. South America was founded by Portuguese and Spanish settlers, we too are part of the Western heritage. He is really being liberal and is slapping conservatives in the face. The Pope personies why when I converted to Christianism I didn’t even for a moment consider choosing Catholicism: The Catholic Church in South America is massively liberal and leftist, and therefore it is empty and void of true spirituality and instead is just yet another organization dedicated to the propagation of Marxism.
On one side I find it amusing how the Pope could consider that choosing liberalism is the right thing. Look at the success of the liberal Catholicism in Brazil. It reduced the amount of people that regularly go to a mass from 80% in the 60′s to nowadays less than 10% for sure. So we can drop immediately the false assumption that choosing liberalism instead of conservatism will bring more adepts to his church. In the same period conservative Protestant churches in Brazil grew non-stop.
On the other side the comments of the Pope are a true slap in the face of conservative Christians. He says that conservative Christians are being too political. But says nothing about the left-wing of the Catholic church which does things such as organizing armed peasants to steal rural properties by the point of guns. It’s called the “Landless movement”. He says nothing about the non-stop attack by liberals against the family and our tradition.
The left-wing propaganda machine runs at full speed, and he says that right-wingers should keep it shut? It’s the same kind of cynicism and bullying deployed by the liberal media, even using similar words! Plus, his comments will make it infinitely harder to fight against the liberal agenda, as if not even the Pope is against the gay movement and abortion, what are we trying to do? Push a world view shared only by some conservative Protestants?
I think he should be ashamed as a man which is putting yet another nail in the Western civilization. As if we hadn’t already had enough traitors, this convinces me further that the West is a lost cause, there is no hope for the patient. The true battle will be between liberals and Islamists: Liberals on one side trying to seduce the Islamists into joining them into the collective beating of Western conservatives. They try to offer Islamists the highest status possible in the liberal order, the status of a “historically disadvantaged coloured people”. And Islamists on the other side giving them the finger and saying they really mean it when they say they want the liberals dead. I’m secretly rooting for the Islamists.
Laura writes:
Thank you.
Here is a glimpse of the situation in Argentina. Perhaps this is what Leo would like the Pope to focus on instead of bothering himself with the collapse of the Church in Europe, which after all is not a universal problem.
Jane writes:
A reader at Tradition in Action today sums up the goings-on in his own parish, which are typical…
He forgot “hearing socialist doctrine, instead of Christian doctrine, being preached from the pulpit. That is by far the worst part.
Laura writes:
Whenever I look at this interview, I find new horrors. I am reeling. Here is another:
The ministers of the Gospel must be people who can warm the hearts of the people, who walk through the dark night with them, who know how to dialogue and to descend themselves into their people’s night, into the darkness, but without getting lost.
What does it mean to say that priests must “know how to dialogue and to descend themselves into their people’s night, into the darkness?” It seems to mean that they must heal by embracing the sins of the sinner, by becoming part of their moral darkness. “Dialogue” in modern terminology means compromise. This is not the sacrament of Confession, in which the priest is unsullied by the sins of others. This sounds like pagan, psychotherapeutic witchcraft.
Again, I am not a canon lawyer or theologian, but I do know something about the basic articles of faith. There are some lovely words in this interview, but there are many things I just don’t recognize as Catholic.
Kimberly Wilson writes:
The person who complained about the man with the Ensure can might want to rethink that. In my experience with family and friends Ensure doesn’t show up in a household unless someone is quite ill or dying.
John E. writes:
Interesting that despite all these words from the Pope, he says nothing, not one single word, about the obvious crisis of decorum in the modern Church, a crisis which is merely a reflection of the vulgar kitsch of the Novus Ordo liturgy and its destruction of the sacred.
With respect, here you are not being clear, as you at least appear to attribute “vulgar kitsch” to the essence of the Novus Ordo liturgy, and this defies my experience.  I have experienced at my parish only Novus Ordo Masses celebrated with an overall sense of reverence and decorum, replete with Propers chanted by the choir in Latin along with Palestrina or Tallis motets, beautiful Ordinaries also in Latin led by the choir and learned and sung by the congregation, prayerful silence before Mass, a corps of all-male altar servers, with as many as fifteen participating in solemn procession at any given Mass, faithful attention to the rubrics by the priest without personal “improvisation,” and even the facing of the high altar during prayers which is not otherwise customary at a Novus Ordo Mass.  In fact, at another parish in the city a priest says all of his Masses, both the Traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo, ad orientem, and he is violating nothing in the rubrics of the Novus Ordo in doing so.  I am painfully aware that this is not the regular experience of the typical Mass-goer in the United States, or the world for that matter, as the chances of having a vulgar, kitschy experience by being dropped randomly into a Mass at one of the Catholic parishes throughout my city is greater than 90 percent.
For the record, and for what it’s worth considering my very limited perspective on the Church and her mission in the world, I would prefer that the ordinary or even the only means of celebrating the Mass were the Traditional Latin Mass rather than the Novus Ordo.  The former is less prone to abuse, and I think it takes more effort to exercise due reverence both celebrating and attending the latter.  The greater part of the reason that the common experience at Mass is not one of reverence is because it is more difficult to have such an experience.  It is easy to do violence to the Mass by putting one’s personal and subjective stamp on the Sacrifice of the Mass when it is present in the Novus Ordo form, and unsurprisingly many have thus put it and done it.  This is not the same as saying that the Novus Ordo liturgy is necessarily vulgar and kitschy.  Or else how is it possible that I have been exposed primarily to transcendence and reverence at Novus Ordo Masses I have attended as described above?
Clarity on this matter is necessary so as not to overreact or aim in the wrong direction, especially in these days which require so much circumspection.
Laura writes:
I don’t think I was being unclear, though you disagree. The vulgar kitsch stems from the Novus Ordo liturgy itself, although it is possible to avoid the worst of it and to find reverent masses, though the sort of abuses listed by the Tradition in Action reader are pervasive. The Novus Ordo prayers are less reverent and meaningful than the prayers of the Tridentine mass, which is more than 1500 years old, and the rubrics draw attention away from God and toward the people. There was a reason why Pope Pius V decreed that the Extraordinary Form could not be changed in his Apostolic Constitution of 1570, which said: “We order and enjoin that nothing must be added to Our recently published Missal, nothing omitted from it, nor anything whatsoever be changed within it.” The liturgy itself was a sacred revelation. To change it — and it was changed monstrously — was to tamper with the work of God himself. The liturgy was not solely the work of human artistry or piety.
You admit that the liturgy itself is the problem when you say, “I am painfully aware that this is not the regular experience of the typical Mass-goer in the United States, or the world for that matter, as the chances of having a vulgar, kitschy experience by being dropped randomly into a Mass at one of the Catholic parishes throughout my city is greater than 90 percent.”
Don Vincenzo writes:
It would be senseless and a bit un-Christian to reiterate that much, if not all, that has been written on this thread about the pontiff was predictable once he assumed the title of the Vicar of Christ. But that is water under – or over – the bridge, but a few things, perhaps of minor import, could be added to the litany of woes described.
To those who know the Vatican, the interview in Civilta Cattolica was not an aleatory event; it was planned, as is just about everything done by The Holy See. The magazine is an Italian Jesuit publication – the English translation appearing in the U.S. Jesuit magazine, America. What makes this placement important is that the pontiff and Fr. Spodaro are one in spirit: united in their wish to transform a venerable and God-created institution to one more in tune with the modern world by virtually eliminating the importance of its supernatural foundation. All of this posturing by the US main stream media about the pope’s ”conservative” credentials was a ruse, for those with whom he had contact in Argentina were far more prescient about the pontiff’s theological outlook. But that, too, is water over – or under – the bridge.
I have mentioned before that especially incisive commentary about the Vatican’s current state of affairs can be found on European blogs in general, and the Italian in particular. In a recent story, the pope was shown blessing a cleric in attire that confirms that he has very little interest in tradition, even with respect to the raiment of the pontiff. Upon his election he refused to use the sedia gestatoria, used for centuries to carry popes aloft during a ceremony. He also, upon his installation, eschewed use of the mozzetta, the white damask and ermine cape. What the pontiff seems to favor, as indicated in a recent photo, are vestments in which the “Alpha and Omega,” symbol of the timeless and eternal Church, that appear ”un-Traditional.” A minor point? Only if you accept that this deviation from the traditional is accidental; I do not.
There is another aspect of the Pope’s behavior that is worrisome to Traditionalists: the decree that the Franciscan Order devoted to Mary should jettison their habit, operative since its founding, of saying only the Tridentine Mass. After clarifications, the pontifical decree was released and the true intent of the document is to insist that the Franciscans say both the Tridentine and Novus Ordo Masses, which overrules the decree of the the late Pope Pius V, and the now retired Pope Benedict XVI. I wonder how many “Trads” now accept the likelihood that Benedict XVI may be the last Traditional pope for an extended period of time?
Finally, a bit of historical irony: in August, 1773, at the insistence of several of the Catholic monarchs of Europe, Pope Clement XIV, a Franciscan, in his decree, Dominus Redemptor Nostra, dissolved the Jesuit entire Order. How it returned is another story. Two hundred and forty years later, it is a pope who has intervened in the affairs of the Franciscans, made even more bizarre by the pope, a Jesuit, assuming the name of the founder of the Franciscans.
Laura writes:
I wish I was proficient in Italian. I would like to read the original interview. Perhaps you have not had time to look at both, but I would be curious to know if you notice any substantial differences.
Laura adds:
Compare the interview with Pope Francis to this statement in an interview with the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk. Here is an excerpt:
“Among the requirements of the European community are pseudo-values. The EU looks like a teenager who is testing the limits of morality and needs a Christian education. Europe was built not on same-sex marriages, but on the respect for human dignity, the protection of human rights and freedoms, on honesty in politics and business. On these foundations Europe arose, but it has forgotten about it. These are the values ​​which today the church defends in our society. When it comes to the protection of life from its natural beginning to natural end, then it is the basis for the opposition to euthanasia, abortion, and other acts that violate the dignity of life”
He refutes the assertion that if Ukraine adopts the law on gay marriage, then it will join the European community. “I can affirm that it is not so. Sometimes our legislators, so as to not implement other bills, implement ones like this. It is much easier for them in Europe and in Ukraine to vote against the traditional family than against corruption, the unfair judicial system that tolerates selective justice. They focus on minor issues so as to not solve the main ones.”
Jeanette V. writes:
Pope Francis is very proud of his humility.
Mary writes:
A parallel can be drawn between the informality (if that is the right word) of the Pope’s speech and the documents of Vatican II: because of a lack of precision or perhaps a certain level of informality – or maybe even an attempt to “talk down” to the people – the Pope’s words are left open to varied interpretation at best, in the same way that the documents of Vatican II were left open to varied interpretation. Whether this openness was intentional in the case of Vatican II is can be debated, but, John E.’s post notwithstanding, in it’s fruits we can see where this type of imprecision/informality leads.
Gifted Popes (and priests) have beautiful and delicate ways of helping people to understand God’s perfect love and perfect mercy for them; of inspiring a longing for it in their lives; and an acceptance that because of this perfect love and mercy they must not persist in sin, that repentance is worth the hard spiritual work it requires. The speech and writings of a pope must surpass in every way, must be superior to, what a Catholic would encounter in the everyday. When a pope opens his mouth or picks up a pen he should put forth an air of palpable authority, completely rising above the fray, almost an otherworldly quality, for he is communicating the supernatural, the one true Faith and its eternal, unchanging truths, the universal message of Christ. Saints and sinners alike – Protestants, even – depend on him to do this.
Sept. 23, 2013
Don Vincenzo writes:
It can be argued that America is in a cultural collapse, but nowhere will you find more slobs than under the roof of a Roman Catholic Church.
As a coda to that remark, it is evident that what was at one time the de rigueur dress code for parishioners attending Mass has now degenerated, like the society in which we live, into a “come as you are” love fest.
For someone who has reached a certain age – mine - the differences in dress of both women and men from generations ago are striking, and becoming more so. Here I am by no means alone in noticing the trend: many years ago, the late Rev. Richard John Neuhaus,  a convert and later a Catholic priest, as well as the editor of the magazine, First Things, would comment about the lack of appropriate dress at his church in New York City.
After returning from an overseas assignment in 1988, I attended Mass at the church in New York City where my wife and I were married, and was appalled by the shorts, tank tops and sandals worn by the majority of the people at Mass. No one seemed to notice their unsuitable dress; certainly not the parish priests. There clearly must be exceptions, but in my experience, this dreadful phenomenon is rampant in the U.S.; far less so in other places. One might also add that to observe those leaving Protestant services, one would strain to see such sloth in attire amongst those congregants.
What can be done? Here I would disagree that the pontiff, whose words are universal in their context, could dictate the appropriate form of dress for every Catholic worldwide; that is the task of the bishop and even more so the parish pastor and priest. At our Traditional Church, the priest makes a point of having one sermon a year on the proper dress for Mass. “Think of it as if you were invited to the White House. Wear the best of what you have.”
There is also a description of what proper dress means listed on the door into the church: no shorts or tank tops, and ladies should cover their heads (veils are available) and shoulders. Since I have been seating people at the 9 o’clock Mass for more than 15 years, I can tell you that not all visitors take those suggestions to heart. Some, intent on demonstrating their independent spirit, walk out in a huff, to which I say, “Good riddance.”
Unless the parish priest is willing to take on this issue, and risk hurting people’s feelings, there will be no change in the inappropriate dress worn not only at Mass, but at First Holy Communion and Confirmation ceremonies as well. While it may be hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but should be easier to teach and old dog old tricks.
Leo writes:
In regards to the ‘obsession’ with abortion, same sex marriage, etc. I find not only that these controversial issues are seldom preached about, but that the fundamental principles that underlay the Church’s teaching is not spoken of either. Not only that, but that silence serves as cover for other grave disorders that should be vehemently addressed but are not. When, for example, was the last time you heard a good sermon on incest? I’ve worked in the social services field and I can tell yo that incest is a huge problem that in terms of sheer numbers dwarfs abortions. I’ve heard one, and surprised that the priest dared address it. I do think that these ‘obsessive’ (note the quotes) topics need to be addressed.
Let’s also address the fundamentals. One of the reason there are so many abortions is because there is so much promiscuity. The culture teaches that people are but meat pillows, so go ye and fornicate. Love has become indistinguishable from lust. How about some preaching on holiness, the sanctity of the temple of the body, the right relationship between persons, chastity, etc. In the culture ‘marriage’ has become a sentimental fashion accessory with which to publicly validate a hot, romantic cohabitation and collect loot. If that were all that marriage is why would anyone care about same sex marriage? But that is not what marriage is, though many Catholic young people today do not know it. We need to hear more about the meaning of Catholic marriage.
Yes, I definitely want more than abortion, homosexuality and same sex marriage discussed from the pulpit. The Pope has noted that Catholic doctrine is neither a monolith to be defended without nuance nor a hodge podge of random doctrines with no relation to each other.[Laura writes: In this interview, he said that it is a hodge podge of doctrines.]  We humans must perforce address the unified truth of the Faith one topic at a time. We need to hear more topics more often and in more depth. I work with the Confirmation teens at my parish, and I can tell you that there is a real hunger for the Faith. I have seen that not a few young people drift away because they are not satisfied with simple, un-nuanced prescriptions (thou shalt, thou shalt not) based solely on authority with no intellectual or spiritual foundation. The youth understand, very much more often than they are given credit for, that the pablum they get from the world around them is insufficient to sustain a truly human life. Many of them are not satisfied to be meat pillows in search of other meat pillows with which to couple.
One of the greatest failures of the post Vatican II church is that in attempting to make itself relevant (by people pleasing behavior) it has made itself irrelevant. So far I see Francis as continuing the reversal of that disastrous trend of irrelevant relevancy we’ve seen and applauded (well, I did, anyway) in the papacies of JPII and BXVI.
Standby; more will be revealed.
Laura writes:
You seem to have backed away from your previous assessment of this interview.
Leo writes:
No, Laura, I don’t think I’ve backed away at all. I think he’s orthodox and is not trying to further undermine the Church and the Magisterium. On the contrary, he’s trying to build the Church up by addressing problems as he sees them with solutions that he believes in. The problems are huge, I wouldn’t want his job. I have, despite his somewhat ambiguous use of language, no reason to distrust him. Quite the contrary, given that the Holy Spirit was in charge of his election I’m more interested in figuring out the plan and getting with it than anything else. Just another miles Christi on the frontier with a few others holding the line against pagans and apostates in Shaky Town.
Laura writes:
If Pope Francis is orthodox in the ideas he expresses here then Catholic history is littered with heretical popes, to whom you must deny allegiance. I recommend Pius X’s Pascendi Dominici Gregis, his encyclical against modernism, as an example. Pius X emphatically condemned many of the ideas confusingly articulated by Francis. 

Alan: Learn more about Pius X at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pius_X

Excerpts:
In 1910, the Pope refused an audience with former Vice-President Charles W. Fairbanks, who had addressed the Methodist association in Rome, as well as with former President Theodore Roosevelt, who intended to address the same association.[12]

Anti-modernism

Pope Leo XIII had sought to revive the inheritance of Thomas Aquinas, 'the marriage of reason and revelation', as a response to secular 'enlightenment'. Under the pontificate of Pius X neo-Thomism became the blueprint for an approach to theology.[16] Pius X's papacy featured vigorous condemnation of what he termed 'modernists' and 'relativists' whom he regarded as dangers to the Catholic faith (see for example his Oath Against Modernism). This is perhaps the most controversial aspect of his papacy. He also encouraged the formation and efforts of Sodalitium Pianum (or League of Pius V), an anti-Modernist network of informants, which was seen negatively by many people due to its accusations of heresy against people on the flimsiest evidence.[12] This campaign against Modernism was run by Umberto Benigni in the Department of Extraordinary Affairs in the Secretariat of State, distributing anti-Modernist propaganda and gathering information on "culprits". Benigni had his own secret code—Pius X was known as Mama.[17]
Pius X's attitude toward the Modernists was uncompromising. Speaking of those who counseled compassion to the "culprits" he said: "They want them to be treated with oil, soap and caresses. But they should be beaten with fists. In a duel, you don't count or measure the blows, you strike as you can."[17]
The movement was linked especially with certain Catholic French scholars such as Louis Duchesne, who questioned the belief that God acts in a direct way in the affairs of humanity, and Alfred Loisy, who denied that every line of Scripture was literally rather than perhaps metaphorically true. In contradiction to Thomas Aquinas they argued that there was an unbridgeable gap between natural and supernatural knowledge. Its unwanted effects, from the traditional viewpoint, were relativism and scepticism.[18] Modernism and relativism, in terms of their presence in the Church, were theological trends that tried to assimilate modern philosophers like Kant as well as rationalism into Catholic theology.[citation needed] Modernists argued that beliefs of the Church have evolved throughout its history and continue to evolve[citation needed] Anti-modernists viewed these notions as contrary to the dogmas and traditions of the Catholic Church.
In a decree, entitled Lamentabili Sane Exitu[19] (or "A Lamentable Departure Indeed"), issued 3 July 1907, Pius X formally condemned 65 modernist or relativist propositions concerning the nature of the Church, revelationbiblical exegesis, the sacraments, and the divinity of Christ. This was followed by the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (or "Feeding the Lord's Flock"), which characterized Modernism as the "synthesis of all heresies." Following these, Pius X ordered that all clerics take the Sacrorum antistitum, an oath against Modernism. Pius X's aggressive stance against modernism caused some disruption within the Church. Although only about 40 clerics refused to take the oath, Catholic scholarship with modernistic tendencies was substantially discouraged. Theologians who wished to pursue lines of inquiry in line with secularism, modernism, or relativism had to stop, or face conflict with the papacy, and possibly even excommunication.


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Alan: "Arguing against those who said that natural philosophy was contrary to the Christian faith, (Aquinas) writes in his treatise "Faith, Reason and Theology that "even though the natural light of the human mind is inadequate to make known what is revealed by faith, nevertheless what is divinely taught to us by faith cannot be contrary to what we are endowed with by nature. One or the other would have to be false, and since we have both of them from God, he would be the cause of our error, which is impossible."" "Aladdin's Lamp: How Greek Science Came to Europe Through the Islamic World" by John Freely 

"St. Thomas Aquinas, Natural Law, and the Common Good /// Aquinas Quotations"



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