Category Archives: Pope Francis

Trying to understand Pope Francis

Try this: He’s a romantic, lives by the metaphor, mounts gut-level responses, which he glorifies to the detriment, alas, of the rational. It’s a common failing, from which many suffer and, alas, which many celebrate.

He’s in harsh denial of the rational, which he has seen up close and rejected, and by which he is horrified. Has hardened his heart and mind to it. Which explains his abhorrence of the Cardinal Sarah silence doctrine, as in Sarah’s book and (especially) in his promotion of more silence in the mass, for which he received a papal talking-to.

Francis is not interested in that sort of discipline, cares only (or much more) about action, and even the inoffensive Cardinal Mueller, non-renewed as head of the doctrine commission, offends him, exemplifying (he and Sarah) all from which Francis is desperately in flight.

There. It’s a try.

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Today’s Catholic liturgy “is sick,” says cardinal in charge

He is Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, appointed in 2014 by Pope Francis. His book is

From which I quote:

[C]elebrations [of the mass] become tiring because they unfold in noisy chattering. The liturgy is sick. The most striking symptom . . .  is perhaps the omnipresence of the microphone. It has become so indispensable that one wonders how priests were able to celebrate before it was invented. . . . I sometimes have the impression that celebrants fear the free, personal interior prayer of the faithful so much that they talk from one end of the ceremony to the other so as not to lose control of them.

They certainly are loathe to let the air go dead. It’s as if they were on radio, rather than TV, though for that matter, TV announcers do jabber away. But you don’t need the sound while watching he World Series in a bar.

Do not presume that the cardinal is breaking new ground for himself (or others, such as James Hitchcock in his Recovery of the Sacred). He has set liberal hearts pulsing with alarm in numerous public statements to this effect. But this new book of his has some choice descriptions, as in this about participating in the liturgy as urged by Vatican II:

Truly, it is about becoming participants in a sacred mystery that infinitely surpasses us: the mystery of the death of Jesus out of love for the Father and for us. Christians have the . . . obligation to be open to an act that is so mysterious that they will never be able to perform it by themselves: the sacrifice of Christ. In the thought of the [Vatican II] Council Fathers, the liturgy is a divine action, an actio Christi. In the presence of it, we are overcome with a silence of admiration and reverence. [Struck dumb, as it were.] The quality of our silence is the measure of the quality of our . . . participation. [Huge departure here from current practice]

All in all, in this passage as throughout the book, he strikes a spiritual note. He is, I have concluded, of the spiritual wing of the church, as opposed to the social action wing led by (whom else?) Pope Francis, with whom he is on a collision course, to judge by several well publicized incidents and several major controverted issues.

He quotes then-Cardinal Ratzinger in a 1985 book, “[Some have lost] sight of what is distinctive to the liturgy, which does not come from what we do but from the fact that something is taking place here that all of us together cannot ‘make’.”

Idea is, we go to church (mass) not to do something but to witness it. It’s a happening, and a quite mysterious one at that.

The late Robert McClory, in his Radical Disciple: Father Pfleger, St. Sabina Church, and the Fight for Social Justicecites a St. Sabina parishioner on Chicago’s South Side who supported what its famous activist pastor, Fr. Michael Pfleger, does but stopped attending mass there, going to another parish. McClory couldn’t get much more out of the man, who apparently wanted something more rewarding in a personal-spiritual sense.

So I concluded, anyhow, having participated in one of Fr. Pfleger’s three-hour liturgies and found it fascinating but hardly something that would keep me going on an apostolic venture — or on the humdrum daily fulfilling of the duties of my state of life.

More later from the book on silence by the cardinal who speaks up when he thinks it’s important.

The pope’s a player, with a lot to lose

Francis doesn’t see himself that way. He’s more Ben Carson than Donald Trump. But he’s in it deeply.

Pope Francis is becoming an aggressive public player in secular politics, from the environment to economic policy. That carries risks, not for Francis alone, but for the papacy and the institution the pope leads.

Big problem there. He’s betting the farm, which isn’t his to bet.

The day before Pope Francis met with Mr. Obama, one of the president’s aides, Ben Rhodes, said: “How can we make use of the enormous platform that the pope’s visit provides to lift up the work we’re doing and demonstrate how it’s consistent with the direction that’s coming from the pope?” At the White House, Pope Francis praised Mr. Obama’s climate-change initiatives, and the president thanked the pope for supporting his policies on that and his opening to Cuba.

Brothers in Christ? Not quite, but consider this:

It is not possible to do this [exchange encomiums with
one of the big guys] and be “above” politics. Everyone in politics is one of the boys, including the pope.+

And your people have to be dragged along with you:

In Cuba, when the pope’s spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, was asked if Pope Francis knew that 50 dissidents had been arrested, he said: “I don’t have any information about this.” Embarrassing bunk is standard for the Josh Earnests of the world. It should not become so for the pope’s spokesman.

With unforeseen consequences galore:

On one hand, Francis is amenable to being photographed smiling and squeezing hands with Fidel Castro, a decades-long oppressor of his nation’s Catholics. But then the Vatican objects that the pope might be photographed with a famous pro-abortion nun invited by the White House. Barack Obama plays hardball. His Justice Department had already sued the anti-abortion Little Sisters of the Poor.

Whom he unexpectedly visited, true, in a distinctly muted show of support in their battle with one of his new best friends. He has his priorities:

In the past two years, the plight of Christians in the Middle East has gone from persecution to slaughter. Decades of Vatican diplomacy there for the world’s most at-risk Christians has produced very little. Soon there may be nothing left to protect. On Friday, the pope reportedly will address the U.N. about climate change. A jeremiad against Christian extermination would be welcome this week, too.

His new friends use him.

What many of his new political friends mainly seek is to have the pope “moralize” their politics. Francis’ spiritual message could not be more secondary. They won’t be with him in Philadelphia. How allowing the papacy’s core moral authority to be politicized is in the interests of the Catholic Church as an institution is difficult to see.

Very difficult.

Later:

Maybe the Little Sisters visit means more than a nod in the right direction.

“What a huge boon to Catholic educators who yearn for relief from the Obama administration’s HHS mandate and protection of their First Amendment rights. This brings attention to the case that represents not only the Little Sisters but so many of us whose rights are denied,” said [Patrick] Reilly [president of the Obama-fighting Cardinal Newman Society].
Than again, probably not. Can we imagine Obama feeling pressured (or much less, inspired) by the Pope, him of the photo-op potential?

We have here a case of understanding what Pope Francis says better than he does

The author is a British academic with a keen interest in economic inequality:

Martin O’Neill is a senior lecturer in politics at the University of York and a co-editor of “Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond” (paperback edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014). He is currently a research fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, working on a project about the significance of inequality.

He sees Francis embracing not only “radical green” but hard-left economic solutions:

Pope Francis’ new encyclical [Laudato Si,
June 18] is making headlines mainly because of the tough line it takes on climate change, and its message to Catholics and others that they must embrace radical green solutions to society’s problems.

But the Pope’s ecological message is only part of his radical political agenda. Just as significant as his environmental message is a parallel progressive economic agenda that fundamentally rejects deregulated free-market capitalism.

The Pope has a bracing message for Christians and other “people of good will”: that the time has come to move beyond right-wing economics, and to embrace a different kind of economic system.

The papal explainers who play Francis’s radicalism down in favor of his mainly giving spiritual more or less generic advice should tell this fellow how wrong he is.

On the other hand, there’s this other annoying aspect: where is this deregulated capitalism Francis and this radical professor are talking about? Not in this country, where regulations are a constant bone of contention.

Pope Francis said WHAT about St. Francis? Referencing whom?

I think this from # 66 of Laudato si says a lot about Pope Francis:

Saint Bonaventure held that, through universal reconciliation with every creature, Saint Francis in some way returned to the state of original innocence.[40]

In some way, eh? State of original innocence? That would be before Adam and Eve got the heave-ho from paradise.

Adam, Eve expelled

Heave-ho

So maybe, in some way, the pope’s patron was cured of original sin, placing him second only to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was conceived without it! Why haven’t we heard about this before Laudato si?

Because we have not been reading our St. Bonaventure, who floats this arresting speculation in The Major Legend of Saint Francis, VIII, 1, in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, New York-London-Manila, 2000, 586 — which I know from reading Laudato si footnote 40 (of Francis’s 172).

The next sentence says more:

This is a far cry from our situation today, where sin is manifest in all its destructive power in wars, the various forms of violence and abuse, the abandonment of the most vulnerable, and attacks on nature.

Pope Francis is on firm, well-traveled ground here, except that what it’s a far cry from is the state of innocence granted to St. Francis because of his universal reconciliation with every creature, which we know because the early Franciscan Bonaventure mentioned it in his Life of the saint..

So Pope Francis bolsters his argument for saving the earth with a throwaway line from a 13th-century philosopher-theologian writing a book about the revered founder of his own religious order.

One foot in the 21st century as a prophet against man-made global warming, the other in the 13th as off-the-wall homilist. That’s our pope, too easily impressed.

Our modern Pope is stuck in ancient ways

Footnoted references in Pope Francis’s Laudato si range from Francis of Assisi’s Early Documents to Basil the Great — 172 in all, just two of them not a church source, one of these a noted 20th-century philosopher, the other a Muslim spiritual writer.

He offers no reference to any scientific authority or commentator, nothing but airy meditation material, bad poetry aimed primarily at the feelings, one a priori argument after another.

It’s a model of church talk, apodictic as can be. Why is he so apodictic? And formal? And so dependent on authority rather than argument made by his sources?

He concedes nothing. Nowhere is there a “coal does a lot of good, heating homes of many poor people, but . . . ” for instance. Nope, it’s “you have to shut up and listen,” it’s your holy father talking.

From the mountain top, or on one of the seven hills of his see city, he speaks. We are down below, being told what to do. He’s supreme, we are devotees.

But he’s actually from Argentina, and seems to think he knows how to help poor people because there are so many of them in his country. That’s no recommendation, for my Peter’s pence.

Maybe he should consider a country where there are not so many poor people, the United States, for instance, where tho on the rise it’s where every poor person in the world would give his eye teeth to live and where Mexican and other people are dying to get in.

Why not look to the one country where everyone wants to live and see how things are done there, one of the world’s most free-market capitalist countries?

Instead, he rails against free markets and pulls an Obama, making nice with dictators and other autocrats, he himself effectively dictating, under cover of biblical-style prophecy, how we should to run our countries and our lives. A little second-guessing of yourself, Holiness, a little humility!

Pope Francis’ Favorable Rating Drops in U.S.

For a worldly attention-seeker, it would be very bad news, but as a follower of Jesus he’s not impressed with this sort of thing.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pope Francis’ favorability rating in the U.S. has returned to where it was when he was elected pope. It is now at 59%, down from 76% in early 2014. The pontiff’s rating is similar to the 58% he received from Americans in April 2013, soon after he was elected pope.

The coronation bounce is it at this point.

Chicago archbishop and U.S. EPA in this “fight” together: Take that, climate change!

The archbishop and the EPA administrator co-author Sun-Times op-ed.

The Most Reverend Blaise Cupich and the head woman of the nation’s whole damn Evironmental Protection Agency, also known as its Employment Prevention Agency, take us from clean air asthma-protection (who can object to it?) to this:

The fight against climate change isn’t a sprint — it’s a marathon. But with continued leadership and committed action from the archdiocese, from Chicago, and from congregations and communities across America, we can turn the challenge of climate change into an opportunity to build a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous future.

A month ago, Pope Francis asked, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”

We all know the answer, and that’s why we’re working together — faith leaders, public officials and private citizens — to make it a reality. [Italics added]

To make what a reality? Give me antecedents to match those pronouns.

And turning challenge of such and such into an opportunity? To build a cleaner, healthier, etc.? How about cleaning up the air for asthmatic children and letting it go at that?

This is such a play for national visibility as to unleash a flood of disbelief. What about flood-prevention while we’re at it?

The crafty Mundelein loved FDR and boosted the New Deal, however. There’s precedent for this, sad to say.

via Opinion: We have a moral obligation on climate change | Chicago.

Pope Francis and Putin seeing eye to eye

I am “troubled,” as people say when disgusted, appalled, confused, etc. but would rather stay with the gooey word.

We have the once-KGB top dog, now same for the once-USSR, really liking this pope who kept the relatively decent world out of Syria with one of his political forays, as explained in this fairly fatuous piece by once-NC Reporter man John Allen.

When will they ever change, when will they change?

And consider if you will the accompanying photo:

What gives with our pontiff, the way he LOVES those left-wing dictatorial types? What’s he thinking of?

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