Pat Archbold of Creative Minority Report has published another “open letter” to the Holy Father, like the one he published about my community. This time it is an appeal to regularize the SSPX without requiring from them any agreement whatsoever. His post was up on The National Catholic Register website, but the editors there removed it. (In my estimation, a wise choice.) He has now posted it on his own blog.
Archbold argues that the generosity extended by Pope Francis recently to a group of charismatic Protestants ought also to be extended to a group of Catholics who hold no doctrinal errors. I do not understand this logic, since while Pope Francis encouraged unity he did not invite these Protestants into full communion or suggest that they enjoyed it. (My bad. See comments: 1, 2) Continue reading →
The Catholic culture war continues to heat up. John Allen from The Boston Globe has recently noted the that there is a possible “right wing” backlash to the Franciscan pontificate that will pit a majority of “Francis Catholics” against “Benedict Catholics.” I believe he is right, though I would say that the backlash is well underway,
As evidence of this Allen points to the February 12 article of Antonio Socci in the Italian paper Libero, in which he suggests that Benedict’s resignation was very possibly invalid, and that therefore he is still pope. Socci is not even considered a traditionalist, though he has been critical of Pope Francis on various scores. Read the article of Allen. Continue reading →
Rorate Caeili posted a translation of an article by Corrado Gnerre from Il Giudizio Cattolico, entitled “Who are the real ‘Christian Ideologues’?”, which addresses Pope Francis’ critique of ideology within the Church. While I do not agree with his conclusions, I think Gnerre helps to clarify the problem that Pope Francis is trying to correct.
Ignoring the Facts
Gnerre defines ideology as a “hypertrophic condition of the intellect” by which one chooses to put faith in one’s “own theoretical and intellectual constructions” rather than to see the observable facts. It is “an enlarging of the intellect in size without an increase in perception and understanding,” resulting in “a blind spot in the intellectual mind itself.” In other words, an ideologue gets so rapt up in his prejudices and pet theories that he is incapable of acknowledging the existence of counterfactuals. And the ideologue’s problem is not emotional bias, but a very rational and systematic presentation and defense of his theory, albeit, a house of cards that cannot sustain a comparison with the facts, because the theory itself demands that the facts be ignored. I believe that Gnerre’s definition is correct. Continue reading →
Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth; and there were peals of thunder, voices, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets made ready to blow them.
In medieval English churches a standard architectural/artistic element of the liturgical environment was the Doom painting in the tympanum of the western wall of the Church. This depiction of the Last Judgment was located above the doors of the Church, so that it could be seen by the people as the exited the building. ”Doom,” in this sense, is a synonym for Judgment Day. Thus, the Crack of Doom, does not refer to some opening in the earth from which proceeds the apocalyptic judgment, but, the moment in time when the impending judgment is announced by the “crack” of thunder and trumpet blast. Continue reading →
He’s great because he is everything. He is a man who wants to do things, wants to build, he founded an order and its rules, he is an itinerant and a missionary, a poet and a prophet, he is mystical. He found evil in himself and rooted it out. He loved nature, animals, the blade of grass on the lawn and the birds flying in the sky. But above all he loved people, children, old people, women. He is the most shining example of that agape we talked about earlier.
Pope Francis’ description of his namesake, given in his recent interview with Eugenio Scalfari, is a popular one, both in style and content. In it is found the reason why the St. Francis-with-the-bird statue winds up in many a garden of those whose identity as Catholics is otherwise nominal. St. Francis had a love for nature. For some that will be the take home from the above statement of the Pope. But there is more in the Holy Father’s description. St. Francis was like Jesus. His life was poetry. He achieved a life of charity rarely found in mere mortals. Pope Francis is building, like his namesake. He is making something more significant of that statue in the garden. Thus, the pastoral method of Pope Francis in his interviews is personal, direct and spontaneous, but I believe we would be mistaken if we took them has haphazard. Continue reading →
From the publication—authorized—of data from the questionnaire it becomes clear that there are serious internal problems in the Institute. It also becomes clear how pretentious is the campaign organized by those who have cried foul on account of the Vatican’s appointment of a Commissioner to the Institute and on account of the decision made at that time by the Pope to limit their faculty to celebrate the old Mass, submitting it to the authorization of the Superior, that is, of the Commissioner. This campaign culminated in public appeals to the friars encouraging them to disobey the directives of the Holy See, and in verbally violent attacks against the presumed small group of “traitors” within the Institute. Finally, one must not forget that the old Mass continues to be authorized in churches under the care of the Franciscans of the Immaculate where there are stable groups of faithful that desire to attend that form of the Mass, as per the provisions of Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum.
I have sat back a bit to observe the reaction to Pope Francis’s interview with Father Antonio Spadaro. So far, I have only mentioned it briefly in my last post where the Holy Father touched upon a topic I was already working on. I do not think anyone is surprised that pundits on the far left and right have interpreted the Holy Father’s remarks as expressing freewheeling liberalism. Neither is it surprising that those loyal to the Holy Father have dedicated most of their time to clarifying what the Holy Father actually said. Hopefully, now more time will be spent assimilating his words without fear of receiving or conveying the wrong message.
I think Pope Francis in the interview is perceived by many commentators the way he must be by the Vatican Police who are constantly challenged in their efforts to maintain a parameter of safety around this man who is of the people, and who finds it necessary to relate directly with them. The Vatican police must wonder if the Holy Father is aware of the danger, because he does not seem to show it. On the contrary, from his contact with the people as well as from his teaching and example, it seems that Pope Francis sees a greater danger in not taking such risks. Continue reading →
Pope Francis has recently criticized the modern versions of Pelagianism and triumphalism in a way that has left some devout Catholics scratching their heads. The Holy Father seems to be taking aim at the more traditionally minded that are intent on bringing about a restoration of Catholic life, and they find it hard to understand why the Vicar of Christ would have a problem with, of all things, “traditional Catholicism.” So what exactly is Pope Francis trying to accomplish?
Faith and Future
I believe the Holy Father is attempting to underscore the supernatural character of faith in a time when everyone is affected by the deviations of modernity, including the very people who are reacting against these deviations. In his encyclical Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis says that faith is a supernatural gift that lights our way, “guiding us through time.” It comes from the past as a “foundational memory.” Yet, because faith proceeds from the Risen Christ it is also a light that comes from the future, “opening before us vast horizons which guide us beyond our isolated selves towards the breadth of communion” (4). Thus, Pope Francis calls faith memoria futuri, “remembrance of the future” (9). Coming from the past, faith is an unshakable memory of what God and done for us in Christ Jesus, and what He has revealed to us through His Son. Coming from the future, faith is bound up with hope in the promises God has made and guaranteed by the resurrection of His Son. Thus, in practice to keep the faith means never allowing ourselves to be robbed of hope. It means never being frozen in time because we are afraid of the future (57). Continue reading →