Who Really are the Christian Ideologues?

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

Confronted with the Truth

Pope Francis does not mince words in his daily homilies: calling the attempt to tame the Holy Spirit in the work of the Second Vatican Council, stubbornness and foolishness; and then several days latter saying that “ideologues,” from whatever side they come, “falsify the gospel.”

And these ideologues, as we have seen in the history of the Church, end up being intellectuals without talent, ethicists without goodness – and let us not so much as mention beauty, of which they understand nothing.

Pope Francis says that the solution is the humility by which one welcomes the Word of God, not only into one’s head, but also into one’s heart.  He says that the doctors of the law in our Lord’s time were too heady:  they knew the law, but they were unconverted:

They are the ones who walk only ‘on the path of duty,’” theirs is the moralistic (outlook) of those who pretend to understand the Gospel with their heads alone.

Today he speaks of “lukewarm Christians,” “Christian satellites” who want to have a small Church, and “walk only in the presence of common sense,” building a Church according their specifications for their little group.

Hard words about hard words (Jn 6:60).

I have written much on this blog about ideology on the left and right in the Church.  Ideologies are unhelpful, whether they have to do with turning sex into mysticism or a crisis into the apocalypse.  Thank God, once again, for Pope Francis.