Monday, April 22, 2013

IS POPE FRANCIS A FUNDAMENTALIST? NO, HE IS A CATHOLIC! HE CONTINUES TO PUT ACADEMICS IN THEIR PROPER PLACE!


Or is the Pope a fundamentalist?


In today's homily (WHICH YOU CAN READ BY PRESSING HERE) at the chapel of his place of residence, the Motel 6 of the Vatican (thank God it isn't the motel 666! :)) the Pope exclaimed, "Some of you may say: '[Holy] Father, you're a fundamentalist!'." But he said no, he wasn't, but basically went on the explain the Gospel of the Mass for today. It was about taking the narrow path and the Gate to that path is Jesus Christ."

So the Holy Father went further: "No, simply put, this is what Jesus said : 'I am the gate', 'I am the path’ [He] gives life to us. Simple. It is a beautiful gate, a gate of love, it is a gate that does not deceive, it is not false. It always tells the truth. But with tenderness and love. However, we still have […] the source of original sin within us, is not it so? We still desire to possess the key to interpreting everything, the key and the power to find our own path, whatever it is, to find our own gate, whatever it is. "

What the Holy Father does so well, which academic theologians sometimes obfuscate is the simple message of the Gospel.

Compare what the simplicity of Pope Francis explanation of today's Gospel is with what he said last week at another Motel 6 Chapel homily about "intellectuals or academics" when he said the following:

And these, on the road of duty, load everything on the shoulders of the faithful. The ideologues falsify the gospel. Every ideological interpretation, wherever it comes from – from [whatever side] – is a falsification of 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.

And then understand Pope Francis from what he said to the academic Biblical theologians of the Biblical Pontifical Commission only two weeks ago:

It follows, therefore, that the exegete (Biblical theologian) must be careful to perceive the Word of God present in the biblical texts by placing them within the faith of the Church. The interpretation of the Holy Scriptures cannot be only an individual scientific effort, but must always confront itself with, be inserted within and authenticated by the living tradition of the Church. This norm is essential to specify the correct relationship between exegesis and the Magisterium of the Church. The texts inspired by God were entrusted to the Community of believers, the Church of Christ, to nourish the faith and guide the life of charity. Respect for this profound nature of Scripture conditions the very validity and effectiveness of biblical hermeneutics. This results in the insufficiency of any interpretation that is either subjective or simply limited to an analysis incapable of embracing the global meaning that has constituted the Tradition of the entire People of God over the centuries, which “in credendo falli nequit" [cannot be mistaken in belief – ed](Conc Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. VAT. II, Dogmatic Cost. Lumen Gentium, 12).

The Holy Father is correcting one of the three legs of the "stool" that is undermining the Magisterium of the Church and leading Catholics into perdition by opening a gate that is not Jesus and a path that does not lead to heaven, to the world of true "Godless" secularism. That leg is "academia" when they become "intellectuals without talent, ethicisits without goodness..."

The other two legs of Godless secularism are the media in its many secularist forms and government itself when opposed to true religion, when confrontational with the Church.

The three biggest problems for the Church today which strive to guide our people to a secular godless religion or no religion at all are "Academics, Media and Government."

The pope is starting the in-house purification with those who have undermined the true Faith for the past 50 years by a bogus interpretation of the Second Vatican Council that has led to a bogus interpretation of the Bible which then leads to a bogus interpretation of Tradition. God bless him. He is not a fundamentalist! He is a Catholic and Catholic to the core. Is the Pope Catholic? Yes, yes, yes! Alleluia!

WAIT UNTIL HE GETS TO THE LCWR AND OTHERS IN THE PRIESTHOOD AND RELIGIOUS LIFE WHO HAVE BASTARDIZED THE THREE VOWS THAT MOST MAKE OF "POVERTY, CHASTITY AND OBEDIENCE" REINTERPRETING THEM IN A WAY THAT THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL NEVER INTENDED. I CAN'T WAIT!

Those leading the institutional Church into Post Catholicism by re-imagining her through the deconstruction of the true faith, your days are numbered!

14 comments:

Anonymous 5 said...

In American Christianity the term fundamentalism generally refers to non-negotiable belief set forth in a series of pamphlets entitled _The Fundamentals_ published in the 1910's. Over time it's also developed both antiscientific and anti-intellectual connotations. In that sense I think the fundamentalist movement is one of the more damaging things to have developed in American Christianity, since it has alienated rational thought and thinkers, creating a very un-Catholic gap between science/reason and faith that has robbed all of Christianity of a lot of legitimacy in the eyes of the modern world.

More broadly the term refers to non-negotiable beliefs, often rather literal, that one must hold in order to be a member of a religious community. in the latter sense, Catholicism _is_ fundamentalism; that's the idea that modernists are trying to destroy. In fact, many, though not all, of the beliefs stated in _The Fundamentals_ (which were written by Protestant evangelicals) are Catholic doctrine as well.

Bottom line: we need to be conscious of how we use the term fundamentalism, but if using it carefully, we Catholics both are and _should_ be fundamentalists.

A5
"Putting the fun back into fundamentalism since 1982"

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A5 all excellent points.

rcg said...

One problem with this is that people demand 'proof' before they will 'believe'. I may be wrong, but I don't think either of those are accurate terms. People want to see a cause and effect in relatively short order before they will accept something. That is the issue with homosexual marriage: people want to see the damage before they will accept that it is a bad idea.

Pater Ignotus said...

As regards Sacred Scripture, the Catholic approach to interpretation and understanding is "fundamentalism." It is not "literalism."

We want to know, fundamentally, what Scripture teaches, what it revelas as God's message to us. Employing various techniques of interpretation helps us understand what is the Truth that God wants us to know.

The Fundamentalism Project, directed by Scott Appleby and Martin marty, did some very good work regarding this odd social phenomenon.

Gene said...

Anon 5, LOL!

WSquared said...

"The interpretation of the Holy Scriptures cannot be only an individual scientific effort, but must always confront itself with, be inserted within and authenticated by the living tradition of the Church. This norm is essential to specify the correct relationship between exegesis and the Magisterium of the Church."

So many who talk ceaselessly of collaboration, and listening seem never to notice that they themselves don't want to collaborate with the Church-- which Chesterton famously pointed out is not restricted to those who happen to still be walking about-- and to listen to her, either.

WSquared said...

"I think the fundamentalist movement is one of the more damaging things to have developed in American Christianity, since it has alienated rational thought and thinkers, creating a very un-Catholic gap between science/reason and faith that has robbed all of Christianity of a lot of legitimacy in the eyes of the modern world."

Spot on. Some of that has even crept into the Catholic Church here in a myriad of ways, not all of which are easy to pin down.

You might hear, for example, that it's better to have a grandmother with her Rosary than a whole host of academic theologians. While understandable on one level, given how much damage some academics and theologians have done, it is also needlessly disparaging on another.

Paraphrasing Ratzinger on the role of theology, theology-- faith seeking understanding-- is not only an academic discipline, but for all believers, and it is arrogant to denigrate those with a simple faith in God. But a theologian is tasked with not misusing or even abusing the gifts and work that God has given him/her, and for that (and to truly be a Catholic theologian), he or she is obligated to think with the Church and her received faith. That also requires a simple, childlike faith in God, only applied to the areas in which one has received specific gifts. Else, one wonders how Thomas Aquinas ever became a saint.

Furthermore, I sense what you're writing about in what Fr. McDonald calls "coloring-book Catholicism": namely, a two-pronged tactic that first demands that something be dumbed down, otherwise it is not relevant to "the people," but when that does happen, the same folks who made that demand then later complain that the faith "lacks substance."

That very un-Catholic gap between faith and reason also runs in the other direction. Namely, thinking that because the heart is the primary instrument for seeking God, and the intellect is not sufficient, then it somehow follows that belief in and love of God is primarily emotional, contrary to any need for obedience, discipline, and intellect (whereby it then follows that the Church should give into whatever gives people an emotional high, inside and outside of Mass) when all of those things go together. There's enough insistence that love is primarily an emotion, when we all know (or should know) that doesn't even work with our kids and our students.

The anti-intellectual bent also comes out in critiques of Benedict The Aloof Intellectual vs. Francis The Humble from enough folks who have never read anything he's written or listened to any of his general audiences or his Angelus addresses, all of which are on YouTube. That he appealed to large numbers of young people was only "because he's the Pope," and not anything he actually had to say to them. Young people aren't stupid, and they can sense when someone is being genuine and isn't B.S.ing them. While he may not have had the kind of popular touch that Pope Francis has, Benedict did nonetheless touch their hearts and minds, because he didn't pretend to be something he wasn't and didn't treat them like idiots.

What is curious is how enough Catholics in America will womble on about how educated, questioning, and skeptical they now are. But when confronted with Catholic orthodoxy, and its demands of faith and reason both, they complain that all the discipline needed to think rightly defiles the supposed purity of their faith in and love of God running primarily on their emotions. Their emotions are somehow "above" all that intellectual stuff, and their feelings are sacrosanct. And their college education means that they're "too smart" for Catholicism.

There's also enough blather from self-purported smart people about God caring about what's "truly in your heart" that manages to miss the connection that God caring about what's truly in our hearts is precisely what makes talking about sin imperative.

rcg said...

If it leads you away from God, better quit it. Our vanity makes us think we can figure God out. Neither can we perform some act, or even recite the Rosary some number of times and gain our salvation. As soon as we try to figure out how to own the Truth, we lose it. It is the same with the Pope. I have to keep in ind that in some way, the Holy Spirit is guiding this man.

Truth is some resent B-XVI because he was smarter than most of us. People say they like Pope Francis because he is 'one of us'. We think the pressure is off, the bar lowered. So now we think this Pope is stupid and can be tricked into easing up on us by some Uriah Heep, cloying, praise comparing him unfavourably to Benedict. Dang.

Our faith is very complex, and yet daiphanous, simple, elemental. Why do we try to stuff into a pigeon hole when it is so endless intriguing and beautiful?

WSquared said...

"People say they like Pope Francis because he is 'one of us'. We think the pressure is off, the bar lowered."

...I wonder how many such people are going to like that interview where he's pretty darned blunt about the tendency to spend money primarily on pets and cosmetics, whereby the poor are merely an afterthought.

Peggy Noonan wrote that all sorts of people claimed to love John Paul II. But didn't love or even know what he stood for. Or words to that effect.

rcg said...

WSquared, dang straight. How many people would live like he did in Argentina, heck like he does in Rome, when they have the chance to do otherwise? Close to none. Christ is so complex and endlessly renewing: one Pope stands up and puts on the trappings, endorses ad Orientem formal respect due to God, and gets hit in the back. The very next Pope shows the more simple face of Christ and is accused of disrespect. There is one message loud and clear from both Popes: stand with Christ and you are a target.

Anonymous 2 said...

That’s exactly right, rcg. And that is why we get to read the Chorus during the Passion Narrative: “Crucify him; crucify him.”

Gene said...

Wow! Anon 2, that comment was right to the heart. See, you do have some sharp edges...

rcg said...

A2, Yes. You are exactly right.

WSquared said...

In terms of Pope Benedict's apparent lack of "humility," "heart," "enthusiasm," "simplicity," or whatever, I was ruminating the other day on a favorite quote of mine from when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger:

"dear young people: do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and He gives you everything!"

What the heck more would he have to have said that would've made that and so much else he communicated "simpler"?

Should he have drafted his encyclicals in crayon, then?