Monday, May 12, 2014

AT TODAY'S PAPAL HOMILY: THE MARTIANS ARE COMING! THE MARTIANS ARE COMING! BAPTIZE THEM!

It turns out, as we all know, that the only weapon that was needed for this Martian invasion was Holy Water and Baptism. This is my favorite Martian movie and I would have loved to have gotten this Martian into St. Joseph's RCIA!

(Vatican Radio) "Who are we to close the doors " to the Holy Spirit? This was the question that Pope Francis repeated this morning during his homily at Mass at Casa Santa Marta, a homily dedicated to the conversion of the first pagans to Christianity. The Holy Spirit, he reiterated , is what makes the Church to go "beyond the limits, go ever forward".

The Spirit blows where it wills, but one of the most common temptations of those who have faith is to bar its path and drive it in one direction or another. A temptation that was not alien even in the early days of the Church, as the experience of Simon Peter in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles shows. A community of pagans welcomes the announcement of the Gospel and Peter is an eyewitness to the descent of the Holy Spirit on them. First hesitates to make contact with what he had always considered "unclean " and then he suffers harsh criticism from the Christians of Jerusalem, shocked by the fact that their leader had eaten with the "uncircumcised" and had even baptized them. A moment of internal crisis that Pope Francis recalls with a hint of irony :

"That was unthinkable. If – for example - tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here ... Martians, right? Green , with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them... And one says, 'But I want to be baptized! ' . What would happen ? " .
Peter understands his error when a vision enlightens him to a fundamental truth: that which has been purified by God cannot be called "profane" by anyone. And in narrating these facts to the crowd that criticized him, the Apostle, calms them all with this statement : " If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God? " .
"When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, 'No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, lets do it this way ' ... and Peter in that first diocese - the first diocese was Antioch - makes this decision: ‘Who am I to admit impediments?'. A nice word for bishops, for priests and for Christians . Who are we to close doors? In the early Church, even today, there is the ministry of the ostiary [usher]. And what did the ostiary do? He opened the door, received the people, allowed them to pass. But it was never the ministry of the closed door, never".

Again Pope Francis repeated, God has left the guidance of the Church "in the hands of the Holy Spirit". "The Holy Spirit - he continued - as Jesus said, will teach us everything" and "remind us what Jesus taught us":

"The Holy Spirit is the living presence of God in the Church. He keeps the Church going, keeps the Church moving forward. More and more, beyond the limits, onwards. The Holy Spirit with his gifts guides the Church . You cannot understand the Church of Jesus without this Paraclete, whom the Lord sends us for this very reason. And he makes unthinkable choices, but unimaginable! To use a word of St. John XXIII : it is the Holy Spirit that updates the Church: Really, he really the updates it and keeps it going. And we Christians must ask the Lord for the grace of docility to the Holy Spirit. Docility in this Spirit, who speaks to us in our heart, who speaks to us in all of life’s circumstances, who speaks to us in the Church's life, in Christian communities, who is always speaking to us”.

22 comments:

Joe Potillor said...

The question becomes are all things "movements of the Holy Spirit?" What about the discernment of said spirits too? I most certainly do not doubt that the Holy Spirit guides the Church, but not every movement or every decision is of the Holy Spirit

Gene said...

Indeed, so, Joe. The Holy Spirit is not trapped in the Church nor pressed between the pages of Holy Scripture.

JBS said...

Well said, Joe Potillor. This discernment features prominently in the spiritual practices of the various religious congregations founded since the Reformation, the Reformation being a divisive "movement" utterly lacking in discernment (but never lacking in debate!).

Martians would certainly need to go through RCIA, with due examination of their marital statuses.

JBS said...

Nicely put, Gene.

Gene said...

JBS, clever comment marking Martian marital matters.

RE: Reformation. As I have said before, the Reformation is the worst thing that ever happened to the Church with the possible exception of Vatican II.

Anonymous said...

Let the Holy Spirit inspire as He will.......EXCEPT for the Franciscans of the Immaculate and Traditional Catholics who actually believe and try to live the Faith.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

To call into question Vatican II itself rather than how it was implemented or better yet not implemented, is very schismatic in the Eastern Orthodoxy sense of schism or the Protestant mentality of complete rupture with the true Church. It is not possible for an orthodox Catholic to humbly accept and obey the authoritative teachings of the pope and bishops in an ecumenical council . Let that catholic be anathema!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Last sentence should be "it is not possible for an orthodox Catholic not to accept in humble obedience..."

In addition we has schismatic Catholics after Vatican I who rejected its definition of papal infallibility. This group eventually became what is today called Old Catholics. SSPX are very similar to this Old Catholic rejection of one or another of Vatican II's authoritative teachings binding on all Catholics who must humbly, let me underscore humbly, accept Vatican II!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The Franciscans of the Immaculate are being obedient to the legitimate authority of the Church in their current trial and purification and humbly so! What you are advocating is LCWR arrogance and disobedience to the hierarchy which is itself coloring book Catholicism at best and typical cafeteria Catholicism at worst!

Gene said...

No infallible teachings came from Vat II. As we have discussed, it was more of a "zeitgeist," said spirit having, in many instances, run amok. So, perhaps we should always refer to the "spirit" of Vat II in our comments. But, tell me Fr, can you not look at what is going on in the Church right now and see what damage has been done by said "spirit?" I invite you to come to any of several other Masses I attend…but, wear Depends if you do.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - The argument "Vatican Two taught nothing infallible, therefore I can ignore Vatican Two" is wrong.

There are approximately FIVE HUNDRED citations from the Documents of Vatican Two in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Are we to say that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is deficient because it cites a Council you prefer to dismiss?

Of the 162 footnotes in the encyclical Ut Unum Sint, approximately 75 of them cite documents of the Second Vatican Council.

It this papal encyclical a bunch of hogwash because you don't like its primary source for Catholic doctrine?

Of the 102 footnotes in Dominus Iesus, approximately 42 cite documents of the Second Vatican Council.

Can we ignore or dismiss Dominus Iesus because nearly half of its authoritative, binding teaching comes from the Second Vatican Council?

The suggestion that Vatican Two can be ignored, overlooked, or dismissed because it "teaches nothing infallible" is ludicrous and reveals a substantial misunderstanding of the nature of the operation of the Magisterial Office of the Church.

JBS said...

Perhaps I should clarify that by "religious congregations", I mean Catholic congregations of "apostolic life", such as the Jesuits. And by Jesuits I mean as they were before. Etc.

Joe Potillor said...

Vatican II was possibly called during the worst time in history. 10 or 20 years earlier (or later) and I think the results from Vatican II would be completely different....in that sense, I understand where Gene is coming from with "the worst thing to happen to the Church"

Joe Potillor said...

Vatican II was possibly called during the worst time in history. 10 or 20 years earlier (or later) and I think the results from Vatican II would be completely different....in that sense, I understand where Gene is coming from with "the worst thing to happen to the Church"...But that's another topic :)

MR said...

Whenever he makes a homily like this, I become fearful that he is referring to the communion for the remarried issue.

JBS said...

I think you're right about the timing, Joe Potillor.

Pater Ignotus is almost right, but I don't think we need to say a council is infallible to insist on proper consideration of its teachings and decrees.

George said...



Pater Ignotus and JBS

Vatican II is full of magesterial, infallible teaching. Any reference to scripture, for instance, is infallible. It was at the insistance of St Pope John XXIII (from what I read) that no NEW infallible teaching come out of the Council. We are bound by all infallible teaching that is in the documents. If I have trouble with what is in any documents, I yield to the interpretation and teaching of the Church,the Magisterium.
Always.

Pater Ignotus said...

George - And when you see documents of Vatican Two cited in encyclical after encyclical, in apostolic exhortation after apostolic exhortation, in CDF declaration after CDF declaration, you are getting "the interpretation and teaching of the Church, the Magisterium."

George said...

Pater Ignotus:
I was just making the point (to those who say or think or insist) that there was some NEW infallible teaching that came out of Vatican II. The Holy Spirit enlightens us to a more explicit understanding of the Deposit of Faith and it does this through various means, whether it's proclamation of dogma or a greater understanding of what has been revealed to us through conciliar documents etc...

Pater Ignotus said...

George - Indeed. But for those who don't understand how teaching evolves and develops, or how the magisterial office both further explicates and expands the application of the revealed Truth, we have to keep these things in mind.

JBS said...

Pater Ignotus,

Don't you know that the Catechism was presented at the first Solemn High Mass celebrated the day after Pentecost by Saints Peter, Paul and John? They wore red vestments!

George said...

I should have said "He does this"
and not "it does this". The Holy Spirit is one of the persons of the Triune God after all.