Monday, July 28, 2014


 On his pastoral visit to Caserta on Sunday where he met with the region's priests, Pope Francis was  asked for suggestions for a pastoral program able to relaunch the primacy of the Gospel without mortifying popular piety. He answered that “true popular piety was born of that Sensus Fidei described in the Encyclical Lumen Gentium and which is guided by devotion to the Saints, to the Virgin, and also by folkloric expressions, in the positive sense of the word”. He added, “the agnosticism that has entered into the Church in groups of intimist piety” are not good, but are instead a form of heresy. … Popular piety is inculturated, it cannot be produced in a laboratory, aseptic … it is always born of life."

What then is an "intimist piety" which the Holy Father describes as heresy?
I found this on the internet:

Anti-Marian Forms of Spirituality

Not all expressions of Marian devotion and "Marian spirituality" are truly and authentically Marian. There are too many well-intentioned Christians for whom the mere mention of Mary’s name serves as a cover for pious exaggerations, theological reductionism, and psycho-spiritual projections. Authentic Christian spirituality, which always has an engrained Marian dimension, proceeds from true faith, as Lumen Gentium reminds us, faith "by which we are led to recognize the excellence of the mother of God."75  Being even more specific, Marialis Cultus speaks of attitudes of piety which are incorrect,76  because they are "not in harmony with the Catholic faith and therefore must have no place in Catholic worship."77  This exhortation seems to be all the more pressing as many devotional practices of the past, some of which gave way to devotional deviations mentioned in Lumen Gentiumand Marialis Cultus, have been retrieved and are being once again practiced by many of the faithful, with spiritual profit. Rather than ostracizing specific Marian devotions, we would like to pinpoint some of the more current anti-Marian attitudes which lead to the misuse or misinterpretation of Marian devotion and spirituality.

1. Apocalypticism

This attitude mobilizes Mary as doomsday prophet and inspirer of fear and trembling. We all have need for some motherly exhortation and sisterly warning in the face of the moral and spiritual challenges of our lives. And, as we know, the fear of God is to be counted among the Christian virtues. By unilaterally and exclusively projecting the image of the Deus tremendus, apocalypticism demeans the Christian notion of love, which is mercy, and negates the reality and challenge of the Incarnation. This approach diminishes the figure of Mary by depriving her of an essential dimension. Mary is the mother of Incarnation, of loving presence to the world, and, therefore, an active agent of its transformation in Christ; that is, she is Mater rerum recreatarum and no doomsday sibyl.

2. Esoterism

Too much of Marian devotion is built on Mary’s role as Dea ex machina, and is linked to para-psychological realities such as special fragrances, weeping statues and rosaries turning golden. This is not a hidden or indirect criticism of apparitions and miraculous phenomena. But, indirectly at least, esoterism suggests an end to faith and the imminent dawn of beatific vision. Mary makes it possible. Instead of being a corollary to messages of conversion, prayer, and, in general, spiritual hardship, Marian esoterism reduces eschatology to the present and promises immediate spiritual satisfaction. Sensationalism, as esoterism is called in secular terms, favors spiritual consumerism and attributes to Mary magical power. Many related examples could be given; one of them deals with the almost magical and superstitious way in which the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is promoted.

3. Spiritualism

There exists a certain tendency in Marian devotion and spirituality toward intimist or "privatistic" expressions of affection for Mary. "Marian spirituality" was never meant to become an "ivory tower" for Mary’s devotees. Although contemporary spirituality puts emphasis on therapeutic concerns for a world in need of healing, Mary is not simply the gatherer, offering her followers the protection and warmth of her maternal womb. An orientation to action and apostolic endeavor are an integral part of "Marian spirituality." Being disciple and associate in Christ’s salvific work, Mary is also a "sender," involving her followers in her mission of being mother of the Church and of all humanity.


Pater Ignotus said...

Rather interesting.

I wonder if Aramis is one of the "special fragrances" warned about under "Esoterism," because I don't always wear cologne, but when I do it is Aramis.

Anonymous said...

I choose "Dos Equis"...and I am the most interesting man in the world.

Wipo of Mainz said...

Lumen Gentium is not an Encyclical, it is a Dogmatic Constitution of the Second Vatican Council. If Pope Francis actually says a fraction of what is attributed to him, then he has clearly lost the plot.

Another papal resignation (or deposition) might not be far off.

JBS said...


JBS said...

The Holy Father also spoke of the the proper attitude a priest should have at Mass: "Prayer is so important. Not only the prayer of the Divine Office, but the liturgy of the Mass, quiet, celebrated well with devotion, personal prayer with the Lord."

JBS said...

The English section of Vatican Radio shows the full conversation, while the Italian section only has brief snippets. And, the English section does not refer to Lumen Gentium as an encyclical.

Gene said...

I like Wipo…he cuts right to the chase. Hey, Wipo, how are Harpo, Groucho, and Zeppo of Mainz?

George said...

The devil, Satan is the Great deceiver. He seeks to catch everyone in the traps he and his minions lay. Being of an angelic nature he has a great capacity to harm and can do much damage. He is the Great imitator and those with a false and superficial piety and weak faith are all too ready to succumb to his charms and deceits.Many today, because of the abuse of the freedom God has given them and a turning against His laws, become unwitting co-operaters with Satan and his evil works. There are some that come under the spell of false "apparitions" and "miracles" because their mental and emotional state has been compromised in some way. They are all like sheep who have wandered and so become easy prey. There are those who are all to ready to exploit and promote these for their own financial benefit. Satan and his minions are the God-allowed agents executing the consequences of our sinful actions as they have been since the beginning of the world. There is much sin in the world today and so Satan with his evil influence and power is finding a fertile environment to ply his trade. Satan can make himself appear as angel of light. The Egyptian magicians performed miracles in front if Moses and the pharaoh. We must not be taken in by the Evil one's lies and deceits.

Diane Korzeniewski said...

Good post.

rcg said...

I suppose there is some value categorizing the types of superstition humans can have. It seems that we are still coming to grips with the idea that we cannot control or barter with God or the Saints.

Anonymous said...

Dear WIPO ofMainz, we can only pray for such a grace. God spare us.

Wipo of Mainz said...

Gene, one of the sayings of Marx (Karl or Groucho, you decide) - 'Trotsky needed Stalin like a hole in the head!' LOL!