Saturday, October 18, 2014

A CHASTENED POPE FRANCIS?

The entire speech of the pope and yes, he calls himself that and Supreme pastor and other titles!

Dear Eminences, Beatitudes, Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters,

With a heart full of appreciation and gratitude I want to thank, along with you, the Lord who has accompanied and guided us in the past days, with the light of the Holy Spirit.

From the heart I thank Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod, Bishop Fabio Fabene, under-secretary, and with them I thank the Relators, Cardinal Peter Erdo, who has worked so much in these days of family mourning, and the Special Secretary Bishop Bruno Forte, the three President delegates, the transcribers, the consultors, the translators and the unknown workers, all those who have worked with true fidelity and total dedication behind the scenes and without rest. Thank you so much from the heart.

I thank all of you as well, dear Synod fathers, Fraternal Delegates, Auditors, and Assessors, for your active and fruitful participation. I will keep you in prayer asking the Lord to reward you with the abundance of His gifts of grace!

I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.”

And it has been “a journey” – and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough”; other moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and the tears of their faithful people. Moments of consolation and grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and the joy of their married life. A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned:

- One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility [trans: rigidity], that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.
- The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”
- The temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46).
- The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.
- The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things…

Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted – and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) – His disciples should not expect better treatment.

Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace. Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parresia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law,” the “good of souls” (cf. Can. 1752). And this always – we have said it here, in the Hall – without ever putting into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage: the indissolubility, the unity, the faithfulness, the fruitfulness, that openness to life (cf. Cann. 1055, 1056; and Gaudium et spes, 48).

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.

Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.

And, as I have dared to tell you, [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.

His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God's People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, or, as the Council puts it, ‘to see to it... that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)… and it is through us,” Pope Benedict continues, “that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: ‘let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ (cf. 123, 5); this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant (cf. St Augustine, Discourse 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. ibid., Epistle, 95, 1).”

So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).

Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.

One year to work on the “Synodal Relatio” which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. It is presented to the Episcopal Conferences as “lineamenta” [guidelines].

May the Lord accompany us, and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name, with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph. And please, do not forget to pray for me! Thank you!

Thank you, and rest well, eh?

24 comments:

Who am I to judge?! said...

Looks like the media have finally noticed that the synod didn't go as planned: it's all Cardinal Burke's fault, apparently, justifying his demotion (does this spin come from the Vatican or from Burke's US opponents?).

I'm normally not a fan of Damian Thompson's blog (now in the Spectator), but he seems to be the only voice in the mainstream English media to diverge from the standard liberal spin.

RSM said...

Who cares I'm sleeping in tomorrow. What's the point...

Anonymous said...

I don't trust him. He showed his true colors.

I'll pray that God stops him from trying to allow: sacraligeous communions, divorce, homosexual unions and any other immorality. But I expect he will double down on his efforts for the synod next year but he will be more sly about his motives.

I predict that to get even with the orthodox bishops who thwarted him Piero Marini will be announced a prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

I predict Archbishop Forte will be named a Cardinal.

I predict cardinals Muller and Pell will be reassigned.

Bombshell prediction: I believe he will allow Cardinal Burke to keep his current position but will just ignore him and anything he has to say. I say this because I think Francis fears Burke's real humility and his superior intellect. It's better to keep your enemies close. And if Burke remains in his position he will have to restrain his speech.



Anonymous said...

Did the Pope really say anything? I watched a couple of the press conferences...secular politicians could learn much from the official spokesmen in how to answer a question by using many words and saying nothing.

"Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted – and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) – His disciples should not expect better treatment."

This is very troubling. The pope seems to be very egocentric here. I know of no one calling him names. There were calls for him to speak and dismay at his silence that lead to speculations. This synod is very troubling. NO synod of the Church should even think of thinking about changing, updating etc doctrines of the Church.

What we have witnessed here is the floating of trial balloons to see how the wind is blowing. Like how secular leaders who wish to change culture do things. Thanks to God for men such as Burke who saw the balloons and popped them.

Mark
The Anglican Priest

Anonymous said...

The damage has been done. You will have many heterodox characters taking the lead from this synod and “in anticipation of the new openness” will begin to teach the sacrilege from the first draft Relatio. There is nothing in Francis’ speech that leads me to believe that he doesn’t have the most displeasure for those gosh darn traditionalists, rather his comments confirm those feelings. There should be no more time wasted attempting to explain Francis’ future ramblings in a way that would make them consistent with orthodox teaching. He needs to be challenged and corrected at every turn. He now will take the next year to build momentum for his cause and will do all he can to stack the deck with more progressives. I would suggest that devout priests and bishops form groups of faithful people to attend next year’s synod. People should hold prayer vigils in St. Peter’s square with banners and posters that indicate why they are there. If people fall asleep on this without taking aggressive action then next year a much different outcome is all but certain.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I totally agree with Mark. Cardinal Burke has, through the grace of God, managed to stave of this onslaught against Christ's teaching.

Pope Francis, by appointing six liberal bishops to write the mid-week report, which so shocked many Catholics some of whom are threatening to leave the Church over it, has made his position clear and can no longer hide behind mistranslations and muddled words. The fact that after 18 months or so as calling himself only the "Bishop of Rome" and implying that he is only one bishop among many to suddenly reassert that he is Pope and Supreme Pastor etc makes me wonder if he is going to attempt next year to push through changes to Church teaching now that he knows he does not have the mandate of the bishops to do it.

Jan

Paul said...

Given the times, thankfully, the Real Presence wasn't up for debate or pastoral coddling.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I sense that Pope Francis is conflicted between traditionalism as he describes it on one hand and liberalism or progressiveness as he describes it in this talk. I find most of his talks are actually self-referential in terms of his peccadilloes. Freud would have a field day. I see a pope torn between the two extremes and his talk shows it too.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

His Holiness also makes stark distinctions that are stereotypical and I certainly feel this does not serve the ministry of unity at all and could radicalize different factions in the Church. He makes clear that he thinks traditionalists don't care about people, when in fact they do but in a different way that His Holiness' ideology or taste. It is very 1970's when priests thought that being sacramental wasn't serving the poor, a priest had to be a social worker and a political revolutionary outside of the church building. Beauty of liturgy was substituted for the "military" uniform of a revolutionary, like that of Castro and other South American banana republics. Perhaps the experience of traditionalism in South America, with the hierarchy wedded to the ruling class that was right wing in the political sense has bruised and tainted Papa Bergolio's understanding of traditionalism although there are elements of fascism in traditionalism especially the SSXP!

Also keep in mind that many German fascists (Nazis) escaped to Argentina after the war to escape being placed on trial or persecuted. The traditionalist movement in Argentina has a very ugly side to it and Cardinal Bergoglio experienced it first hand.

Think of Bishop Williamson in the SSPX and the fact that there is that strain of antisemitism in the French wing of the SSPX and a desire to go back to the French system prior to the French Revolution. All this is political too.

John Nolan said...

The BBC's take on this, judging from the bulletin I've just heard, is predictable: Pope Francis's plans to make the Church more welcoming to gays and the divorced have failed to get the requisite support from the bishops. The Beeb seems to be under the impression that the Synod is a 'parliament' like the General Synod of the Church of England which decides doctrine and policy. The quote from Cardinal Nichols which accompanied the report was designed to give the impression 'don't be despondent; it's still early days'.

His Eminence, who travelled with Cardinal Hume to the 1980 Synod on the family, now has the opportunity to put the media right. I hope he doesn't waste it.




Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I think synods of this nature are confusing to rank and file Catholics too. It will be interesting at the end of next year's synod when a decree of some kind comes from the pope what it will contain.

If synods are to help the pope get the pulse of the world's Catholics through their shepherds the bishops I think this can be good especially if the Deposit of Faith needs to be clarified or elements of it presented or taught where that has been lacking and we all know how much of the Deposit of Faith Catholics don't know and many theologians hate the term "Deposit of Faith" because it is static and not open to "gradualism" the most ridiculous theological concept I've heard rear its ugly head I though buried in the 1970's.

I do think that Pope Francis was startled at the backlash he got from many of the bishops in the Synod and if the pope was a part of the initial shananaghans to railroad through a particular pastoral approach without the bishops even knowing it, then he should have been roundly booed as he evidently was although the booing directed toward Baldaserri.

I suspect that there was a "come to Jesus" moment for the pope and that cardinals in high places, like Burke did publicly which may or may not be the best thing, certainly not for him, but it did and does embolden people to voice their objections to the direction of this papacy in a way that would have been unthinkable before the synod.

Is this all the work of the Holy Spirit? I feel the Holy Spirit was rather dramatic especially this past Thursday.

Gene said...

Nobody is chastened. Did you pay attention to the numbers of those who supported the Pope…not encouraging. I also understand from another website (if true) that the Pope is insisting that Relatio be published including all the discussions and rejected articles. This is not going to end until Fr. Susan is blessing the marriage of Bruce and Bill at the abortion clinic...

Charles G said...

@Anon 10:45PM: "There should be no more time wasted attempting to explain Francis’ future ramblings in a way that would make them consistent with orthodox teaching. He needs to be challenged and corrected at every turn."

I feel this is quite a wrongheaded approach. Given the Pope's role in the Church's Magisterium, I think it is incumbent to make every effort to try and interpret what he says in an orthodox fashion if possible. In virtue of his office, he is entitled to a certain amount of good will. This is why I don't understand why so many traditionalists are so down on people like Fr. Barron and Jimmy Akin. Yes, I think it a valid point to say that the release of a non-Magisterial document like the draft interim report probably did some irreparable damage in terms of the media spin and the low-info people's perceptions, but they are right to try to interpret the Pope's statements in the best and most orthodox way, and they were correct to point out that the draft interim report was not a magisterial document and did not change Church's teachings. There is a role for respectful critics, just as there is a role for those who try to interpret Pope Francis, like Vatican II, according to a hermeneutic of continuity.

I think the orthodox do need to be vigilant, however, for the next Synod, the Apostolic Exhortation to follow, the curia reform (I rather dread the thought of extensive new powers to be spread to especially unorthodox bishops' conferences, like the German...), and indeed the rest of the Pope's pontificate, because his actions in this synod have made me a bit uneasy about his dedication to upholding the fullness of truth of the deposit of faith. Pope Francis' seeming support of the synod manipulators officially in charge call into question in my mind his support of orthodox teaching. On the other hand, this talk seems a bit more even handed, so maybe he really is just playing a clever clogs Jesuit ploy simply to allow both sides to fight it out, and then in the end to step in and act as a mediator seemingly above the fray to uphold both orthodox teaching and mercy. But who really knows at this point what's in his mind at this point?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Charles G, I like what you write. But indeed Pope Francis is an enigma and isn't integrated in how he presents the faith in his writings and talks, especially off-the-cuff. He talks too much and we hear too much especially now with the new media.

I am uncomfortable and I hope what you say about his Jesuit genius is correct and he doesn't lead us down the path to schism that will last decades as it has in the past, especially early Church.

rcg said...

Charles G has an interesting hypothesis, but what if the Pope was wrong and the majority of bishops decided to change Church teaching? That would be reckless.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

RCG! The WILDCARD! THE HOLY SPIRIT!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think that the synod will embolden some people to hold on to heterodox teachings and why not-- there are cardinals who agree with them? Not good. Very divisive. I agree with everything Father Allan says and I wonder -- with all respect to the Holy Father- if he sometimes doesn't live in a bit of a bubble when it comes to these things. The Church Universal is not Argentina and perhaps he didn't anticipate the strong reaction from the African bishops. His speech didn't sound very coherent. The Church is divided enough as it is. I believe the Holy Spirit was there at the synod but not sure if everyone listens to Him. It was all very awkward and divisive.

Anonymous said...

It's coming. I can sense it. Pope Francis will declare ex cathedra homosexual activities are no longer a sin.... masturbation is no longer a sin... pornography is no longer a sin... divorce and sex outside marriage no longer sins. Glory to God! The Church is going to be given back to the people! Vox Populi. Amen.

Rhett said...

I saw Holy Spirit in the Synod Fathers' revolt. Is Francis not in danger of blasphemy, continually claiming that the Holy Spirit is behind his agenda, when in fact He might not be?

George said...

Onr of the things I would like to see brought up, discussed and recognized by the members of the Church is the objective nature and reality of sin. A Catholics we are taught and recognize the subjective reality (our personal culpability,responsibility and debt to God we incur). When Spanish missionaries were sent the the newly conquered and colonized territory of what is now Mexico(then know as New Spain), they found a people whose god required human sacrifice. The Aztec people had no concept of sin as we faithful Catholics and so such a practice presented no problem for them. It was a necessary and acceptable part of their belief system. Yet was what they we doing not an objective evil, a serious offense against the True God? These were a people in need of conversion and many of them eventually were converted from their evil ways and false religion . Cannot the same also be said of those members of ISIS and other terrorist groups? It matters not that by their actions they consider themselves martyrs.
More pertinently for us, cannot the same be said of those Catholics who are in irregular marriages and receive Communion? Or practicing homosexuals who do so? Or those who use artificial means of contraception? Or those who pervert God's Holy Sacrament of Marriage? Does the fact that such things have become quite common in the world we now inhabit mean we should "institutionalize" these things and they then will no longer offend God? That Corinthians 11:23-30 is no longer relevant? It is true that people will go ahead and receive the Eucharist no matter what but at least the truth can be proclaimed to them.
When Moses was given the Ten Commandments and when Christ proclaimed the Gospel these were proscriptions teachings and instructions which came directly from God Himself. Who has the authority to overrule, nullify or change what God Himself has given to us? To those who believe that the final Synod will produce a document of pastoral guidelines which are not faithful to God's holy teachings, to these I say to pray and fast that nothing will transpire in Rome next year that will cause great harm to the Mystical Body, God's Holy Church on earth. Enough harm has already been done by her wayward members.

rcg said...

FrAJM, I have considered that this is massive peripatetic exercise for the Pope, but I would not temp the Holy Spirit to unscrew something I knew shouldn't be done. At least I would not enjoy the reconciliation.

Anonymous said...

Francis is determined to have God surprise us and for us to try new things. The seminaries tried new things a while ago and it was the devil that surprised us. I’ve read that a majority at the synod were in favor of the first draft. That was on Huffington Post, but I believe Gene read something similar elsewhere. It appears to be true. Now we are going to have local discussions on the full text of Relatio and you can imagine the kind of garbage that is going to be concluded by liberal bishops around the world. I repeat that it is time for aggressive dissent against this pope as much as we may hate to risk damaging the respect for the papal office, it is clear that the man sitting in the chair is leading the Church in the wrong direction. The Holy Spirit might be calling many people to action. Let’s hope that people have the courage to answer the call. For those waiting for a divine intervention on this pope, you might wait until it’s way too late.
Mike

Bee said...

On the local news tonight coverage of the Synod consisted of the news anchor reporting that Pope Francis was clearly upset by the removal of positive paragraphs about acceptance of gays and the divorced in the final document.
I heard this after I had read the text of his homily, and for the life of me, I just can't see how they came to this conclusion from his homily. But I am sure that for many, many Catholics, (and many Protestants who watch these kinds of happenings and worry about them too) the only thing they are going to know about the Synod is what the MSM (main stream media) tells them. Pity.

Bee said...

I just read this on CBS new site (Oct. 20, 2014):
“NEW YORK — After Roman Catholic bishops meeting at the Vatican failed to agree on the issue of homosexuality in the church, Pope Francis appeared barely able to contain his frustration, cautioning the bishops Saturday not to cling to doctrine with “hostile rigidity” and saying the next day that “God is not afraid of new things.”…”
Now, if that isn’t misrepresenting what he said, I don’t know what is. Where was his "frustration"?
They go on to report various “Dignity” groups (gay) are openly defiant, and one priest who ministers to them says, “”If they really follow through and are consistent, that’s good, but I don’t see how the church has any business dictating people’s behavior, the business of the church is to proclaim the Kingdom of God,” said the Rev. Dan McCarthy, who also performs liturgies for the Dignity congregation. He said he’s been around for too long to rely on Vatican hierarchy for such guidance.”
So, my concern is that many Catholics are getting the story on this from MSM outlets, and it’s really bad coverage. Notice there is no mention of Pope Francis’ balanced comments about the various temptations, let alone his criticism of too much mercy without doctrine, “the destructive tenancy toward goodness” as he called it.
How will our Christian brethren who don’t look into it further to discover what actually happened? Oh, Satan is hard at work, he is.