Friday, October 3, 2014


UPDATE: If there is any question in which Pope Francis leans as it concerns the upcoming Synod on the Family, His Holiness homily at the chapel of his residence at the Vatican Motel 6 this morning (October 3, 2014) should give us some indication. He paints who the villains in the Church's ruling class are and who are the Christ-like figures in the Church's ruling class, yet another example of the polarization being created at the eve of the synod. Please read the homily at the end of this post.
To say that there is wild anxiety about the future of the Church based upon the Synod on the Family which begins Sunday is an understatement. What Pope Francis has managed to uncover or promote, depending on your ideology, is the very fact that the Catholic Church is very polarized on sexual issues not to mention other doctrinal issues. Many had thought that Pope Benedict was a polarizing figure, but in fact the figure of Pope Francis has polarized members of the Church, both clergy and laity, in a way not seen since the heyday of the little "s"pirit of Vatican II.

Is His Holiness a wise old Papa who knows that to purge the Church of polarization one must surface the puss in order to lance it or is he a Papa that is going to bring the Church into a "corvette" style acceleration of the little "s"pirit of Vatican II thus leading the Church into a greater schism or near schism, depending on your ideology, such as the SSPX standoff we have today?

Speaking of the SSPX, there is an interview with the Superior-General of the SSPX, Bp. Bernard Fellay, on the meaning of the meeting held with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Cardinal Gerhard Müller, on September 23.

You can read the entire interview HERE at Rorate Caeli.

But this is what he says about the little "s"pirit of Vatican II:

Cardinal Kasper’s proposals in favor of communion for divorced-and-remarried persons are an illustration of what we blame on the Council.  In the talk that he gave to the cardinals during the Consistory on February 20th of this year, he proposed doing again what was done at the Council, namely:  reaffirming Catholic doctrine while offering pastoral overtures.  In his various interviews with journalists he harps on this distinction between doctrine and pastoral practice.  He says that theoretically doctrine cannot change, but he introduces the notion that concretely, in reality, there are some situations in which the doctrine cannot be applied.  Then, in his opinion, only a pastoral approach is capable of finding solutions… at the expense of doctrine.

For our part, we blame the Council for making this artificial distinction between doctrine and pastoral practice, because pastoral practice must follow from doctrine.  Through multiple pastoral concessions, substantial changes have been introduced in the Church, and its doctrine has been affected.  This is what happened during and after the Council, and we denounce the same strategy that is being used today against the morality of marriage. 

My Final Comments: Having been schooled in the trajectory of 1970's theology and the ideology of loyal opposition to the Magisterium of the Church in the seminary of that period, what I hear and see in Cardinal Kasper and those who support his ideologies is the very 1970's that I had hoped the Church has moved far from. 
But the fact remains that there are laity, priests and bishops schooled in this rather dastardly period of ideology of the 1970's variety who are very much still alive and kicking and kicking hard to return the Church to the ideologies of this period. And make no mistake, it is completely the "anti-Benedict" arm of the Church that completely disagreed with Pope Benedict's Christmas talk to the Cardinals in 2005 concerning Vatican II and its proper interpretation. In that talk Pope Benedict brilliantly spoke of the hermeneutic of continuity between the Church prior to Vatican II and after Vatican II. 
The Church's woes revolve around the theology of continuity of Pope Benedict and the ideology of discontinuity as exhibited by bishops such as Cardinal Kasper and those who support him.  And trust me, because I know, for them in the discontinuity  ideological camp, anything pre-Vatican II is nasty and anathema to them.

Is this resurgence of the 1970's style of Catholicism the last gasp of a dying generation or will the St. John Paul II type Catholics emboldened by Pope Benedict have the final say and set the course of the future direction of the Church. Stay tuned.  

Homily of Pope Francis on Friday, October 3rd from the chapel of his home at the Vatican Motel 6:

God’s only wish, Pope Francis told his listeners, is to save his people, but so often we want to make the rules for our own salvation. This is the dramatic paradox of so many of the Bible stories which culminate in the life of Jesus himself. Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day, the Pope spoke of Jesus’ sadness at being rejected and ignored by his own people. “If the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon,” Jesus warns the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida, “they would long ago have repented.” Just as the prophets were rejected and killed by their people, so they do the same to Jesus. And it’s the leaders, the Pope said, who provoke this resistance to the salvation he’s offering:

E proprio la classe dirigente quela che chiude le porte al modo col quale Dio vuole salvarci…..

It’s the ruling class which closes the door to God’s way of salvation, Pope Francis said. That’s why Jesus has such strong words with the leaders of his day – they argue, they try to trick him and catch him out because they are resisting his offer of salvation. Jesus says to them, “I don’t understand you! You are like those children who say ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn’. What do you want?” They want, the Pope said, to save themselves and remain closed to the way of the Lord.

This attitude, the Pope continued, is quite different from that of the people of God, who understand and accept salvation brought to them through Jesus. Their leaders, on the other hand, reduce salvation to the fulfilment of the 613 commandments they have created through their intellectual and theological fervour.

Loro non credono nella misericordia e nel perdono…..

These leaders, the Pope said, don’t believe in mercy and forgiveness but simply in sacrifices. They want everything clearly sorted out and this is the drama of their resistance to salvation. Each one of us, he said, shares this drama and we should ask ourselves: How do I want to be saved? On my own? Through a spirituality which is good, but fixed and clear so that there are no risks? Or following the footsteps of Jesus who always surprises us, opening doors to that mystery of God’s mercy and pardon?
If I don’t follow Jesus but go looking for other gurus and seek refuge in man-made commandments, the Pope concluded, I may feel safe but the truth is I am buying my salvation, instead of receiving the free gift that God gives me. 


Anonymous said...

If by saying, "we want to make the rules for our own salvation", the current pope means that the laws and disciplines of the Church are nothing more than arbitrary, man-made constructions, he is seriously mistaken. If, if that is what he believes (and like everything else he says, it's hard to pin anything definite to his words) he would do well to recall the words of his predecessor, Benedict, who said himself that as pope he could not just do as he wished, but he was bound by his service to the truth.

Church law, the ten commandments, canon law are all based on the Bible, the teachings of Jesus Christ and natural law. I have no idea what "ruling class" Francis is speaking of who attempt to "close the door" to God's way of salvation, but I fear he is blind to the current ruling class of the Church of which he is the Supreme Legislator. It is this current ruling class of cardinals and bishops who have indeed closed the door to God's way of salvation and even to the renewal began by Pope Benedict. Those who embraced that renewal, which was, in part, a re-embracing of the Church's contemporarily-shunned Traditions, are now being shown the doors of exile and suspensions, while those who promote a false idea of mercy are being praised for their "serene theology".

I wish this WAS the "last gasp" of the 1970's mentality, but, like any desperate generation, those getting the nods for leadership as bishops and cardinals and dicastery heads all seem to be sycophants of this very mentality that stands up for nothing but social justice and casts all else aside with contempt. And woe to us who have contempt for our own legacy. I fear that at this point in history, we are not getting the Church we need, so much as we are getting the Church we deserve. May God help us.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Pope Benedict and all other popes wrote and spoke in ways that left not much room for wild interpretations.

Pope Francis does not write or speak the way his predecessors have and this has led to a large room for wild interpretations.

He says, and who does not agree that, "If I don’t follow Jesus but go looking for other gurus and seek refuge in man-made commandments, the Pope concluded, I may feel safe but the truth is I am buying my salvation, instead of receiving the free gift that God gives me."

But he also says, and who cannot agree, "

In the 1970's there was a theology against Church rules (the man made ones that could change) and equating these with the minutia of the 613 Jewish Laws to which the Holy Father refers.

Of course if we think we can be saved by fasting one hour before Holy Communion, not eating meat on Fridays, having only celibate men as our priests and bishops and saying a particular set of prayers in a particular way that these will save us, then yes, we have concocted a Catholicism of the type the pope condemns. But if our marriage laws and who can receive and can't receive Holy Communion are built upon divine law which is revealed in Scripture, Tradition and natural law, these do in effect assist us in our salvation by faithful observance. Following the 10 Commandments does too.

But if we think we are going to hell for receiving Holy Communion without the proper fast, eating a hot dog on Good Friday and forgetting to say our act of contrition before we die, well then the pope has a point.

Vox Cantoris said...

He is continual confusion. Not eating meat on Fridays and fasting properly are acts of discipline and mortification and penance that help make me a more faithful Catholic. I know this, millions of other do too.

The rules of life bring order to life out of disorder. We stop at red lights for a reason, we pull over for red lighted vehicles to pass for a reason. We enact civil law for a reason.

Some people just want to "make a mess" but "who am I to judge."

As for these with the 1970's mentality, they have been emboldened but there time is short. They have no prodigy. Their sterile. Their is no fervency or reverence in their faith, they are like your post Father on "clown masses."

They are dying.

I am quite confident. The Church will not change Her doctrine because Burke, Collins, Brandmuller, Cordileone, Ouellet, Ranjit, Schneider and dozens, nay, hundreds of others whom we know little about from Africa and Asia will give Kasper and Bonny and the rest of these lowland, lowbrow of the "ruling class" the punch that they need, just as St. Nicholas of Myra did to Arius!

When this realisation happens, the Bishop of Rome will realise the jig is up and he will go home to Argentina and there will be a falling away of liberals maybe even whole countries.

Then there will be a conclave and the next Pope will fix this disgusting mess.

May he take the name Leo XIV, a name he already has!

Luke said...

These words of the Holy Father could have come straight from the mouth of Martin Luther. I have a great sense of foreboding about the future of the Church.

What this shows is that for all of the heroic effort of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the number of faithful and clergy that are in their camp are still a vast minority compared to the "Spirit of Vatican II" camp.

Honestly my faith can not handle this. I washed up on the shores of the Tiber in 2003 from the wreckage of the Episcopal church. I thought I had found solid ground. Maybe I was wrong...

MR said...

My faith can't handle it either.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The opposite of Faith is fear and our Lord tells us "be not afraid" in the seemingly most fearful times!

John said...

Cardinal Kasper's wish to offer a merciful resolution to a difficult problem, ie. failed marriage, is based on a long ego discredited notion: that the end justifies the means.

Jesuits were accused of inventing this notion during the counter reformation. When I first heard it, it was sneeringly thrown at me by an atheist. Then I just considered the source of the accusation and thought it to be anti-Catholic propaganda. Now I am not so sure my anti Catholic interlocutor was altogether wrong.

Basic Catholic theology teaches that one cannot do wrong to achieve a good end. This teaching applies to all in the Church without exception.

Gene said...

Luke and MR, I left protestantism, Calvinism to be exact, seven years ago after years of being a pastor and theology student. After much struggle and study, I decided that the Catholic Church was correct on doctrine and theological issues. I entered only to find that the church is making the exact same mistakes as protestantism…the Church is buying the whole humanistic, progressivist, field of bovine waste and speaking tongue-in-cheek about dogma and doctrine. The notion of creating an artificial distinction between doctrine and "pastoral practice" is complete nonsense. This is merely an excuse for liberal priests to ignore dogma and do whatever they like. The joke that has become the liturgy in most places is the primary symptom of this sickness unto death. I will remain in the Church because there is simply nowhere else to go. I will just have to pick and choose where I attend Mass and hope that the SSPX becomes a dominant force in the Church or we finally get a real Pope.

JBS said...

"At the End Times, the persecution that accompanies [the Church's] pilgrimage on earth will unveil the 'mystery of iniquity' in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth." (CCC 675)

MR said...

So it now looks like it will come down to a vote:

Synod on Family to end with a text voted on by the Fathers

rcg said...

Why must the traditional groups be suppressed?

Luke said...

Been there, bought the t-shirt. This is the same way the Anglican church operates: rig the meeting so the outcome is predetermined.

I've realized I have more in common with Albert Mohler than Pope Francis.

MR said...

@ Luke,
You may, of course, be right about the vote. But, to be fair, the liberal groups were all up in arms when the list of Synod participants was announced because the make up was too "conservative". I think the fact that this is a vote is encouraging because the large majority of Cardinals that have spoken on this subject have been against Kasper.

MR said...

Well, the pre-synodal exhortation from Card Rylko seems excellent:

JBS said...


It seems the traditional groups are understood to concern themselves with liturgical aesthetics and personal morality, rather than with simple proclamation of the Gospel. Since simple proclamation is to be the pastoral plan of our age, groups not cooperating with this plan are to be quietened.

This approach feels a little off to me, but I'm willing to see how it goes.

Luke said...

According to reports today the individual interventions will not be recorded or published. There will be an official summary given by the press office. So it really doesn't matter what the majority opinion is. We'll never know exactly what was said. There will then be an up or down vote on a single document at the end.

This is a genius move, the Anglicans couldn't have done any better. Does anyone in their right mind think the Synod fathers will reject a document implicitly approved by the Pope no matter what nonsense is in it? He has already proven that he's not afraid to make the heads of those that disagree with him roll.

MR said...

The overwhelming majority of Cardinals that have spoken publically on this issue have been against Kasper, so they have had no problem publically standing up to this. By my count somewhere around 25 Cardinals have said (in one way or another) that the teaching wont/cant change.

George said...

There are different paths to holiness but those who follow and obey God' s precepts and the teachings of His Holy Church are truly His "counter cultural" faithful witnesses. Those faithful members of the Church, who are such in spite of and despite the seductions of modern culture, constitute a powerful if often silent and sometimes unjustly maligned witness, a sacrificial offering to God as it were, and a building up and strengthening of, and a powerful remedy to, the harm and damage done to the the Mystical Body of Christ. This is especially so with those faithful living in parts of the world where living and practicing ones faith ends up in some cases requiring the giving up one's very life. Come what may, we must ever pray and strive to maintain our Faith, Hope and Love.

Gene said...

JBS, But, what do they call "simple proclamation of the Gospel?" There was a quote from the Pope the other day that said the essence of witnessing was to encourage humanity on its progress toward unity." If THAT is the Gospel, you can have it...

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don't think it's a last gasp by progressives. I think they are/were only waiting for JPII and Benedict to die (or retire?) to be able to continue their program. And so we all wait to see if Francis is one of them, or not.
After Francis was elected, American T.V. was interviewing Cardinal Dolan, and he related that after Francis was confirmed as Pope, he (Francis) remarked to the assembled Cardinals, "May God forgive you for what you have done." Cardinal Dolan thought this was uproariously funny, and just a wry comment by the new Pope. But was it, or will we indeed be asking God to forgive them for what they did?

WSquared said...

"Through a spirituality which is good, but fixed and clear so that there are no risks?"


Good call, and it cuts both ways.