Thursday, November 20, 2014

THE DANGER OF "GNOSIS" AND NOT BEING CLEAR

The Catholic Faith is out in the open and even the simplistic soul can discover what Jesus' teaches if only by way of pictures in art, stain glass and murals. 

Yet the Holy Father seems to be saying something else this morning at is his Mass at the Vatican Motel 6 where His Holiness lives. He seems to be saying that he has some inside "gnosis" (knowledge) about Jesus and His surprises. But the Holy Father isn't saying what this "gnosis" is or where we can find it. There is no description of what His Holiness means. So we are left to our own devises and our own "gnosis."

This is part of the Holy Father's message this morning:

"I ask myself: today we Christians who know the faith, the catechism, who go to Mass every Sunday, we Christians, we pastors are we content with ourselves? Because we have organized everything and do not need new visits from the Lord ... And the Lord continues to knock on the door of each one of us and of His Church, the pastors of the Church. Yes, the door of our hearts, of the heart of the Church, of her pastors will not open: and the Lord weeps, even today".

My Final comment: I am left scratching my head and asking, whatever does Pope Francis mean? What does His Holiness know that I don't know? what is His Holiness secret knowledge about so many in the Church who cause our Lord to weep today?????

Is it sin?

Is it the acceptance of sin?

Is it adultery?

Is it the acceptance of adultery?

Is it divorce?

Is it the acceptance of divorce?

Is it Holy Communion?

Is it the reception of Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin?

Is it the poor?

Is it homosexuality?

Is it the acceptance of the gay agenda?

Is it abortion?

Is it the church's embrace of pro choice ideologies?

Is it the poor who aren't given the truths of the Church?

Just what is it and are we now entering a new phase of the heresy of gnosticism?  

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

His Holiness seems in this instance to be judging that there are many in the Church - particularly pastors - who are self-satisfied because they are going to Sunday Mass and keeping the Commandments, etc. It seems to me that His Holiness is only prepared to judge those who are doing their best to be faithful Catholics, while sinners should not be judged at all in case they are offended - everyone else can be offended, though. Anyway, that's my take on this morning's gem.

Jan

Anonymous said...

This pope has used disparaging comments about bishops, priests and practicing Catholics on a daily basis. I must conclude that he has little regard for people that actually practice the Catholic Faith. And it is very unnerving to witness a pope being so judgemental about people he has never met. Francis doesn't seem merciful to me, just the opposite. He is constantly judging practicing Catholics and always looks for the bad in them.

JBS said...

There is clearly a push to welcome unrepentant sinners, but is this push from the Lord or from the devil? If it's from the Lord, then yes, some key pastors are not "opening the door". But if this push is from the devil, then that door should be bolted shut.

Supertradmum said...

I know very few Catholics who have read the CCC or any encyclicals or any history of the Church. Seminary training is abysmal at teaching doctrine, dogma or history. I have had to talk to priests myself, sadly, as I did not want to do this, about errors because of their bad philosophical and theological backgrounds.

Maybe the seminaries in Argentina are great, but look at the one's in the States.

When my son was in one, the Thomas Aquinas classes were optional and only two people showed up for two of the classes.

I honestly do not know which clergy to whom the Holy Father is referring.

dbonneville said...

I'm beginning to wonder if this consistent style of teaching isn't some kind of overly-confident, somewhat-magical, Jesuit thing, where instead of being clear and calling something by name there is this "theological buckshot" approach that is meant to, in the minds of those who use it, "speak into the heart" of those "who know it's talking to them". I spoke to someone who overly enthusiastic about these teachings, and reads them every day, who said she thinks every teaching applies to her. All that seems to be happening though is some kind of emotional response that produces uncritical lauds for these nebulous teachings. The person is "convicted" every day, but how exactly?

This could be a kind of lazy approach to teaching too. How hard is it to get in front of a microphone pose questions like "do you eat too much?" and if not "do you like food too much?" or even "do you like chewing food too much?".

This whole approach just seems to be like banging pots of people consciences in a very random kind of way. It's just too easy to be vague and yet stir up scruples, and sound like you are saying more than you actually are. This seems to be the magical Jesuit way. It's no different than walking into a room full of people and immediately saying "someone here, someone here has smelly feet, but do they know it?", before really knowing if there are any smelly feet. Either way, everyone is set on edge and looking around wondering who he's referring to.

JusadBellum said...

I think what the Pope said is perfectly understandable if one first sheds the Media's wishful thinking that he's a progressive liberal modernist who hates conservative Catholics and directs all his criticism at them.

If you just take his words as coming from say, JP2 or B16 suddenly they are intelligible.

Indeed, if you try this with all his other statements it works.

Assume for the sake of the argument that he's an arch-conservative who dislike the liberal progressive modernist wing of the Church.... suddenly many of his condemnations of Pharisees and the self-righteous ring much more soundly with respect to them than to belittled, maligned, generally counter-cultural conservatives and traditionalists.

After all, it's not in the main the conservatives who run the show in either the Church or the global economic-political systems.

1.2 billion Catholics on earth don't, as a matter of fact, groan and suffer under evil Reaganesque, TeaParty Conservative regimes with arch traditionalist diocesan and religious orders laying heavy burdens on the vast majority. No, by and large most people on earth live under various forms of centralized socialist governments and under a Church that is not at all "traditional/conservative".

JusadBellum said...

Look at EU for example. How many Catholics live in Europe again?

And who is in charge of the economy and government? Who by and large runs the Church that produces results like this? http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/11/a-graph-is-worth-thousand-words.html

England's Catholic hierarchy was not known for being a bastion of arch-conservative traditionalists ruling with an iron fist in easy collusion with a Conservative, fiscally restrained British government.

No, it's been liberal progressive churchmen and politicians since 1945 and the result is a Church that's a shadow of its former glory.

Ditto in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium....

Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina weren't run as evil capitalist Republican states allied with SSPX hierarchies twirling their moustaches from beneath Birettas while peering over their battlements at the slums....No, those countries' governments have all been left-wing, liberal socialists and the churches there mostly left-wing as well.

So the Pope is complaining and taking pot shots at people, "catholics" in general and we think he's talking about conservative Americans?

Paul said...

I think simply put:

Are the stewards (perhaps laity) getting fat and lazy or do they hear and act upon the cries outside the rectory and sanctuary?

The million dollar question: What are those cries? The cries of spoiled children not getting their way or the pleas of the suffering and discouraged seeking a path to Christ? Christ's Church, ever open and patient, welcomes the spoiled children but that doesn't mean that they get to bring their tantrums with them. Or does it?

cpttom said...

JusadBellum,
If that is true, and I hope it is, then why doesn't he speak plainly both in his words and his actions? He should say, "Hey Progressive Liberal Modernist, Cafeteria Catholics, this is for you" and appoint unquestionable Orthodox Bishops to positions instead of Bishops with not so Orthodox pedigrees while replacing Orthodox ones. Considering the state of the Church, that's the level of clarity we need. That would prevent anyone getting things wrong or misunderstanding.

cpttom said...

I am reminded of this Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEchg1KhmTY

JusadBellum said...

If no one knows for sure who the Pope is talking to or about, why should we assume he's talking to and about us rather than those actually in charge of the global socio-economic-educational-bureaucratic system?

Do you honestly think he thinks conservative/traditionalists are running the world? That the Federal Reserve, BASEL, Goldman Sachs etc. are all run by right-wingers?

Does the right-wing run Hollywood, Madison avenue, the fortune 500? Does the right-wing control the Democratic party and the GOP? No.

So.... how can the shoe fit?

Bee said...

Can he be speaking about clerics who go through the motions pf the ritual at Mass, but have no perception of the Holy Spirit in their lives: a daily contact in prayer with the Living God? Don't know.
I have a relative who tends to begin conversations in the middle, the first part seemingly taking place in their mind alone, and then they begin speaking out loud, as if the rest of us knew the context of what they were thinking. It's very distracting. Sometimes the remarks of the Holy Father remind me of my relative's way of conversing.

Pater Ignotus said...

Mt. St. Mary's Seminary, which I attended from 1981 to 1985, was in no way "abysmal" when it came to teaching doctrine, dogma, and history. As far as I have been able to determine, most seminaries do a very good job in teaching these subjects as well as Scripture, languages (usually Greek and Hebrew), basic counseling skills, and the canon law needed to manage marriage cases.

My philosophy training came from two professors at Belmont Abbey College - Abbot Walter Coggin and Dr. Anselm K. Min. (They made ujp the entire philosophy department when I was there, I think.) Since everyone had to take two theology and two philosophy courses to graduate from the Abbey, the first two years were aimed for those who were there to "endure" the requirements. Dr. Min, in the next four (or five) philosophy, presented the material in a challenging and constructive way.

Thomistic thought was taught in the systematic courses in seminary, and there may have been a "stand alone" course on him - I don't recall.

We did have a couple of woefully poor teachers, but they were the exception.

It is easy to complain about seminaries, but I find that the complaints are often not based in reality.

cpttom said...

Mt. St. Mary's Seminary was one of the better ones in the 80s. My Wife's uncle graduated there in 87 and is fairly devout. He has nothing but good things to say about the Mount. Some other seminaries were woefully worse, both in teaching and in turning a blind eye to homosexual subcultures. Of Course almost all the US Seminaries in the 80s conveniently did not teach Latin which is against Canon Law. Considering Latin is still the official language of the Church this is tragic.

Pater Ignotus said...

cpt - I don't think it was "convenient" that seminaries didn't teach Latin. It was - and is - unnecessary, and the decision not to teach it was taken after serious consideration.

In the Olden Days, seminarians began learning Latin and Greek in high school seminary, continued that learning in college seminary, and, when they got to "major" seminary, they were supposed to be able to use Latin text books for Sacramental and Moral theology courses.

According to our seminary rector, Msgr. McGuinness, a very intelligent man (PhD sociology), most could not learn the material in Latin. He showed us one of his old moral theology texts, printed in Latin, in which the English translation had been written between the lines in pencil. This book was passed from year to year so that seminarians could actually learn what they needed to learn.

(Those who could not learn Latin to the expectations of seminary educators were dropped. We can't afford to do that today.)

According to Msgr. Mcguinness, Latin was "learned" only to the extent that priests would be able to celebrate the sacraments in Latin, as was the norm. Very rarely did a priest continue to use Latin after his last seminary exam other than celebrating the sacraments.

Today most seminarians arrive at major theology without much, if any, preparation in Catholic philosophy. They spend two years of "pre-theology" taking mainly philosophy classes. The expectation that Latin can be added to the major seminary curriculum and that it would provide more than a rudimentary ability in that language is just not realistic.

I don't agree that Latin is the official language of the Church. Latin is the official language of Roman documents, but how many bishops address their priests at clergy gatherings in Latin? How many letters from the nuncio to bishops are written in Latin? When did a theologian write an article for his diocesan newspaper in Latin?

Anonymous 2 said...

But why does Pope Francis have to be addressing any particular group? Why fall into the usual trap of picking sides? Perhaps he is addressing all of us, laity and clergy alike. After all, isn’t that what God does?

JusadBellum said...

I agree with anonymous 2.

Why - other than the conventional wisdom of the Mass Media and the tribes within the Church are we instantly pegging everything Francis says as "liberal against conservative"?

Unless he overtly says "hey you American traditional catholics, I'm talkin 'bout you and that evil Reaganonmics' I'm not going to just assume that's who he's talking about and to.

I've read Evangellii Gaudium three times now and every time, after reading the first half, the couple of paragraphs the entire world hyperventilated on become less and less controversial.

But as we've seen with the 'who am I to judge' line, once you take it out of context, anything can be shoehorned into any new meaning.

Obviously the LGBTQ is going to grab that and run with it, the media will echo their line, gleefully egging on conservatives to react...and then fanning the flames when they do react. Lost amid the horse races are the Pope's actual sentiments. So half the world thinks he's a modernist while the other half rejoices that the conservatives think he's a modernist.

Is he in fact a modernist? Is that what's going on? Or is that the spin we're to understand?

As we all notice about things we're professionals on with respect to Media accuracy, the global media has agendas and often aren't too keen on letting context and accuracy get in the way of a good 'story'.

Henry said...

It may no longer be so serious a problem--now that a fairly decent and faithful English translation of the Roman Missal is finally in general use--but the belief of several generations of priests and lay suffered grievously from the previous translation that was inadequate to instill and sustain faith through the liturgy (“the source and summit of our faith”). If priests had known enough Latin to understand the authentic prayers of the Mass themselves, perhaps their homilies could fleshed out the faith better.

At any rate, for several decades those few who knew What The Prayers Really Said were virtually forced into the position of gnostics in possession of secret knowledge.

John Nolan said...

On his own admission PI did not know that the 1973 'translation' of the Proper prayers was a travesty since he was not conversant with the Latin originals (many of them taken from the Veronese sacramentary and which did not appear in the Roman Missal until 1970). Yet he would have us believe that knowledge of Latin is unnecessary.

There is nothing wrong with using a 'crib' to help with understanding Latin. However, PI is forgetting that priests would have to read the Office in Latin and would therefore know the Psalms virtually by heart; since they were required to recite the Epistle and Gospel at Mass they would be familiar with the Vulgate.

Not all priests were accomplished Latinists - Benedict XVI is a better Latinist than was Pius XII - but they could read the Epistle and Gospel at a brisk conversational pace without stumbling and with obvious understanding (I know, I served Mass often enough).

Pater Ignotus said...

John - I do not share you view that the prior translation was a "travesty." As you are well aware, the philosophy underlying those translations was significantly different from that given in LA.

Yes, priests were "conversant" with the Psalms by virtue of reading them. I doubt they knew them by heart. I read them in English and don't know them by heart in English.

I can read the Epistle and Gospel in Latin at a decent pace without stumbling, but that does not make me familiar with the Vulgate. I could probably do the same in French, but that is not an indication that I am much of a French speaker beyond that.

Flavius Hesychius said...

Pater Ignotus,

I presume you pray the Office in English. My question to you, then, is *how* do you get around the translation?

To me, the current translation of the LOTH is... less than splendid. I've tried using it and failed. I just can't get around just how awful some of the passages read. The Cat in the Hat is more spiritually edifying.

I've given up trying to use it, opting instead to use the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, but I'd still like advice from you.

John Nolan said...

PI, how many more times do I have to reiterate that it's not 'my view'? The manifold inadequacies of the 1973 redactions were long recognized, even by the unreformed ICEL. Unfortunately their attempt to remedy this (the 1998 sacramentary) threw up even more problems.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - Not all, not most? - believe that the former translations were "tragic." It is you view that they were, and it is a view that is shared by a number of folks.

Flav - I don't "get around" the translation given in the LotH. I pray with it. And I suggest that if you find Dr. Seuss more edifying, then the problem is not with the translations...

JBS said...

Vatican II requires Western clerics to say or sing the Office in Latin.

Flavius Hesychius said...

Lol John Nolan. 'Threw up' is exactly how I'd describe it.

Flavius Hesychius said...

[rant]

Pater Ignotus,

I didn't mean "get around" in the sense of "avoid", but rather "manoeuvre" or "handle efficiently". In fact, I had the feeling you were going to reject the question based on that phrase alone—and you did.

Maybe I wasn't around in 1975, but I'd like to think American Catholics were more educated than what the current translation of LOTH, written on a third grade level, assumes. The British edition (non-ICEL) doesn't have this problem. So, why does the American?

The fact I have to use a protestant church's prayer book, because my own church is incapable of producing a translation that doesn't induce eye-rolls whilst insulting my intelligence, should be a cause for concern. I know for a fact I'm not the only one to find the current translation lousy, and many of the people who have problems with it aren't even traditionalists.

Who knows. Maybe it's a sign I don't belong in the Catholic Church, especially when it expects me to lower my intelligence to that of an elementary schoolchild. Those you constantly mention who lament the death of old translation of the Mass might have no problem doing so (I suspect they're all at least twice my age), but I have a little more self-esteem. The Catholic Church's greatest enemy is itself on this issue—namely, that it treats its members like children. I never had this problem in the Orthodox Church, and, quite frankly, I'd have been better off converting to Orthodoxy.

I'm really sorry you're unable to answer an honest question without making a snide remark.

[/rant]

John Nolan said...

Flavius,

Twenty years or so ago I was browsing in the library of a retreat centre and came across a copy of the Roman Breviary in English, published just before the Council. I assume it was intended for non-clerics, e.g. female religious who did not have much Latin. It was not in hieratic mock-Tudor English but was a good, accurate and literate translation. I remember thinking at the time that if the Mass had been translated in such a manner I would have had far fewer objections to the vernacular.

I should have smuggled it out - no-one else would have been interested in it. I think it originated in the USA. This would be a better bet than Cranmer's BCP which only has Morning and Evening Prayer.

Pater Ignotus said...

Flav - I don't care which prayer book you use, truly. As they say, it is no skin off my nose. If the BCP helps you to be more open to God's will in your life, good!

I'm not rejecting the question at all. It is your issue, not mine. I recall the wise proverb, "Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys."

I did answer your Q: I do not "maneuver" or "handle efficiently" the LotH. I use it for prayer. I don't roll my eyes or make tut-tut sounds. I try to allow the Spirit, praying within me, to do all that He can to conform me to God's will.

If you need further inspiration, I'd recommend "The Sneetches" by your preferred spiritual author. It's a good tale of how, discovering the uselessness of bigotry, the Sneetches were transformed.

"But McBean was quite wrong. I’m quite happy to say.
That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day.
The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches.
And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether
They had one, or not, upon thars."

The Book of Sneetches 20:1-6

Flavius Hesychius said...

John Nolan,

I've heard rumours of that book, but after 50 years it's become a cryptid.

Pater Ignotus,

What I was trying to say (and clearly failed miserably) was that the translation of LOTH is an impediment to whatever spiritual benefit there is to praying the Office. The Church provides and promotes it because there are immense spiritual benefits to be gained by praying the Canonical hours.

I was trying to get advice from you about how I could maybe make the language more palatable. I guess it's not really possible, but instead of saying so, you respond by being a condescending tosspot.

Hell, instead of saying 'you can't' or even 'get over it' you lecture me about being a bigot. I didn't realise having problems with the translation of officially-provided liturgical texts equated bigotry.

But what-the-f*ck-ever. I don't care anymore.

(Thanks for the advice, John Nolan)

Pater Ignotus said...

Flav - I do not find the translation of the LotH an impediment. Therefore, I can't give you advice on how to make the language more palatable.

I did say that, if you find the BCP a better source of inspiration, you should stick with it.

I am not accusing you of being a bigot. I have no reason to think you are one. I simply chose the Sneetches as one of many examples of the moral/ethical teaching that Dr. Seuss included in his stories .

Gene said...

You may go and quote us
We have an Ignotus
With all kinds of BS
He just loves to coat us.
What's an Ignotus?
Is it a small thing with horns on its snotus?
Does it make noise and smell like a goatus?
Does it slither past? Does it cling to a boatus?
Does it make us laugh 'til the tears finally float us?
Well, it is all of these things,
And you can still quote us,
A slithering, dithering, stinky old bloatus.