Sunday, September 27, 2015

BIG TENT CATHOLICISM, THE NEW EVANGELIZATION METHOD AND POPE FRANCIS

At the end of my post, I copy what Fr. Z says about Pope Francis and the media and Pope Francis' genius in his new evangelization method. I think Fr. Z is impressed with the Holy Father's apostolic journey to the United States of America! We may have a new convert to Pope Francis!




Pope Francis has won me over. He is a pastoral pope, a pope who spent all of his priesthood and episcopacy as a pastor.  While I am uncomfortable with popes who have big personalities overpowering the papacy and winning people over merely by their personality and not their teachings, in our current culture I will admit that there is an element of this that is needed.

Prior to Pope St. John Paul's decline in health, he had a bigger than life personality too and a cult following. Time Magazine featured him on the cover with the bold headline, JP II SUPERSTAR!

But most in the secular media conceded that while the world loved Pope St. John Paul II, they didn't love his teachings or his Church. But I suspect he won some over in the big dragnet of celebrity.

Last night as I watch CNN's non-stop, spectacular coverage of Pope Francis, two Catholic reporters so moved by the pope simply passing a few feet in front of them in the popemobile shared a bit of their journey.

Carol Costello said she was brought up Catholic but ceased practicing. Many things were invovled in that falling away but the sex abuse scandal exacerbated it. With Pope Francis, she took a second look at the Church and why she had left and now goes to Mass every Sunday.

Then Mark Walburg was the MC for the papal event last night, a brilliant mix of entertainment and serious faith sharing by six Catholic families. Marky Mark loves his Catholic faith and stated publicly, "witnessed" that his Catholic Faith has made him who he is today, a good husband, a good father, and a good person.

He's not perfect though. I've heard him say he agrees with same sex marriage and disagrees with this, that and the other of Church teaching. Should only a perfect MC have been chosen or will Marky Mark make those who are distant from the Church come a bit closer? Time will tell.

And then there was that "gay" (I prefer the term sinner) lector at the Mass at the Garden, Mo Rocca. I don't know if he was in a state of grace or not to be the lector at a papal Mass, at any Mass. I always give people the benefit of the doubt in these situations. But are sexual sins any worse than purposely showing contempt and hatred for another person, in particular the Holy Father (which breaks the 4th Commandment and is just a vile as breaking the 6th Commandment). Think about it.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am into being a part of the Catholic Family whereby God incarnates us into His adopted family. If I am to be saved, I will be saved by remaining in that family even if holding simply to the coattails of my heavenly Father in the Church, not leaving of my own volition or being kicked out as a sign of the need for mercy and reintegration (think Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel). Being kicked out, though, while punishment is not permanent unless the one punished desires  it to be that way. God always clothes in mercy the ones He kicks out. Here I am speaking of excommunication, private or public. These penalties are rare and are listed in canon law.

Being a sinner does not excommunicate a Catholic. Including sinners and saints in the Church does not dilute Church's mission. Seeing the Church as a field hospital rather than a country club is true to the lifestyle of the public ministry of Christ and thus a model for all Catholics and Holy Mother Church. We can be a walled fort, which seems unbiblical to me or we can be an open mall, similar to the mall in Washington, DC.

The parable of the dragnet that Jesus uses is a brilliant example. The Church, like a fisherman, catches all kinds of people in her net that has been cast. Isn't that the mission of the Church to cast a wide net. Doesn't judgment begin immediately and isn't it concluded at our personal judgement or the General Judgment when things are sorted out the good kept and the bad thrown out?

This metaphor can be of us individually also. At our judgement, which begins now, isn't the good that in us kept and that which is bad (sin) thrown out?

Why is Pope Francis so popular?

John Allen writes in today's Crux (a very good article): " In a divided culture in which public figures are usually known either for their personal dysfunction or their potential to whip up acrimony, anyone who says, “We can be better than this, and we can do it together,” will play well."

When Pope Benedict was Pope, the progressives whipped up acrimony against His Holiness. Those who considered themselves conservative, orthodox, traditional, were insulted at the negative content and comments in blogs. The National Catholic Reporter and the Praytell Blog are prime examples of the acrimony that they stirred up against Pope Benedict. It was and is sickening.


Now with Pope Francis, the shoe is on the other foot. So-called "conservative, orthodox, traditional" blogs have turned on him in the most acrimonious ways with their content and most of all with the comments that are made.

It has happened on my blog too. It indicates the dysfunction of our culture when it comes to family. It would have been unheard of in times past for Catholics as a part of their Catholic family to bash their fathers and mothers publicly, their brothers and sisters too. You did not air your dirty laundry publicly.

This bashing of family publicly is also transferred to the Catholic family, where God is our Father, Mary is our Mother as she is a symbol of Holy Mother Church. Pope Francis is our earthly Holy Father.

If you could read some of the comments that some make on my blog about the Holy Father, the ones I  delete, you would be scandalized as I have been, or at least I hope you would be scandalized.

It is a sign of family dysfunction in our day that this occurs. And the worldwide meeting on families in Philadelphia is sorely needed for our nuclear families and for the Church family and Pope Francis by his mere presence there knows it.

This slogan tells us why Pope Francis is so popular with so many diverse people:






31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Father, all of your reasoning is based on emotion. Faithful Catholics have every reason to be scandalized by Pope Francis. That synod last year was horrendous. To have th Church publish a document that stated there is goodness in objectively evil/sinful acts is reprehensible. And it was done with the approval of Pope Francis.

As pope, Francis' duty is to strengthen his brethren in the Faith. By remaining silent in the face of entire nations turning away from Christ and embracing evil (Ireland) he is not stregthening anyone. He has allowed the impression that Church teachings aren't really that important.

As pope, Francis has publicly humiliated Cardinal Burke for ll the world to see. Cardinal Burke, a man of great intellect and charity has been reduced to a part time chaplain with basically no reaponsibilities. Yet, yet men like Cardinal Daneels, who approved of gay "marriage" and ws proven to have shielded a pedophile priest who abused his own nephew, is brought out of retirement to be a leader during the upcoming synod.

The list goes on and on and on. The truth is that Francis is allowing the impression that TRUTH can be changed. He is silent when entire bishops confrences of countries publicly state that they are independent of Rome and that sodomite relationships should be acknowledged as savramental marriage. I don't care how soft he speaks and how many babies he kisses. His silence in the face of massive undermining of the Faith IS the problem. He knows he can't formally change anything, but his silence allows others to cause massive confusion. That is e truth. It's not being mean or comitting sin, it's true.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am certainly happy that *poof* everything is ok and this Pope is cool now. I feel so much better I think I'll go hug a homosexual and spend the afternoon counting whales.

Anonymous said...

I think many are being caught up in the hype of celebrity - not long ago it was Kate and Prince William in the US, now it's Pope Francis. The important thing is the state of the Church. It is easy for the eyes to glaze over and feel all Catholic and nostalgic at events and close our eyes to the scandal that was in the sanctuary for all to see - an openly gay lector at Pope Francis’s Mass. But many seem to ignore that and are taken up with the gloss and celebrity.

As Church Militant reports about the gay lector: "When Rocca appeared on live news feeds last night as the lector for the Papal Mass, Twitter blew up with scandalous praise as everyone saw this as the Church's — and specifically Pope Francis' — acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage."

The Tweets make it obvious that the lector is homosexual, so I guess one can assume he is a practising homosexual and was when he did the reading a few feet from Pope Francis.

The fact that we had some nice liturgy at the Pope’s Masses is well and good but the fact of an openly gay man doing the reading overshadows everything else. Day by day we are systematically seeing the liberals take over the Church and force a modern agenda on to us.

Jan

Anonymous said...

Well, it is just comforting to me to know that the world is changing and the Church is changing right along with it.

Anonymous said...

Look to the African Church to stop the madness that is happening in Rome, His Grace Cardinal Sarah may be just that man.

Anonymous said...

There will be schism in the Church, it is going to happen the doors are wide open for it. There will be the Novus Ordonarians and there will be the small minority who will hold onto the Holy Faith and we will be persecuted like never before. It is already happening like Our Lady of Akita told us it would be, bishop against bishop, cardinal against cardinal, priest against priest, how very sad this is, but when the Holy Faith and TURE MASS OF ALL TIMES was kicked out it was only a matter of time that Our Lady of Akita's words would come true!! This October will be the beginning of the end, either we have Cardinals that will resist as Burke said he would do or cave in with Danneels and it is all over for Holy Church.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It is quite possible of a schism again. It happened with the Church of the East and West. It happened with the Protestant Reformation. It happened after Vatican I with the "Old Catholics."

For myself, I remain with the pope, the only way to not be in schism. A Catholic who believes otherwise is dead wrong and betrays a lack of understanding of what schism is, perhaps a coloring book Catholic.

George said...

Is it unreasonable to assert that faithful Catholics(many of whom are characterized as traditional) and Pope Francis agree with each other more than they disagree? There is no disagreement among faithful Catholics and the Pope on such things as abortion, same-sex marriage,artificial contraception, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia and other such sinful acts. The way he celebrates the liturgy should not be a problem. Hopefully, only good will some from the forthcoming Synod.
Pope Francis, from what I gather, wants the Church to have a significant influential role and presence on the World stage. He speaks to issues which cross ecumenical and national boundaries and which greatly concern him. It seems like he wants those outside the Church to see that there are areas we can agree on. It is his hope perhaps that with a larger profile in the secular domain, more will be drawn back into the Church. We can agree that there is a moral aspect to our obligation in caring for the Environment but we don't have to agree with his the Holy Father's perpective on Climate change.
There are those who are of the opinion(not without some reason) that in attempting to achieve this goal His Holiness risks discounting or minimizing the spiritual and evangelical mission of the Church and that he while he speaks often of the Mercy of God, he speaks not enough on sin and the Eternal consequences if one does not repent and convert. Having Mr Rocca for the lector at the Papal Mass was a mistake. How much of that decision be placed on the Holy Father? How much on Cardinal Dolan? Pope Francis is not being served well. It seems like Mr Rocca is some kind of minor celebrity but I myself had never heard of him. How much did the Holy Father know about him He is by his own admission a homosexual and there exists legitimate concern about him since he has not stated (as far as I know) that he is leading a celibate lifestyle. Let's not make too much of it though. It happened, it's over and we must now move on.
Let us continue to pray and offer our sufferings for the Pope, bishops and priests.

Anonymous said...

I like the comparison that John Allen made of Bernardine with Francis. I think we are now witnessing what a Bernardine papacy would have been like. The media loved Bernardine here in Chicago. When Cardinal George took over you rarely heard about him. When Bernardine was here the local news gushed about him.

I saw the improvements in the Church because of the work of St. John Paul and Benedict. What will we notice after Francis is gone?

Mike

Chris Rawlings said...

Big-tent Catholicism? That sounds a lot less like the "take up your cross and follow me" faith that Jesus demands and a lot more like the same kind of unbearably lukewarm foam that floats around the Church. You tell me which is more likely to change lives.

Anonymous 2 said...

Chris:

Well, the answer to your question is obvious. Clearly, more lives will be changed by a smaller tent with fewer people in it who therefore never have an opportunity to be exposed to the beauty of Catholicism or to hear Christ tell them to take up their cross and follow Him.

It really is amazing. Just when I begin to feel really hopeful about the future of Catholicism in the United States after watching Pope Francis this weekend, I only need to come on this Blog and read the majority of the comments for a good dousing of cold water. Another example -- Father puts up a post about the Franciscans at St. Peter Claver, and you would think people would be pleased about this development and would say so. But oh no, instead immediately we get a bunch of negative comments.

I only hope that those non-Catholics who have told me how much they have been inspired by Pope Francis’s visit (including comments such as “Pope Francis makes me feel much better about the Catholic Church” and “Pope Francis almost makes me sorry I am an atheist”) never, and I mean never, come on this Blog (unfortunately the first one already does know about the Blog and this has been a major reason for her continuing negativity towards the Catholic Church). So, please think about this as you post—other people including non-Catholics read these comments, which may serve to undermine the good that Pope Francis is achieving in terms of evangelism and healing of division. And, as I understand it from Mark Thomas’s posts, this Blog is mild by comparison with some others. I am not trying to silence discussion just pleading for a bit of balance (something that on this thread, for example, only George has displayed, in addition to Father McDonald of course).






Anonymous said...

I really like the slogan on the T-shirts "This pope gives us hope" . . . I agree! Hope for myself and others.

Militia Immaculata said...

"[Mark Wahlberg is] not perfect though. I've heard him say he agrees with same sex marriage and disagrees with this, that and the other of Church teaching. Should only a perfect MC have been chosen or will Marky Mark make those who are distant from the Church come a bit closer? Time will tell."

With all due respect, Father, there's a huge difference in not being perfect (none of us are; we all have sins that we struggle with) and giving scandal, which is what Mark Wahlberg has done by openly proclaiming himself to be a "cafeteria Catholic." Since he's in the public eye, Wahlberg is a role model whether he wants to be or not. Right or wrong, most young people these days look at celebrities as role models. Wahlberg could do (and probably has done) so much good in that regard, but since he has openly verbalized his support for same-sex marriage and whatnot, whatever good he's done has the potential to be outweighed by the bad. You see, given the terrible catechesis of the past few decades, some naive, impressionable young Catholics may see his support for gay marriage and wrongly conclude that if such a good Catholic as Mark Wahlberg supports gay marriage, then it must be ok. Others may be more cynical and lose their faith because of it; they may think, "Hey, wait a minute, I thought he was Catholic, and yet he supports gay marriage?!" I think it was a Catholic priest that once said that the greatest single cause of atheism in the world to day is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and then turn around and deny him by their lifestyle. That, he adds, is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

Jdj said...

A2, I agree...
Is there anything upon which we can agree here? If not, I fear there is nothing upon which our Church local OR universal can agree. Can our Holy Father possibly unite such a Church or influence the world to combat the real enemy?

Anonymous 2 said...

Jdj:

Here is one suggestion: We could all agree to drop the sniping and negativity about the Holy Father as well as the paranoid conspiracy theories about his election and suspected secret agenda and decide to trust him and follow his lead in a spirit of humility. How’s that for starters? =)


Anonymous said...

At the moment we do have a schism in the making with the upcoming Synod on the Family. For instance, the German bishops have said they plan to go ahead and give communion to remarried civilly divorced Catholics. On the other hand, we have the Polish bishops who say, regardless of the outcome of the synod, they will not be giving communion to remarried civilly divorced Catholics. Cardinal Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider are with the Polish bishops. We also have a push for the acceptance of practising homosexuals to also receive communion - did the lector at the Pope's Mass, for example, go up for communion?

But which side will Pope Francis take? That is the burning question. If he decides to take the path of Kasper, Daneels, and so on where will we all stand? The day is fast approaching when we are all going to have to take a stand. Let us hope and pray, for the sake of the Church, that Pope Francis upholds Church teaching on both these moral issues.

Jan

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2, Sorry, but there is a lot of very appropriate negativity about the Pope. Trying to get everybody to shut up will not remove it. RE: Jdj's question, the Pope has done nothing to unite anyone except the LGBT/shacking up crowd in their joyous anticipation of a weakened Church.

Anonymous said...

Rdj and Anonymous 2, obviously as neither of you spoke out about it obviously you see nothing wrong with an openly gay man being the lector at the Pope Mass. I'm sorry, but silence assumes assent. I like other Catholics am totally disgusted at the slow breaking down of Catholic teaching and morality. It is a scandal and any Catholic worth their salt would be saying so.

http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/outcry-after-open-homosexual-serves-as-lector-at-pope-francis-nyc-mass-vide

Jan

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Jan:

I suggest you read your own link, which contains the following sentence:

“Before people jump to irrational conclusions, we must keep in mind that it is beyond improbable that Pope Francis even knew Mo Rocca's name let alone that he was a famous homosexual.”

So, it is completely illegitimate for you or anyone to make any judgment about Pope Francis based on this incident. Moreover, perhaps you should get all the other relevant facts, too, before you leap to any judgment at all.

I would have thought that any Catholic worth his salt would proceed in this manner.


Anonymous said...

"When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, 'If this pope were a prophet, he would know who is appearing with him and what kind of person he is--that he is a sinner.' And Jesus answered him, 'Simon, I have something to say to you.' And he replied, 'Say it, Teacher.' 'A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.…"





Anonymous said...

Aanon 2, It doesn't matter whether the Pope knew this guy was openly gay (I'm betting he did), it happened on his watch. Besides, he has encouraged gays in many other ways, so I think his intentions are pretty clear.

Jusadbellum said...

Anonymous, that only works if MO is a repentant sinner who recognizes that sodomy is sinful and is sincerely seeking to live a chaste life. If instead he is happily committing what the Church holds to be a sin, then it is a scandal for him to be so honored with a spot in the Papal Mass.

What are we to assume? At Mass do we not acknowledge our sins and ask for pardon? If we insist we're not in need of pardon do we not cut ourselves off from mercy? Isn't that what gay activists do by insisting that sodomy is OK?

The man who renounces sinful way - or the woman who was a harlot and renounces that lifestyle and comes to weep at Jesus' feet and beg forgiveness is very distant from the man like Herod who was smug in his sinfulness and wanted approval for his sinful lifestyle by means of honorary places at the banquet.

Would the Pope be served by some scandalously known polluter or war profiteer given this honor? How about someone who proudly claimed to be a racist?

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous:

“It doesn't matter whether the Pope knew this guy was openly gay (I'm betting he did), it happened on his watch.”

On whose watch did the clergy abuse scandal happen? Do I detect a double standard here?

_________

“Besides, he has encouraged gays in many other ways, so I think his intentions are pretty clear.”

Read the CCC on the treatment of homosexuals. There is nothing wrong per se in “encouraging” gays:

“2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”

Why, what would you do then—discourage them?

But, of course, this isn’t what all this is really about is it? Isn't it really about looking for anything, and I mean anything, that will put the Holy Father in a negative light, no matter all the good that comes out of what he does. How about mentioning some of that for a change? That’s what I mean by balance.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon 2 - Yes, it is all about finding anything - anything - to complain about. The color his shoes, the ferula that he carries, the "Communist" cross that he wore - all of these are considered fair game by the complainers. And all are given sinister interpretations.

From these picayune details, the naysayers now have begun salivating over "reports" that Cardinal Danneels and a secret "mafia" worked behind the scene for years to 1) depose B16 and 2) get Francis elected. They know it to be true because . . . they read it on the internet.

You can bet that the fulminations will increase, that the hand-wringing will become more intense, and that the predictions of a coming schism will become a clarion call for such a division.

The Destroyer is very, very pleased.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anon 2, where did I mention the Pope? I stated "The important thing is the state of the Church. It is easy for the eyes to glaze over and feel all Catholic and nostalgic at events and close our eyes to the scandal that was in the sanctuary for all to see - an openly gay lector at Pope Francis’s Mass. But many seem to ignore that and are taken up with the gloss and celebrity". You are the one jumping to conclusions. Your eyes have glazed over and you fail to see or to mention the problems with an openly gay lector being at a papal Mass. Other Catholics, worth their salt, have and are picking up on it just like Church Militant. You still haven't managed to proffer a few words that you think it is a scandal and, therefore, I guess I am right in assuming you don't.

I think you should read posts properly before you jump in and accuse people of things they are not saying.

And Fr Kavanaugh, this is nothing to do with the colour of shoes - as you well know - and, if you were concerned about an openly Gay man being the lector at Mass and causing scandal, worth your salt as a Catholic priest, you would also complain about it. Our Lord wasn't afraid to whip people out of the temple and nor should you be. But in this PC world of ours I am sure you are one of those, "We mustn't hurt people's feelings" but too bad if their example leads other people to hell.

Yes, and we have read what you have to say on the internet too and it very rarely amounts to upholding Catholic teaching - usually the opposite. But in the case of Daneels if you had read Penton's report properly you will see it is reported from his authorised biography - reported on the internet. Time you also read posts clearly. And if you disdain the internet so much why are you posting at all? In case you don't realise it the internet is now ahead of papers, TV, etc, with the news and is as reliable as those other sources and probably more so and good that now we do get to hear the truth for a change.

Jan

Anonymous 2 said...

Father Kavanaugh gives us a sobering reminder of who the real Enemy is and of the destructive tactics he has employed throughout human history.

Therefore, instead of playing into his hands by anticipating, projecting, speculating, or imagining, how about we all just wait and see what happens—at the Synod, for example?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jan - I don't live in the bubble of fear that surrounds you and from which you view the world.

I also don't share your hermeneutic of suspicion, through which you view everyone who does not share your opinions - and they are just opinions - as enemies of Truth and goodness.

You cannot cite one - just one - statement of mine that has opposed the teaching of the Church. But due to your bubble of fear and your hermeneutic of suspicion, you read into my disagreements with yourself and others "opposition" to Church teaching.

I do not disdain the internet. I disdain those who fall for the unsubstantiated accusations and the outright false claims made on the internet. No, the internet is not "as reliable" as other news sources precisely because vast amounts of what is posted on the internet is 1) purely polemical, 2) edited by no one, and 3) without source citing. One of the great weaknesses of the internet is that it is instantaneous - people hear or read something that is posted, decide, without investigating, that, since they agree with it that it must be true (example - the Mafia of St. Gall conspiracy theory).

In just the last week I have corrected 4 Facebook posts that are shown to be completely false with the barest minimum of fact checking.

No, I do not disdain the internet. I disdain those who credulously believe what they see on the internet.

Jdj said...

Yes, A2, that would be called giving him the benefit of the doubt. Intelligent, not to mention Christian, people do this for one another. The Holy Father has the God-given benefit of being Peter's successor who currently occupies the position of "Rock" of our Church. Are we Catholic enough to allow this?

Anonymous said...

The clergy abuse scandal was going on for decades...centuries...and only came to light on Benedict's watch. It is probably still going on, only quietly and with more circumspection.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anon 2 and Fr K both ignore the scandal of an openly gay homosexual being the lector at a papal Mass. In case you have both forgotten scandal is a sin - but then maybe neither of you believes in sin.

As for no editing on the internet - some news sites are edited. For that matter I know journalists in newspapers who have told me that liberals editors have edited out the truth - changed numbers attending rallies, etc, so so much for your editing, Fr K.

I believe Fr K that you do live in a bubble of fear - you live in the bubble of fear of the liberals who fear the return of orthodoxy to the Church and so contest everything and everyone who takes a stand against modernism. Silence signifies assent - therefore, although you may not openly go against Church teaching - although others on this blog have claimed otherwise - if you do not say anything against openly gay people or people openly living in sin reading at Mass then you are tolerant of evil because every time an open sinner gets up to read or is given a prominent part in the Mass that is a signal to others leading a sinful lifestyle that that is okay and that is paving the way to hell for them but you may not be worried if you don't believe in hell.

Jan

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Jan:

I am not ignoring anything. There is nothing scandalous in an openly gay man reading at Mass any more than there is something scandalous in an openly gay priest celebrating Mass. What would you have them do—stay in the closet? In my approach to these issues I am guided by the CCC, which I quoted in my 2:55 p.m. post on September 28. Perhaps there is scandal, perhaps there isn’t in this particular case. It depends on additional facts not yet in evidence. I do not have those facts. Do you?

If you did not mean to suggest that Pope Francis approved of the gay lector in your post at 6:51 a.m. on September 27, I did not actually say that you were leaping to conclusions about the Pope in my post of 8:51 a.m. on September 28, just cautioning you and anyone else against doing so.