Saturday, September 2, 2017


The Pope's traditionalist remarks about the Mass is the progressive ideology against it from the 1970's. I was there and I know it well. In this Pope Francis has earmuffs and hasn't grown out of the 1970's thinking about the now call Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy. 

Pope Francis on celibacy, child abusers, same-sex unions, secularism, and traditionalists

Pope Francis sat down for 20 conversations with French journalist Dominique Wolton for a book-length interview that will be released in French on Wednesday. The 432-page volume is titled  Politique et société : un dialogue inédit, or Politics and Society: Conversations with Dominique Walton.

Choosing chastity

—Pope Francis: To renounce sexuality and choose a path of chastity or virginity implies a whole life of consecration. What is the condition without which this path disintegrates? It is that this path must bring one to spiritual paternity or maternity.
One of the ills of the Church is the [problem of] “bachelor” priests and “single” religious, because they are full of bitterness. On the contrary, those who have reached this spiritual paternity, either through a parish, or a school or hospital, are fine. … The same thing happens with women religious, since they are “mothers.” … It is a voluntary renunciation.
Virginity, either masculine or feminine, is a monastic tradition that existed before Catholicism. It is a human search: renunciation in order to seek God in his origin, through contemplation. But this renunciation should be a fecund renunciation, that maintains a type of fecundity different than carnal fecundity or sexual fecundity.
Also in the Church, there are married priests. There are Eastern married priests. But the renunciation of matrimony for the Kingdom of God is a value in itself. It means renouncing something in order to place oneself in service, to contemplate better.

If a priest is an abuser, he is sick

—Pope Francis: […] Before, the priest was moved, but the problem just relocated with him. The current policy is what Benedict XVI and I have applied through the Commission for the Protection of Minors, created two years ago here in the Vatican: defending all youth. It’s about confronting the problem. Mother Church teaches how to prevent abuse, and how to enable a child to speak about it, to tell the truth to his parents, and to be forthcoming about what has happened.
It is an edifying journey. The Church should not take up a defensive position. If a priest is an abuser, he is someone who is sick. Of every four abusers, two of them have been abused as children. These are the statistics from the psychiatrists.

Marriage is between a man and a woman

—Pope Francis: What can we think of marriage between people of the same sex? “Matrimony” is a historical word. Always, in humanity, and not just in the Church, it was a man and a woman. It’s not possible to change it just like that […] It’s not possible to change it. It is part of nature. That’s how it is. Let us call it, then, “civil unions.” Let us not play with truths.
It’s true that behind all this we find gender ideology. In books, kids learn that it’s possible to change one’s sex. Could gender, to be a woman or to be a man, be an option and not a fact of nature? This leads to this error.
Let us call things by their names. Matrimony is between a man and a woman. This is the precise term. Let us call the same-sex union a “civil union.”

Traditionalist ideology

— Pope Francis: How does tradition grow? It grows like a person grows: with dialogue, just like what happens to a child when he is nursed. Dialogue with the world that surrounds us. Dialogue brings growth. If we don’t dialogue, it’s not possible to grow; a person stays closed in, small, dwarfed. I cannot progress with earmuffs; I have to see and dialogue. Dialogue permits growth and makes tradition grow. To dialogue and to listen to another opinion can, as in the case of the death penalty, of torture, of slavery, change my point of view. Without changing doctrine. Doctrine has grown with comprehension. This is the base of tradition […]

On the contrary, traditionalist ideology has a faith like this [the pope makes a gesture of putting on earmuffs]. “The benediction should be done like this. In Mass, fingers should be like this, with gloves, like before …” What Vatican II has done with the liturgy has been something truly grand, because it has opened worship of God to the people. Now the people participate.

Religions aren’t subcultures

—Pope Francis: The secular state is something healthy. There is a healthy secularism. Jesus said, Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. All of us are equal before God. But I think that in some countries, like in France, this secularism has a tone inherited from the Enlightenment, which is very strong; it creates a collective imagination where religions are seen as a subculture. I think that France — in my personal opinion; this is not the opinion of the Church — should “elevate” the level of secularism a bit, in the sense that it should say that religions also form part of the culture.
How can this be expressed in a secular manner? Through openness to the transcendent. Each individual can find his form of openness. In French heritage, the Enlightenment has too much weight. I understand this heritage from history, but the work of broadening must be done. There are governments, Christian and non-Christian, that do not accept secularism.
What does it mean for a lay state to be “open to the transcendent”? That religions form part of the culture; that they are not subcultures. It’s ridiculous to say that one can’t wear a crucifix that’s visible hanging around your neck, or that women shouldn’t wear this or that. Because both one and the other represent a culture. One wears a crucifix, another wears something else, the rabbi wears the kippah, the pope a zucchetto (laughs) … this is healthy secularism!
Vatican II explains this well, with a lot of clarity. I think that exaggerations arise on these issues, in particular when secularism is placed above religions. So then religions aren’t part of culture? They’re subcultures?


TJM said...

To be totally honest, Pope Francis should have said:

"In terms of participation at Mass, a tiny remnant of people who still go to Sunday Mass, participate, more or less."

Dialogue said...

How does the placement of one's fingers or the wearing of gloves (I'm not sure exactly what he's referring to in these examples) illustrate either Sacred Tradition or dialogue with the modern world?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It's just plain snarky and its stupid, plain and simple. I can only imagine what he thinks of the Eastern Orthodox patriarch standing next to him for a photo opt wearing an ornate crown and elaborate vestments. The progressive snarkiness of the 1970's is anything but ecumenical and shuts down dialogue.

The progressive fight against rubrics, order and beauty has led to the diminution of the liturgy and made it pedestrian and uninteresting. And yes, fewer participants who might be mouthing more than before. But actual participation when only 12% in the northeast bother to go to Mass and even fewer in the more liberal cities of Europe-earmuffs and blindfolded is the pope I think.

TJM said...

I sometimes wonder if people like Pope Francis live in their own special world of reality. Prior to Vatican II, approximately 80% of American Catholics attended Mass on Sunday (when it was allegedly in incomprehensible Latin) whereas barely 20% of American Catholics attend Sunday Mass now, with the "new and improved" Mass that was supposed to pack em in. If not living in a dream world, these folks are either extremely arrogant or intectually dishonest, or perhaps both.

John Nolan said...

Forget the so-called 'acceptance' of same-sex civil partnerships - he doesn't even imply this. What is really worrying is the section on tradition and doctrine. Given that he is the guardian of both, these incoherent ramblings are scandalous. Tradition grows as a result of dialogue with the world around us? What in God's name is he on about?

Perhaps he needs urgent fraternal correction from the pope emeritus, whose advice he claims to rate so highly.

At least I now know that I and like-minded Catholics are self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagians in earmuffs. Aures habeo et non audiam! Mea culpa!

Anonymous said...

He is a nasty snowflake who refuses to "dialogue" with anybody he disagrees with. Why is he refusing to meet with the "dubia cardinals". Answer the dam questions.

Victor said...

I suspect the holy Father is thinking of Cardinal Burke and his solemn EF Masses. As a South American leftie who thinks Communists are the true Christians, I can imagine the contempt he has for Americans, particularly the traditionalist Catholics who tend to be conservative.

Moreover, we hear that word "participation" again, that in order to be saved one has to participate in a man-made fabricated liturgy. The idolatry for the liturgy by "progressives" is beyond comprehension, and it is no wonder that the Church in South America is losing adherents to the Evangelicsls and Pentecostals faster than you can say "Go, the Mass is ended."

rcg said...

He seems to go off the rails when he begins to attribute motivations to people. Whether homosexuals, governments, or traditionalists, he likes to give reasons for why certain groups think as they do, stereotype them, and present their position simplistically. Somehow the traditionalists seem to get the worst of the deal. So why does he tolerate us and why does he even support some of the attributes of the traditional Mass while casting the adherents as undesirable and closed minded? Maybe he'll give Pope Benedict a pair of ear muffs for Christmas?

I suspect he casts traditionalists in the light of what he encountered in Argentina. It's a shame he can't move past that.

TJM said...


I guess "who am I to judge" does not apply to faithful Catholics

John Nolan said...

Benedict XVI, when still a cardinal, published an interview with Peter Seewald, which was of course edited before it came out. There were, of course, no language issues.

The forthcoming book claims to be 'inédit'. Although the Pope is conversant with French he does not speak it to native speaker standard. Therefore we need to ask in which language he answered the questions, and who translated them into French. Any English version is at another remove, but it seeks to replicate his diffuse and imprecise style.

My main criticism of his utterances still stands. He rambles on about his own opinions and preferences - the fact that they may coincide with dogma and tradition is beside the point.
If he would answer a question by saying 'the Church teaches X, Y and Z, and my own opinions count for nothing' then I would have some respect for him.

As things stand, the more he opens his silly mouth, the less time I have for him.

Mark Thomas said...

Pope Francis: What can we think of marriage between people of the same sex?

“Matrimony” is a historical word. Always, in humanity, and not just in the Church, it was a man and a woman. It’s not possible to change it just like that […] It’s not possible to change it. It is part of nature. That’s how it is. Let us call it, then, “civil unions.” Let us not play with truths."

"Let us call things by their names. Matrimony is between a man and a woman. This is the precise term. Let us call the same-sex union a “civil union.”

Is that the extent of Pope Francis' comment related to homosexual civil unions? If so, then the report that Pope Francis had declared his support for homosexual civil unions is false.


Mark Thomas

ByzRC said...

Fr. AJM,

A better question might be what might the Orthodox Patriarch think of him? I doubt he's saying to himself, "Who am I to judge?".

Dialogue said...
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Dialogue said...
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