Crux has a summary of an interesting debate about Pope Francis from a progressive Catholic, Austen Ivereigh, who loves Pope Francis and a conservative Catholic, Ross Douthat, (who writes for the New York Times) who is discomforted by Pope Francis.
Press the title for the full Crux article:
- Christopher White Jan 26, 2018
Here is a secular take on the same thing in Dallas:
Here are some sound bites from the Crux article that make my point with my comments in red:
(First, what most of us who are orthodox fear and find mystifying is that lukewarm Catholics or what some call coloring book Catholics as well as the secular world, be they believers or not, love Pope Francis for watering down the Catholic Faith and making it just another NGO. Those who beleive what the Church teaches, as challenging as it is for them personally to follow through, are thrown under the bus! This is polarizing and creating great anger!)
Ivereigh, who authored a 2015 biography of Francis, The Great Reformer, made a case for a “hermeneutic of continuity,” maintaining that “the Francis papacy builds very beautifully on Benedict’s papacy, and so much of what Francis is doing was foreseen, anticipated, and enabled by Pope Benedict.”
In response to the increasing tides of secularization, the Church had grown “distant, dogmatic, more interested in itself than humanity,” argued Ivereigh, taking “refuge in ethics,” rather than discipleship.
“We were converting our faith into an ideology, and what people knew about us was what we’re against,” Ivereigh said. (Such nonsense it is incredulous! Our Catholic Faith splendid truth he calls an ideology and emphasis on doctrine replaces discipleship! What kind of silliness is this and is Pope Francis really promoting this? I hope not because anyone can be a good person and in terms of being good could follow Jesus as a "dead hero!" But Jesus is the living Lord and teaches us the truth, not an ideology. And is the Church isn't concerned with both/and but rather with either/or, then we are self-absorbed! We are more self absorbed in the Church today under Pope Francis then we have ever been in the past 50 years!)
To Change the Church, Douthat urged caution over what he described as a “Catholic swing toward a more Anglican model of communion,” in the Francis era, which, in his view, has also reopened a host of other connected theological questions.
“I think his [Francis’s] at times carelessness and dismissiveness around doctrine and doctrinal continuity - doctrinal continuity that goes all the way back to the person of Jesus Christ…has led to a situation where the Church is lurching in certain ways to not literal, but a kind of de facto, schism on certain issues,” Douthat warned. (Russ Douthat makes sense here and shows how dumb Ivereigh's analysis really is!)
When asked why Francis has not responded to the dubia - questions submitted to Francis by four cardinals seeking specific “yes” or “no” answers regarding the reception of communion - Ivereigh said Francis was not allowing confusion to fester, but rather to answer the dubia would be to undermine the very process of discernment called for by Francis in Amoris.
“It’s actually a challenge not just to his magisterial authority, but to the whole process of the Synod itself, which was a process of ecclesial discernment,” said Ivereigh, “so Francis can’t answer those dubia directly in some sort of letter without undermining the whole process of the synod.” (All Pope Francis had to do was to meet with the cardinals of the dubia, have a frank discussion in private and then issue a communique that a consensus had been reached and the pope could have said quite easily, if it were true, what Iverigh just said! But no, Pope Francis, marginalizes those of us to inculde his closest collaborators and creates more tension, anger and polarization in the Church!)
Meanwhile, Douthat disputed the idea that any sort of definitive interpretation has been offered.
“I would mildly dispute that the Holy Father has made clear what the precise and proper interpretation of Amoris Laetitia is,” said Douthat.
He went on to argue that defenders of Amoris want to effectively defend Church teaching on marriage, while at the same time promoting new disciplinary practices that fail to adhere to the doctrinal and ontological realities of marriage.
“There is this constant insistence that we are defending indissolubility…which is well and good,” said Douthat, “but in practice you are evacuating it of all meaning.”
“This leaves the conservatives in the uncomfortable position of essentially dissenting from something that the pope is clearly teaching,” he said. (Amen to that!)