Thursday, March 21, 2013


Yes, the Catholic Church as a family is quite dysfunctional and that is because of Original and Actual sin. There is no doubt about it!

I can remember when Pope Benedict was elected pope and how the progressive wing of the Church were in shock and crying like babies and thinking that it was the end of the world and the Church as we know it would go to hell in a hand basket. We know the notable figures of this period of dysfunction and I don't need to name names. Fortunately, the progressives are so dysfunctional, they will never be able to unite into any semblance of a formal schism. Their heresies are all over the place, as they are, but they do tend to divorce themselves from the Magisterium of the Church for their own purposes and see themselves above it rather than in service to it.

And now just like the progressive cry babies at Pope Benedict's election, on the right, we have the traditionalists who are throwing a hissy fit over Pope Francis' election. And just like the progressives they are in separation and divorce mode! The problem, though, with the traditionalists is that they usually are not in doctrinal heresy except for their attitude toward the legitimate authority of the Magisterium and the Petrine Ministry. They tend to reject large chunks of Vatican II and try to justify their divorce by living in the past.

The traditionalists pose a greater threat to the unity of the Church and are more into the divorce mentality than the progressives.In this regard, they are more honest in their intent. They are more organized and think alike and are more prone to follow authority that they like even if it is bogus, like the bogus authority of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

Every pope we've had I have liked some things and disliked other things. The popes I remember the best were Pope Paul VI who as a teenager, I thought was old, dour and lamented way too many things and didn't try to change what was wrong but simply lamented things. To me his papacy was all about lamenting!

We didn't have Pope John Paul I enough, but I was just beginning my second year of seminary when he was elected. He smiled more than Pope Paul VI and had a nice Italian touch and sweetness and told us that God is just as much a Mother as He is a Father. Wow! I thought!

Then he died and we got the tornado of Pope John Paul II and pope-worship (not really) went into high gear. He was manly, athletic and young, although at the time I thought 57 years old was pretty old! I loved his energy and his willingness to stare people down who dissented. I loved his willingness to bring back the "discipline" of the Church. But I didn't like the cult of the personality that surrounded him. I thought it was over the top.

I loved Pope Benedict and that he was quite uncomfortable with the cult of the personality that surrounded the papacy under John Paul II and worked to quiet down the pep rally nature of people in the presence of the pope. Thank you Pope Benedict for that, but why didn't you codify some of your modeling of the Liturgy? In a sense, we are now at the mercy of various popes as to what they model! Wouldn't it have been better if that were not the case?

And now we have Pope Francis. I love his love for the poor, his human touch and his great piety and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Our Lady of Fatima. That tells us something significant. I love the way he celebrates Mass although I lament that he doesn't sing/chant and might be too much of a pragmatist liturgically and wants to get things over with in terms of his desire for brevity. His preaching thus far is wonderful and he has a pastor's heart. He is not an academic like Pope Benedict.

I liked the vestments he wore for the installation, especially his alb, these are my style of things believe it or not! But I like the pageantry of the papacy too and like what Pope Benedict modeled in that regard, I just wish it wasn't just up to the various idiosyncrasies of each pope where one day we have it one way and the next another. Shouldn't the people of God expect and see consistency? We shouldn't have to have anxiety about the externals and if these are left alone I don't think we would. But with that said, I wouldn't mind seeing a pope visiting the hospital taking off the cassock and donning something more practical especially in hands-on situations.

I am a Papist and I will stand by Pope Francis through thick and thin, for better or worse, in sickness and in health and I will love, honor and obey him in all matter of faith, morals and canon law. It's like marriage you know, like the way Catholics once thought of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, at least orthodox Catholics!


Gene said...

While I agree with your sentiments, I do not agree that disaffected Traditionalists pose a greater threat to the Church than Progressives. The small percentage of angry traditionalists who were disillusioned enough to split off went with SSPX and we knew exactly why they did so. They are doctrinally conservative, true believers, and devout. Hopefully, and possibly, one day they will be reconciled with the Church.
Modernists/progressives stay in the Church and live a lie while trying to change the Church from within. This is far more dangerous than a frustrated traditionalist griping about liturgy or having a hissy fit about secularizing influences in the Church. While being a Papist, I am more of a "Churchist." The Church and the Magisterium are greater than any single Pope and will survive any storm. That is Christ's promise and I trust it. But, we have some role in defending the Church and speaking on her behalf ...sometimes it is difficult for an individual or group to know just what that role is and they often make mistakes. But, I believe we should educate ourselves theologically, historically, and liturgically so that we can do ideological battle with the Church's foes. Are we not called by Paul and the NT writers to do so? Must I site chapter and verse ( I can)? One of the great things about this blog for me is that folks like Fr. MacDonald, Nolan, Johnson, Marc, Henry, Anon 5 and so many others teach us so much about liturgy and dogma. It keeps my spiritual weapons sharp.
So, while I may not be thrilled by my initial impression of Pope Francis, he sounds like a tough doctrinal and dogmatic conservative who is not afraid to enforce those things. That I like.

However, isn't it a disturbing epigram over this whole debacle that we should even have the discussion. It is symptomatic of the fact that the Church is divided within. No one should have to hold their breath when a new Pope is elected or tremble every time the USCCB has a meeting. I should not have to walk up to an out-of-town Church-in-the-round thinking,"Geez, what am I gonna see today" or leave it thinking, "Just what in the Hell was that I just assisted at?"

Anonymous said...

I think many traditionalists are reacting to the reactions of progressive Catholics rather than to the new pope himself. Once the false honeymoon ends the progressives will hate Pope Francis as much as his predesesor. Then we will see a fairer opinion of the new pope among the trads. However, I think many progressives will come aboard the barque of Peter because of Francis just as many traditionalists did because of Benedict. Benedict wrote Caritas en Veritate as the tip of his spear is truth backed up by love. Perhaps Francis' spear is love backed up by truth and Catholics on the other side will be drawn in by this. It is a subtle difference that in my mind could make all the difference in the world.

Keyser Soze said...

I don't know enough about this pope to throw my best hissy fit. If I have expressed anything, it's fear. I am simply afraid that the progressives who are high-fiving each other and gloating in the press may just have what they wanted all along.

I disagree that traditionalists pose a greater threat to the unity of the Church than progressives. We tend to be more educated in the basics of our faith than the progressives. One of the most basic things we are taught is to "bear wrongs patiently." Anyone who reads the lives of saints knows that many, if not most of the saints suffered at some point in their lives because of unjust treatment by legitimate Church authority. Traditionalists get that. So if we get a pope who is going to make us suffer, we're not going to do the liberal Catholic thing and picket the pope or denounce him in the secular press. We're going to obey him. We would also do what our liberal brethren never do: We would pray the Rosary and have Masses offered for him.

But this is all premature. We don't know what this pope is going to do or how his papacy will go. If anything, you should be scolding the liberal Catholics who are scaring the heck out of us.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I think with the liberals there is a bit of a pay back time to the traditionalist who gloated over Cardinal Ratzinger's election. It is a form of revenge with is opposed to the Gospel. But let's face it, traditionalists certainly do it to the progressives.

I personally think that progressives tend to have a heart for the poor and are not "Republicans" in the strict sense of the word, politically in terms of stinginess and that society through government must care for the vulnerable.

I think Traditionalists come across as uncaring to many people and are somewhat like the WASPs who think if you are poor you deserve it for some reason, why should I help you, help yourself.

Traditionalist can learn much from Pope Francis' care for the poor and will be afflicted by him all the while comforting the poor!

Gene said...

Whoa! You are buying into the myth of the "liberals love the poor." What nonsense! The Left in the Church and in politics use the poor as a club in order to implement their egalitarian ideology. If you care about someone, you provide them with the opportunity to be self-reliant and independent. The Left is completely cynical regarding the poor and keep them in subjection and poverty with programs designed to do so in order to keep their votes. The Left, in the Church and in politics,
needs a permanent underclass.
I also resent this implication that republicans are somehow insensitive and do not care about the poor. Quiz:
1) Which president passed more Civil Rights legislation than Kennedy, Johnson, or Clinton? (answer: Richard Nixon)
2.) Who said, after passing some Great Society legislation, "I'll have those ni----s voting Democratic for a hundred years." (Lyndon Johnson)
These are just two of the many anecdotal examples of the cynicism and hypocrisy of the Left.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how starting off a Pontificate by putting off one wing of the Church in support of another is good for souls or the Church. Under the umbrella of the Catholic Faith there is room for everyone, as was shown by Pope Benedict. The media and some blogs have pit one Pope against another. And the new Pope has played into that, knowingly or not. Would it have been so hard to please both camps? Themes about continuity which we heard throughout Benedicts Pontificate are now what? The whims of one Pope? Is that how we are supposed to think? With each Pontificate opposed to the next are we supposed to flip flop our thinking? I thought we had all learned about abrupt impositions. On this course I can see that one day the Pope will no longer look like a Pope, speak like a Pope (Benediict's lack of courage to legislate) is slowly reducing the power of the Pope as leader of our Church. Indirectly this constant changing of styles is going to cost us. I hear from many people so far that they are already confused. It is not all about vestments or liturgical style but it is a part of it. Make no mistake. Religion is a conservative thing in general. People like stability. Familiarity.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The Holy Father is traditional when it comes to doctrine and morality but progressive when it comes to modeling poverty. The next pope may well restore what we think is now being loss in terms of dress, but, folks, that is minor.

Gregorian Mass said...

Traditionalists have always cared for the poor.....Where do you think some of the largest donations come from? They do not come from the slums or poorest among the poor..It seems no matter how much we do there is amindset that if we do not erase poverty we have been a failure. As Christ himself has said, "the poor will always be with us". I don't like how it is coming across through the media as if this is some novel idea about the poor. No one mentions the Catholic Church is one of the largest charities in the world. The poor have benefitted from endless numbers of programs and monies from the Church, in turn donated by the more fortunate. The Church does not boast about it, maybe they should have. Pope Francis should set the record straight on this as well. So far I alot of sentiment but not much else.

rcg said...

I recall a briefing on domestic terror threats where the highest threat was identified as religious white males. Less than a month later Timothy McVeigh bombed the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. The type of violence is defined in advance and either supported or opposed by the organisation that makes the definition. The Right tends toward direct action and segregates its violence into intense definable locations, while the Left has a lower order of violence on a much wider scale. The person on the right right will bomb one abortion clinic, the left will kill millions of babies and talk soothingly to the mother while they do it. A religious rightist will burn a cross in the yard of a black family, the Left has destroyed the black family with gifts and empowerment.

Pope Francis was played for a fool when he allowed the American contingent to take communion. He made Humanae Vitae a dead letter in the minds of every American politician. They would be fools to hold a pro-Life position based on Church teachings in an election. This is not a personal attack on Pope Francis. This is something he needs to hear and figure out what to do about it. He is dealing with indirect strategies and tactics with a public relations machine that will present his actions in whatever context suits their agenda. They will continue to either push or lead him around until the faithful are totally confused about his message.

Marc said...

Carrying your logic to it's conclusion historically the Catholic Church would be composed of Judaizers and Monothelites and the Papacy would be in Avignon, made up solely of European aristocracy given the title on an hereditary basis.

Rood Screen said...

Father McDonald,
If by "Traditionalists" and "Progressives" you mean those who reject the liturgical norms and doctrinal formulations of the Second Vatican Council, obviously for opposing reasons, then I suppose I can agree with your assessments.
But there are Latin Catholics who love the Roman liturgical tradition, and who believe that use of the EF missal can enrich the OF missal in such a way that, "the celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage" (see BXVI's letter accompanying "Summorum Pontificum"). The question for us is, does Pope Francis share this view or not? If not, then we have followed a particular path of Pope Benedict in vain.

Keyser Soze said...

There is no "either/or" dichotomy that dictates one is either traditional and neglects the poor or "progressive" and cares for the poor. The entire Church was what dissenters call "traditional" for 1900 years before the tampering began in the 1960's. Care to name ANY other organization that did as much for the poor as the Church did during that period?

Comparing traditionalist Catholics to skewed perceptions of America's political parties is not the way to go in this debate.

Rood Screen said...

I would like to suggest that we are nearing especially dangerous territory here. The poor are to be loved, not displayed as trophies in theological and liturgical contests.

Hammer of Fascists said...

I think there are a couple of problems with this analysis.

1) As has been mentioned above, there are probably far, far fewer trads than there are modernists, and most of them have gone with SSPX and such. Further, there is undoubtedly _far_ more modernist influence on current liturgy and pastoral practice/theology than there is trad influence.

2) But there's a more significant problem with the analysis, and it's with the left/right model. Such a model is too political, and it also ignores those of us who simply want orthodoxy (and who think that in order to attain it we must roll back the pervasive modernism that's unquestionably infecting the Church.) The better model is not left/right but instead as a circular bullseye target, with the center of the target being the preaching _and_ practice of doctrinal truth (orthodoxy/orthopraxis).

In this model, missing the bullseye in any direction is bad. But since the great mass of missing has been in the direction of modernism in the past 50 years, the orthodox want to see a pope whose focus is on pre-VII teaching and practice as a corrective--not to move the Church to the right but rather to move it back onto the bullseye. The left-right model does these people a great disservice.

The signals we've been getting in the past week (mainly from 2 sources: reports of his career up to now and a week's liturgical practice) are that the pope is hitting all over the place, some closer to the bullseye, and some farther, but on the whole, a good bit farther away than BXVI. This isn't reassuring to orthodox Catholics (a redundant phrase, BTW) any more than it is to the trads. In the current modernist environment, moreover, shots close to the center seem random, whereas modernist shoots reinforce the already strong and pervasive modernist agenda.

Gene said...

Wow! Great comments Marc, JBS, Soze, RCG...I am certainly glad I am in ya'll's camp.

Supertradmum said...

Remember, we only have to obey in matters of Faith and Morals from the Chair of Peter as laity.

The other actions of any pope are not infallible, which is why we have this great, specific teaching.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Re Gene's comment on the poor: while I agree with him, I have a slightly different take. The modernists (both inside the Church and in the world) would much rather have the Church either go away completely or else preach and practice a non-Catholic (and probably non-Christian) theology that includes such elements as economic collectivism, radical feminism, and indifferentism). Failing that, they would like the Church to become simply a social welfare agency on a secular model, concerned with alleviating poverty, illness, and socio-political oppression (as defined by the world), since that sort of institution wouldn't critique/judge the secular agenda or individual behavior (except perhaps the behavior of rich white guys).

This explains why the world consistently ignores/suppresses the fact that the Church is the biggest charitable institution in the history of the human race (since the world doesn't want it to be big, or to have that charity proceed from orthodoxy) but it does play up that Francis is "the pope of the poor" since that shows how the Church is finally "coming around" and focusing on what's REALLY important.

Luke said...

It seems that Pope Francis believes in the dichotomy of the liberals that you can not love the poor and the liturgy. His looking at his watch during the inauguration mass was disturbing. I converted to the Catholic Church from the episcopal "church" 9 years ago. At that time I also investigated the Orthodox Church but eventually came to believe that the Papacy was necessary to preserve truth and unity. Perhaps I was mistaken. I'm now not so sure one man should have the power to to change the Church based on his own personal preferences.

Bill said...

As a simple matter of fact, statistical data show that those who contribute most to the poor are of conservative beliefs and of relatively low income. As a counterpoint, VP Biden's few hundreds of declared charitable contributions are much less than my wife and I gave when I was out of work.

Anonymous in Archdiocese of Detroit said...

I agree with those who are saying its wrong to embellish the church as political terms liberal/progressive/left and conservative/right. The more accurtate terms would be horizontal and vertical. Thos in the horizontal camp want everything to be worldy and pertaining to mankind - - the "pelvic" issues, the poor and poverty, making Mass "simple and humble" (and by the way, at what point does constant fawning and praising over a person's humbleness and simpleness turn it into "showing off" and creating a new cult of personality?).

The ones in the vertical camp, want thing focused on the Heavenly, on God, on the spiritual -- a reverent and traditional Mass, emphasis on prayer and devotions, saving souls.

You need both horizontal and vertical to make the Cross... but notice the vertical beam is always larger than the horizontal. Is a larger horizontal beam with a smaller vertical beam Cross what is in our future?

Gene said...

I'd like to see a net worth study of Congress. I'll bet the Dems would make the Republicans look like beggars.

Unknown said...

Anon 5,

I agree wholeheartedly with your assertion that the right-left dichotomy is far too politicized to be used to describe orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

Case in point: while reading the reviews for a Catholic app, I noticed one reviewer state "disappointment" that "right-wingers" had "hijacked" the app and added a Latin Prayers section.

Notwithstanding my views on abortion and same-sex marriage, I am largely apolitical, but as a result of this dichotomy, I have been a labeled a "right-winger" simply because I prefer using one language over the other Ironically, were my preference Spanish and not Latin, I would be called a "diversity seeker" or some other nonsensical epithet.

Templar said...

Reading the Papal Tea Leaves
By George Neumayr on 3.20.13 @ 6:10AM

In what direction will the Church move under Pope Francis?

Francis’s papacy may not so much move the Church into the future as back to the recent past, circa 1970. Quarrels over the proper interpretation of Vatican II are more likely to explode than end. Emboldened liberal bishops under him may seek a reform of the “reform of the reform,” and they may push for a revisiting of settled moral, theological, and disciplinary stances. None of this repositioning will take place at the level of official teaching but at the murkier levels of tone, emphasis, and appointment.

That the Catholic left considers his election a shot in the arm can’t be chalked up simply to projection. There are enough nuances here to give them hope. They believe that this is their moment to try to undo the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict and return to the casual, informal, and spontaneous liturgical spirit of the 1970s while reviving a more poll-friendly situational ethics. Tweeted Mahony: “Don’t you feel the new energy, and being shared with one another?”

read the whole article here:

Bill said...

Gene, it's been done. And although the wealthiest of the Republicans are not at all poor, they are outnumbered and out-valued by Democrat millionaires.

Anonymous said...

Since the election of Pope Francis, I get a knot in my stomach when I read the comments on this blog. Apparently, there is very little trust in the Holy Spirit and His knowing the big picture. Do we only trust Him when He agrees with us and/or moves at our desired speed? There seems to be enough pride and self-righteousness here to counteract any humility the new Pope may exhibit!

rcg said...

I am ready to be corrected, but am still not convinced that mere monetary wealth is the definition of poor. I think of the practical example of Matthew, who probably had some money, but also longed for something more real.

This is from the Mass of the Faithful and always calls to mind my own poverty:

"Quid retríbuam Dómino pro ómnibus quæ retríbuit mihi?

-What return shall I make to the Lord for all the things that He hath given unto me?"

It is the same as 'fearing' the Lord. It is not so much His just anger, as the pain I cause him. If this is what Pope Francis means about the pathetic children of the sex trade, or of the hopeless young men in the prison, then he can count me in.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene and Bill,

And now for some facts -- There doesn’t seem to be much in it as between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, which is hardly surprising given the corrupted nature of our (national) politics. I will let you and others who are far better at sums than I am make of the details what you will:

Gene said...

Re: Left/Right, Vertical/Horizontal. I take your point and it is a good one, however, did you ever notice that in most cases political liberals tend to be horizontal in their theology and those who are heavy into humanistic "theology" tend to be political libs? This is no coincidence.

Hammer of Fascists said...

To explore Gene's comment further, consider that the socio-political Left a) believes in collectivist charity (i.e. forced economic redistribution) as opposed to principally private charity to deal with poverty and other social ills; b) de-emphasizes the vertical (except when using God to further the horiontal agenda, viz. Pelosi and Biden on Monday); c) tends to discount the notion of moral theology and personal sin unless it is related to the sin of the greed of the rich/privileged; d) is obsessed with materialism or "bread alone" (i.e., taking things away from the privileged and giving things to the underprivileged); e) tends to be utopian in the sense that society, acting through the state, can cure all earthly evils re-establish Eden or heaven on earth) if given the power to do so. (Part of that power includes the state co-opting, marginalizing, or suppression of opposing points of view, such as the Church).

Thoughts? Implications?

Gene said...

Anon 5, You are echoing things that I have said, as well.
II am not sure just how degraded theology and the Church may become, but there is a cul de sac somewhere. It will be interesting to see what the turn-around will be. For now, it seems that we will become more divided for a time rather than less so.
Ever since the Tower of Babel, man has insisted that he can do things better than the Creator. We continue to believe that we can build a heaven on earth if we just find the right combination. Why do the heathen rage...

Roll Call said...

Top 50 Congressional Millionaires, accd to Roll Call, 22 March 2013:

Republicans: $882.98 Million
Democrats: $706.46 Million

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) $294 million
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) $220.40
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) $193.07
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) $81.63
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) $76.30
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) $65.91
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) $55.07
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) $52.93
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) $44.21
Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) $35.87
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) $35.20
Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) $21.60
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) $21.18
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) $20.35
Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) $19.78
Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) $17.45
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) $17.00
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) $16.45
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) $15.46
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) $13.73
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) $11.90
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) $11.60
Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) $10.69
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) $10.6)
Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) $10.60
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) $10.38
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) $10.35
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) $10.28
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) $10.14
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) $10.14
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) $9.88
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) $9.84
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) $9.43
Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) $9.35
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) $9.29
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) $9.23
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) $8.53
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) $8.51
Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) $8.44
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) $8.18
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) $8.03
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) $7.94
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) $7.93
Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) $7.71
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) $7.41
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) $7.06
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) $6.56
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) $6.47
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas)

Gene said...

I doubt seriously if that is an accurate list.

Roll Call said...

Look it up.