Thursday, July 18, 2013


The Catholic Harold of the United Kingdom reports the following:

Both ‘conservative’ and ‘progressive’ Catholics will be disappointed in Pope Francis’ programme of spiritual renewal, doctrinal continuity and emphasis on the poor, a top German cardinal said.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper, Il Foglio, Cardinal Walter Kasper, a theologian and retired president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said: “Many people are enthusiastic about (Pope Francis). He is a true pastor, he has great charm, a direct approach with people.”

But he added that “many will be disappointed in Francis”, claiming that the “conservative” branch of the Church already feels let down “because he doesn’t have the intellectual heft of Benedict and then because he abolished the pontifical court – something I am grateful for; it was an anachronistic extravagance.”

The cardinal predicted the “progressive” wing would not be happy either because even though the Pope has ushered in a change in style, “he will not change the content.”

“There is continuity in the doctrine between him and Benedict,” he said. Pope Francis “will not change anything with priestly celibacy, will not open ordinations to women” or promote other “progressive” issues that are not part of Church teaching.

Pope Francis “is not a conservative or a progressive. He wants a poor church and (a church) of the poor,” and he is keenly aware that a large part of the world lives in extreme poverty, the cardinal said.

Given the level of misery in the world, “I believe he will change the Church’s agenda” so that it “has to take seriously the problems” of the developing world, he added.

In the interview, Cardinal Kasper also said Pope Francis will face resistance within the curia, which, the cardinal believes, needs both organisational revamping and a change of mentality.

Attempts at reform will bring resistance and difficulties “just like with every big institution,” he said. “However, this Pope is very determined. He knows what he wants.”

The 80-year-old cardinal, who was eligible by just five days to be part of the conclave that elected the new Pope, was described by Pope Francis as a “superb theologian.” During his first public Angelus address, the Pope referred to one of the cardinal’s recently published works as a book that “has done me so much good.”

MY FINAL COMMENT: This is good news and what is needed today. A recovery of majesty will come when we deserve it!


ytc said...

The Papal Court was abolished in like 1968... the Household and Chapel replaced that a long time ago.


DW said...

So, the message is "Pope Francis will have a disappointing papacy".

Great. Just what we need.

John Nolan said...

Like ytc, I was perplexed by that reference. The pontifical court (Pontificalis Aula) was renamed the Pontifical Household (Domus Pontificalis) by Paul VI in 1968 and reorganized (it now consists of the Papal Chapel (Cappella Pontificia) and Papal Family (Familia Pontificia). In medieval Latin 'curia' meant court in the monarchical sense (curia regis) but now refers to the Church's central bureaucracy. Pope Francis may well intend to reform both Curia and Household, but he hasn't done so yet, and he certainly hasn't abolished anything.

Benedict XVI was neither a conservative nor a progressive, although he was accused of being both. And nobody yet has come up with what is meant by a 'poor Church'. If I give £20 to every indigent beggar I come across, it will not do much to pull him out of poverty, but it will certainly reduce me to the same state.

Gene said...

The Pope needs to be reminded that we are to worship God and not the poor.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - I don't know that our obligation to the poor is to pull them out of poverty.

Rather, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

Anonymous said...

John Nolan,

I don't understand your point of view. You said, "If I give £20 to every indigent beggar I come across, it will not do much to pull him out of poverty, but it will certainly reduce me to the same state."

Instead of what you suggest you could use just some of your money, time, and talents to help just one person find the resources (spiritual and temporal) he or she needs to get back on his or her feet.

If you make yourself a little poorer in order to help but one of God's creation I'm sure God will smile upon it.

This is what I get from Pope Francis' message. I pray we are up to the challenge.

Henry said...

"A recovery of majesty will come when we deserve it!"

Is it a matter of what we deserve, or of what God deserves? Benedict pointed the Church toward God; Francis appears to be pointing it back towards man.

Of course, the horizontal emphasis of Francis has prevailed for most of the past fifty years, but the question whether the concern of the Church is heaven in Heaven or heaven or Earth is age-old. Dating back to the ancient whisper in the garden that it is You, O Man who matters.

Gene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

I get the impression from your comment that "the poor" are merely an abstraction. I live in a country where the welfare provision is so generous that a man with three children cannot literally afford to work; to get the same in taxed income as he does in untaxed benefits he would need to be earning £10,000 more than the national average wage.

Most beggars in London and other European cities earn three times as much as I do for doing nothing.

I contribute to charitable causes (mostly in the third world) but I sometimes wonder, particularly in relation to parts of Africa which are by no means infertile but are reduced to beggary by their incompetent and venal "governments", whether my money could be better spent.

Also, if the more enlightened European powers (Britain and France) had stayed in Africa longer than the average 80 years we would not have the problems we are having now.

Later intervention can do wonders - in 2000 a small British force restored stability in Sierra Leone and saved thousands of lives.

Gene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

John, those whether religious or secular, who spout scripture for social or political purposes remind me of a play in which it was necessary to invoke the poor at various points, at which three characters danced across the stage with signs saying "The Poor" around their necks.

In affluent western countries, this is frequently the role played by "the affluent poor" nowadays in both the Church and secular politics, as pawns and tokens in bureaucratic and political games played for power and influence, rather than to really help anyone.

John said...

The Pope's first concern is to evangelize unbelievers. The 3rd world is doing just fine embracing the faith, so the Pope has little to do there compared to Europe and the rest of the developed countries.

In the New Testament we read that both Peter and Paul were concerned with faith matters not about abolishing slavery. Material help if any was for fellow Christians particularly.

I hope the Pope looks to his predecessors for tips on how to pope and ignores liberal notions of economic evangelizing. Besides, he has very little money for such efforts. (Should he solicit the IMF or the UN for a hand out? He would have to agree to spend some on abortions and birth control, no?)

The poor, you shall have always with us.

Gene said...

There once was a Priest who loved poor,
And threw open to them the Church door.
Then, using the Host,
They made jellied toast
Over fires they had built on the floor.

We opened the doors to the poor
Because the progressives did roar.
They stole all the statues,
The candles and matches,
And all of the brass from the door.

The poor by the Church are adored,
Though merely a great grasping horde,
When She has given them all
Upon Her they'll fall
And take Her apart board by board.

Anonymous 2 said...

In the very unlikely event that any truly poor people are reading this Blog, I hope we hear from some of them.

Pater Ignotus said...

I am sure the 8,000,000 Africans who were brutally killed under Leopold II, an enlightened European, wished for 80 more years of the same treatment. (cf Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost : A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 1998.)

"Like all other colonial powers, French colonial exploitation of Africa was merciless. A case study of this exploitation is the poor African country of Guinea. In this colony as Walter Rodney shows, “France obtained one billion (old) francs or about 5.6 million dollars in foreign exchange, based on the sale of bauxite, coffee and bananas.”

Under the enlightened French in Vietnam: "A new class of Vietnamese had come into being: people who labored for the French as servants, or who labored in French-owned mines, on French-owned plantations, at French construction sites or in French-owned factories. The French paid them as little as they could – hardly enough for survival, and sometimes not enough. As in Africa, the French were taxing the Vietnamese and drafting them to labor on public works. On one such project – the Hanoi-Yunnan Phu railway – 25,000 Vietnamese died. Conditions in Vietnam in general were creating a decline in Vietnam's population."

The enlightened British in India: "Thus for almost 200 years, wealth from India was systematically transferred to Britain. British Banks used Indian capital to fund industry in the US, Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Industrial revolution and modern capitalism in the west were based on the colonization of India. It was the forced pauperization of vast Indian population that allowed nations like Britain and US to industrialize and "modernize". This capital was collected through various means including uneven trades, forced use of land and labor, great remittance of Indian income and excessive extraction from the common Indians.
British used arms with no considerations breaching all the boundaries of humanity. The western civilization raised on the base of the blood of Indian peasants."

Yes, if only it had lasted another 80 years...

Gene said...

Adam Hochschild: Born and raised in NY. Harvard. Very active in Anti-Vietnam War movement, Civil Rights activist in Mississippi, writer and editor for Ramparts, a left-wing rag, Editor of Mother Jones, a left wing rag. Married to a Yankee sociologist. Wow! Great reading there, Ignotus.

Pater Ignotus said...

So you don't care for Hochschild? Try the following:

Delathuy, A. M. De Kongo Staat van Leopold II: Het Verloren Paradijs. Standaard Uitgeverij n.v., Antwerpen, 1989.

Ewans, Martin. European Atrocity, African Catastrophe: Leopold II, the Congo Free State and its Aftermath. RoutledgeCurzon, New York, 2002.

ERGO, André-Bernard. Congo Belge: La colonie assassinée. L’Harmattan, Paris, 2008.

Larned, J. N. The Congo. History for Ready Reference: From the Best Historians, Biographers, and Specialists, Volume VII− Recent History (1901-1910) A to Z. The C. A. Nichols Co.. Springfield, Mass., 1910.

Jones, Adam. Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction. Routledge, London and New York, 2006, p.42.

Wrong, Michela. “Belgium confronts its heart of darkness” in The Independent, February 23, 2005. Available at: Accessed October 2011.

Roes, Aldwin, Towards a History of Mass Violence in the Etat Indépendant du Congo, 1885-1908,, South African Historical Journal, 62 (4). pp. 634–670, 2010.

Report of the British Consul, Roger Casement, on the Administration of the Congo Free State, reprinted in full in The eyes of another race : Roger Casement’s Congo report and 1903 diary edited by Seamas O Siochain and Michael O’Sullivan. Dublin, 2003.

Grant, Kevin, A Civilised Savagery: Britain and the New Slaveries in Africa, 1884–1926, Routledge (London, 2005). ISBN 0-415-94901-7

Rodney, Walter, How Europe underdeveloped Africa, Howard University Press. (1974) ISBN 0-88258-013-2

or any of the other sources.

John Nolan said...

Gene, when it comes to historical analysis, I would advise Ignotus not to give up the day job. Talk to a Ugandan who is old enough to remember the British Protectorate, and he will talk about it as if it were a lost golden age. When it ended they got Milton Obote, a doctrinaire Marxist who bankrupted the country, and then Idi Amin, a deranged mass-murderer. Leopold II's rule in the Congo (which he treated as a personal fief) caused outrage at the end of the 19th century, and after that the Belgians got their act together. The trouble really started when Belgium pulled out in 1960.

Look at the Sudan in 1956 (the last year of the Anglo-Egyptian condominium) and look at it now.

If PI wants a balanced history of British India, I can recommend 'Raj' by Lawrence James, and on the Empire as a whole 'Empire - how Britain made the modern world' by Niall Ferguson. Both are a good antidote to ludicrous comments like the Industrial Revolution and modern capitalism being based on the 'colonization' of India. For a start, India was never colonized.

Gene said...

One can assume, without reference, that anything Kavanaugh/Ignotus reads or cites is two-bit Marxist drivel adapted to his anti-Western culture, faux Catholic mentality. He is very like a trained parrot or some kind of circus monkey, taught to reflexively squawk Leftist drivel or ape progressivist posturing. His imitation of a Priest leaves much to be desired, however...

Pater Ignotus said...

John - The money drained from colonies funded the industrialization of many of the "enlightened" European nations.

Pin/Gene - It's easy to attack the messenger, isn't it? But it doesn't alter the message.

And I am not anti-Western. Nor am I ashamed to acknowledge those times when the "West" got it wrong.
Our colonial behavior was, in many cases, flat out evil.

Anonymous 2 said...

I am all in favor of a balanced approach to the question of Empire, as indeed I am for most matters. Dichotomous thinking is rarely helpful when facing a world of inherent complexity, even when seeking to bring moral absolutes to bear. However, one wonders whether Niall Ferguson, for all his many fine qualities, provides the most balanced assessment of the British Empire. The following review of his book and TV series strikes me as particularly insightful:

Not that I claim to be an expert on the history of the British Empire. But I am inclined to believe that the “truth” is much more of a mixed bag than even Ferguson or many others spanning the political/ideological spectrum want us to believe.

Anonymous said...

Confirmation Bias is in evidence here. A man with a conviction is a hard man to change.

Tell him you disagree and he turns away.

Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources.

Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.

John Nolan said...

PI, I know economic historians dislike the term 'Industrial Revolution' but assuming that it began in Britain in the 1780s, its causes may be attributed to a stable political system, natural resources (particularly coal and iron ore), a growing population, improved agricultural production based on new farming methods, favourable geographical factors, new technology, better communications (roads, canals, and later railways). Overseas possessions didn't really come into it (not that there were many by the 1780s - the American colonies had gone, leaving a few Caribbean islands, Quebec and a toehold in India).

By 1914 British foreign investments, based on capital raised on the stock market, dwarfed those of other nations, and more was invested in the United States and Latin America than in the Empire itself. Are you seriously arguing that the USA was "drained" by British economic imperialism? Most of them were sold off to the US in WW2 as the price of American support.

Also by 1914 Germany, with a fraction of Britain's foreign trade and no colonies worth talking about, had overtaken Britain in industrial production. How does this square with your glib remark that European industrialization was paid for by exploiting overseas possessions? It doesn't, because what you are saying makes no sense, either economically or historically. You'll be telling us next that the industrialization of the USA was paid for by poor exploited Filipinos.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - The US Colonies were not drained by British economic imperialism because we put our foot down and would not allow it. Other colonies and possessions were not so lucky - or determined.

Among the repeated injuries and usurpations of George III noted in the Declaration of Independence are:
"For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:"

What was done here on a smaller scale - "He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people." - was done in other British colonies and "holdings" on a larger scale.

John Nolan said...

PI, the American Revolution was not the result of economic oppression or exploitation; in fact the New England colonists benefited greatly from the Old Colonial System - to take one example, the Navigation Acts guaranteed a market for North American exports and "British goods in British bottoms" meant a flourishing colonial shipbuilding industry. Taxation was less than a twentieth of the British level, customs duties were evaded by widespread smuggling, and New Englanders were probably the most prosperous people on the planet.

The issue between Britain and America was a constitutional one; the Westminster Parliament's insistence that it had the right to levy taxes on the colonies without the assent of colonial legislators. Parliament declared that it "had, hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America".

I shouldn't really have to lecture you on the history of your own country, but the the popular mythology of the American Revolution seems so ingrained as to defy rational explanation.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - I'll rely on my Founding Fathers' experience and wisdom to tell me why we found it necessary to be "Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved."

To wit:
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

Pater Ignotus said...

And "He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

No, you needn't lecture me on my own history. And while you want to whitewash the history of colonial imperialism, you can't change the reasons why we absolved ourselves of allegiance to your Crown.

John Nolan said...

PI, I suspect that the overblown rhetoric you have quoted has contributed considerably to the myth. Most of the complaints relate to the heavy-handed actions of Lord North's ministry rather than long-standing grievances.

Compromise solutions were put forward on both sides of the Atlantic, and in the last resort it was the obduracy of Parliament which made the conflict inevitable. There are some ironies about the whole business. London (reasonably enough) wanted the colonies to contribute to imperial defence just when the main threat, that of France, had been removed as a result of the Seven Years War; but France, wanting to avenge her defeat, declared war, followed by Spain and Holland. This widening of the conflict secured the colonies' independence.

Anonymous 2 said...

You’re all wrong about the causes of the American Revolution. The true cause is explained by my “beverage theory of history” according to which major historical events are due to the consumption of various beverages.

For example, Greek history, not to mention the entire course of Western philosophy and theology, would have been quite different if Socrates had not drunk hemlock; and Roman history would have been quite different if Julius Caesar and then Mark Anthony had not drunk wine with Cleopatra. Medieval history would have been quite different if monks had not encouraged the consumption of beer.

Similarly, there would have been no American Revolution if the American colonists and the British Government had not disagreed over the correct way to make tea. As is well known, when the British make tea they put the water in the tea, whereas the American colonists insisted on putting the tea in the water. And once I moved to Georgia from Michigan and was exposed to iced tea (with lemon no less), the true cause of the Civil War aka War Between the States also became clear to me.

I trust that this has been enlightening. If you are thirsty for more, let me know.

Gene said...

Anon 2, Your beverage theory has merit. With regard to the War Between the States, things might have been quite different. It is recorded in William Robert "Possum" McTaggart's, "History of the Unconscionable, Unreasonable, Outrageous, and Unnecessary Aggression Against the South," that Abraham Lincoln, upon recovering from his three-day drunk and being apprised of his actions during said period, responded, "I freed WHO?!!!"

Catholic Mission said...

October 7, 2013

Pope Francis is interpreting magisterial documents with an objective error : he is using a dead man walking and visible theory