Monday, March 30, 2015


While there is much that is true in this video, I think this priest might be overstating his case and might be a bit too shrill concerning Pope Francis' ambiguity as much of that ambiguity is caused by the secular press and the liberal Catholic press's manipulation of the pope's words with a cherry picking of his words out of context of what His Holiness is saying. Nonetheless there are many valid points:

I've deleted the video because for some computers it comes on automatically and is a nuance, when viewing other posts, so you can watch the video at Gloria TV by PRESSING HERE!

I found the video above and it coincidentally ties into two posts I have had that have provided good discussions. The first is on the sex abuse scandal and the complexity of an epoch scandal it has been for the Church with many, many causes, the primary of which was/is the mismanagement of it by popes and bishops.

 Pope Francis has caused alarm in South America and in Rome and with some of the people he has placed on the Vatican Abuse Scandal panel by appointing a bishop who knew first hand and was an eyewitness to the a priest who sexually abused a minor and was mentored by  this  notorious priest-abuser. When this new bishop was ordained last week, the ceremony had to be cut short because of the outrage of protests outside the cathedral.

The second has to do with the populism of Pope Francis and the "cult of the personality" of Pope Francis and Pope St. John Paul II. With St. John Paul II, people loved His Holiness and admired his witness to the faith in the manner in which he carried his various crosses, especially at the end. However, while the world loved him, they did not love the teachings of the Church that he upheld and the progressives in the Church despised him for recovering the great discipline of the Church.

With the cult of the personality of Pope Francis tied into an unprecedented populism, we find those who actually hate the Church's doctrines and dogmas, especially her morality, loving the pope for downplaying these teachings and allowing in their minds the possibility of a major change in the Church's teachings as it regards natural law which will have implications for sexuality and make us more like the wishy-washy Anglican Communion. This will certainly be true as it concerns the indissolubility of marriage if divorced and remarried Catholics whose first marriage is still recognized as sacramental and in force are allowed to receive Holy Communion without their current illicit and invalid marriage being validated by the Church through the annulment procedure called the external forum.

Speculative theology with an eye to changing Church doctrine reigned in seminaries and religious houses in the 1960's and 1970's. I was formed in this environment of speculative theology presented in a dogmatic way my seminary days between 1976-80. Scriptural exegesis questioned the very foundations of Catholic dogma concerning the incarnation, the nativity, the divinity/humanity of Jesus, His miracles and ultimately His bodily resurrection and Pentecost event. Yes, you read that properly!

Dogmatic theology in the Church questioned the sacrament of Holy Orders and even the need for priests when it came to the Mass which itself was being re-imagined as a community meal that remembered a past event in the present and anyone could be chosen to be the presider!  I could go on and on, but I will only list one more example, maybe two.

This speculative theology reimagined hell. Either there could not be such an experience because an all loving and merciful God wouldn't send any of His children there just as no loving parent would do to their sons and daughters.

Or if there is a hell,it would be the annihilation of the soul, complete nothingness with the mercy of God being that the annihilated soul experiences no suffering or eternal torment.

Of course in this context angels and demons were believed to be simply figurative.

However, tied into the 1960's triumphalism in secular society in general which affected the Church of the post-Vatican II period and was certainly a part of the forumulation of the documents of Vatican II by bishops and theologians, is that the Church could make a perfect world here and now. It was/is a speculative form of eschatology applied to this world's order and making this world perfect through our implementation of love, God's love and mercy, shown not only to people but to all creature and even to the environment. We could be gods with God's help or even independent of that if we would simply be good and loving and merciful ourselves.

Thus even the crimes of perverted priests in the areas of mental illness, particularly those associated with sexuality could be cured. Forgiveness and mercy would lead to the reinstatement of priests who went through a spiritual, mental and physical rehab and into recovery. Recovery as a badge of honor similar to what recovering alcoholics have in our society today (did not have in the 1950's btw) would be applied to the sexual compulsions or addictions of priests even when they abused children. All this would be a sign of God's love, healing, mercy and reconciliation. Reinstatement into ministry or reassignment of these priests was a sign of the magnanimous love, mercy and forgiveness of God!

Thus one sees how serial abusers were sent to treatment and after satisfactorily finishing that treatment that could last anywhere between one to two years were recycled to unsuspecting parishes.

Much of what I hear, but certainly not all, from Pope Francis seems to come from the speculative and merciful ideologies and theologies of the 1970's. There is a lot of 1970's in Pope Francis and clergy of his generation and age. Pope Francis seems to relish this period of the Church or at worst has not moved away from it and remained entrenched in it during the papacies of Popes John Paul and Benedict.

Where Pope Francis seems to challenge the 1970's mentality is on the motherhood of the Church and her femininity--something anathema to the progressives of the 1970's as it has implications not only for the priesthood male only dogma, but also for marriage and sexuality in general. 

Pope Francis certainly undoes the damage of the 1960's, 70's progressive ideologues as it concerns popular piety and devotions and his recovery of these. Pope Francis' powerful witness to Marian piety is also very positive.

Finally, Pope Francis' emphasis on the devil and his influence in the world would be anathema to the progressives of  his age born in the 1960's.

While I think the priest in the video above might be too harsh on Pope Francis, I do appreciate how he couches his remarks in the need for Catholics, especially so-called traditional catholics, must be respectful not only for the institution of the papacy but also for the person of any particular pope.

Ultimately the ambiguity of the current times in the Church will be overcome, but at what price and when?


Rood Screen said...

The pastoral approach of Paul VI was to build bridges between the Church and the modern world.

The pastoral approach of JPII was to proclaim the Apostolic Truth as an agent of personal liberation.

The pastoral approach of Pope Benedict was to increase our confidence in the Church's past and to strengthen our hope for her future.

The pastoral approach of Pope Francis is to restate the Apostolic Truth to the Modern World from the perspective of those marginalized by poverty or sinfulness.

Cletus Ordo said...

With all of this "personality cult" talk, I can't help but think about Pope Benedict (Ratzinger) and his brief tenure in the chair of Peter. Pope John Paul used to say that people were not coming to see him, but to see Peter. People seem to be overlooking a highly underreported fact: Pope Benedict, while not as well-traveled as his predecessor, actually drew LARGER crowds to the Vatican than John Paul II. I don't think it had anything to do with his personality, either. Benedict's personality was gentle and soft-spoken, despite the media's portrayal of him as a strident "hard-liner."

Benedict was a former liberal who realized that the ideas he initially embraced were a failure and had enough integrity to re-think his position at a time when the vast majority of his peers disagreed with him and embraced the regime of novelty. Benedict's papacy has been called a "respite" from the novelty and modernism that the Church has fallen into for the last several decades. Could THAT have been the cause of the throngs who went to see him?

Православный физик said...

Indeed it is very much true that Benedict XVI drew in larger crowds than JPII.

The Truth is attractive, and doesn't need to be sold. People also don't need to be treated like complete morons in the process.

Benedict was clear, didn't try to be someone he wasn't, and perhaps this is was a major attractiveness factor. In other words, I think playing to the crowds has the opposite effect of what one intends to do. I don't think it's a coincidence that crowds have gone down since Benedict retired.

As you've said, this populism is on new levels, even JPII wasn't this popular. I do not know if this new found popularity is a good thing. Popularity (for the wrong reasons) can often be a curse. I tend to think that Pope Francis is popular for the things he does NOT say rather than the things he says. From the same mouth that says "Who am I to judge?" TM is the same person who attacks gender theory. The same person that often mentions the devil, is the same person that bashes the faithful Catholics often in his daily sermons (broadcast for the whole world to see, and I definitely don't think it's a good thing). In short he's a paradox (I'm giving a benefit of the doubt, I want to use contradiction)...

The 70's were so successful the first time, let's go back and live them again....jk. I wish this theology of the 70's would die out already, enough with the failed program, it didn't work, it didn't bring people closer to the Faith, and it raised multiple generations of people who don't know the Faith (my generation included)...Kyrie eleison.

Anonymous said...

“I think this priest might be overstating his case and might be a bit too shrill concerning Pope Francis' ambiguity . . .”

Having heard previously of this same Fr. Paul Nicholson only in his shrill and virtually hysterical attacks on the SSPX, I was surprised to hear nothing at all in this video that seemed shrill or even over-stated in his comments on Pope Francis (or anything else). To the contrary, to me his summary seemed reasonable and well-balanced.

Michael said...

Indeed, with due respect, Father, I didn't find anything "shrill" here, either.

Marie said...

"Much of what I hear...from Pope Francis seems to come from the speculative and merciful ideologies and theologies of the 1970's. There is a lot of 1970's in Pope Francis and clergy of his generation and age."

I beg to take exception on this, Father. I'm a few years younger than Pope Francis and I don't even consider myself "of the '70s generation and age." [I was born at the height of WWII.] Granting I never went to a seminary, still I'd like to think that the Pope and I, although half-a-world apart [he in Argentina and I in the Philippines], were taught in childhood the same Catechism and nurtured by the same Traditional Latin Mass.

Has all that childhood Catholicism been wiped out by the seminary and replaced by the abhorent "Speculative Theology?" that hijacked priestly formation after Vatican II? Is there in him any trace memory of the old Catechism and the Mass in Latin and Gregorian chant? Or does he actually will to erase such memories? Why the seeming repugnance of doctrine and tradition and of people who cherish them?

Early in this pontificate, I felt a strange disconnect with this Pope of my [pre-baby boom] generation. That is, until I heard him preach extemporaneously in Spanish to the typhoon victims of Tacloban last January. Would you believe? - Pope Francis actually said he came to the Philippines with nothing to give except "Jesus Christ and Him crucified." At that point, all the hard feelings I had from his scolding of "self-absorbed Promethean neo-Pelagian traditionalists" were assuaged. There, finally, is my Pope, and I'll continue to pray for him.