Tuesday, September 22, 2015


If you want to read more about the dangers of overemphasizing the Pope Francis in general and this papal trip in particular, there are two good articles from differing perspectives, one from Politico  written by Peter Steinfels of Commonweal and one from First Things from Matthew Schmitz.

It is interesting to me that the ones who have complained the most about Catholics being ultramontane, the progressives in the Church, have embraced it wholeheartedly with Pope Francis and those who were ultramontane, orthodox Catholics, seem to be distancing themselves from it. Yet, Peter Steinfels, not to be confused with Seinfeld, seems to know that what goes around comes around and that Pope Francis, like Pope Benedict will have a successor and be a game changer in the future.


From the National Chismatic Reporter (NCR):

Francis to critics: do I need to say the Creed?

Pope Francis defended his position on the economy, the environment and other social issues as faithful repetitions of the basic Catholic social doctrine.

Speaking to reporters flying with him from Cuba to Washington Sept. 22, the pope was asked about comments, mainly from the United States, claiming the pope is a communist and about the Newsweek headline, "Is the pope Catholic?"

"I am certain I have never said anything more than what is in the social doctrine of the church," he responded. "I follow the church and in this, I do not think I am wrong."

"Maybe I have given an impression of being a little bit to the left," the pope admitted. "But if they want me to recite the Creed, I can!"

Pope Francis said a cardinal "who is a friend" was telling him about an older Catholic lady, "a good woman, but a bit rigid," who had questions about the description of the Antichrist in the Book of Revelation and if that was the same thing as an "anti-pope."

"'Why are you asking,' the cardinal said. 'Well, I am sure Pope Francis is the anti-pope.'
"'Why do you say that?'
"'Well, because he renounced the red shoes, which are so historic,'" the pope said the woman responded.

People have all sorts of reasons to think, "he's communist or he's not communist," the pope said.

Pope Francis also referred to the social teaching of the church when asked about the U.S. economic embargo of Cuba. The social doctrine is critical of economic embargoes, especially those that last for years, because of their impact on the poor.

But he said he did not intend to discuss the Cuban embargo in his speech to the U.S. Congress, but he would talk more in general of the importance of bilateral agreements to promote progress, peace and the common good.

"The problem of the embargo is part of the negotiations. This is public. Both presidents have said this. It is part of the journey toward good relations that is underway," he said.

"My desire is that they end up with a good result, with an accord that satisfies both sides," he said.
The Sept. 19-22 visit to Cuba was "a bit of a coincidence," the pope said. He had hoped to enter the United States through Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, like so many people do. But the idea changed when Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama announced they had an agreement to begin normalizing their relations.

Pope Francis also was asked why he did not meet Cuban dissidents and other opponents of the Cuban opposition.

"It was very clear I was not holding private audiences in the nunciature -- not even with other heads of state," the pope said, apparently referring to Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who had traveled to Havana for the papal visit.

Officials at the Vatican Embassy in Havana did, however, make a telephone call to a representative of a dissident group and invited several members of the group to be among those greeted by the pope at Havana's cathedral, he said.

"I greeted many people there, but no one identified himself as a dissident," Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis was also asked about his private meeting with former Cuban President Fidel Castro and specifically if he thought Castro had "repented" of having treated the Catholic Church so harshly.
"'Repentance' is something intimate, having to do with the conscience," he said.

"In my meeting with Fidel we spoke about the Jesuits he had known" as a student of a Jesuit school, the pope said, and about how hard Jesuits used to make their students work.

"And we spoke a lot about the encyclical, 'Laudato Si',' because he is very interested in the theme of ecology. It was not a very formal meeting, but spontaneous, with his family there," the pope said.
"We did not talk about the past," he said, except for "his experience with the Jesuits."


Anonymous said...

I'd rather hear him take the Oath Against Modernism.

Anonymous said...

Anybody can recite the Credo.

Zippo the Calvinist said...

If he's not a liberal, why do traditionalists despise him so much?

Anonymous said...

At least the message appears to be getting through to the Pope and he admits he is [at least] a little left leaning. He said he thinks he's right, and so he doesn't appear sure.

But contrast these comments with previous Popes - all of them were positive in the direction they were headed. None of the Popes felt the need to clarify their position or to shore it up or to claim they were Catholic. So I don't see this interview as a very positive sign for the current papacy.


Charles G said...

"Maybe I have given an impression of being a little bit to the left," the pope admitted. "But if they want me to recite the Creed, I can!"

This, combined with the condescending story about the lady and the red shoes (yes because only weird nutjobs would disagree with the political views of the Pope), seems rather a flippant response to me to a serious question. This Pope has absolutely no respect for anyone who does not share his prudential/political extremist anti-Capitalist left wing views. Like Obama, this Pope is a divider, not a uniter.

John Nolan said...

'I greeted many people there, but no-one identified himself as a dissident'. Hardly surprising in a dictatorship.

As for the red shoes anecdote, could not the anonymous cardinal have explained the actual meaning of anti-pope to the confused lady? (There have been 35 in the history of the papacy; two of whom, Hippolytus and Felix II, are saints.) John XXIII was an antipope (Baldissare Cossa 1410-1415, not Angelo Roncalli 1958-1963).

The pope is indeed a Head of State and is entitled to the protocol attached thereto; however it is not the Vatican City State (erected only 1n 1929) that is the diplomatic player, but the Holy See, whose impartiality makes it a useful arbitrator.

It is the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict's visit to Britain. I have been replaying some of it, in particular his address in Westminster Hall to both houses of Parliament, which is a masterpiece of counter-cultural clarity in exquisitely diplomatic language, and his speech in Westminster Abbey. No off-the-cuff interviews. Thankfully we will no doubt be spared a visit from his successor. I and many others would be on tenterhooks lest he put his foot in it and squirming with embarrassment when he inevitably did.

Calvin of Hippo said...

This Pope's damage has already been done. It will be difficult for traditional Catholics to trust him.

Anonymous said...

"None of the [previous] Popes felt the need to clarify their position.."

Really? You have never heard of Pope benedict's Regensburg lecture and the massive clarifications are followed?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Traditional Catholics have no problem trusting Pope Francis. "Catholics" who have stated that they will not follow the pope are the ones who have problems.

rcg said...

Did the Pope really say that? Sounds exactly like Jane Fonda in Hanoi.

John Nolan said...

Jane Fonda, posing on a North Vietnamese gunsite, should have been arrested on her return to the USA, charged with treason, and banged up for a considerable time.

I doubt whether Anonymous at 7:42 (why, Father, do you allow people who don't have the intellectual honesty to identify themselves to continue to post?) has ever read Benedict's Regensburg lecture in full. And even had he done so it is doubtful if he actually understood it. It is probably the most profound and well-argued papal pronouncement in half a century. That it was not an encyclical hedged around with pious platitudes makes it all the more cogent.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan - The 7:42 comment has nothing to do with my identity or my intellectual honesty, as if you were the judge of such.

If you read Jan's comment, and if you understood it, you would have plainly seen that my response was to her erroneous statement, " None of the Popes felt the need to clarify their position..."

Jusadbellum said...

John Nolan,

Indeed, I just re-read Benedict's address to Parliament

Note how clear and concise he is!

Note how obvious his point about the lack of ethics in politics and the financial markets result in vast suffering for millions of poor people the world over. Rather than a vague condemnation of capitalism per se, he identifies the problem: individual men, leaders in politics and the financial world, chose to commit breaches of ethics (sin) and this is why the poor suffer.

This is vital. Condemn a system and no one is at fault. No one can be held accountable. No one need repent. On the other hand, ideologues can use the condemnation of the system as excuse to settle any score, punish any enemy, commit any crime "in the name of reforming the system".

Liberals invest so much energy in "systems" and naïve belief that any system of government and regulatory control is IPSO FACTO above corruption and full of angelic civil servants. Yet when every agency and bureaucracy is shown riddled with fraud, corruption, and criminality.... no one goes to jail. But let any private sector company (besides abortion and sexual companies) commit a fraction of the fraud or corruption and there's hell to pay.

See? look how rot gut awfully greedy those capitalists are, we are browbeat. But that government agencies are greedy....not even contemplated as a metaphysical possibility!

So the salvation of the poor, widows and orphans, the old and young - is all tenderly placed in the hands of the one ideal and perfect society on earth: government and we are smugly told that if we beg to differ we must hate the poor, minorities and women.

Rich Uncle Pennybags said...

When has Pope Francis ever condemned capitalism "per se"?

Anonymous said...

Many Anglicans and Methodists recite the Creed every Sunday. Until the recent revision, the Rite I creed was a more faithful translation than the English Catholic version.

That doesn't make them Catholic.,