Thursday, August 4, 2016

This is what I love about Pope Francis and John Allen of CRUX nails it:

On Tuesday the Vatican released the transcript of a July 27 question-and-answer session Pope Francis held with the bishops of Poland during his recent trip to Krakow to preside over World Youth Day, and it’s rich in detail, running to almost 5,000 words.

(At the end Francis jokingly apologized for talking so much, suggesting he had been “betrayed by my Italian blood.”)

There are several fascinating nuggets, including:

+Francis’ reflection on what he sees as a contemporary form of Gnosticism that seeks to separate the individual from the community, especially the Church.

+His fiery rejection of “ideological colonization,” especially the promotion among children of the theory that people are free to choose their own gender.

+His insistence that the roots of the contemporary refugee crisis are in wars driven by financial interests.

+The pontiff’s ringing defense of the parish as the basis of ecclesiastical life, that must not be “thrown out the window.”

+Francis’ call to treasure the elderly, the “grandpas and grandmas” of society, as the “memory of a people.”

At the big-picture level, however, perhaps what’s most fascinating is the alternative way of reading the “progressive” social and ecclesial agenda that’s been associated with Francis since the beginning of his papacy.

Clearly, Francis has shifted the focus away from the “wars of culture” in the West and open confrontation with secularism, towards a more pastoral and social action-oriented approach. In the eyes of some observers - including, it has to be said, some senior Churchmen - that’s risked confusion about Catholic doctrine and the traditional spiritual pillars of the faith, opening the door to ever-greater capitulation to secularism. (I don't like this and it causes confusion. We need and needed Pope Benedict's clarity)

What becomes clear listening to Francis speak to the Polish bishops, however, is that seen through his eyes, the aim isn’t giving in to secularization - it’s staging the battle on a different field, away from abstract debates towards hands-on pastoral proximity - what Francis likes to call vicinanza, “closeness” - especially to people in greatest difficulty.

Though he doesn’t quite put it like this, the idea seems to be that the right way to resist secularism and to win souls isn’t to prevail in intellectual arguments, but to “out-love” the opponents of the faith and thereby draw people to the Church. (Theoretically wonderful and practice doesn't work with Satan.)

There are several places in the text where, if one hadn’t paid careful attention to the header, it would be tempting to think this was actually a transcript of Pope Benedict XVI. That’s especially true of Francis’ diagnosis of Gnosticism and Pelagianism as the most worrying contemporary heresies, and his insistence that neither God can be found without Christ nor Christ without the Church. (Some who comment here fit this, sadly!)

Indeed, Francis cites Benedict XVI in speaking to the Polish bishops, assuring them he’s fine and has a “clear mind.” He said Benedict once told him, “this is the epoch of sin against God the Creator.”

“God created us as man and woman; God made the world this way, this way, this way … and, we’re doing the opposite,” Francis said.

“God gave an ‘uncultivated’ state, so that we could create culture,” he said. “Now, with this culture, we’re doing things that take us back to the ‘uncultivated’ state.”

In response to all this, Francis lays out a strategy of “closeness,” an open-door policy for the Church, and concrete acts of mercy and social concern.

“What comes to mind - but I believe this in the practice of the Gospel, where the teaching of the Lord is precisely closeness,” he said. “Today, we servants of the Lord - bishops, priests, religious men and women, convinced laity - have to be close to the people of God.”

Without closesness, he said, “it’s all just words without flesh.”

.......From there, he urged priests to be close to the people of their parishes, for instance spending time in confessionals, and bishops to be close to their priests. He even offered the practical tip to bishops that if one of their priests leaves a phone message, he should get a call-back that night or the next day.
.....Perhaps the key line of the text came towards the end:

“We have to confront today’s religious illiteracy with three languages - the language of the mind, the heart and the hands,” he said, “all three together harmonically.”

What all this suggests is the overly simplistic nature of contrasts between Benedict XVI as a defender of “tradition,” and Francis as an apostle of “reform.”

If it wasn’t clear already, it seems from Francis’ remarks that, at the big-picture level, he’s fairly traditional himself in terms of his basic convictions, including his attitudes about the Church. It’s certainly not that Francis doesn’t grasp the threat posed by aggressive secularism.

The difference is perhaps better understood as one of emphasis - Benedict is more about the language of the mind, Francis that of the hands. Both, of course, speak the language of the heart, each in his own way.


Victor said...

Francis is still living in the 1960's, as are a lot of the curia, bishops and priests of the Church. We are now in a postmodern world half a century later in which there is no more language of the heart based on the mind or the hands.

Billy the Kid said...

OMG!!! Projectile vomit!

Anonymous said...

What is the point is this nonsense. The man has major major problems with the Catholic Faith. period end of story. It's clear the man does not believe in the Catholic Faith. Call me crazy but maybe just maybe being pope isn't the job for someone who doesn't believe in Catholicsim. Something needs to be done about that man and done now. Are there no bishops on the planet that will stand against the errors of that man. He confirms people in there sin which is EVIL. EVIL EVIL.

Marye said...

Anonymous @6:40 I was taught as a Catholic that the Pope is elected by Bishops that are led by the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis would not be in the position that he is now if the Holy Spirit did not have a mission for him. How can you say that our Pope does not believe in the Catholic Faith? Pope Francis may feel led by the Holy Spirit to make changes in our church. I was also taught that the Church was the Body of Christ on Earth. Bodies change as they grow and change can be good. If you feel that this Pope is not to be in his position you must question the decisions of the Holy Spirit. How can we question God? We may not understand what is happening but I put my complete faith in the Holy Spirit. He has given Francis the job and he will help him in his work. You see errors of this man, I see change. How in the world can you say that the Head of the Catholic Faith chosen by the Holy Spirit confirms evil? Perhaps you misunderstand the man.

Anonymous said...

"Pope Francis may feel led by the Holy Spirit to make changes in our church. I was also taught that the Church was the Body of Christ on Earth. Bodies change as they grow....."

Is this a serious statement? Francis has said that people living together outside of marriage is a real marriage and they receive grace from God. He can say that but he is wrong. He has no authority to day that mortal sin is acceptable. He can't say that adultery is tolerated because there are children involved. And he can't say that adulterers can continue living this life, can go to confession and not mention this sin, receive absolution and go to Holy Communion. He can't change anything that is contrary to the Faith.

The pope is not an all powerful oracle. He is not chosen by the Holy Spirit. That is not Cathic teaching. The Church teaches that the cardinals in conclave are inspired by the Hol Spirit but that does not mean they follow what the Holy Spirit directs them to do.

Newsflash....the pope is bound to Scripture and Tradition. He cannot invent something new out of the blue. All revealed Truth added with the death of the last Apostle. Francis cannot introduce a belief or teaching that hasn't been recognized from Apostolic times. For instance he can't say that adultery is tolerable because Christ Himself said it is forbidden in the New Testament and God forbade it in the Old. He can't rationalize homosexuality because both the Old and New Testament condem it. The gospels say nothing about smelling like sheep. They clearly state that if we are to be called sons of God than we have to do what God has COMMANDED. Wide is the road that leads to destruction and many follow it.

Enabling people in sinful behavior that will condem them to Hell isn't merciful and Francis can't wave a magic wand and make it so.

Marye said...

I see this Pope as a very forgiving and loving man. I realize that the cardinals elect the pope but was taught that the Holy Spirit inspired them. To my mind if the Holy Spirit inspires them just like the Holy Spirit inspired the authors of the bible then that is the work of God. We are to respect that decision.

So many are so upset because the Pope forgives sinners. Isn't that what God wants us to do. In my mind judging others and not forgiving is worse than the sin we accuse others of doing. Why can't we just guard our own soul, follow the teachings of the church as we know them and leave the judgements to God? It seems so many are upset with the sin of adultery which is indeed grave however judgement of others is just as grave as adultery. I love the story in the bible of Jesus telling people to cast the first stone. I believe the woman he was defending was accused of adultery. He tells us in that story that unless we are perfect we have no right to judge. Then he told the woman he forgave her. That is the example that I choose to follow and I fall short every day.

Billy the Kid said...

Marye, Which example...the example of the whore or the example of Jesus?

Marye said...

Billy I try very hard every day to follow the example of Jesus.

rcg said...

Marye, He told her go and sin no more. there is also a big difference between not judging and ignoring a sin.

Marye said...

rcg I guess I just do not understand the problems with this pope. I agree that we should not ignore sin but who am I to judge the sin of others? Yes Jesus said go and sin no more but I am not Jesus. Jesus had a right to judge for he was God For me this Pope has been so sweet and loving and I just don't see what everyone is so distraught about. I really do not understand it. He seems to be willing to listen to women,forgive sinners and encourage us to love one another and have mercy. I I do not have enough knowledge to know the things he is doing that upset so many. Perhaps most here are priests and they see things that I do not see.

George said...

Marye ..

Rcg's comment is important. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to "go and sin no more." Sin is a transgression, an offense against God. It does harm to the Body of Christ. We are exhorted by the Church in her ministers and Magisterial teaching not to sin, and if we do so, then we need to obtain forgiveness in Confession (especially if it is a serious sin), because we all eventually will be judged by God. It is not about judging others, but reminding others that they will be judged by God according to His Holy Law and teachings and their obedience to them. and our obedience is what we owe to Him.

rcg said...

Marye, I like this Pope and I do believe his heart is in the right place. I also think he should be more deliberate in his statements. His "who am I to judge" had a context that was incomplete enough that it was immediately interpreted to mean a blind eye, or even acceptance, of homosexual activity. He also left the misunderstanding uncorrected for a long time. The same with the 'deaconess' question. If it can be answered quickly, then how about "no."? He could cite several sources if he liked then be done with it. Sometimes I think he is trying to precipitate discussion on these topics with the faith that the right answer will be reached. Sometimes I think he is enjoying the office of Pope a little too much and lets his mouth run ahead too far. I do not think he is using hegemony to advance a liberal agenda although I think he risks it.

Marye said...

rcg today I did some additional reading on the Pope. I posted what I learned on one of the other threads. You are correct. I think the man has a good heart but I did learn that he often says one thing and then says quite another on the same topic. We should all read and educate ourselves. I continue to love him but I do now understand better the concerns that I have read on this blog. I understand completely with what you say.

Marye said...

George I totally agree with you. Thank You.