Sunday, May 14, 2017


What the Jesuit pope told the Jesuit general
Father Adolfo Nicolás, former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, and Pope Francis, also a Jesuit, are seen together before celebrating Mass at the Church of the Gesu in Rome in this Jan. 3, 2014, file photo. (Credit: Paul Haring/CNS.)

The problem with young traditionalists who have never known the Church prior to Vatican II with her warts and all, is that they simply do not know the Church and her Tradition/traditions.

Unfortunately, these faux traditionalist or pseudo-traditionalists have caused great, great harm to the worthy renewal in continuity of the Church begun by Pope Benedict XVI.

Faithful Catholics, today as in pre-Vatican II times are faithful and loyal to the pope and the bishops in union with him.  They are faithful to the living Magisterium, not previous Magisteriums that are a part of history and museums. They do not devolve into separatist movements which have occurred throughout the history of the Church and even in the apostolic period.

If these pseudo-traditionalists had only been supportive, respectful and loyal to the Holy Father, and respectful in some aspects of where the Holy Father is leading us, there would not be the alienation in high places against these so-called traditionalists, many of them converts from Protestantism and embued with its individualism and Gnosticism not to mention suspicion of the papal office.

While the pope is clearly progressive, His Holiness is also quite traditional when it comes to piety, devotion, the cult of the BVM and saints. He speaks frequently of the devil and of hell unlike any recent pope since Pope Pius XII.

Just yesterday in Fatima, this is what Pope Francis said in His Holiness' canonization homily:

 The Virgin Mother did not come here so that we could see her. We will have all eternity for that, provided, of course, that we go to heaven.

Our Lady foretold, and warned us about, a way of life that is godless and indeed profanes God in his creatures. Such a life – frequently proposed and imposed – risks leading to hell.

As a pastor, I appreciate Pope Francis' pastoral theology. This interview with the former Jesuit Superior General, Father Adolfo Nicolás, SJ,  helps all of us to understand this Jesuit pope of ours, often misunderstood because we don't understand Jesuits in the traditional sense of this order or Italian-South Americans:

Francis told him on one occasion: “They criticize me, first, because I don’t speak like a pope, and second, because I don’t act like a king.”

In the context of his Jesuit spirituality, says Nicolás, “for me it was obvious that the criticisms did not remotely bother him.”

Jesuits famously vow to spurn high office and ecclesiastical preferment. A key part of the second week of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises involves imagining the way Satan tempts Christ’s followers through “riches, honor and pride.”

The former general intriguingly observes that in Francis’s view what the world at this time needs is “more Wisdom, less dogma, and more meaning, in general, to live and hope.”

This stems, he says, from the pope’s reading of the similarity of these times of lack of faith to the disappearance of faith during Israel’s exile, when the Wisdom tradition took over from the prophetic.

On the reform of the Curia, Nicolás observes that Francis wants to carry it out “in the most Gospel way of which he is capable,” and that the reform “has to do with the credibility of the Church” which “has touched a missionary nerve that for him is extremely important.”

In other words, the purpose of curial reform is to remove obstacles to the task of mission and evangelization, rather than being an end in itself.

His Christmas speeches to the Curia “are a call to everyone to live more in line with the Gospel,” says Nicolás, without the “evasions and excuses” that most of us deploy.

The general and the pope spent a lot of time discussing the priesthood, confirming that for Francis the pastoral conversion of the clergy is a major priority.

Nicolás lists what Francis insists that the priesthood is not: A privileged caste, a source of economic benefit, a career, a means of gaining power over others, etc., while stressing what it should be: A priest is someone whose “central preoccupation” is the suffering of others, and how to relieve it; he is someone in contact with human life, which should be reflected in his thinking and way of life, and so on.

In response to criticisms of Francis heard often from clergy that the pope doesn’t value them because he doesn’t praise them, Nicolás says they should instead be grateful that Francis so clearly identifies the temptations facing priests that produce only distance and misery.

On the question of how long Francis will remain pope, Nicolás says he has no answer, and nor does he.

“The thinking of the pope is fluid” on the matter, he says, “according to his discernment of the state of the Church.”

When Nicolás - who is the same age as Francis - spoke to him of his resignation as Superior General, Francis told him: “I myself am thinking of taking seriously Benedict’s challenge.”

But then, some months later - faced, presumably, with some resistance to his reforms - Francis told him: “I ask the good Lord to take me once the changes are irreversible.”

In other words, says Nicolás, “we are in God’s hands.”

Nicolás has one charming - if perplexing - anecdote. He relates how the then cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires heard that at a liturgical celebration held in freezing temperatures in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, “someone passed around little glasses of brandy” which allowed the liturgy to proceed with warmth and joy.

When he was elected pope, Francis “didn’t long delay in naming this person Almoner of the Holy See”, says Nicolás, “and encouraged him to live in Rome to be closer to the poor”.

The former Superior General must be referring to Francis’s official arms-giver, the papal almoner, Polish archbishop Konrad Krajewski, whom the pope named in August 2013. But “Don Corrado”, as he is popularly known, was already in Rome, having served as Master of Ceremonies since 1999.

But then Nicolás warns at the start of his second lot of reminiscences that his are the memories of an octogenarian, and that readers should expect “the confusions normal at his age.”

If something seems unlikely or odd, he says, “it would be prudent first to verify and then to forgive.”

(Nicolás’s reminiscences can be downloaded in PDF from the website of Mensajero.)


Rood Screen said...

It's not clear to me which are your comments, and which are those you've copied and pasted.

At any rate, I don't see either Traditionalists or dogma being in any way prominent in the life of the Church today, so it's hard to take seriously concerns about them. I can't think of a single way in which Traditionalists have impacted the pope or the typical Catholic parish. As for dogma, if the pope thinks it is so bad, then let him formally denounce each and every dogma that he believes is in error.

Cletus Ordo said...

"Pseudo Traditionalists"?

Father, it saddens me to see what appears to be your joining Pope Bergoglio's chorus of detraction against Traditionalists, especially the younger ones for their "rigidity". The entire reason this movement even exists is because of the chaotic post-Vatican II pabulum that young people were fed.

It's true that most of them were not around before Vatican II, but that doesn't excuse taking the tone, "I KNEW that Church and YOU didn't, so you have NO room to talk!"

Any Catholic with an IQ over 70 and a modicum of literacy can easily find out what the Church was like before the Great Stumble of the 60's--yes warts and all! Sure we can read about the legalistic obsessions of some people taken to extremes. We can read about bishops like Cardinal Spellman, who brought posthumous shame upon themselves. But that doesn't matter. We can also read about a Church that taught the faith with CERTITUDE. Bishops and priests were unified in their front against the lies of the world, the flesh and the devil. We can read about a time when there was NO QUESTION about what it meant to be a Catholic and their was CERTAINTY about what The Church demanded of its members.

The progressives created this. Every Catholic has a rightful claim to the traditions and teachings that came down to us through the centuries. God does not change. God is Truth and Truth does not change or "evolve". Our legacy was robbed from us by people who considered themselves more enlightened than the rest of us and the results are clear. The only sector of the Church showing any sustained growth and increasing vocations on a consistent level are the Traditionalists. As far as the liberal Catholic Church goes, its legacy is a joke. Future generations will look at the lies and silliness we have suffered through for these past decades and snicker at our foolishness.

Pope Bergogliio is in charge right now and you'll get no argument from me. Enjoy it while it lasts, because sooner or later, the 70's will be over forever.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, these faux traditionalist or pseudo-traditionalists have caused great, great harm to the worthy renewal in continuity of the Church begun by Pope Benedict XVI. If these pseudo-traditionalists had only been supportive, respectful and loyal to the Holy Father, . . ."

These assertions are quite literally incredible--that, is not believable. Unless you can provide some basis in fact to support them.

But surely you mean by "faux traditionalist or pseudo-traditionalists" something entirely different from the traditional Catholics--from FSSP to diocesan TLM communities--of my broad experience in numerous parishes over several decades, who are generally far more supportive of and respectful to the pope than the typical pew Catholic.

Carol H. said...

I'm afraid I have to disagree. The world in its current state of radical relativism, needs dogma more now than ever.

Rood Screen said...

Regarding the Holy Father's attitude towards priests, I don't think priests want him to praise them. I do think the Holy Father's comments about them displays a general unfamiliarity with the life of the typical priest. The Holy Father himself was never a simple parish priest, an perhaps this contributes to his distorted view. Further, parishioners do not write letters to the bishop complimenting priests, but complaining about them, and the pope likely read many such letters in Buenos Aires. Thus, his distorted view and puzzling criticisms.

rcg said...

I cannot think of a single time when I was was in mortal danger that I was not saved by the prompt and expert application of the fundamental knowledge, and training, and skills pertinent to that situation. If the 'high places' have antipathy toward all traditionalists based on the actions of some, and if they eschew the same Charity towards them that those higher ups lavish on groups that challenge the teachings of Christ, then they are poor leaders at best.

Rood Screen said...


Wise words.

Православный физик said...

Sometimes no words can express the profound stupidity of certain thoughts, I think this applies here.....Traditionalists, not supporting the Holy Father? Far from it, if anything we want to go to bat for him, but we don't praise things that should not be said. He (Pope Francis) quite literally has one job, preserve the Faith, nothing more, nothing less...and I can't say he's doing that.