Wednesday, November 8, 2017


This is from Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register:

Messori: Pope Francis is Creating a ‘Liquid Society’ Church

Famed Italian author criticizes the Holy Father for mirroring modern society by turning the Church into a place where “everything is unstable and changeable.”

Edward Pentin

The prominent Catholic Italian writer Vittorio Messori has expressed concern that Pope Francis is turning the Catholic Church into a kind of “liquid society” in which uncertainty and change are the only certainties.

Writing in the latest edition of the Italian Catholic magazine Il Timone, Messori took as a point of reference the Polish Jewish sociologist Zygmut Bauman who first introduced the idea of “liquid modernity.”

Bauman observed that the general trait of individualistic modern man is to flow through his own life like a tourist, changing places, jobs, spouses, values and even sexual orientation and gender. Bauman said the modern tendency is to exclude oneself from traditional networks of support, while at the same time freeing oneself from the restrictions or requirements those networks impose.

This trend towards such unbridled individualism has created societies in which “everything is unstable and changeable,” Messori noted, and referred to the “rapid change” not only in sexual behaviour but also in politics where legislators have given up on long term governance.

Quoting Bauman, he said it is becoming acceptable that “change” is the “only permanent thing” and that “uncertainty” has become the “only certainty.”

But he said this attitude has also afflicted the area of religion and the believer is now “disturbed by the fact that even the Catholic Church — which was an age-old example of stability — seems to want to become ‘liquid’ as well.”

Messori, who came to prominence in 1984 when he interviewed Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for the book The Ratzinger Report, pointed to a recent “disconcerting interview” with the Jesuits’ superior general, Father Arturo Sosa. He said Father Sosa effectively “’liquefied’ the Gospel itself” when he said that as Jesus’ words were not recorded on tape, “we don’t know exactly what he said” so it’s possible to “adapt” the Gospel according to times, needs and people.(Nothing new here, as this ideology is what I was taught in the 1970's seminary, inspired by Jesuits of that time!)

The Italian author then criticized the Pope for being susceptible to the same attitude, quoting him in a recent interview warning against a “Catholic temptation” to have uniform or “rigid” rules instead of judging and acting “on a case by case basis.”

Messori, who published the 1995 bestselling book-interview with Pope St. John Paul II Crossing the Threshold of Hope, said the Pope’s frequent use of the term “discernment” is an old tradition of the Society of Jesus. But until now, it did not additionally mean to "freely interpret even dogma, depending on the situation, as has happened in some official documents containing his signature, which have aroused perplexity (to use a euphemism) in some cardinals.”

Messori said that in “all humility,” to have such an approach seemed to him “wrong and damaging to the Church and the faith” and that for him “the opposite would be right.” He said “in a ‘liquid world’ where everything becomes uncertain, precarious, provisional, it is precisely the stability and firmness of the Catholic Church that all humanity needs, and not only believers.”

“Those rocks of dogma, to which the superior general of the Society of Jesus is allergic, could and should become firm ground in a society that flatters itself and tends towards mushy chaos,” he said. One of the symbols of the Catholic Church, he added, is a “robust oak, held firmly to the ground by strong roots.” But is it, he asked, “really helpful to replace the oak with a rod that folds in any direction, with any breath of air, every human desire or fashion?”

Perhaps, he added, it is time to rediscover and apply to the whole Church the “ancient and beautiful” motto of the Carthusians: Stat crux dum orbitur volvit [The Cross is steady while the world turns].

Messori said that “more than ever” the “firm clarity of the Catechism is needed, rather than the ever-changing ‘in my opinion,’ and the “infinite opinions which the world is full of.”

Protestantism followed this path, he said, “and history has shown what it has led to, but unfortunately, as usual, history is not magistra vitae [life’s teacher].”


Gene said...

There are different kinds of individualism. There is the "radical individualism," characteristic of the pioneering American spirit where the creative and highly motivated, often heroic, individual explores, settles, and defends a growing nation. This has evolved to the aggressive businessman or entrepreneur who becomes successful by his own initiative, determination, and boot straps. There is nothing wrong with becomes a theology. In the case of American protestantism, what made America great in historical perspective has weakened and nearly destroyed the Faith in this country. Even the Catholic Church, in this country, has not been immune to this influence, although she has many liturgical and doctrinal safeguards against it. Amazingly, this is something that I think Kavanaugh and I may actually agree on, in part.

Anonymous said...

To simplify things a bit: Jesus Christ built His Church on a Rock, not a Marshmallow.

Anonymous 2 said...

Exploring the image of the robust oak, don’t oaks also need to be able to bend and sway in the winds (of change) or else risk being uprooted or snapped in half? There was ample evidence of this fact in Georgia during the recent Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irma. And don’t healthy oaks also need room to grow?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Flectimur non frangimur undis" "We are bent, not broken, by the waves."

Gene - We agree, but only to a point. You say an aggressive businessman or entrepreneur (may) becomes successful by his own initiative, determination, and boot straps.

The bootstraps mythology is very much ingrained in American thinking, probably due to our "cowboy" history. But, if you bend over and grab the sides of your shoes (or boots if ya wear 'em) and pull as hard as you can, you will go . . . nowhere.

A business relies on employees educated in publicly funded schools, on goods delivered on publicly funded highways, on safety regulations enacted by publicly funded government agencies, on maritime cartage services overseen by the Coast Guard and a handful of other agencies, etc etc etc.

It is rare today, not because of government intrusiveness, but because of societal interconnectedness, for anyone to make a successful business on his/her own.

TJM said...


Publicly funded schools staffed by union goons are left-wing indoctrination centers. Most of us who actually hire people coming out of these schools are shocked at how poorly educated these students are. Only the self-motivated students are worth a damn.

John Nolan said...

It should be 'stat crux dum volvitur orbis'. If you're going to quote Latin, get it right. Fr Kavanaugh does with 'flectimur non frangimur undis'.

Aesop's fable about the oak and the reed springs to mind. Just to keep us on our toes, let's stick with Latin:-

Procella furit et quercum, quae ei resisteret, radicitus evellit; harundo autem, quae cederet vento, locum servat.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon 2 - Bent oak wood from St. Simons Island, Georgia, was used in the construction of The US Constitution - Old Ironsides. The oaks grew (and grow) just behind the dune lines, so they are subjected to considerable winds that are fairly constant. As a result, the trees grow with significant curves and bends that are not usually found in oaks not subject to winds. A naturally occurring bend is stronger than a man-made one, so the bent oak from the sea island was preferred for the construction.

Gene said...

Kavanaugh, Now you are into the liberal mantra that nobody makes it on their own initiative, the corollary being that the government (socialism) is really our saviour. That is pure BS...granted all the attempted qualifications that you and other libs try to introduce, the individual with drive initiative, creativity, and determination makes the choices, makes the decisions, organizes, manages, and delegates. He takes the risks and suffers the failures. There are many, many stories of these struggles to build a business and the hardships these small business owners endure. It is cheap, disingenuous, and resentful for you and others to denigrate or attempt to play down these people and their successes. But, then, you have never been there as, doubtless, neither have the silly libs who parrot the same tripe as you. Most of these men and women have succeeded in spite of the government and the sorry work force from which they have to draw.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

No, Gene, I don't think government is "really our savior."

I do understand that it is a fact that no one pulls him/herself up by his/her own bootstraps.

Some years ago a Chatham County businessman posted a sign on his store which read, "I built this store without government help. Obama can kiss my ***. I'm R** G***** and I approve this message."

In short order the picture of Mr. G***** and his sign was adjusted. Among the additions were notes indicating that the government was very, very involved in his success. The ways the government helped him build his store:
1) the name of the business was trademarked (GOV)
2) the store got reliable electricity from a GOV regulated utility
3) the store used fair electric rates overseen by the Public Utilities Commission (GOV)
4) the store used standard currency (GOV) to transact business
5) trade agreements (GOV) oversaw the import of the clothes Mr. G***** was wearing
6) the standard date and time on Mr G*****'s watch was organized by the GOV
7) the cell phone the owner was wearing had Fair Access to Radio frequencies (GOV)
8) the business was protected by police (GOV)
9) the mail he received in the mailbox in the picture was delivered by a tax payer founded GOV service
10) the road in front of his business was built and maintained by the GOV
11) the drainage ditch in from of the store was maintained by the GOV
12) the property was protected by a GOV run/funded fire service
13) the proper spelling of his sign was provided in no small part by GOV paid teachers

Among other things.

The "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mythology encourages a person to use his/her gifts and abilities, and this is a good thing. When the mythology is exploded to the point that we fail to recognize our interconnectedness and the proper role of government in making our comfortable lives possible, then things have gone from mythology to fantasy.

It's not a "lib" notion. It's a fact.

Regarding risk - a person with $1 million risks $200,000 to open a business. That risk in, indeed, real and substantial.

The employee who has $1000.00 joins that firm, also taking a risk that he/she will be able to provide for his/her family.

It is arguable that the employee is taking the greater risk.

Gene said...

Kavanaugh, I have heard all this before...the standard Leftist line. You memorized your lessons well. For your efforts, you receive a free copy of Mao's" Little Red Book," a signed 8x10 photo of Hillary Clinton in a bikini, and a bag of dope. Enjoy!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Gene - There's nothing leftist about facts.

TJM said...

Kavanaugh, leftists make up their own facts like "man made global warming - the science is settled." I find that people who believe in big government have lost their faith in God and themselves. And that includes probably a majority of the bishops in the USCCCB

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene and TJM:

Instead of insulting Father Kavanaugh (and the Bishops), why don’t you answer him and negate the substance of his comment? I will tell you why. You don't because you can’t. Again, these ad hominem attacks are a cheap rhetorical trick intended to distract. It won’t work. Most readers of the blog are not that gullible.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Which is the facts I mentioned in the 6:38 post is "made up?"

The Post Office? The Police Department? The public Utilities Commission?

Which one or ones?

And the idea of "settled science" comes only from those who don't understand how science works, not from scientists.

TJM said...

Anonymous 2, well you're gullible if you vote for the Abortion Party and still consider yourself a catholic.

Kavanaugh, I was simply responding to your assertion there are no leftist facts, but there are. If you dispute with a leftist that man made global warming isn't a "fact," they will attach you with venom, asserting you are anti-science and a neanderthal.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - There are no "leftist" facts. Facts stand on their own, regardless of a person's political leanings.

"Settled Science" is not anti-science, but un-scientific.

Anonymous 2 said...


And so the Trumpian/Putinesque tactic of distraction continues. I rest my case.

Anonymous 2 said...


And for the umpteenth time, I did not vote “for” the “Abortion Party.” I voted “against” the disaster who now inhabits the Oval Office. There is a huge difference. Again, please educate yourself by consulting the USCCB document “Faithful Citizenship.” But, of course, you won’t because in your eyes the Bishops aren’t Catholic either.

Are we sure you are not a Russian agent? You certainly seem to fit the profile of sowing dissension in the Republic and the Church. I have never questioned your right to vote for Trump even though I disagree with your choice on the merits. But you, and other “Putinesque” types like you, have constantly questioned my right to vote against Trump, despite the fact that under the USCCB document my vote was just as “Catholic” as yours.

TJM said...

Anonymous 2,

Thanks for confirming that you vote for the Abortion pushers. If you wanted to vote against a disaster in the White House, I assume you did not vote for Obama, the least equipped person to ever occupy that office. Are you sure you are not a paid Soros agent? Putin would have much preferred Greedy Grandma, who was a Russian stooge, her "husband" received a $500,000 speaking fee around the time of the Uranium deal and their Crime Foundation received about $150,000,000. In stark contrast, Trump is pursuing policy actions which are devastating to Russia, like his energy policies. Obama and Greedy Grandma did Putin's bidding by blocking such initiatives as the Keystone Pipeline and drilling off American shores.

Anonymous said...

"Thanks for confirming that you vote for the Abortion pushers. If you wanted to vote against a disaster in the White House, I assume you did not vote for Obama, the least equipped person to ever occupy that office. Are you sure you are not a paid Soros agent? Putin would have much preferred Greedy Grandma, who was a Russian stooge, her "husband" received a $500,000 speaking fee around the time of the Uranium deal and their Crime Foundation received about $150,000,000. In stark contrast, Trump is pursuing policy actions which are devastating to Russia, like his energy policies. Obama and Greedy Grandma did Putin's bidding by blocking such initiatives as the Keystone Pipeline and drilling off American shores."

None of which has anything to do with the facts presented. This rant is nothing more than gaslighting. TJM is very, VERY good at that Ruskie technique.

Anonymous 2 said...


I mentioned the election because you continue to misrepresent what is permissible to a Catholic regarding voting and, just as in previous exchanges with you last year, I do not want readers of the Blog to be misled by you. They should read the USCCB document “Faithful Citizenship” and apply the Guidelines to themselves informed by prayer and their conscience.

As for the rest, I will not go any further down the path of distraction with you. Instead, please respond to the substance of Father Kavanaugh’s post of 6:38 a.m. on November 9 without further attempts to distract or gratuitous unwarranted ad hominem attacks.

TJM said...

I note that A and A 2 didn't dare address the point I made about Greedy Grandma being the true Russian stooge. Why? Because if they did, they would be acknowledging the truth that the Russian collusion story is a hoax when it comes to Trump but spot-on when it comes to Greedy Grandma their heroine

Anonymous 2 said...


I will answer that point when you have responded to the substance of Father Kavanaugh’s post. Your continued Trumpian/Putinesque attempts to distract and avoid are becoming glaringly obvious to everyone and further confirm the suspicion that you may just be a troll intent on sowing dissension.

TJM said...

Anonymous 2, if you want to see a troll, albeit a Soros paid one, intent on sowing dissension, look in the mirror

Anonymous 2 said...


I respond to points and attempt to explore issues in a reasoned manner. I do not launch gratuitous and aggressive ad hominem attacks on fellow Bloggers and the clergy, although I will defend when attacked. You, on the other hand, are constantly attempting to distract from the points under discussion and you often launch gratuitous and aggressive ad hominem attacks on fellow Bloggers and the clergy. Readers can decide for themselves which alternative is more troll-like.

And you are, of course, doing it yet again in your response to my previous post as you continue trying to disguise your refusal to respond to the substance of Father Kavanaugh’s post. Readers of the Blog are not stupid. They can see what you are doing.