Wednesday, October 3, 2018


You can read the entire NCR article by pressing the title. How do you interpret the pope’s remarks????? I never know what his words mean—Confused in Richmond Hill!

Francis warns youth Synod bishops against 'falling into moralistic or elitist postures'

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis opened a month-long worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops Oct. 3 by exhorting the hundreds of prelates taking part to guard against "falling into moralistic or elitist postures" as they discuss the needs of young people today.
During his homily for the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops, which will continue through Oct. 28, the pontiff also asked the prelates to listen to one another "sincerely and prayerfully, as free as possible from prejudice and conditioning."
Francis said the bishops should seek "to enter into communion with the diverse situations that the People of God experience." Such a venture, he said, "protects us from the lure of abstract ideologies that never touch the realities of our people."
"Hope challenges us, moves us and shatters that conformism which says, 'it's always been done like this,'" said the pope. "Hope asks us to get up and look directly into the eyes of young people and see their situations."


Tom Makin said...

He can't help himself. He is intellectually locked into a 1970's narrative. What is the old adage regarding the definition of stupidity...."doing and saying the same thing over and over again expecting a different result....." Case closed!

Dan said...

I think what he's saying is the message of the Church must be confirmed to the culture... give the people what they want. Permission to sin... (as if there's anything sinful anymore)

You see it doesn't matter what the Church taught in the 'olden days' a couple of years ago... that was when thinking was 'rigid."

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Francis said the bishops should seek "to enter into communion with the diverse situations that the People of God experience." Such a venture, he said, "protects us from the lure of abstract ideologies that never touch the realities of our people."

Pope Francis is a good Jesuit and understands accompaniment. When one accompanies a person, a village, a community, one understands better the concrete circumstances of the people and how the Gospel message is most applicable to their situation. Applying an "abstract ideology" to a culture with little or no understanding of that culture is probably not the optimal way to form the culture from within according to the values of the Gospel.

"Hope challenges us, moves us and shatters that conformism which says, 'it's always been done like this,'" said the pope. "Hope asks us to get up and look directly into the eyes of young people and see their situations."

Hope looks to the future unblinkingly. Without a vision of the future we will never move in that direction. we will simply become mostly comfortable with the status quo. And we will want to remain comfortable, avoiding change, even when we know, deep down, that change is needed.

"Fight against all egoism," they advised. "Refuse to give free course to the instincts of violence and hatred which beget wars and all their train of miseries. Be generous, pure, respectful and sincere, and build in enthusiasm a better world than your elders had."

Violence and hatred protect the status quo. Francis' vision is for a future that is free from these faults, one that can come when the values of the Gospel are lived.

Anonymous said...

Demonic possession?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I know that Jesuits are pastoral and like to accompany people. I think most priests and bishops do but certainly not all.

I think youth need structure, clarity and accompaniment in trying to follow what Christ teaches. When they are confused about this, that and the other, there should be a decent apologetic to help them to understand how much sense what Jesus teaches us makes and how much better our lives are when we follow him despite our failures. And then we have recourse to confession over and over again.

I just hope Francis isn't encouraging confusion as an antidote to keep our young people confused but in the Church nonetheless. We can't please everyone.

I have accompanied people who simply don't accept the Church pure and simple and no amount of accompaniment will change that. Just think too, of all those we accompany in RCIA and receive into the Church and then a month later they stop coming.

Anonymous said...

There is a much-derided trend in marketing when trying to make some product appealing to women: “shrink it and pink it”. Sometimes this is taken to absurd lengths like pink handguns. The lesson is that women do like some pink things, but they dont necessarily want pink clothes, pink skis, pink shoes, pink phones or pink televisions. I wonder if the youth programs fall into a similar trap. These bishops are old men who dont really get the youth so they load up the liturgy with “rocking roll” music because youth cant go 20 minutes with a mosh pit. Its good that Francis is encouraging the bishops to better understand the youth, but its also a bit dangerous to categorize the youth as a distinct category separate from the rest of society. The youth are probably as diverse among themselves as they are diverse compared to the rest of the Church. But i worry that the youth catered to in this synod is monolithic in holding an opinion that Baldiserri et al want them to hold.

Victor said...

Fr K:
I would agree with you, except that that is not what Francis is saying. Ignatian accompaniment is meant to help the individual move towards a union with God. The spiritual director helps the directee find, welcome and respond to God in a person's ordinary life, to articulate the presence of God in the directee's life. Ignatian concern is for the individual, not societies or cultures. Perhaps some Jesuits have gone beyond Ignatius in this way, but Francis does not seem to have here.

When Francis starts talking about "abstract ideologies" and "falling into moralistic or elitist postures", all he is trying to say with these labels is that the spiritual companion not prejudge the concrete situation of the directee, but to listen first, to here him out, to try to get into his shoes, and help the directee as an individual, usually by creative suggestion, on the path that leads to God through the Church. The bishops should do the same at this synod, be creative in addressing the concrete situations of youth.

The problem with Francis here and elsewhere is his unfortunate use of sweeping labels which is sometimes done in a seemingly belligerent if not outright hostile way. Marxists and Communists love to throw such sweeping labels around, but they are on the political level, too often in a violent way. Francis needs to find better vocabulary and have a better attitude when talking to people. It is as if he were still living in Latin America whose leaders tend towards using political language and thinking in daily affairs.

Moreover, as a man of Vatican 2, Francis quotes from the Council about youth. But this shows how dated he and the Council are since those remarks about violence had more to do with the student protests and uprisings of 1960's, such as against the Viet Nam war, than anything else.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Moreover, as a man of Vatican 2, Francis quotes from the Council about youth. But this shows how dated he and the Council are since those remarks about violence had more to do with the student protests and uprisings of 1960's, such as against the Viet Nam war, than anything else."

I suspect that violence is violence in any era.

John Nolan said...

I don't attempt to understand PF's ramblings because I am no longer interested in anything he says. I recently came across some comments I made exactly five years ago (on another blog) and was surprised at the extent to which I was at pains to understand and indeed support him.

No longer. The blatant attempt to rig the 2014 Synod was an eye-opener and everything that has transpired since confirms me in my negative opinion.

And quite frankly, I don't care. The papal court has sometimes been a cesspit while real reform and holiness were evident elsewhere in the Church. It is a cesspit now, but my spiritual and liturgical life is in no way affected.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

So, exactly how did Jesus practice "accompaniment"? Just wondering.

God bless.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Exactly here:

Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.”

And here:

Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.”]

And here:

He came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy.

In the Emmaus story, Jesus accompanied the weak disciples who were despondent and confused and running away from what they feared.

In the story of the Woman Caught in Adultery , Jesus accompanied the women in her shame, her fear, and, in dong so, confronted the self-righteous folks who were all shouting, "WHY ARE YOU ACCOMPANYING THIS LOOSE WOMAN?"

In the Zaccheus story, Jesus is accompanying the Chief Tax Collector, a hated and reviled collaborator, much to the dismay of those who cannot for the life of them think why ANYONE would accompany such a terrible, awful person.

Dan said...

"....self-righteous folks who were all shouting, "WHY ARE YOU ACCOMPANYING THIS LOOSE WOMAN?"

Hmmmm... there appears to be a lack of shouting people in my bible.

Anonymous said...

Oh? Seems some Catholics don't know their Bible very well...

Now when Joshua heard the sound of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, "There is a sound of war in the camp."

Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.

O clap your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy

So David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper and took the supplies and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the circle of the camp while the army was going out in battle array shouting the war cry.

for the multitude of the people kept following them, shouting, "Away with him.

Therefore I will weep bitterly for Jazer, for the vine of Sibmah; I will drench you with my tears, O Heshbon and Elealeh; For the shouting over your summer fruits and your harvest has fallen away. Gladness and joy are taken away from the fruitful field; In the vineyards also there will be no cries of joy or jubilant shouting, No treader treads out wine in the presses, For I have made the shouting to cease.

And at least 48 others. . .

Dan said...

Also, didn't all the individuals that were "accompanied" change their lives? Weren't the words "go and sin no more" often said to them? Of course my bible version isn't the NIPV (New Improved Progressive Version) in use at the Vatican.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The archetype of accompaniment in Scripture is the abiding presence of God with His people. God "has pitched His tent" among us. He is our God and we are his people.

"Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you."

The mystery of the Incarnation is, in a sense, the final step in God's being with us.

"And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth."

No longer in a tent, no longer in a column of cloud or pillar of fire, no longer in an Ark within the Holy of Holies, God walks among us to share our joys and our hopes, our griefs and anxieties. "That is why this community [the Church] realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds." (Gaudium et spes, no 1)

That "link" is the person of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.

As He accompanies us, so must we accompany others in order that they may see and feel and hear His presence "in the flesh." Baptized priests, prophets, and kings, our high calling is to be the "enfleshment" of God.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Dan - Yes, the people in these Scriptural passages - and many others not cited - changed their lives at the "call" of Jesus.

But it's important to keep in mind that the passage of time in many of the stories in Scripture are "telescoped" down or "collapsed" in order to help make the point the author wanted to get across.

Precise chronology, which is important to us, was not a primary concern for the writers of the Scriptures, if it was a concern at all. Their accounts of happenings can be, in a sense, summaries of what actually took place, what they were inspired by God to write, for the purpose of influencing readers and hearers of the Word.

God's grace doesn't often operate along the timeline we might want. Surprise, surprise! When baptizing a baby I often consider what the outcome will be, apart from the ontological effects of the sacrament. Will this child grow into an adult who, at age 30 or 50, or 70 will be living his or her faith? Being 60 I realize that it is highly unlikely that I will be around to see the "results" in any of the babies I baptize now. And I am always happy to meet a practicing Catholic who is a young adult who says that I baptized him or her at St. Mary's or Sacred Heart of St. James or some other of the churches where I have served.

Accompaniment is for the LONG HAUL. Scriptural account of rather instantaneous conversion may not be the model for how things work out today. God's grace can work, but it works over lifetimes, even generations.

Victor said...

Fr K:
"I suspect that violence is violence in any era."
Obviously, and I don't suspect it but know it.

But would you use that blurb from V2 with the youth in your parish? How many of the youth in your parish are violent? I am sure your youth have other more pressing problems. I think you get my point, using the blurb on youth just because it is from V2, as if it were an idol.

Anonymous said...

If the blurb mentioned the 1960's or Vietnam, I would not use it. It does not mention either, so I would not hesitate to use it today.