26 November 2013

Shutting Down the Blog




93. Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being. It is what the Lord reprimanded the Pharisees for: “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (Jn 5:44). It is a subtle way of seeking one’s “own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:21). It takes on many forms, depending on the kinds of persons and groups into which it seeps. Since it is based on carefully cultivated appearances, it is not always linked to outward sin; from without, everything appears as it should be. But if it were to seep into the Church, “it would be infinitely more disastrous than any other worldliness which is simply moral”.[71]

94. This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings. The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.

95. This insidious worldliness is evident in a number of attitudes which appear opposed, yet all have the same pretence of “taking over the space of the Church”. In some people we see an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people and the concrete needs of the present time. In this way, the life of the Church turns into a museum piece or something which is the property of a select few. In others, this spiritual worldliness lurks behind a fascination with social and political gain, or pride in their ability to manage practical affairs, or an obsession with programmes of self-help and self-realization. It can also translate into a concern to be seen, into a social life full of appearances, meetings, dinners and receptions. It can also lead to a business mentality, caught up with management, statistics, plans and evaluations whose principal beneficiary is not God’s people but the Church as an institution. The mark of Christ, incarnate, crucified and risen, is not present; closed and elite groups are formed, and no effort is made to go forth and seek out those who are distant or the immense multitudes who thirst for Christ. Evangelical fervour is replaced by the empty pleasure of complacency and self-indulgence.

96. This way of thinking also feeds the vainglory of those who are content to have a modicum of power and would rather be the general of a defeated army than a mere private in a unit which continues to fight. How often we dream up vast apostolic projects, meticulously planned, just like defeated generals! But this is to deny our history as a Church, which is glorious precisely because it is a history of sacrifice, of hopes and daily struggles, of lives spent in service and fidelity to work, tiring as it may be, for all work is “the sweat of our brow”. Instead, we waste time talking about “what needs to be done” – in Spanish we call this the sin of “habriaqueísmo” – like spiritual masters and pastoral experts who give instructions from on high. We indulge in endless fantasies and we lose contact with the real lives and difficulties of our people.

97. Those who have fallen into this worldliness look on from above and afar, they reject the prophecy of their brothers and sisters, they discredit those who raise questions, they constantly point out the mistakes of others and they are obsessed by appearances. Their hearts are open only to the limited horizon of their own immanence and interests, and as a consequence they neither learn from their sins nor are they genuinely open to forgiveness. This is a tremendous corruption disguised as a good. We need to avoid it by making the Church constantly go out from herself, keeping her mission focused on Jesus Christ, and her commitment to the poor. God save us from a worldly Church with superficial spiritual and pastoral trappings! This stifling worldliness can only be healed by breathing in the pure air of the Holy Spirit who frees us from self-centredness cloaked in an outward religiosity bereft of God. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the Gospel!

--Franciscus, Evangelii Gaudium, 2013


20 comments:

long pants said...

You and I must be more alike than we'd like. We both thought of the exact same thing (this blog) when reading these marvelous sections in E.G.

thetimman said...

“I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.”

Anonymous said...

Why do you plan to lower the portcullis between your readers and your thoughts?

Maxine

long pants said...

Now, now, Frodo. Don't be dramatic. All is not over. In fact, the quest is really just beginning.

Pete said...

I find that in this selection, the HF conflates a few varied typecasts of persons. Is the gnostic the EF devotee? Is the EF devotee the business or political minded person? Or is he speaking of careerist clergy in the Vatican? I guess I find it unclear, like much else from this HF. Lots of judging and classifying of fellow Catholics going on here. How does this judging and classifying Catholics help?

I hope that my remarks are not too intemperate. I pray for the Holy Father and for my own need to understand what God is saying through him.

boo said...

Long pants, you seem like you'd be a real hit at parties.

traddadof4 said...

"Dialogue is much more than the communication of a truth."

~EG

More dialogue, sigh.

thetimman said...

Everyone,

It is of course to be understood that the words written do not actually apply to anyone I know who assists at the ancient Mass. That's the gag, as I see it. Only "some" are this way. And he points to Gnostics of personal experience, too, so he zings "right" and "left"! See?

If one protests too much, then maybe one is of the some. That is the shield; look for Fr. Z, Shea et al., to take up this line. Maybe they already have, God only knows I haven't the stomach to read them.

Applying "neopelagian" to the last remaining segment of the church to advocate confession is a bit rich for me. And so, too, the charge of immanentism, which St. Pius X attributed to the Modernists. Why this is being done is something about which I will not publicly opine.

Pete is right, we are being divided and set against each other. This is something the words of the apostolic exhortation argue we should not let happen; whether that cause is helped or hindered by the document is for each to decide.

I wonder where it will all lead. I need to be careful about my soul.

Athelstane said...

"Applying "neopelagian" to the last remaining segment of the church to advocate confession is a bit rich for me."

Exactly my thought as well - albeit more succinctly expressed.

Jane Chantal said...

Timman, why is this post headed "Shutting Down the Blog"?

Karen said...

Please don't. Yours and Rorate are the only ones I find truly orthodox and stimulating of deep thought.

thetimman said...

Discerning.

Wendy in VA said...

No, don't go!

Christophe said...

Orthodox, yes, not so sure about the deep thought.

Marc said...

NO!! Your blog is the #1 feeder for MY blog :)

Pete said...

I understand. It is going to be hard not to criticize publicly the HF without entering into sin.

The economic thinking is something out of OWS or Shea's combox. I saw poor KJ Lopez at NRO trying to deflect other NRO writers' critique of the economic content by focusing on the evangelization message, which in and of itself is good.

St Francis pray for our Holy Father. Oh Holy Ghost please guide us to what You are telling us through the HF.

Not-Quite-As-Long-Skirts said...

Please don't, timman! I don't have the stomach for much of the rest, either. And Rorate simply doesn't have your sense of humor.

Barto said...

Is it really unthinkable that we Catholics may have to change our thinking on some things in light of the current pope that the Holy Spirit has brought us? Must we all of our lives think the same, exact thoughts that we had in 1978 or 1991 or 2005? Are we all sinless? Is inconceivable and impossible that any sin has infected our judgments of the world, of forms of the Mass, and of forms of government and the economy? If we we in our habitual judgments and treasured opinions are infallible, then are we ourselves the God that we worship? Did Jesus mainly call us to personal repentance, or mainly to wage merciless war on our enemies in a culture war? What do the Gospels say? Are we called to carry our own cross and undergo our own mortification and crucifixion daily, because WE are sinners, or all me called to to mortify and crucify other people because THEY are sinners? Do we merit Heaven my exposing the sins of others, or by exposing our own sins? Pope Francis write in this present Exhortation that the unfettered Capitalism that dominates the earth now is a "new tyranny" that kills and so violates "Thou shall not kill." But I believe if we check, we can find Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI saying the same thing. Is this thought really unbearable? Intolerable? Is it really untrue? Is Jesus really Lord, or is Mammon really Lord? I am a sinner for sure. Believe me, I am. How about you? Sinless or sinful? If sinful, then what is the answer? Rebellion and impudence? Or confession and submission and mortification? Am I impudent to even be writing this? Was Bartolome de Las Casas wrong to condemn the inhumanity of Columbus in his enslaving the native peoples of the Caribbean, and then slaughtering them when they rebelled against this enslavement? Is "hate thy neighbor" part of the Great Commandment, or "love thy neighbor. Of course I am a fool and an idiot and loser, in addition to being a sinner. But how can we legitimately judge anything or anyone if we make OUR OWN PREFERENCES the standard for all our judgments? So, hope this blogger will not end this blog, but find some other holy course of action. "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world."

dulac90 said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVznerpOkTI

Anonymous said...

If it is God's will, please stay, Timman.