15 November 2013

Three Items for Reflection and Prayer

The Holy Father needs and deserves our prayers.  He has the right to expect them of every Catholic.  And we should always pray for the triumph of the Church, Christ's Mystical Body.

It is in this context that I wish to post about three items appearing on the web this week, three items that highlight the current mess in which the Church finds herself.  A mess, unfortunately, that the words and actions of the Holy Father (intentional or not, misused or not) have brought about or made worse. 

Item 1: The above video is the the latest, but I want to lead with it.  Recall that Italy is a nation founded by freemasonic revolution, which, in direct opposition to the Pope, in defiance of the rights of the Church, and in an act of unjust appropriation of Papal lands, virtually imprisoned the Pope in the Vatican before Mussolini, of all people, signed the Lateran Treaty of 1929, recognizing the Papal right to the minimal territory it holds today.  The Holy Father made a state visit to Italy yesterday, and the President of Italy made what he probably considered a glowing compliment to the Pope thusly:

"You have impressed us with the absence of any dogmatism, keeping your distance from positions that exclude all uncertainty, and by your call to leave room for doubt in that characteristic way of the great leaders of the people of God.

"We have heard your words vibrate with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council as the re-reading of the Gospel in the light of modern culture..."

This is a very practical example of how the modern world hears the words of the Pope as reported by the media.  It is what they want to hear, of course.  You can read them and decide which way is the likely message, or wait for Mark Shea to tell you what the Pope really meant.  No matter. What effect do they have?  Do they edify the faithful and call nonbelievers to conversion, or do they dismay the faithful and embolden the enemies of Christ?

Which leads directly to Item 2:

Illinois is the latest state to legally equate repeated sodomy with the institution of marriage.  OK, yawn.  This is so commonplace it is hard to get too worked up about it.  But one thing is a bit disturbing.  The proponents of sodomy--nominal Catholics, too-- in explaining their actions, cited favorably the reported words of Pope Francis.  Apparently, they didn't wait for Mark Shea to tell them what he really meant: 

The papal comments at issue came in an interview with reporters in July on Pope Francis’ flight back from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?" the pope said.

According to the Tribune, those comments “sparked a wave of soul-searching by several Catholic lawmakers who had battled to reconcile their religious beliefs with their sworn duty to represent their constituents who were increasingly supportive of gay rights even as Cardinal Francis George remained opposed.”

Rep. Chapa LaVia said: "As a Catholic follower of Jesus and the pope, Pope Francis, I am clear that our Catholic religious doctrine has at its core love, compassion and justice for all people.”

Speaker Madigan did not name the pope, but made a clear reference to his comments. "For those that just happen to be gay — living in a very harmonious, productive relationship but illegal — who am I to judge that they should be illegal?" he said.

Actions have consequences whether they are intended or not.  The public comments of the most important leader in the world will have consequences.

Finally, Item 3, from Pat Buchanan:

Buchanan has a fine article today addressing the very real consequences of a Pope who essentially has ceded the field in public morals to the zeitgeist of the day.  The whole article should be read, but here are a few gems:

After noting the words of Bishop Cupich of Spokane that Pope Francis doesn't want 'cultural warriors', Buchanan writes: ... here is further confirmation His Holiness seeks to move the Catholic Church to a stance of non-belligerence, if not neutrality, in the culture war for the soul of the West.

There is a small problem with neutrality. As Trotsky observed, “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” For the church to absent itself from the culture war is to not to end that war, but to lose it.


Goodstein quotes the Holy Father as listing among the “most serious of the evils” today “youth unemployment.” And he calls upon Catholics not to be “obsessed” with abortion or same-sex marriage.

But is teenage unemployment really a graver moral evil than the slaughter of 3,500 unborn every day in a land we used to call “God’s Country”?


The cultural revolution preached by Marxist Antonio Gramsci is continuing its “long march” through the institutions of the West and succeeding where the violent revolutions of Lenin and Mao failed.

It is effecting a transvaluation of all values. And it is not interested in a truce with the church of Pope Francis, but a triumph over that church which it reviles as the great enemy in its struggle.
Indeed, after decades of culture war waged against Christianity, the Vatican might consider the state of the Faith.

Our civilization is being de-Christianized. Popular culture is a running sewer. Promiscuity and pornography are pandemic. In Europe, the churches empty out as the mosques fill up. In America, Bible reading and prayer are outlawed in schools, as Christian displays are purged from public squares. Officially, Christmas and Easter do not exist.

The pope, says Goodstein, refers to proselytizing as “solemn nonsense.” But to proselytize is to convert nonbelievers.

And when Christ admonished his apostles, “Go forth and teach all nations,” and ten of his twelve were martyred doing so, were they not engaged in the Church’s true commission — to bring souls to Christ.


“Who am I to judge,” Pope Francis says of homosexuals.

Well, he is pope. And even the lowliest parish priest has to deliver moral judgments in a confessional.

“[S]ince he became pope,” writes Goodstein, Francis’ “approval numbers are skyrocketing. Even atheists are applauding.”

Especially the atheists, one imagines.

While Pope Francis has not altered any Catholic doctrines in his interviews and disquisitions, he is sowing seeds of confusion among the faithful, a high price to pay, even for “skyrocketing” poll numbers.

David Werthing at Ars Orandi has a more indepth analysis of the Buchanan article, and is worth a read here.

Troubling times indeed. 
Pray for the Holy Father and the Church!


Pete said...

I concur. Without judging the intentions of the Holy Father ("Who am I to judge?"!) it is an objective fact that his words have done great harm.

Oh, and had to chuckle at your Shea reference. I have had less and less use for him over the past few years.

Christophe said...

Another recent article you might refer to, Timman, is by Michael Brendan Dougherty on slate.com. Dougherty says that this papacy could be looked at as "one more in the pile of recent Catholic novelties and mediocrities."

The disaster becomes more obvious each day. And the silence - or, rather, the willful blindness - of the official "conservative" Catholic commentariat is disturbing. If Francis' words had been uttered by someone like Cardinal Mahony, the Sheas and Keatings would have been competing to see who could make the loudest criticisms. But the let the Pope speak them, and suddenly the emanations and penumbras of infallibility take over.

But, don't worry, it's only going to get worse.


Long-Skirts said...

Oh, but my favorite was this:


“Are your hands bound together? It looks like they're stuck.”

...the Pope said to the little Altar boy showing, God forbid, Piety!! Well, just as he said about saying so many Rosaries in Spiritual Boquets...

“solemn nonsense.”


He wouldn't stop
The Prelates prance
But folded hands
He eyed askance.

Pray for the Pope and our poor Traditional Priests!!!!

Emmett McAuliffe said...

Thanks long skirts for that quote. I looked up the video and queued up the exact moment. I dont know, but what he did and said to that little altar boy seems kind of mean: http://youtu.be/ARFnaWyWgzw?t=41s

There was a thing, that emanates from the 1950s I think, where priests enjoyed mocking the sacred things, especially the rubrics. I've known several priests like that. Another "big joke" I've seen is for the priest to knock the patent into your Adam's apple just a little bit with the back of his hand. Not my sense of humor, and, while not sacrilegious per se, it sort of paved the way for the 1960s, Ill bet.

LMG said...

I just think of how holy and sweet our altar boys are at our parish and am shocked at what the Pope said to that sweet boy, thinking he was being funny. If only we all had our hands "stuck" together in prayer more often!

Plunkett said...

Timman: You are confusing proselytization and evangelization. They are not the same thing. The former refers to efforts to convert someone by means and methods that are contrary to the Gospel -- ways that are coercive and that do not respect the freedom of the person and the truth that the Faith has to be accepted in freedom. In other words, proselytizing refers to twisting someone’s arm or pressuring them to accept the faith in some way. The CDF in its 2007 Doctrinal Note on Some aspects of evangelization explains in fn . 49

The term proselytism originated in the context of Judaism, in which the term proselyte referred to someone who, coming from the gentiles, had passed into the Chosen People. So too, in the Christian context, the term proselytism was often used as a synonym for missionary activity. More recently, however, the term has taken on a negative connotation, to mean the promotion of a religion by using means, and for motives, contrary to the spirit of the Gospel; that is, which do not safeguard the freedom and dignity of the human person. It is in this sense that the term proselytism is understood in the context of the ecumenical movement.

A fair and charitable interpretation of the Holy Father’s remarks about “proselytism” should understand the term as it has been described by the CDF. We can we wish that he would have explained things more, we can wish that he would be more careful in interviews but fairness and the deference owed the Holy Father requires us to assume that when he uses certain terminology he attaches the same meaning to it as the magisterium does in its teaching.

Our Holy Father has not denied the Church’s mission nor has he denied the Great Commission Christ gave to the apostles.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should concentrate on our own behaviors rather than emphasize policing others. Focus on living by example.



Cbalducc said...

In other words, these politicians really wanted to vote for same-sex pseudomarriage, and they are just using words out of context as an excuse. People can take a sentence out of a Biblical passage out of context and use it to justify all kinds of nasty things.

Cbalducc said...

By the way, when New York State liberalized its abortion laws in the early 1970s before Roe v. Wade, what excuse did Catholic politicans use to justify their votes in favor of that>