28 January 2014

Lies?! I've Been Robbed? No, We've Been Robbed.

It's not just what is said.

It's not just how it's heard.

No, sometimes, the issue is the revelation of the underlying state of the Church that produces the speaker, the words spoken, and the reception of the statement.

Excellent post by Catholic journalist Hilary White:

A few weeks ago, there was a kerfuffle among Traditionalists over something the pope said about Our Lady.

I won't repeat it, because it's awful. But I think I may have an answer as to why a man like Francis might say the kinds of things he says, and why it's only the Trads who noticed how awful it was.

I think it's the same reason very few people outside the Traditionalist movement batted an eye. For fifty years, we have been taught that she, and Our Lord too, are really just regular folks. Just like you and me and apart from the special role she played in Christian history, there's really not much about her that would distinguish her from the rest of the world.
If that were actually the case, the Pope's description of her "likely" reaction would be fairly understandable. It's what any mother might say, if she were a modern, secularised western woman with the normal, half-trained faith in God that is the standard for our post-Christian global culture.

It's just another indicator that this pope is a man trained in the intellectual milieu of his time, the post-Vatican II world of dumbed-down, half
[*****] and humanised, horizontal Catholicism that is virtually all that is left in the mainstream Church and is held by millions upon millions of Catholics around the world. 
The problem is not that he said it, but that nearly all Catholics of the world shrugged it off. We have known for decades that one is taught anything about the Faith in the normal institutions of the Church, schools, parishes and seminaries. With the majority of Catholics in the western world not believing in the Real Presence or the reality of sin or Hell or whathaveyou, is it any surprise that they are no longer imbued with the Marian doctrines that once formed such a bedrock? Who today knows anything about the special prerogatives of our Lady? Of the effects on her of being preserved from conception from the effects of original sin? No one has the least idea what she is really like.

I am not a big Mary-person, on the whole, but I know two things about that. One, that this is a fault of mine, a failure of my personal faith that I am seeking to remedy through prayer. Second, that this is the normal condition of nearly all Catholics. I know enough to know that perhaps one of the most dangerous effects of the Conciliar Asteroid has been to rob the faithful of the benefits of closeness and familiarity with this great advocate and intercessor, one whom God cannot refuse. No one, from the top of the Church to the bottom, seems to have retained in a deep way these rock-bottom foundational beliefs. 

Many people in the Church still cling to the more obvious moral teachings; they know that abortion and euthanasia are murder, they know (though in a kind of distant and foggy way) that fornication and sodomy (and all the rest of that stuff) is morally harmful. Indeed, these are considered the litmus test for "conservatism". But from the point of view of the Faith, "believing" that you shouldn't kill people is, to put it mildly, lowering the bar as low as it will go without actually digging a trench and burying it. 

I submit that this is mainly because the men in the Church have refused,
en masse, to teach anyone the faith. And this has now been going on so long that the men in the Church no longer know it any better than the rest of us schmoes. 
Francis, like everyone else of his generation, trusted that the schools and seminaries would be teaching him all he needed to know. And this was the correct way to proceed! Of course you should be able to trust your superiors in the Church, your teachers in Catholic schools, your professors in seminary.

It was not until many, many years later, after the effects of this bad education had already devastated the vineyard, that parents and seminarians wised up and steered clear.

Another thing about this is that Francis is talking the way almost every public figure talks. A great deal of the time, I think the pope talks without giving any consideration whatever to the actual meaning of what he says - and this is only surprising to us in the Church because until now, we've had popes who were not of that generation, and who had received a very different intellectual training. He's using words the same way everyone else does who has the kind of half-
[*****] "education" that is normal and expected in his time and in ours - not to describe objective reality, but the same way you and I use Christmas tree decorations; to produce an emotional effect. 
Is it any wonder that he talks like everyone else? Particularly like every other politician? He is not only a son of the Church, he's a child of his times, who, like nearly everyone in the Church of his generation, never figured out that he was being led astray.

In that, he is the perfect representative of the vast majority of the Catholics who are in exactly the same condition.



JBQ said...

Very good posting but "sad" in its truth.

Anonymous said...

I hope some reader of this blog is kind enough to tell us what Pope Francis said or at least send an URL that directs us to a place where we can read what he said.

Margaret B

X said...

This is more than just a failure in education or being an amiable dunce. According to the Catholic catechism a human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. If I have learned anything about the Novus Ordo, indeed the entire new church, it is that it stifles, starves, even strangles the spiritual nature in man and destroys any and all sense of all things spiritual. There is no Grace, no spiritual sustenance, no food for the soul, yet man does not live by bread alone. And so there is no reverence, no awe, no humility, no real charity or sacrifice for these things all spring from our spiritual nature. It's as if a man were born blind. They are spiritually starved, if not dead.

thetimman said...

Margaret, it's no secret. It hit the news cycle a few weeks ago. Here is a link to one blog that covered it:


Anonymous said...

Herein lies the answer to Barto's question in your Combox under "One Little Victory..." On 1/24/14. He asks why there is not a Traditional Latin Mass in every parish since it was given free access by the Motu Proprio of 2007. And this is the reason. Today's "modern, secularised ... half-trained faith in God that is the standard for our post-Christian global culture" Catholic is not interested in the TLM! The post-Vatican II Liturgy (and all that goes with it, Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi) has been stripped of its grandeur. It is casual, it is dumbed-down, and it is all millions of Catholics know. And this is all that they want.

And why would the average poorly-catechized Catholic, in today's casual, flip-flop wearing world, desire a more formal experience? ... "Why don't you come to our Solemn High Mass? You'll get to drive a long distance, dress up in suit and tie or wear a head covering, AND you get to stay at Mass for close to two hours!"

Until Tradition returns to the Church, from the top down, the TLM is not going to be found in every parish. And this will come not but by prayer and penance (which, by the way, is exactly the purpose of the latest Rosary Crusade.)


Karen said...

If we who read this blog (most of us, anyway) and those who do love the TLM can see this, then why can't the Pope?!?!

I'm just an average 61 year old pew sitter. How old is the Pope anyway that he didn't get what I have?

Sorry, I don't think that's a good enough excuse for the Pope OR the bishops of my generation, yet they seem to have lived in a different time than I did.

And many of the TLM aficionados are much younger than me. So how does one explain this?

Anonymous said...

To the lady or gentleman posting as "X": Being a Novus Ordo attendee, I hope I'm not being too optimistic in thinking that the numerous daily Mass-attendin', Rosary-prayin', Adoration-goin', charity-doin' folks that surround me are not "stifled", "starved", and "strangled", spiritually speaking. Yes, we are a work in progress, like any Catholic from Traditionalist to progressive.

I offer this observation in the interest of seeing Tradition grow: Hardly all, but still too many commenters on Tradition-leaning blogs say, in essence, that anyone who attends the Novus Ordo is simply lazy or too dumb to realize they are being spiritually robbed, and that sort of commentary hardly serves to attract people to Tradition. The Latin Mass is beautiful, the fact that it suffers no temptation to serve as entertainment for the congregation is important, but it is not a cure all. Long before Vatican II, during the pioneer times of this region, Church men were writing of a Church in disarray and a lackadaisical laity. The Latin Mass did not prevent the secularist French Revolution. And so on.

2) To the lady posting under "JustaMom": I think you have spot on hit some of the practical deterrents to getting folks to attend a Latin Mass. The fact that things as minor as dressing up are such a deterrent shows a deeper problem, that many Catholics do not understand what actually happens at Mass; I sometimes get the feeling that a lot of folks attend Mass simply as insurance, just in case God turns out to be more hung up on such stuff than they think is actually the case.

That said, I do not think the solution necessarily needs to come entirely from the top down. There is an awful lot that Traditionalists can do to help shore up basic faith education and to "de-mystify" the Tridentene Mass among grassroots Catholics. For example, offer your nearest university Catholic campus ministry a workshop on the Latin Mass, to simply describe its form and meaning - I bet you would be surprised how many such groups take you up on that offer. That's just one example of a million possibilities.

Bryan Kirchoff
St. Louis

Barto of the Oratory said...

What Pope Francis said in this case need not be viewed as scandalous, disgraceful, or shocking, in my view.

Here's what Pope Francis was reported as saying: "The Blessed Mother was human! And perhaps she would have wanted to say, 'lies! I have been cheated!'. John Paul II said this when he spoke of the Mother of God at one point." http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/2013/12/lies-i-was-cheated-pope-francis-daring.html

Pope Francis was discussing the Blessed Virgin Mary's possible inner thoughts at seeing her beloved son, the Son of God, the successor to King David, the Incarnation of God, being crucified, being murdered, being degraded and abused by Roman (enemy) soldiers.

Here's the referenced writing of John Paul II that is similar: "And now, standing at the foot of the Cross, Mary is the witness, humanly speaking, of the complete negation of these words. On that wood of the Cross her Son hangs in agony as one condemned."

All that Pope Francis was saying is that the Blessed Virgin Mary was and is human, and during her earthly life she could have been tempted to sin, to sin by doubting God's goodness and truthfulness (much as Eve was tempted to believe, and which she did fall into believing). But Pope Francis doesn't say the Blessed Virgin Mary sinned.

Does the Church teach that the Blessed Virgin Mary could never be tempted to sin? As I understand it, the Church teaches that even Jesus Christ was tempted, though he never sinned.

If Jesus could be tempted, then surely the Blessed Virgin Mary could be too. Again, here's what Pope Francis said: "The Blessed Mother was human! And perhaps she would have wanted to say, 'lies! I have been cheated!'."

He is just emphasizing the humanity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. How can that be wrong--she was and is a HUMAN, and nothing more. She was not true God and true man, as was and is her son.

So, I tend to think that people who hate Pope Francis for other reasons are twisting everything word of his that they can in order to discredit him and destroy his influence in the Church. To willfully twist and distort what others say, even if they are a hated enemy, is the mortal Sin of Calumny. This is not a slight matter. And so, if my interpretation is valid, then it is these critics of Pope Francis who have, in this matter, done something disgraceful.

If I have misstated Catholic doctrine, I hope someone will correct me. But as far as I know, Mary could have been, and presumably was, tempted to sin. As far as I know, the Church and the Bible clearly teach that Jesus WAS tempted, did experience temptation like all men, though he never sinned. And likewise, the Blessed Virgin Mary never sinned, though, I think, she surely must have felt and thought temptations. Right? Otherwise she'd be like God the Father, who is never tempted. Would it not be blasphemy to elevate the Blessed Virgin Mary up to the ontological/theological status of God the Father?