14 April 2016

Posting for the Record on the Exhortation: We Are Being Called to a Deeper Act of Faith

I'm glad I waited to post on the pope's post-synodal exhortation, the name of which gives me the creeps enough that I don't use it.  I did so for two reasons: 1) As I wrote initially, I wanted to actually read it, and at 200+ pages of all-too-expected '70s psycho-ecclesial nonspeak, it took a long time; and, 2) On some advice I received in the confessional, anyone who reads this blog regularly probably could guess my concerns, and there are others whose calling is more suited to saying something intelligent (I love my confessors, btw, they know what they're talking about).

But, because I do want to be on the record, so to speak, with my thoughts on the document, its likely effects, and the consequences for faithful Catholics, here goes:

On the side of the exhortation's problems, many bloggers have written about them already, and quite well.  For a rough synthesis of my opinion, with a quibble here or there, I would direct you to the following items:
  •  At That the Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill, this post, as modified and clarified by this post.
  • At Rorate Caeli, this post by Roberto De Mattei and this post by contributor Confitebor.
There are many other excellent articles, and I don't mean to slight anyone. But the essentials are covered above.  

I would only add my own additional thought, which again others in other articles have also expressed-- the juxtaposition in the exhortation between the teachings of Christ, as expressed by His own words and the constant teaching of the Church, and "reality", is most unfortunate.  Reality is a term used at least 25 times in the document as a foil to the unreasonable demands of Christ.  As though the Divine Author of Life and Redeemer of the Universe didn't know what He was talking about. Nobody can live the Gospel; our expectations are too high. I don't know what it says about Mercy that the Church will now think so meanly of ordinary people and so poorly about her Divine Spouse.  It makes me shudder to think of the hubris here.

Now, unlike some others, I think that what Cardinal Burke wrote about the exhortation is true and extremely helpful.  Maybe because I'm a lawyer-- but whatever.  His Eminence gives the road map for the proper ecclesiastical authorities to walk this disaster all the way back without denying the truths of the nature of the Church. I disagree with those who minimize it or who think it weak.  Far from it.  The Bear wrote on that subject extremely well a few days ago. Whenever this problem gets fixed, likely through Divine intervention in the form of His Mother, the Pope and the Bishops will likely be the ones fixing it.  Yes, we may be called to speak, but they are called to act.

This all leads me to the question, "What do we do now?"  We cling to the faith.  We maintain our faith in the Church.  We maintain our confidence in Christ.

Christ was betrayed, scourged, tortured, and killed.  He had His passion.  We, the Church, the Mystical Body, are undergoing our passion now.  Should we expect different?  Didn't Peter betray Christ? Should we be surprised about the actions of Peter's successor now?  The vast majority of the disciples ran away in the face of all this.  Let us not follow that bad example.

Stay at the foot of the cross. Despite all of the mischief in, and to come from, this exhortation, it doesn't touch our duties as faithful Catholics.  Watch. Pray. Be sober. Have confidence in God's holy will and His ultimate triumph.  Console, admonish, repent.  We must make a deeper act of faith in Christ, the only salvation there is.

I am going on too long, as usual. Let me end with a quote from Chris Ferrara, who as usual as an excellent way of putting things: 

The publication of Amoris Laetitia has provoked an entirely predictable cyclone of competing opinions ranging from “nothing to see here,” to “not magisterial,” to “catastrophe” to “revolutionary.”

Every one of these opinions is correct...

Keep the faith, dear readers, and move on to the next challenge.


Anonymous said...

If marriage is just an ideal, then to hell with it as they say.

Hazel Motes

M. Prodigal said...

Maybe like Peter the current successor will have a great awakening (and repentance) and be the true compass for the faithful through the storm.

donalmahoney said...

We’ve had more problematic popes than Francis and probably will again before the last day comes. As long as he is not speaking infallibly I worry far more about the archdicocese asking a poor parish in St. Louis County to pledge $120,000 over five years for Beyond Sunday. Its ACA goal is only $7,900 this year. Nothing much I can do about it except not give a centavo to the archdiocese for five years and give my usual amount to the Missionaries of Charity at 3629 Cottage Avenue 63113. They don’t ask anyone for a cent and end up gathering unhappy donors like me.

chantgirl said...

As angry as I am about the whole affair, there may be a silver lining. The Remnant posted a letter by an anonymous diocesan priest about the problems in the exhortation. Surveying Church Militant today, they have let more comments through that challenge this document of the Pope. Fr. Z has evolved over the last few days in terms of more openly assessing the exhortation's problems.


Fr. Z also seems to be unsure of Cardinal Burke's stance on whether the document is magisterial, and seems to me to be leaning more toward Rorate's views on this issue. Strange times, strange bedfellows. I know most around here don't listen much to Fr. Z, but his blog reaches more people than we can hope to influence, and his starting to speak more openly about the exhortation should help awaken others. I pray that this moment might awaken a sleeping giant in the Church to reclaim what has been lost.

I still wait for someone with a really big pulpit (Cardinals, bishops) to start speaking up.

Anonymous said...

You do seem to have wise confessors...

Anonymous said...

Happy to see barnhart is not on your blog list. I hope that was intentional. While you and she may share some common targets of scorn, the woman is doing no one any favors. She's nuts. Like a lazy comic. The easiest laughs and the most attention come from simply saying outrageous things and using the crudest language. No rational person takes her seriously.

Anonymous said...

Chris Ferrera, not Peter

thetimman said...

It is intentional. I like her, but she's too broad in her language in many cases. The trigger was some language about Cdl. Burke. Some abrasiveness is good. Too much detracts from message.

I'll correct the Ferrara mistake. Thanks.

Jane Chantal said...

Wrt Ann Barnhardt, I consider her a genius but I suspect that somewhere along the way she has experienced a profound trauma which goes a long way to explain the vehemence of her language. Imo this is a person who is deeply fearful and just as deeply determined never to be messed with. BY NO MEANS does that take away from her credibility; on the contrary I think that trauma often has the effect of sensitizing people to the reality of evil -- sometimes crippling them in the process, which effect can be mistaken for being "nuts". Ann's intemperate language doubtless turns many people off, but at the end of the day I don't think she cares.

thetimman said...

Jane C, I agree with you. I like her, and I can handle the language. But I am very sympathetic to those who can't.