Monday, September 03, 2012

Martini and the Left

The coffin cardinal Carlo Maria Martini is carried to Milan's cathedral.
Pray for the soul of Cardinal Martini.
There has been a bit of media hype about the late Cardinal.
All that stuff about being a contender for the Papacy, but for his poor health, is quite true, I am sure, as I understand it that there were few other prominent contenders from the left who could garner the necessary support. There is a story about a pre-conclave soiree held by a certain English speaking Cardinal in a certain Roman seminary, prominently in the window of a restaurant opposite was another English speaking Cardinal making a list of those entering. Subsequent fraternal visits from this Cardinal really showed that there was no one name other than Martini that stood out as leader of the liberal faction and probably even Martini's support was somewhat limited.

The problem for Martini, as for the left in general, is that he was well able to present a critique of the Church's problems but not to offer any realistic solutions, unless criticism itself can be deemed a solution. The posthumously published interview is hyperbolic, in the "something must be done" style but there actually no answers or solutions. In areas of the admission of the "some" divorced people to Holy Communion, of the perception of those outside the Church to its teaching on sex and sexuality, practically everyone with a heart would agree that there is problem, Pope Benedict himself has often spoken on such issues. The problem is dealing with these particular and personal problems through the general and universal law of the Church; difficult cases do not make for good law. On evangelisation, on the involvement of the laity in diocesan government or diocesan bishops in the universal Church are issues that Pope Benedict has addressed. Solving the problems are a little more difficult than merely identifying that there is a problem.

There are many contradictions in Martini's thought, on the one hand he speaks about the "loss of  future generations of Catholics", he seems to mean cultural Catholics and yet he demands a radical following of the Gospel. He seems unable to understand that the radical break with traditional Catholicism also breaks the connection of cultural Catholics.

There is a Marxist sense of cultural struggle, or even low level war, in Martini's writings, which marks out the left (left in bot the theological and political sense). There is need to attack, an attempt to destroy "the institution" of presenting the "institutional" Church in opposition to the Church of the masses. Once those things which are attacked are destroyed, they are replaced by another left leaning institution that is far tyrannical than that which went before. In classic Marxist terms there is a continuous process of purification that goes on until such time as perfection is achieved. In the case of the Church of course, until such time as the institutional Church is destroyed and replaced by a perfect human society, which of course will be something quite contrary to Church of the Gospel or Revelation.


10 comments:

Peter said...

Politicians Logic
Explained in the Yes Prime Minister episode Power to the People by Sir Arnold and Sir Humphrey. It follows the following scheme: "Something must be done. This is something, therefore we must do it.". But doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing.

David O'Neill said...

Well said Fr Ray!

Those questions (without answers) still arise (see Catholic Herald of 21st Aug) when we see Rome & the Hierarchy 'noting' the general decline in Mass attendance. I wrote to the paper (not yet published) saying that it was laudable that notice was being taken but that, sadly, no answers were forthcoming.
One of my favourite sayings is "if it ain't broken don't fix it" & yet this is precisely what occurred after Vat2 when people put their own spin on the outcome & decisions made.

Sadie Vacantist said...

The UK has had unrelentingly right wing governments dating back to Margaret Thatcher in 1979. During which time wars UK has declared wars non-stop and the financial service industry has spiralled out of control unchallenged. The “left” is not in reality a coherent ideology which attracts. It’s existence in the Soviet Union, for example, was driven by ethnocentricity in which one ethnic group imposed itself upon others. These absurd Lear-like old-timers will never get this point. In fact, not "getting it" has been turned into a virtue by Martini's generation

Amfortas said...

I am truly saddened by this interview. Father, I don't know how you can be so sanguine. It's as though Cardinal Martini's last act was calculated to cause hurt and division. I'm not just saddened. I'm shocked. This is not about left and right. It's as though he's lobbed a hand grenade into a crowded room.

johnf said...

Did he really say (as reported in the Telegraph) that the Church was 200 years behind the times?

If so, that was an extraordinarily stupid statement

Fr Ray Blake said...

Johnf,
Yes he did but frankly the interview is a bit rambling, quite what he meant is unclear.

Amfortas,
He has said this before, he obviously died a disappointed man but the Church of Christ continues.

Pablo the Mexican said...


May God have had mercy on his soul.

Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiescat in pace. Amen.

*************************************

Here is not the time and place for other than condolences.

Perhaps a separate post where we may discuss the following?:

"...There are many contradictions in Martini's thought, on the one hand he speaks about the "loss of future generations of Catholics", he seems to mean cultural Catholics and yet he demands a radical following of the Gospel. He seems unable to understand that the radical break with traditional Catholicism also breaks the connection of cultural Catholics.

There is a Marxist sense of cultural struggle, or even low level war, in Martini's writings, which marks out the left (left in bot the theological and political sense). There is need to attack, an attempt to destroy "the institution" of presenting the "institutional" Church in opposition to the Church of the masses. Once those things which are attacked are destroyed, they are replaced by another left leaning institution that is far tyrannical than that which went before. In classic Marxist terms there is a continuous process of purification that goes on until such time as perfection is achieved. In the case of the Church of course, until such time as the institutional Church is destroyed and replaced by a perfect human society, which of course will be something quite contrary to Church of the Gospel or Revelation..."

LauraPaxton said...

This saddens and perplexes me. Even if the Church is 200 years or even 2000 years behind the times, does that make it wrong? There is no logic to assuming newer ideas and cultural habits are "progress" or in any way evolved. The Church was perfect 2000 years ago and if anything has gone wrong, it's drifting away from the initial perfection. It doesn't bother me whether what he said is true. What bothers me is that he actually assumes there is a problem because of it. I agree with johnf. Extraordinarily stupid statement.

Varese said...

It's not about progress, Laura. Fr Blake spoke at Mass the other week about how he longed to be a part of the authentic church of Christ when he was exploring his vocation. I am a big fan of early music. Here, there is much discussion about historically informed performance, and much disagreement about what is 'authentic'. One thing all agree with is that the audiences are not 'authentic'. The church 2000 years ago, or even 200 years ago (or even 50 years ago) existed for a very different community than now. As Pablo says, maybe we can speak about this at a later date.

Requiescat in pacem

LauraPaxton said...

Varese, your comment confuses me. How is the community different now than they were 200 or 2000 years ago. You say the Church exists "for" a different community. Varese, the Church exists for so many different communities, it makes my head spin. The Church exists for those in Uganda and the middle east and Europe and the U.S., for 3rd world nations as well as 1st. Which of these communities is the Church "for"? Our Lord is outside space and time. If the Church is truly the Lord's, time and space make no difference. Culture makes no difference. Truth is truth. To "change with the times" is to deny there even is truth.