Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Pope is human, so?

I have been reading the translation of the meeting with Latin American religious on Rorate Caeli, Rocco Palmo reports the same thing and seems a little more shocked than Rorate.

So, the Pope puts his foot in his mouth from time to time, is it bit too spontaneous, sometimes says foolish things, suggests people don't get too anxious about a letter from the CDF, he's a bit disparaging about a campaign to get people to say the Rosary for him, he talks about "gay lobbies" in the Vatican and old nun's with money.

Yes, it is bit of bad form that he might say publicly that many people want him to sack his MC, Mgr Guido Marini, yes it is a bit humiliating for Monsignor, and a bit damaging for him professionally but we all say things about people that we regret. Yes, one wonders really whether the correction to "the Carnival is over" was correct or whether the original words were correct; "the Carnival is over", in a moment of confusion and tension, sounds in keeping with a less than guarded tongue.

But so? In a way it is all very Petrine, Peter put his foot in his mouth, so much so that Our Lord calls him "Satan". Paul too rebukes him for both his words and actions with the "Judaisers". Peter seems have been a bit garrulous and at times foolish, so why not Pope Francis?

I think we have to remember that Christ Vicar on Earth is a human being, not a committee. As a human being he has frailties and failings, it is part of the beauty of the Incarnation, it is what the Church is about.

On more important occassions, like the daily homilies. at least the Pope's words are "filtered" so we don't get "raw" Pope. That isn't too bad an idea, presumably the Pope reviews the redactions befor they appear on the Vatican website.

The Pope's words and image are being managed and refined, take for example the cameraman who has quietly appeared on the back of the Popemobile to capture a bit of baby kissing, that is part of the modern world.



Bob Hayes said...

A thoughtful post Fr Ray and I endorse your sentiments. Perhaps some people are rushing headlong into de-constructing everything the Holy Father says, or is alleged to have said.

Scott Woltze said...

Thanks for the wise words. We all need to say, everyday, "O' Lord, set a guard before my mouth, keep watch over the door of my lips."

Katalina said...

So this; I remember how many times Pope Emeritus Benedict was said to have made a PR "Blunder" like Regensburg, Condoms etc. But many were not shrugging it off as "Oh well he's only human" The problem is a Personality Cult is being built around Francis and he himself does not want it. There is a double standard between the way Francis is treated compared to Benedict who BTW said himself "I'm fine. Live like a monk" Okay?

Fr Mark said...

I am sorry Father but this is putting a brave face on a situation which is quite grave. Popes are not benevolent old uncles whose maunderings can be dismissed with a smile. This whole eay of speaking is inept, often incoherent, theologically approximate (counting rosaries may be bizarre, but in what way is it pelagian?), sometimes discurteous to individuals or whole categories of Caholics who are rying to serve the Church faithfully - in a word: unworthy of a Pontiff. To encourage people to disregard with a nod and a wink the stricturs of the Congregation for doctrine is to inite anarchy, and fatally undermine the work of those who are trying to serve the Pope and the Church. I am increassingly of the opinion that this pope is a loose canon, intellectualy lightweight and in short a liability for the Church. It is of little consolation that he is in some respects conservative, since he multiplies immoderate statements which cancel each other out (he who does bnot pray to Christ prays to the devil, but atheists are saved too). A friend of mine says he is making the Church liked again. I beg to disagree - he is making HIMSELF liked by distancing himself from te Church. God help us.

Unknown said...

Either this man has a very flawed understanding of his office or little respect for his authority-or both.

Francis said...

Sorry to sound like doubting Thomas, but until I see transcripts of what the Pope actually said (and commentaries from translators from Italian or Spanish), I will not necessarily believe.

There is a rush on both wings of the Church to claim Pope Francis as "one of us." At my parish the (liberal) clergy are spinning him as a return to the good old spirit-of-the-Council days after nasty old Ratzinger. Fr. Z., on the other hand, urges us to "read Francis through Benedict."

I would just like to read what Francis really says, and then decide whether he is, like St Peter, putting his foot in his mouth, or being misquoted by people with agendas.

peregrinus_sg said...

The Pope spoke for one hour and it is clear from the transcript that parts of what he said were left out. It would be quite imprudent to judge from what little that has deliberately been filtered through another hand, especially if this hand may have other agendas in reporting.

But from the little that has been reported, I think it is a far fetch to claim that Pope Francis suggests that people can ignore what the CDF says. He seemed to say that the religious working with the poor can and do make mistakes (not just wrongly accused of making mistakes). If you make one, admit it and move on. The problem is there are factions within the Church, both on the left and the right that insists they are always right when they have no charism of infallability.

Victoria said...

I agree with you Fr Mark. Don't forget that the pope also undermined the importance of a valid baptism as a prerequisite for the reception of the other sacraments e.g. matrimony.
CNA - "don't create a sacrament of pastoral customs"

Genty said...

Nice try, Father, but I am not convinced.
Your final paragraph is telling.

Delia said...

Yes, nice try, Father! Regrettably, I do agree with Fr Mark. Yes, popes are sinners like everyone else, and we do all say things we regret, but that is why the emphasis should be on the office, not the person. But fancy the pope looking at Paddy Power!!

David said...

I never thought I would see the day when a Roman Pontiff needs to be followed by what one of Ronald Reagan's advisors called (apropos of the then President) the "shovel brigade".

Yes, there is always a danger that our prayers may become mechanical and rote. But to suggest that merely because a group of Catholics have offered a spiritual bouquet, with all the details of the prayers offered, that their prayers are mechanical and rote. How can he make such a judgement about the internal forum of Catholics he has most likely never met? Personally, I'd be delighted if a group were to recite so many rosaries for me.

Worse, the comment about effectively ignoring the admonitions of the CDF can only turn out be a disaster for the Church and the restoration of orthodoxy by giving encouragement to dissident priests, religious, and bishops.

Et Expecto said...

This all serves to illustrate the the differences between ther current pope and his predecessor. Benedict was and is cautious and sagacious, qualities that were probably developed through years of Vatican experience. Francis is a holy man, but impetuous. Maybe he will learn.

Long-Skirts said...

David said:

"But to suggest that merely because a group of Catholics have offered a spiritual bouquet, with all the details of the prayers offered, that their prayers are mechanical and rote."


I was busy, busy, busy
Busy as a bee
Cleaning, organizing
No sympathy for me.

On my hands and knees I scrubbed
Floors of dirty house
Then my little girl crept close
Quiet as a mouse.

"Mother," she said softly
She held a small shoe box
"What?" I questioned sharply
Time ticking on the clocks.

Holding up the box to me
"There is a gift inside
I worked all morning filling it
For you!" She smiled with pride.

She handed me the shoe box
Lifting off the lid with care
Impatiently I looked inside,
"My dear, there's nothing there."

I set the empty shoe box
Upon the kitchen table,
"Now go outside and play some games
I'll get to you when able."

She walked on over to the box
As tears streamed from her eyes,
"What's wrong with you?" I asked of her
For weakness I despise.

"Oh, mother can't you see --
Can not you see what this is?
It holds for you my love
Where I blew my hundred kisses."

Lepanto said...

Come on, Father. If accurately reported, these comments demonstrate that we have a Pope who doesn't appear to have any understanding of the basics of his role. Catholics are quite right to be concerned (to say the least).

Dymphna said...

The pope is from Argentina and he's a Jesuit. We will live interesting times but that's okay. The Church is not the pope. We do not worship the pope, nor do we stand there like fools and nod if he says the ocean is purple instead of blue. Some people are going to panic. Some people are going to be company men and say that everything is fine. A few of us will face facts and continue on just as we always have.

gemoftheocean said...

Of all the apostles, St. Peter is my favorite. Impetuous at times, but bottom line, always gave himself over to Jesus in the end. Sort of like the Irish setter who eats the tomatoes in the garden, but pulls the child out of the burning house. [Yes, we had a setter that ate the tomatoes. I know they're not "supposed to" eat tomatoes. That's what my mom thought too.] In the end St. Peter had a lot of good horse sense, and comes across as the guy you could have a beer and a BBQ with. OTOH, the "apostle" Paul? Okay, some nice things said about the Eucharist, but what a miserable rat! Good think he was never pope. [And if I had been the centurion mentioned in Acts, the book of acts would have been about a chapter and a half short, because I'd have thrown Paul overboard for saying "see I told you so." He'd have never made it off the boat alive, much less to the tavern outside of Rome.

Dorothy B said...

Father, I'm sorry to say that in the light of this latest episode I too thought back almost at once to the allegedly-not-said words "The carnival is over".

RJ said...

I think we should not treat everything the Pope says as a universal teaching for the Church; nor should we expect everything he says to be suitable for that purpose. Perhaps we don't need to follow his every word, except in areas where there is something important for him to sort out. His daily sermons may be regarded as just for that small congregation at the Domus Mariae - must they be learned theological disquisitions? Surely not.

John Nolan said...

Bergoglio was runner-up in the 2005 conclave, and despite the bookies' odds he must have known his election was on the cards. You only have to look at the dress of the CLAR representatives to know where they stand on tradition - JP II would not have received a nun in trousers.

Pope Francis is talking to Latin Americans in the language they are used to. "The poor are the Gospel". What a nonsensical statement. I distrust what passes for Catholicism in Latin America and I distrust the Jesuits (most of them anyway).

Katalina said...

Is it just me or does anybody else notice how much older the Pope looks just 3 months after his election? Compare a Picture of him now compared to the day he was elected? He has lost a lot of weight mostly in his face and has more wrinkles and circles under his eyes and low his grey hair is white. I think also how fast JPI aged after his election. He like JPI has breathing issue. He needs our prayers

I am not Spartacus said...

Who ever said the Pope was not human?

Is that the best defense that can be proffered for The Pontiff, er, The Bishop of Rome?

Of course he is human but his disdainful attitude of the faithful who prayed Rosaries for him shows a crude and vulgar side of him that I could have lived without learning about.

Is praying the Rosary a thing we ought to have abandoned in the 1940s?

Presumably, those benighted bohunks who tell their beads are still his sheep but his uncharitable lumping of them in with heretics calls into question his much vaunted humility.

And the fact that we have a Pope who must be carefully managed and whose words must be constantly reframed by his handlers is not exactly comforting.

Of course the world loves such a Pope - one who seems indifferent to solemnity and reverence in The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and one whose love for his own possessions (his old shoes) is greater than his love for vestments and Papal attire - but the world ain't our friend.

What troubles me greatly is the acceptance of modern Prelates impugning the motives of this sheep while they ecxuse the actions of their enemies.

One can be sure Our Holy Father will not be caught dead talking about Non-Catholcs the way he does about his faithful flock who counts the three Hail Marys he asked us to pray for him daily.

Christopher Gillibrand said...

The modern doctrine of collegiality makes him seem like a committee, the nota praevia which Pope Paul VI used to correct the Council on this matter notwithstanding.

Celia said...

I'm inclined to agree with Fr Mark. The Pope is very popular with people in my parish who are, shall we say, not fully in agreement with the Church on a variety of issues. Mostly they like him because he's not Benedict,(too orthodox and too 'clever') and has a habit of making simplistic off-the-cuff comments which I have to say often strike me as incoherent, but which people can interpret as they like.

Sooner or later he's going to have to master a few briefs and start doing something concrete.

And enough with the health scares! We know Benedict is a frail old man in poor health. This is not news. He chose to retire from public view because of increasing incapacity and perhaps that choice could be more clearly respected. Pray for him of course, but do we really need to know that yet another person thinks he's lost weight?

mark said...

In reply to Katalina:- I think Pope Francis looks unchanged from when he was elected.
(As for Pope John Paul I, well I disagree with you there too. All the photos from his short papacy show him, right up to the eve of his death, as looking vibrant and full of smiles, hence the nickname.)
But I agree with you on the prayers.

Harry Seldon said...

It sounds like Pope Francis just finally got a chance to speak in Spanish to people from his home region, and he sounds just like he did back home. Who is surprised by this? Not me. Only people who were intent on re-making the Pope into something he i not will be vexed by this. Every realist has already taken stock of the HF's ideas and knows what to expect now and in the future.

Katalina said...

I will repeat what I said earlier the Pope has changed in his physical appearance since his election 3 months ago. All you have to do is open your eyes and see. I stated this about Benedict a few years back when most people were not paying attention. There is no doubt its a stressful job. I am concerned because I see a lot still of the same things with Francis that we did with Pope John Paul I. That's all.

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

Pope Francis is not just one of the "good ole boys". He's the Vicar of Christ. There is a decorum that I hope he learns to respect, if only because that decorum is an acknowledgement of the history of the Church that he now shepherds. I realize that Peter made his gaffes; I also recall that he never got away with them without being set straight.

Damask Rose said...

I can see why Pope Francis would make a comment about "counting" the Rosarys said.

Re: what Celia said at 8.48.

Indeed, they seem to be hanging on every word so that they can lead as sinful life as possible while practising the Catholic faith.

Simple faith no demand on the soul.

Nicolas Bellord said...

'The group said that the summary notes as published were "intended for the personal memory of the participants," seeking to portray the text not as direct quotes of the pontiff's, but merely representing "the general feeling" of his comments.'

I suspect the 'general feeling' is much the same as the 'spirit of VII' and about as reliable as to what he actually said.

Deacon Augustine said...

The Pope is human, of course, but he appears to be a particularly imprudent human who has not seriously grasped the nature or demands of his new office.

Today he was preaching about the need to "watch our tongues." I wish he would heed his own advice. He has contradicted himself so many times within the space of weeks that he is undermining his own authority. When he does have something important to say, nobody will listen because they will be waiting for the minders to come round to clear things up first.

What a hypocrite he makes of himself when he preaches against insulting people and putting them down within days of ridiculing those who offer him a "spiritual bouquet" of rosaries. Not exactly the humble poverello now, is it?

It is certainly time for this Carnival to be over. Loose tongues cost lives.

Bob Hayes said...

For centuries what we now call 'disinformation' has been an important tool of espionage. Until relatively recently it required considerable skill and resources (of which nation states usually had a monopoly) to produce forged letters, telegrams and dossiers.

With the arrival of the internet, the requirement for elaborate and convincing forgeries - able to withstand forensic scrutiny - to underpin disinformation is almost obsolete. Post it on the internet preceded by the magic phrase 'An insider at ... said ...' and it is highly likely that both allies and opponents of the subject will analyse and spin as if the information was beyond doubt.

The aim of disinformation is usually to: (a) create a false impression in the eyes of the subject's opponents or (b) create a false impression in the eyes of the subject's allies. Option (a) aims to steer opponents to defective responses, while option (b) aims to undermine the subject by demoralising or disorienting its allies.

I believe that the present propaganda of disinformation by the Spirit of V-II heretics falls into the second category, but as part of a wider objective. The happy-clappy heretics are largely opposed to the Petrine Succession and Papal Infallibility, so why are they so keen to claim the Holy Father as one of theirs? I suggest the heretics' disinformation aims not only to demoralise and disorient orthodox Catholics, it also aims to undermine the office of Supreme Pontiff.

The lesson, I believe, is that we should all be much more questioning when presented with hearsay - there is very good reason why it is inadmissible before a court!

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Father, with all due respect, your comments are nothing but the same ol' CYA approach that all self-important institutions indulge in.

For all of Pope Francis' simplicity and humility, it appears he's not big enough for the job, as it were. I'm not talking from either a Traditionalist nor a "Spirit of Vatican II" mindset. The pope just doesn't seem to have any sense of basic human discretion.

What's worse is that nobody seems to be teaching him. The communications "experts" who are supposed to help Rome's "image" are letting Francis hang out to dry. That has more to do with the Vatican's institutional deterioration than with Francis, himself.

One good thing has come out of this, though: We now know from the pope's lips that a "gay lobby" exists in the Vatican. How much power it wields -- and how it wields that power -- is something that could be too frightening to face.