Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Oh dear! Another Francis interview

Entitled, "I will change the Church", Rocco Palmo reports the holy Father has yet another interview about to hit the presses, this time with the atheist journalist and founder of La Republicca. So expect another round of squeals of delight from one quarter and groans of misery from another.

The sensibly bonded Ches suggests that problem is Francis' choice of vocabulary, though maybe he is not a Liberal, he talks  a Liberal:
 Those who try to harness Francis to their liberal cause are on a hiding to nothing, they say.  
But there is something deeper here which makes their campaign rather difficult to manage, and it just comes back (once again) to Pope Francis's use of language. The fact is that unwittingly he often expresses himself in the codes that liberal Catholics use. When he says, for example: The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently, he does so apparently without a thought for the connotations of such a proposition. But in a liberal mind, that is simply code for, Don't worry about the doctrine, God loves ya. When he says, The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules, your liberal Catholic knows just what kind of rules this can be applied to. I could give you another half a dozen examples, but anyone who has read the interview will see that what I'm saying is true. Francis uses - unwittingly, I'm sure - multiple citations from the liberal Catholic phrase book.
I don't think it is just the choice of vocabulary that suggest Liberalism, it is also the Pope's style, especially his liturgical style; pushing the Blessed Sacrament to the side and minimising the crucifix in the chapel of Domus S. Marta, assisting priests and bishops discarding vestments proper to their office, or as one of my parishioners says, "It is the abundance of polyester"! Then there is that man with the damned camera too!

For me, the problem is the chatter, the incessant words of Francis, the adulation of Francis, overshadowing the action of Christ in the Sacraments.
Ches ends his piece:
Meanwhile, the Franciscan tsunami is washing over us. Somewhere in it is a rather beautiful message about love of God but I find it is spoiled by a lot of flotsam, not to mention the screams of those who are terrified of its unwitting and possible enduring damage to orthodox projects under construction. Whatever else might survive now, I have a sense that what Paul Virilio calls the synchronization of collective emotion is going to consign people like me - and other lingering doubters, however modestly they express themselves - to the outer darkness. And if you don't believe me, perhaps you have never tried crossing a rainbow-stole wearing priest in crappy sandals talking about love. The chances are that such creatures are coming back (I know some never went away)... and they'll be able to cite a liberal code-talking pope to support them (except when he is teaching full-fat doctrine).
Oh yes, after a conservative ultramontane, hell hath no fury like a selectively ultramontane liberal.
Speaking of Ultramontanism, Palmo has now published this:  "I Am the Pope" – In Fresh Interview, Francis On Church's New "Beginning"

An excerpt:
"We must be a leaven of life and of love," Francis said, "and the leaven is infinitely smaller than the mass of fruit, of flowers and trees that grow thanks to it.... [O]ur objective isn't proselytism but listening to [people's] needs, desires, disappointments, desperations and hopes. We must restore hope to the young, aid the old, open ourselves to the future, spread love. [We must be] the poor among the poor. We must include the excluded and preach peace. Vatican II, inspired by Pope John and Paul VI, decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to open [the church] to modern culture. The Council fathers knew that opening to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non believers. After then very little was done in that direction. I have the humility and ambition to want to do it."
Which means?


Martina Katholik said...

Meanhwile the Cardinals of the “G8” are giving interviews too. I think it´s not even necessary to read between the lines. It´s all quite clear what is ahead of us .But I fear there a still people with rose-tinted glasses who can´t read what they are saying:

“There is a great deal of suspense ahead of the council’s work so the Curia has warned the public to hold their horses: “This is the first of a series of meetings. Don’t expect everything all at once.” “Is it unthinkable to supplement their work with a secular agency that is completely outside the church orbit?” Jesuit historian of Christianity John O’Malley asks in an article published in Italian news magazine Il Regno. According to O’Malley, “such an agency is much more likely to ask questions that do not even occur to church members.” O’Malley pointed out two issues that should be born in mind regarding “the reform of the Curia towards greater collegiality” (one of the issues that has aroused many expectations in the first months of Francis’ pontificate): First is the fact that men and women today do not easily accept the idea that what they perceive to be a distant and faceless elite body can claim the right to tell them what to think and how to behave. Second, there is the difficulty today of finding a theological justification for the Curia—or, put more concretely, there is the difficulty of finding a theologically credible connection between Peter the simple fisherman of Galilee and Peter, prince of the apostles, heading a large bureaucratic central office.”

“There has to be a long discussion and a long discernment.” Maradiaga said. He made very clear that “it’s not just a case of taking the Constitution ‘Pastor Bonus’, and trying to change that. NO! That Constitution is over”, he stated firmly. He made clear that they will not simply engage in a modification or adjustment of that basic 1989 text. “Now we need to write something new,” he said. He predicted that this process will take quite some time.

But the work of the Advisory Group does not end with the reform of the Roman Curia, Maradiada said. Their task is much more than that, even this week: it is to advise the Pope regarding the government of the universal Church.

In actual fact, though Maradiaga did not say this, Pope Francis has already indicated that he intends to solicit the cardinals’ views on other questions, including that of the Church’s pastoral approach to marriage (which includes the vexed question of divorced and re-married Catholics who are currently excluded from receiving communion). He will also ask them for advice - possibly in this meeting, but certainly in future ones, on the reform of the synod of bishops which is part of the wider question regarding the exercise of collegiality in the Church, and the relationship of the ministry of the Successor of Peter with that of the bishops worldwide in the government of the universal Catholic Church.”

Martina Katholik said...

Thanks to Leonardo Boff´s interviews I knew months ago what is ahead. I take him and Hans Küng very seriously. They know the agenda.

(...) Some criticise Francis for desacralising the pontificate…
“No, he is not desacralising it. He is presenting it in its true evangelical dimension. He is the Successor of Peter and Peter was a simple fisherman. We need to eliminate the “popolatry” that has prevailed in recent decades. Cardinals are not princes of the Church but servants of the people of God. Bishops need to take part in people’s lives. And the Pope does not feel like a king. He even said to the President of Brazil: “I come here as the Bishop of Rome,” that is, as someone who leads the Church in the name of charity not Canon law.”

"(...) All indications are that Pope Francis, by convoking the eight Cardinals in order to reform the Curia, with him and under his leadership, will create an organism through which he will preside over the Church. Let's hope he enlarges this collegiate organism, including representatives not only of the hierarchy but of the whole People of God, women included, because women are the majority of the Church. Such a step does not appear impossible.
The best way to reform the Curia, in the opinion of experts on Vatican affairs and also of some important leaders, would be a major decentralization of functions. We are in the era of globalization, and of real time electronic communications. If the Catholic Church wants to adapt to this new period of humanity, nothing would be better than to undertake an organizational revolution. Why not transfer to Africa the Secretary (dicasterio) for the Evangelization of the Peoples? Relocate the Secretary of Inter-Religious Dialogue to Asia? That of Justice and Peace to Latin America? Couldn't the Secretary for the Promotion of Christian Unity be in Geneva, close to the World Council of Churches? Some secretariats, those involved with the most immediate things, would remain in the Vatican. Through video-conferences, skype and other communication technologies, they could maintain direct daily contact. This would avoid the creation of an anti-power, at which the traditional Curia is a great expert. It would make the Catholic Church truly universal, not just Western."
Leonardo Boff
Earthcharter Commission
08-18 2013

Hermit Crab said...

Father, in answer to your question "Which means?":

It means we have an anti-clericalist as the pope, a reductio ad absurdum, an oxymoron, an absurdity.

viterbo said...

"Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep."

"inspired by Pope John and Paul VI...to look to the future with a modern spirit and to open [the church] to modern culture...I have the humility and ambition to want to do it." is it just me or is there something oxymoronic in this quip? Exactly what, in the mind of modernism was the Holy Spirit doing for 1900 years? Modernists make it sound like compost was what was happening.

THE OATH AGAINST MODERNISM Given by His Holiness St. Pius X September 1, 1910.To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries. I . . . . firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day...

EuropeanCatholic said...

Here is the full text in English of the interview:


EuropeanCatholic said...

I loved what Francis said recently to the catechists. It was wonderful.

But frequently (more often than not in fact), I go away confused and worried when I read his words.

These concern me from the latest interview:

"Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good."

"Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place."

This sounds to me like relativism, whether intended or note, that is how I read it.

And then:

"The Son of God became incarnate in the souls of men to instill the feeling of brotherhood".

This reduces the Incarnation I think??


"The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old".

Are these really the most serious evils?

I would think in particular of abortion as the most serious evil

On the bright side, at least Archbishop Marini has not been named as Prefect of CDW!

Christopher said...

Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them.

Really, Holy Father, do you mean to say this? I despair. Not of the Lord, but for this Roman Church of His, which is in for a very torrid time.

quiavideruntoculi said...

God is punishing us.

Proph said...

I was particularly alarmed by his claim in the interview that "The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old." These are great evils to be sure, but "the most serious" of them? Not, say, abortion -- the systematic destruction of human life the world over -- as the Church stressed repeatedly in the last pontificate? One may even zoom out the camera lens and say that the murder of the unborn, the alienation of the young, and the loneliness of the elderly are all a piece of the same degenerate culture of death, and say that *its* destruction is the most pressing issue of our time (note, this means "engaging" with modernity only to kill it!)... but to focus on what is by all accounts not only not a problem but a symptom, and not even the most important symptom?? It reminds me too of his claim that he is here to proclaim God's mercy, that we need to hear about it, but who has heard anything in the last 50 years about God's justice? How do you even proclaim mercy to a world that doesn't believe in justice, or sin, that doesn't believe it is bad? It seems to me a fool's errand, though I pray of course that God will show me to have been the fool in the end.

I had a sense from the beginning that Francis is basically a good man but that he maybe doesn't "get it," doesn't get what the Church is up against, that he has "innocent as doves" part down but not the "cunning as serpents," and that he is recapitulating the kind of innocent naivety (yes, I am trying to be charitable) that motivated the Council to "throw open the windows," trusting that no one would try to break into the house through them in order to burn it down (which of course they immediately did). Francis has probably never been in the atheist's shoes, hence he does not comprehend the mindset (this is to his credit) -- but I have been and I do, and I know its implacable and unreasonable rage against the Church, which is of a piece with the same mysterious hatred that crucified Christ. A truly extraordinary suffusion of unmerited grace turned my life around, a miracle no doubt attributable to some saint or angel I hope one day to meet -- but that is precisely the problem: all the evangelism in the world did nothing for me until I repented, and repentance is not something that can be effectively solicited through arguments and interviews and so on. Indeed repentance cannot be solicited until and unless you understand that there is something that needs to be repented of, and this means knowing sin and the personal brokenness which sin induces -- in the order of knowledge 'mercy' is intelligible only once this awareness creeps in.

Also alarming to me is what it means for the Cardinals who elected him, who by extension must also not "get it" -- and who, if they still don't get it after 8 years of Benedict and Benedictine appointments, won't get it -- far from Benedict being a preliminary sign of repentance in the Church of the sins and errors which have brought it to its knees, it seems increasingly that his pontificate was at most a brief and ineffective counter-current of the sort that is observed in the even the fastest-moving rivers, now being utterly swallowed -- and that the Church, far from being the sign of contradiction that will some day defeat the evils of liberal modernity, will instead repent only when liberal modernity itself collapses under the weight of its own incoherence, whereupon it might have a shot at staggering onward rejoicing into a radically impoverished world.

viterbo said...

proph said: "One may even zoom out the camera lens and say that the murder of the unborn, the alienation of the young, and the loneliness of the elderly are all a piece of the same degenerate culture of death... How do you even proclaim mercy to a world that doesn't believe in justice, or sin, that doesn't believe it is bad?" ...amen - in a nutshell.

Do we become spiritually blind and adopt sympathy for the devil because the world loves their dishonest father, a creature who hates the guts of every human being to hell; or, as 'proph' and all broken hearts and contrite spirits all the way back to Job and further suggests - repent, and offer ourselves up to the justice and mercy of our Creator?

When, if ever, in the mind of the Apostles and/or their successors was the world anything other than the 'broad road' to hell? Are we really, and do our bishops really believe that the oath against modernism was just a quaint unnecessary bit of blather against the 'inevitable'? that being the narrative of the father of lies editing out the narrative of the Holy Spirit.

terry prest said...

This was an interview by the Pope given in the Italian language to the Italian editor of a daily newspaper which only circulates in Italy. The audience is Italians in Italy

Without that context, the Pope is likely to be misinterpreted or misunderstood

The Roman Catholic Church in, for example, England is very different from the Catholic Church in Italy

Take for instance the remarks about ecumenism and more needing to be done

Since Vatican II there have been enormous strides in ecumenical relations with other Christian faiths in the UK, Germany, the USA and others. That allows dialogue with non-Christian faiths. Italy does not have such an experience which Catholics outside Italy would take for granted. Until recently it has not needed to

Christopher said...

Proph: In the main, I couldn't agree more. The crisis of Francis is a crisis of understanding. If one reads the whole interlocution with Scalfari, it is clear the Pope does not understand atheism, has not grappled with its inner power. Nor has he perceived the deadly danger it presents to humanity. I do not know whether, in a man of his age and background, this is anything more than naiveté; but a naïve man in such a position may be just as dangerous as a bad one. It seems to me that you also have the order right. Furthermore, it is nothing but impossible for one who has no notion of sinfulness to receive mercy. You may offer it, but it is totally misunderstood and becomes permissiveness (as is easily proved from the press’s reaction to the last interview).

I have tried, am trying, to like Francis, and more than that to see the many beautiful and good things he is saying in their proper light. But I am struggling. The anxiety of not knowing what he may say or do next is really quite soul-destroying. It is something I experienced for years at a parish level (until I realised I could no longer – for the sake of my soul – ‘take it’). But coming from the Parish Priest (no offence, dear Father Blake!), one may say “Oh, I leave all that behind – after all, we have the catechism, we have the Magisterium, consistent throughout the ages, and above all we have the Papal office to strengthen us in the Faith.” There was always the feeling that, no matter what difficulties one encountered among friends, priests, fellow Catholics, at least we could look to Rome for guidance and (in the main) consistency. If not, I worry about what, in the end, separates us from the High Church Protestants?

Sixupman said...

The item on BBC R4 News this a.m. filled me with foreboding. It related to the new [synod] of cardinals advising Franciscus and the comments of Hans Kung and another "philosopher", inter alia, opining that his election to the Papacy was pre-planned [where The Holy Ghost] to ensure the completion of Vatican II's original intent. It left hanging in the air the issue of BXVI's resignation and what may have caused such a dramatic departure and event.

EuropeanCatholic said...

"I have tried, am trying, to like Francis, and more than that to see the many beautiful and good things he is saying in their proper light. But I am struggling. The anxiety of not knowing what he may say or do next is really quite soul-destroying".

Christopher, your comments sum up my thoughts exactly. I find myself quite impressed by the enthusiasm and joy which the Pope shows when he is with people. And some of his speeches and homilies are excellent, but then there are all the other things.

Here is the latest headline from the Daily Mail online:

Pope Francis continue assault on Vatican traditions by calling predecessors 'narcissists' who let themselves be flattered by the 'papal court'

In the interview, the Pope said

"The Council Fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers. But afterwards very little was done in that direction. I have the humility and ambition to want to do something."

It scares me that he should say he has the humility to want to do something. I could never ever imagine Pope Benedict or John Paul II saying such a thing.

I am beginning to see on various regular websites lots of comments from concerned Catholics about what the Pope is saying and where he intends to lead the Church.

Even some comments that the Cardinals picked the wrong man.

It's all very sad.

Cosmos said...

Two thoughts:

(1) so-called "traditionalist" Catholics are often labeled as "holier-than-the-pope." A lot larger segment of the "conservative" Catholic population is going to feel the sting of this criticism, as they try to carry out pro-life ministries or evangelize their neighbors.

(2) If modernism was a problem, post-modernism is a cancer. The post-modern approach (i.e., the pastoral approach) seems to ential embracing, justifying, and promoting the assumptions, prejudices, and worldviews of the left-wing of our relativistic world, and then to simply promise that one still believes everything the Church teaches. How the two can possibly reconciled is never explained; nothing is ever carried out to its logical conclusion. In fact, any questioning of how the contradictory premises can be reconciled will get you brushed off as an extremist, conspiratorial, or arguing a dim with who thinks everything is a slippery slope.

At least in the 60's, optimistic people could pretend this approach might work! We have 50 years of failure at this point, we should know better.

John Nolan said...

I'm sorry, but Pope Francis after only six months gives the impression of a man promoted above his abilities. I liked his homilies at first, the fact that he could make three points cogently in ten minutes, but his reported comments to the press are enormously confusing. WE Gladstone was famously described as "an old man in a hurry". Francis is the same, and like Gladstone trusts his own judgement rather than take advice, and the results could be disastrous.

Having lived through the worst pontificate of modern times (1963-1978) I don't want to repeat the experience.

gemoftheocean said...

someone please wake me when the last hippy is dead. Pity Jezzies don't take a vow of silence.

Genty said...

Pity the captive audience which has to listen to this sort of thing day after day in the aircraft hangar, along with obligatory cameraman.

assisi said...

12 months ago, anyone criticising Pope Benedict was labelled a dissenter ! Now many criticise Pope Francis . . . Are they now dissenters ?

David Joyce said...

I'm sorry, terry prest, but the "enormous strides in ecumenical relations with other Christian faiths" have been disastrous. The Church is allowing itself to negotiate on a level footing, first amongst equals, when the reality it that it is the sole ark of salvation. Our Lord asked us to go out into the world and convert, not build up relations with other communities. We are fooling ourselves that it in any way furthers the mission of the Church, which is to get souls into heaven. It mocks the unique mission of the Church and confirms our "separated brethren" in their errors. It is not surprising that the Popes from earlier in the 20th century, condemned the ecumenical movement (e.g. Pius XI's Mortalium Animos). It all leads to relativism and eventually atheism, which is what makes the Holy Father's words all the more worrying: "Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good".

assisi said...

12 months ago, criticising the pope was tantamount to heresy ! Now the shoe seems to be on the other foot and dissent seems to be the order of the day !

Jon said...


Below are my two cents. Originally I posted it at Fr Z's. He apparently thought it too dangerous to be seen by the commissars. I hope you don't.

None of this is an incomparable mystery. HH arranged this interview. He wasn’t waylaid. It’s abundantly clear he has an agenda. He and his (I know he’d love this term) kingmakers, share that agenda.

A few days after the conclave in March, some friends and I were pondering over what to expect from the pontificate. I put together then what I call “The List.” It contains my own predictions for the pontificate. I believe that it is the intention of the Holy Father and those who support him to implement it. I’m not expert or an insider of any kind. Just an observer. I believe these intentions are out there for anyone to see, and firmly supported by very public statements.


* Communion to the divorced and remarried.
* Relaxation of mandatory celibacy (Eastern style).
* Deaconesses as liturgical functionaries.
* Women running dicasteries – dicasteries exercise delegated papal authority reserved to the ordained. Would constitute foot, not just toe in the door for women’s ordination.
* Devolution of dicasterial responsibilities (especially liturgy) to bishop’s conferences. Per the written intention of Archbishop Bugnini, recently reiterated by Archbishop Marini.
* Reduction of the papal office to power ad absurdum.

What’s more, I suspect the intention is to implement this agenda with blitzkreig speed lest some unanticipated Luciani-event intervene, or before resistance can be organized.

If I may, I would like to urge everyone to RESPECTFULLY write His Holiness your concern, and do it now. The clock is ticking.

Joe Potillor said...

Pope Francis is enough of a person to be able to stand on his own words. The time for "Reading Francis through Benedict" is over...Francis' own words stand their own...

Gospodi pomiluy!

Wake me up when this pontificate ends...

Victoria said...

"[O]ur objective isn't proselytism but listening to [people's] needs, desires, disappointments, desperations and hopes."

As I understand it the word "proselytism" is used when conversion is not desired e.g. a Jew might say "I object to the proselytism of Catholics."

I believe missionary orders no longer have as an aim the conversion/proselytism of the people with whom they come in contact.

I thought that conversion was exactly what Catholics were supposed to do. When we have the Vicar of Christ speaking against conversion by labelling it proselytism what are we to think or do?

The pope speaks like a social worker.

Supertradmum said...

He is, as I have said for weeks, a procuct of the rot in the seminaries which caused Vatican II. He is a modernist. Sorry, but our only happy note here is that he has only been marshalling his troops by using the media to get those modernists in the Catholic Church on his side, which is too bad.

He is gaining popularity among the dissenters and he is doing this on purpose. As his ex-press secretary told me in March and as I wrote on my blog after than interview, this pope does nothing without thinking about it carefully. He is not off the cuff.

I pray he sees his errors and repents at the end. God is faithful.

Henry said...

"Having lived through the worst pontificate of modern times (1963-1978) I don't want to repeat the experience."

I too thought then that I had lived through "the worst papacy of modern times. But, now, maybe not.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Viterbo: You ask: "Are we really, and do our bishops really believe that the oath against modernism was just a quaint unnecessary bit of blather against the 'inevitable'?"

Well our assistant priest in A&B said precisely that. He added that the oath had been dropped circa 1964. Is that correct?