Sunday, April 27, 2014

Conversations in Rome

Around those little restaurants and bars, in those hotels and guest houses throughout Rome huge numbers of bishops and priests have gathered in Rome, now there is not much attraction in a canonisation amongst wet liberals, especially of an old triumphalist camaura wearing Pope who got the majority of bishops of the world to witness the signing of Veterum Sapientia (On the Promotion of the Study of Latin) and that Polish one who was pretty bad, who heralded, the other one, they won't even name.

I suspect the main subject of conversation won't be Francis' sainted predecessors but Francis himself and the direction in which he is taking the Church. Perhaps Francis isn't too sensitive to it but I suspect a large number of bishops are well aware of how fragile the Church is in Europe, North America, Asia, Oceania and Africa, even in parts of South America. The wounds of post-Concilliar confusion, poor leadership, of the abuse scandal, of the resignation of Pope Benedict, the drastic U-turn from Ratzinger's moral and theological absolutes to Bergoglio's moral subjectivism is inflicting severe damage on the Church and moving her back to a time of introspection, doubt and uncertainty, rather than giving her the courage to go out into the world to proclaim the Truth of Jesus Christ, which was of course the real purpose of the Second Vatican Council. The coming Synod, rather than opening up new vistas for the Church threatens to tear her apart and the Pope's apparent personal encouragement of dissent is causing difficulties many bishops and pastors aback home. Obviously the problem is not Francis but the way the media deal with him.

Tomorrow there is another meeting of the Council of Eight, in the light of the Jacqui Lisbona telephone call, and the concern it has raised, it will be unlikely for the Pope not to be confronted with some serious question about his personal style, or so I am told.


EuropeanCatholic said...

You sum up very well my own thoughts Father.

Here are two articles which might be of interest to you:

These words are perhaps a response to that phone-call:

Pope Francis on April 25 stressed the need for bishops and priests to give a “consistent witness” to Christian moral teaching, including the lifelong nature of Christian marriage, and to teach these truths “with great compassion.”

“The holiness and indissolubility of Christian matrimony, often disintegrating under tremendous pressure from the secular world, must be deepened by clear doctrine and supported by the witness of committed married couples,” Pope Francis said.

“Christian matrimony is a lifelong covenant of love between one man and one woman; it entails real sacrifices in order to turn away from illusory notions of sexual freedom and in order to foster conjugal fidelity.”

The second article is from the Tablet:

Top cardinal warns of opposition to Pope Francis within Curia

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, whom Pope Francis has tasked with overseeing reforms of the Church and the Vatican, warned that curial opposition to Pope Francis’ efforts to create a “new way of being church” is mounting.

Cardinal Rodriguez was addressing a meeting of Franciscan provincials on 8 April in St Petersburg, Florida, and a copy of his remarks was obtained by the US-based National Catholic Reporter.

“We have to be prepared, since this beautiful but strange popularity is beginning to strengthen adherences, but equally to awaken opposition not only in the old Curia, but in some who are sorry to lose privileges in treatment and in comforts,” the cardinal said. “Expressions like ‘What can it be that this little Argentine pretends?’ or the expression of a well-known cardinal who let slip the phrase, ‘We made a mistake,’ can be heard,” Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga said.

The Honduran archbishop, who chairs the Council of Cardinals (C8) that advises the Pope, said Francis “feels called to construct” a Church that is, among other things: “At the service of this world by being faithful to Christ and his Gospel; free from all mundane spirituality; free from the risk of being concerned about itself, of becoming middle-class, of closing in on self, of being a clerical Church; able to offer itself as an open space in which all can meet and recognise each other because there is space for dialogue, diversity and welcome in it.” Francis also wants a Church that pays “just attention and gives importance to women in both society and its own institutions”, the cardinal said.

The C8 is set to have its fourth, three-day, meeting early next week.

Eamonn Whelan said...

Fr. Ray,
Your last paragraph, reminds me again of just how your optimistic nature carries you through the darkest hours!


bill bannon said...

I hate this phone call incident and so I hope the 8 are meeting on it. Canon law says the Pope's power is "supreme" and " immediate". Was the husband's first marriage detailed to Francis as so defective in the letter or on the phone call, that Francis issued in effect a declaration of nullity or Petrine privilege that never registered with the lady conceptually as he gave it and thus never appeared in the husband's Facebook comments? I hope that's the missing piece from which a permission to attend sacraments would follow. I don't however see Francis' two predecessors as firm on morals in all areas. Moral relativism is found in both outside the standard sexual related areas. The abscence of wifely obedience in their catechism which God referenced six times in the New Testament is moral relativism. Their new regression on the death penalty will get murder victims killed for perhaps centuries to come if the U.S. Supreme Court was correct in 1976 in making note that executions deter not passion murders but premeditated murders. Pope Francis makes the same mistake on the death penalty in a past interview where he noted we were " more refined" than that penalty....a word he got from section 40 of Evangelium Vitae. But that view goes to the question of Biblical inspiration for all three Popes in a row. Read section 42 of Verbum Domini. Pope Benedict didn't believe the first person imperatives whereby God ordered the herem or slaughters of the Canaanites and noted that such passages needed treatment by scholars with "training that interprets the text in their historical-literary context". Saint John Paul II did the exact routine in section of 40 of Evangelium Vitae when referencing the death penalties of Leviticus and Deuteronomy and noting that the sermon on the mount was much more "refined" than that level...apparently he never memorized Romans 13:4 which postdates the sermon on the mount and is also from God per Vatican II's Dei Verbum.
Hence Pope Francis is not so shocking to me since I never bought into the paradigm of the perfection of his predecessors in morals. Oddly Saint John Paul II called slavery an "intrinsic evil" in section 80 of " Splendor of the Truth". It can't be because God gave perpetual chattel slavery to the Jews over foreigners in Leviticus 25:44-47 which see. I hate slavery but I hope the uncontacted tribes of the Amazon are using it for petty criminals rather than executing for petty theft.

M. Prodigal said...

Cardinal Maridiaga is a great concern and the fact that he is a chief advisor is worrisome. His choice alone shows the thinking of the present pope. "Mundane spirituality", "space for diversity": what is that but a catering to the world. Are there not tens of thousands of protestant communities to do this?

Long-Skirts said...


“It is written, man cannot live by bread only,” (Matthew 4:4)

If I give bread alone
Then man is no more than a dog
Might as well be the first to come
To My banquet out of the fog.

If I give bread alone
Man’s want, only to relieve,
Then I am only a baker
Filling bellies, not souls to believe.

If I give bread alone
Being social reforming reform
Then I am not the Redeemer
Come to save souls through Me and conform.

If I give bread alone
Bring outer abundance instead
Only a cheap leader of people
Leaving their inner holiness dead.

You would have Me begin with security
Yes, bread, there always must be,
Lo, bread gets its power to nourish
“Not by bread alone.” but from Me.

Liam Ronan said...

"We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist.

The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously" - St. John Paul II (1976)

By the way, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga is in the Great 8, right? I'm sure he'll dish-out the unadorned truth to Pope Francis.

Sadly, and with apologies to 1966 The Blues Magoos for paraphrasing their lyrics, I fear "we aint seen nothin' yet".

Liam Ronan said...

Incidentally, there is a thoughtful opinion entitled 'Advice on Surviving the Canonizations' published by Chris Jackson in today's posting of "The Remnant"

The article mentions:

"...Whatever Pope John's disposition was, however, before the second session of the council could open, he died. His last words on his deathbed, as reported by Jean Guitton, the only Catholic layman to serve as a peritus at the Council, were: "Stop the Council; stop the Council."


Sadie Vacantist said...

I suspect this Pope will issue a universal annulment of all Catholic marriages effectively outsourcing the validity of a marriage away from diocesan tribunals and on to the couples themselves. It may not look or sound like that but that is what is going to happen.

In one sense this strategy is part of yet another 'bailout' of the Second Vatican Council. Yet on another level, those Cardinals proposing the strategy will brandish the very tool which one day be used and against them and the entire post-conciliar experiment: annulment.

In other words, if the 2015 Church annuls every marriage since 1955, there will be nothing to stop the 2035 Church annulling every Vatican council since the same date. What is so precious about a "council"? Who says they are more important than the sacrament of my marriage which the post-conciliar Church is about to annul?

Genty said...

Was Francis wearing a new gold ring today?

Gungarius said...

I think there is a genuine problem which the Synod on the Family has to resolve for the good of the Church. Wind back to 1955 and the midnight fast and most of the congregation did not go to communion at some Masses, so a couple not in a regularised marriage not going to communion would not be an issue.

Since then the church has encouraged communion at all costs, in part as a reaction against Jansenism. As a result, people not going to communion might as well be ordered wear a large badge with "I am in a state of Mortal Sin".

Worse, those going to communion will include large numbers of marrried couples using contraception, unmarried people who have been having sexual relationships, people who are practicing "self abuse", people who regularly eat or drink to excess or abuse drugs, not to mention things like Robert Mugabe receiving Holy Communion last time he went to the Vatican.

Therefore it does appear that people in irregular marriages are recieving cruel and unusual treatment.

I don't think the dogma is the problem. I think the problem is that the Church, offically speaking, treats *every* sexually related sin as Mortal. People who ma******te or an engaged couple who make love are deemed to be committing a sin of the same gravity as a the activities of a peodophile or a person cheating on their spouse,or even the activities of Hitler. That is at the root of the problem and it is a scandal.

If the synod were to declare, for example, that someone who had been deserted by a spouse and entered into an irregular marriage was in a state of venial not mortal sin, that does not make the action right or overturn the dogma, but perhaps gets things back into proportion. (similar could apply to self abuse, married couples using certain types of non abortificant contraception and unmarried persions in faithful sexual relationships)

Alternatively we could reintroduce the midnight fast, but lets face it it won't happen and if it did it would be ignored.

nickbris said...

bill bannon should be banned for talking rot and being anonymous,I am guilty of talking a lot of rubbish but I am not afraid of being open

Damask Rose said...

Off topic, but I just wanted to say the candles behind the altar on the Sanctuary for the Easter Vigil service were really splendid.

Liam Ronan said...

Speaking of conversations in Rome, whatever happened to the Medjugorje Investigation?

Any bets on which way that will go? (a) authentic; (b) diabolic; (c) If it works for you, who am I to judge?

bill bannon said...

How anonymous is "bill bannon"? And who is stopping you from refuting my points with work and research. I'm feeling a lot of sloth in that arcade room of yours. Link me to a post where you did

Sadie Vacantist said...

Gungarius is on to something. Pope Pius X's frequent communion theology needs to be revisited as does the relaxation of the fast by his successors. Quietly discouraging frequent communion would resolve the majority of pastorally complex issues. This is not going to happen in the short time but (unwittingly?) Francis is taking us there.

Lynda said...

I don't think people, generally, are embarrassed by not going to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. (Personally, I often don't receive because of venial sins and wanting to get confession first, or other reasons, as well as sometimes for mortal sins.) In any case, if there were social embarrassment on the part of a person in this situation, it would probably not be a bad thing - perhaps, it could be the beginning of shame for mortal sin and will help the person determine to confess and try to avoid such sins in the future.

The problem is the lack of knowledge, or care about continuing to gravely offend against God - on a vast scale. Priests, parents, teachers and others ought to be teaching the Faith, and the moral law. Priests and bishops ought to be preaching on all the deadly sins, and the most predominant, clearly, forcefully and regularly. Adult Catholics ought to take responsibility to know the fundamentals of the Faith. Generally, an adult would be culpably (recklessly) ignorant if he claimed not to know 1) what constituted a mortal sin, and that acts such as rendering sex sterile or having sexual relations with one who is not one's spouse, are common examples of same; or 2) that one may not receive Our Lord if one has committed mortal sins for which one has not received absolution. The true problem regarding widespread acceptance and engagement in mortal sin needs to be tackled by priests, and bishops. Are priests not fearful of Our Lord when they imperil souls through sacrilege of the Blessed Sacrament, by refusing to instruct the people about the necessity of getting absolution for mortal sin before receiving, and the dire consequences of same??

Further, reverence and awe for the Blessed Sacrament needs to be cultivated, so that people would not wish, nor dare, to risk sacrilege of God in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. There is something terribly wrong if a person would be prepared to commit sacrilege because of some social embarrassment. To receive Our Lord in a state of mortal sin is to commit mortal sin.

There needs to be a return to an official longer "fast" before receiving Our Lord. It is not respectful to receive soon after eating. I feel embarrassment before God if I receive not long after eating. It's not treating Holy Communion as the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and God.

Hughie said...

Liam Ronan writes: "His (Good Pope John's) last words on his deathbed, as reported by Jean Guitton, the only Catholic layman to serve as a peritus at the Council, were: "Stop the Council; stop the Council.""

Firstly, Guitton was not a peritus. Secondly, far be it from me to call Guitton a liar but the fat remains that in this, he lied.

Ma Tucker said...

HA Liam you obviously didn't listen to the most stupendous little actor Fr Lombardi wheeled out to the media re John XXIII. The hippies are still calling "Peace bro!" It did make me laugh. The young fellow even tried to blub. He probably was born in the 80's but hey, blub he did, no doubt from the profound attachment he had to a pontificate which predated his conception by some decades. What a performance! Here below is the relevant link from a reliable source of course. The hilarity starts at 1:10. Enjoy!

Liam Ronan said...

If you would revisit my earlier post, I merely quoted a statement from an article which I found thoughtful and with which I posted the link for any who would wish to read it in its entirety.
Not having been at his deathbed, I did not (and could not) affirm or deny the alleged statement of Pope St. John XXIII.

John Nolan said...

Did Maradiaga really say Pope Francis wants to create 'a new way of being church'? Or that he 'feels called to construct [a Church]?' I knew the Honduran cardinal was a lightweight, but if he really said this he is a buffoon.

John Vasc said...

John Nolan - Yes, it seems so. Both those phrases occur in the transcript of the speech to a meeting of provincials of the Franciscans of the Order of Friars Minor, that took place on 8th April at St Petersburg, Florida.
Maradiaga, who is a Salesian, referred to himself several times as a Franciscan, and wore the order's brown habit while speaking.

'Saying the pope is creating "a new way of being church," Rodríguez said Francis "feels called to construct" a church that is, among other things:

"At the service of this world by being faithful to Christ and his Gospel";
"Free from all mundane spirituality";
"Free from the risk of being concerned about itself, of becoming middle-class, of closing in on self, of being a clerical church";
Able to "offer itself as an open space in which all of us can meet and recognize each other because there is space for dialogue, diversity and welcome in it";
A church that pays "just attention and gives importance to women in both society and its own institutions." '

(Sometimes I wonder if Fielding or Sterne, or perhaps Karl Kraus, or at least somebody with a talent for satire, is plotting the narrative and penning the current dialogue of 'official' Catholic discourse. :-)