Friday, September 25, 2015
Daneels remarks are nothing new
Nothing Cardinal Daneels does or says shocks me anymore, he has a whole history behind him. So his recent remarks about belonging to the St Gallen group and being a member of a 'Mafia' opposed to Pope Benedict, which worked for the election Jorge Bergoglio is not a surprise, nor should it disturb any intelligent Catholic. Popes have never been elected by innocent unworldly old men, oblivious to anything other than prayer and desiring nothing but to do the will of God. Men like Daneels, and so many western Cardinals have presided over the disintegration of their own Churches, why should we not expect them to the same for the Church Universal.
How wise the Holy Father was to remind people that he is not a 'Renaissance Prince', then thuggery and simony and bullying were more visible. Human nature does not change, unfortunately neither does the Church. Very few Cardinals who have power impress anyone with their holiness or Christ-centredness. very few seem to look for holiness in those they promote. As with the Popes of the Renaissance the choice of their Emminences is not who will serve Christ best but who will serve my faction best.
Sunday's Gospel Mark 9:30-37 demonstrated what we see today, the Lord speaks about his Passion and Death, the Apostles, our first bishops find that incomprehensible, 'they did not understand and were afraid to ask him' and ' they had been arguing amongst themselves which of them was the greatest'. This incomprehension about Jesus, the inability to open their minds to him is nothing new, it is there in every age, as is the fear of actually asking Jesus of going directly to him, as is grotesque power politics, the factionalism.
Austin Ivereigh, who of course was Cardinal Murphy O'Connor's press secretary, when his book was published caused one or two Catholics to suggest that the factionalism that surrounded the Pope's election might have invalidated the election, that is just plain daft, if we were dependant on valid elections then those statistics in that sermon (what did he mean?) of Cardinal Pell gave of valid and invalid Popes would have an entirely different balance: 266th Pope and history has seen 37 false or anti-Popes. If we just took simony into account, which mediaeval or renaissance Pope was validly elected? For Catholics it is not so much the election of a Pope but the Church's acceptance of the election, urbi et orbi, that matters.
Acceptance goes further, it defines a Pope's Magisterium, God blesses the Church with both the ability to remember but also to forget a Pope's teaching. Eastern Christians have always said that it is not so much the meeting of a Council that matters but rather its acceptance by the Church, thus everyone had a merry time in 1438 at the Council of Florence, we Latins welcomed it as a great moment of oecumenical dialogue, a huge step forward in ending the Great Schism, whilst the Byzantines dismissed it as yet another 'robber' or false Council. When assessing any Pope's Magisterium it is what is remembered and what is forgotten that is important, that is what preserved in the Church's collective memory. If Popes or Cardinals throw themselves into politicking some of their contempories might be hurt, as might the Church herself but it is God and history that ultimately judges us all.
As for Cardinal Daneels, as my old gran used to say, 'you can tell a man by the friends he keeps'.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake