Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Through a Glass Darkly

There is a timely reminder on Fr Hunwicke's blog:
 It is therefore the duty of each of us to gloss his [the Holy Father's] words with such a hermeneutic as to be able to read them as being not contrary to what was taught by Vatican I.
I can't help feeling that at the moment the Holy Church of Christ is a bit like an ancient motor car that is being driven so fast and over such rough roads that bits, including some of its passengers, are beginning to fall off. It serves no-one, let alone Christ or Charity to disturb the faith of the 'little ones' - millstones come to mind.

We, in the English speaking world, hear and see what the Pope says 'through a glass darkly'. Unless we are Italian speakers or Spanish speakers what we hear from the Pope is always glossed, and often by the unscrupulous and unpleasant. The most influential English speaking journalists are invariably the one's with a certain agenda of their own, often belonging to a lobby that is set to undermine the truths of the faith.

There are obviously difficulties with Pope's style, like most Italian parish priests he tends to favour an informal style assuming that his listeners are perfectly orthodox and will hear him and understand him in perfectly orthodox way. The problem is of course that he forgets that they are often uncatechised and listen to him with a great deal of baggage of their own.

One of the problems the Pope has, and I sympathise with him over this, is that most Catholics receive their adult formation and information about the Church through the secular media, which as we saw during the previous Ponitificate is far from sympathetic to the Church and its teaching, therefore whatever message the Pope puts out has to be tailored to what they will tolerate.

A friend, who was commissioned to review the Pope's latest book length interview, "The Name of God is Mercy: A Conversation with Andrea Tornielli", says he was surprised by both its dullness and its orthodoxy. Yes, it is Francis through the dark glass of Tornielli and Tornielli tends to now see his life's work as being the glossing of Francis. Those on the right, as with those on the left, find it all too easy to read what Francis says with 'their own lusts' and  'itching ears'.

The Francis effect for many Catholics is confusion but then I suspect for many Popes through out history the effect has been confusion, that is of course if ever people knew who the Pope was (during the Avignon exile we might have been praying for two or three Pope's during the Canon of the Mass) and before the modern era in many parts of the world it might take half a year to know of the death and election of a Pope, even longer to hear of any development in teaching.

Fr Hunwicke is of course right when he points out that we must examine what the Pope says today in the light of Vatican I's
"The Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter so that, by his revelation, they might reveal new teaching,
                                                              so that, by his assistance, they might devoutly guard and faithfully set forth the revelation handed down through the Apostles, or in other words, the Deposit of the Faith."
The Orthodox have a receptionist approach to Oecumenical Council's: it is of God only if it is accepted by the Churches. The same maybe said with us Catholics and the magisterial deposit of faith laid down by the Pope's, there might be immediate juridical implications of what a Pope says or laws he enacts, these are tested in practice and by jurisprudence but its theological implications are also tested, most obviously by his immediate successors. If he is ignored, it is as if he might not have existed. As a venerable member of the College of Cardinals said, "Pope's are always old men, they do tend to die", nowadays they also retire of course.


Long-Skirts said...

"A picture is worth a THOUSAND words"

Just watching the visual abominations on St. Peter's on the magnificent Feast of the Immaculate Conception & then the outrageous video on the Feast of the Epiphany ... puh - leese!

Fr Ray Blake said...

Yes a bit of vandalism, which ever Mgr arranged that needs serious questioning. I am glad people have expressed shock.

Paul Hellyer said...

This pope seems not to care about the importance of his office. It's as though he has climbed to the top of his profession and now thinks it is 'his church' He can come up with his own favourite doctrines such as "God of surprises" and "Mercy" Then tells us we are "idolaters" for adhering to tradition, something he does not like. Demonstrated by suppressing the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate for saying the Traditional Mass even though it was liberated by Pope Benedict.
I hear people are asking for a Pope Pius XIII. Can you blame them?
It pains me to be so critical of our Pope but we have to defend the One True Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ or has that teaching been diluted too. . . . ?

Long-Skirts said...

Fr Ray Blake said...

"Yes a bit of vandalism, which ever Mgr arranged that needs serious questioning."

More like a "bit" of BLASPHEMY-
Irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.

How many hungry could THAT "bit of vandalism" have fed, Holy Father? The cost of such a "light" show! Something we can watch on PBS EVERY night!!

Our Holy Father has left us latch-key kids.


Father sleeps in another room
We his children
Have lost aplomb --
Father sleeps in another room.

Father’s walked out of the house
Left us with
The beloved spouse --
Father’s walked out of the house.

Father’s in vogue but from us he runs
He’s now one of them
And the family he shuns --
Father’s in vogue but from us he runs.

Father sleeps in another room
But our Uncle’s sons
The Bridegroom

They sacrifice,
Preserve our seemed
Tomb --
While Father sleeps in another room.

Jeremy said...

I find the Pope an enigma. I do not understand his apparent disdain for Catholic orthodoxy - including his own cardinals he criticises in public - or his seeming need for endless change. The synod on the family was a disaster and we still have no statement. His encyclical on green issues remains unread by any clergy I know. It is true he is under constant scrutiny because of instant communication, but he seems not to care and does not hesitate to talk to journalists. Paradoxically I suspect that all this achieves very little. If anything the Church is becoming more orthodox, but this mostly thanks to his predecessors' hard work. I wish him well as the Vicar of Christ but I still do not begin to understand him.

Pelerin said...

The glass seems to get darker and darker these days. I have been reading on Rorate Caeli blog about the prayers for Lutherans and Catholics put out by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.

One of them is as follows: 'Help us to rejoice in the gifts that have come to the Church through the Reformation.'

The English Martyrs courageously gave their lives for Christ and His Church. While they were being dragged to Tyburn I don't expect they were thinking about gifts that had come to the Church through the Reformation.

JARay said...

I too have been reading what Rorate Caeli has posted about Luther and from his own words we can see just how much he hated the Catholic Church and how much he hated the Jews. Rorate does point out that although such documents as the prayers for Lutherans and Catholics are put out as though they have seal of the Magisterium of the Church, in fact this is a falsehood. They are just the utterings of some individual on a particular committee.
As to the castigations which the Pope has uttered recently and appear to attack faithful Catholics, well, the best we can do is to pray for the Pope and to hope that the mess he wants to create does not get much bigger than it already is. We can indeed pray for him to retire when he turns 80!

Paul Hellyer said...

What gifts? Hatred of the Catholic Church. Denial of transubstantiation. Denial of most Catholic doctrines. Result? The secularisation and now paganisation of our once Christian culture. The top people in Rome need to study the penny Catechism again. If they ever read it in the first place.

Nicolas Bellord said...

JaRay: " They are just the utterings of some individual on a particular committee."

It is the Council for the Promotion of Church Unity previously headed by Cardinal Kasper and now Cardinal Koch. Koch has issued a statement about relations with the Jews which contains a long essay on supercessionism followed by a total non-sequitur that the Church should not try to convert the Jews. St Peter got it wrong yet again on the day of Pentecost. Now we have had this ridiculous paper about celebrating Martin Luther. If any Bishop in this country tries to get us to celebrate the Reformation then they can expect real trouble from me and I hope many others. That will be crossing the Rubicon. Enough is enough.

Simple Simon said...

Fr Ray, St. Francis resolved to live by God’s word without gloss. He also set forth for the Holy Land in order to witness to Jesus and proclaim the Gospel to the Muslims. Pope Francis sets aside the command of the Incarnate God. His no,no,no to attempting to lead others to belief in Jesus must go down as The gloss of all unhelpful and downright dangerous glosses ever uttered by a Pope. His recent videoed prayer intention reached an all-time low. Is Pope Francis encouraging schizophrenia? Whenever Catholics talk to Catholics the name and person of Jesus is just fine. But when we talk to people of other faiths, or none, no mention of the Word Incarnate. No, we have to talk about some mysterious entity named ONEGOD. Who’s other name we are also allowed to use. ONEGOD is also known as THEGODOFSURPRISES. Who actually believes in this God? A devout orthodox Jew knows nothing of ONEGOD. He knows and builds his life around a God whose sacred name cannot be spoken. A devout Muslim knows nothing about ONEGOD. He builds his life around Allah. Likewise Buddhists knows nothing of any God. Believing Catholics know nothing about ONEGOD. They know only that God is revealed to us a being the Father of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Is Pope Francis more or less implying that the Gospel according to St. John is no longer PC? Neither is it PC to talk about the ONETRUEGOD. He also seems to have forgotten that the Sacraments of the Church are God’s preferred way of making all of us God’s children, beginning with Baptism and nourished unceasingly by the other sacraments. We know that God’s action in our world and in our lives is not confined to the sacraments. But because of the Incarnation, it would actually be better, and an actual indescribable blessing, for the sincere people featured on Francis video if they came to know God as he really is, the God who loved us so much as to surrender over to us his complete self in the Paschal mystery. Pope Francis seems to think otherwise. Happily for us, St.Paul was inspired to give his life away in order to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Likewise St.Francis Xavier and St .Therese of Lisieux. Perhaps Pope Francis would benefit from a Novena to these saints?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Avoid becoming a Sede Vacantist! Avoid leading others to that position because that is not a position a Catholic can hold and Salvtion is less than certain.

Simple Simon said...

Fr.RAy, thank you for your comment. I am really at a loss as to understanding what you are saying to me. My problem with Pope Francis is due to the fact that he is undoubtedly the actual real Pope. I am not aware that in my comment I wrote anything to suggest I was remotely Sede Vacantist. Also, upon reading my blog again, I cannot find even an implication of any kind about certain salvation. So I am puzzled by your comment. The point I thought I was making was that God has actually revealed himself to us finally and undoubtedly in the Incarnation, life death and resurrection of Jesus. And those who have received the gift of faith must endeavour to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the whole world. This proclamation of the Gospel should be led and ceaselessly encouraged by the Pope. Francis rarely raises the name of Jesus outside the community of faith. In my opinion, he has also done precisely what you mentioned might be a possibility, he has exercised his magisterium as though Benedict had never existed. Alas!

Fr Ray Blake said...

I am merely asking you to avoid SVism not suggesting you are.
The problem is that I think there seem to be a vast increase of those who believe the worse of the HH and though they live within the Church are in fact in a state of SV.

Steve said...

As I am close to leaving a church that no longer believes. All I see are priests who abuse the most Holy Mass. I can no longer take the WRONGNESS of the church. Francis has very nearly destroyed all my faith.

Tony V said...

"The Orthodox have a receptionist approach to Oecumenical Council's: it is of God only if it is accepted by the Churches."

And if we're serious about Christian unity we'd better take a similar approach. Which means, for all the careful wording in Vatican I about papal infallibility, we need to stop pretending that it was an oecumenical council. (Of course, the pope is infallible--as long as he's very careful about what he says. And the less he says, the more infallible he is.)

But what's been really damaging to the church isn't Vatican I but 'the spirit of Vatican I', the Ultramontance papolatry that became so dominant in its wake. The liturgical disasters that followed Vatican II never could have happened if not for the Spirit of Vatican I, the idea that the pope can do whatever he wants, even sweep away the Mass and replace it with a thing of this own devising. No pope until Paul VI ever presumed to do that.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Tony V,
My constant plaint.

Paul Hellyer said...

Dont get discouraged Steve. It is still the true Church. Its just that most of the clergy don't think that. They think the true Church subsists in the Catholic Church. We don't We hold to the true doctrine as held before VatII. That is the true Church IS the Catholic Church as founded by Our Blessed Lord.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Steve: This is the moment to stay strong. There are some positive things. Just look how the Bishops at the Synod on the Family despite every manipulation in the book managed to erase every proposed heresy from the final Relatio Synodi. The Holy Ghost was surely there and the gates of Hell did not prevail and they will not. If you are interested in the Relatio read my analysis on: