Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Fourth Anniversary

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Congratulations to the Holy Father on the 4th Anniversary of his election.
The rumours are, based on a Marco Tosatti piece, that even Francis' electors have had second thoughts, that is probably, natural but  there are several reason this should happen.

1 He has 'bigged up the Papacy'
After JPII, who bestrode the world, lots of Cardinals and bishops were hoping for a smaller Papacy, in which the Pope was primarily the Bishop of Rome, and interfered less in other bishops diocese.
I am not sure that there was much of a cry for national Churches but simply less paperwork from the Holy See to give bishops more time to govern their diocese.

2 The divisive nature of Pope Francis
Wherever Jorge Bergoglio has been he has brought division, in the Society of Jesus, in his diocese of Buenos Aires, and now in the Universal Church.
I would think most bishops want the Church to be at peace, and riven with internal arguments that distract from its Mission. The Pontifex, the bridge maker, should be concerned about the internal unity and healing of the Church, practically every week, Francis introduces yet another controversial issue.

3 The rise of Ultramontanists
Few of his electors  would have foreseen that the Papacy  depend not on the Dominical foundation of the Church but on the sheer personality of the current office holder, which has force men like the Archbishop Scicluna of Malta to suggest, it is said, in a way totally irreconcilable with Christian doctrine, that to hear Jesus one must listen solely to the present pope, not to Benedict XVI or to John Paul II.
The foundation of Catholicism, and its future, cannot depend on the popularity, or media spin, of one man but on truth and authenticity. If I had been an elector, even if I had grown tired, or recognised the rejection by the secular world, of the Church's formulaic doctrinal responses of the past. I would be growing increasingly anxious about the anti-intellectualism of this Papacy, which speaks to first decades of the 21st century but is unlikely to have much to say beyond it.

4 Nepotism
Whether it is sexual abuse or the Order of Malta or the appointment of bishops (then of course there is China), much in the Francis Papacy depends on who are your friends, doctrine and the law of the Church seem unimportant.

4 The Future
The Conclave that elected Benedict's main concern was, I am told, who could possibly follow the highly singular Wojtyła, in a few years time the question will be even more intense: who could possibly follow Bergoglio, who has remade the Papacy in his own image. What would be disconcerting for the future of the Papacy and the Church is that no-one knows (or understands) where it should be going.


Andrew Leach said...

Yes Father. We need someone who will (metaphorically if not literally) stand on our side of the altar and lead, accompany, their people towards God rather than someone who is a performer bent on carving their place in history.

David O'Neill said...

Well said Father. I'm sure many of we more traditional Catholics echo your sentiments

Kirt Higdon said...

Numbers one and three have been trends in the Church since Pius IX. All four of the most recent Popes Pius, Leo XIII, John-Paul II, and Pope Francis have contributed to the Pope as cult of personality. That's not entirely bad, but it is unbalanced. With Francis, we may have reached "peak Pope" and a counter-trend may start afterward. The shy and humble Benedict XVI may be a model for future popes. As far as four is concerned, I think you mean cronyism rather than nepotism. Actually there is nothing intrinsically wrong with favoring either your friends or your relatives, but that can't be the top consideration - especially in Church appointments.

Kirt Higdon

Anonymous said...

I had coined a phrase "development or digression" ...To me, authentic development builds on the solid foundation laid down by Christ and His apostles/disciples. One can trace developments back to the foundation.

Personally, I found that in too many cases, for Charismatics, it's much about feelings, and it seems that the Holy Spirit is at their beck and call. (It seemed backward to me...after all, should we not be at the beck and call of the Holy Spirit?) Furthermore, their 'holy spirit' seemed schizophrenic...seeming to want to throw away the teaching of the past 2000 years.

I must admit, I have come to the conclusion that this same 'schizophrenic "holy" spirit' seems to be leading our current pontiff.... and that this papacy is a digression. ...

May the digressions end soon.

philipjohnson said...

I agree Fr.Francis is a highly divisive man who doesn't care about his actions one bit.I pray foe the end of this madness and a return to a Pope who is Traditional and Catholic!

JARay said...

I pray constantly for an end to this Papacy. Unfortunately, I do not see this Pope actually resigning and he has placed so many bishops and cardinals around the world who are made in his stamp that I fear the next occupant of the Papacy will be as divisive as this one has been. I do not know how God will sort this mess out but I do firmly believe that Jesus will be true to his word and that he is with his Church until the end of time. I am not prone to shedding tears but inwardly I am crying for our Holy Mother, the Church.

fzk5220 said...

I write merely to say that I am in total agreement with your analysis
May you be "cloned" by the Holy Spirit

Unknown said...

I have become totally cynical and mistrustful of Church and hierarchy during this pontificate. I pray it ends before I lose my faith altogether. At times I feel I want to walk away and convert to Judaism...if the Catholic church loses its credibility, I believe so does the entire Christian narrative. No Eastern Orthodox exile for me.


"but inwardly I am crying for our Holy Mother, the Church".
Sit down and have a rest.

Fr Ronan Kilgannon said...

Dear Father, thank you for your comments they are much appreciated.
I'm not sure what "bigged up the papacy means".
Do you mean expanded its influence, or is this a more acceptable way of writing "buggered up"?
I have lived through seven pontificates, and this is the most ultramontane of them all.
I'm glad that it is now more acceptable for popes to retire.

Physiocrat said...

Why one should not become Orthodox and ignore the utterances of popes?

The Orthodox church has a relatively high profile in some western countries due to immigration (though not so much in the UK); it is increasingly native converts who in other circumstances would have naturally ended up in the Catholic church.

There are also Catholics who look enviously over the garden wall, where they see a beautiful liturgy which has held to tradition, (our own liturgy often looks and sounds Protestant or worse), beautiful church buildings (our own mostly look like anything but churches), attractive customs like people bring their own food and share it out after Mass. Is this just a case of other people's grass looking greener?

There has been, to date, little actual movement, though locally, some of those under instruction declined to board the Barque of Peter at the land moment and went East.

Are they at risk of going from the frying pan into the fire, or from one frying pan to another? What of our own Catholic claims to be the One True Church? That claim rests, after all, on a particular interpretation of one verse of scripture.

Anonymous said...

I can understand the attraction of the musical, liturgical and artistic culture that exists in the Eastern traditions, which perhaps suit my temperament better than the more astringent functionality of Latin instincts. But, if people are looking longingly at the Orthodox churches, let it not be forgotten that they compromised on the very point about the indissolubility of marriage and have allowed multiple 'penitential' marriages for a long time. It is Rome alone that has held to The Lord's teaching on this point through the centuries. The current assault from within, and yes, from the very top, is cutting it very fine indeed, but one footnote from one Pope does not determine the Magisterium. He refuses to pronounce plainly against the teaching of his predecessors, but would rather it become eroded and confused in practice. The crisis is unprecedented, but there simply is nowhere else to go. Our Lady's Immaculate Heart will triumph!

JARay said...

This seems to be heading towards the promotion of Orthodoxy. I have received an email begging me to pray many rosaries for the Bishop (Catholic) of the Ukraine. I forget his name just at the moment but he is in the position of having to find or build 100 churches because with the Russians moving in and subjugating the Ukraine they have also taken over his churches and handed them over to the Orthodox who are most unwilling to hand them back to their rightful owner. I seem to remember that this has happened in other countries also. The Chech Republic comes to mind.

JARay said...

The Bishop I mentioned is Bishop Milan Sasik who is a Byzantine Catholic bishop in Western Ukraine. He has lost his churches to the Orthodox.

John Vasc said...

"who could possibly follow Bergoglio"
Surely, Father, the answer that is in line with the wishes of the present Pope is: 'Anybody and Everybody!' Because by then the office will have merely a tendentious significance, open to the personal foibles of whoever is chosen by whichever clique or cabal happens to have captured the electoral process at that time.
We have already had a Medici Pope. Now we have a Medici papacy, dependent on favours and factions, and once elected acting on a whim.

I would it were not so.

William Tighe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RichardT said...

Nicholas Mitchell said...
"if the Catholic church loses its credibility, I believe so does the entire Christian narrative"

That is my problem too.

If the Church effectively decides that it has been wrong for centuries about the indissolubility of marriage and the meaning of receiving communion, central matters of Catholic life and faith, then it can be wrong about anything.

And where does that leave me? I don't have any evangelical-style "personal revelation" of God; the sole foundation for my faith is the 2,000 year consistent witness of the Church. If that goes, and it is looking increasingly wobbly, I can see no other basis for continued belief.

Simple Simon said...

Fr.Ray your most recent posts are particularly apposite. Thank you. I can empathise with RichardT and Nicholas. My own heart was sore afflicted when during his very first Angelus address Pope Francis praised Cardinal Kasper. My immediate response was ‘Schism’. In my opinion,Kaspers endorsement was both a public humiliation of Benedict and a rejection of his magisterium. A crystal-clear signal for what was to follow. I am at a loss to understand why there is so much talk about ‘confusion’ in the Church. Everything is crystal clear. The deposit of faith, handed down from the Apostles, has been abandoned by countless Cardinals Bishops priests and laity. A false Gospel is proclaimed with impunity. Where will it all end? A Catholic Church which accepts Divorce? Blessing of Gay unions? Blessing of the truly married cohabiters? Women Priestesses? Mass with Lutheran priests as concelebrants? The whole congregation as concelebrants? Canonisation of Eco Warriors? Absolving oneself from sin? All of these things and only God himself knows what else besides. What must we do to defend our faith? I have always understood our Lords promise that the gates of hell would not prevail, and our Lady’s promise that in the end her Immaculate heart will triumph, as calls to vigilance and heroic actions in defence of the faith, rather than simply words of comfort for the oppressed to uplift their spirits in hard times. Modernist dissenters and loyalists to the tradition handed down cannot co-exist in a Church claiming divine origin. A parting of the ways is in my opinion essential in order that the Church remains in the truth. If the call to arms is not sounded soon, I fear that ‘darkness and the night’ will envelop us. Maranatha.

William Tighe said...

"The Bishop I mentioned is Bishop Milan Sasik who is a Byzantine Catholic bishop in Western Ukraine. He has lost his churches to the Orthodox."

Western Ukraine is solidly Catholic, for the most part, and geographically far from Russia, so I don't understand this, or how the bishop can have "lost his churches to the Orthodox."

Postscript: I just googled up the bishop. His diocese is Mukachevo, located in a region ("Sub-Carpthian Rus" or simply "Carpathia") which was long a part of Hungary, and then, from 1919 until annexed in 1939 by Hungary, of Czechoslovakia; and then in 1945 by the late Soviet Union, and so cane to Ukraine in 1991. Many of the inhabitants there do not think of themselves as Ukrainians, but rather as Rusyns or Ruthenians, and in the United States there is a separate Eastern Catholic ecclesia sui juris (separate, that is, from the "Ukrainian Catholic Church") for them, the "Byzantine Catholic Church," or "Ruthenian Church." Perhaps aspects of ethnic conflict undergird these ecclesiastical conflicts, particular as the diocese was "liquidated" in 1949 and forcibly assimilated into the Orthodox Church, only "emerging" again in 1989.

Francis said...

Father, I see that your list has Number 4 - Nepotism followed by Number 4 - the Future.

I see that the Spadaro effect has crossed the Channel and reached Brighton.

Very worrying!

Stephen Turton said...

The Catholic Church has not fallen into heresy.

The 'other' infallible church, the Orthodox, teach "infallibly", yet the Orthodox of today, with their acceptance of multiple divorce, would be unrecognizable to even their recent past generations.

The facts speak for themselves.

JARay said...

I have come to the opinion that the divisive nature within the Church has purpose. That purpose is to do some sorting out within the Church. When there was clear persecution of the Faithful, sorting out was done by the persecution but now it is a much more subtle sorting out. Many are questioning their Faith. There is the appearance that the promise of Jesus to be with the Church until the end of time, is open to question! Where is Jesus now? Why is his Church divided? There is a sense that divorce doesn't matter any more and the present Pope encourages this by saying that if such people feel "at peace with God" then it is quite acceptable for them to receive Holy Communion. Sacrilege! What's that?!
This is a sorting out process!
Our Faith is being questioned!
This is very serious.
Wake up folks!

Gatepost productions said...

As a child, I found the idea of becoming a hermit quite puzzling.
As a child, I found being an altar boy, and Our Religion, simple and straight forward.

To become an adult, I had to learn how complicated life really was. Similarly, in religion I had to learn a whole new vocabulary for it had become as much of a political science as the everyday. Here too were political factions and intrigues, high office and power struggles.

Now, in the finishing-straight of life, I have realised that the simpler one lives one’s life, the happier one becomes. The simpler one’s belief and prayer the more fulfilling one’s religion becomes.

Now, in the finishing-straight of life, I feel the political chaos our Church finds itself in to be puzzling, which makes the idea of becoming a hermit … quite logical.

Nicolas Bellord said...

The Catholic Herald of 17th March has a headline to an article "Cardinal praises Maltese Response to Amoris". Now I believe that the response of the Maltese Bishops is heretical. Reading the article I cannot see that Cardinal Vincent Nichols has actually endorsed that response in detail. It strikes me as the usual fence sitting exercise but surely it is of supreme importance whether he does nor not support their heresy. He mentions the Conference of Bishops is working on it. I do hope and pray that they will say nothing that will split the Church in this country.

Simple Simon said...

Nicholas, if the Church is One, then does not a split in one country, means it is split in all countries? What consolation is it to faithful Maltese Catholics to know that somewhere else in the Church, orthodoxy prevails? In any event, is the Catholic Church in England and Wales not already split, even if no one will actually admit this in public?

Nicolas Bellord said...

Simple Simon:

Cardinal Sarah in his recent paper given in Germany wrote:

"Political Europe is rebuked for abandoning or denying its Christian roots. But the first to have abandoned her Christian roots and past is indisputably the post-conciliar Catholic Church."

For those who study these things and follow what goes on that is the truth but what proportion of the Church are they? 2%, 5%, 10%? I doubt if it is much more judging by the fellow Catholics I speak to. As you say the Catholic Church in England & Wales is already split although no one admits it in public. I have no idea what certain priests I know think and I hesitate to ask. Sometimes one gets an angry response or perhaps one that comes from misguided loyalty to the Pope. At present one can rub along with the pretence. After all we have the Mass and the sacraments. One can make little gestures - communion on the tongue, kneel not sit when going to confession etc. Perhaps in the long run things will change - a new Pope, we have a couple of good Bishops - Egan and Davies - and we are told that the younger clergy are more orthodox. Is it wrong to hope that things will continue with the split not coming out into the open?

However if the Bishop's conference comes out with a full indorsement of the Maltese/German position I do not think I can carry on with the pretence and I will protest. What then - drive miles to an orthodox Parish? Even now I avoid my Parish church - luckily there is a convent nearer to me which though NO does not have peculiar liturgical deviations.

So I hope that the CBCEW says nothing. Am I wrong?

Simple Simon said...

Nicholas, the Pope himself has already come out and endorsed every bishop or Cardinal who support his AL communion for the divorced and remarried. This is the reality. How many Bishops support him worldwide ? Legions? We will never know unless they speak out for or against. Silence or sitting on the fence is no longer an option in my opinion. Two Catholic Faiths cannot co-exist, neither can the serving of two masters. While Francis and his supporters are saying plenty and doing even more, you and I are left waiting for crumbs from the orthodox Bishops table. Shameful. Even if, unknown to us, clerics faithful to the deposit of faith handed down through the ages are working and praying tirelessly to turn the tide, we should know and be actively involved in the fight for the Faith. Otherwise, we are simply spectators in a game of Papal Thrones. I am ready for the fight, but nobody has called me to arms. In the meantime, I take comfort from the words of Padre Pio – ‘Pray, hope and don’t worry’. In this end-game glorious will be the triumph of the Lord.

JARay said...

I am with Nicolas Bellord here. The Church is split and the proximate cause sits in the Chair of Peter although the remote cause is Satan himself. We are all being tested as regards our Faith. I read only yesterday that Sister Lucy said to Father Fuentes on 26 December 1957 that Our Lady did not actually declare that we are now in the "End Times", she, nevertheless made it quite clear to Sister Lucy that this is so and the final battle between good and evil is now taking place. Our Lady expressed deep hurt both to herself and the Heart of Jesus in the numbers of Religious and Priestly souls which are being lost in this battle.

Stephen Turton said...

John Simlett's paragraph:

"Now, in the finishing-straight of life, I have realised that the simpler one lives one’s life, the happier one becomes. The simpler one’s belief and prayer the more fulfilling one’s religion becomes."

I think that says a lot - are we not all too complicated these days ? Christ's teachings are nowhere difficult to understand, if we know them, the complicated things of the faith seem to make sense as well.

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