Friday, December 08, 2017
Dictator Pope - some thoughts
I finished that book, 'The Dictator Pope', a few days ago. There was very little that was new in it but it is shocking when scandals are brought together in a catalogue of vice. This is certainly not a book I would recommend most people reading, especially those who are easily shocked.
It portrays a picture of an arbitrary self-seeking princeling with few virtues and practically every vice. For those who hear confessions regularly it gives an insight into the cup which is clean on the outside but full of corruption on the inside.
It gives an insight into the contemporary Church, certainly into the psychology of many of its leading clergy and perhaps into the heresy of Mercy. In the abuse crisis so many of our leaders like Cardinal Daneels, who comes in for much criticism, not only defended abusers, telling their victim they needed to repent but they simply pretended there was no problem. Maybe they were not as bad as Cardinal Maradiaga who chairs Francis' Council of Nine, he dismissed the whole matter as a construction of the 'Jewish media'.
A false, heretical understanding of Mercy reduces God to being tolerant of everything, to the point where sin disappears and black becomes white, the foolish are regarded as wise, the corrupt become virtuous. A tolerant God means mankind has no need of Redemption or Salvation, the whole Christological drama becomes unnecessary and humanity has no need of a moral compass, because whatever is done, so long as it doesn't undermine the Enlightenment virtues, is fine.
An excess of Mercy has a tendency to remove any critical faculty. God becomes the watchmaker who having finished his work, sets it in place to run by itself, he is not as scripture portrays him concerned by our every action, nor is he the one who will come to judge between sheep and goats, and certainly not the one who is concerned about our personal integrity, our truth telling, our sexual or financial morality and our craving for power. It works well for a dictator, in that any criticism or expression of doubts or any questioning about this new god (the god of theological speculation, rather than God revealed by Jesus Christ in scripture and Tradition) becomes a sign of sickness, rigidity, even heresy but worst of all of the unforgivable sins of divisiveness and disloyalty.
What I find so shocking in this book, which hardly reveals any new secrets, just adds a few details, is that such corruption as it reveals causes dis-ease in so few. Indeed, those who do raise concerns are hussled to the margins and vilified. Colonna gives us insight into a court that seems to be hotbed of neurotic revenge, nepotism, financial corruption, homosexual practice and where surveillance and gossip are rife and where image is all. A quote from the book, a priest said, "It is not who or what you know, it is now about what you know about who you know", he was talking about a culture of blackmail.
Why is it tolerated? Why is it so easily accepted? Why do so few denounce it?
Perhaps it is that Catholicism in particular has seen so many changes in recent years that there are so few points of stability from which bearings can be taken. Even the Gospels, the actual revealed words of Jesus are pushed to the background and replaced by 'the sublime theology' of some German Cardinal. The author makes the point that what has been lost in the last few years is Jesus's 'Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no',
Being anxious that some fragment of the Lord's body might be lost or desecrated should be important to priests, nowadays being deeply concerned that a word, a comma of Lord's being lost should be a deep, deep concern of every Christian because where sin and vice abounds Christ cannot be tolerated
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