The Thinking 

The Papal Enchilada

September 20, 2013



THE front page headline in The New York Times is like something out of The Onion, except wait, it’s actually true: “Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control.” It can’t get any better than this, except perhaps if the entire Arctic ice cap melted in a day, proving once and for all that Al Gore was right.

The blogger Mundabor dissects the “papal enchilada,” the 12,000-word interview of Pope Francis that appeared in a Jesuit magazine, an interview which hardly anyone is likely to read in its entirety, even though I can honestly say I did. Mundabor wisely cautions readers against defining heresy as a total rejection of orthodoxy. Sure, there are reassuring statements in the interview, but then there are so many whoppers, there is so much rubbery cheese, that this truly did belong on the front page of all the major newspapers. If the Pope’s statements were authoritative doctrine, then the Vatican would be post-Catholic — and for many people, that would be wonderful news.

Mundabor writes:

The sum total of all these assertions – all of them, word for word quotations – and of all that Francis has said, and omitted to say, since the beginning of the pontificate – is clear: don’t fight it. Francis espouses a defeatist line somewhere between Chamberlain and Quisling, with some very worrying streaks of Grima Wormtongue.

I do not think Jesus on the cross – or any time before, or after – was very worried about adapting his message to the times, or having the moral edifice of His church fall like a house of cards (that Francis would use such an image of speech referred to the Church, which is indefectible, is in itself a scandal as it suggest an organisation that could be wiped out, though this is not explicitly said). Actually, if one does not believe that Christ’s message is, in its entirety, valid independently of the times and the concrete situation, I question his right to call himself a Catholic rather than, say, a Presbyterian. The same I allow myself to think if, in a similar way, one should think the way the Church has dealt with the message of Christ – with such abstruse initiatives like evangelisation, and staunch defence of orthodoxy – were now past “sell before” date. We see here, again, Neo-modernism at work. Neo-modernism, I add, of a particularly brutal kind.

Or perhaps does Francis think that these are bad times for a staunch defence of orthodoxy, but there have been much better times in the past? Was it easy to defend Catholicism when the French Revolution ravaged Europe? Was it easy to defend Catholicism when Hitler sent thousands of priests in concentration, or even extermination camps? Was it easy to defend Catholic orthodoxy when the Communist siren lured the poor all over Southern Europe? Was “liberation theology” of any kind whatsoever an option then? And if not, why? What about the Cathars? What about the Saxons? What about the Hussites, the Lutherans, the Calvinists?

No. Defending Catholicism has never been easy, though at times this has been done better, at times less well, and at times very badly. Catholicism is, be it sodomy today or communism yesterday, uncomfortable, countercultural, never looking for the easy answers. Again, Popes have varied greatly. But what we have now on the sea of Peter is no Gregory the Great; rather a cowardly Liberius, suggesting that we do not insist on such stupid things as putting orthodoxy before all else, or being so “uncharitable” as to say to a sodomite that – bar an always welcome repentance – he is surely on his way to hell.

This man doesn’t even have the guts to say that God is against homosexuality. He suggests we focus on gossip instead. Because you see, other than the battle against institutionalised sodomy, the battle against gossip can certainly be won, right?

Francis must wake up, and I mean he must really wake up. He has been playing the populist provincial Peronist Archbishop for too long; he must see, surely, that this attitude will cause immense damage to the Church and the Papacy, at least as Church and Papacy have been understood for 2000 years, before the populism of the favela prophets entered the corridors of the Vatican.

Time to wake up for us, too, and stop pretending nothing is happening here.

The man is bombarding us with his revolutionary nuCatholicism like it’s Dresden in February 1945. We can’t pretend it’s carnival.

— Comments —

Paul writes:

Some knew there was a significant risk that a non-European Pope devoted to Hispania was going to diminish the Holy Roman Catholic Church, which was the usage in the Creed I was taught. The leadership of the Holy Catholic Church thinks it wise to seem chummy so as not to irritate the other Rites. Is the current goal to abandon Catholicism, which is to follow Jesus’ requirement to adhere to the rock, St. Peter? Does the leadership plan a ‘gotcha?’ No.

But maybe chumminess is a modern catacomb, considering I suspect “universal church” and “New Testament” are now phrases the FBI, State, the NSA, and DOD are busy using to snare ungood criminal thinkers like us instead of trusty and devoted Libyan democrats who enjoy a religion of peace, the Lockerbie incident, and the Benghazi incident.

Now I am an ecumenical sort that does not plan ‘gotchas.’ I am friendly, and there are few people I dislike. I don’t hold grudges except against the Southeastern Athletic Conference (SEC) leadership and the liberal major sports media. But I do take a stab at logic.

James P. writes:

“Is the Pope Catholic?” is no longer a rhetorical question, but a real one.


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