I posted an article that I had skepticism over but thought it would be interesting to discuss, but that I knew was more “trolling” than anything.
I took down a post.
Right now, there is a battle waging over the Pope, and Catholics all over the world are fighting to make him stand for their view of Catholicism. Unfortunately, what more of us should be doing is finding ways to listen to what he says, and figure out how he can lead us to fit our lives to the views and heart of Christ.
There is a bigger post lingering in my head here, but I can’t quite figure out what is happening. I think there is a lot of fear involved in the hearts of Catholics, whether they want to admit it or not, and we forget who the real enemy is.
When, on March 13, Bergoglio inherited the throne of St. Peter—keeper of the keys to the kingdom of heaven—he made the same request of the world. Pray for me. His letter of retirement, a requirement of all bishops 75 and older, was already on file in a Vatican office, awaiting approval. Friends in Argentina had perceived him to be slowing down, like a spent force. In an instant, he was a new man, calling himself Francis after the humble saint from Assisi. As Pope, he was suddenly the sovereign of Vatican City and head of an institution so sprawling—with about enough followers to populate China—so steeped in order, so snarled by bureaucracy, so vast in its charity, so weighted by its scandals, so polarizing to those who study its teachings, so mysterious to those who don’t, that the gap between him and the daily miseries of the world’s poor might finally have seemed unbridgeable. Until the 266th Supreme Pontiff walked off in those clunky shoes to pay his hotel bill.
There is a lot that can be said about this selection. I wanted to write a, “Why I believe Pope Francis will be the POY” post yesterday, but I have had a horrible stomach thing. Regardless, this places even more media attention on the Vatican. I will save the, “What does this mean…” commentary to those better suited for it.
Ross Douthat, conservative and Catholic columnist for the New York Times, labeled his Sunday
piece this week: “The Pope and the Right.” Now before you go off, read it, and come back either elated or steaming mad, let’s remember one important thing: columnists get paid to make people read them. The more novel, inflamatory, aggressive, or shocking something is – often the better.1
Douthat though isn’t being too much of anything, instead he is simply stating the obvious. He is addressing the elephant in the room, or in some cases, the uncomfortable conversation that many Catholics are having.2 The topic he addresses is one that strikes close to home – how do conservatives (either politically or theological ones, if that is possible) reconcile the pontificate – so far – of Pope Francis?
His most interesting points though, in my opinion, are made when he attempts to give three arguments for why a seemingly “liberal” Pope can actually be reconciled with American conservative principles. His three premises are (in my own summarized form):
Capitalism, or free market ideals, has a better track record than socialist societies at lifting the poor and marginalized out of poverty and maintaining free society.
Solidarity and Subsidiarity are key components to Catholic social teaching – a la the philosophical pillars of such teaching.
Welfare states (i.e. socialist and liberal states) have produced rather toxic social and cultural policies that fly in the face of Catholic doctrine and social teaching. (e.g. low birth rates, charitable roadblocks, and religious persecution.)
The money paragraph though isn’t one where Douthat doubles-down on American conservative principles, or attempts to contort the Pope’s actions and most recent Exhortation to fit the GOP platform. Instead he challenges “conservative” Catholics, such as myself, to reexamine how we interact with the world – socially and politically – and find a way to fit our politics to our faith, and not the other way around.
As Douthat puts it:
This Catholic case for limited government, however, is not a case for the Ayn Randian temptation inherent to a capitalism-friendly politics. There is no Catholic warrant for valorizing entrepreneurs at the expense of ordinary workers, or for dismissing all regulation as unnecessary and all redistribution as immoral.
And this is where Francis’s vision should matter to American Catholics who usually cast ballots for Republican politicians. The pope’s words shouldn’t inspire them to convert en masse to liberalism, or to worry that the throne of Peter has been seized by a Marxist anti-pope. But they should encourage a much greater integration of Catholic and conservative ideas than we’ve seen since “compassionate conservatism” collapsed, and inspire Catholics to ask more — often much more — of the Republican Party, on a range of policy issues.
Now, I dont want to spend a lot of time in this post on it, but the link talking about ‘compassionate conservatism’ is interesting and ultimately goes to the larger issue I plan to discuss. Yet, I intend to set that discussion up with this post. So for now, I will leave it at this: Douthat seems to say that what is important for Catholics -specifically American conservative Catholics, in light of Pope Francis, is that we find a way to push for policies that cling to Catholic teaching, but hold fast to conservative principles. The latter not for their own sake, but because our faith animates those principles in our culture.
We should not spend the time of Pope Francis hidden away in Mass3 praying for patience and that God’s will be done. While we want those things, of course, it is that there is so much more we can do – and should do.
While many liberal Catholics4 made plenty of fuss during the Pontificate of Benedict XVI about the direction of the Church, the cry for conservatives to “do what they did” or “follow our own advice” is a false premise. Douthat calls this the “Loyal Opposition” argument. He rejects it, and so do I. It is instead our time to continue with vigilance and fortitude. We spent formative years solidifying our faith, now it is time to solidify the world around us – to animate the social teachings and political policies with our hearts grounded in the teachings of the Church.
The National Security Agency spied on the future Pope Francis before and during the Vatican conclave at which he was chosen to succeed Benedict XVI, it was claimed on Wednesday.
The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff on March 13.
The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, which was held amid tight security in the Sistine Chapel.
The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories — “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.
At that time, Benedict XVI was Pope, suggesting that the Vatican may also have been monitored during the last few weeks of his papacy.
There are so many things to say about this. Things are out of control in our country, that is for certain, but this takes things to a whole new level and actually prompts more questions than there are good answers.
Just remember, we battle not flesh and blood, but powers and principalities.
Pope Francis has asked the universal Church to spend today in prayer and fasting in the hopes that the hearts of men and women will be transformed and that we will not engage in mutual destruction that comes with war and conflict.
While sometimes War is just for some, if it can be avoided all of humanity benefits.
Prayer for Peace to Mary, the Light of Hope
Immaculate Heart of Mary, help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths toward the future.
From famine and war, deliver us. From nuclear war, from incalculable self destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us. From sins against human life from its very beginning, deliver us. From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us. From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us. From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us. From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us.
Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies. Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit conquer all sin: individual sin and the “sin of the world,” sin in all its manifestations.
Let there be revealed once more in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the redemption: the power of the merciful love. May it put a stop to evil. May it transform consciences. May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of hope.
Amen. – Pope John Paul II
Peace is the proper effect of charity
“PEACE implies a twofold union, as stated above (A. 1). The first is the result of one’s own appetites being directed to one object; while the other results from one’s own appetite being united with the appetite of another: and each of these unions is effected by charity–the first, in so far as man loves God with his whole heart, by referring all things to Him, so that all his desires tend to one object–the second, in so far as we love our neighbor as ourselves, the result being that we wish to fulfil our neighbor’s will as though it were ours: hence it is reckoned a sign of friendship if people “make choice of the same things” (Ethic. ix, 4), and Tully says (De Amicitia) that friends “like and dislike the same things” (Sallust, Catilin.)”
Some blogs and talking Catholic heads have suggested that WYD is a waste of time and money. That such extravagance is contrary to what the Church should model for its flock. There seem to be more and more reasons every year why the event shouldn’t happen.
Yet, when we see the crowds, when we hear youth talk about it, we are again reminded the powerful impact it has on attendees and the faithful around the world.
What I do pray though, is that the event remains to serve as not just a catalyst of media attention on the faith, but also as a catalyst for the young to embrace and center their lives on the faith.
At the last WYD we had the moving image of Pope Benedict, the Adoration, and the storm. WYD should be an event that inspires young Catholics to see such moments as inspiration and hope. Inspire them to live the life of faith, and hope in a God that will see them through any storm. Faith isn’t exciting because it makes the world fun, faith is exciting because it is the promise that makes the world pale in comparison of what is yet to come.
So, Damian Thompson of the Telegraph has a rather interesting, but troubling, report about some moves that may be in the works in the Vatican:
I’m hearing horrible rumours from Rome that Archbishop Piero Marini, former master of ceremonies for John Paul II, may be made Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
Please, Pope Francis, do not let this happen. The archbishop (not to be confused with the current Vatican MC, Mgr Guido Marini) devised some of the ugliest liturgies in Catholic history for John Paul II – and, moreover, was distinctly snide in his attitude towards Benedict XVI’s much-needed reforms. Even now, as Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith reports for the Catholic Herald, Archbishop Marini is taking veiled sideswipes at the last pope.
Benedict XVI, one need hardly be reminded, is still alive. What could be more wounding to him than the appointment of such a divisive figure to the Church’s top liturgical post? Does Pope Francis really wish to dismantle his predecessor’s legacy? Because there would be no quicker way of doing so than this disastrous move.
While for most people this is a little too “inside baseball” to really understand the impact a move like this would have, it is a troubling report.
A few thoughts:
Thompson is correct, if this indeed does happen, and while Pope Benedict is still alive it is a slap in the face to everything he did on the liturgical front.
It really is a step backwards in the truest sense of the word. It would put in charge of liturgical “policy”, if you will, a man that had a liturgical understanding that is not only quite different from what we have seen in recent years, but one that was at the heart of much of what was troubling and damaging to the Church in the time after Vatican II.
While I understand that Francis and Benedict have a very different liturgical “style” and understanding, this is not the way to magnify the differences. Francis seems to be doing a good job of clearing out the old in the Vatican, it doesn’t make sense to go in this direction, especially with someone that was so divisive even amongst like minded folks.
By now, many of you have probably heard about the “Pope Francis Exorcism“ that was caught on tape. The media is in such a frenzy over this that everyone from the Sun.uk.co to local Michigan news sites have ran the story.
I am surprised that more Catholic blogs haven’t covered it, but my thoughts on the subject center less around did he or didn’t he perform an exorcism and more about why the media is so focused on this.
Here is the account from the Sun:
The Pontiff then grips the top of the subject’s head firmly and is seen pushing him down into his wheelchair.
As this is happening Francis recites an intense prayer, and the boy’s mouth drops wide open and he exhales sharply.
Francis’s usual smile then returns and he continues with the traditional and more gentle Sunday greetings for sick or disabled visitors to St Peter’s.
He is a bishop, he can do exorcisms. Was this an exorcism? I don’t know, but what the media is saying, without saying it directly, is: “The Pope, this Pope1actually believes in things like the devil and demons. So the media is starting to panic and freak out a bit.
As I have detailed in the past, the world the devil does not want us to believe in him, not in a real sense. He wants to fly just under the radar, maybe be blamed in a non-literal way for “evil” but mostly that we chalk up the “bad things” people do to a force that is somewhat outside of him. In many situations though, he gets a full on win when we blame “bad things” on the fact that there are just “purely evil/bad people” in the world.
It helps him operate. It gives him free reign over the world, and all its souls. Those in the media pushing secularism, tolerance, and relativism can’t have a devil running around. Why? Well, mostly because it would be proof of God, but second it would put a hitch into the entire idea of relativism. You can’t have a wishy-washy undefinable idea of good and evil, when you have the master of evil and lies spreading true evil.
The devil is real folks. He is the master of lies, the deceiver of truths, and the genius behind the fall of man. The sooner that we accept that he is real, the sooner that we can begin to defend against him. We can’t do it alone, so to battle intellectually over his powers and how it is exactly that he attacks is a fools errand. It is better to accept the reality of the matter, move on, and seek God’s help as well as all the angels’ and saints’ as well.
We are at war. The devil is our enemy. God is our Savior.
God Bless Pope Francis for showing this to us. It would be great if it was an exorcism, only so that it would continue to draw catechesis to the matter.
The one the media/secular world is still crossing its fingers over hoping he is “Liberal” [↩]
The Pope talked about prayer at Saturday Mass, and it was a message that really strikes home for me.
True prayer brings us out of ourselves: it opens us to the Father and to the neediest of our brothers and sisters. This was a central part of Pope Francis’ message to the faithful gathered for Mass on Saturday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence at the Vatican, with agents of the Vatican Gendarmerie and a group of Argentine journalists with their families in attendance.
The Pope’s homily focused on the day’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus says, “[I]f you ask the Father any thing in my name, he will give it you.” Discussing Jesus’ words, Pope Francis said, “There’s something new here, something that changes: it is a novelty in prayer. The Father will give us everything, but always in the name of Jesus.” The Lord ascends to the Father, enters “the heavenly Sanctuary,” opens doors and leaves them open because “He Himself is the door,” and “intercedes for us,” as priest, even, “until the end of the world”:
He prays for us before the Father. I always liked that. Jesus, in His resurrection, had a beautiful body: the cuts of the scourging and the crown of thorns are gone, all of them. His bruises from the beatings are healed and gone. But He wanted always to keep His wounds [in His hands, His feet and His side], for those wounds are precisely His prayer of intercession to the Father. [It is as if Jesus were saying,] ‘But … look,’ … this person is asking you this thing in My name, look.’ This is the novelty that Jesus announces to us. He tells us this new thing: to trust in His passion, to trust in His victory over death, to trust in His wounds. He is the priest and this is the sacrifice: his wounds – and this gives us confidence, gives us courage to pray.”