Saturday, July 06, 2013

Is Christ bored with "Europe"?

David Warren, "An alteration of course?" (Essays in Idleness, March 15, 2013)
My sense of things, when Pope Benedict resigned, is my sense now: that we have rounded the cape, that we are in a new ocean. There is a new man at the helm of our barque: the first to have become a priest after Vatican II, the first Jesuit, the first from the New World, &c. That his “style” is a radical break from the last is already apparent. His choice of the name “Francis,” unused by popes over all these centuries, was our first indication. It is as if the polarities were reversed at Rome, & the strange dishevelled saint of Assisi, who was absolutely loyal to the resplendent papacy, now receives the fealty of the robes. I am convinced there is a Hand on the hand of our tiller.

There will, perhaps, be other popes from Europe, but Benedict XVI may still come to be remembered as the “last European pope,” & his resignation to be pregnant with that spiritual message. Here I am not using the term “Europe” geographically; nor would I dream of dismissing the popes who came before, now a heritage to all ages. It is to Europe as the Christian culture I am referring....

Here is a son of Piedmont: removed somehow to Buenos Aires, “to the ends of the Earth.” Tied to Italy by one last thread, he still speaks some words in the old Occitan. The thread is inseverable; but a time will come when we can no longer trace it along its full length....

The seed is now planted abroad; Christ has moved on from where He is not wanted....

There are moments when, even as an old European, I think we should blow up the cathedrals, rather than let them fall into enemy hands.... But no, let future generations see their beauty, even in their ruin. Let them know that Europe was not always a dance of death in the pigsty of consumerism; that we once put our wealth & all our art at the feet of our Saviour.

A great majority of Catholics now live outside Europe, & the Rome of the Vatican is once more being transformed into the capital of a different kind of “empire.” The faces of the cardinals streaming out of the conclave were still in their majority white, but this may only be the case for another generation....

These are things that go beyond the election of Pope Francis, but to which his election now points. He is an old man, with sciatica, on one lung; we cannot expect to have him with us for long. We can, however, believe that God has entrusted him with a mission, upon which he is acting with the energy of a youth. We can expect that some of it will be incomprehensible to us, in a way perhaps as Francis of Assisi was incomprehensible at first to so many of his contemporaries, who saw in him very worrying departures from conventional religious custom, & did not yet see that he was heroically loyal to the Church; that he honoured the Magisterium, & had come not to destroy but to renew.

Christ, I believe, is bored with Europe, bored with our wealth, bored with our sleaziness, bored with our narcissism, sick through the nostrils with our Paris perfume. He will never, however, be bored with our hunger for the Bread of Life. We must rise & be on our way: Europe has died, & Christ liveth.
[Hat tip to JM]


I am not Spartacus said...

We can, however, believe that God has entrusted him with a mission, ...


But that is a tautology; the question is will Pope Francis actualise that mission?

From the get-go he has given scant evidence he intends to act as the Pope.

It is time that greater and greater numbers of Catholics come to the realisation that 1 Cor 15:3 must be understood as it now applies.

Prior to VaticanTwo, it could be said of Popes that they passed on what they had received.

Modern Popes PASSED on what they received.

They have passed on:
The Gregorian Rite
The Sacraments
Mass in Latin
Converting Jews
Converting Protestants
Altar Boys
Denigrating Religious Liberty
Preaching the Four Last Things

Well, the list can be as long as anyone with the sensus catholicus, formed prior to V2 cares to make it.

For my part, when I am at the Li' Licit Liturgy and I profess the wordsvisibilium et invisibilium I think of the visible Catholic Church as it was prior to Vatican Two and how that Catholic Church is now invisible.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

"Synodality" is Bergoglio’s new term for collegiality. Coming from him, it means that "spirit of V2" is making a big comeback. Anyone who reads Massimo Faggioli's "Vatican II: The Battle for Meaning" will see immediately where we are headed with a pope like this one.

"Synodality" is the key to it all. Add up the numbers of Asian, African and South American prelates (and remember, Bergoglio has always been considered one of the S.A. "conservatives"). Then add to that sum a bloc of committed European and North American progressives and radical progressives, and you have a super majority that the tattered and inherently cowardly, falstaffian remnants of Ratzinger's neo-Cath yes men will not be able to overcome. They will not even be INCLINED to overcome it. They will seek accomodation, for that will be their only hope of retaining a shred of power. And neo-Cath Grub Street will fall into line automagically.

Once "synodality" is firmly in place -- and it may take less time to accomplish this than anyone thinks -- then the entire modernist smorgasbord is back on the table: liturgical radicalism ("inculturation") for the African and Asian contingents; rehabilitation of liberation theology for the South Americans; and despite the dyspeptic rhetoric of the new pope, I tend to believe that maintaining the coalition of third and first world liberal prelates will require that Bergoglio forgo his personal inclinations, and give due approbation to the pet issues of first world progressives: homosexuality, feminism, a more "nuanced" view of scientific fiddling with conception, etc.

But perhaps not. It could happen that Pope Bergoglio is so aghast at the scandal of homosexuality, in society and especially in the clergy, that he is willing to put all of the abovementioned issues on the back burner, and make sexual purification the chief theme of his papacy. He would likely get some support for this from the third world. After all, the third world may be the one remaining part of the Church capable of being genuinely scandalized by sexual degeneracy: homosexuality is a catnip toy of the first world, inside and outside the Church. Additionally, homosexuality might be just the issue needed to accelerate the shift of power initiated by Bergoglio’s election in the direction of the third world.

But opposition to hardening the Church’s position on homosexuality and other forms of degenerate sexuality would likely come from Europe and North America. Some of the other issues referred to above, to which this pope is unmistakably committed, might be held for ransom. I suspect it would be a difficult battle for Bergoglio, much more so than dressing up liberation theology as Pauline evangelism.

Early in Benedict’s papacy, there was talk that homosexuality would be one issue that the new pope would not take up. That was more a disappointment than a surprise, but most people back then were most often discussing liturgical reform and the status of the Gregorian mass as the issues of the day. The former issue – reform of the Novus Ordo anti-liturgy – was and is a false issue. The latter, restoration of the Gregorian mass, was the great accomplishment of Benedict’s reign.

Pope Francis as the Peter Damien of the new millennium is certainly not the likeliest scenario, but it is possible given the present circumstances.

Either way, collegiality, or “synodality,” is the key. “Conservative” forces within the Curia may soon find themselves in new, less opulent surroundings. Perhaps they could curry favor by chattering incessantly about how they love to wash their socks in the sink.

Mangia! Mangia!

I am not Spartacus said...

Dear Ralph. excellent analysis and the last sentence is deadly funny.

Pope Francis is just picking-up on where Ut unum sint left off.

As for the Dogmas of Vatican I?

PFFFT. He will pass on that in the same way that Cardinal Ratzinger passed on the Dogmas of Trent when it came to the his boy, Luther, and his doctrines of Justification in the execrable Document of Justification agreed upon by the One True Church and the Lutheran Laymen.

Please keep writing and we all profit from your yes being a yes and your no being a no; and, you are funny as hell.