Monday, August 05, 2013

John Allen: Pope Francis a revolutionary

As with all writers for the National Catholic Fishwrap, one never knows with John L. Allen, Jr., whether he's trying to prime the pump (of revolution, in this case), or actually reporting something based on insight. He's a very good writer, and it's hard to tell; but this piece is quite interesting, as well as disquieting: "A revolution underway with Pope Francis" (NCR, August 5, 2013):
... It's too early to know which trajectory will apply to the upheaval launched by Pope Francis ...

Perhaps the lone certainty is that a revolution is, indeed, underway. In mid-July, the Italian newsmagazine L'Espresso ran a cover story on the new pope under the banner headline "Ce la farà?" The phrase translates roughly as "Will he make it?" or "Will he pull it off?"

There was no need to explain what "it" meant -- everyone, it seems, knows that Francis is trying to engineer a Catholic glasnost....

One could argue that in most of the ways that matter, the change has already arrived....

Polling in various parts of the world show approval ratings that would be the envy of any politician or celebrity....

In terms of public opinion, Francis is already on the cusp of achieving the iconic status of Nelson Mandela, a figure of unquestioned moral authority....

There's also a sense in which Francis is the "Teflon pope," in that nothing bad seems to stick....

... the only question most people have about a pope is, "Does he inspire?" For now, the answer seems to be yes....

... Even beggars who ply their trade around the Vatican have clued in that something has changed. Vatican personnel say that if they spurn a request for spare change today, they're likely to hear back, "Cosa direbbe Papa Francesco?" -- meaning, "What would Pope Francis say?"

... Today, [the] insider/outsider distinction is largely defunct. By living in the Casa Santa Marta, by working the phone for himself, and by bypassing the usual gatekeepers, Francis has ensured that no one has a monopoly on his ear....

What Vatican watchers have realized is that trying to figure out who's up and who's down misses the point. The novelty is that the game, as it has long been understood and played, is finished....

First, this Latin American outsider seems determined to break the Italian monopoly on governance of the universal church....

Second, Francis clearly wants to enhance the lay role -- not just in ceremonial ways, but in the nuts and bolts task of reforming the Vatican and governing the church....

Third, Francis is giving rise to a new culture of accountability, moving toward a more Anglo-Saxon understanding that "accountability" means somebody can actually get fired....

Fourth, whether it's a matter of instinct or conscious strategy, Francis seems to be repositioning the church in the political center, after a fairly lengthy period in which many observers perceived it to be drifting to the right.

Veteran Italian journalist Sandro Magister recently observed, "It cannot be an accident that after 120 days of his pontificate, Pope Francis has not yet spoken the words abortion, euthanasia, homosexual marriage," adding that "this silence of his is another of the factors that explain the benevolence of secular public opinion."

... The shift to the center also seems clear in ecclesiastical terms. In Rome, the perception is that power brokers associated with moderate positions, such as Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras, coordinator of the commission of cardinals, are on the ascendant, while those linked to neoconservative or traditionalist stances, such as Cardinal Raymond Burke of the United States, head of the Vatican's supreme court, are in decline.

The church may not veer sharply in its political allegiances, but there seems a clear preference for the social Gospel over the culture wars.

These points alone are arguably significant enough to constitute a "revolution," but there's likely more to come, especially when the commissions tasked with studying reform report in....
Related (and VERY interesting): Pat Archbold, "10 Quotes That Prove The Pope Is A Liberal" (National Catholic Register, August 5, 2013). In this piece, Archbold takes ten quotations that appear to portray Pope Francis in a very "liberal," revisionist, or hermeneutic-of-rupture light, and then aims to show the Catholic faithful that they can breathe easy after all, because the ten quotations are actually from Benedict XVI, and there is really no break in continuity after all! (Me: WHAT in the blazes are people THINKING???!!!)

[Hat tip Fr. J. Martin, SJ, via M. Liccione]


4 comments:








I am not Spartacus

said...

Mr. Allen seems to be praising the Americanism of the modernists as actualised by the V2 popes.

Here are a few trenchant teachings from great Leo XIII to be found in Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae

We, therefore, on account of our apostolic office, having to guard the integrity of the faith and the security of the faithful...,

The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. ...

We cannot consider as altogether blameless the silence which purposely leads to the omission or neglect of some of the principles of Christian doctrine...

Let it be far from anyone's mind to suppress for any reason any doctrine that has been handed down. Such a policy would tend rather to separate Catholics from the Church than to bring in those who differ. There is nothing closer to our heart than to have those who are separated from the fold of Christ return to it, but in no other way than the way pointed out by Christ...

The rule of life laid down for Catholics is not of such a nature that it cannot accommodate itself to the exigencies of various times and places...

But, beloved son, in this present matter of which we are speaking, there is even a greater danger and a more manifest opposition to Catholic doctrine and discipline in that opinion of the lovers of novelty, according to which they hold such liberty should be allowed in the Church..

These dangers, viz., the confounding of license with liberty, the passion for discussing and pouring contempt upon any possible subject, the assumed right to hold whatever opinions one pleases upon any subject and to set them forth in print to the world, have so wrapped minds in darkness that there is now a greater need of the Church's teaching office than ever before, lest people become unmindful both of conscience and of duty...

..Finally, not to delay too long, it is stated that the way and method hitherto in use among Catholics for bringing back those who have fallen away from the Church should be left aside and another one chosen, in which matter it will suffice to note that it is not the part of prudence to neglect that which antiquity in its long experience has approved and which is also taught by apostolic authority. The scriptures teach us that it is the duty of all to be solicitous for the salvation of one's neighbor, according to the power and position of each. The faithful do this by religiously discharging the duties of their state of life, by the uprightness of their conduct, by their works of Christian charity and by earnest and continuous prayer to God.

On the other hand, those who belong to the clergy should do this by an enlightened fulfillment of their preaching ministry, by the pomp and splendor of ceremonies...


To whom do we turn a sympathetic Catholic ear towards, Pope Leo XII or the most recent of our revolutionary Popes?

Continuity of continuity, said Ecclesiastes continuity of continuity, and all is continuity





I am not Spartacus

said...

Revolutions are funny things. Some are launched by one group but hijacked by others, as in Egypt, where liberal democrats have become bystanders to the real contest between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood. Some are born amid great idealism that quickly becomes a smokescreen for hypocrisy, as in the various communist uprisings.

Still others fizzle out, while a handful eventually produce new systems that, despite their flaws, really do change the world -- the French and American revolutions, for instance.

Perhaps because he was so delighted with it, Mr. Allen omitted mention of the V2 revolutionary rocket that destroyed Tradition.

But as to revolutions, here is a great point made by the redoubtable Prof. Roberto Mattei in The Second Vatican Council (an unwritten story):

Minorities, when they organize, always do so discretely, and sometimes secretly. It is not inappropriate to speak, in this sense, about conventicles and conspiracies. Today, in order to belittle a historical study, critics accuse it of leaning toward a "conspiracy theory." To admit the existence of conspiracies is simply to admit that history is shaped by men's freedom and it is not the result of a World Spirit or Reason that is immanent in history, of which men are only the instruments. Actually, there is no major historical event, starting from the two major revolutions of the modern era, the French and the Russian, that was not started by more or less successful "conspiracies....

The must read author goes on to quote from the 12/03/1962 diary entry of Bishop Borromeo:

We are in the full flowering of modernism. Not the naive, frank, aggressive and combative modernism of the days of Pius X, no. Today's modernism is subtler, more disguised, more penetrating, and more hypocritical. It does not want to stir up another storm; It wants the whole Church to find that it has become modernist without noticing...Thus today's modernism salvages all of Christianity, its dogmas and its organization, but empties it all out and turns it on its head. It is no longer a religion that comes from God, but a religion that comes directly from man and indirectly from the divine element that is in man

(end of quotes)

I remember reading the history of the FDR revolution by John Flynn ( I think that was his name) in which he described what FDR did as a revolution passing by in the night as there was effected by the collectivist conspirators an American revolution within the form of our government and, essentially, that is what happened, similarly, to Holy Mother Church due to the success of the modernist conspirators and the failure of the naive conservatives to war against them and to walk out of the Council.

And even to this day the conservative catholic collective is, at best, naive and unorganised when it comes to the continuing revolution





JM

said...

Pat Archbold wants to make Pope Francis seem brilliant by making him a mouthpiece for Ratzinger. Much like Obama co-opting Reagan? Also, it needs to be noted that Ratzinger wrote and spoke for decades, and tried to synthesize different arms of the Church. Thus his corpus can be cited to approve many, many things. But the recent episode is quite telling. On gays Fancis did not quote *to effect* Ratzinger's CDF document, but said, "Who am I to judge?"

The needed revolution in the Church is one where Popes come to be considered not divinely-inspired prophets, or leaders of new movements, but divinely-entrusted leaders. Their charge is to defend the deposit of faith, not reinvent or rephrase it for new generations. The minute people talk abou the need for new modes and organizations, you can bet a mess lies ahead if you are talking Catholicism. It is never hard to clearly explain timeless ideas if you take time and care: it is hard to make them compatible with opposing world views. That is what the Church ever since Vatican II seems hellbent on doing. "Like us, accept us, embrace us! We are OK!!" A people's pope is like a people's party. How about God's pope? WHat a concept? Of course the media would hate it, therefore...





Anonymous Bosch

said...

JM,

Amen to that!