Monday, October 07, 2013

Does the Pope sometimes channel Oprah?

"The Pope of Surprises," Fr. Z. calls him. He believes in hell, he believes in the devil, and he excommunicates heretics. But then, sometimes, he can turn around and say things like this, which make you scratch your head and wonder if he's channelling Oprah (or Barney the Dinosaur, or the Care Bears):
“The Son of God became incarnate in the souls of men to instill [or "incarnate in order to instill in the souls of men"] the feeling of brotherhood. All are brothers and all children of God. Abba, as he called the Father. I will show you the way, he said. Follow me and you will find the Father and you will all be his children and he will take delight in you. Agape, the love of each one of us for the other, from the closest to the furthest, is in fact the only way that Jesus has given us to find the way of salvation and of the Beatitudes.” – Pope Francis
I thought that the Son of God became incarnate, not merely "in the souls of men," but became flesh in order to do something for us that we could never do for ourselves -- namely, to die for our sins. But here comes our universal pastor telling us that the Son of God came to instill a "feeling of brotherhood."

A "feeling of brotherhood," of course, is what Beethoven's 5th Symphony is all about, which offers an orchestral setting to Schiller's famous Ode to Joy with its "Alle Menschen werden Brüder," to yield that glorious, frenzied Deistic proto-Masonic ode to the brotherhood of man based on man's inherent nobility in defiance of any recognition of the scandal of Christ and His cross.

But wait! There's more! I always thought that when Jesus said "follow me," He included a tiny caveat that whoever wants to be His disciple must "deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me," and that "following" Jesus meant turning away from sin and embracing a life of discipleship: "If you love me, keep my commandments," He said (Jn 14:15). But here, the Holy Father tells us that by following Jesus -- which, in the context, seems to mean no more than having "a feeling of brotherhood" -- one will automatically become the object of the Father's delight. No mention of any requirement on our part. I scratch my head.

Finally there's this: I always thought that the "the way of salvation" and genuine "beatitude" meant being delivered from sin and its natural consequence of death by regeneration through faith, repentance, and incorporation into the Body of Christ through the waters of baptism, death of the old nature, and resurrection to new life, both in this world and the next. But here the Holy Father's focus is purely immanent and this-worldly: he explains the "only" way of salvation as lying in "love of each one of us for the other." This, of course, is a very good thing, but not something one could not have garnered from Barney and Friends or the Care Bears.

The danger of such statements is that it can not only undermine the confidence of the faithful -- as in Louie Verrechio's recent fisk entitled "Game On" (Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II, October 3, 2013), or Michael Matt and Christopher Ferrara's discussion, "Pope Francis and THE Interview" (The Remnant Forum, September 28, 2013), or Janet E. Smith in "Are We Obsessed?" (On the Square, September 25, 2013) -- but leave lapsed Catholics indifferent about their relationship to the Church, and confuse the objectives of the New Evangelization.

I sometimes worry that the essence of the Gospel will be reduced to "Don't worry, be happy." [Hat tip to Anon.]


I am not Spartacus said...

After the 1960s Jebbie has completely razed the bastions of the Triumphalist Church, I predict that Coca Cola will outbid Pepsi and win the right to rename the Holy See.

Love without limit would not be a bad choice as it hints at orthodoxy while delivering Chaos.

"Enter in the rear and leave your judgment in your car."

Coke knows how to speak to modern man and make him feel happy and Coke helps man to feel a part of something much larger than himself.

No, not religion; that is too divisive. I mean something like, LOVE. Isn't God Love?

You can't tell me He isn't love.

And the Honey Bees? Aren't they part of His creation? You can't tell me that they aren't and you can't tell me that they are not acting according to their nature just like men who love men are acting according to their nature and who judges the Honey Bee ?

And Apple Trees. Who can say that God didn't make the little green apples or that it doesn't rain in Indianapolis in the summertime?

And the Turtle Doves; my God, the Turtle Doves.

Look, even the greatest actor ever, Robert Duvall sang about Doves in Tender Mercies

No. The Pope is on to something here...

Anonymous said...

Our family is being torn apart by someone who channels Oprah too and seems to be a believer in the “I’m ok, You’re ok” of the transactional analysis crowd. One of her favorite authors is Eckhart Tolle I understand that Oprah is a fan of his as well. My prayer is that we are all delivered from the evil of these “joyful” people who are “freed from their past”
How very sad I am to read these quotes of Pope Francis.


Anonymous said...

incarnate in the souls of men is a MISTRANSLATION

c matt said...

There was some correction in the translation that "incarnate in the souls of men" should actually have been "became incarnate in order to instill in the souls of men". I am not a native Italian speaker, but am a native Spanish (Argentine) speaker, and the latter interperetation seems more accurate. That said, I don't think it makes it that much better, but at least shows the HF believes in the incarnation as traditionally understood.

Ron Rolling said...

Kind 'blog author, forgive me for asking for a very small correction. It should be Beethoven's 9th and not his 5th, as you have written. Also feel free to delete this comment if/when the correction is made.

I am not Spartacus said...

O, yes; the correction and explanation that is always necessary when Bergoglio speaks.

Fast approaching for even the Girondists in the Conservative Catholic Collective is the time for scattering and we can be sure this will all be solemnly documented by Grub Street.

The Gelaro-wearers, the lot of them chosen by Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, elected the Jacobin who, in his person, actualises the new theology humanistic revolution they succored and nursed.

And now that the Conservative Catholic Collective ( I almost feel sorry for the well-read Baron of The Brick By Brick Bund) is seeing just how profoundly and to what depth the revolution struck Bergoglio, they will be scattered.

The Van is waiting...