Tuesday, February 03, 2015

A provocative defense against the charge of a "pandering" pontiff

Dr. Maike Hickson, a convert to the Catholic Faith, has written an open letter to Pope Francis as a sort of Cri de Coeur for clear leadership. In many ways it is a thought provoking piece. In one place she says:
"I am a convert of ten years, born in 1972 and raised in Germany and now living in the United States. I came out of a world that is now more and more subverting and invading, if not permeating, the life of the Catholic Church and a world to which you now seem to bow down and to pander."
Hmmmmmm ...

Yet one of our own readers writes in with the following observation about this very statement:
The palpable frustration felt by so many tends to obscure a certain possibility. The Pope may not be kissing up to the world, or trying to sabotage the Church. He may just be sincere. His whole approach, if we are honest, is that of Vatican II. He is trying to woo a world that he thinks is just not all that bad. People are well-intentioned, but just muddled. If that is so, trying to speak their language is not betrayal but empathy.
Again: Hmmmmmm ....

The reader goes on:
But [Hickson's] is the FOX News mentality, and I agree with [mainline conservatives] here. In the final analysis she may sound slightly naive. Such phrases communicate only something about our own exhaustion. If we are frustrated, angry, or bitter, it should be at the institutional Church Francis represents and of which he is its natural born child. He is not an aberration but a growth. 50 years of Vatican II, of canonizations of John Paul the Great and Pope John, of seeing Papa Ratzi[nger] as the Second Coming of Thomas Aquinas and proposing the likes of [Evangelical convert apologists] as updates of Fulton Sheen or Joseph Fenton... Decades of hardly blinking at gay priests or parish libraries stuffed with titles by Richard O'Brien, Raymond E. Brown, and Sister Joan... Years of bewailing bad liturgies, anti-Jesus Jesuits, anti-Catholic Catholic universities and unbiblical Biblical scholars... And we think the Pope a sudden phenomenon, an usurper versus a carefully-groomed prototype? Is Francis pandering? No, probably not in his mind. No wonder he and his fellow more liberal Catholics take offense: they are not pandering, but simply being. Just who they are. We may have provoked a schism-worthy situation simply by being afraid to be less than deferential to papal authority, and now we have no place in the pecking order of a hen house afflicted with heretical gradualism. Its like allowing public school to educate your kids, gushing over all their friends, both better and worse, and then accusing them of pandering to their queer friends when they refuse to comment negatively on them or decide to mimmic them. Just what did you expect?
[Diclaimer: Rules 7-9]


10 comments:








Ralph Roister-Doister

said...

The frantic efforts of Grub Street hacks to “rescue” Francis from his own utterances have reached the point where they reveal more about the Grubbers than about Francis. Even the measured words of "our own reader" reveal a certain reflexive tendency to deny the evidence, and make excuses for "papa." Rather than face the truth (or reveal what they already know of it), the Grubbers will carry on as if they believe that the man suffers from a kind of Tourette’s Syndrome by which he involuntarily blurts dubious remarks on matters of Catholic teaching. But it is absurd to think that a man of Francis’s stature is so thoughtlessly and spasmodically inarticulate that he needs clown cars of Chestertonian poseurs and galoots in cowboy hats to rescue him from his hapless self. It is far more sensible to believe that the man says what he means, and means what he says, and doesn’t give a tinker's fart what “self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagians” think about it, because they are not the audience to whom he is pitching. No carping, no obfuscating, no “buts” about it: Pope Bergoglio’s supposed blurtings are those of a third world liberationist and progressive.

Is that surprising? Are you shocked? Baloney!





Ralph Roister-Doister

said...

On second reading, I think the remarks of "our own reader" deserve much more credit than I gave them in my first comment. I take them back with apologies.

But not the rest of it :)





c matt

said...

Reader has a point. Francis is more a product, symptom or result of the woes in the V II Church, not its cause.





Anonymous

said...

"The palpable frustration felt by so many tends to obscure a certain possibility. The Pope may not be kissing up to the world, or trying to sabotage the Church. He may just be sincere. His whole approach, if we are honest, is that of Vatican II."

Ok, but then the question is: was Vatican II really true to the Holy Spirit? And, should one not recognize at some point that this 'opening' to the world is contrary to the Gospel, aren't we left to wonder if one is really invisibly (though sincerely) ignorant and, instead, happily on board with the new orientation?





Anonymous Bosch

said...

"... was Vatican II really true to the Holy Spirit?"

Depends what you mean? Were the machinations of the partisans of the Germans to get the Rhine to flow into the Tiber and hijack the Council of the Holy Spirit? Probably not. Was the final product of the Council, it's various documents protected from formal error by the Holy Spirit? Probably so. Does this mean the documents are perfect in every respect? Obviously not. God works through fallible human beings in often unpredictable strange ways.





Anonymous

said...

Anonymous Bosch,

Do you think the turning and opening to the world was of the Holy Spirit, when the same Spirit through Holy Scripture and Tradition teaches time and again that we are at war with the world, that the spirit of the world is at odds with the Truth?





BenYachov

said...

What can I say? I am speechless(well almost)! I am jawdropped! I am shocked!

I love this letter of Dr. Hickson's.

It's respectful, charitable, constructive & too the point. Now this is a Pope Francis critic I can like!!!

No snarky cheap shots (like calling him Pope Flaculance & comparing him to Judas).

Dare I say even someone as scrupulous & adverse to even the appearance of Pope bashing like Michael Voris might even approve?

I am not sure I would totally agree with "The reader"'s sentiments but I like his reasonable tone.

Cheers.





c matt

said...

"Protected from formal error"

I suppose that means that an ambiguous document, which can be interpreted in either an orthodox or heretical way, is free from formal error. Seems to fit many VII docs to a tee.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Anonymous,

A.B. will have to answer for himself or herself, but here's my two cents worth:

"World" means different things. The Greek term translated "world" could be "kosmos" or "aion" (for which a better translation would be "age," as in this "present evil world"), though even the "kosmos" can be understood in certain contexts as evil and fallen.

On the one hand you have verses like John 3:16 - "For God so LOVED the world [kosmos] ..."

On the other hand you have verses like 1 Jn 2:15b - "... If anyone LOVES the world [kosmos], the love of the Father is not in him."

Given this biblical ambivalence about the meaning of "world," I would say that Vatican II's "openness to the world" is similarly ambiguous.

If the phrase is interpreted as referring to a new openness to affirming the positive goodness of God's good creation, or even the capacity for redeeming (in the sense of bringing the Gospel to bear on ) many regions of human cultural life, such as education, government, business, the arts, etc., then I would say that's positive, and one might well see the Holy Spirit behind such an understanding.

On the other hand, if it is simply left, as it often was, to be interpreted ambiguously as also involving an open-ended acceptance of whatever the modern world has to offer, whether corrupted by sin and distorted by perversion or not, then it could well be of the Devil.

I think there is pretty much a consensus that one of the difficulties of many statements yielded by Vatican II, since they were often the product of compromise between traditional and progressive factions, is that they suffer from some ambiguity, as Cardinal Kasper himself has acknowledged.





Ralph Roister-Doister

said...

"I think there is pretty much a consensus that one of the difficulties of many statements yielded by Vatican II, since they were often the product of compromise between traditional and progressive factions, is that they suffer from some ambiguity, as Cardinal Kasper himself has acknowledged."

To the extent that such words are ambiguous, they are useless, as likely to mislead and corrupt as to guide and inspire. They should be dropped down the Vatican Well of Forgetfulness, where most of the pre-Vatican II documents now reside. You can also drop Kasper and Bergoglio down that well, and we will all be the better for it.