Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weigel's striking watchword on the papacy

I have not seen or heard George Weigel criticize any pope during his lifetime, except perhaps to mention that Pope St. John Paul II was never a micromanager, and that this was likely the price to be paid for the benefits of a papacy with great intellectual creativity and public impact. Yet both in his Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999) and in the Letters columns of the March 2015 issue of First Things, he claims the words of Melchior Cano, whose theology helped shape the Council of Trent, as his watchword in correspondence and conversation with and about the pope.

In the latter (p. 10), he quotes Cano as follows:
Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See -- they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations."
And he adds: "As it was with John Paul II and Benedict XVI, that has been my watchword in correspondence and conversation with Pope Francis, and in my writing on his pontificate; and it will continue to be so."

Hmmmm ... Okay ... A stalwart exemplar, no doubt.


Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Claim the middle ground for yourself, and then condemn everyone who disagrees with you as an extremist. Catholics residing in liberal democracies tend to value moderation as suitable conduct for their leaders (and Grub Street hacks who strike leadership poses), even as they lead personal lives of extreme dissipation. So maybe it is skill in hypocrisy that they value, not moderation.

bill bannon said...

Edit bill bannon said...
Weigel did flatter Pope St. John Paul II by saying in the beginning of " Witness to Hope" that John Paul was the
" most informed man on earth" even though he never read papers. Then in his recent book, he said John Paul had no idea of the extent of the abuse problem until 2002. Which is it? He was the most informed man on earth or he was oblivious. But wasn't it his job to know since he knew enough in 1985 to appoint a priest to look into the problem in the US based on the Louisiana case that was on 60 Minutes on national tv. the 1980's. That book by the way mentions the sex abuse scandal almost not at all. If you came down from Mars and read it, you would have no idea that it occurred....unless you could divine much from nano fragments. Catholic writing has much subliminal flattery. That's how a writer gets repeat book commissions from a papacy. If Weigel in "Witness to Hope" did an entire chapter on the sex abuse period as was logical, would he have gotten access for the second book?

6:43 PM

Sheldon said...

"Claim the middle ground for yourself ..."

Right. Everyone driving faster than me is a maniac, and everyone driving slower is an old fart.

JM said...

"As it was with John Paul II and Benedict XVI, that has been my watchword in correspondence and conversation with Pope Francis..."

His *conversation* with Francis, who cannot speak English? I think the amount of dialog and conversation American Catholics actually have with Rome may be greatly exaggerated, as I also suspect that American in their 'explanations' of things very often see what they want to see. What is in fact going on is close to impossible to know. Only the final results are apparent. And since the 60s, the results have been unhappy.