Category Archives: Catholic Church

The Pope: Do not remain prisoners of ideas, open yourselves to new things

Consider your bicycle.

In Santa Marta [his Vatican City house], Francis warns against the risk of “rigidity”, “There are those who ‘distill’ the law and transform it into ideology”. “The Church is like a bike in equilibrium, if it stops it falls down”

It’s his pitch for an ever-changing church. All is flux to Francis? Like Heraclitus, who was active around 500 B.C. and is . . . 

. . . best known for his doctrines that things are constantly changing (universal flux), that opposites coincide (unity of opposites), and that fire is the basic material of the world.

The exact interpretation of these doctrines is controversial, as is the inference often drawn from this theory that in the world as Heraclitus conceives it contradictory propositions must be true.

We sincerely hope not, though Francis has an oracular way about him and as quick a draw of a metaphor as we have seen for a long time, in or out of papal office. But what of this?

. . . the Pontiff warns against the risk of “rigidity”, which leads to placing oneself at the center and thus remain untouched before the works of the Holy Spirit and insensitive to new things.

Well, it’s a generic enough statement. And who wants to be rigid? But can it be that he’s gone oracular again, using a phrase familar to him:

The doctors of the law [not found in John 8: 51-59, his text for the day], [he said]. . .  were incapable of “discerning the signs of the times”.

Oh.

They were slaves of words and ideas, Bergoglio [in an Italian publication, where familiarity breeds if not contempt, then a shorthand usage which we Americans eschew] observes in his homily reported by Vatican News.

“Slaves of words and ideas.” Red lights flashing. Slaves. What’s worse?

“They keep going back to the same questions [we’re dying to know some of these, but he’s holding back about it], they are incapable of leaving that closed world, they are prisoners of ideas.

We get it. And we will figure out what those ideas are, don’t worry.

They received a law that was life but they “distilled” it, they transformed it into ideology and thus they toss and turn it and are unable to move beyond. Anything new for them is a threat.”

These are people in a bad way. Let us not be deceived by them. But tell us, Francis, who they are. Please.

Now as a matter of fact, someone has ventured in that very direction. He is the noted “Fr. Z,” Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, regarding a March, 2015 homily. in which he offered a comment, “a snip from an off-the-cuff, non-Magisterial remark,” in which Francis spoke “disparaging words about ‘doctors of the law.’”

Someting was missing, he thought. The very thing I am wondering:

. . . it seems to me that he has set up a straw man: who the heck are these “doctors of the law” whom he has been disparaging with some frequency?

I think he means those who argue that people who are divorced and civilly remarried should not be admitted to Holy Communion because they are objectively living in a state that is inconsistent with our understanding of the Eucharist.

But he won’t come out and say so. It’s not what you want in a homily anyhow, hearing about someone the homilist resents. But Francis does it a lot. He did it in 2015, he did it just the other day.

It’s unseemly. His objectors have registered “dubia,” roughly doubts, about Francis’ read on the state of things as regards marriage the sacrament. He feels put upon but does not answer these “doubts,” these requests for clarification. Why the heck not?

Who knows?

via The Pope: not to remain prisoners of ideas, let’s open ourselves to new things – La Stampa

Increasing Vocations isn’t Rocket Science

What’s happening in Lincoln NE, Wichita KS, and Charlotte NC dioceses? A lot.

Post-Vatican Two liturgical reform slammed by then-future Benedict XVI

It’s a loser, said the cardinal.

“The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation. In place of the liturgy, fruit of a continual development, they have placed a fabricated liturgy. They have deserted a vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication. They did not want to continue the development, the organic maturing of something living through the centuries, and they replaced it, in the manner of technical production, by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment.”

(Ratzinger in Revue Theologisches, Vol. 20, Feb. 1990, pgs. 103-104)

The ineffable arrogance of the we-know-best school. Fixer-uppers interrupted the process. Didn’t even just speed it up. Nagging suspicion: They knew what they were doing.

Today’s Catholic liturgy “is sick,” says cardinal in charge

He is Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, appointed in 2014 by Pope Francis. His book is

From which I quote:

[C]elebrations [of the mass] become tiring because they unfold in noisy chattering. The liturgy is sick. The most striking symptom . . .  is perhaps the omnipresence of the microphone. It has become so indispensable that one wonders how priests were able to celebrate before it was invented. . . . I sometimes have the impression that celebrants fear the free, personal interior prayer of the faithful so much that they talk from one end of the ceremony to the other so as not to lose control of them.

They certainly are loathe to let the air go dead. It’s as if they were on radio, rather than TV, though for that matter, TV announcers do jabber away. But you don’t need the sound while watching he World Series in a bar.

Do not presume that the cardinal is breaking new ground for himself (or others, such as James Hitchcock in his Recovery of the Sacred). He has set liberal hearts pulsing with alarm in numerous public statements to this effect. But this new book of his has some choice descriptions, as in this about participating in the liturgy as urged by Vatican II:

Truly, it is about becoming participants in a sacred mystery that infinitely surpasses us: the mystery of the death of Jesus out of love for the Father and for us. Christians have the . . . obligation to be open to an act that is so mysterious that they will never be able to perform it by themselves: the sacrifice of Christ. In the thought of the [Vatican II] Council Fathers, the liturgy is a divine action, an actio Christi. In the presence of it, we are overcome with a silence of admiration and reverence. [Struck dumb, as it were.] The quality of our silence is the measure of the quality of our . . . participation. [Huge departure here from current practice]

All in all, in this passage as throughout the book, he strikes a spiritual note. He is, I have concluded, of the spiritual wing of the church, as opposed to the social action wing led by (whom else?) Pope Francis, with whom he is on a collision course, to judge by several well publicized incidents and several major controverted issues.

He quotes then-Cardinal Ratzinger in a 1985 book, “[Some have lost] sight of what is distinctive to the liturgy, which does not come from what we do but from the fact that something is taking place here that all of us together cannot ‘make’.”

Idea is, we go to church (mass) not to do something but to witness it. It’s a happening, and a quite mysterious one at that.

The late Robert McClory, in his Radical Disciple: Father Pfleger, St. Sabina Church, and the Fight for Social Justicecites a St. Sabina parishioner on Chicago’s South Side who supported what its famous activist pastor, Fr. Michael Pfleger, does but stopped attending mass there, going to another parish. McClory couldn’t get much more out of the man, who apparently wanted something more rewarding in a personal-spiritual sense.

So I concluded, anyhow, having participated in one of Fr. Pfleger’s three-hour liturgies and found it fascinating but hardly something that would keep me going on an apostolic venture — or on the humdrum daily fulfilling of the duties of my state of life.

More later from the book on silence by the cardinal who speaks up when he thinks it’s important.

Pius X Catholics hold off for now on their return to Rome

The breakaway traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) would rather not return to full communion with Rome right now, but maybe later. �Meanwhile, some decks were cleared, as regrding who’s in charge:

The July 19 statement . . . �underlined the group’s dedication to Catholic Church, saying that “the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs only to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth.”

They also reiterated their deep suspicion of Vatican II:

The SSPX proclaimed its determination to uphold the teachings of the Church, but said that these teachings must be interpreted in the light of the “uninterrupted Magisterium.” The statement drew the line at “all the novelties of the Second Vatican Council which remain tainted with errors.”

So if they come back to Rome, it will be with an agenda which will be mightily displeasing to progressives.

via Pius X Catholics hold off for now on their return to Rome.

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