Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Bones of Contention

Damian Thompson writes today on questions raised from His Holiness's latest Exhortation. Yes there are many. Here are a few of mine...

Question 1. Does the holder of the Office of the Papacy own it? Is it his possession or is he custodian and guardian of both the Office and the Deposit of Faith?

Question 2. The Lord Jesus Christ, Victorious Head of the Church, His Bride, calls every Pope to conversion and indeed all human beings to conversion. We are called as Catholics to continual conversion of life. The Office of the Papacy is not a human being, so what does the Pope mean?

Question 3. What would a 'conversion' of the Papacy look like? It's not a loft.

Question 4. Does Our Lord Jesus Christ get any say in this at all or is it something His Holiness would like to do since His Holiness is asking conversion of others? Has Our Lord been consulted? Has St Peter? My my, Your Holiness. Going by your words it would appear that you are ambitious, indeed!

A reader has also sent me an image of an interesting, if theologically problematic Rosary obtained from Fatima (of all places!). Pope Francis, Your Holiness, I am your spiritual child in God, but even if nobody around you sanctioned these Rosaries, you and the circus that surrounds you are beginning to terrify me...


Rhoslyn said...

I think that the frenzy that surrounds Pope Francis at the moment is a bit like that frenzy which surrounded Padre Pio (obviously, I wasn't alive at the time of Padre Pio though!).
I don't think it is his fault and it seems as if he is doing quite a bit of 'damage control' recently, which is good.

I really don't think that Pope Francis had anything to do with this absurd rosary. Whoever made this rosary does not understand what a rosary is for. They are like the people who wear them like a fashion accessory - they look stupid and everyone who knows how to use a rosary thinks they're an idiot.

Gloria deo said...

You could (and probably still can) find those kind or rosaries and religious nik-naks with Benedict or JP2's image on them in my most marian shrines etc when they were in office - so your comment here comes across as rather snide!

The papacy (as an institution or office) is held by a person, and the way the institution is office is exercised can continue to reform and renew just as it has done so ever since it was inaugurated by St Peter. Such developments will naturally be influenced by the wider church as well as the person in office. None of this effects dogma or the deposit of faith. Francis is suggesting the next logical step after JP2 invited reflection on how the papal ministry is exercised in the modern era. It's the continuity of reform in continuity (which Benedict spoke about) being put into practice!

I must say your constant not-picking and finding pedantic fault with anything Francis says or does is getting wearisome. Are you heading down the road to schism? You seem to (not so subtlety) suggesting Francis is leading us into error?

Anonymous said...

I don't like papal rosaries. Even when I was at the peak of my ultramontanism, as fresh convert under JPII, just before he died, the JPII rosary I got from my father somehow unnerved me. Less is more. The papal "we" means the man's individuality should be submerged not augmented. What is it with this "humble" papacy?

-- Codgitator

Martina Katholik said...

“Many times I think of Saint Peter. He committed one of the worst sins, that is he denied Christ, and even with this sin they made him Pope.”

„They“ made him Pope.
Everybody could read this on the website of the Vatican since the beginning of August. In other languages the meaning is the same.

“They” made Saint Peter Pope.

Martina Katholik said...

Five-pointed stars on the cross of the rosary close beside Pope Francis´ picture...

A Catholic Comes Home said...

Is that the Holy Father on the crucifix?

Martina Katholik said...

Regarding question Nr. 3 I think the liberals get Francis right as it was usually the case in the last months:

At the level of detail, Francis hints at reform in numerous arenas, including a blunt call for a "conversion of the papacy" toward a "sound decentralization." That includes at least one seemingly clear reversal of previous policy: assigning teaching authority to bishops' conferences, as opposed to a 1998 ruling under John Paul II denying them precisely that role.

Not That Guy said...

Is it too simplistic to think that this is a very confused Papacy because precisely the reasons we ought to be ultramontane - like hoping the Pope maintains teaching authority unto himself and doesn't give it to bishops' conferences - are being lost, while an excessive focus on the Pope's personal piety and opinions has given rise to a new Petrine 'piety' from dissenters ?

Katalina said...

I as well am confused by some of the things the Pope said in his latest writing but it is not the same thing as an encyclical letter or Apostolic Constitution. I also am tired of the nit picking and criticism although I do see some issue. The Personality Cult thing is something that the Catholic and secular media set up and it serves Francis no good at all be because he is only human.

Stephen M said...

I think it best to sit this papacy out. We will go back 20 years, things will be a mess, dissent will be everywhere and diocesan seminaries will be as empty as they are in the Borgoglio's former diocese. There is no point in engaging in the battles. The man seeks to do as much damage as he can. We have had this type of pope before.

On his death things will be a mess, but the Church will still be there and the Cardinals will elect someone to clean it up and most likely it will be one of those who was gifted his preisthood under Benedict XVI. In the meantime let us live Catholic lives with our Catholic God, and let the pope call us all the names he wants!

Peter Forth said...

In some ways Evangelii Gaudium summarizes what Francis has being saying for the last six months. Francis has a great interest in gossip. He often preaches about it. He seems to like giving off the cuff remarks that start a lot of gossip. In a way we have seen the rolling out of this document ever since Francis became Pope.

Francis loves repetition. This is not a one- time document for people to occasionally quote.

17. Here I have chosen to present some guidelines which can encourage and guide the whole Church in a new phase of evangelization, one marked by enthusiasm and vitality.

18. I have dealt extensively with these topics, with a detail which some may find excessive. But I have done so, not with the intention of providing an exhaustive treatise but simply as a way of showing their important practical implications for the Church’s mission today. All of them help give shape to a definite style of evangelization which I ask you to adopt in every activity which you undertake.

25. I am aware that nowadays documents do not arouse the same interest as in the past and that they are quickly forgotten. Nevertheless, I want to emphasize that what I am trying to express here has a programmatic significance and important consequences. I hope that all communities will devote the necessary effort to advancing along the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as they presently are. “Mere administration” can no longer be enough.[21] Throughout the world, let us be “permanently in a state of mission”

Francis is certainly a leader, i.e. one who influences people at the peripheries by his words and deeds. However, this is not only his vision statement but also very much a management document designed to create a workplace culture:

27. I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.

I think we are seeing a Pope who understands how to be a manager, how to create a workplace culture for the church’s employees.

Georgina Parkes said...

32. …The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated. Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach.

It is astonishing that Cardinal Marc Ouellet has not yet been confirmed in his post as prefect of that all-important congregation….Cardinal Canizares has not been confirmed, but he is expected to head back to Spain as Archbishop of Madrid.

We now know that Francis decided upon the Council of Cardinals and his Secretary of State within days of being elected, but took months to put all of that into place.

A big move to redo excessive centralization would be to give responsibility for the election of bishops and approval of liturgical texts to bishop’s conferences. That would explain why Oscar has being saying that the old document on the Papal Curia will not be the basis for the new document, as well as why appointments have not been confirmed.

EuropeanCatholic said...

I am going to read the Exhortation in full over the weekend (or at least try to).

When it was published, I scanned through it on the Vatican website and two things (so far!) frightened me immediately.

The first part is on the so-called "conversion of the papacy" and especially this part

"The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”.[36] Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated.[37] Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach".

Given what is going on in Germany at the moment, it would hardly seem to be an opportune time to talk about giving episcopal conferences doctrinal authority!!!!

And secondly, this part worries me too:

"The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.[51] These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness".

What does that mean? It certainly has given liberals hope that divorced and remarried Catholics will soon be granted to receive the Eucharist. Archbishop Muller's recent intervention notwithstanding.

Some months into this papacy, I cannot work out Francis.

I am reading a lot of his writings and sermons. I find some of it great and other not so great. It does seem to me that he is very single-minded.

When I see him on the tv or even in Rome a few weeks ago, I see his enthusiasm and warmth. The photos of him with the severely disfigured indvidiuals was very moving.

But in all honesty, I cannot shake my feeling that something is not quite right. There has been too much strangness since our beloved Pope Benedict resigned and Francis was elected Pope or Bishop of Rome as he keeps telling us.

I don't write this to cause offence, but he seems to have a vision of the Church and the Papacy which he intends to impose on us all come what may.

Finally, the enemies of the Church and therefore the enemies of Christ have been emboldened by the last few months. Irrespecive of Francis' popularity, that is not a good outcome.

May the Lord forgive me for anything that I ought not have to written here.

Lynda said...

The Pope has said many things that are very disturbing. In a formal document, more so. In your second example, why would the truth that the Eucharist is the fullness of sacramental lifledger lead to the strange idea that the sacrament is a "prize for the perfect"? Moreover, the reception of the Holy Eucharist is clearly widely abused for some decades by people receiving that do not go to confession and cannot be in the necessary state of grace. Surely, the crucial truth that one cannot get any spiritual "nourishment" or "medicine" (rather the opposite) from the Eucharist unless one receives in a state of grace, needs emphasis? That it is a most grave offence against God to receive Our Lord in a state of mortal sin badly needs to be conveyed to Catholics. Surely, everything possible needs to be done to stop this sacrilege on such a monumental scale??

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