Reading Between the Lines

Don't forget the 'Gift of Updating the Church for the Modern Age'
Courtesy of Vatican Radio

My comments, in blue.
'"Who are we to close the doors" to the Holy Spirit? This was the question that Pope Francis repeated this morning during his homily at Mass at Casa Santa Marta, a homily dedicated to the conversion of the first pagans to Christianity. St Peter and the Apostles did not believe converting people was solemn nonsense, then. The Holy Spirit, he reiterated, is what makes the Church to go "beyond the limits, go ever forward". The limits of what, forward where?

The Spirit blows where it wills, but one of the most common temptations of those who have faith is to bar its path and drive it in one direction or another. Quite. And, for instance, the Latin Mass was never formally abrogated. A temptation that was not alien even in the early days of the Church, as the experience of Simon Peter in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles shows.
I would like my Baptism in the pre-concilliar rite of the Church
A community of pagans welcomes the announcement of the Gospel and Peter is an eyewitness to the descent of the Holy Spirit on them. First hesitates to make contact with what he had always considered "unclean " and then he suffers harsh criticism from the Christians of Jerusalem, shocked by the fact that their leader had eaten with the "uncircumcised" and had even baptized them. A moment of internal crisis that Pope Francis recalls with a hint of irony:

"That was unthinkable. If – for example - tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here ... Martians, right? Green , with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them... And one says, 'But I want to be baptized!' What would happen?" Pagans are like Martians? Still, is it not possible the Martians would seek Baptism in the old rite?

Rent an usher: A new role for Kasper?
Peter understands his error when a vision enlightens him to a fundamental truth: that which has been purified by God cannot be called "profane" by anyone. And in narrating these facts to the crowd that criticized him, the Apostle, calms them all with this statement: "If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?"

"When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, 'No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, lets do it this way' ... and Peter in that first diocese - the first diocese was Antioch - makes this decision: Who am I to admit impediments?' A nice word for bishops, for priests and for Christians . Who are we to close doors? In the early Church, even today, there is the ministry of the ostiary [usher]. And what did the ostiary do? He opened the door, received the people, allowed them to pass. But it was never the ministry of the closed door, never" If a Satanist comes to the door and asks for a consecrated host to desecrate, do you close the door?
St John XXIII: Note the updated papal garb
Again Pope Francis repeated, God has left the guidance of the Church "in the hands of the Holy Spirit". "The Holy Spirit - he continued - as Jesus said, will teach us everything" and "remind us what Jesus taught us". Fine, but why do I get the feeling the 'Holy Spirit' is to teach us something new, different to what Jesus taught us?
"The Holy Spirit is the living presence of God in the Church. He keeps the Church going, keeps the Church moving forward. More and more, beyond the limits, onwards. Those 'limits' again. The Holy Spirit with his gifts guides the Church . You cannot understand the Church of Jesus without this Paraclete, whom the Lord sends us for this very reason. And he makes unthinkable choices, but unimaginable! The unthinkable on our terms, or the unthinkable on God's terms? To use a word of St. John XXIII: it is the Holy Spirit that updates the Church: Really, he really updates it and keeps it going. And we Christians must ask the Lord for the grace of docility to the Holy Spirit. There is surely some distinction to be made between docility to the Holy Spirit and docility to human whim. Docility in this Spirit, who speaks to us in our heart (and Who has spoken through the Church), who speaks to us in all of life’s circumstances, who speaks to us in the Church's life, in Christian communities, who is always speaking to us”.'

And the Spirit of God has indeed spoken, so many times that one loses count, especially through Scripture and Tradition upheld by Popes. Is the Holy Father possibly hinting at something? Perhaps I'm just a bit 'edgy' but it suffices to say that the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity has never, does never and will never contradict the Second Person of the Trinity, nor the Second the First or Third. There is a Unity to the Trinity of which we can only dream.

I am also reminded of the words of the Holy Father that in terms of female ordination: 'That door is closed'. Just how 'unthinkable' or 'unimaginable' is the 'open door policy' of the Holy Ghost? The 'God of surprises' often surprises us, but He is Unchanging. He is not out to confuse or upend the Church. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? I know I am reading between the lines but I can't help but feel like I'm being 'prepped' for something...

At first we thought it was schismatics knocking at the door asking for women's ordination, an end to priestly celibacy and a radical alteration of Church doctrine, particularly in matters sexual, but wait, could it possibly be the Holy Spirit, God Himself, speaking through the heretics?

Let's not stand in the way of the Holy Spirit...or trouble, trouble, trouble for the Earthlings.


Patricius said…
"" If – for example - tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here ... Martians, right? Green , with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them... And one says, 'But I want to be baptized!' What would happen?""

He really hasn't thought this through. Not being descended from Adam and Eve (remember the "happy fault"?) the Martians would not need baptism. It would be as absurd as baptising a dog...or an angel.
philipjohnson said…
the bishop of rome updating the truth -then blaming the holy ghost!!i pray for the church in these dark days.our lady of fatima pray for us. god bless.philip johnson.
The Bones said…

And how would they 'ask for Baptism'.

"Hello, I am from the Planet Gregorian. We have long, from afar, admired the liturgy of the Catholic Church - though more so in the pre-concilliar days. We seek Baptism. In the old rite, mind!"
Genty said…
No need to read between the lines; it's a perfectly clear statement of Francis' intentions. The unknown unknown is how many cardinals, if any, will stop him in his tracks before he breaks the Church apart.
I´m thinking what you are thinking...

John Vennari has an interesting collection of Pope Francis quotes about “restaurationists who want to tame the Holy Spirit”.
Mr Vennari´s summary is: “Francis and his Vatican have made clear they do not hold traditional Catholics in high regard, but see them as hard-headed, anachronistic “restorationsists” who resist the Spirit.”

When I read this collection of contemporary papal thought I couldn´t help thinking that it seems that Pope Francis believes the Holy Spirit is a modernist .

Regarding the Pope´s “closed doors” of female ordination: Month ago an Austrian progressive theologian translated this phrase. He said: "If there is a door which is now closed it is nevertheless possible that this door is opened tomorrow. If Pope Francis wouldn´t want a discussion about this topic he just would have said: This is impossible."

I think the problem is that most of the faithful Catholics are a little bit too trusting and therefore can´t imagine that it is absolutely necessary to translate the modernist diction or “to read between the lines”.
Anonymous said…
I think we've found our diagnosis:
Quite apart from the assault on Marriage and the Eucharist which is being waged at the moment, there is a simultaneous attack going on behind the scenes with respect to Holy Orders.

His harping on about "Impediments" is probably paving the way for removing marriage as an impediment to ordination. If he comes down in favour of Catholic doctrine with regards to marriage, there will probably be such a huge sigh of relief from "conservatives" that they will wave the abolition of celibacy through without a murmur.
Celia said…
Those Martians: if you check out C.S. Lewis' 'Out of the Silent Planet' they are, if I remember correctly, saved persons, having never undergone the Fall.

Are you right to be worried at this latest papal effusion (bearing in mind that the idea probably came to him while he was shaving and then it all just came out in his usual stream of consciousness style)? I think the sad thing about this Pope is that he has, to quote a friend of mine, 'perplexed' faithful Catholics to the extent that they simply don't trust him or anything he says. Not something you could have envisaged in February 2013.

I still think the most likely result of the Synod will be a fudge involving easier annulments, especially if as recently claimed His Holiness thinks, on what evidence goodness knows, that half of all marriages are invalid anyway. I can't, see any other way of exhibiting 'mercy' unless the leaders of the Church are seriously prepared to 'go beyond Jesus' as the nuns have it.

Erik George said…
Francis is just plain wrong when he says that the ministry of the ostiarius was "never about the closed door". Liturgically speaking, that was his primary function. He was to close the doors after the dismissal of the catechumens to ensure no unbaptized witnessed the Holy Mysteries. This is true of many rites, including the ancient Gallican. An echo of this can still be heard in the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom when the Deacon proclaims "Guard the doors!" before the Creed (which immediately proceeds the Anaphora). Perhaps he is not seeking to undermine a larger truth by obscuring a smaller. Time will tell.
viterbo said…
Mr Bones said, "the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity has never, does never and will never contradict the Second Person of the Trinity, nor the Second the First or Third. There is a Unity to the Trinity of which we can only dream." Exactly!

meanwhile, Frankie said, "But it was never the ministry of the closed door, never" - WRONG, Frankie, just plain WRONG (but in 'charity', I'll presume it's just your IGNORANCE speaking, Frankie.) Frankie really should take a little more time to learn about the history of the Church he's always defaming. the door keeper (ostium = door) - which is what an ostiary was, not actually an usher, used to be the lowest of the minor Holy Orders; in the Sacred Liturgy, after the 'pax', the ostiary would close and lock the doors, to keep out the enemies of the Eucharist, also showing a distinct separation between the Bride of Christ and the world outside. The doorkeeper would not let any unknown enter. A Christian was one who partook of the Holy Eucharist - and no just anyone any time they felt 'moved' could approach the Blessed Sacrament.

Frankie's words and works deceive. Does he know this?
viterbo said…
p.s. but with all the rubbish about martians it's no small miracle one can notice all the lies.