Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Is the Demonisation Process Underway?

A fascinating theological exegesis emerges from a recent Pope Francis homily on light, dark and grey Christians and that is that God does not love everyone. There are light Christians, dark Christians and the grey Christians and 'God does not love these'. This is a controversial thing to say, for any Christian. Does God love the lukewarm, grey, mediocre Christian? Can God's love be earned? Who is worthy of God's love? Does God love the 'good Christian', let us say the Franciscan ideal, but loathe, or not love the 'bad or lukewarm Christian'. 

Aside from the conclusion that I have drawn, that a Catholic Church that capitulates to the prevailing pagan culture of the West is a lukewarm, grey Church that has nothing much to say to anyone anymore about anything, I do wonder whether a process of demonisation is under way. Perhaps it has been underway for a year and a half and I hadn't understood it.

Recently we have heard more about Pagan Christians. "They" or "them" is a nearly daily refrain of the Pope followed by a swift, sharp criticism towards someone, some 'kind' of Christian. Do we only find out who they are when they have been demoted or moved elsewhere? Are papal homilies really opportunities for Francis to elaborate on the Lectionary reading of the day or are they an opportunity for him to take aim at his theological or ideological opponents and issue a public denunciation? 

How far does the demonisation of, in Francis's opinion, 'the pharisees', the 'pagan Christians', the 'grey and lukewarm' Christians, the 'enemies of the Cross of Christ' in the Catholic Church extend? Of course, for more denunciations you can read the not-often-updated-because-I can't-keep-up with-the-insults Pope Francis Little Book of Insults

Of course, we should all search our consciences for those times that we sin against Christ and by our sinfulness and selfishness fail to live up to the name of Christian. Yet, I cannot help feeling that there is a particular kind of Catholic (If you are Jewish, Muslim, Evangelical, Protestant, Hindu, atheist or consider yourself a genuine Pagan, don't worry, Francis gives you a pass...) Francis has in mind, and its not necessarily the people I would usually associate with those who, for example, hate Christ and His Church.

I have always thought that despite the many, terrible sins that I have committed, the sins I commit and the vices I unfortunately have, despite my lukewarmness in so many ways, my lack of charity and zeal for souls, my indifference to others, that God loves me still. And I have not just considered this a truth to apply to myself, but indeed to all I know, be they Catholic, of other denominations or complete atheists and/or pagans. 

And if for a moment (and of course, I do actually have those moments) I truly considered that God does not love X, Y or Z, or 'that type' of person, I would, I have always thought, cease to be a Christian. I might think it, but I would be wise not to state it because only God knows who he loves and who might be so set against Him that He rejects. God's wrath is upon those who reject Jesus Christ, the Gospels and Epistles tell us. God's wrath awaits those who refuse to repent from mortal sin, but that God loves every human being is, I think, the very reason why we are called to love every human being. God loves all people because He made them for Himself, whether they accept Him or not whether we love Him or not. I cannot say that God loves all that this person does, just as God does not like - may loathe - all I do and indeed, do not do. I cannot say God loves all this person says, thinks and believes and acts, but I can say that God loves everyone and patiently waits for us all to repent and embrace the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

So when the Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Catholic Church says of certain Christians, that 'God does not love these', that is a serious thing to say indeed and one that needs surely some kind of clarification. The idea that Francis might say that God has withdrawn Himself entirely from people who Pope Francis, or Jorge Bergoglio, the man, takes exception to is to say, 'I know who God loves and who God loathes', thereby sharing in God's own thoughts. It is also to say that God loves the man Jorge Bergoglio very much but detests certain Christians. Who could these people be? Who does God not love? 

It would appear that the separation of the sheep and goats in in progress, in the mind of Pope Francis but it it not necessarily Our Lord doing the judging. No, it is he who said, "Who am I to judge?" Does His Holiness, if this is so, ever think that it is possible he could be wrong? Abortion is a sin crying out to Heaven for vengeance, all kind of murder also. So is sodomy, but it is not faithful Catholics who stand around saying...

...and God waits patiently for their repentance and, we must believe, loves those who commit these acts. The logic of Pope Francis, however, if God does not love 'some', 'certain people', might lead you to conclude that he doesn't. Why? Because to say that God loves some but not others is to entertain a bizarre kind of Christian relativism that could easily even lead someone to ask whether the Pope is a Christian. In order to ask the question, of course, that person would have to be some kind of fundamentalist and believe - shock - that God loves everyone - even the ones Pope Francis doesn't like. And Pope Francis of course! A lot of men have accused Christians and Saints and even thought they were pleasing God by doing so. In fact those who sought the execution of Our Saviour thought, I believe, that God did not love Him. My heart tells me that Pope Francis's homilies are about religion. My mind says, 'Politics'.


Anonymous said...

He's having a go at the Krauts, Kasper, Marx et al.

At last!

Patricius said...

Could it be that you haven't yet quite got the hang of Pope Francis's rhetorical style?

Lepanto said...

God doesn't love everyone; Corruption is worse than sin; Judas wasn't the worst of the Apostles etc. etc.

If one heard these opinions at the end of a night in the pub coming from someone who lapsed from the Church at the age of eight, it would be slightly worrying. Hearing them from a Pope does prompt various questions: Is he suffering from an age related disease of the brain? Does he believe this nonsense? Does he think that he can contradict Church teaching at will because he is Pope? etc.

At least we faithful Catholics can't be blamed for electing him and those who did must realise by now that the humble Cardinal from Argentina had a great deal to be humble about. He must have been the most 'intellectually challenged' Cardinal present at any Papal election ever in history and they ELECTED HIM. They will be thoroughly embarrassed by now - don't doubt it - though they will have to pretend otherwise for the rest of their lives.

The Bones said...

Has anybody, Patricius?

Martina Katholik said...

The "reform" Catholics over at NCR have got the hang of Pope Francis´s rhetorical style.
They understand him perfectly and can explain to you everything he says.

Just read the articles of Fr. Thomas Reese SJ and follow his links. It will open your eyes.

Start with this one:

The best part in it is this:
"Inductive rather than deductive. Past synods tended to start with church teaching and talk about how it could be applied to the world. This follows the classical philosophical and theological method that the bishops learned in their seminaries.

"What's happening within the synod is we're seeing a more inductive way of reflecting, starting from the true situation of people and trying to figure out what's going on here," said Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops."

Do you know what the "inductive way" really means? I knew because I studied the liberation (from deductive) theology of Pope Francis´s teacher Juan Carlos Scannone SJ.
John Vennari knew it too and wrote a very good article.

So Pope Francis´ style is overall "inductive". I guess he learned this from his liberation theology theachers Lucio Gera and Juan Carlos Scannone SJ.

He is also using the inductive bible study method like his Protestant friends (who are never lukewarm in his opinion)

Liam Ronan said...

Ah! I recall Rev. 3: 14-16

"And to the angel of the church at Laodicea write thus:

A message to thee from the Truth, the faithful and unerring witness, the source from which God’s creation began: I know of thy doings, and find thee neither cold nor hot; cold or hot, I would thou wert one or the other.

Being what thou art, lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, thou wilt make me vomit thee out of my mouth."

The Bones said...

That was the Scripture reference cited by the Pope.

Liam Ronan said...

@The Bones:

Cited by the Pope, eh?

Well even a broken clock displays the correct time twice a day. It's up to us to first check the correct time against a clock we know to be reliable.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Martina: Thanks for that. I must say I have always seen "induction" and "deduction" as more to do with scientific method rather than theology. I regarded Descartes' "I think therefore I am" as being deductive and not leading to anything much whilst the writings of Blaise Pascal are more inductive and more useful so I have tended to regard the inductive method as more useful i.e. looking at the world around me and trying to work from there. However when I look at what goes on around me I generally see an unholy mess and some very unhappy people. But that is not the only reality - there is another reality which is the existence of the New Testament and the teachings of the Church - these are very much part of reality and they seem to me to offer solutions to the mess and the unhappiness. To claim that the mess and the unhappiness are the only reality and one can draw some sort of theological conclusions for this and to go as far as to value them is to ignore a very large and important part of reality. I wonder what conclusions they draw from the existence of so much violence in the world - is violence to be praised? These guys are distorting the meaning of induction.

Damask Rose said...

But, Liam. If we've checked the time against a reliable clock, and have to do this time and time again, can we then, throw out the broken clock?

(I guess, if it was an antique clock, perhaps you'd just keep it for display purposes...)

Damask Rose said...

Lepanto, I just don't know how they elected him. Was it hatred of Benedict that motivated them? OK, so favours were paid off, and backs scratched, and I think I read that Bergoglio gave a rousing speech or something at the Conclave. But, am I really supposed to believe that the Cardinals are so ignorant of how a particular Cardinal is running his See (or running it down into the ground)?

Damask Rose said...

"Pope Francis should have reminded him of this, especially since the UR is not a new idea for Francis. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires he invited its founder and head to an interfaith service in his cathedral to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the UR in Latin America."

"...interfaith prayer meeting on a triangular Vatican lawn, along with several high-up members of Religions for Peace. The “neutral” site chosen is devoid of all religious symbols.[11] Catholic participants thus witness to the Masonic one-world religion instead of to Jesus Christ and His Church!"

Well, at least the Imam spoke up for his faith!


h/t The Tenth Crusade

Liam Ronan said...

By the way, Bones, I neglected to say that I believe the points you make in your analysis are significant and worthy of serious reflection. Nice writing.

God hates no one. No one. To be brutally blunt, and with all due charity and respect, I pay no attention whatsoever to the utterances and burbles of this Bishop of Rome. God save him.

Anonymous said...

Look, its been 18 months, let us not delude ourselves...

Read the case the Cardinals should resolutely face...


And, if you are Catholic and love Christ still as Eternal Truth, then sign it too..


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

There is demolition and there is auto-destruction


Being the third under the Sovereign Pontiff, Julius III., celebrated on the eleventh day of October, MDLI.

CANON XI.-lf any one saith, that faith alone is a sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist; let him be anathema. And for fear lest so great a sacrament may be received unworthily, and so unto death and condemnation, this holy Synod ordains and declares, that sacramental confession, when a confessor may be had, is of necessity to be made beforehand, by those whose conscience is burthened with mortal sin, how contrite even soever they may think themselves. But if any one shall presume to teach, preach, or obstinately to assert, or even in public disputation to defend the contrary, he shall be thereupon excommunicated.

Romulus said...

Liam is right. Hatred in God would be contrary to His nature. All creatures exist to give glory to God. Some manage to do so only as one of the damned, giving personal testimony to the eternal anguish of existence separated from God. Flannery O'Connor shrewdly observed that hell is what God's love becomes for those who reject it. This does not mean that God is a torturer; it means that in his loving will for our beatitude he has endowed us with free will and called us to himself. Any rejection is entirely on our part; God's judgment is merely a recognition of our choice for alienation and all that it entails. Hatred has nothing to do with it.

c matt said...

It seems odd that God could not love everyone as He created them. Hate is not the opposite of love, but indifference is. Thus, for God to "not love" someone, would mean He is indifferent to their existence. If He is indifferent, then why do they exist in the first place? Or better, yet, how could they exist?

Really having a hard time following PF's train of thought here.

Simon Platt said...

Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Franciscum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Well, that is much kinder than this: Ps 108:8 (Vulgate)
fiant dies eius pauci et episcopatum eius accipiat alter

Anonymous said...

You might want to check the translation.

Unknown said...

God must not love Francis then cause he's pretty darn lukewarm on sexual morality.

Seattle kim

Felix M said...

So Pope Francis says that God doesn't love pharisaical Catholics. And, in a sense, I think he's right.

But I also think he doesn't have the guts or consistency to say that, in this attenuated sense, God doesn't like gays, heretical Catholics, or other sectors of the Pope's fan club.

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