Little graces, big God…

Behold!

I have achieved a distinct measure of peace about our Pope.

This is not to say that I have an unguarded and overwhelming peace yet, but today I enjoyed what really felt like a supernatural healing.

On the one hand, I still have extremely profound objections to the implications of some of ‘his’ malapapalisms concerning “the Catholic God” and the sovereignty of conscience.

On the other hand, I’ve found a paradoxical comfort in being repulsed deeper into the Catholic Tradition by said malapapalisms. Reeling as I have been, I am casting about for solid footing and am finding it by climbing the double helix of Scripture and Tradition back towards an at-least-less-than-outraged-and-defeated life as a Catholic. (Hang in there, Dale.) As I keep saying and praying, I want to be free of my paranoia about “our Jesuit Pope.”

Praise God, then, that I have been immensely encouraged by some of the things I’ve heard from this month. I think Fr. Blake hits the perfect tone with this post, based primarily on this video:


NOTICE HOW THE POPE IS READING FROM AND STICKING TO A PREPARED SCRIPT!!!!

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That was wonderful!

Hooray, Holy Father!

Aξιος! Keep it up!

What’s with all the erratic changes in tone, then?

My tentative diagnosis is that Pope Francis has either Heterodox Tourette Syndrome or Orthodox Alzheimer’s.

(Yes, that’s a comical diagnosis, but it is by no means snide. Let us always pray for our Holy Father against the snares of the Devil and the weakness of fallen flesh!)

I can’t deny that there are things I see and hear in the man, in the modern Jesuit priest, Jorge Mario Bergoglio–whom I often call “Pope Guido” or “Our Francis of the Interviews”–that I pray are overcome by Pope Francis, the warmly and coherently orthodox Vicar of Christ.

And so––don’t hate me!––while the Holy Father made the above superb statements at Assisi, I am still composing a rather longish piece that explores some other comments he made in a different setting there which, I hope, explains my discomfort with him.

HINT: This Catholic Vote post provides a sedative for my nerves on the issues I’ll be tackling in that largish post:

“Franciscan peace is not something saccharine. … That is not the real Saint Francis! Nor is it a kind of pantheistic harmony with forces of the cosmos… That is not Franciscan either; it is a notion some people have invented! …

Later, to a gathering of bishops and poor people, he warned of “pastry shop Christianity” (cristiani di pasticceria) which forgets the Cross in the vain hope that all will be sweetness and light. …

“We must undress ourselves today from a very serious danger that threatens each person in the Church: the danger of worldliness.

There are some who want to “make Christianity ʻa little more humanʼ without the cross,” he said. But that is a kind of “bakery Christianity” in which everything is beautiful and sweet like a cake.

I was familiar with some of what the Pope said there, but it’s vital to see it again. Pray for me.

(Meanwhile, did the Pope just out himself as a Portal fan? “The cake is a lie.”)

In a similar vein, I thank Fr. Blake for this post about Cdl. Mueller’s “Ratzingeresque” interview about the CDF:

It’s not as if other bishops or Pope Benedict had constantly spoken about abortion, sexual morals or euthanasia. And pastoral work is not a therapeutic game. … That is why juxtaposing doctrinal and moral teaching against pastoral work is not in the mind of the inventor. The former is the source of the latter.

If Jesus Christ is not the Son of God who became Man, then he cannot be the Good Shepherd. Pope Francis has that special charism of being able to translate the Church’s doctrine of the faith, which he adheres to unconditionally as he never tires of emphasising, into a personal encounter with people. As Pope he behaves like a local pastor.

As you (and you) know, I’m not sold yet on the ultimate coherence or feasibility of that last claim, but the above is a balm to my soul, not the least because the first quotation from Mueller provides a sanity-ballast for the Pope’s bizarre comments in the Spadaro interview about the Church being “obsessed” with “disjointed” moral rules.

So.

Once again, Pope Francis, as we always said in kindergarten: IF YOU DON’T HAVE SOMETHING SCRIPTED TO SAY, DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL!

For example, yet another “off the cuff” gem that I discovered today is this from the “airplane interview“:

This is important: a theology of sin.  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.

[Questo è importante: una teologia del peccato. Tante volte penso a San Pietro: ha fatto uno dei peggiori peccati, che è rinnegare Cristo, e con questo peccato lo hanno fatto Papa.]

Umm, I thought Jesus Christ confirmed Peter as Pope. Who is “they”? Was this the voice of the neo-Jesuit, post-Tridentine Bergoglio, unveiling a subliminal belief that all the old-fashioned Catholic hierarchy stuff is just human politics by another name?

There’s that erratic Pope Guido voice peeking out again.

Which is why I’m still suffering from papal motion sickness.

Oh, and, since you were probably dying to know: not only is the Scalfari interview still on the Vatican website as one of the Pope’s official speeches, but there’s now also an English and a French translation of it. (Last week there were only Italian, Portugeuese and Spanish versions of it.) As such, the soft ultramontanist argument that Old Man Scalfari is to blame for the unsettling comments in “that interview” is being kicked while it’s down. The Pope personally approved of the interview and the Vatican is obviously running with it. If there was a need to “explain away” some of Pope’s Francis’s (Orthodox Alzheimer’s? Heterodox Tourette’s?) statements in that interview before it came to light that the English version was a “bad translation” or that Scalfari “didn’t record the interview”, or that the Pope uttered “plain falsehoods,” then trying to explain away those things now is as laughable as it is craven.

Meanwhile, there’s nothing creepy at all about this:

Francesco Luce del MondoIt’s obvious how Pope Francis has “the humility and ambition” to draw all men to–ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL.  

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Nope. Nothing problematic at all. Clearly the masses are falling more in love with Jesus than with the funny old pope man.

poker-face-meme-pokerface

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Praise God,Pope Francis repudiated his own cult of personality (“I should have preferred to hear you cry: ‘Jesus, Jesus is Lord, and he is in our midst!’ From now on enough of ‘Francis’, just ‘Jesus’!”), but the point remains: those who would claim that the world is looking right through Pope Francis as a mere voice of the Lord, are missing the actual thinking of a lot of “the people” on the ground. Even though Pope Francis repudiates the cult of personality that has grown around him (as, say, “the greatest man on earth,” “hugely impress[ive],” “a different kind of pope,” “Pope Kumbaya,” “really refreshing,” “a great relief to us all,” etc.), my ongoing point is that he has been culpably negligent in some cases in speaking and acting in a way that diverts attention from the person of Jesus and the demands of truth to himself as “the honey badger pope.”

Christ said that when is raised up, He will draw all men to himself, and this is why at every Mass the Lord is elevated in the Holy Gifts, and why every Church is adorned with a crucifix up to which we may lift our eyes and be saved. Understandably, then, I was initially of one mind with Fr. Blake’s negative impression of the Pope’s liturgical, ehhm, style:

Pope Francis demi Mass

We wouldn’t want all that talk of “the Cross” to be undermined by a big, gaudy, Vatican-centric, restorationist, or even, like, visible crucifix, now would we?

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…but then I saw that there is in fact a large crucifix in the Domus Sanctae Marthae:

Not too shabby, for a neo-Jesuit.

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But then I saw the rest of the chapel:

Beam me up, Scotty!

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Or wait, was it this image?

Seems legit. For South American neo-Jesuits.

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And, well…

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Pope Francis has gone out of his way to divert the focus to that hideous little chapel in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Why? Because it sends a very clear message, to those who have ears to hear. He could celebrate the Mass in any of a dozen magnificent chapels designed to glorify God with the offering of human craftsmanship, but instead he chooses what could just as easily serve as a lecture hall.

How many of the causes on the banner has Pope Francis explicitly championed? How many is he galvanizing with his “off the cuff” leadership?

If you don’t recognize these kinds of words and actions as the worst kind of “spirit of Vatican II” shibboleths, then your head is in the sand.

All right, all right.

Since I don’t want this post to end on (such) a sour note, I want to close it with a video that was yet another crucial ingredient in the healing I’m enjoying today vis-à-vis Pope Francis–and it’s all the more worth your time considering its counterintuitive source. To get the thrust of why I valued this lecture so much, you only need to watch from 15:20 to the end-ish.

“A real crisis taking place in the very person of the Pope.”

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Ponder.

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Ponder.

And pray.

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About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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One Response to Little graces, big God…

  1. Pingback: The F1 F/X Files… | FideCogitActio : omnis per gratiam

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