Looks like somebody forgot to take his meds…

His anti-ideology meds, that is.

Here is a recent encapsulation of the prescription that Pope Francis is writing for the new order of bishops:

“The Holy Father wants bishops in tune with their people,” [U.S. nuncio] Vigano said, noting that he visited the pope in June. “He made a special point of saying that he wants pastoral bishops, not bishops who profess or follow a particular ideology.

Not long before this, the pope had, more or less, explained his desire in the following way:

…the Pope warned Christians against behaving as though the “key is in [their] pocket, and the door closed.” He reiterated that without prayer, one abandons the faith and descends into ideology and moralism. … Sometimes, he said, “they give us reasons” as to why they are closed: They give “excuses, justifications, but the fact remains that the Church is closed and the people who pass by cannot enter.” … The “lack of Christian witness does this,” he said, and “when this Christian is a priest, a bishop or a Pope it is worse.” … “The faith passes, so to speak, through a distiller and becomes ideology. And ideology does not beckon [people]. In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid. And when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith…. “The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, … distances the people and distances of the Church of the people. But it is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians. … [Their] attitude is: be rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness.

Despite all this, some clerical troglodytes just will. not. fall. in. line!

Bishop Paprocki: Same-sex marriage ‘grave sin’

Posted Nov 14, 2013 @ 05:20 PM
Last update Nov 15, 2013 @ 07:15 AM

“It is scandalous that so many Catholic politicians are responsible for enabling the passage of this legislation and even twisting the words of the pope to rationalize their actions despite the clear teaching of the church,” Paprocki said.

That could be directed at House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Catholic who invoked the words of Pope Francis during a floor speech in support of the same-sex marriage bill. Pope Francis, speaking to reporters in July, said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

During his speech, the Chicago Democrat said, “For those that just happen to be gay — living in a very harmonious, productive relationship, but illegal — who am I to judge that they should be illegal?”

Paprocki, though, quoted statements made by Pope Francis in 2010 when he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina. He said a same-sex marriage bill being considered there was a “situation whose result may gravely harm the family. … At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts…”

Paprocki said Francis “is saying that same-sex ‘marriage’ comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.”

We have already seen how Pope Francis, ever feckless et quasi sine retractationem, has made life harder for a cleric remarkably similar to Bp. Paprocki, so why should an ongoing tension surprise us?

Here’s my problem.

I am told that closed churches are ungood, yet I am also told that closing churches to bad people is good. I am told that denouncing same-sex schmarriage activism is noble and simply Catholic, but that calling it a satanic ploy is uncharitable and counter-productive. I am told that Pope Francis is changing “the tone,” yet, I am told, he is not backing down on “the issues.” I am told that “the teaching of the Church is clear” (…which is plainly false), yet I am told that enunciating the Church’s teaching in the face of fresh error is tactically misguided. In other words, I am told whatever I need to hear in order to believe that Pope Francis has a coherent, uncontroversially orthodox, and salvifically effective approach to the world.

What non-fringey Catholic parish has ever said that “a same-sex attracted person [is not welcome to come] into the church”? This sounds like a typical Francisian false dichotomy: if you denounce gay activists, you are hardening the lines of the culture war, and thus scaring off well-meaning “gay” seekers. Yet this mystification is supposed to vanish when we say that we have to stay strong on, or committed to, the “fundamental” issues.

But what is strong about saying something like this?

So much is written about the gay lobby. I still haven’t found anyone with an identity card in the Vatican with “gay” on it.  They say there are some there. I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. … If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?

We do not need another Orwellian whitewash (see Louie Verrecchio’s blog for more follow-up insights); we need to hear exactly what the pope means by “gay.” For, if by “gay” he means simply those drawn to homosexual temptations, then he should say as much (long, long ago (2001), it wasn’t so hard to make these small, key distinctions); but if by “gay” he means actively homosexual persons, then such persons are ipso facto not of good will (cf. CCC 2357 ff.).

Which is it? We are to be “clear” on the non-negotiable moral issues, yet not “rigid” on the “tone”?

Another false dilemma.

As Randy Engel notes in a barn-burner of an open letter to Pope Francis, and as I have tried to note before, nonchalantly using the term “gay” endorses the entire “gay” program. As Engel writes:

When I first read your response to Scamparini [on the flight back from Brazil], I must confess that my attention was not drawn immediately to the Ricca scandal, but rather to the fact that you used the term “gay” or “gay person” no less than five times.

… I must assume that your unfortunate decision to use the politically correct language of gayspeak was deliberate. In normal times this action might have been overlooked with a wink and a nod, but in wartimes it smells of treason and corruption.

The war of which I speak is the war being waged by faithful Catholics and other civilized men and women across the world against the forces of organized sexual perversion. … The words we speak determine the thoughts we have.[See here!] It is by controlling language, a form of Pavlovian conditioning, that the Collective seeks to change the dominant shape of reality.

Unlike the word, homosexual, or the more traditional term, sodomite, the word “gay” is used by the Collective and its sympathizers to denote a “consciously united resistance to homophobic and heterosexual deployments of power relations.” [3] It is the task of the Homosexual Collective to transform the homosexual or sodomite into a “gay” man, and to define, control and validate “authentic” homosexual identity and behavior and all other aspects of “gay” life.

It’s hard not to lose the thread in this post, so let me cut my losses with a parallel example.

Pittsburgh bishop won’t comply with HHS mandate, even if it shuts down Catholic schools

BY DUSTIN SIGGINS – Thu Nov 14, 2013 18:05 EST

Bishop David Zubik, the Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, told a district judge this week he would not comply with the HHS mandate under any circumstance.

The decision was made because the mandate endangers “the integrity of our beliefs,” the bishop said.

How does that bishop sound any less contrarian and ideological than Bp. Paprocki about the Rainbow Sash and “gay marriage”, or even any less “belligerent” than Cdl. Bergoglio in 2010 about “gay marriage”? I venture to say that he is in harmony with them, and that, far from being “belligerent,” he is just being Catholic in a fallen world. If it happens that our current pope now feels that such belligerence is a tactical error, so much the worse for our current pope, and those who back him in such a misjudgment.

If Bp. Paprocki is being unnecessarily ideological and “belligerent”, then how is Bp. Zubik not doing the same? And where does it end? If Pope Francis wants more pastoral and less ideological bishops, doesn’t this pontifical injunction compromise Paprocki’s and Zubik’s close-minded courage? Then again, if their moralistic defiance can be twisted to fit right in with Pope Francis’s more “fundamental” commitment to “the issues,” doesn’t that compromise his pastoral coherence? You can’t use Pope Francis’s hardline, cultural-warrior background as a lens for interpreting his liberal oracles of late, and then use his liberal oracles of late to put hardline culture warriors in their place.

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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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7 Responses to Looks like somebody forgot to take his meds…

  1. Crude says:

    If Bp. Paprocki is being unnecessarily ideological and “belligerent”, then how is Bp. Zubik not doing the same?

    Who said ‘unnecessarily ideological’? Who is making this accusation? The only thing I said was that talking about how gay marriage comes from Satan really isn’t going to change anyone’s minds. Maybe that’s not Paprocki’s goal – maybe he’s just clearly enunciating things for people who already agree with him. There’s a place for that, absolutely. But then we should just recognize that Paprocki’s not really attempting to change anyone’s mind, so let’s not use him as a template for such.

    And who said that calling gay marriage ‘a satanic ploy’ was uncharitable? I’ll be frank: if your goal is to convince people who don’t agree with you already, calling it ‘a satanic ploy’ isn’t uncharitable. It’s absolutely freaking nuts, and a fantastic way to get immediately written off as ‘crazy church person’. And no, if the rejoinder here is ‘But it’s TRUE, it IS a satanic ploy!!!’, all I can say is: my goal is to change people’s minds, and to use as much reason and rhetoric as I can to do so. I am not interested in saying whatever happens to be the most cathartic thing someone feels like they need to scream at the moment, because I’m not interested in social conservative catharsis or ANYone’s catharsis. I would like to finally start making progress on these issues again. So I can’t pretend that Paprocki’s move is really rhetorically wise even if it’s isn’t, merely because he happens to hold the same opinion as me (or for that matter, as the Church) on gay marriage being wrong, sinful, etc.

    Either way, you link me as if I’m being inconsistent, but honest to God, man – I don’t see where I’m being so much as unclear. Yes, closed churches are bad if a ‘closed church’ means you’re shunning anyone who is so much known as ‘homosexual’, period, end of story. No, this does not mean that you start permitting LGBT warriors to come in with rainbow sashes and host a group prayer for gay marriage to become legal. Where’s the difficulty here? Where am I saying something complicated? It’s like saying that obese people who are trying to control their gluttony should be welcomed into a church, yet having to explain that this does not mean that some 400 pound person should not be chided for bringing a bucket of KFC into the pews. “But you said fat people should be welcome..!” Who the heck has a problem understanding that subtlety?

    What non-fringey Catholic parish has ever said that “a same-sex attracted person [is not welcome to come] into the church”?

    How about I provide you with instances where ‘gays’ – not ‘LGBT groups’, not ‘active homosexuals’ but flat out and simply ‘gays’ or ‘homosexuals’ – are treated as THE enemy in the fight against same-sex marriage? Are you honestly asking me for examples of rhetorical missteps on this topic? Because believe me, I’ll be more than happy to provide ample examples of exactly this. And I disagree with Engel’s about the word ‘gay’. Doubly so if he recommends defaulting to calling homosexuals ‘sodomites’ in public discourse. Yes, words mean things, but holy hell, ‘sodomites’? What, is he trying to sabotage opposition to gay marriage from within?

    And no, I don’t think Zubik is being ‘ideological and belligerent’. For one thing, Zubik is not engaged in rhetoric for me to compare Paprocki’s statement too – he’s endorsing an action, one I happen to agree with. Now, whether it’s strategically wise is another issue. I think right now it’s worth the gamble.

    As it stands, I think you’re taking a lot of what I’m saying – and, for that matter, a lot of what the pope is saying – and abstracting it into some strange extreme position or contrary remark, then being surprised that you were able to find glaring flaws in the statement you’ve created. Have I really been unclear here? Have I said something confusing or hard to follow?

  2. My problem is that the pope is all over the place, even when he’s not recondite, and I linked to your various comments as a way of showing how contrived it is to try to synthesize all his statements into a coherent “pastoral strategy”. The Pope has poked at “judging” and at moralistic ideology, at closing the doors of the church, at holding the key (the Vicar of Christ DOES hold the keys!), and people have used that as ammo against bishops who, by any measure, are committed to the moral and ideological implications of the faith. We can’t appeal to Bergoglio’s track record as a vindication of Pope Francis’s moral conservatism in one breath, and then in the next breath fault that hardline track record as a terrible policy. He called SSM a satanic ploy, and that was vaunted early on as a great proof of his conservatism, yet now bishops aren’t allowed to draw upon his witness on that point? I just don’t get the pope’s strategy, and I think it’s probably not even worked out in his own mind. He was a divisive and recondite man in Argentina and that’s what he as pope.

  3. tamsin says:

    The pope condemns condemners.

    He is rigid in his opposition to the rigid.

    He is almost… ideological in his hatred of ideology.

    So I’m just watching and waiting. o_O

  4. graywills says:

    Paprocki needs to get a life – he is one of those with the keys in his pocket and his church firmly locked. I pray for him.

  5. The original Mr. X says:

    “The Pope has poked at “judging” and at moralistic ideology, at closing the doors of the church, at holding the key (the Vicar of Christ DOES hold the keys!), and people have used that as ammo against bishops who, by any measure, are committed to the moral and ideological implications of the faith.”

    People have been twisting Church teachings to use against the Church since (almost literally) the year zero. Just look at the number of times “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” or “Judge not, lest you yourselves be judged” have been twisted to mean “Pretend that sinful behaviour is OK”. Was Jesus therefore wrong to say these things? Was He being “confused” and “all over the place” when He said both that He would send the spirit of peace upon us, and that He came into the world to bring not peace but a sword? Or, to take a more modern example (and to stave off the “Pope Francis isn’t Jesus!” objection I’ve seen you raise before), look at the times Benedict XVI was reported as saying that condoms are actually OK, or that using the wrong form of words in ordinations is as bad as child abuse. Face it, people with a big enough ideological axe to grind can misinterpret just about anything. Expecting everything Pope Francis says to be un-twistable is just unrealistic.

  6. geekexist says:

    Perhaps this is part of Frances’ strategy to be the Bishop of Rome, and to diminish Papal, vertical, authority creating, as he put it, a more horizontal Church. He says what he says, then the next day says almost the opposite (he does seem to be getting better,) and Bishops around the world can say and do whatever they want in a spirit of collegiality. Then again, perhaps there is simply no strategy worth noting, though one doubts it.

  7. Crude says:

    My problem is that the pope is all over the place, even when he’s not recondite, and I linked to your various comments as a way of showing how contrived it is to try to synthesize all his statements into a coherent “pastoral strategy”.

    First, what is this ‘coherent pastoral strategy’ you’re talking about? My various comments were explanations of why the pope saying X doesn’t mean he meant Y. Back to the closed church example: you seem to take ‘the church shouldn’t be closed’ to mean ‘it should be totally fine for LGBT groups to come in and stage events where they all pray for gay marriage to be legal’. But it’s pretty easy to see the distinction between those two views, and I said as much. The same goes for any of the comments I linked. So what was accomplished there?

    The Pope has poked at “judging” and at moralistic ideology, at closing the doors of the church, at holding the key (the Vicar of Christ DOES hold the keys!), and people have used that as ammo against bishops who, by any measure, are committed to the moral and ideological implications of the faith.

    So? It’s pretty easy to expose them as either idiots or liars when they take the pope way out of context. You act as if the mere act of person X quoting someone and implying X supports their view, even if it’s taken out of context, even if it’s a ridiculous reading of them, means X was at fault. In which case, okay – you’re going to have to add ‘Christ’ to that crypto-liberal accusation list, because social liberals quote Christ out of context all the time, and claim Him as supporting their causes.

    Why is the blame laid on everyone but Christ there, but with the Pope it seems as if he’s the only one who must be at fault in such a situation?

    We can’t appeal to Bergoglio’s track record as a vindication of Pope Francis’s moral conservatism in one breath, and then in the next breath fault that hardline track record as a terrible policy. He called SSM a satanic ploy, and that was vaunted early on as a great proof of his conservatism, yet now bishops aren’t allowed to draw upon his witness on that point?

    Where did the Pope do this? Paprocki interpreted him as saying such, but where did Bergoglio do this?

    More than that, here’s something to realize. The Pope had a more thundering opposition to gay marriage in Argentina – and lost. It became the first country in latin america to legalize gay marriage.

    Have you considered the Pope may have learned from that experience, and figured out that something in his approach – no matter how fundamentally orthodox at root, but something in his presentation of that orthodoxy – may have been counterproductive to the Church’s goals?

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