Thank you, Pope Francis!

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a couple things that not only did not make me cringe, but also made me proud to call Francis “My Pope”. Either the exertion of enunciating such conventional Catholic wisdom gave him a cold, or the onset of a cold weakened him enough simply to read the script for a change. Either way… I’ll take it!

[UPDATE: The preceding two sentences are to be read with what is commonly referred to as “a sense of humor”, which, contrary to popular piety, is not actually a sin.* As Pope Francis himself recently preached, “When there is lots of seriousness, there is no Spirit of God”.]

15 May:

“Let us seek the grace of memory, always. Looking forward, the Christian is a man, a woman of hope. And in this, the Christian follows the path of God and renews the covenant with God. He continually says to the Lord: ‘Yes, I want the commandments, I want your will, I will follow you’. He is a man of the covenant, and we celebrate the covenant, every day ” in the Mass: thus a Christian is “a woman, a man of the Eucharist”.

16 May:

““But how can we know Jesus?”, the Pontiff asked. The Pope agreed with those who answer that “we have to study much”. Here therefore invited everyone to “study the Catechism: a beautiful book, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we must study it”. Yet he was quick to add that we cannot limit ourselves to “believing that we will know Jesus through study alone”. Indeed, there are some who “imagine that ideas and ideas alone will lead us to the knowledge of Jesus”. Even “among the early Christians” some thought in this way, and “they ended up a bit tangled up in their thoughts”. For “ideas alone do not give life”. Thus one who travels by this way “ends up in a labyrinth” from which “there is no way out”.

This is precisely why, from the beginning there were heresies in the Church that often involved “seeking to understand who Jesus is only with our minds”. Here the Pope recalled the words of the great British author G.K. Chesterton, who called heresy an idea gone mad. In effect, the Pope said, “this is how it is: when ideas are isolated and alone, they go mad”.

Granted, the citation of Chesterton is probably a bit wonky, and one could argue he’s subtly denigrating the soundness of our rational faculties in favor an emotive “docility”, and this flash of Catholic clarity may just portend greater shocks to come, and it should be a given that the pope feeds his flock more than he confounds it–I heard all of these objections when I posted these quotations on my Facebook, and I’ve experienced them within myself at times in the past ten months, but… for now… I just really needed to hear things like this coming from Pope Francis.

Speaking of the Holy Father’s recent cold, believe it or not, I did say a slow, sincere, affectionate prayer for him and his recovery on all levels. Pray for the pope and for his intentions!

* “851. … Amusement does have an aspect of good inasmuch as it is useful for human living. As man sometimes needs to give his body rest from labors, so also he sometimes needs to rest his soul from mental strain that ensues from his application to serious affairs. This is done by amusement.” — Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Ethics of Aristotle, Book IV, Lecture 16, C. I. Litzinger, tr. (ND: Dumb Ox Press, 1993)


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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3 Responses to Thank you, Pope Francis!

  1. Tony Jokin says:

    Well, he is certainly motivating some good things in those words you quoted.

    Though as you said, the idea of heresy as being the result of ideas in pure form seems incorrect. It would seem that heresy is the result of straying from the teachings of the Church. One identifies that one has strayed, not from some emotional feeling, but through a rational evaluation of how compatible ones ideas are with doctrine.

    I would think that contemplation (which requires study + meditation on it?) of divine truths is what helps one grow in knowledge. Study alone doesn’t lead to heresy but probably a life where one has knowledge but no charity. That isn’t exactly a heresy but a disordered state of life.

    But yea, lots of good things were said by the Pope though so worth taking in this moment 🙂

  2. Mary Griffin says:

    Wow, how amazing. A Catholic who actually supports something the Holy Father says instead of warning us that he is dragging the Church to hell. What is the world coming to? But of course, we must get the snarky comments in or it just wouldn’t be right.

  3. Don’t worry, Mary, I’ve revised the post to accommodate all kinds of readers.

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