Chorus Angelorum: The "Ideologues" Sing

[ 6 minute read ]
Mean-spirited name calling is a cheap retaliatory ploy that exposes the indecent character of the utterer.
What does a faithful Catholic do when a supreme pontiff resorts to name calling and to making derisive comments undeserved by those he has vaguely targeted?
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well. - St Matthew 5:38-40
True - there are times when we must tell it like it is, levelling correction in no uncertain terms with precision and appropriate charitable vigor for the good of souls. And... there are times when silence is the prudent option.

What about a priest or a bishop or a pope who tends to splatter his words with diarrhetic force instead of engaging in constructive measured exchanges?
Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their heart, and stir up wars continually. They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s, and under their lips is the poison of vipers. - Psalm 140: 2-3
Catholics are suffering deep wounds from papal verbal shrapnel tearing into their lives. Recent papal comments have deeply troubled our Ukrainian Catholic brethren. Chinese Catholics, too, are wondering what is going on in the mind of the Successor of Saint Peter. His post-foot-in-mouth clarifications have done little to alleviate the pain and confusion.
Podolyak, a senior advisor to the Office of the President in Ukraine, spoke in the wake of a controversy that erupted in late August after Pope Francis praised the legacy of “Great Mother Russia” in a video conference with Russian Catholic youth gathered in St. Petersburg.

Francis attempted to smooth things over in comments to reporters aboard the papal plane after his recent visit to Mongolia, insisting that he wasn’t praising Russian imperialism but rather its culture. Podolyak, however, clearly wasn’t persuaded.

“Today it’s clear he has a pro-Russian position, and this reflects in an extremely negative way on the war,” Podolyak said. “If a person clearly promotes the right of Russia to kill the citizens of another country on another sovereign territory, he’s promoting the war. We have to call things by name.” - Crux
Courting unrepentant sinners who are intent on tearing down Christ's Church - if that were possible - is a waste of time and resources, not to mention imprudent and dangerous for the souls of the faithful. At times, it seems like Pope Francis is exacting upon the Church the opposite of what his chosen namesake was called to do. Saint Francis' mission was confirmed by Jesus speaking from the Cross: Francis, go and rebuild my church which, as you see, is falling down.

A daily read of major Catholic information services - The National Catholic Register, The Catholic Thing, New Liturgical Movement, The Catholic Register, The Catholic Herald, UCA News, and others - reveals that faithful members of the flock of Christ, faithful labourers in the vineyard of the Lord, are feeling alienated and demeaned by their spiritual father. It is one thing to leave behind the ninety-nine to tend to the one (St Matthew 18:12). The Holy Father, regrettably, is driving the family tractor over the flock to get to the one lost lamb, and that lost lamb is frequently the proverbial wolf in disguise.

Given the many gaffs and tactless jabs, the missed opportunities to engage the talents of faithful Catholics, the enabling of heterodox clergy, the embarrassing forays into green politics that ignore the Church's teaching on responsible stewardship, and hosting questionable devotions (i.e., Pachamama) at the heart of the Church, it may be that Pope Francis will go down in history as, at best, a mediocre occupant of the Holy See. At worst, he will be seen as an enabler of miscreants that make Renaissance prelates seem like candy stripers. It may very well be that Papa Bergoglio's epitaph will read, "Papa Franciscus, primus et novissimus papa Jesuita. Deo Gratias."

Fox. Henhouse.

By moving his Jesuit brethren into active positions in the Vatican political and doctrinal apparatus, is Pope Francis trying to rehabilitate his order? Obstinate sinners have been welcomed into the synodal process and into Church "management". A Judas or two seems to have found lodging in the papal apartments.

Jesus walked among sinners who, upon encountering the Person of Jesus, came to repentance and were then enlisted in the mission to save souls. Furthermore, Jesus had a tight inner circle that he entrusted with his power to heal disease and to vanquish demons. This was not a group of perfect individuals. Rather, it was a corps of repentant sinners - emphasis on repentant - responsive to their Master, the Son of God.

Is Pope Francis intent on giving away the keys of Peter to those who would wound the Church by forcing her to affirm and embrace sinful behaviours?

Quousque Dominus?

Robert Royal

Further, when people are troubled by criticisms like those lobbed at American Catholics, a truly welcoming and listening Church would try to “walk with” them, too, on the synodal path. An Eastern Orthodox prelate recently observed that the synod that will soon begin is not a recovery of an ancient form of Synodality lost in the West but preserved in the East. The Eastern tradition is what we had in the West a short while ago, too, a synod of bishops, an assembly of those with the apostolic authority to debate serious Church matters.

But if you’re going to ignore both the Eastern and Western tradition and seek to have a Christian discussion among bishops and laity – however oddly some delegates have been chosen – and call it a “Synod on Synodality,” it’s very strange to dismiss the most faithful and fervent members of the Church with “move on, move on” (as Francis did) when you’ve just attacked them. Such treatment is the very reason many look upon the synod as something other than what it professes to be.
Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.

What the Church will end up with, then, is a pope who is the pope of the Catholic Church and, simultaneously, the de facto leader, for all practical purposes, of a schismatic church.  Because he is the head of both, the appearance of one church remains, while in fact there are two.

The only phrase that I can find to describe this situation is “internal papal schism,” for the pope, even as pope, will effectively be the leader of a segment of the Church that through its doctrine, moral teaching, and ecclesial structure, is for all practical purposes schismatic.  This is the real schism that is in our midst and must be faced, but I do not believe Pope Francis is in any way afraid of this schism. As long as he is in control, he will, I fear, welcome it, for he sees the schismatic element as the new “paradigm” for the future Church.

Thus, in fear and trembling, we need to pray that Jesus, as the head of His body, the Church, will deliver us from this trial. Then again, he may want us to endure it, for it may be that only by enduring it can the Church be freed from all the sin and corruption that now lies within her, and be made holy and pure.

On a more hopeful note, I believe it will be the laity who bring about the needed purification. Pope Francis has himself stated that this is the age of the laity. Lay people see themselves as helpless, having no ecclesial power. Yet if the laity raise their voices, they will be heard.

More specifically, I believe it will depend mostly on faithful and courageous Catholic women. They are the living icons of the Church, the bride of Christ, and they, in union with Mary, the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church, will birth anew, in the Holy Spirit, a holy Body of Christ.

"(I)f the laity raise their voices, they will be heard." So then: fast; pray; act.

Holy Michael archangel, defend us in the day of battle; Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou, prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

We must keep our trust in Jesus Christ and the Church He founded, for where else would we go? (cf. St John 6:66-71). 

The last word goes to Anthony Esolen.

To hell with the frustration. Build, read, sing, learn, marry, have children, worship, play.


Popular posts from this blog

Life At The Altar Rail: 22 Behaviours Categorized

You know you're a REAL altar server when... .

Clash of the Titans: Strickland v. Martin

The opinions expressed herein are largely those of the blog author. Every effort is made to conform to Church teaching. Comments are welcome.