From John Allen:
While stressing the basic “trustworthiness” of a recent blockbuster interview with Pope Francis by Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, left room on Oct. 2 for the possibility of small imprecisions … Pressed by reporters on the reliability of the direct quotations, Lombardi said during an Oct. 2 briefing that the text accurately captured the “sense” of what the pope had said, and that if Francis felt his thought had been “gravely misrepresented,” he would have said so.
Predictably, the conservative papal apologists (let’s call them CPAs for short, no insult intended toward the accounting industry) are gloating, “Aha! I told you so!” as if we are now to believe that Pope Francis’ discourse with the atheist Scalfari, if only it had been quoted accurately, likely could have been mistaken for a transcript of St. Philip the Evangelist’s preaching to the Ethiopian eunuch.
What they necessarily gloss over in order to maintain the fairytale of a competent pope is Fr. Lombardi’s confirmation that the text as published in La Repubblica accurately captures the “sense” of Francis’ message. (Which explains why the pope apparently has no problem with the text being posted for the world’s consumption on the Holy See’s website!)
So, now that we can stop wondering whether or not this is the case, will the CPAs kindly offer a plausible explanation as to how one is to understand in a truly Catholic sense the novel notion of the Incarnation being intended to “infuse the feeling of brotherhood in men’s souls,” or any number of other items on the growing list of Papa’s humanist proclamations? (Operative word, plausible.)
No, I didn’t think so.
I suspect Eugenio Scalfari will have something to say in coming days about the accuracy of his account, and I’ll be interested in reading it. Even so, already we have a rather well-established, and very troubling, pattern:
– Pope Francis delivers, in either word or deed, a message that is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile with Catholic thought, creating widespread confusion and unrest.
– When the danger of such is pointed out by those tradition-loving rascals who, for reasons that apparently escape the majority of self-described Catholics, insist on viewing the situation through a Catholic lens, the CPAs cry about faulty translations, or they wail over the poor pontiff’s words being deliberately twisted by the meanies in the media.
– At times, however, even they feel constrained to begrudgingly admit that the pope made some “regrettable” or poorly-worded statements; i.e., they allege that he didn’t really intend to say what literate, intelligent, faithful Catholics the world over understood him to say.
– Very importantly, in the aftermath of these now common occurrences, the pope doesn’t circle back to offer corrections or revisions concerning the supposedly misunderstood commentary; on the contrary, he simply soldiers on with his program, ultimately trumping himself with new and even more unsettling humanist rhetoric.
So, why the lack of papal clarifications?
That brings us to the most noteworthy portion of Fr. Lombardi’s statement, as reported by John Allen:
Nonetheless, Lombardi stopped short of saying that every line was literally as pronounced by the pope, suggesting instead that it represents a new genre of papal speech that’s deliberately informal and not concerned with precision.
A new genre of papal speech? Not concerned with precision? Are you kidding me?
My friends, this is wholesale, unadulterated lunacy; it is dangerous and flat out irresponsible.
Does not respect for the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine and the office of the papacy demand a very deep concern for precision in matters of faith?
If I need to answer that question for you, close your browser right now and go read something else, perhaps from the Dr. Seuss collection.
Pope Francis has been on the papal throne (or folding chair as he may prefer) for more than half-a-year now. He has been entirely consistent in his behavior throughout that entire time, going all the way back to his introduction on 13 March.
While the CPAs are lightening quick to criticize as “disrespectful of the pope” those who dare to point out the church of man doctrine oozing from his public words and actions, perhaps it is they who should take a moment to ponder the relative respectfulness of their own obvious unwillingness to simply allow the man to speak for himself.
I don’t doubt the good intentions of the CPAs, but for the love of God and all that is holy, it’s high time for them, and all reasonable people, to simply accept that this pope says what he means and means what he says.
The best is yet to come:
“(…) Perhaps the most insightful take on all this came from Lombardi himself, who said we’re seeing the emergence of a whole new genre of papal speech — informal, spontaneous and sometimes entrusted to others in terms of its final articulation. A new genre, Lombardi suggested, needs a “new hermeneutic,” one in which we don’t attach value so much to individual words as to the overall sense.
“This isn’t Denzinger,” he said, referring to the famous German collection of official church teaching, “and it’s not canon law.”
“What the pope is doing is giving pastoral reflections that haven’t been reviewed beforehand word-for-word by 20 theologians in order to be precise about everything,” Lombardi said. “It has to be distinguished from an encyclical, for instance, or a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, which are magisterial documents.”
Implicit in that reaction is that the pope is probably going to continue to shoot from the hip, and sometimes he’ll allow voices outside the narrow circle of authorized spokespersons to tell the world what he said, trusting them to get the gist of it and perhaps not sweating the details. Trying to put every line or every anecdote under a microscope in those circumstances may be a waste of time.
If the pope wants to express himself formally and with precision, Lombardi implied, he has other ways of doing it.(…)”
Louie, your assessment of the CPAs is too generous. The fact is, many of them did _not_ cry about faulty translations (at least not at first) but tried to defend the words as they were originally published. It is only now that many of them have recourse to the “bad translation” excuse. Of course, if we had listened to them in the first place, there couldn’t have been a problem anyway, since the pope’s words as originally published were already Catholic.
When the Vatican document on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons was produced, Cardinal Hume said that the phrase “intrinsically disordered” was the result of a bad translation. I checked. It certainly was not.
I read an article a while ago that Pope John XXIII some fifty years back had opened the windows at the Vatican and now Bishop Francis has ripped off the roof. Maybe the lightening strikes on the dome have more significance than coincidence.
Why doesn’t somebody, a Cardinal, a priest close to the pope, personally go to him and explain that most Catholic today are not as theologically advanced as he is, and are very confused by his comments?
Holy Father, your brilliant Jesuit formation leaves you light years beyond the average Catholic. Why not just keep it simple for them, the Creed, the 7 sacraments, the Our Father, the Ten Commandments…. Heaven, Hell, Death, Judgment, purgatory…
What I think he meant was this…. Well, what he was really saying was…. He was just implying that…. We have to read more deeply into what he was saying….
Whatever happened to just saying what you mean? Why is everything some sort of riddle or metaphor that needs interpretation? It is beyond bizarre that any of us are even having this discussion about a pope. Don’t take him too seriously or put too much value on it? No problem. Just a couple of dudes talking.
A New Genre of Speech?
Reframing is the art of shifting meaning. It is a technique of manipulation of language used in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). While the person listening is occupied with trying to make sense of SOME of the content which has an erratic form or content, the systematic restructuring of the meaning of the words and manipulation of the emotional response is accomplished. It is used as on of the forms of hypnosis.
“The methods of neuro-linguistic programming are the specific techniques used to perform and teach Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a movement which teaches that with people are only able to perceive a small part of the world using their senses, and that this view of the world is filtered by experience, beliefs, values, assumptions, and biological sensory systems.”
Isn’t this dangerous nonsense? What next? The Mickey Mouse edition of Denzinger? This trivialising of the Papal Office is evil and can only damage souls.
I should have been more clear.
(1) Not all reframing is NLP.
(2) There are books out there teaching pastors how to use the techniques in pastoral applications such as sermons, hopsital visits, family counseling, etc.
(3) It is a new age practice but also used by business as a problem solving and productivity tool.
(4) I did not mean that the Pope intends this, but rather if “he’ll allow voices outside the narrow circle of authorized spokespersons to tell the world what he said, trusting them to get the gist of it and perhaps not sweating the details” it could be used by the media to advance the destruction of the Faith.
Just as we didn’t have to “Read Benedict XVI through JPII” neither should we have to “Read Francis though Benedict” each person stands on their own merit, or in the case of Francis, lack there of it.
Reminds me of this:
Alinskyian Organizing Among Religious Bodies http://media.speroforum.com.s3.amazonaws.com/Martin/Block/Volume%20III%20-%20Ideology3.pdf
Good summary of the situation. Martina, thanks for the link.
Thanks for the link.
I am disappointed this post was was not about youth unemployment and lonliness of the old.
“Diabolical disorientation”, is the term Sr Lucia used to describe a future (hopefully not too long) period of the Church.
Faithful Catholics have been jumpiing through hoops for 50 years, trying to make the post-VII occupants of St Peter’s Throne appear Catholic, but it’s an effort in futility; each and every one of the occupantts have been systematically dismantling what true and simple Catholics who have loved God and believed that Our Lord established His Church to convey immutable Truth, spent 2,000 years believing, supporting, building, educating their children about and in, evangelizinng heathens about and being martyred for; standing firm on EVERY SINGLE doctrine She taught as having come from God Himself. It is so hard to imagine an enemy has donned the Tiara (and given it away!!). WOULD GOD SEND US A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING? Or has Truth changed?The first 300 years of The Church’s existence (see The Roman Martyrology) is brimming with accounts of simple Catholics, many of them neophytes with no “Catholic experience” under their belts, who were grotesquely put to death because they refused to burn incense to false gods…but with the “newchurch” of V-II even a pope can do it … and be called “Great” … and be raised to the same level of respect (i.e. to the elect in Heaven…sainthood) as those poor, foolish Catholics who went through so much unnecessary suffering those many centuries ago. If only they had had the good fortune to have been born in our time, eh?
What is the definition of a Catholic? Has that changed as well? Does anyone know? (I would really like an answer to that.) Is a Catholic required to hold fast to ANYTHING? How does a Catholic incur the penalty of automatic excommunication, or doesn’t it matter anymore? If that’s the case, can anyone go to Communion? If no, why not? What are those requirements? Could a non-Catholic go to Confession? Is Confession really necessary anymore if even a pope can’t condemn homosexuality? I mean, c’mon, it USED to be listed in those 4 old sins that cried to Heaven for vengance…but was that just because back then they didn’t understand that homosexuality is a person’s own business and no one has any right to judge a person for any reason?
At this time in history we must remember that the Church is the mystical Body of Christ, that Christ is the head and that any person in the state of Sanctifying Grace is a member. We have “friends in high places”. We must also distinguish between the “organizational church”, and the Church, the immaculate Bride of Christ. Much of what happens in the organizational church is contrary to true Catholicism, in my opinion. Our loyalty is to Christ.
Pope Francis will have to account for his actions before God, as we will. My stance on his papacy, rightly or wrongly, is to ignore his ad lib comments and cling to the Faith – sacraments, prayer, good works. St Teresa of Avila’s prayer is appropriate here: “Let nothing disturb thee, nothing affright thee; all things are passing; God never changeth.”
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