Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"Muslims will Soon Outnumber Christians in Europe, So Making Muslims Mad at Us is the Very Worst Thing We Can Do!"

Jan Jambon
It's okay.
It's okay.
It's okay.
It's okay.
It's okay.
It's okay.
It's okay.
It's okay.
It's okay.
It's not okay but it's too late.

Koen Geens and Jan Jambon are, respectively, the Ministers of Justice and the Interior in the current "centre-right" Belgian coalition government. They, and the political parties they represent, are as responsible as anyone for the current "reality" that they describe.

It goes without saying that contrary to what Jambon claims, it is not the case that "the overwhelming majority" of Muslims in Europe share European values (see below). If it were the case, then Geens and Jambon would not be arguing that we need to get those Muslims on our side. They would already be on our side.

As it happens, the proportion of redheads in the population of the Low Countries is roughly equal* to the proportion of Muslims. But no one lives in fear that rude tweets about Molly Ringwald will set off suicide bomb attacks in Brussels or deadly riots in Breda.    

And of course, Islam has viewed the non-Islamic world as an enemy ever since its founding almost 1400 years ago. What we might think, one way or the other, doesn't change that.    

From The Sun:  
Muslims will soon outnumber Christians in Europe, a Belgian minister has claimed. 
Speaking at a hearing into the Brussels attacks, Koen Geens said the European Community may not realise it “but this is the reality”. 
His comments were followed by Belgian deputy prime minister Jan Jambon warning against Europeans “making an enemy of Islam” describing it as “the worst thing we can do”. 
Speaking at the EU Parliament, Mr Geens said: "In Europe, very shortly we’re soon going to have more practising Muslims than practicing Christians." 
“That is not because there are too many Muslims, it is because Christian are generally less practicing. Europe does not realize this, but this is the reality. 
Mr Jambon then added: “I’ve said a thousand times, the worst thing we can do is to make an enemy of Islam. That is the very worst thing we could do. 
“We have 600,000 to 700,000 Muslims in Belgium and the overwhelming majority of those people share our values. 
“To make an enemy of all of those people, we really will be creating problems. We need to see who the terrorists are, who supports the terrorists, what networks are there to support them. 
“That is who we need to tackle and we need to get all of the rest of the Muslims on our side not working against us.”
*Or at least it used to be roughly equal, say twenty years ago. The current proportion of Muslims is almost certainly higher.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Archbishop of Cologne is a Smirking Collaborator with Evil

Rainer Woelki

I was in Cologne ten years ago.

The most poignant thing was a small and sort of obscure museum to Nazism near the Cathedral. No English translations. It was the site of a Nazi prison. You can still see the graffiti that the victims wrote, knowing they were about to be tortured to death.

But as horrific as that was, the thing that pressed upon me the most were the historical photographs. Triumphant parades. Soldiers in spiffy uniforms. Men and women throwing flowers. Nazism was a liberation, a catharsis. 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939...

They had no idea.

Then only a few years later, the photographs show nothing but burned out buildings and craters. This was the result of their...madness. How could all of this have happened so fast? Those poor ignorant people.

It is of course happening all over again. Though this time as a kind of farce. The parades have been replaced by diversity marches.

It is possible that Cologne will be destroyed again. Due to madness?

But that doesn't leave this prelate off the hook. How many will die (on all sides) to validate his smirk?

In the 1930's and 1940's, the German Catholic Church opposed the Nazis. Many good priests and other Catholics gave their lives resisting them. Some died in that prison.

But this time the Church in Germany is in full alliance with civilization's enemies. As a Catholic, it devastates me to say that. But it's true.

Via Vlad Tepes:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Pope: “'But I belong to this religion, or to that one …' it doesn’t matter!"

"I care!"

On Sunday Pope Francis made another "surprise" visit, this time to an Earth Day celebration in Rome, sponsored in part by Focolare. 

Focolare is officially a Catholic group, though some have called it an indifferentist cult.

However, in fairness to Focolare, it wasn't a representative of that group that made the statement of the post title, but the Vicar of Christ himself.

Who needs Focolare when we have Francis?

Here are some excerpts from the Pope's "impromptu" remarks on an outdoor stage (from a Crux translation of a Vatican provided transcript):
Thanks much for everything, and now I’ll do a little improvisation. I’ll leave aside what I wrote down to say to you, and say instead what comes to me … 
Listening to you speak, two images came to me: The desert, and the forest. I thought, these people, all of you, all, are taking up the desert in order to transform it into a forest. They go where there’s desert, where there isn’t hope, and they do things to make a forest of this desert. The forest is full of trees, it’s full of vegetation, but too disorganized … but, life is like that. Passing from the desert to the forest is the beautiful work you do! You transform deserts into forests! (applause) Then, one can see how to regulate certain things in the forest … but there’s life in it, while in the desert there’s death. 
There are many deserts in the cities, deserts in people’s lives who don’t have a future, because there’s always – and I’ll underline a word here – always there are prejudices, fears. These people live and die in the desert of the cities. You perform a miracle with your work of changing the desert into a forest: Go forward that way. 
What’s your plan of work? I don’t know … We’re approaching you, and we’ll see what we can do. Life has to be taken as it comes. It’s like a goaltender in soccer: You have to take the ball where it’s kicked … it comes from here and there. But you must not be afraid of life, or afraid of conflicts … 
...The desert is ugly, both the desert in the heart of all of us, as well as the desert in the city, in the peripheries, which is also an ugly thing. There’s also a desert that’s in the gated neighborhoods … It’s ugly, but the desert is there too. We must not be afraid to go to the desert to transform it into a forest, where there’s exuberant life, and to go dry the many tears so that everyone can smile.... 
...I’ll give you an assignment to do at home. Look at the faces of people when you go into the street: they’re worried, everyone is closed in on themselves, they lack a smile, in other words they lack tenderness, social friendship … they lack this social friendship. Where there isn’t social friendship there’s always hatred and war. We’re living a piecemeal Third World War, everywhere. Look at the geographic map of the world, and you’ll see. 
...There’s a word not to forget in this world, where it seems that if you don’t pay you can’t live, where the person, the man and woman that God created to be the center of the world, to be for that matter at the center of the economy, are thrown out and instead we have at the center a god, the god of money. Today at the center of the world is the god of money, and those who can approach to adore this god … (applause) … they approach, and those who can’t finish in hunger, in illness, in exploitation … Think about the exploitation of children, of young people... 
...Look, these are the things that come to my mind. How to do this? Simply in the awareness that we all have something in common, we’re all human. And in this humanity, we can get close to each other to work together … “But I belong to this religion, or to that one …” it doesn’t matter! 
Let’s all go forward to work together, respecting each other, respecting! I see this miracle: the miracle of a desert that becomes a forest. Thanks for everything you do!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Papa Francis is Watching You

"Unmerciful! Unmerciful! Unmerciful!"

This could be from some young-adult dystopian future. There's "Papa" leading the Two Minutes Hate against ex-Cardinal Goldstein and his nefarious band of neo-pelagianists.

Interestingly, it was posted by Vatican Media advisor Thomas Rosica. It is creepy to discover that Rosica made it his Facebook cover photo.

Update: As some of you may have noticed, I changed the title on the post to link it more clearly with the picture. I would be remiss if I didn't also include a meme that appeared on my own Facebook page shortly after I linked to this post.

This Yahoo News story gives the context--a "surprise" video message from Pope Francis at a Stadium rock concert celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy. 

Among other things, Francis said that living without God was like not getting a signal on your iPhone.

Maybe we should call him iPope.

I liked, if that is the right word, the bit about the teenager gushing that when she got right up to him she found that the Pope was just an ordinary guy.

But note her claim that she was not given a penance during confession (and she also gushes over this). While this does not negate the forgiveness of her sins, it is technically a violation of the confessor's role in the sacrament.

No doubt the sacraments were made for Francis, not Francis for the sacraments.
Vatican City (AFP) - Happiness is not an app you can download on your mobile phone, Pope Francis told thousands of teenagers on Sunday at a mass to mark a weekend dedicated to youth. 
"Freedom is not always about doing what you want. In fact it is the gift of being able to choose the right way," he said in a homily punctuated by regular bursts of applause from the crowd on a packed St Peter's Square. 
"Your happiness has no price. It cannot be bought and sold: it is not an application you download on a mobile phone. Even the latest version cannot help you to grow and become free in love." 
An estimated 70,000 teenagers were in Rome for a weekend of events to celebrate Francis's Jubilee year dedicated to the theme of mercy. 
In a surprise move on Saturday, the 79-year-old pontiff heard confessions from 16 of them and a video message from him was broadcast at a rock and rap concert in the Stadio Olimpico. 
One of the teenagers chosen to confess to the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics said she had been trembling as she approached the chair on which the pope was sitting in St Peter's Square. 
"But as soon as I sat down I had the feeling of being next to a normal person rather than the pope. Francis is really one of us," Anna Taibi, 15, told La Repubblica newspaper. 
The Sicilian teenager said she had been touched by Francis's tenderness as he listened to her confession. 
"I expected him to give me a penance ... instead he absolved me and let me go." 
The importance of mobile phones to contemporary teenagers was also reflected in Francis's message to the concert. 
Clutching an iPhone, he told his audience that living without Jesus was like not having any signal. "Always be sure to go where there is a network: family, parish, school," he said.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pope Reneged on Promise to Rescue Christian Brother and Sister, Took Muslim Family Instead

Roula and Malek Abo

It's difficult to know what to make of this exactly. Maybe some Catholics are overly obsessed with rules. From today's Daily Mail:
A Christian brother and sister from Syria say they have been 'let down' by the Pope after he left them behind in a Lesbos refugee camp despite promises they would be given a new life in Italy. 
Roula and Malek Abo say they were two of the lucky 'chosen 12' refugees selected by the Vatican to be taken from the desperate camp and housed in Rome. 
But what seemed like the chance of a lifetime was cruelly snatched away when they were told the following day they couldn't go. Instead three Muslim families were taken. 
Roula, 22, and her brother arrived on Lesbos on April 1 – ten days after the controversial EU deal to return all asylum seekers arriving to Greece from Turkey. 
Their application for asylum is being process and they are waiting to learn if they will be sent back to Turkey. 
Stuck on Lesbos, Roula told MailOnline: 'If they can do this for 12 people they can do it for more. 
'If you have promised to take people back to Italy will something like registration papers stand in your way?'
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Quo vadis?

Will you be there with them?
[This is a retitled repost of a piece I wrote almost six months ago at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family. I admit that it was prescient in predicting that the Pope's exhortation would use obfuscation and ambiguity to advance his agenda while avoiding the direct contradiction of doctrine. But of course I was not the only one to foresee this. Pay attention to the excerpt from the Scalfari interview, directly below. I had actually forgotten it, but it deserves another read now: On communion for the divorced and remarried, the Pope allegedly said: "the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask will be admitted." After Amoris Laetitia, can anyone seriously doubt that this isn't his goal?

But the real focus of the piece was on how faithful Catholics should respond to this Pope. Hence the new (and I think more appropriate title). Quo vadis? Peter flees Rome to avoid probable torture and death, and on the road outside of the city meets the risen Christ. "Where are you going?" Peter asks Him. "I am going to Rome to be crucified again." Peter gets the message and finds the courage to return. Of course, Peter's question to Christ could also be Christ's question to him.

Where are you going?]     

Rorate Caeli has translated a recent Eugenio Scalfari piece where he reports the Pope's intentions towards communion for the divorced and remarried. Rorate correctly notes that we are long past the point where anyone could reasonably doubt the basic veracity of the Pope's favorite journalist writing in the Pope's favorite newspaper.
It is true -- Pope Francis answered -- it is a truth and for that matter the family that is the basis of any society changes continuously, as all things change around us. We must not think that the family does not exist any longer, it will always exist, because ours is a social species, and the family is the support beam of sociability, but it cannot be avoided that the current family, open as you say, contains some positive aspects, and some negative ones. ... The diverse opinion of the bishops is part of this modernity of the Church and of the diverse societies in which she operated, but the goal is the same, and for that which regards the admission of the divorced to the Sacraments, [it] confirms that this principle has been accepted by the Synod. This is bottom line result, the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask will be admitted.
But this is merely confirmation of what we already knew. The Pope's behavior at the Synod should have left no doubts in anyone's mind as to what side he was on. Communion for the divorced and remarried was advanced by a powerful minority, all of whom were close friends or allies of the Pope. Some of them were handpicked by him to attend the Synod at the last minute. A two-thirds majority narrowly approved paragraphs of the final Relatio containing language that will move the heresy forward--the narrow approval a function of his handpicked attendees. And needless to say, far from condemning his heretical allies, the Pope gave a final address where he bitterly attacked those who had attempted to defend Church teachings.

We are still awaiting an official English translation of the Relatio, and sources claim that the Pope himself will pen a concluding exhortation on the matter. My prediction is that the Pope will not directly endorse the heresy--it is in the nature of his strategy and of the heresy itself that it is often not directly endorsed. But it will advance the cause. And communion for the divorced and remarried will become the quasi-official practice within the Church.

I have written many critical pieces on this Pope. I'm not sure whether I have explicitly called him a Modernist--an adherent of the Modernist heresy--although he clearly is one. But like the hyper-evolving alien in that horror movie, the heresy of Modernism itself regularly metastasizes into different forms.

Michael Lofton at OnePeterFive identifies one current form of Modernism as Kasperism--the view that dogma is to be left intact in theory, but may be contradicted in practice. (the name is in honor of Cardinal Walter Kasper, its most well-known proponent). I think that gets it exactly right. And like all forms of Modernism it is disingenuous and slippery, although particularly so in this case.

The Modernists or Kasperites sense impending victory, but they are probably clever enough to not overplay their hand. The idea is to leave enough ambiguity to lull their potential opponents--of whom even now there are many--into continuing silence or inaction. No one wants to stick their neck out first and engage the enemy, for they believe they will merely be accused of creating one. In this way, the heretics believe they will win without a shot being fired.

What to do?

Let me first speak of rank-and-file Catholics. Most faithful Catholics are probably not aware of what is happening or especially and most importantly the Pope's role in it. They are busy simply being Catholics--worshipping God through His Church as faithfully as they can--not reading blogs or debating on Facebook. No doubt they will continue in this until the real fireworks start. I won't address them since they wouldn't be reading this anyway. That's okay, of course.

Catholic journalists, bloggers and interested readers and thinkers are another story, and so I will address them directly: You pride yourselves on being informed, so you cannot now plead ignorance. If at this point you defend Francis and attack his opponents, you are doing the Devil's work and have become collaborators in the destruction of the Church. Whatever it is--an obstinate naiveté, pride, fear, money or an exaggerated fetish for charity, now almost certainly being used as a cover for one of the latter three--get over it. Give it up. You have put yourselves on the path to hell, and your statements and actions will have the effect of helping to bring others along with you. Stop and do the right thing. For your own souls, at the least.

Faithful priests, bishops and cardinals: The Church now needs a public champion. Someone must be the first to rebuke Francis to his face, for without a first there will be no others. It will probably be a thankless task, at least in this life. You will be slandered and vilified, called an "extremist" and a "schismatic". Your name may not go down in human history, at least in any major way, in part because the victory will not be won so quickly. Someone fifty or a hundred years from now may get most of the recognition and applause. But of course, as much as it seems to matter to so many of us, it shouldn't, and you of all Catholics should know that.

For all of us, I think of that van Eyck painting, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (The Lamb of God), which was the subject of today's Feast of all Saints homily at St. John Cantius. All of the saints are there in that beautiful country, adoring the Lamb. There are priests, bishops, popes (a handful), women religious, monks, soldiers (male and female), hermits, philosophers, married men and women, and the unmarried faithful including not a few children.

When the earthly battle is won in fifty or a hundred years, at the same time virtually all of us will be there in that other country, or at least each of us could be there. Nothing is stopping us. Nothing is stopping you. Literally nothing.

Except perhaps you.

Sign, as it were, your own petition to be on the Church's side. Other people will see it. That's the catch. You might lose a few friends. You might even lose money or position.

Someone might call you a schismatic on Facebook.

Facebook (not so long from now) might block your account.

You think that's tough? Tell that to the martyrs in that painting.

But they're pulling for you and praying for you, even now.

Don't let them down.      

Sunday, April 17, 2016

"What an unappealing man. A wise guy. A taunter. A soft sadist who enjoys diddling with people's faith. His hide and seek game is soft sadism. I just can't get past how sneaky and downright cruel he is."

"How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?"

Things are moving quickly. Let's review what has happened in the last week:
  1. Pope Francis releases an almost 60,000 word document on "love" or "sex" or "marriage" or whatever, that is so bloated and meandering that there is even a short discourse on wedding planning.
  2. Everyone knows that the proximate question at issue is whether the divorced and remarried could or should be admitted to communion. The answer to the question obviously has serious implications for how Catholics view such things as marriage, divorce, adulteryrepentancesin, the Real Presence and even the very authority of the Church itselfAnd at both the Synod on the Family and in the drafting of the document, the Pope chose to surround himself with those who focused incessantly on the question. 
  3. The text is technically ambiguous on the question with numerous passages and footnotes that suggest or imply answers without spelling them out explicitly.
  4. Some claim that the text is not ambiguous. Debate ensues.
  5. The Pope is later asked whether the document changes anything, or rather, in the words of the questioner, whether there are "new, concrete possibilities." He answers, "Yes, period."
  6. People then debate what he meant by "Yes, period" and what possibilities are being referred to.
  7. But not before the Pope himself explains that to get more than just a simple answer as to what he meant by "Yes, period" people should read another document--a 3,000 word analysis of the original 60,000 word document, which itself is technically ambiguous but also suggests or implies.
  8. Or not. That too might be debated.
  9. Meanwhile, we are told by many on all sides that in a sense the whole thing is a moot point because DOCTRINE CANNOT CHANGE.
  10. And the Pope himself chides the faithful for (he claims) obsessing about an issue that (he claims) wasn't really the focus of the document in the first place.  
An anonymous commenter on The Eponymous Flower writes of Francis:
What an unappealing man. A wise guy. A taunter. A soft sadist who enjoys diddling with people's faith. His hide and seek game is soft sadism. I just can't get past how sneaky and downright cruel he is.
I think that gets it exactly right.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

I myself have watched Steve Skojec’s progression downhill, through the years...

Steve Skojec

WARNING: This post contains graphic inside jokes and irony.

Don't blame me, man. I didn't say it. The post title is actually a quote from the noted Catholic apologist and Patheos blogger, Dave Armstrong. He's self-published more books than the combined Church Fathers.

(I've only self-published four books. You may purchase them here.)

But back to Steve Skojec, that miscreant. See kids, let this be a lesson to you. Listen up. Observe how the great fall. Nota bena. And so on. And don't go downhill if you can help it. Just because there's a lodge down there, featuring a well-stocked bar and a roaring fire doesn't make it all right. Stay above the tree line.

Here's a list of Dave Armstrong's most recent Patheos posts along with the number of comments:

Debates About Homosexuality (Series): 0 comments.
Atheist Deconversions from Christianity (Series): 0 comments.
“Why pray to a saint rather than to God?”: 0 comments
God’s “Punishing” of Descendants: Unjust?: 0 comments

And you were wondering why I put "Steve Skojec" in my own post title.

It beats pets.

So despite my distaste at Skojec's disgraceful embrace of gravity, I've linked to a great number of his missives. As Ronald Reagan once said when the Sandinistas shot down a plane full of journalists, "there's a little bit of good in everybody."

Which brings me full circle to a serious point:

Dave Armstrong has done a huge amount of great work in service to the Catholic faith. His childish attacks against Steve Skojec and others do not take away from that, though obviously they have the tendency to drown it out.

In the spirit of Catholic comradeship, I urge him to ease up on the blog wars. I want him on our side.

I want you on our side, Dave Armstrong.

At least think about it.

Monday, April 11, 2016

In Bitter, Bizarre First Post "Love" Homily, Pope Lashes Out at Critics, Calls Judas "This Poor Repentant Man," Blames Jewish Priests for Judas' Death (They Were Bad Confessors and had No Mercy)

"Please help me."

The Pope appears to be growing increasingly unhinged.

Is the aggressive crazy talk a response to perceived opposition or a post Amoris victory lap?

Vatican Radio reports on today's homily at Santa Marta. The first part deals not with Judas but with those who clutch to "the letter" of the law. It is impossible to believe that Francis is not referring to opponents of the "pastoral solutions" proposed in Amoris Laetitia
Pope Francis on Monday spoke of the importance of taking stock of what is in people’s hearts and lives instead of only taking the law into account. 
...the Pope spoke of the Doctors of the Law whom – he said - passed judgment with their hearts closed to God and to prophecy; all that mattered to them – he explained – was to uphold the Law. 
Pope Francis was reflecting on the Reading from the Acts of the Apostles in which the Doctors of the Law accuse Stephen of speaking “blasphemous words against Moses and God” because they “could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.” 
They even instigated false witnesses to uphold their claims, he said. 
“Their hearts, closed to God’s truth, clutch only at the truth of the Law, taking it by ‘the letter’, and do not find outlets other than in lies, false witness and death” he said. 
Then Francis presented a novel theory on Judas. As far as I know, no one ever in the history of the world has ever directly blamed the Jewish chief priests for Judas' suicide:
Pope Francis said: "It hurts when I read that small passage from the Gospel of Matthew, when Judas, who has repented, goes to the priests and says: ‘I have sinned' and wants to give ... and gives them the coins. ‘Who cares! - they say to him: it’s none of our business!’ They closed their hearts before this poor, repentant man, who did not know what to do. And he went and hanged himself. 
And what did they do when Judas hanged himself? They spoke amongst themselves and said: 'Is he a poor man? No! These coins are the price of blood, they must not enter the temple... and they referred to this rule and to that… The doctors of the letter. " 
The life of a person did not matter to them, the Pope observed, they did not care about Judas’ repentance. 
The Gospel, he continued, says that Judas came back repentant. But all that mattered to them “were the laws, so many words and things they had built”.
Francis appears to be arguing that Judas' return to the priests was tantamount to trying to make a confession to them. But the priests were bad confessors and rejected him. No doubt they lacked mercy.

This is of course demented.

It is tedious to observe that:
  1. The Jewish priests (being Jewish priests) had no power to forgive sins in that sense.
  2. Neither Judas nor the priests believed they had such a power.
  3. In any case, while looking down at Judas for being sort of a rat, the priests obviously wouldn't think that acting against Jesus was a sin per se.
  4. Most Biblical commentators attach significance to the particular Greek word used for "repentance" in this passage as opposed other passages. The common understanding is that his repentance was more akin to "I'm sorry I find myself in this position now" rather than "I'm truly sorry that I betrayed my Master and friend."
  5. This is reinforced by the fact that Judas did not try to save Jesus or go back to the other apostles in order to reconcile with them, etc. Rather, he killed himself.
Perhaps Francis believes in what some have called the "blood libel."

But concerning Judas not Jesus.

Interestingly, he concluded the homily by repeating a sort of anti-Catholic blood libel--that the Church has a long history of burning dissidents and so on:
"History tells us of many people who were judged and killed, although they were innocent: judged according to the Word of God, against the Word of God. Let’s think of witch hunts or of St. Joan of Arc, and of many others who were burnt to death, condemned because according to the judges they were not in line with the Word of God” he said.
The above isn't Catholic. It's anti-Catholic.


Who will stand up to it?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

James Carroll (Yes THAT James Carroll) Pens the Best Analysis Yet of Amoris Laetitia and It's Relation to Post Vatican II Catholicism

Finally, a pope he likes

James Carroll has made a career out of attacking the Catholic Church and Christianity in general. And like many of the most prominent anti-Catholic authors he is also an ex-religious--in this case an ex-priest. I'm not sure whether even he would still call himself a Catholic, but others have called him a Catholic "liberal" or "reformer." I think the fairest term would be "dissident."

Perhaps his most famous book was Constantine's Sword (later turned into a movie) in which he claimed that the Church has been antisemitic since its founding and that this laid the groundwork for the Holocaust. And of course he added his voice to the chorus of slanderous claims about Pope Pius XII being a Nazi collaborator.

His religious prejudices or biases aside, I don't think he's a very good historian. He's really more of a propagandist than anything else. Obviously, I'm not a fan.

However, James Carroll just wrote the most accurate analysis of the Pope's recent 60,000 word exhortation Amoris Laetitia that I have yet seen. I particularly liked (if that is the word) his quasi-"insider" sketch of the heterodox pastoral practices of a large proportion, perhaps the majority, of American priests since Vatican II. For example, his comments on the response to Humanae Vitae are spot on.

I agree with most of what he says in this article with one major exception:

He thinks it's all a good thing.

I think it's a tragedy.

The article was published in The New Yorker on the same day as the release of Amoris Laetitia. Here's the historical part:
I could have used Pope Francis’s latest apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), when I served as a Catholic priest, almost half a century ago. I was ordained in early 1969, a few months after the promulgation of “Humanae Vitae,” the Vatican’s resounding condemnation of “artificial birth control,” which would define my future. I was a chaplain at a university where, true to the era, the norms of sexual morality had been upended. I certainly saw the need, in those wild days, for a humane and ethical analysis of the state of sexual intimacy, personal commitment, erotic longing, and gender rights. But, believe me, the triumphalist salvo from Rome made the moral condition worse, not better. Like many priests of my generation, I declined to affirm the birth-control teaching. On the contrary, I encouraged the young people who sought my advice to be sexually responsible, especially since the mature use of contraceptives could avoid a later choice about abortion. 
Oddly, perhaps, this approach did not make me an outlaw renegade. Priests like me, in counselling our fellow-Catholics, operated under the rubric of the so-called pastoral solution, which allowed us to quietly defy Vatican dogma when the situation seemed to call for it. In the confessional booth or the rectory parlor, we could encourage our parishioners to decide for themselves, by examining their own consciences, whether the doctrine of the Church applied to them in their particular circumstance. (We cited the lessons of the Second Vatican Council, which, taking up the theme of responsible parenthood, only three years before, had said, “The parents themselves, and no one else, should ultimately make this judgment in the sight of God.”) 
The fact that, a generation later, the vast majority of Catholics disregard “Humanae Vitae” shows how effective the pastoral solution has been. But this solution has always been offered as an option in the shadowy private forum—in those off-the-record consultations between confessor and penitent. Preachers never addressed the subject from the pulpit. Everybody in the Church knew that “Humanae Vitae” was a moral teaching with no center, but that, too, was treated like a secret. Popes did not speak of the encyclical’s being ignored, nor did bishops or priests. Catholic lay people have made their declaration mainly by having about two children, like everybody else, and going regularly to Communion, with no questions asked. There has been a tacit understanding, as if the seal of the confessional itself applied, that this nearly universal choice to disobey the Church not be spoken of. Why? To protect the myth of the immutability of doctrine.
So there you have it. Pope Francis isn't blazing a completely new trail per se. Rather, he's simply officially confirming what has been the de facto practice of many in the Church for almost the last fifty years.

This gets it pretty much right. My only quibble would be with the last sentence that makes it sound almost like there is a conspiracy to protect the authority of the Church. But the liberals or dissidents have never cared about protecting the authority of the Church per se. The "tacit understanding" that Carroll mentions was the joint product of the liberal strategy of indirectly attacking the Church coupled with the fear (some would say cowardice) of the orthodox that responding to or confronting that attack would either fail or cause schism.

Carroll then addresses Amoris Laetitia:
Pope Francis has now brought the pastoral solution out of the Catholic shadows...this new statement is, in effect, the Pope’s summary and conclusion about the questions raised at the Synod, which found itself focussed on whether divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Communion. Francis takes that up. He says, all but explicitly, yes they can... 
...The Pope—to the disappointment of many liberals, no doubt—is not replacing an old set of harsh and restrictive rules with a new set of flexible and merciful rules. Rules, actually, are not the point...When human experience, with all of what the Pope calls its “immense variety of concrete situations,” is elevated over “general principles,” a revolution is implicit. Francis explains: “It is true that general rules set forth a good which can never be disregarded or neglected, but in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations.”
There are rules. The rules haven't changed. But the rules are not the point.


Carroll wouldn't put it this way, of course, but in essence he agrees that what has been called the heresy of Kasperism--the view that dogma is to be left intact in theory, but may be contradicted in practice--is now in the ascendent, with the Pope as its champion.

Orthodox Catholics are already saying that the "wolves" (including people like Carroll) are spinning the document. Well, let me for once defend the honor of the wolves. They're not spinning it. They're interpreting it accurately and fairly as it was meant to be interpreted.

That's the problem.

Read the rest of the article here.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Pity Me

The kids are running and screaming but within an hour they will hopefully be asleep. My wife is about to go out to hang with friends. And I will be alone with...


Pity me.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Father Z is a Liar

Quo vadis?

This isn't to start or continue a blog war. It's not click bait.

It's correcting the record.

Father Z just accused some Catholic conservatives and traditionalists of enjoying griping about the Pope, of enjoying the suffering of other Catholics, of enjoying seeing the Pope (among others) attempt to destroy the Church from the inside. Father Z thinks they want the upcoming Exhortation to be bad.

I know a few of the most prominent traditionalists fairly well. And that's a bloody lie. They love Christ and His Church. They're not enjoying anyone's suffering. Rather they're suffering intensely themselves, far more than an arrogant, emotionally stunted internet priest could ever know.

And if you take the "prominent" out, I'm one of them.

God sees all. Don't worry. Or maybe some should worry.

Why don't you stop lying about people? 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Pope Videos: Where are the Black People?

Happy white family

The fourth Pope Video, called Small Farmers, is now out.

It's a minute and a half of quasi-Marxist bilge.

But that's not what I'm going to write about today. Rather I'm going to consider a question that occurred to me while reading the Bear's short review of the fourth Pope Video:
The supporting actor is a middle-aged white farmer with a hoe and one donkey.
That got me thinking. Up to two-thirds of the people in these videos are white (counting what are sometimes called "Hispanics" as white--I hope that doesn't offend) though in each of the videos there is a noticeable attempt to also include a wide diversity of other races and cultures. So there are Central and South Americans, North Americans, Europeans, Arabs, Indians, Tibetans or Burmese, South-East Asians, Chinese, Japanese and so on.

But where are the black people?

Or to put it another way, where are the Africans or people of African descent?

Africans and people of African descent do, after all, make up a sizable percentage of the world's population as well as comprising a sizable portion of the world's Catholics (and probably an even more sizable portion of the world's practicing Catholics).

But in more than six minutes of video that includes well over a hundred human figures, only two of the figures are black. It's a little boy and girl playing on what looks like a cheap metal bed in what could be some sort of shack. The clip lasts no more than two seconds.

(There is also one drawing of an African family, but in truth it might have been better not to have included that. See below for why.)

Now, I'm not one of those who believes you must have a mathematically proportionate representation of races in everything you do. But one of the underlying messages of the entire Pope Video series is the value of ethnic and cultural diversity. The whole thing is infused with a We are the World/UNESCO/United Colors of Benetton vibe that's impossible to miss. That makes the near-complete absence of black people all the more weird. Indeed, the more you think about it, the more incredibly weird it becomes.

Where is the footage of African farmers nobly toiling (Video 4) or African urbanites coughing up pollution created by capitalism (Video 2) or African families just hanging out (Video 3) or maybe even an African Muslim or Catholic or two? (Video 1).

They don't exist, apparently.

For the fun of it, I actually made a list, starting at the first scene of the first Pope Video and proceeding through the rest. Everyone who appears is counted (and that includes off-camera voices and faces and even some children's drawings). But to be fair, no one is counted more than once, even if they reappeared.

If you've gotten this far, take a look. I think it's quite interesting.

People Featured in the Pope Videos So Far

Argentinian Buddhist (white)
Argentinian Muslim (middle-eastern)
Argentinian Catholic (white)
Argentinian Jew (white)
Pope (white)
Burmese (?) Buddhists (asian)
Eastern Orthodox prelate (white)
Argentinian Jew (white)
Argentinian/European little girl (white)
Argentinian/European little boy (white)
Bicyclist wearing Respro mask (white or asian)
Muslim (?) man (middle-eastern)
Elderly Argentinian/European (white)
Turbaned man (asian)
Chinese woman (asian)
Irish/Scandinavian etc. woman (white)
White hand brushing flowers (white)
Argentinian/European yuppy (white)
Two white hands exchanging a clover (white)
Pony tailed person staring into sea (white or asian)
Argentinian/European face staring into sea (white)
White feet dangling over dock (white)
Indian mother and two sons (asian)
Two African children laughing over book on cheap bed in shack (black)
Argentinian/Southern European family on nice couch (white)
Argentinian/European father and son swimming (white)
Argentinian/European little girl (white)
Her arguing parents (white)
Her brother (white)
Drawing of Spanish family (white)
Drawing of family in front of mountains (white)
Drawing of family, including father with extremely long legs (asian or white)
Drawing of family near tree and lake (white)
More abstract drawing of family (indeterminate)
Drawing of African family in front of grass hut with father holding spear (black)
I'm not making this up.
Drawing of Arab family in desert (middle-eastern)
Drawing of happy family with red cheeks (white)
Campesino older man (white)
Campesino older woman (white)
Four campesinos (white)
Chinese/South East Asian rice farmers (asian)
Farmer with boots, gloves and head covering (indeterminate)
Pakistani or Indian farmer (middle-eastern or asian)
Tired small farmer (white)
Frenetic capitalists on floor of New York City Stock Exchange (white)
Central American migrant farm workers (?) (white)
Japanese (?) farmer (asian)
Old Arab man (middle-eastern)
One or two additional farmers (white)

Happy black family

Against the rainbow of ethnic diversity presented above, the lack of black people stands out. Maybe they're hiding in the hut.

What does it all mean? How could someone on the political left (which, let's admit it, the Pope quite obviously is) forget about black people? How could someone who many believe cares so much about people in general and the poor and downtrodden in particular, effectively ignore 20% of the world's population including many of its most poor and downtrodden, especially those on the African continent? Or to flip it, why didn't they include more black people just, you know, hanging out--sitting on couches or swimming in pools or running on beaches. Don't black people like to do those things too?

Am I alleging that the Pope and/or his Argentinian video production company is in some sense racist, at least in terms of ignoring black people or shuffling them off to the side or just not considering them to be as interesting, photogenic or important as other people?