Sunday, November 17, 2013

Various Francis News

Over the past few days, we've had several things come out about the Pope which have caused discussion.

- First there was the statement from Cardinal Hoyos that Francis has no problem with the Latin Mass, and really doesn't have that strong of an opinion one way or another on it. He has no intention of supressing it. This should be obvious, but a lot of people really believed he would. This was covered a few days ago here. 

- We also found out that Pope Francis personally reached out to Archbishop Marchetto. Now that means nothing to anyone but theological wonks, but it is important. His Excellency has written what may be called the most authoritative work about how to interpret Vatican II. Probably a better way to say it is that the archbishop is the "best interpreter of the Second Vatican Council" because that is precisely what Pope Francis called him

 The Archbishop's main argument is that you need to read the Council within a hermeneutic of continuity, or you need to read it in harmony with all previous tradition, and not treat it as a break. This really shouldn't be a surprise. Yet a lot of Catholics for their own ideological reasons believe deep down Pope Francis held otherwise, even though, if one played the percentages, this wasn't likely.
-He was Bishop of rome
 -The Cardinals in the Conclave were all chosen by either John Paul II or Benedict, who spent their entire pontificates stressing the need for a hermeneutic of continiuty. Think they would give people the red hat who clearly held otherwise? 
 -The Pope clearly backed the idea in previous speeches.
Sadly, a lot of people of various different persuasions really didn't care about the evidence. They were convinced, for good or ill, Francis believed Vatican II broke with previous Church teaching, and was going to base his pontificate off of this fact. Will this stop most of the people believing this? Probably not. Yet for those who want to look at the matter objectively, it should. RELAX. 

- The "controversial" interview the Holy Father gave with Eugenio Scalafari has been removed from the Vatican's website. A lot of people are rejoicing. Others are trying to use this as a cudgel to beat others with. A few have even snickered "well your defense of Francis' words looks mighty stupid now!" Not really. 

What I'm going to explain is a difficult theological concept, but we need to understand it: just because somebody says something in a way you don't like doesn't make them a heretic or wrong. Wait, that's not difficult? If the blogosphere followed that concept, content would decline by about 95%. If there's a chance that something the Holy Father said can be read in an Orthodox fashion, do so. If you can read it in a way harmonius with Catholic truth without doing grave violence to either the text or Catholic truth, do so. You should really be doing this with everyone, but that goes double for the Bishop of Rome. 

What we have are (likely) some things said about conscience that, while one can read them in a way harmonius with Catholic truth, they caused a lot of confusion. As a result they took down the words. They will almost certainly have to issue further clarification, and it will probably be..... in a way that is consistent with the greater Catholic tradition. 

There's nothing wrong with wishing he would give greater clarity with his words, or pointing out that, due to ambiguity, people will misunderstand things. It is something different entirely to scream the man is a modernist, a heretic, and proof once again he is trying to destroy the Church, and oh how everything is just oh so horrible. WOE IS ME! - 

So we've learned a lot about Pope Francis over the past week..... or have we? We've found out that he wasn't going to supress the Latin Mass, and he doesn't believe Vatican II created a new church, and that sometimes, what you want to say doesn't always end up playing out best in print, and as a result you make adjustments. This kind of stuff really was common knowledge beforehand. The only people who disagreed with this were those who felt it was advantageous to disagree for whatever reason. 

In the end, things are like they always are. Most people don't read blogs, and as a result were oblivious to all of this stuff. That is still the wise course of action.


  1. There is a common mythology that all Catholics I think suffer from.

    They all believe in the golden age Camelot Catholicism till the rise of the Dark Times.

    I am not just banging on Trads here. I notice not to few of the new extremist critics of Pope Francis seem to be looking at the reign of Pope John Paul II in an idealized way I don't actually remember existing when he was alive.

    It's just weird.

  2. Can anyone explain to me what Sandro Magiste's malfunction is? I used to love what he wrote about Jewish Christians in the Holy Land now he's got this whole Francis hater mojo going for him. At least that is what it looks like to me.


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