Ch Ch Ch Chain Gez

More on Evangelii Gaudium:

The theme of change permeates the document. The pope says rather than being afraid of “going astray,” what the church ought to fear instead is “remaining shut up within structures that give us a false sense of security, within rules that make us harsh judges” and “within habits that make us feel safe.”

Though Francis released an encyclical letter titled Lumen Fidei in June, that text was based largely on a draft prepared by Benedict XVI. “The Joy of the Gospel,” designed as a reflection on the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on new evangelization, thus represents the new pope’s real debut as an author.

Early reaction suggests it’s a tour de force.

The text comes with Francis’ now-familiar flashes of homespun language. Describing an upbeat tone as a defining Christian quality, for instance, he writes that “an evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!”

At another point, Francis insists that “the church is not a tollhouse.” Instead, he says, “it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone.” At another point, he quips that “the confessional must not be a torture chamber,” but rather “an encounter with the Lord’s mercy which spurs us to on to do our best.”

Francis acknowledges that realizing his dream will require “a reform of the church,” stipulating that “what I am trying to express here has a programmatic significance and important consequences.”

Though he doesn’t lay out a comprehensive blueprint for reform, he goes beyond mere hints to fairly blunt indications of direction:

He calls for a “conversion of the papacy,” saying he wants to promote “a sound decentralization” and candidly admitting that in recent years “we have made little progress” on that front.

He suggests that bishops’ conferences ought to be given “a juridical status … including genuine doctrinal authority.” In effect, that would amount to a reversal of a 1998 Vatican ruling under John Paul II that only individual bishops in concert with the pope, and not episcopal conferences, have such authority.

Francis says the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak,” insisting that “the doors of the sacraments” must not “be closed for simply any reason.” His language could have implications not only for divorced and remarried Catholics, but also calls for refusing the Eucharist to politicians or others who do not uphold church teaching on some matters.

He calls for collaborative leadership, saying bishops and pastors must use “the means of participation proposed in the Code of Canon Law and other forms of pastoral dialogue, out of a desire to listen to everyone and not simply to those who would tell him what he would like to hear.”

Francis criticizes forces within the church who seem to lust for “veritable witch hunts,” asking rhetorically, “Whom are we going to evangelize if this is the way we act?”

He cautions against “ostentatious preoccupation” for liturgy and doctrine as opposed to ensuring that the Gospel has “a real impact” on people and engages “the concrete needs of the present time.”

On two specific matters, however, Francis rules out change: the ordination of women to the priesthood, though he calls for “a more incisive female presence” in decision-making roles, and abortion.

Low papalists/liberals want to see discontinuity, while high papalists/conservatives want to see continuity — from Benedict XVI to Francis or Trent to Vatican II. But the conservatives are the same folks who see discontinuity everywhere in American politics — from Bush II to Obama, or Reagan to Bush I. Seems to me both sides have vested interests in interpretations which are above their pay grade.

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49 thoughts on “Ch Ch Ch Chain Gez

  1. “an evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!” — guess Frank would have rebuked Paul who came to the Corinthians in weakness, fear, and much trembling. Platitudes are weak whether they come from Vatican City, Wheaton, or NYC. Francis continues to sound much like your average Pastor Heather at the local PCUSA.

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  2. So far it’s ALL pastoral application up to and including organizational realignment. This is all possible under Vat II pastoral intent, though you wouldn’t know it from the prior two popes and even pope Paul, because they were busy trying to get the horse back in the barn. The conciliar realignment will be the first real challenge to papal primacy as dogma. I’m interested to see how far he wants to push that. He could effectively function as a rubber stamp on synodical decisions and thus not technically affect dogma or he could go ahead and actually grant additional powers to bishops that were anticipated in Vat II but never implemented because both the curia and the prior popes either coveted the power or didn’t trust the bishops. Both motivations have been on display in the past 50 years. If he leaves it at pastoral application, RC will take on the appearance of our national politics with conservative and liberal factions fighting for their ‘man’ to be in power and correspondingly declaring victory or bemoaning the coming state of the church under the incoming pope. If Francis lives 10 years and actually replaces over half the cardinals, you might actually see a dogmatic change as like minded bishops are installed. I just can’t imagine he’d force the situation without the political will already in place, but then again, look at what he’s already done and how quickly he’s bringing it about. Plus, he’s a Jesuit and they pride themselves on being ‘creative’ and unpredictable. They tend to function like Will Ferrell and John Riley from Step Brothers going to a job interview. They think a lot of themselves and their abilities.

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  3. Francis acknowledges that realizing his dream will require “a reform of the church,”

    Uhmm…, yeah. We’ve only been saying this for 700 years or so, now.

    Turn and face the strain, indeed.

    Oh, look out you rock ‘n rollers..

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  4. Rome could usually be trusted to actually apply the law even if it was the law plus papal tradition as more law. And that at least sociologically gave cover for law and gospel ministry. This type of stuff is truly scary because if Rome goes wobbly on the law, I’m not sure how any other group truly stands against the modern state in any meaningful way.

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  5. Let me fix that last sentence:

    Out:
    Seems to me both sides have vested interests in interpretations which are above their pay grade.

    In:
    Seems to me both sides have vestments which look fabulous at their gay parade.

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  6. Mark Brown, let’s see, we do have three branches of government that embody (ideally) checks and balances. We have fifty state governments that if not for 19th c. extremists on both sides of the Mason-Dixon used to (and still do) pose obstacles to “the state.” And then we do have two political parties and the last I read in the Times, the GOP was doing its obstructionist best with the President.

    No need to go knock-kneed over an institution that has no temporal power whatsoever. If only Queen Elizabeth would speak as much as Francis, the press might have another monarch to cover.

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  7. Viva Pope Francis!

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/11/francis-has-succeeded-in-doing-what-no-pope-has-ever-done-divide-the-catholic-left/

    Read reactions and analysis of Evangelii gaudium and you will quickly see that the catholic Left’s take on the Apostolic Exhortation inexorably veers into “Isn’t it great that the Pope hates traditionalists? He’s one of us!”

    Heh heh. Not so much.

    The catholic Left has nearly completely accepted that their flagship issue has been torpedoed.

    When you read liberal and squishy-to-left Catholic blogs and news sites you will see that they shuffle the women’s ordination thing in Evangelii gaudium either into some few asides or down to the bottom of their lists.

    Go ahead! Go out and see what they are doing.

    What appears at the top of their lists, however, are quotes from the Apostolic Exhortation that seem to cut down conservatives.

    What’s this all about? What’s going on under the surface?

    Liberals are so happy that the Pope seems to be bashing conservatives, that they are ready and willing to accept that women will never ever be ordained.

    The “Joy of their Gospel” is to see conservatives get whacked. They are so overjoyed, as a matter of that, that they are willing to sacrifice their flagship.

    Yes, you will find a few waayyyy out on the even leftier fringe of their fleet – you know, the Gray Panthers – for whom Francis denial of women’s ordination this is still a problem. But, for the most part, Francis hit their liberal sweet spot soperfectly that they are taking the bitter hit amidships.

    “Trads to the WALL!” To them, it’s worth it.

    Make no mistake. The Big Issue for liberals is women’s ordination. Francis, the fluffiest and most wonderfullest Pope since Peter has now taken the issue away from them.

    This Franciscan slight of hand has put liberals into a serious dilemma, almost like to that of Buridan’s Ass. This time, however, the catholic Ass chose.

    The Pope has won liberal support for his decision not to reopen the question of women’s ordination. He won them over by ostensibly sacrificing those who desire traditional expressions of liturgy, etc., at least in his rhetorical flourishes. They took the bait.

    catholic liberals have been co-opted not only into accepting that women will never be ordained, they are, in their acquiescence, now supporting it.

    The Pope wins. The Church’s doctrine wins. The Catholic faithful win.

    Will Francis manage to drive a wedge between extreme feminists and other liberals? When he does, he will have succeeded in doing what no Pope has ever done, or ever tried to do: create divisions in the catholic Left.

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  8. Kenloses, you’re the guy wearing the shirt of the band playing this concert. You’re doing great, you stud you (no emoticon here).

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  9. Francis torpedoes the LRM, but somehow this is sleight of hand is an actual victory for the trads against the cardinal virtue of the left; feminism. Whatever gets you through the night. Meanwhile, the Novus Ordo is championed and declared normative and actual synodical structural changes and real decentralization marches on. Ken must be a Cubs fan.

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  10. Well as long as we were in the “spin zone” I thought I would contribute too. You guys are intentionally reading Francis through a worse case scenario hermeneutic. You are cheering liberal commentary and hoping against hope that the Church will fall. Dream on. Try reading Francis through Benedict or at least try reading Francis through Francis instead of reading him through Pelosi and then crooning on and on about modernism. Did any of you ever read a New York Times piece on the Bush administration? The Tea Party on Obama? That’s the literal equivalent of Old Life. Somebody call Fox News so we can get some fair and balanced reporting. Better yet, grab O’Rielly and lets see if we can stop all the spin. Making me dizzy.

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  11. Kenloses, but what did you expect? Make me drudge up the Machen quote on RCism and propoganda, and I will. Mopey dopey over here just calls it like I sees it. Your leader wants you to reform yourself. Better get to it, but hang out here and learn how it’s done, all you like.

    Regards..(and happy turkey day),
    Andrew

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  12. Actually, Ken, I’m gonna go mopey again, and say, you should cool your jets around here. But remember,do t listen to what I write. Why even today, I posted at CtC and have a comment in Bryan’s purgatory (bets on how long it takes to come out, if ever?). You may fit in better with them. But as long as you want to keep writing out here, give it all you got. We’re all reading at home on our smartphones. Best regards, Andrew

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  13. KENLOSES, so now we are only supposed to quote the good Roman Catholics. But how do we tell since Rome is unified and Protestants are schlubs.

    JATC brought this on. If they hadn’t gone all Fox News about the papacy, we might feel a little of your pain (if you can actually admit to experiencing any). But since JATC have targeted Prots as inferior, they better be prepared when their paradigm crumbles.

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  14. I object to the picture of Bowie. Yes, I realize it’s apropos your post about changes (good lord, he looks like a 60-year-old woman) and makes your overall point, but in response to all of these valid points, I simply say, “David Bowie.” Come on, now.

    I hear he’s a Phillies fan, got Mike Schmidt tattooed on his forearm.

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  15. Don’t be paranoid. Nobody is hoping that the papacy would fail. That wouldn’t make any sense. Who hopes for what he sees?

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  16. Andrew,

    DGHART,

    The issue isn’t about who you’re quoting its about this crazy spin you give current events. Pope Francis has made some theologically unsound comments in an off the cuff interview (that wasn’t recorded but was paraphrased). He has excommunicated a priest for homosexual advocacy. He just announced to the world that women will not be ordained and made the liberals cheer about it. Pope Francis just crowned the most well known critic of the hermeneutic of discontinuity as the best “interpreter of Vatican 2” and just publicly endorsed B16s hermeneutic of continuity. The man is breathing new life into the Church and hasn’t changed a thing and you are reading all this like the sky is falling. The disconnect from reality is even worse than Fox News. All this amounts to is speculation and that somehow means the paradigm has crumbled? C’mon now you are better than that.

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  17. Kenloses, it’s the jack chick of JATC he’s talking about. I believe Rome can produce a thoughful apologetic.

    But you keep at it with the YouTube stuff. Boy, you are quite the clown around here, always room for another jester, right?

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  18. Justin, do you object to the gender bending or the music or both? I’m still a fan of “Let’s Dance” and “Modern Love.” It’s the ill formed part of my soul.

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  19. KENLOSES, I am only following the lead of National Catholic Reporter and Commonweal. Are you saying those people are crazy?

    Speaking of disconnect from reality, you do a pretty good impersonation. Your gullibility does explain why reform will never come to Rome.

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  20. Kenneth,

    Those disciplinary measures are a good start, although I believe some have questioned whether the priest in Australis was defrocked for homosexuality.

    In any case, more needs to be done. There are countless RC theologians who regularly publish works that are not only anti-RC but also anti-Christian in a general sense. Such as the people Dr. Hart mentions here:

    https://oldlife.org/2013/11/29000-30000-denominations-get-trouble/

    The old line about not pulling up the wheat won’t work. These people have been heretics for decades, and nothing is done. Jesus didn’t give that parable to give Rome an excuse for turning a blind eye to heresy so it can maintain the illusion of unity.

    The Roman paradigm is not better if it ends up with the same disunity as Protestantism, which is what has happened. The difference is that Protestants are just honest about their disunity. You guys, well, not so much.

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  21. Robert, it’s actually worse than that — disunity. Protestants don’t pretend to have THE mechanism, nor do we teach that the church is infallible. The bar is higher for Rome even though after Vat 2 it is always adjustable. Again, why these so-called traditionalists don’t see the similarities between mainline Protestantism and post- Vat 2 Rome is ONLY because Rome says abortion is wrong and won’t ordain women. In which case, Roman Catholic orthodoxy has become little more from the Christian Right in U.S. politics.

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  22. I’m a huge Bowie fan, so seeing him looking bloated is hard for me to take. Mine was a feigned outrage. You can’t have both an ill-formed part of a soul and have an appreciation of Bowie resign there. Impossible. And I’ll bet you like more of his stuff than just those two. At least you should.

    Here’s one of my favorites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv6mEv_rDdE

    Oh yeah, I made up the part about him being a Phillies fan. If I knew how to use photoshop I’d put a an 80s-style Phillies hat on Ziggy Stardust for you.

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  23. PS my comment at CtC is forever hung up in purgatory. No matter, just the manner in which these discussions are conducted (KENLOSES that means you) matters. Thus the freedom of conscience is on display for the world, compare us to them. I, for one, ain’t pining for the days when we heard about purgatory in Latin from little papa. We forge ahead, brothers..

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  24. Justin: I’m a huge Bowie fan, so seeing him looking bloated is hard for me to take. Mine was a feigned outrage. You can’t have both an ill-formed part of a soul and have an appreciation of Bowie resign there. Impossible. And I’ll bet you like more of his stuff than just those two. At least you should.”

    Doesn’t the fact that he is still freaking alive, after the 70s and 80s, kind of prove that about 99% of his boasts were a put-on?

    Just reading about his horrible early contract for royalties that ended in the early 80s, so he capitalize on Let’s Dance.

    Bowie and Justin Hayward got taken to the cleaners by signing such contracts in their extreme youth.

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  25. Keith gave his drug secrets away in his book, plus he wasn’t running around partaking/faking a lifestyle that got mowed down by AIDS…

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  26. Too many of my independent baptist sunday school friends died in the late 80s/early 90s in very young deaths due to illnesses that normally won’t take you down until you are ummmm…. in your 80s…

    It was a big surprise to see half of them go that way…

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  27. Kent,
    Also, I think he admitted as much in a Rolling Stone interview back in the early 80s. Those closest to him make the same point you do here.

    Obviously, I thought you were referring to his openly publicized drug use.

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  28. So I now get caught in the bind of trying to justify to myself admiring the works of these people… for a few seconds…

    At least I can admit I never want to see people up front at church doing fifth-rate imitations of David and Keith…

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  29. had to cancel my sports trip this week:

    Bruins/Red Wings
    Pack/Lions
    tOSU/Michigan

    due to work commitments….

    Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.

    (Does Thanksgiving get the condemnation of the kooks like Christmas and Easter?)

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  30. Kent, speaking of the 80s and bad imitations of Bowie (and Mercury), have you seen Vanilla Ice lately? He still has the moves. Or so Mrs. Z. says.

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  31. But nothing changed:

    Meanwhile, for most Anglosphere Catholics over 50 who are not regular combatants in the intra-Catholic wars, the Council remains the event that “changed the Mass”, altered the expectations of Catholic practice in which they had been raised, disposed of the catechisms from which they had been taught, made them more acceptable to their Protestant and Jewish neighbours, relieved them of the pangs of guilt from which they once suffered for minor offences, and led to vast ecclesiastical bureaucracies which pester them from time to time.

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