You Know What Would Really Be Audacious?

So the papal visit to the United States has even more people reaching above their pay grades, trying to interpret that the chief interpreter is really up to. Is Pope Francis a lefty, is he a traditionalist, will anything change on marriage? So far Bryan and the Jasons are stuck.

What I’m curious about is whether Pope Francis is a pastor who ministers the good news of Jesus Christ. Think about this. Yesterday in the Wall St. Journal William McGurn opined that the pope is mistaken in his understanding of poverty, that capitalism is far better for raising the prospects of the poor than other schemes. That seems sensible enough.

In on of the comments on McGurn’s piece, a defender of Pope Francis tried to explain for the infallible explainer:

William misses the whole point. The Pope isn’t saying capitalism is wrong, he is saying the greed of executives and stockholders is wrong. It isn’t enough to make a good salary, they have to make more than the executives at their competition. They have the attitude, what is the minimum we must pay to get someone to do the job competently and that is what we will pay. The attitude of sharing the wealth is foreign to most executives and stockholders. Stockholders are not satisfied with the return they get, they insist the returns must increase or I will take my money elsewhere. It is when greed takes over that capitalism fails.

Maybe this person also has a point. Capitalism isn’t evil. It’s people who abuse capitalism. Got it.

Here’s the thing, Pope Francis actually has the remedy for the greed of executives and stockholders. He has at his disposal the truth of the gospel (as he understands it), a Petrine ministry, and a sacramental system that could actually change the hearts and minds of New York City financiers. Imagine if instead of visiting political figures, the pope went to Wall St. and preached. Short of a Cornelius Van Til moment, imagine if he had Cardinal Dolan set up a bunch of meetings in the board rooms of corporate New York and he explained the sinfulness of the human condition and the possibility of grace in the sacraments (not to mention the assistance of the Blessed Virgin). Wouldn’t that be something a pastor would do?

Imagine this as well, not only could he point the world’s capitalists to a life of virtue, he also has the remedy for these folks should an insufficient number of them convert and follow Jesus. If the world continues to warm and catastrophe happens, Pope Francis is actually sitting on the goods for a good life in the world to come.

Not too shabby.

But popes don’t do this and this is one of the greatest problems of episcopacy — it removes ministers from their flocks, or makes the pastors of flocks that are beyond their capacities. If Tim Keller has trouble visiting all the people who belong to Redeemer PCA, imagine the pope’s challenge of visiting 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, in addition to evangelizing Wall Street’s financial tycoons.

Peter Steinfels, by the way, as a liberal Roman Catholic is not pleased by all the attention on Pope Francis since Steinfels believes that Roman Catholicism “is bigger than one man.” Well, Protestants have been saying that about Christianity for some time, though they have also said Christianity is all about the God-man, Jesus Christ. Even so, Steinfels is pointing in the direction of the serious flaws that come with episcopacy and especially one whose universal jurisdiction makes the ordinary efforts of priests look irrelevant. Talk about subsidiarity.

Even so, if as J. Gresham Machen said, ministers have something that the world can never give, isn’t that even more true (on Roman Catholic grounds) of the papacy? He has it all — truth, ministry, sacraments. And what do popes do? To the untrained Protestant eye, it looks like a modern encyclical merely becomes a conversation starter. It’s a jumping off point for the faithful (now much better educated than the immigrant church that paid, prayed, and obeyed) to show off their expertise.

And to answer his critics, Pope Francis says that he could affirm the Nicene Creed. Yes, he could do that. But why not teach it? Why not explain it? Why not take it to the executives of Wall Street, Berlin, London, Rome even?

This is one reason why I think the church has become modernist. Sure, you can say the Nicene Creed. But do you believe it? Even more, does it inform your ministry? But if you think you are a moral life coach for the world’s population, a source for thinking virtuously about human flourishing, the leader who will point the world’s systems to a better and more just way — if you think of this world as home rather than as a foreign land — then you very well might engage in all sorts of pious thoughts about the world system of finance and technology and not consider that if you saved more people from their sins and put them on a path to holiness, maybe this world would be a better place.

When you are accustomed to mixing it up with emperors, monarchs, and presidents, mixing with the ordinary laity — even the ones making guhzillion figures — looks, well, shabby.

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117 thoughts on “You Know What Would Really Be Audacious?

  1. Who‘s listening anyway?

    Some Catholic churches in the United States are leasing out their lands for drills by oil and gas companies, despite Pope Francis’s persistent push on climate action.

    Texas and Oklahoma county records reveal “235 oil and gas leasing deals signed by Catholic Church authorities . . . since 2010, covering 56 counties across the two states,” according to Reuters.

    This does not square easily with the pope’s repeated calls to reduce fossil fuel use in order to combat climate change.

    In June, the pope focused exclusively on the environment in his first global encyclical. Pope Francis condemned the “structurally perverse” economic system of the rich exploiting the poor and destroying the planet, and he called for “drastically” reducing fossil fuel use and developing renewable energy.

    Afterward, many anticipated local churches and dioceses would take rapid steps to fall in line, as Father Michael Crosby, a leading climate activist and a Capuchin Franciscan priest from Milwaukee, told the Nation: “I expect that every Catholic institution in the country will step back and review all their practices—their teaching and preaching, their operations and investments—to determine whether they are in line with Pope Francis’ powerful call to action.”

    But not everyone embraced the pope’s message. Church officials in Oklahoma City “have signed three new oil and gas leases since Francis’s missive on the environment,” Reuters reported.

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  2. We need to let the Lord’s words echo constantly in our hearts: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, who am meek and humble of heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls” (Mt 11:28-30). Jesus’ yoke is a yoke of love and thus a pledge of refreshment. At times in our work we can be burdened by a sense of loneliness, and so feel the heaviness of the yoke that we forget that we have received it from the Lord. It seems to be ours alone, and so we drag it like weary oxen working a dry field, troubled by the thought that we are laboring in vain. We can forget the profound refreshment which is indissolubly linked to the One who has made us the promise.

    So why say that to bishops and not to Wall Street’s laborers?

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  3. Here’s the thing, Pope Francis actually has the remedy for the greed of executives and stockholders. He has at his disposal the truth of the gospel (as he understands it), a Petrine ministry, and a sacramental system that could actually change the hearts and minds of New York City financiers. Imagine if instead of visiting political figures, the pope went to Wall St. and preached.

    I think you give Bergoglio too much credit. If he were to preach, what gospel would he preach? Would he preach the Gospel of Christ – the one that Paul (and Peter) preached? Or would he preach a different gospel?

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  4. It is when greed takes over that capitalism fails.

    But greed is the driving force of capitalism, it’s why we can always rely on it working…

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  5. It would be hilarious if one of those conservative Roman Catholics at a think tank (Arthur Brooks at AEI?) or university like Hillsdale would correct Francis as it pertains to economics. I wonder how humble Francis would be in such a situation?

    As it pertains to the papacy, those criticisms directed to executives wanting to have more than others can be directed to the popes throughout history. Isn’t it enough to be first among equals (not that he is)? Does the bishop of Rome really need to exercise authority over every church in every nation? The attitude of sharing authority is foreign to popes and Roman Catholics in general, and it is that arrogance that contributes to harm. And due to this harm, true religion and unity fails to come to fruition.

    I don’t buy that pretended humility from Francis. Let him confess to being no greater in authority to any other pastor in an official manner; if he does this, he will wow me.

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  6. Who does this sound like:

    “The path ahead … is dialogue among yourselves, dialogue in your presbyteries, dialogue with lay persons, dialogue with families, dialogue with society,” said the pope.

    “I cannot ever tire of encouraging you to dialogue fearlessly,” Francis said.

    Using a Greek word that roughly means to speak boldly and without fear, he continued: “The richer the heritage which you are called to share with parrhesia, the more eloquent should be the humility with which you should offer it.”

    “Do not be afraid to set out on that ‘exodus’ which is necessary for all authentic dialogue,” urged the pope.

    “Otherwise, we fail to understand the thinking of others, or to realize deep down that the brother or sister we wish to reach and redeem, with the power and the closeness of love, counts more than their positions, distant as they may be from what we hold as true and certain,” he continued.

    “Harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor, it has no place in his heart,” said Francis. “Although it may momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure of goodness and love remains truly convincing.”

    Not like this:

    Preach the Word

    I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)

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  7. Sad to see the Pope’s rep back off from previous statements about Capitalism. As for McGurn’s article, what do you expect from Wall Street Journal article? Does McGurn mention that the nation that has seen poverty alleviated the most is China? Or did McGurn mention that one of the reasons places like Korea has fared better than Latin America is because it didn’t rely on the IMF for loans, loans that come with conditions that hurt economies that wish to become independent? Did McGurn mention how the free market system was introduced into places like Chile or Argentina? BTW, the answer to both of them was a military coup followed by tyrannical rule.

    Structurally speaking, because it consolidates wealth and power Capitalism relies on the exploitation of labor. Why? Because rewarding workers through wages alone makes their labor power into commodity. And once labor power is a commodity and that businesses will tend to buy commodities at one of the lowest prices, workers become disposable objects. And since workers are disposable, so are all who depend on them. Such a view does not recognize the intrinsic value of human life.

    With globalization of the workforce has come, as expected with the “law” of supply and demand, a stagnation or drop in wages for jobs that can be performed both in other countries and here. That nations are losing sovereignty when their leaders sign trade agreements or join organizations like the WTO can be seen throughout most of the Americas from Canada to Central America.

    So a lot can be said about the structure of Capitalism being wrong as well as the abuse of it being wrong.

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  8. DG, just tried twice posting something and it doesn’t seem to be going through. The second time it had no links, not sure what the deal is.

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  9. “Ubuntu” was the theme of the world champion 2008 Boston Celtics. Other than that, we may inhabit different worlds. Like, you may bump into Bobby in your travels while I’m likely to see Ed the Janitor in mine. And that’s OK, other than Ed being a Yankee fan.

    Anyway, on my unworthy laptop I lose a comment if I tap on the mousing square. I have to actually press the raised edge.

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  10. The pope teaches “progressive sanctification”. Only some few attain heaven by means of God enabling them to do enough good works. The rest of those not yet sanctified enough do not sleep—they go to purgatory.

    http://heidelblog.net/2012/10/canonization-saints-and-christ-our-only-mediator/

    Richard Gaffin, p 102, By Faith Not by Sight,–“This expression obedience of faith is best taken as intentionally multivalent…In other words, faith itself is an obedience, as well as other acts of obedience that stem from faith.”

    Gaffin: “Typically in the Reformation tradition the hope of salvation is expressed in terms of Christ’s righteousness, especially as imputed to the believer…however, I have to wonder if ‘Christ in you’ is not more prominent as an expression of evangelical hope…” p 110

    Gaffin—When the prepositional phrase “without works” is taken adverbially, that is, as modifying the verb “justifies,” then the statement “faith without works justifies,” is true. When “without works” is taken adjectivally, that is, with the noun “faith,” that is, “without-works faith,” then the same statement is false.”

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  11. http://heidelblog.net/2013/06/how-many-mediators/

    We can only wonder at the audacity of people who think they are “Reformed” but who are not talk about “eternal security”. To be truly confessional, we don’t talk about God’s preservation of the saints without balancing that out with warnings about the perseverance of “obedient faith” which is never alone.

    “Justification in Galatians”, p 172, Moo’s essay in the Carson f (Understanding the Times)—Nor is there any need to set Paul’s “juridicial” and “participationist” categories in opposition to one another (see Gaffin, By Faith Not By Sight, p 35-41). The problem of positing a union with Christ that precedes the erasure of our legal condemnation before God ( eg, making justification the product of union with Chris) CAN BE ANSWERED IF WE POSIT, WITHIN THE SINGLE WORK OF CHRIST, TWO STAGES OF “JUSTIFICATION”, one involving Christ’s payment of our legal debt–the basis for our regeneration–and second our actual justification=stemming from our union with Christ.”

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  12. “This expression obedience of faith is best taken as intentionally multivalent…In other words, faith itself is an obedience, as well as other acts of obedience that stem from faith.”

    wow

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  13. Muddy –

    “Ubuntu” was the theme of the world champion 2008 Boston Celtics. Other than that, we may inhabit different worlds. Like, you may bump into Bobby in your travels while I’m likely to see Ed the Janitor in mine. And that’s OK, other than Ed being a Yankee fan.

    There are a lot of cultural references going on here which, I’m afraid, are lost on me. Yankees, no prob. I’m pretty sure Boston Celtics are basketball. The rest is references to the Wire? I’d watch it if it were on Netflix.

    Anyway, on my unworthy laptop I lose a comment if I tap on the mousing square. I have to actually press the raised edge.

    I’ve lost a number of comments due to fat-finger error and not copying the post to the clipboard before attempting submission, but in this case the submission is going through (if I try a second time I get a duplicate posting error)- it is just being blocked.

    DG, do you see the post in your filter? Can you at least confirm you are seeing my Q?

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  14. Darryl,

    Westboro guys are pretty harsh and divisive in their preaching and rebuking and exhortation. Get your seal of approval? Mr. Phelps Goes to Washington?

    Mark,

    “The pope teaches “progressive sanctification”. Only some few attain heaven by means of God enabling them to do enough good works.”

    RCism teaches those in heaven (or purgatory) have attained that only because of the unmerited infusion of love, faith, and hope given to them at justification.

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  15. Cw,

    Here’s some other events the pope was involved in at DC:
    Midday Prayer With U.S. Bishops at St. Matthew’s Cathedral
    Junipero Serra Canonization Mass at Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

    I think Jesus was mentioned there. Why is it presumed Francis is going to give the same types of messages to different audiences or in all contexts? Do your pastors give a sermon when they attend a school board or city council meeting?

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  16. No Gospel at all

    Imagine the punishment of a teacher in the next life who basically had half the world paying even some attention and nothing about the Gospel of Jesus Christ

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  17. James Young, the first pope was pretty clear about preaching Jesus wherever he went (except when Paul had to smack him down).

    Why set the bar so low for an office so high?

    Ross Douthat is more explicit that the pope.

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  18. Darryl,

    Great – so setting Francis’ “Harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor, it has no place in his heart … Although it may momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure of goodness and love remains truly convincing.” against Paul’s statement is a dichotomy you don’t even buy.

    “the first pope was pretty clear about preaching Jesus wherever he went”

    Part of preaching includes actions, not a legalistic “make sure Jesus is mentioned every sentence” – Westboro guys mentioned Jesus quite frequently, doesn’t mean they were preaching Jesus.
    So I hope you don’t set the bar too low for yourself as an elder or your pastors – when officers of your church attend civic or secular meetings/functions, are they always preaching Jesus with a sermon? Why not?

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  19. Kent, CW Der Vereiniger,

    No Gospel at all

    Imagine the punishment of a teacher in the next life who basically had half the world paying even some attention and nothing about the Gospel of Jesus Christ

    Strong inclination to agreement from this quarter (with caveat that that my private judgement in the matter counts for zilch).

    Benedict also failed to mention Jesus at a talk to the UN sometime back.

    Not good.

    And I don’t think this argument is a good one: “They all know I’m the Pope and an advocate of Christianity, so I’ll give them a surprise and not act like the Pope or an advocate of Christianity.”

    Damnable, modernist, heretical, depriving one of the papacy? I’m skeptical it reaches the threshold required by these claims.

    But imprudence in one with a great charge, if that is indeed the right analysis, is serious enough.

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  20. James Young, are you kidding? When do Protestant pastors get invited to rub shoulders with politicians? But when you are a temporal ruler who executes criminals for some of your history, you take on the antics of politicians.

    Peter would be embarrassed. Yup.

    And your apologies for Francis are weak. Where’s the audacity? Where’s the courage? Where’s speaking truth — which would be Jesus, right? — to power?

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  21. “When do Protestant pastors get invited to rub shoulders with politicians?”
    Well in the case of Sharpton, Jackson, et al… when they need votes delivered. In case of Hybels, etc… when they get caught with their pants down, and Billy Graham when they need a nice photo-op. Other than that, not at all…

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  22. CVD –

    What’s wrong with Francis’s economics?

    I submit that it isn’t enough – by far – to prove that the Anglo-American system or some idealized version of it (Classical Liberalism, Libertarianism, anarchosyndicalism) is better than Communism or Socialism.

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  23. Purpose dude got a TED talk and spent it obsequiously trying to convince those listening that Christianity had utility because it gave a lot to charity.

    Total epic fail.

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  24. Darryl,

    “When do Protestant pastors get invited to rub shoulders with politicians?”

    Why limit it to addressing Congress or the UN or meeting with the President? You telling me Protestant pastors never interact with civic or political groups and organizations in their community, city, or state? Of course they do – whether it be in their official capacity or merely as a citizen. I don’t see them preaching sermons non-stop in either context.

    Kevin,

    Do you agree or disagree with the Reason article I linked to? Also, what is your view on climate change – do you think government intervention and regulation is needed?

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  25. James Young, when will a pastor ever have a stage like Pope Francis has? If he cares about lost souls, if he cares about his flock, what does he say then? Why should I care what he thinks about politics? He has no power thanks to Italy.

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  26. CVD –

    Much greater disagreement than agreement. Although for many of the specific points, I don’t see a real engagement with the position Francis is advocating.

    property rights must not be treated as “inviolable,”

    We are stewards of creation. We have no unlimited right to ownership. Someone dying from hunger does have the right to take something from us, and we do not have the right to deny it. This does not interfere with the basic right to private property, which is fundamental, preceding the state. The state does have the right to take property from us (taxation) in some circumstances.

    hold up as the ideal “cooperatives of small producers” over “economies of scale,”

    c.f. arguments from human epistemology which appear in Hayek and Oakeshott with a dose of urbanism, an understanding of corporate indifference to localities (usually), and an understanding of what makes people love a place.

    accuse the Western world of “scandalous level[s] of consumption,”

    I’d need to read the statement in context, but I’ll continue to point at the US gov/Obama pressure on the Haitian gov to set the minimum wage in Haiti for Hanes/Levis workers at $.31/hr, half the min wage set by the gov all jobs. We don’t need jeans that cheap so we can save our pennies for more expensive shoes (which likely pay similar non-living wages), etc.

    To advocate governments should behave this way does seem to me scandalous – to attempt to recognize immoral behavior as moral. The argument over whether a min wage is good or bad is an interesting but separate issue.

    and assert that we need “to think of containing growth by setting some reasonable limits.”

    c.f. impact on the family (working women) by prioritizing economic competition. Economic indicators should not be prioritized over all other factors when determining the health of a society. It is not meaningful to talk of a healthy economy when numerous other fundamentals of the society are not in order.

    A slower economy can, in some circumstances, be a good thing for a society.

    I’d like to see a policy goal (with associated indicators recognized) of a man being able to support a large family on a typical single income.

    he chastised those who “continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.”

    Economists (especially neoclassical) can defend this in theory, but they need to wake up and look at the world – there is all sort of preferential treatment given to industries and individual companies (barriers to entry, tax breaks, information shared). Free competition is absolutely not what we have in the US now.

    Given that fact, even if “trickle-down theories” are basically correct in theory (quite possible), they will not produce that result in the real world due to gov favoritism (and other factors). Those who base policy on abstract theories without a regard for real results – i.e. who cause real harm to real people – ought indeed to be chastised.

    Even more frustratingly, he asserted that such a belief in free markets “has never been confirmed by the facts.”

    Ok, so where are the slam-dunk counter-examples? The British Empire and the US were built on protectionism. Hong Kong? Singapore? Interesting, but these are city states, not large countries fit uncontroversially to serve as policy experiments for the rest. Japan? I’m not so sure in non-economic markers it provides clear proof.

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  27. How the Pope can critique capitalism with a straight face is utterly beyond me. There is not a richer, more financially sophisticated private institution on the face of this little blue planet than the Vatican. If the Pope was so concerned with the poor he could make a small start by removing all of the gold overlay in the Vatican or the many cathedrals world-wide and start the diaconal work of helping the poor in significant ways. Of course it could divest itself of part of its roughly $7.5 billion in assets to address the ills of global poverty, or the environmental issues that seem so important to Francis.

    How the Papacy can deride the gross accumulation of wealth while sitting on top of one of the worlds largest private fortunes is truly bewildering. Yet another reason why it is so hard to take modern Rome seriously at all.

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  28. Calvin—-Civil government does not merely see to it that men breathe, eat, drink, and are kept warm, even though it surely embraces all these activities when it provides for their living together. It does not, I repeat, look to this only, but also prevents idolatry, sacrilege against God’s name, blasphemies against his truth, and other public offenses against religion from arising and spreading among the people; it prevents the public peace from being disturbed; it provides that each man may keep his property safe and sound; that men may carry on blameless intercourse among themselves; that honesty and modesty may be preserved among men. In short, it provides that a public manifestation of religion may exist among Christians 4/20/3

    Protestant magistrates also attempted to eradicate “the Devil’s minions”

    http://ml.bethelks.edu/store/ml/files/1997jun.pdf

    …. in 1597, executed an anabaptist named Anna Utenhove, although this time they buried her alive instead of burning her…

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  29. Jed –

    How the Pope can critique capitalism with a straight face is utterly beyond me. There is not a richer, more financially sophisticated private institution on the face of this little blue planet than the Vatican.

    The accumulation of wealth as such is not a problem, just the failure to use it rightly. Many use their money to put people deeply into debt, or for speculative purposes which are unhealthy for them (wall street slot machine).

    If the Pope was so concerned with the poor he could make a small start by removing all of the gold overlay in the Vatican or the many cathedrals world-wide and start the diaconal work of helping the poor in significant ways. Of course it could divest itself of part of its roughly $7.5 billion in assets to address the ills of global poverty, or the environmental issues that seem so important to Francis.

    He could, but that would be a partial denial of the role of beauty, to tamper with the communicative ability of the works, to do damage to our cultural patrimony. In many cases it would also be quite expensive, requiring removal, packing, shipping, re-installation of something functional but less expensive.

    The RCC does an enormous amount for the poor worldwide, always has, always will. The great works in Rome and worldwide serve a purpose as well. It can do more than one thing at once.

    What would a transferal of those billions really accomplish, anyway? Would they be distributed in a way that is actually useful? Would the money remain with the formerly poor? Seems unlikely to me – I imagine accumulation by strongmen aligned with selected Western business interests. Same-old same-old.

    How the Papacy can deride the gross accumulation of wealth while sitting on top of one of the worlds largest private fortunes is truly bewildering. Yet another reason why it is so hard to take modern Rome seriously at all.

    If it’s “truly bewildering,” then perhaps you are misreading what is being said. To pick the simplest possible example, if a fortune is acquired through injustice, it is the injustice that is criticized, not the fortune.

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  30. Jed,

    Really – 7.5 billion will solve poverty? Aid doesn’t work – read William Easterly or Dambisa Moya – western nations have given African trillions of dollars since 1950, no luck – it fosters dependency and corruption rather than development. And the Vatican’s treasures are a public good for the world to enjoy for generations – you really want to carve up all that art and history for private collectors to hoard? Come on.

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  31. Darryl,

    On one hand, “when will a pastor ever have a stage like Pope Francis has? ”

    but on the other, “Why should I care what he thinks about politics? He has no power thanks to Italy.”

    I guess world leaders aren’t getting the memo since he keeps getting invited to the stage. Yeah and JP2 had no political influence or effect thanks to Italy. What?

    “If he cares about lost souls, if he cares about his flock, what does he say then? ”

    I see – because he didn’t preach a sermon to Congress, that means he doesn’t care about his flock. The pope’s career and pastoring consists of more than his DC visit, that same visit where he actually is doing preaching in other contexts (such as, oh I dunno, a mass).

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  32. Kevin,

    I appreciate the fact that as a RC you are going to disagree with my assessment here:

    He could, but that would be a partial denial of the role of beauty, to tamper with the communicative ability of the works, to do damage to our cultural patrimony. In many cases it would also be quite expensive, requiring removal, packing, shipping, re-installation of something functional but less expensive.

    This was a bit of tongue in cheek criticism of what is a real problem I have with Rome. They beautifully adorn their buildings, but the true beauty for the Christian is the spiritual adorning of the inner temple that we are called to do both corporately and individually. Every church body struggles with hypocrisy and degrees of corruption, but to the outsider the prevalent gilding that Rome projects only heightens the sense of hyprocrisy to outsiders.

    The apocryphal statement attributed to Aquinas speaks to the problem of spiritual amnesia when a fellow priest commented to him on the stairs of the Vatican “We certainly cannot say ‘silver and gold we have not'”, to which Aquinas replied “Neither can we say ‘In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise and walk.'” The vast accumulated wealth of the Vatican coupled with Francis’ criticisms of capitalism create a very real credibility problem for how Rome is viewed from the outside.

    I am not a redistributionist, but Francis’ rhetoric suggests this at points – if he was fully consistent, before he called on governments and capitalistic institutions, it might come across better if he put his money where his mouth is. I get that Rome has and does much for the poor as well, but the way Francis inserts himself into non-ecclesial matters opens the door for this kind of criticism.

    I agree more with your statements on wealth than Francis’. Part of the problem is the vaguery and platitudes he employs allows anyone to hear what they want to from the Pope. It comes across to this Protestant as a rhetorical ploy to say something that sort-of challenges the status-quo without saying anything substantial or pointed in the first place.

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  33. Clete,

    Really – 7.5 billion will solve poverty?

    Absolutely not, poverty will never be fully solved until Christ’s return. But, as the head of a multi-billion dollar organization that is calling on governments and economic institutions to address the problem, shouldn’t the Pope’s first concern, if he is being consistent with his own rhetorical platitudes, to ensure that Rome is doing all it can to address the problem.

    Of course, he could just tend to his own house and stop inserting himself in affairs that have no spiritual bearing on his own communion – especially in better addressing the needs of the hundreds of millions of third world RC’s who do live in true poverty. Would a Billion or two do some good there? Or should the Vatican Bank maintain flush coffers for a rainy day?

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  34. Well you can debate what *will* solve poverty, but it is worth noting that neoliberal economic policies and free(er) trade have dramatically improved well being across the globe over the past half century. For example, the fraction of people living in abject poverty has declined from 40% to 14% of the world’s population since 1981 (think before Thatcher and Reagan could unleash their radical economic agenda on the world). Further since 1950 global life expectancy has jumped 50% (47yrs to 70yrs) – mostly due to better life saving vaccinations, hygiene, and dramatic reduction in hunger – thanks mostly to modern neoliberal economic policy. The data is pretty clear here.

    Folks like to assume that you can get all the great technological advances and wealth generation (for the poor) without capitalism. No one has figured out how. Innovation and distribution of goods and services is largely dependent on someone somewhere finding a way to make a lot of money out of doing it. The progress over the past century has been real progress and it has lifted a lot of people out of misery. The proposals offered by the current pope and opportunistic politicians (restricted trade, wage constraints, price controls, etc…) if broadly adopted would reverse this trend.

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  35. Jed

    ” to ensure that Rome is doing all it can to address the problem.”

    http://www.economist.com/node/21560536

    “Little is known about the Catholic church’s finances outside America… But America, not least thanks to its bankruptcy procedures, provides a slightly clearer window on the church’s finances… The Economist estimates that annual spending by the church and entities owned by the church was around $170 billion in 2010 (the church does not release such figures). We think 57% of this goes on health-care networks, followed by 28% on colleges, with parish and diocesan day-to-day operations accounting for just 6% and national charitable activities just 2.7% (see chart). In total, Catholic institutions employ over 1m people…. The church is the largest single charitable organisation in the country. Catholic Charities USA, its main charity, and its subsidiaries employ over 65,000 paid staff and serve over 10m people. These organisations distributed $4.7 billion to the poor in 2010, of which 62% came from local, state and federal government agencies.”

    sdb,

    Agreed.

    Like

  36. James Young, right, so why won’t selling off assets do more good? Why not endow RC charities by giving up the art and refinement secured by some of the least holy popes in RC history.

    Like

  37. sdb
    Posted September 24, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink
    Well you can debate what *will* solve poverty, but it is worth noting that neoliberal economic policies and free(er) trade have dramatically improved well being across the globe over the past half century. For example, the fraction of people living in abject poverty has declined from 40% to 14% of the world’s population since 1981 (think before Thatcher and Reagan could unleash their radical economic agenda on the world). Further since 1950 global life expectancy has jumped 50% (47yrs to 70yrs) – mostly due to better life saving vaccinations, hygiene, and dramatic reduction in hunger – thanks mostly to modern neoliberal economic policy. The data is pretty clear here.

    Quite. The Vatican had a prescient point on social justice during the Industrial Revolution, but it’s now 150 years behind–or at least the Peronist Francis is. “Capitalism” in Argentina is a lot like capitalism in 1850, but that’s not all there is to it worldwide these days, as sdb illustrates.

    “Be fruitful and multiply” is still the Judeo-Christian dynamic, or should be. The “sustainable” left is well-described in Matthew 25:24-30.

    24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

    Like

  38. Darryl,

    Development economists like Easterly and Moya don’t say aid is absolutely useless. They do say it is useless – actually worse, counterproductive – in eliminating poverty and to place too much emphasis on it is wrongheaded, hence their criticism of Jeffrey Sachs and all his celeb followers and the like. And not all RC charities are devoted only to immediate aid – many are focused on long-term sustainable development solutions – charity is a very broad umbrella, one should distinguish between humanitarian aid and development aid, along with distinguishing between the phases of relief, rehabiliation, and development. People suffering from an earthquake or tornado need immediate relief, but that won’t raise a nation out of poverty. And this is not limited to secular viewpoints – missionary-focused books such as When Helping Hurts and Toxic Charity echo similar principles. This is part of the reason I cited not just the charity the Economist article pointed out the RCC is involved in, but also the finances it devotes to sustaining institutions that employ over a million people.

    “right, so why won’t selling off assets do more good? Why not endow RC charities by giving up the art and refinement secured by some of the least holy popes in RC history.”

    Now we need to define “good”. The art of the Vatican is a priceless cultural good (and I contend helps to glorify God – I know, I know, we should just hold all churches in school gyms and cafeterias) that should not be treated as a scrapyard to stir up some money that is a drop in the bucket (again, see all the examples in history where massive aid has done jack squat in pulling people or nations out of poverty) – it should be safeguarded so that future generations can enjoy and be inspired (and perhaps helped moved to conversion) by it. Christ and the Apostles didn’t turn Jerusalem or Rome into social welfare havens.

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  39. Look Clete, I am not the one advocating redistribution or “solving” the poverty problem. There are present market structures that both help eliminate poverty and help sustain it, the best thing to do would be to address those structural issues and let rising tides raise all ships. The one who is advocating qasi socialist notions of addressing poverty is Papa Frank himself – his Jesuit slip is showing on this one.

    What I am saying is if he is so intent on addressing global poverty he is sitting on a mountain of wealth that could make inroads to the kinds of policies and institutional action that he is hinting at. Of course he could drop the critique of capitalism and encourage RC’s to attend Mass regularly and utilize the means of grace that Rome claims to be the treasury of, and begin to address the problems in his own house. So far his papacy is using Obama’s script sans teleprompter – propound lofty leftist ideals that he knows the church has no interest in instilling – it makes the otherwise antagonistic liberal media drool over the prospect of changes in Rome that will never happen, and if they did it would mean Rome has made a complete break with the past and has ceased to criticize Modernism, but embraced it under the promising banner of progressivism.

    There are a few traditional/conservative RC’s who see Francis for what he is, and they are rightly alarmed. What I find most curious is how many otherwise faithful RC’s who are either cupping their ears or their eyes, or both and acquiescing to Francis because of the absolute power of the Bishop of Rome and merrily pretending that he is leading Rome in a good direction. The CtCers are so ripped on the kool-aid that their red mustaches have now become a permanent feature. I wonder where you land on the issue of Francis, and how much kool-aid you have to drink before you see what your Supreme Pontiff is doing with your church.

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  40. Cletus van Damme
    Posted September 24, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Permalink
    Darryl,

    Now we need to define “good”. The art of the Vatican is a priceless cultural good (and I contend helps to glorify God – I know, I know, we should just hold all churches in school gyms and cafeterias) that should not be treated as a scrapyard to stir up some money that is a drop in the bucket (again, see all the examples in history where massive aid has done jack squat in pulling people or nations out of poverty) – it should be safeguarded so that future generations can enjoy and be inspired (and perhaps helped moved to conversion) by it.

    _______________

    D. G. Hart
    Posted September 24, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Permalink
    James Young, sounds like you know as much about economics as your holy father. Probably more.

    James Young [Dr. Hart seems to have no use for internet anonymity unless it’s one of his sycophants, then it’s just groovy]:

    You’re talking to people who believe God digs spartan churches and even worse music. Beauty does not move them.

    Your point about the power of beauty–true beauty–that proper Christian art and music points only to the glory of God, is a very moving one, if one has ever been moved. The poor will always be with us. Why does the widow give her mite to God rather than to someone more poor? [There is always someone more worse off than you!]

    21 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God,[a] but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

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  41. From a disgruntled non-observant Roman Catholic, our own vd, t:

    Pope Francis did not mention abortion specifically and this gloss-over was glaringly obvious, but then he went on at length about the death penalty. The entire speech was numbing pablum, except for death penalty part. I happen to agree with the Vatican’s position on it, but by pointedly glossing over abortion–a non-negotiable Catholic teaching whereas capital punishment is not–Francis diminished the pro-life message, straining leftists their gnat while swallowing their camel.

    But basically, he’s succeeding in getting the world [esp the left] to forget the stench of the priest child abuse scandals, which I believe was the primary reason for the election of a pastoral Barney-type non-European liberal. The hard-minded philosopher-theologian Pope Ratzinger could never get that done.

    He left out Edgardo Mortara.

    Like

  42. Ross forgets (via Rod) that Americans have a fascination with monarchy:

    In a truly post-Christian society, would so many people find an imitatio Christi thrilling and fascinating and inspiring? Would so many people be moved, on a deep level, by an image like this one? (Wouldn’t a truly post-Christian society, of the sort that certain 20th century totalitarians aspired to build, be repulsed instead by images of weakness and deformity?) And then further, in a fully secularized society, would so many people who have drifted from the practice of religion – I have many of my fellow journalists particularly in mind – care so much whether an antique religious organization and its aged, celibate leader are in touch with their experiences? Would you really have the palpable excitement at his mere presence that has coursed through most of the coverage the last two days?

    A cynical religious conservative might respond that the secular media only cares, only feels the pulse of excitement, because this pontificate has given them the sense that the Catholic church might be changing to fit their pre-existing prejudices, that the Whig vision of history that substitutes for its Christian antecedent might be being vindicated in the Vatican of all places. And this is surely part of it, which is one reason among many why Christian leaders should be wary of mistaking an enthusiastic reaction for a sign of evangelistic success or incipient conversion; sometimes the enthusiasm is just a sign that the world thinks that it’s about to succeed in converting you.

    But mixed in with this Whiggish, raze-the-last-bastions spirit is something else: Probably not the sudden, “Francis Effect” openness to #fullChristianity that some of the pope’s admirers see him winning, but at the very least a much stronger desire to feel in harmony with the leader of the West’s historic faith than you might expect from a society allegedly leaving that faith far behind.

    How else do you explain West Wing?

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  43. Ross’ NYC counterparts are unimpressed (some of us saw John Paul II in 1979):

    Here’s a fearless prediction, born of many years’ study of politics: Francis’s visit is a One-Week Wonder. In American politics, it will change exactly nothing. What he does and says while he is here will not move the needle even one degree on the struggles over the death penalty, abortion and Planned Parenthood funding, the marriage and religious freedom issues, immigration policy, the international arms trade, or economic policy and social welfare programs. Nor will Francis have any noticeable effect on the 2016 presidential election, even in the Catholic vote. Candidates, officeholders, and voters stand where they stand, on the issues and in their partisan alignment, because of interests, convictions, and opinions on which the Holy Father is quite incapable of achieving some measurable effect.

    That is because the United States has politics. This is a free and democratic society, whose citizens largely govern themselves. (I add the qualifier “largely” because there is the Supreme Court to consider, after all, where Justice Kennedy has far more political power than Pope Francis could dream of having.) Whether they attend to politics much or little, American citizens breathe a free air, form their own views of whom to elect and what to expect of them, and act on those views with however much or little information and deliberation they choose to bring to bear. The views of a visiting pope, respected by Catholics and many non-Catholics alike as a moral and spiritual leader of great prominence, will not make persons now unconcerned about global warming suddenly begin to grow concerned, nor even make skeptics of religious freedom begin to take its claims more seriously. People are where they are on these issues because of what they already think, and Francis is not in a position—in a one-week visit—to change people’s minds about these things. As for candidates, any of them who lack the skill to avoid embarrassing themselves when journalists ask them gotcha questions about “what the Pope said” deserve their inevitable failure, and would have failed anyway.

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  44. Rusty channels vd, t:

    Francis gave no support to Catholics who have fought abortion, the redefinition of marriage, doctor-assisted suicide, and other cultural issues. He also made no mention of threats to religious liberty.

    He may have omitted some of these topics because he wants to steer clear of appearing to intervene directly in our political debates. Congress presently has before it specific legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and expand religious liberty (an issue tied to conflict over same-sex marriage). This is a good reason to take care. Nevertheless, complete silence on these issues demoralizes those who are on the front lines of these battles.

    The only specific issues Francis mentioned before Congress are associated with progressive politics: abolition of the death penalty, global warming, and arms control. This reinforces the trends of this papacy, at least in relation to the United States. Francis discourages conservative Catholics, more by silence than anything else. He encourages progressives, both by his silences and his affirmations.

    Ending with “God bless America” was a nice touch. It was an evocation of our shameless Americanism, generously done without taking us to task for it.

    Like

  45. Matt laments a missed opportunity:

    He didn’t have to beat the heads of Congress with a jeremiad. He didn’t have to get theological or even evangelistic. He didn’t have to highlight any particular moral or political issue. He was more than justified in being, as Jesus put it, as crafty as a serpent and as innocent as a dove (Matthew 10:16).

    But he could have, at the very least, reminded his audience that he speaks for Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, who came to dwell among us, died, and rose again, that human beings might have life in his name. He could have winsomely described that hope in just a few sentences, as we know he has done so eloquently before, before moving on to other matters appropriate for a joint session of Congress. No one would have questioned it. He is, after all, the pope, whose most basic claim is to be the vicar of Christ on earth.

    Now the whole country is talking about the pope and the pope’s politics, but no one is talking about Jesus or the gospel. What a sad day. What a wasted opportunity.

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  46. John Fea thinks concerns like Matt’s (and mine) are silly:

    Mohler is bothered by the fact that the Pope didn’t mention the name of Jesus Christ in his speech to Congress. I find this critique of Francis’s speech before Congress to be rather silly. Those who are upset about this fail to realize that the Pope’s entire message to Congress was deeply rooted in the teachings of Christ.

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  47. vd, t, pushes back John Fea:

    I think you’re being unfair to Mohler, esp with the “silly.” Further, he’s speaking as a pastor and theologian here, not to a general audience, but to Protestants as a Protestant leader. This is precisely the time to be speaking to Protestants to remind them of their deep theological objections to the papacy [esp to keep them on the reservation].

    I’d also add that many leftists would make many of Mohler’s same criticisms about the Vatican’s wealth and the fitness of the Pope to lecture the US government on morality if he weren’t saying stuff so congenial to their worldview. If this were Benedict, the sides would be reversed.

    His Baptist objection seemed to be that Vatican City and its 100 acres isn’t a real country, and it’s only as a head of state–not as a religious leader–that Francis should even be addressing the US government. I don’t think that argument holds, but by not even mentioning Jesus Christ, Francis is speaking as neither fish nor fowl.

    Mohler’s objection is no different than convening a joint session of Congress to be lectured by the head of the Mormon church. Many on both left and right, believer or not, would validly question the propriety of that.

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  48. Yeah, I’m on a roll. You really should not speak of my private religious life, though, Dr. Hart, because you have no personal knowledge of it; neither is it anyone’s business but my own.

    But yes, my studies of Protestantism here at Old Life have been worthwhile. I hope you agree I’m stating your case fairly. I continue:

    As for not emphasizing the Manhattan Declaration-type common ground between Catholics and evangelicals, I think you’ll admit Francis didn’t give him much to work with. In view of Mohler’s over-the-top praise and admiration for the strongly orthodox JPII and Pope Ratzinger, it might be fair to say that if Francis isn’t even going to come out for Manhattan issues, Mohler sees no redeeming value whatsoever in Francis and his church, so he’s gonna bring the Reformation pain.

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  49. @tvd
    You wrote, “is it anyone’s business but my own”. I’m inclined to agree, but it is curious that earlier you dismissed George Will’s comment because of his religious views (“he’s an atheist, so who care’s what he has to say”, or something along those lines I think is how you put it). So if Will’s religious views colored your views of his commentary, why shouldn’t your religious views color my view of your commentary here?

    Like

  50. sdb
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 7:22 pm | Permalink
    @tvd
    You wrote, “is it anyone’s business but my own”. I’m inclined to agree, but it is curious that earlier you dismissed George Will’s comment because of his religious views (“he’s an atheist, so who care’s what he has to say”, or something along those lines I think is how you put it). So if Will’s religious views colored your views of his commentary, why shouldn’t your religious views color my view of your commentary here?

    Which is why I prefer not to make my personal religious life grist for the mill.

    As for Will, perhaps I was unfair, but

    Francis’s fact-free flamboyance reduces him to a shepherd whose selectively reverent flock, genuflecting only at green altars, is tiny relative to the publicity it receives from media otherwise disdainful of his church. Secular people with anti-Catholic agendas drain his prestige, a dwindling asset, into promotion of policies inimical to the most vulnerable people and unrelated to what once was the papacy’s very different salvific mission.

    He stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately, the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources. Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation’s premises.

    is a complete rejection that Francis has anything transcendent to offer or any possibility he might be doing God’s will, since George Will has no God. Since this is a “theological society,” I found Will’s standing nil.

    Thus, I consider my stance different, since I argue as though God exists and the Bible is true. Any other other stance is of no relevance in this milieu. You’ve had those discussions. Scorched earth.

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  51. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, your personal religious life is showing, as is your liberal secular private-public dualism.

    Way to speak truth to power.

    Dr. Hart, your unblemished record of cluelessness never fails to astonish and amuse.

    Dualism is your thing, anyway.

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  52. Hey, Butch, over at Fea’s place, they’re playing your song. Go gettem, tiger. Speak some truth to power, show us how it’s done.

    https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=3161423914008824685&postID=8679765999415206690

    Blogger Jimmy Dick said…
    People like Al Mohler make me feel very comfortable with my choice to reject Baptist hypocrisy and to embrace Roman Catholicism. This Church is not Democratic or Republican. The Founders desired the separation of church and state. People like Mohler don’t want the separation except when it benefits them.

    Pope Francis is speaking and Mohler doesn’t want his flock to listen because it would cut into his power (money) base, so here comes the scare tactics and anti-Catholicism.

    September 25, 2015 at 10:05 PM
    Blogger Tom Van Dyke said…

    The Crusades. The Inquisition. Edgardo Mortara.

    Where is Dr. Darryl G. Hart when you need him? Tell it, DG.

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  53. vd, t, you act like the Crusades and Inquisition are unimportant, yet you are a blogger at a site about the American founding.

    Does history matter or not? I guess it depends on when you are public and when you are private.

    Must be fun to be your own pope.

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  54. Why does this sound like Mermaid and Susan?

    Pope Francis is, first of all, a priest. He’s a pastor of souls. When he spoke to Congress, it was obvious that he was on a mission of pastoral mercy. He was not just addressing the members of Congress and other dignitaries in front of him; he was ministering to them.

    Thus, his speech to the joint session was also a powerful pastoral intervention. He delivered a passionately pro-life speech that spoke of life from conception to natural death; that admonished us to care for our home, the Earth, and which repeatedly called for governance on behalf of the common good.

    At root of all this was a deep pastoral message to the broken and wounded souls in that room. Pope Francis saw through the facade of power and puffery into their hearts of rage and self-righteousness. He walked into that room, aware of the imploding dysfunction that threatens to rattle our democracy, of the hardness of heart that blinds those who work there to everything but partisan loyalty.

    A pastor who ministers without mentioning Jesus? Oh, that’s right. HE!’s the Vicar of Jesus.

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  55. What about sticking up for all those Roman Catholic institutions in the U.S. that the Obama administration has been provoking?

    Herein lies a problem that seems to have no solution within the papacy of Pope Francis. He meets with a figure like President Obama, a skillful rhetorician who talks (as the pontiff sits nearby) about cherishing religious liberty. But it doesn’t take much insight to see that Obama’s actions, at the end of the day, are aggressions, pure and simple, against Catholics and other traditional Christians. If he really wanted – Obama could easily find multiple accommodations for believers, which would respect their religious liberty even as he pursues his own ideological moves – something Francis is quite sensitive to in other contexts.

    Inexplicably, at the same time, the Holy Father – in his address to the bishops – warned them about being harsh, about failing to offer the people of God that attractive light that is the Gospel of Jesus Himself. Situations around the world differ, to be sure, and the pope may have some concrete experience of his own in mind. But those of us who consider ourselves unshakeable friends, and supporters, of the papacy – and who have knocked about in various corners of the world – have a fair bit of difficulty in identifying who, exactly, the Holy Father thinks he is speaking to, when he frets about harshness and rigidity, especially when Catholicism is under assault, even in the developed nations of the world.

    Far more people, in our experience anno Domini 2015, in many parts of the world, are less troubled about a Church that is too judgmental than a Church that has lost its way – and has nothing distinctive to say to the secular world. If the pope wants to say something truly revolutionary in America, he might propose to us that Christianity might be something more than openness, tolerance, kindness. The secular world doesn’t need Christianity to appreciate that. So exactly who do we think we are speaking to?

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  56. What a pope said to a political body twenty years ago:

    As a Christian, my hope and trust are centered on Jesus Christ, the two thousandth anniversary of whose birth will be celebrated at the coming of the new millennium. We Christians believe that in his Death and Resurrection were fully revealed God’s love and his care for all creation. Jesus Christ is for us God made man, and made a part of the history of humanity. Precisely for this reason, Christian hope for the world and its future extends to every human person. Because of the radiant humanity of Christ, nothing genuinely human fails to touch the hearts of Christians. Faith in Christ does not impel us to intolerance. On the contrary, it obliges us to engage others in a respectful dialogue. Love of Christ does not distract us from interest in others, but rather invites us to responsibility for them, to the exclusion of no one and indeed, if anything, with a special concern for the weakest and the suffering. Thus, as we approach the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Christ, the Church asks only to be able to propose respectfully this message of salvation, and to be able to promote, in charity and service, the solidarity of the entire human family.

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  57. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 26, 2015 at 8:44 am | Permalink
    vd, t, you act like the Crusades and Inquisition are unimportant, yet you are a blogger at a site about the American founding.

    Does history matter or not? I guess it depends on when you are public and when you are private.

    Must be fun to be your own pope.

    They have nothing to do with what I wrote, and your use of them is infantile.

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  58. Darryl,

    Yes Francis is no JP2. But Im sure if he had delivered that speech youd still diligently find something to criticize and imply he doesnt care about his flock because … well, you know Catholic.

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  59. Was recommending Thomas Merton instead of Jesus audacious? The apologists must think so:

    Merton wrote in his Zen and the Birds of Appetite that the “real way to study Zen is to penetrate the outer shell and taste the inner kernel which cannot be defined. Then one realizes in oneself the reality which is being talked about” (13). He calls his reader to enter deeply into Zen in order to discover a certain reality. In essence, he calls his reader to do what he did, to turn his gaze eastward to Daoism and its Zen descendant. When asked if he felt that “turning away from traditional Christianity toward the East” would cause “an eventual turning back to a different form of Christianity, one that might even be more genuine,” Merton replied, “Yes, I think so” (Thomas Merton: Preview of the Asian Journey, 53-54). Merton viewed Zen as a necessary step in the Church’s march toward Christ, and so he urged Christians to turn to Zen.

    Not all of his readers agree with his views.

    Pope Benedict XVI has expressed serious concerns regarding the appropriateness of approaches such as Merton’s. In fact he predicted that Buddhism, with its “autoerotic” type of spirituality, would replace Marxism as the principle antagonist of the Catholic faith, for the very non-dualist ideas it espouses deny the Christian belief in a Creator who is separate from His creation. The transcendence that Zen Buddhism offers is one of non-distinction, a state free from, as Benedict notes, the imposition of religious obligations. In the end, to turn to the ideas of Zen is to turn away from any need for a personal savior. We save ourselves in Buddhism, but only Christ saves in Christianity. . . .

    His later writings (see “Read with Caution,” page 9) are more confusing than helpful, for they conflate and confuse Buddhist and Christian teachings. One example of that confusion is seen in a popular icon sold in many Christian and Buddhist stores that depicts him sitting in the lotus posture in Zen meditation. The night before his death, Merton told John Moffitt that, “Zen and Christianity are the future.” This is precisely what the Holy Father has expressed grave concerns about.

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  60. And to think the church used to have an Index of Books. Now?

    The Church is in no way lacking in solid and perfectly trustworthy writings on the spiritual life. I personally don’t know why anyone would want to carefully sift through this kind of literature when it is clear that Merton had serious moral issues even during the his “orthodox” period. It seems a bit like sifting through the refuse at the back of a good restaurant. You will no doubt find much that is of nutritional value, he was indeed a talented writer, but why not just go take your seat at the table for the best and purest meals available? I would encourage you to stick with the spiritual doctors of the Church. To name a few, the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Catherine of Siena and St. Francis de Sales will more than meet your needs for spiritual guidance and you need not worry that you might be led down a path that leads away from the Heart of the Church.

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  61. So you boycott the Pope for not having the right politics?

    [A]t this pivotal moment in world history, His Holiness, Pope Francis, is intending to spend the majority of his time on one of the world’s greatest stages focusing on climate change. I have both a moral obligation and leadership responsibility to call out leaders, regardless of their titles, who ignore Christian persecution and fail to embrace opportunities to advocate for religious freedom and the sanctity of human life. If the Pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate change policies, then I will not attend. (U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar)

    #showmejesus

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  62. From the responsive reading this morning (and the Bible):

    “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

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  63. Merton, the Index, some congressman. How desperate, Dr. Hart, gnawing at the ankles of the Catholic Church like this on a beautiful Sunday morning. Cheer up, Butch.

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  64. vd, t, and here I thought the church’s problems — Inquisition and Crusades — were so yesterday. I didn’t bring up Merton. Your public holy father did.

    I get it. You distance yourself from Merton and the Mass in private.

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  65. Do we need the current holder of the Petrine ministry to say this?

    There was a time when one neighborhood store had everything one needed for personal and family life. The products may not have been cleverly displayed, or offered much choice, but there was a personal bond between the shopkeeper and his customers.

    Isn’t this what the folks at Front Porch Republic have been saying for a decade?

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  66. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 27, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink
    Do we need the current holder of the Petrine ministry to say this?

    There was a time when one neighborhood store had everything one needed for personal and family life. The products may not have been cleverly displayed, or offered much choice, but there was a personal bond between the shopkeeper and his customers.

    Isn’t this what the folks at Front Porch Republic have been saying for a decade?

    No doubt, but nobody gives a shit about the phony conservatives at FPR, except liberals who use you as ammunition against the Republican Party.

    [I happen to agree with the sentiment. But left-wing scum talk big but don’t buy local either.]

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  67. vd, t, if only the FroPos were as principled and civil as you:

    We can create a great and nourishing thing here at The Reform Club, but it will require the cooperation, precision of argument, and good will of all to make this forum special. One concession Shaw made to orthodoxy and classicism is that we must leave our rhetorical barbarism at the door. Civility is essential, but is the merest of requirements to get where we can go. To parrot the prevailing arguments elsewhere serves no purpose either: it is a waste of time and cyberink (yes, the latter can be wasted because it consumes the former). We must do our homework on what’s already being said elsewhere (especially on the side opposite our own), beginning with an understanding of Square One so we can move together toward Square Two. We have to get somewhere if we’re to get anywhere.

    Square Two (in the least) is our goal, if The Reform Club is to be more than a pale copy of the rest of the internet. Quality over quantity, inquiry over debate, original voices over echo chambers. The Reform Club, rhetorically at least, recommits itself to its principles, and this is non-negotiable. We will not and cannot gear ourselves to the lowest common denominator. It’s for others to preach to the masses; like the original Reform Club, we shall preach to those who themselves preach to the masses and hope we can send them away armed not so much with answers, but with the proper fundamental questions that must be asked again and again.

    The rest of our principles we shall leave open to examination, as honest inquirers and seekers of truth are honor-bound to do. We leave the doors of our modest club open to those of like mind and spirit, and rely on them to help us preserve what we are, and to help us toward what we aspire to be.

    Heck, with high-toned uplift like that, you should be pope.

    Like

  68. Everytime this pope opens his mouth, he shows the bankruptcy of the papacy. Yeah, it’s sad that our society has lost many of the community bonds it once had, but those community bonds aren’t going to save you.

    It’s just absolutely ridiculous. Why do Christians as a whole think they have any business commenting on things of which they have no knowledge? Francis isn’t an economist or an expert in climate change, but that’s what he’s running his mouth on. No wonder the true conservatives in the RCC are asking themselves what kind of pope this is.

    And the papacy is supposed to be an essential mark of Christianity? What’s wrong with people?

    Like

  69. Robert: “What’s wrong with people?”

    that people like people who say what they like to hear ?

    Pope uses popularity to chart new direction for church & US: “But he urged American Catholic leaders to create a church with the warmth of a “family fire,” avoiding “harsh and divisive” language and a “narrow” vision of Catholicism that he called a “perversion of faith.” …Over the long haul, there are connections,” Kupke said, “and with Francis, in so many ways, he’s saying things that people here like.”
    http://news.yahoo.com/pope-uses-popularity-chart-direction-church-us-051025139.html

    Like

  70. Robert, it is interesting how the RCC can get away with so much corny religion in ways others can’t. But does your point about shutting up on issues beyond a pastor’s pay grade apply to Reformed ones untutored on jurisprudence (and those tutored but unauthorized) blathering on about Planned Parenthood and Obergefell? I only ask because some seem put out with Francis for not taking the opportunity to condemn their favorite bad guys.

    Like

  71. Zrim,

    But does your point about shutting up on issues beyond a pastor’s pay grade apply to Reformed ones untutored on jurisprudence (and those tutored but unauthorized) blathering on about Planned Parenthood and Obergefell?

    I would say it depends on whether the Bible actually addresses those topics or not. Admittedly, the Bible doesn’t specifically address Obergefell or Planned Parenthood, but it is rather clear on homosexuality being a sin even for nonbelievers, as well as on abortion.

    So I’m not really sure what you mean by blathering. Can a pastor say that Obergefell is contrary to God’s law? Sure. Can he say it was wrongly decided according to the Constitution? That’s more iffy, though he can certainly cite the actual experts in jurisprudence who believe what the court did was unconstitutional. Starting with the four SC dissenting justices. Should he talk about the civics of the matter at all? Insofar as he can ably do so to prepare his people for gospel ministry, sure. Insofar as he makes overturning Obergefell key to “reclaiming America,” no and not just for theological reasons. America has never been a Christian theocracy.

    Like

  72. Robert, would you connect the dots between “the civics of the matter” and “prepare his people for gospel ministry”?

    Like

  73. Muddy,

    Well for one, prepare his people to deal with apologetic or practical issues that may arise. Should Christians rail against Obergefell in reaching the masses? What does Obergefell say about the Christians’ relation to the state and how one obeys it? What does sanctification look like when you have to witness to the gospel to people that hate you for being a “heterosexist bigot and enemy of humanity”? There are any number of issues in which people have to be as wise as serpents while remaining as innocent as doves.

    Like

  74. Honestly, chances are that if a pastor starts to specifically talk about Obergefell he will likely say something wrong and/or ridiculous. But if the idea of being a cultural minority is new to a congregation – if the people have to be weaned off the idea of Christians being power brokers – then the pastor will have to repent of that omission in his prior preaching and begin to prepare the flock.

    Like

  75. Heck, with high-toned uplift like that, you should be pope.

    As long as he wears the same sunglasses as his avatar, I am all for it. It’s about time we get a Californian in the Holy See. Tom would be the most interesting Pope in recent memory for sure. I suppose that would mean he would have to attend mass and all… minor detail though.

    It’d be charism of the people at it’s very best, and most ironic.

    Like

  76. Honestly, chances are that if a pastor starts to specifically talk about Obergefell he will likely say something wrong and/or ridiculous. But if the idea of being a cultural minority is new to a congregation – if the people have to be weaned off the idea of Christians being power brokers – then the pastor will have to repent of that omission in his prior preaching and begin to prepare the flock.

    Well said Mudsworth. Why is this concept so hard? Evangelicals as a conservative voting block is quickly becoming a thing of the past – especially among Millennials who are either leaving evangelicalism behind altogether or souring on the admixture of religion and politics. The clout of Fallwell and Robinson and the Moral Majority with the intellectual influences of Schaffer and Colson are relics of a bygone era. The ascendancy of Trump in the GOP has tapped into the only emotion the religious right has anymore – undirected rage at the loss of their Great America. Trump lacks the more compelling religious rhetoric and imagery of a Reagan, and by all accounts he is a extremely nominal mainliner.

    While the religious right seeks to re-assert itself at the table of cultural power-brokers, which will likely not happen now and the chances will only diminish over time, President Trump (if that eventuality surfaces) will go on being the political and social cartoon figure he has always been. The only truly compelling reason to vote for Trump is that both parties traditional bases will hate him so much, and despise him for exposing the farce of American politics that nothing of substance will get done. America is at its best when it isn’t being legislatively transformed.

    Like

  77. But if the idea of being a cultural minority is new to a congregation – if the people have to be weaned off the idea of Christians being power brokers – then the pastor will have to repent of that omission in his prior preaching and begin to prepare the flock.

    Indeed and agreed.

    Like

  78. Robert, if you make those kinds of qualifications then I’m not sure what’s wrong with Francis taking up his pet issues. He could just as easily say he’s not agitating for pious revolución but prepping his people for gospel ministry (whatever that means). Francis can cite economic and environmental experts just as easily as Reformed pastors can cite Constitutional experts, etc.

    So I’ll see your point but raise an eyebrow. Maybe everyone who presumes to speak for heaven should sit down and shut up about earth (at least in public)?

    Like

  79. sdb,

    Great find, the one commenter on the article summed it up well:

    It is only a matter of time before a Republican presidential candidate will say to the religious right as Eisenhower said to the Robert Taft faction in 1952, “You have led us down to defeat in two elections,” and then adds “Go away and bother us no more.”

    Like

  80. Zrim/Muddy,

    “chances are that if a pastor starts to specifically talk about Obergefell he will likely say something wrong and/or ridiculous”
    “Francis can cite economic and environmental experts just as easily as Reformed pastors can cite Constitutional experts, etc. ”

    Yup.

    Robert,

    “Everytime this pope opens his mouth, he shows the bankruptcy of the papacy. Yeah, it’s sad that our society has lost many of the community bonds it once had, but those community bonds aren’t going to save you.”

    I missed where he was tying restoring community bonds to salvation – one of the central planks of Francis’ papacy has been the concept of encounter – it is not surprising he might focus on that at times which no more detracts from the gospel then the biblical exhortations to serve our neighbor do.
    To piggyback others’ points, when Reformed pastors blather on about Obergefell and the constitution or American jurisprudence and whether it’s the law of the land or not, I don’t automatically think they’re reducing the gospel or salvation to one’s view of the Supreme Court’s ruling, nor do I think if they blunder on their legal or constitutional “analysis” they picked up by reading a few articles over the weekend that made them some expert, they show the bankruptcy of their leadership.

    Like

  81. Turns out Pope Francis didn’t know what he was doing:

    There is no real direct evidence to say whether the pope knew about Davis’ stance in Kentucky or not. While Davis says the pope told her to “stay strong” and gave her and her husband rosaries as a sign of solidarity, Staver says there was no translator in the room for their conversation.

    Although Francis is able to speak some English — and even spoke from English language texts several times during his U.S. visit — his fluency in the language is limited. Anyone watching him speak English in a YouTube video can see that.

    Interestingly, during a press conference on his flight back to Rome Sept. 27, the pontiff was asked about cases like Davis’ and gave a very general, almost bland answer. He did not refer to meeting Davis or her arguments for not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    “Do you also support those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example when issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples,” the pope was asked. “Do you support those kinds of claims of religious liberty?”

    “I cannot have in mind all cases that can exist about conscience objection but yes, I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right,” Francis responded. “It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.”

    Given the opportunity, the pope did not mention Kim Davis or a specific right to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Like

  82. So the pope meets a lot of people? What’s one more with Kim Davis?

    After days of speculation about Pope Francis’ meeting while in the U.S. with a Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, the Vatican clarified Friday that the meeting should not be seen as a show of support by the pope for the clerk.
    Francis’ meeting with Kim Davis “should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

    “Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City,” Lombardi said in the statement. “Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability.”

    “The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” said the spokesman.

    Friday’s statement caps a story that has attracted wide media attention, with many asking why the pope would choose to meet with a controversial figure in secret during his otherwise well-received visit to the U.S. Sept. 22-27.

    Questions were especially pointed because the pontiff had taken a fairly moderate tone on issues of religious liberty during his visit –placing them always in the context of other freedoms, and refusing to use harsh language about the issue.

    Basilian Fr. Tom Rosica, a Canadian who assists the Vatican press office with English-language media, said Friday that the encounter between Davis and Francis was not organized by Vatican staff.

    Rosica said the Vatican was unsure who the meeting was organized by, and that it might have been an initiative by the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Vigano. The encounter took place at the DC embassy Sept. 24, just before the pope headed to New York for a visit there.

    Rosica said that Vatican staff were not sure the pope “knew fully each of the people he was meeting” while greeting people at the nunciature. The priest also said Francis had personally approved Friday’s press statement after a meeting with Lombardi on the issue.

    While Friday’s statement clarifies the Vatican’s position on Francis’ meeting, it does not look likely that it will close discussion on the matter.

    Like

  83. …I don’t automatically think they’re reducing the gospel or salvation to one’s view of the Supreme Court’s ruling…

    I might quibble with “automatically”, but otherwise I am concerned about pastors who use the pulpit to go on about politics reducing the gospel to one’s view of the SC (or politics more generally). You can see this quite explicitly in some of the more progressive mainline circles. While I am much more sympathetic to the politics of the typical evangelical pastor, I am not at all certain that “turning toward Egypt” (so to speak) is any more justified from the right than from the left.

    …nor do I think if they blunder on their legal or constitutional “analysis” they picked up by reading a few articles over the weekend that made them some expert, they show the bankruptcy of their leadership…

    I do as it goes right to credibility. If they are willing to opine authoritatively on something they know nothing about, why should I take them at their word about other things I can’t verify (or at least verify as easily)? It also goes to honesty and integrity. If a pastor tries to pass himself off as an authority on something he isn’t really an authority on, then he is being dishonest.

    Like

  84. DGH, attempt at a world record for the backstroke re: the meeting with Kim Davis, but his words on the plane seem pretty clear.

    While this sort of thing always seems to bring out the clarifying spokesmen, I refuse to believe that PF is some sort of naif when it comes to the USA. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2511151/Pope-Francis-PR-genius-Greg-Burke-ex-journalist-belongs-Opus-Dei.html

    He knew exactly what he was doing and the ambiguity was absolutely intentional.

    Like

  85. You know what would be really audacious? If Pope Francis would stop speaking out of both sides of His mouth:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/

    In the Fall of 2013 a well-known Catholic intellectual from South America, a highly recognized university professor, Lucrecia Rego de Planas, who knows Bergoglio well and who worked with him, among other things, gave a portrait of the man.

    “Bergoglio wants to be loved by everyone and please everyone. In this sense one day he will talk on TV against abortion and the next day he will bless the pro abortionist in the Plaza de Mayo; he could give a marvelous talk against the Masons (Masonic Order) and, an hour later, eat and drink with them at the Rotary Club…….this is the Cardinal Bergoglio whom I know close up. One day busy in a lively chat with Bishop Aguer about the defense of life and the liturgy and the same day, at dinner, having a lively talk with Mons. Ysern and Mons. Rosa Chavez about base communities and the terrible obstacles that are presented by the Church’s dogmatic teachings. One day a friend of Cardinal Cipriani and Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga speaking about business ethics and against the New Age ideology and little latter a friend of Casaldaliga and Boff speaking about the class struggle and the “richness” of Eastern techniques which could contribute to the Church.”

    The Vicar of Christ a people pleaser? Cause that’s what Jesus was all about.

    This pope is a gift that keeps on giving to the Reformation.

    Like

  86. So if Pope Francis did believe in conversion, he might have proclaimed the Tridentine gospel:

    Being Catholic is not simply something one is, inherited passively from family or culture, but rather something that has to be chosen. That choice involves choosing to be something different – or something more – than what one currently is, which can serve as a rough description of conversion. The question before the synod fathers is whether people today are capable of conversion and, to put the matter more bluntly, is the Gospel still worth converting one’s life toward?

    There is no debate among pastors about whether the Church should draw close to those in difficulty, accompanying them on their path through life. The question is whether that accompaniment should satisfy itself with offering solace to those where they are, or rather aim to convert them to a different way of life. The dominant reason many European bishops desire to modify Catholic sacramental practice to accommodate the sexual revolution is because they lack confidence that conversion is truly possible. Bishops from more vital local churches see conversions frequently; consequently they are convinced that the purpose of accompaniment is to receive the grace of conversion.

    If you need to convert to practice a Christian marriage, don’t you need conversion to live green?

    Like

  87. Forget the Francis Effect. Try the pope effect:

    “I would like to have a papal bull every morning with my Times at breakfast,” declared the 19th-century ultramontanist William George Ward. Are we currently suffering a case of liberal neo-ultramontanism? Or quasi-neo-ultramontanism? Or semi-neo-ultramontanism? Or some such?

    Many others have raised that question, but most of them don’t like what Pope Francis has been doing. I do. That includes the restoration of collegiality in the two synods on the family, regardless of the tremors caused by truly open discussion. That obviously includes Francis’s efforts to reform Vatican offices. That includes the remarkable series of talks he has given this fall on topics ranging from change in the church to “synodality.”

    At the same time, I have to admit that liberal reception of Laudato Si’ has not been free of what used to be called “creeping infallibilism.” And not every statement of Francis is beyond reasonable criticism. And, in all honesty, although the homilies in my liberal parish are quite fine, I’m wearied by hearing Francis referred to in the pulpit more often than Jesus.

    Imagine what he would say about those who talk about infallibility more than about the papal office.

    Like

  88. And please tell us how much Pope Francis thinks like all those poor people in the undeveloped world:

    It is impossible to prove a negative, but I have to ask myself if the Paris accord would have been attained without the leadership of Pope Francis. He provided a moral and spiritual language to the discussion that had largely been lacking beforehand. The climate change debate did not reach many people because it was too wonky, but Francis put the issue in terms that were readily understandable. And, at a time when the world stage has so few true leaders, Francis is a leader.

    Westerners being western and running the world from the West.

    Like

  89. What if Pope Francis had preached Christ the way an NBA coach did?

    “Let’s not lose sight of what’s important,” NBA coach Monty Williams said recently at the funeral for his wife. “God is important. What Christ did on the cross is important.”

    Williams’ wife was killed in a car accident when another driver crossed the center line and hit her car head-on. They had five children. A Christian funeral was held in Oklahoma, and Williams decided to address the crowd with a message of faith and hope.

    “This is hard for my family, but this will work out,” Williams told the crowd at the funeral. “And my wife would punch me if I were to sit up here and whine about what’s going on.

    “That doesn’t take away the pain. But it will work out, because God causes all things to work out.”

    He was very explicit about his faith in Jesus: “What we need is the Lord. And that’s what my wife tried to exhibit every single day.”

    He also called for prayers for the family of the driver: “Let us not forget there were two people in this situation, and that family needs prayer as well.”

    And he said he forgives the person who killed his wife: “We have no ill will toward that family.”

    “We cannot serve the Lord if we don’t have a heart of forgiveness. That family didn’t wake up wanting to hurt my wife. […] We… should be praying for that family, because they grieve as well.”

    Like

  90. John Macarthur–“Death is not our enemy because it takes us right to where we want to be”-

    I Thessalonians 4: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ WILL RISE first.

    Hebrews 11: 38 The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and on mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, so that THEY would not be made perfect without US

    I Corinthians 15: We will not all fall asleep,
    but we will all be changed,
    52 in a moment, in the blink of an eye,
    AT THE LAST TRUMPET
    For the trumpet will sound,
    and the dead WILL BE raised incorruptible,
    and we will be changed.
    53 For this corruptible must be clothed
    with incorruptibility,
    and this mortal must be clothed
    with immortality.
    54 WHEN this corruptible is clothed
    with incorruptibility,
    and this mortal is clothed
    with immortality,
    THEN

    https://mikewittmer.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/going-to-heaven/

    Like

  91. What happens when the interpreter in chief won’t interpret?

    The Vatican will not be replying to four cardinals’ Sept. 19 letter in which they questioned Francis’ teaching in Amoris Laetitia, Müller said. The letter, made public in November, was signed by Carlo Caffarra, former archbishop of Bologna, Italy; Raymond Burke, head of the Order of Malta; Walter Brandmüller, former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; and Joachim Meisner, former archbishop of Cologne, Germany.

    While the doctrinal prefect did not comment directly on the question of whether divorced and remarried Catholics may in certain individual cases be allowed to receive the Eucharist, he did underline that Amoris Laetitia must not be interpreted to mean that the teaching of previous popes and of the doctrinal congregation is no longer valid. He recalled that in 1994, under the then-prefect Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), the congregation had rejected the suggestion by three German bishops that, in individual cases, divorced and remarried Catholics be allowed to receive Communion.

    The indissolubility of marriage must remain “the unshakable basis of any pastoral accompaniment,” Müller emphasized.

    At the same time, Francis wants to help all marriages and families who are experiencing crises “to find a way of concurring with the ever-merciful will of God,” Müller said.

    He emphatically denied alleged infighting over the issue in the Vatican. Rumors of “a power struggle behind the high walls of the Vatican or between reformers and those who want to put the brakes on only shows how tainted thinking and the perception of power struggles has become,” Müller said.

    Meanwhile, Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Roman Rota, the Vatican’s appeal court, has called for calm and prayer. “The church needs unity and not walls, the pope has underlined,” Pinto said in an interview with the German church’s internet portal katholisch.de on Dec. 1.

    Bug, not feature.

    Like

  92. Wasn’t the point of having a pope to avoid diversity of opinion among committee members?

    The Register has contacted approximately 20 cardinals and bishops in the Curia and in the wider Church, some of whom have been vocally supportive of Amoris Laetitia, as well as others known to be concerned about its content or the confusion it has generated.

    Almost all of them either didn’t respond, said they were too busy or politely declined. Those not commenting included Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Cardinal Sarah’s predecessor, and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

    Some of those who have been most vocally supportive of the Pope in light of the Dubia similarly declined to restate or clarify their perspectives when contacted by the Register, including Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the newly created Dicastery for Family, Laity and Life. In mid-November, Cardinal Farrell, who served formerly as bishop of Dallas prior to his Vatican appointment, said U.S. bishops should have agreed on a common position about implementing Amoris Laetitia before individual dioceses implement their own pastoral guidelines. And he specifically criticized Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia for ruling out holy Communion for all remarried divorcees who are not living in continence as brother and sister in the guidelines published by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on July 1.

    Do apologists notice the bugs?

    Like

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