28 January 2015

Cardinal Rodriguez

I have tried to read carefully a paper by a Cardinal Rodriguez. There are entire paragraphs that I actually don't understand. Perhaps there are problems of translation; Fr Lombardi will know. But three points do strike me: (1) Christology. The Second Person of the Glorious and Undivided Trinity is referred to in phrases like "The God of Jesus" and "God through Jesus". I did not identify language clearly affirming that our Redeemer is God. (2) "Mercy" seems to be construed as being at the heart of theology. But any attempted reconstruction of Christianity which concentrates singlemindedly on one word or slogan ("Justification by Faith Alone", for example, or "Sola Scriptura") has tended, throughout history, to have disastrous effects. (3) The Roman Pontiff's role is to protect the Tradition and to define and exclude heresy. This paper seems exclusively concerned to prepare the way for an agenda of radical but unspecified change centred upon the non-Magisterial utterances of just one pope during a ministry of less than two years. This is accompanied by a bizarrely curious suggestion that the Holy Father's public style and personal  gestures are his Magisterial Encyclicals.

Even during the pontificate of Pius XII and his canary, did papolatry go quite as far as this?

16 comments:

A Scottish Cat said...

What canary was this Father? My cat's ears have pricked up!

Michael Leahy said...

Firstly, we seem to be dealing with an Arian. Secondly, his building his theology on the Pope's most casual utterances strikes me as somewhat Gnostic.
Thirdly, he is wrong about Mercy, I would have thought. Is it not Justice first and then we hope for Mercy?

Fr PJM said...

In case the papal apartments were attacked by poison gas, the Pope would have a few moments warning.

mark wharton said...

Your first point is very interesting. It has always struck me in the debate concerning Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried, that there is very serious lack of understanding as to the fact that Jesus Christ is truly God. It is worthy of note, for me at least, because I was once an anglican, and I noticed the same failure in basic christology, in the debates surrounding the ordination of women. I'm a theology student and the first question I ask when reading a paper is always "Does this writer believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate"

Titus said...

The one in the photograph, no? https://thepracticingcatholic.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/pope-pius-xii-with-bird.jpg

Pr. H. R. said...

Perhaps centering a theology on one office is just as troublesome as centering a theology on just one phrase. Radical Protestantism and Radical Papalism...the ends of the bell curve do seem to converge.

+HRC

George Lee said...

Regarding your point about the harmful effects of reducing Christianity or the Gospels to a single word or phrase, Chesterton wrote that, " Heresy is a truth gone mad from lonliness."

I really like your blog.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

That, Pr H R, is the point I am making.

My main reason for disliking this sort of stuff is that it may make the uninstructed think that Catholicism does centre its theology on just one office. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.

ColdStanding said...

One is invited to read St. Alphonsus Liguori's Preparation for Death, then compare what is being marketed in Rome today. The results of the comparison will show a complete mismatch in theology. St. Alphonsus out ranks Cardinal Rodriguez by a considerable degree. It is difficult to draw any other conclusion other than that he cardinal in question is presenting new teaching, not development of doctrine. What is the technical term for that again? It slips the mind. Perhaps it is just not for me to say.

I am lead to ask, if the Church was wrong then, how can it be right now?

Delia said...

According to Wikipedia, he dreamed of playing saxophone in a dance band when a boy. It seems rather a pity that ... Instead, he's in the pope's Gang of Eight. How many of these views are shared by the Holy Father, I wonder?

Excellent analysis, Father. Many thanks.

Woody said...

Great comment, Father. I believe there is an agenda and it was put in play many decades ago. The diabolical has great patience. Great patience.

Patti Day said...

Thank you dear Fr. Hunwicke for carefully reading this document. Something like "the God of Jesus" would have gone right over my head.

JAG41 said...

Two statements in the speech struck me:
"The Church of Christ is the Church of Francis: Beset with compassion." I have never viewed the Church as belonging to a Pope.

"'Social Action' changes, it is no longer just charity and development services but also struggle for justice, human rights and liberation..." So our charitable works now become liberation theology.

Gillineau said...

As the good priest says, we are not papolators, the Faith isn't a papolatory. Maybe us self-absorbed Promethean neopelagians had got a bit that way with the last two popes, and maybe the Holy Ghost, who works in mysterious ways, is correcting that tendency. It's certainly working wonders for my personal weakness in this regard. Indeed I do declare I'm almost entirely cured.

Pray for Archbishop Tartaglia up here in Glasgow - he's rather unwell.

Ospite said...

To this meeting of the minds - Father Hunwicke, Mark Wharton, and Michael Leahy in particular - on "The God of Jesus Christ" (Cardinal Rodriguez dixit) we might add the "definitely and irreducibly negative judgement" passed on the same expression by Monsignor Brunero Gherardini in his critique of the theology of Monsignor Bruno Forte ("Il Dio di Gesu' Cristo", Disputationes theologicae, 29 January 2010, http://disputationes-theologicae.blogspot.com/2010/01/mons-gherardini-strona-la-cristologia.html ). The God of Jesus Christ "only makes sense in the physical and qualitative separation of Jesus Christ from God", notes Monsignor Gherardini; who, out of the goodness of his heart, adds that most people who use the aforesaid expression "are not aware of its provenance or its meaning, both close to Liberaltheologie.
The essay analyses both provenance and meaning, rendering to Rudolf Bultmann his due, and chops down to mince-meat size the theology of Monsignor Bruno Forte, credited with the paternity of the phrase "The God of Jesus Christ", first found in a letter addressed in 2009 by Monsignor Forte to generic "God-seekers" in his capacity as Chairman of the Italian Episcopal Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith. In 2010 Monsignor Forte was Secretary to the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), in 2014 he was Secretary of the Synod on the Family. The synodal Relatio ad interim is his work. After that, Monsignor Forte was voted down with 140 to 60 votes for the Vice-Presidency of the Italian Episcopal Conference. He was not made a Cardinal. Sic transit.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

I certainly agree that you don't need to be an Arian to talk about the God of Jesus. However, since Nicaea, one does, surely, rather notice the phrase. Just as, when I was an Anglican, I always felt uneasy about the Blessing, " ... Knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesu ...". True, it comes from S Paul, but, as Patristic scholars assure us, archaism can actually be read heretically when a new situation, dogmatically, has arisen. I've always had a soft spot for the Byzantine formula "Christ our trues God ...".

Rodriguez does, in fact, quote the 'Nicene' Creed: "Christ was incarnate ...". But in the Creed, this follows closely after the homoousios, not to mention the deum verum de deo vero.