4 September 2018

It's different now.

The Dubia ...  the Filial Correction ... how shy the clergy were about associating themselves with these initiatives.

But, with Viganogate, a number of bishops have been very willing to call for a proper investigation.

Why the change?

Of course, the major difference is that by softening the Church's witness against Adultery, PF was moving in the direction of fashionable assumptions held in the World. The Media, for the most part, would be overwhelmingly in favour of such a 'modernising' stance. The same is likely to be true of any softening of the Church's witness on homosexuality. And PF's views on the Death Penalty fit comfortably with the liberal Western Zeitgeist.

In these matters, the pope was easily seen as moving in line with a 'soft' consensus. And one has to admit that the so-called 'modernising' views are held by very many Catholics.

The problem now is clerical sexual abuse of minors or of the vulnerable, accompanied by a veritable industry of prelatical cover-ups. These are not subjects with which the Media are comfortable and relaxed. Nor is child-abuse nearly as acceptable and agreeable to the laity. "Giving a second chance to people whose first marriages have broken down" ... that seemed kind, merciful, and modern. Not so sex abuse, cover up, pay outs, and silence clauses.

And in the secular sphere, it is commonplace for 'investigative journalism' to hunt down 'cover-ups' and 'hypocrisy'. The Vigano event plays into this culture and these assumptions.

So, all of a sudden, PF has lost the PR initiative, which has passed to his critics. This, surely, is why there is such incandescent rage among his cronies. They have been suddenly cast into an unfamiliar and uncomfortable position. Riding on the crest of a 'Francis is Merciful' campaign was rather fun. Being asked why their pope is so shy, so unwilling to answer questions about a rather horrible sexual scandal, is not at all what they thought they were signed up to.

And it is easier for bishops to call for 'transparency' and 'full disclosure' than it was for them to 'split hairs' in the realm of moral theology, and to discuss the finer points of the 'doctrine' of 'Development'. In Amoris laetitia and his Synods, PF followed his declared policy of 'creating a mess', of getting others to create facts which he would then be able to interpret and push forward. This immensely civilised PR policy for advancing heresy is unavailable now that the PR imperative is to distance PF from sex abuse and cover-ups. PF, and his rabble of shifty time-servers, find their backs right up against the wall; room for manoeuvre there is none.

In this abuse crisis, schmaltzy Viennese smiles and condescending advice to go away and read Newman will not solve the problems of an angry (albeit hypocritical) world, or of a bewildered and highly distressed laity.

(Maybe this would not quite be the moment for Archbishop Fernandez to produce a new and augmented Second Edition of his Manual on Kissing with a commending preface by PF.)

Yet the teaching found in Amoris laetitia, and the immorality disclosed out by Archbishop Vigano's 'Testimony', are essentially the same. The completely and radically flawed 'lenient'and laxist ethical casuistry proposed for the comfort of German adulterers could, with perfect logic and fairness, be called in aid by paedophiles. After all, there have been human societies in which paederasty and ephebophilia have been socially acceptable and on public display. They attracted their own extensive and distinctive romantic literature. I, of course, and my readers, will regard such ideas and such cultures with visceral disgust or with reasoned contempt. But the Vigano 'Testimony' has left PF and his faction without a leg to stand on.

Perhaps they do not read Hesiod in Argentine schools; maybe young Jorge never heard about Pandora and her pithos. But it will be as difficult as ever it was to get the poma back on the pithos.

We shall have much characteristically Bergoglian bluster. We may again see the sort of bullying which raised its ugly head after the Correctio even in 'civilised' countries like Austria and Britain.

But this must, surely, be ... if not the Beginning of the End, at least the End of the Beginning.

Because, at last, a hitherto largely quiescent episcopate is showing signs of becoming restive and audible. Extreme measures, even extreme language, against bishops who call for Facts and Accountability and who want to find out Who knew What When, would hardly chime with the public mood.

16 comments:

Unknown said...

Father sorry for (not-so-much) disruption, but I will share will you and all readers THIS wonderful Homily of Fr. Lankeit's - https://youtu.be/BOXPRpfjbtM

May our Lord bless, protect and lead you, him and all good priests, deacons, bishops and cardinals of our Holy mother Church!
Ivan

J Tempest said...

I think that Fr Rosica's reflections on Francis the Intellectual so recently published, may have played a part in many of the clergy feeling compelled to speak out. Any Catholic who has read that:

"Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants, because he is “free from disordered attachments.”
and
"Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture."

can only be horrified and want to call a halt to this pontificate.

pjotr said...

Perfect analysis Father. Thank you.

E sapelion said...

I cannot agree with you about the comparability of the Amoris Laetitia problem and the corruption exposed by Abp Viganó. This would be to say the pastoral practice of some Orthodox churches is equivalent to the corruption of minors. What happened to 'Mutual enrichment'?
As I understand the Orthodox practice: If it can be shown that a marriage has broken down due to one of the parties (the Guilty party) and that no significant blame attaches to the other (the Innocent party), then the Innocent party may seek permission for a second marriage. Even if the permission is granted, the Innocent party is required to do penance, among other things by being excluded from Communion for a number of years. The Guilty party remains excommunicated. And why does the Innocent party need to do penance - among other things, because they are breaking the marriage vow by not waiting for the return of their spouse, however improbable that may be.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Having approved of the malign anarchy of the people decried in Judges 21

In those days there was no king in Israel: but every one did that which seemed right to himself.

in his statement - Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is good . . . Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place. -

how is one to objectively know whether or not Bergoglio thinks sodomy is evil or good?

Yes, ABS is being dead serious.

If Bergoglio thinks sodomy is not evil or sinful, maybe he truly does think that the world would be a better place if the Church just let sodomites be active sodomites with no condemnation of sodomy.

E sapelion said...

Oops, I think I expressed things badly there, but while the comment is awaiting moderation I can't check.
If I said 'the marriage has ceased to exist' I was wrong. The Orthodox teaching is that once made the marriage cannot cease to exist, even death does not end a marriage. However it can be permanently non-functioning, I do not know the technical description they use.
One consequence of that view of the indissolubility of marriage, is that they regard the Catholic claim to annul marriages with abhorrence. The marriage, in their view, was blessed by the church and cannot be deblessed.

Sue Sims said...

J. Tempest: That comment from Fr Rosica was so outrageous that initially I assumed it was satire from someone who (understandably) didn't think much of Fr R's attitudes - a sort of ecclesiastical Onion piece. But there it was, unmistakably authentic, towards the end of his article (though it was excised from the Zenit version after publication). And Fr R clearly thought this an admirable quality in his idol.

El Codo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignatius, Cornwall said...

It is horrific and an obscenity that there has been a Catholic hierarchy which has not CLEARLY spoken-up against the extreme evil which has been, and is still being, uncovered within their own ranks and their clergy. There is little excuse for this as they purport to be following in the steps of Our Lord and all the Christian martyrs. All who knew, and so very many did it is now revealed, of this vast wickedness and did not speak-out are guilty of funk and protecting their own positions. They are a ghastly rabble unfit for episcopacy or priesthood. We who are the Church need holy men, not ultramontane sycophants and poseurs. This rottenness started in the Roman Church's hierarchical barrel long before Vatican Two, but the "liberal" libertinage allowed after the Council certainly got OUR poor Church into the festering filthy state in which we find much of the Church today. Many of us would leave, "but, Lord, where shall we go?" And we need the Sacraments -- but surely not from the hands of perverted and thus, sacrilegious priests -- or those who shield them!! We should pray for their repentance and salvation, obviously, BUT, they cannot continue by their perversions in harming so many peoples' lives, even sometimes little children, and bringing the Church into disrepute and apostasy.

Melinda said...

I don't think it is just that people didn't care before because it was a conservative issue, and now suddenly do because of a liberal one. I think a lot of people have been growing uneasy for a while, but love of the petrine office runs deep in good Catholics. We are used to it being the holy and charitable thing to do to put the best possible interpretation on actions and words. We don't want to suspect the pope if we can avoid it, but the last week has made unavoidable the conclusion that sometimes charity and holiness have prior and deeper responsibilities. A pope has to work very hard make ordinary Catholics this angry and active. Mark my words, a storm is brewing that evasive press statements will just exacerbate.

Sue Sims said...

El Codo: a proper Catholic priest, like Fr Spadaro, Fr Rosica, Fr Martin, etc? Well, laus Deo that Fr Hunwicke isn't behaving like a Proper Catholic Priest!

Henry von Blumenthal said...

I think it was vom Stein who said of Bonaparte “It is worse than blindness to trust a man who has hell in his heart and chaos in his head”

J Tempest said...

E sapelion

The Orthodox view regarding marriage and remarriage is more complicated than you describe. I've never fully understood their take on marriage and do not think that their rationale for what I have been told or have read is rational.

Steve said...

The "disordered attachments" which in reality are the truths of the catholic faith.

Jonathan Dandridge said...

Dear El Codo I think our esteemed host is acting exactly how a Catholic priest should act under these circumstances, always seeking the truth. Given that the head of the Ordinariate has come out and essentially said the same thing I doubt if he is an embarrassment to them.

As for encouraging the nutters, alas we shall always have them with us. If we let the threat of nutters affect what we did we would never get anything done.

Sandor Lengyel said...

I can only partially agree with E_sapalion.
The big difference is that in orthodox churches it (divorce an remarriage) is traditional and codified.
In Amoris Laetitia is against the tradition, but what make it worse, not codified. Does not give clear direction and limits to the faithful. This way it does increase corruption. The correct approach would have been, to move the annulment process under strict guidelines in the direction of the orthodox practice.