11 September 2016

The Problem about Pedestals

There is an old joke ... I apologise in advance; what follows is most definitely not the sort of course vulgarity you have come to expect to find in this blog ... that an American and a European were arguing about Women; and the European said "We like to put our women on pedestals", to which the American (probably a New Englander rather than a Texan) replied "Good idea: see their legs better".  

Pedestals (observe my alliterative facility) are the principal problem of this pontificate.

Especially the exquisite Parian marble, neo-Classical pedestal, attrib. workshop of Canova, six feet high, upon which the present pope has respectfully enthroned Doctrine.

Get a load of this: "The question is not that of changing doctrine, but of digging deep and making sure that pastoral care takes into account situations and what it is possible for persons to do."

(1) Source: Papa Bergoglio, Corriere della Sera, March 5, 2014.
(2) Observe the disjunctive but performing its customary role of privileging what follows it over what precedes it [vide my piece of September 10]. 
(3) Notice the term situation, which acquired a dubious reputation in the ethical discourse of the 1960s. 
(4) Consider the apparent suggestion that there are things which even the redeemed Christian with the help of Grace may not find it possible to do.
(5) Compare the coherence of this teaching with the reference by S John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor to "acts which, in the Church's moral tradition, have been termed "intrinsically evil" [intrinsice malum]: they are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances. Consequently, without in the least denying the influence on morality exercised by circumstances and especially by intentions, the Church teaches that 'there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object.'" " ... an attempt is made to legitimise so-called 'pastoral' solutions contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium ..." [Paragraphs 80 and 56].
(6) Recall the claim of Graf von Schoenborn that Amoris laetitia is a "development" of Familiaris consortio, and then attend to this: If Pope A condemned Proposition X, how plausible would it later be for the minions of Pope B to maintain that B's assertion of X was a legitimate development of A's condemnation of X?
(7) Discursively meditate on the extent to which the Church at the moment, even in this pontificate of Mercy, considers sympathetically the situation of paedophile priests. These are a category of men so manifestly prone to repeated recidivism, so apparently beyond the reach of all therapeutic techniques, that they, above all others, might expect to benefit from a gracious attitude of "taking into account what it is possible for persons to do". Yet this pontificate (in my disgracefully traddy view, absolutely rightly) adopts a very hard line towards them. Is it, are we, right to do so?
(8) Discuss quietly among yourselves, while I polish off part of the Divine Office, Bergoglio's attitude of burning incense before Doctrina kallisphuros sed intacta high up upon her marble pedestal, and of assuring her that her person is safe from all dubious interferences or change, while at the same time he entertains inconsistent methodologies for everyday ethical praxis.
(9) Ask yourselves whether this attitude is dissolvent not only of Christian dogma and ethics, but even of unredeemed human rationality.
(10) For your next project, read a few Socratic Dialogues and then construct in Greek a Dialogue in which Socrates debates these questions extensively with Pseudolus and Ballio.

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