5 December 2016

Initiating processes

I've been thinking about the phrase "initiating processes rather than occupying spaces", which I heard somewhere.

I'm not a historian, but I think I read that Hitler never formally decreed the Final Solution of the Jewish Problem and certainly not verbally on paper; he just made sure that his intimates understood his feelings.

Is that the sort of thing the phrase means?


Donna Bethell said...

Sandro Magister and Giulio Meiattini, OSB, explain all about the four principles found in Evangelii gaudium, nn. 217-237:

The one I see in play the most is "realities are more important than ideas." We are watching changes in pastoral practice regarding the admittance to the Sacraments of people in "irregular" marital situations. No doubt this has been going on for some time in some places, but Amoris laetitia has allowed many bishops to announce that this is now the official policy in their dioceses. These are the realities. The ideas are the traditional doctrines. Once the realities are established, the ideas will either change to conform to the new realities or simply become irrelevant. Then the Modernist project will be complete.

John Nolan said...

In the Third Reich party activists were encouraged to take the initiative in promoting the National Socialist revolution without waiting for explicit instructions from above. This was called 'working towards the Führer'.

So, if (say) national episcopal conferences believe that Pope Francis is minded to admit the divorced and re-married to Communion, they may feel encouraged to do so, in the spirit of 'working towards the Führer (oops, Pontiff)'.

Joshua said...

I think the appropriate term is Caudillo.

Anonymous said...

You got it, Father.

And in this world of today, with the passions and animal instincts and base sexual drives the motivating factors for life choices, those processes are easy to get started.

There's another term for it.

Pandora's Box.

And yet another.


El Codo said...

Caudillo was the term applied to Generalissimo Franco,a much misunderstood if unsympathetic character. Lazy liberals often refer to the Caudillo as a Fascist,for what seem very obvious reasons...salute,alliance with the Axis powers etc.However,he was not a Fascist inn the sense that the Falange were;he was a Catholic and a patriot who believed that the Soviet Union and its creed was far more of a threat than Fascists.How perceptive he was! So,taking this further,might we not see a greater and deeper thrust behind what appear at times as irresponsible and dangerous remarks?

GOR said...

I suppose if Pope Francis were Irish, it would be: "Don't let the grass grow under your feet."

Liam Ronan said...

I rather agree with John Nolan. Heretofore the only initiating processes I have been subjected to were breakfast cereal adverts on the telly and a particularly brutal and degrading initiation into a college fraternity; however, the term of art for the latter process was 'pledging'.

Further to John Nolan's observation on the liklihood of an episcopal conference intuiting Francis desires the Holy Eucharist to be distributed to couples who will not refrain from sexual relations, Fr Antonio Spadaro, the editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, appears to have initiated the process of such a suggestion:

Dan Hitchens, an opinion writer for The Catholic Herald, has published the following opinion piece today, 06 December 2016, and for which I offer the link here below:

"Never mind the Twitter spats – Fr Spadaro just said something truly eye-opening"


Liam Ronan said...


If Francis were from here and indeed Irish he would say:

"If you are content to live like a horse, I'll happily feed you grass."

Nicolas Bellord said...

Liam Ronan: One could envisage an extreme case where somebody in a second 'marriage' is forced to have sex by their partner by threats violent or otherwise. They would not then be culpable of mortal sin. Then if that person is doing their best to rectify the situation is it not possible for them to take communion? I think this is accepted in the existing orthodoxy. Of course this is an extreme and very rare example and hard cases make bad law. Further the other party making the threats would certainly not be eligible for communion. The problem is that most people will misunderstand such a case and look upon it as general acceptance of communion for the divorced and remarried.

Spadaro is clearly a spokesman for Pope Francis and he is talking utter nonsense. It is time more Cardinals got a grip on the situation.

Liam Ronan said...

@ Nicholas Bellord,

Thank you for honoring me with a request for my thoughts on the nuances you have posed. I take the example seriously and, as I do, I ask you allow me a brief time to organize my thoughts and I shall address the issue with a reply in near future...the Good Lord and Father Hunwicke permitting, of course.

In any event you seem at first blush to have raised what I once was accustomed to having presented to me as a 'defence of necessity'. Am I correct in that understanding?

Nicolas Bellord said...

Liam Ronan: I would not define it as a defence of necessity of the kind where somebody takes someone's car without permission (a criminal offence in the UK) in order to drive another person to hospital and thereby save their life.

AL is suggesting that there can be circumstances where the adultery is not a mortal sin through lack of personal culpability. The only lack I can think of is lack of full consent e.g. somebody who is raped is not guilty of fornication. Where someone in a second marriage is forced by threats to commit adultery there could be such lack of consent as to render the sin not mortal and therefore not something precluding them from communion. A priest would surely have to be very careful in such a situation having regard to such things as the credibility of the person involved and their on-going efforts to avoid occasions of sin and/or to rectify the situation. I certainly cannot see that after a period of accompaniment and discernment the adultery would not be grave matter and the person having full knowledge of such we are left with lack of full consent.

The problem with AL is that it does not make it clear that such would only apply in such an extreme case.

It reminds me of the argument in favour of abortion that one often hears: "what if the mother's life is endangered by the continuation of the pregnancy". There is of course a simple answer involving the double effect doctrine and the fact that there is no direct intention to kill the baby but an intention to save the mother and the baby however remote the chance of saving the baby may be. However the pro-choice person rejects that answer and from there will justify all abortion. In the case of AL many will reject the idea that this is an extreme case and apply the idea of communion for the divorced and remarried to all and sundry.

Liam Ronan said...

@ Nicholas Bellord,

"And Adam said: The woman, whom thou gavest me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat." Genesis 3:12-13

Ah, you see, Nicholas, it is all a permutation of the criminal plea of 'defence of necessity', be it unlawfully appropriating another's automobile and violating the rights of the lawful owner or, unlawfully appropriating another's spouse and violating the supreme rights of God. Only the particulars of the defendant's plea are left for mitigation of sentence by the judge; however the gravity of the actual offence cannot be denied, unless the woman or the snake made you do it.

For my part, I am long and well acquainted professionally with the 'defence of necessity'.

To be frank (not flippant) I have struggled with your example insofar as it lacks sufficient hypothetical detail for me to reasonably respond with any personal conviction. Remaining in a situation which puts God to the test; imperfect contrition, etc. etc.

I don't know what concrete 'threats' this woman faces whether through lack of material support or through violence. Has she considered that whenever she acquiesces to sexual relations (whether consenting or no) ther partner commits a grave sin and is headed for hell? If so, you would think she's have a care about the salvation of this partner. Even so, too many permutations to cope with based on your example, Nicholas. You'll admit presumably that it's a real strain to build this exceptional case that AL so blithely concedes.

There are too many intelligent critiques of AL for me to re-invent something entirely novel in defence of Catholic Doctrine. Recall this passage from Scripture:

"Jesus saith to her: Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered, and said: I have no husband. Jesus said to her: Thou hast said well, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands: and he whom thou now hast, is not thy husband. This thou hast said truly. The woman saith to him: Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet." John 4:16-19

Our Lord is not recorded as offering any specific marital counsel to this woman as with the woman in John 8:10-11:

"Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee? Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more."

Nicolas Bellord said...

Liam Ronan: I agree entirely that the example I gave of somebody forced into adultery is so fraught with ifs and buts that it is extremely unsatisfactory as an example. AL puts forward this idea that someone is not culpable for some reason but one really has to stretch one's eyes and gasp to find a genuine possible reason. It is plain to me that in 99.9% of real cases there is no excuse entitling one to receive communion. AL is plainly misleading people at that point.

Liam Ronan said...

@ Nicholas Bellord,

I agree with you 99.9%. Cheers.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Rose-Marie: "realities are more important than ideas." I wonder whether Pope Francis is not a nominalist. We have concrete situations of all kinds but we cannot categorize them in any way.

Incidentally I wonder how a nominalist buys something to sleep upon. Obviously he cannot go into a department store and ask for a 'bed'. I suppose he has to wander round the store until he sees what he wants without any help from the shop assistants.