27 May 2017

Clio and Pope Francis

I am not a historian; and the time has perhaps not yet come to write the history of this pontificate. But a hypothesis has occurred to me which could easily be subjected to Freddy Ayer's Falsification Principle.

I propose that we have, so far, experienced two main periods in this pontificate:
(1) the Parrhesia period, in which our Holy Father repeatedly called for Parrhesia, a Greek word meaning "Speaking boldly without fear or favour"; and
(2) the "The Holy Spirit is guiding the Church through Francis" period.

My theory is this. At first, Papa Bergoglio really believed that a large majority within the Church and in the Ordo episcopalis secretly thought as he did, but were afraid to assert their views publicly. To achieve the 'reforms' he desired, all he had to do (he felt) was to enable and encourage them frankly and freely to speak out. This part of my theory is supported by the report that his friend and ghost-writer Archbishop 'Tucho' Fernandez glossed 'Parrhesia' as meaning "Mueller won't come after us".

Then there came that moment in the first Synod when a lot of the Fathers started ... er ... shouting because they realised that they were being manipulated. At this point, the Sovereign Pontiff realised that Parrhesia is very uncertain and unreliable as an instrument for advancing an agenda; and so, instead, the message began to come from his closest supporters that the Holy Spirit is leading the Church into things new and surprising, and doing it specifically through the mouth and person of the Holy Father. The Parrhesia-strategy had been discarded to be replaced by the Holy-Spirit-strategy.

This newer line had two practical advantages for its user:
that no objective evidence could be or needed to be produced to demonstrate that particular proposed innovations really do come from the Holy Spirit rather than from one of those other busy spirits against which the pages of Holy Scripture so wisely warn us ... all one needed to do was to assert it loudly and portentously (e.g. Mgr Pinto); and
that unruly dissident bishops and theologians can be condemned and dismissed as "rigid" and a few other rather unkind things as well.

So ... let us wrap this up ... after all, it's no more than an hypothesis adduced by a naive non-historian ... and can easily be binned by the production of contrary evidence. Accordingly I ask:

(a) Have there been any sightings of the now rara avis Parrhesia Parrhesia since the Synod; and
(b) were there any clear exempla of the topos "the Holy Spirit which speaks through Francis" before that moment?


NSP said...


A Google search for "Parrhesia" for the entirety of the past one year on the site www.vatican.va brings up one sole sighting, and that too merely five days prior to today:

Google Search:

Sighting of Parrhesia (para 5 of Holy Father's Address):

This very much seems like the exception that proves your hypothesis. because:

1. The introductory paragraph of the address heavily references the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
2. It looks like the rara avis is poking its head out of the ashes to check if the ambiance is right for a rising up in time for the planned 2018 Synod on "Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment"

NSP said...


Another more refined Google search from the date of the closing of the Synod on the Family (October 24, 2015) till today (May 27, 2017) also yields the same solitary sighting that the previous search yielded:


Just thought you'd like to know.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. You are a beautiful and bold man.


Terry said...

During conversation with my spiritual director a few months prior to the first synod, both of us expressed our concerns when I heard a not unfamiliar inner voice tell me "something comes out of this synod that really angers God".

The Holy Spirit has been very gracious to me throughout my life and I believe the Holy Spirit is the source of my inner voice, so I think of fore mentioned thought every time I read of the holy father or others such as the superior general of the Jesuits cast a shadow on Jesus's words.

I joined (hopefully) many other people on the internet to pray a novena of the long form of the prayer to Saint Michael to protect the second synod from any evil in its final days. I was aware of the reputation of demonic attack when praying the long form and since I never experienced any attack while praying the novena I quickly forgot all about it. For a couple days afterwards life was good. On the third day I found myself struggling against temptations that I thought I had some control over. It took another day before I associated these attacks were brought about after praying St. Michaels prayer, by then it was like two demons shouting impure thoughts into both ears without taking a break. I had to suffer one more day before I had a chance to go to confession. As soon as I stepped out of the confessional I realized the attacks had stopped.

Louise said...

Fr. Hunwicke you are oh so logical.

John F. Kennedy said...

How often, if ever, were either cited prior 2013?

Silly me, I thought public Revelation ceased with the passing of the last Apostle. I had no idea that our deepest held beliefs were at the whims and musings of a reigning Pope.

Suddenly we've become Lutherans and we didn't even have a say in the matter.