There was an early stage in this pontificate when the Holy Father was convinced that all good men and true knew, deep down, that the Church's marriage discipline needed changing. All that was needed was for the Synod Fathers to speak boldly the Bergoglian Truth that was really in all their hearts. During this period, Papa Bergoglio made incessant calls for Parrhesia: for courageous boldness in speaking out. This was the period in which his friend and ghostwriter 'Tucho' Fernandez was memorably heard to say "He means, Mueller [then Prefect of the CDF] won't come after us".
Mind you, some of Bergoglio's highly-placed supporters knew that the Spirit of Parrhesia was going to be needing a bit of a helping hand, in the shape of deft and careful management of process. Someone in the upper reaches of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, on hearing that some 450 of the English clergy were preparing to sign a public Letter calling for adherence to orthodoxy and orthopraxis, put a lot of pressure on the organisers to discontinue their project. Or so the Catholic Herald reported. The line was: there were perfectly adequate private channels for the clergy to make their views privately known to ... their, er, bishops. Exactly. Beautiful. That dodge is neatly laid out on page 665 of the much-thumbed manual How to be a successful Church Manager. Happily, and bravely, the organisers ignored the pressures.
Then we had the Letter of the 45. This was followed by deplorable episodes of intimidation, some of it immensely cruel and very wicked, in various parts of the world. You will understand that I cannot break confidences by saying who leaned on whom and how. But I assure you that Bully A did lean on Intermediate Bullies B and C to put their gloves on and to go and sort out D and E.
And now, as I write this in August 2017, similar episodes of intimidation are coming to light.
Whatever has happened to all the need for Parrhesia? Why has that word suddenly done a runner from the Papal Vocabulary? Has Bergoglio suddenly forgotten his Greek?
Again, for an answer you need only turn to How to be a successful Church Manager, this time to page 666: "Shut the inferior clergy up until you've fixed your Synods and confected your post-synodal Exhortations, then use the big stick of Papal Magisterium to keep them permanently quiet. Most of them are a pretty scared and pathetic lot anyway, and you'll only need to make a public example of a few of the louder troublemakers. Don't forget to make clear to any seminarians you may have, that the seminary gates are wide open. And there is never any harm in allowing the sweet fragrance of the words Excommunication and Suspension to linger suggestively in the air. Our Father Below is very keen on rigorous ecclesiastical discipline."
Like Parrhesia, Mercy is now so very Yesterday, isn't it?
27 August 2017
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Well as a layman nobody has lent on me! But then us lay people are mere ordure in the eyes of the bien-pensant clergy. I do notice a certain decouragement amongst the orthodox clergy - they need to man up; as for us laymen we just have to pray hard whilst the majority of the clergy just waffle on.
I researched the word 'parresia' and found it is definitely Greek feminine. Such being the case, its very use might intend to convey a certain underlying fickleness or coyness by the speaker. A 'Parrhesiac' might therefore be inclined to mood swings.
There is however no attendant ambiguity with the Greek masculine noun 'poimen', i.e. 'shepherd', such as appears multiple times in one passage of Zechariah 11: 15-17
"And the Lord said to me: Take to thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. For behold I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who shall not visit what is forsaken, nor seek what is scattered, nor heal what is broken, nor nourish that which standeth, and he shall eat the flesh of the fat ones, and break their hoofs.
O shepherd, and idol, that forsaketh the flock: the sword upon his arm and upon his right eye: his arm shall quite wither away, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened."
This post, Father, would turn me towards Orthodoxy, if I weren't in it already.
I guess by now we should be getting used to Papa's double speak, well, unless now he has decided that justice is a big part of 'mercy'. I think we also need to take into consideration the new word of the day..........'magisterial'.
Progress, Father, Progress!!
As you note, such things as mercy ARE so very "yesterday"!
The documents of the perennial Magesterium are, after all, Living Documents don't-cha-know.
So "mercy" after all, still exists.
You just don't recognize it for what it has become!
Thank you, Father. I am sure I am not the only one to feel less alone after reading your blog.
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