22 October 2020

Pope Francis ... again ... and why he is wrong ...

I think we should all try to calm down. 

Mind you, that's not altogether easy when one, at least, of our British dailies has for its lead story this morning a large claim that Pope Francis favours "Gay Marriage". 

He does absolutely nothing of the sort. In fact, he has a long history, dating back to before his election as Bishop of Rome, of opposing SSM, but favouring Civil Partnerships. It is far from clear to me that his recent effusion represents any change in his publicly expressed views.

Any reaction to his words which is schismatic, or tends to encourage schismatic talk, is very wrong. It is matter of first importance to be in Full Communion with the See of S Peter.

When the occupant of that See is manifestly a poor silly old man, the obligation of koinonia is, if possible, even greater, not less. I would encourage any readers who do me the honour of taking seriously anything I say, to make an Act of Faith, explicitly expressing belief in the indefectibility of Christ's One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and the fact that Jorge Bergoglio is the Vicar of Christ upon Earth. We should pray, with Vatican I, that the Holy Spirit may help him "traditam per Apostolos revelationem seu fidei depositum sancte custodire et fideliter exponere". Tough job? Tough Spirit!

The root of the PF-and-Sex-Problem can be summed up in the question: When did you last hear him emphasise the importance of S Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae? And of Casti connubii from the pen of Pius XI?

Those two great encyclicals robustly emphasised the tradition of two Christian millenia about the licit use of Marriage. And about the disorder structurally inherent when that teaching is ignored. And, prophetically, S Paul VI saw the great Tsunami of sexual incontinence which the Enemy was planning to unleash upon the Church and upon the World. And has done.

In the context of this teaching, which upholds (like the Anglican Prayer Book) the primary procreative teleology of the sexual act, it is not difficult to see why the Church also teaches that a SS 'orientation' is intrinsically disordered, and that  SS genital acts are every bit as sinful as are contraceptive sexual acts among the married.

If we forget the teaching of HV, then condemnations of SSM, and of SS genital activity, are bound to seem to the World to be pure discrimination. Indeed, they probably are.

If PF, and other Ministers of God's Word, are too terrified to teach, opportune et inopportune, what the Papal Magisterium, from Casti connubii  to Humanae Vitae emphasised with such clarity, then they ... we ... condemn ourselves to the incomprehension, the ridicule, and the opposition of the World.

What if we teach what Scripture and Tradition teach? The World is very likely to say: "You want to cut out most of the Sex that most human beings have!! You even want to condemn a lot the sex Catholic married couples have!! What a weird lot you are ...". They will be making something very much like  the point made by the Disciples (S Matthew 19: 10 ou sumpherei gamesai). 

But they will be less able to hammer us with the unfair and illiterate accusation of 'homophobia'.

And the best back-up to this would be: robust teaching about the Christian emphasis on Virginity, as I wrote only a day or two ago in one of my pieces on S Frideswide. So we also need teaching, not least from PF's ever-generous tongue, on Virginity, both male and female, on Consecrated Virginity, on Consecrated Widowhood, and on Consecrated Widowerhood.

And this is the very last moment the Latin Church should dump its tradition of clerical celibacy.


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

ABS calmly remembers this:


GOR said...

When studying Theology in the distant past there was always the warning (‘monitum’) to never let personal doubts or questions enter into one’s preaching and teaching. Catholic Dogma was to be upheld in toto regardless of personal feelings.

This was not merely a ‘hold the line’ issue defending the institution, rather an admission that one may be weak and unsure personally but that weakness of faith should not influence one’s ministry and offend the consciences of the faithful.

These days seldom does one hear the admonition to ‘not give scandal’ but it has not gone away. Our Lord had some harsh words about scandal-givers – which apply to all people. But the admonition is all the more important and the consequences more damning for the clergy charged with the ‘care of the flock’. Words have consequences – both here and hereafter.

Sprouting Thomas said...

Father, I today made the act of faith that you proposed, and I hope others will too.

My heart goes out to all those who, having always defended the Catholic position, and having won with difficulty a certain respect from their family, friends or colleagues in so doing, will now have this thrown in their faces: who will be told that they are homophobes, cranks, that their own faith and their own Pope do not require such ludicrous positions of them; that they only use the faith as a cloak for their own bigotry. I am sure that the Holy Father did not intend or foresee in detail that particular consequence, but it seems sadly inevitable.

I once suggested on this blog that, in an analogous way, any new permissions for clerical marriage would undercut those who have narrowly succeeded in justifying their choice of celibacy to family and friends only on the grounds of absolute disciplinary necessity. Of course, familial pressure to marry against a vocation to celibacy is bread-and-butter stuff in the martyrology...but the Church should not therefore be anxious to increase it!

Calvin Engime said...

The whole thing is fishy. In the portion of this documentary which has caused so much trouble, while Pope Francis is saying that homosexuals have the right to be in a family, there is a cut to footage of some priests standing around in church, with Pope Francis appearing on the screen again as he says, "what we need to make is a civil union law." This cut appears to be designed to disguise the fact that the sentence about a civil union law was not spoken right after the one about homosexuals.

It gets fishier. The first part clearly comes from an interview from last year, and though the second part appears to show him speaking in the same room on the same day, it was not a part of the interview as originally aired. The New York Times reported that when they contacted the director of the documentary, he claimed "that Francis had made the remarks directly to him for the film" but would not clarify when Francis said this.

As Francis has said before, there are innumerable different kinds of "civil unions." I do not think we have any evidence that he was speaking of homosexual ones at all, since we do not know any of the context of the sentence.

Paul-A. Hardy said...

When I asked a high official of the Church about the future pope and his followers in the Vatican, he affirmed to me in 2011 on the site where our Lord was baptised that these people can change nothing. Human beings will continue to procreate. It is the will of Heaven that they do so. It is ignorance on the part of some, that this procreative energy may be directed according to their inward fantasies, fantasies which they are all too willing to share. When shared they produce an illusion that they are real and can alter reality. But reality is not a production of illusion. Bergoglio and his cohorts are propagating their illusion. But did not St. Peter himself say: "I do not know the man…" and did not Our Lord predict that he would say exactly that. The Petrine office did not emerge as a follow up of the Oracle of Delphi. But like the latter it will certainly shrivel up and die as it is doing now. People engaged in homosexual acts do not produce life. Humanae Vitae proclaimed this and numerous other teachings. "Christ said I am…Life… whoever has faith in me, though he die, yet shall he live." Bergoglio and his Jesuit cohorts are clearly merchants of death insofar as they encourage people not only to seek but to remain in a condition of genital stimulation with no purpose beyond itself. There is no reason to suggest that people are programmed to remain in such a state. The majority will still accept genital stimulation as a natural bi-product of their innate urge to reproduce our species. This will not change, no matter how much Bergoglio et al. encourage people to get caught up in pure genital stimulation. The Cardinal that assured me, was right: "They can change nothing!"

Tom said...

Amen, Father, Amen.

Abigail said...

The best thing I've read on this topic Father, thank you!

PM said...

One of the most vexing things about our post-literate society is the ignorance of history. The arch-deicide Dawkins, for example, announces as a great discovery his nostrum that survival is the point of evolution and of life. Were he more than semi-literate, he.might know that the Common and Universal Doctor, St Thomas, said much the same thing nearly 800 years ago: our most overpowering appetites are hunger, thirst and sexual desire, because eating and drinking conserve the life of the individual and sex the life of the species. In that respect at least, St Thomas was a Darwinian avant la lettre. That rests, of course, on his view that we belong to the genus of animals, but to a unique species of animal, the rational animal.

Part of the genius of Catholic sexual ethics is that it takes our biology and indeed animality seriously. Modern sexual obsessions, and especially gender theory,by contrast, are Cartesianism on steroids in which the real 'I' is some mysterious non-bodily entity which has no intrinsic relation to the body I was born in or to the ordinary biological processes of animal reproduction.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Pope Leo IX in his letter to Saint Peter Damien (Book of Gomorrah) taught this:

For he who does not attack vice, but deals lightly with it (sodomy), is rightly judged to be guilty of his death, along with the one who dies in sin

Ben Whitworth said...

Why would one make an act of faith in a matter of fact?