"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Don't read stuff into the Holy Father's homilies...

 ‘Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said 
‘It’s going to rain’, 
would that be bound to happen?’ 
‘Oh, yes, Father.’ 
‘But supposing it didn’t?’ 
He thought a moment and said, 
“I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, 
only we were too sinful to see it.’”
Brideshead Revisited

People seem to be reading the daily homilies of Pope Francis as if they are a sort of horoscope, or worse, code for what he thinks about the Synod and the Synod Fathers.

Don't do that.  Don't read things into what the Holy Father says in the daily homilies.  If it seems to you he is speaking code, that he is commenting on the Synod in a passive aggressive sense - ignore it.  That isn't the Gospel, and the Mass cannot be used as a political weapon.  These ideas are from the Evil One.

If the Pope doesn't make sense, if you believe you have to interpret what he says to fit some agenda, ignore him, move on.  Instead, read the Gospel, go to Mass, pray the Rosary - pray and be patient and trust God.  Every priest offers commentary on the Gospel at his daily Mass - sometimes it may not be all that meaningful to us in the moment.  If that is the case, then meditate the readings of the day on your own.

That said - it is perfectly alright - even a duty - to object to the very bad doctrine being circulated these days ...  Fr. Z said something I have to agree with regarding social media:
Had the social media existed at the time of the Second Vatican Council, it would never have been possible to ram through the radical liturgical “reforms” of the 60′s and 70′s. - Fr. Z
I hope so.

Looks like rain.


  1. Terry, I still don't understand, there is no doctrine being changed or bandied about...(though the radical right and the grouchy mummies from Crisis and Fr. Z's blog would have you think so.) Kind of interesting that these people are so threatened by people even thinking aloud about the issues of the day and how the Church should deal with them. Why be so threatened by thoughts and discussion and debate? It also seems that certain people would like the Church to be some hyper Paternal Organization and provide a grown up Baltimore Catechism for every minute of life..."do A, B, C and D and you will go to Heaven...do these things and you go to Hell. Don't ask why, just don't think at all, we will take care of that for you."

    I think its fascinating that the Cardinals are actually arguing these things out and not one side is dominating. If the conservative side "wins," at least we know that not all, not even the majority thinks the same way about gays, and bringing divorced and remarried people back.

  2. Today's Gospel is the one I always quote: "Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed." It gives me great joy. Everything is being revealed.

    We are so blessed to live in exciting times!

    1. I agree, they are challenging, but exciting times. To have a paper from a Synod actually acknowledge that there are families with gay people in them, and children of gay parents, and good people of faith living in (and its a stupid word) "irregular," situations...and how to deal with these situations without compromising moral teaching. I know both sides are screaming doctrine change and pressing their own agendas but I am happy their is a discussion going on in Rome and across the world on these things. Hell, I am happy their is an acknowledgment that we live in a fallen, imperfect world and that not everyone has a sterotypical 50s' family of a clean cut Mommy and Daddy with a 100 kids who all attend Mass and never fail. The Synod is acknowledging that there are single mothers, single fathers, gay people who are celibate, two parent families who still dysfunctional..etc. That doesnt mean the Church is celebrating them as "ideal." but they are saying they exist and they need pastoral care. Which I think is something, if you are a "traddie," or a "progressive," or somewhere in the middle , we can all agree on.

    2. "Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed." It gives me great joy...

      And so it should. Our God of revelation never ceases revealing his love.

  3. Hmm. I've done that, I must admit, and commented about it on Fr. Z's blog. In a way, it's hard not to, when the Holy Father doesn't just come out and say what he thinks about the issues. He sort of reminds me of that movie character who was a blank cipher and everyone was able to project their own opinions onto him. Mack, there is more than one way of changing doctrine- an overt way, and a covert way. Indeed, there is way of changing pastoral practice such that doctrine becomes totally ignored. That is the concern. For those of us who believe the best human flourishing is by following the teaching of the church founded by Christ, it is an issue.

    1. I totally understand what you are saying, but hasnt doctrine been ignored for..ever, really...(I think its funny that people blame Vatican II as if sin didnt exist before and EVERYONE was a "faithfull Catholic" before.) As I see it, the Church is finally coming to grips with that without ignoring it or casting aside its moral teaching. I dont want to get into a discussion of right or wrong, but the majority of Catholics sitting in the pews are practicing birth control, have had sex outside of marriage, support gay relationships. That is after two very traditional popes at the helm.

      Anyway, the next step after talk is action, but we havent gotten their yet, though one side is acting like the gates of Hell have opened and the other side is acting like the Pope is going to be singing Kumba Ya at a sunrise Mass in a grove and marry whomever wants to get married then, no questions asked. I mean, this is the Catholic Church, its not going to change radically anything... I think that is a creaky administrative model of Medieval times, you think Truth that never changes, but..whatever it is, the Church is not going to change overnight.

    2. Good point. Yes it has. I think the main difference these days is that in earlier times, people chose to ignore Church teaching but, except for outliers, didn't challenge the truth of the teachings themselves. Now, the truth of the teaching is challenged, the authority of the church to speak on doctrine in the name of Christ is challenges, and people ignore the teaching while deciding that what they are doing is not even a sin. I don't think that will change, honestly, without major world-wide catastrophe, when people start looking for answers again. And then the Church's teaching, if it has remained faithful, will be like a shining beacon again.

  4. I agree with you Tommy.

  5. Amen to all the good points herein...time to start really praying since Papa Francis has his work cut out for him in the coming year. Let us practice charity, prudence and patience.

    I hope to do all of the above plus pray for the grace to trust.

    Terry, it was great to be a part of your blog...I may just hang up my poster hat now since all this chatter has me wanting to take a breather so as to spend more time in prayer and reflection and quiet time.

    I read somewhere that some are "going to ignore Rome for a while as it is bad for their spiritual health."

    I will too for a time, stay away for all the clamor of the left and the right.

    Thanks again for everything!

    I'll be back before the holidays!

    Pray for me to draw closer to Jesus and His Church!

    1. You are better off to avoid being online reading about this stuff - I've enjoyed your comments, but you really are better off not reading me too.

      Too much familiarity is not good - as the Imitation says. "We think sometimes to please others ... but we begin to disgust them by the evil behavior they discover in us." I've spent an inordinate amount of time on the Synod B.S. when I could have doing something more pleasing to God.

      Pray for me too.


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