Thursday, January 22, 2015

Papal gaffes.

soup du jour 
Art: Michael Sowa

So many Catholics online seem to be embarrassed by their Pope when he gives interviews ...

Some say he speaks beneath the dignity of his office.  Others insist his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI would never speak the way Pope Francis does.  Many of these critics just don't like Francis - and that's fine - no one has to like the man.

That said, Catholics seem to have short memories.  Every predecessor of Pope Francis made their own spectacular gaffes and received severe criticism from faithful Catholics - be they progressive, dissenting, or the inflexibly obedient.  As I said in the com box to another commenter:

Actually dear Pope Benedict XVI had a reputation for gaffes - he made a couple of statements on the use of condoms - in Africa, as well as by male prostitutes, which media and faithful Catholics pretty much attacked. Likewise his famous Regensburg lecture on Islam caused quite a stir throughout the world. Even the current Pope Francis was critical. Benedict's appointments were very often criticized, as was the lifting of the excommunication of SSPX Bishop Williamson. Some people still view the Pope's resignation as either appropriate for a failed papacy, or a huge mistake and a running away from the wolves. 
St. John Paul II was even more sharply criticized and accused of gaffes by liberals and conservatives - depending on the 'offense' - especially when he kissed the Koran, as well as his participation in the Assisi gatherings. One can't forget the bare-breasted women communicants in New Guinea, not to mention the liturgical abuse ridden World Youth Day gatherings. 
Of course it would fill a week's worth of com box entries to enumerate the many horrible gaffes traditionalists and secular media attributed to Bl. Paul VI - the real PPVI, not the impostor.

Pope Francis is simply the soup du jour among Catholic politicos, pundits and bloggers - who find him intolerable, not excluding the traditional enemies of the Church in secular media of course - they know how to pit everyone against one another.



  1. Red herring. Distracting from a present gaffe by equating it to other gaffes does nothing to address the present. It's an attempt to sweep it away.

    1. I wasn't trying to distract anyone. Paranoia setting in?

    2. I think I'm just off my meds. Or maybe it's too much meds and I'm seeing what isn't there.

    3. Ha! Maybe it's pareidolia. Read the Ganswein interview linked to in the next post - it is telling. He admits the Holy Father can be confusing but one must go to the source and listen. He's obviously had to make adjustments but definitely supports the pope. he also blames journalists and some theologians for the confusion - his remark about the 'antipope' thing seems to me to reveal that.

      Today's meditation from Benedict in Magnificat on the 'Gospel of Life' uses language similar to what Pope Francis says - this tells me there is very much a continuity with Francis, and very much ado about nothing comes from his style.

      That he makes Ganswein uncomfortable as well as all of us at times is a good thing. At least I believe so. I'm always reminded of the lawyers who tried to rebuke Jesus saying that when he condemns the Pharisees, he condemns them too. In other words, when the Holy Father challenges the curia - he challenges all of us - and I dares say, himself as well.

      I'm convinced being 'comfortable' in the faith is no longer an option for us - nor should we desire to rest on our way of the cross. I just don't think it morally possible to do that any longer, not just because of the poor or those persecuted by Islamic terrorist, but our salvation depends upon not seeking our reward in this life.

      That hit me between the eyes when reading Eve Tushnet of all people, she states in her book that she wrote to save other 'gay-Catholics' from needless suffering. Suffering is never needless - Catholics should know better. I can't expound on that now - but in and through the cross we come to understand God's love and learn obedience. I'm afraid Tushnet and others like her want to arrange a world where gay is a place of rest - that can happen I suppose, but it prevents those who do so from entering into God's rest.

      Which is why I understand the Holy Father about 'making a mess' - it is a challenge to live the Gospel without compromise.

      I may not have expressed that well and may have digressed somewhat, but being confused is sometimes the work of the Holy Spirit I think - who scatters the proud in their conceit.

    4. I agree with you completely about the Cross and suffering and this not being a place of rest and not seeking our reward in this life. That is entirely my point of view, entirely my Catholic sensibility if you will. It is how I understand our faith.

      But I also think the drift in the Church today, yes, including Pope Francis at times, is towards precisely this refusal of suffering. The business of it being 'mercy' now to change the Church's discipline on divorce and remarried Catholics and this pinning of the rules against love and mercy is to me a way of denying the Gospel, not living it.

      I think that is where we fundamentally disagree.

      Msgr. Pope has tackled this question of law vs. mercy well on his blog these past few days.

  2. Yep, and let's not forget about our first Pope's "gaffes", like denying Christ three times to save his own sorry arse...

    Peter was a working class dude, a blue collar guy, a rough-and-tumble fisherman, and that's the guy Christ himself chose. Something to keep in mind.

    1. Great comment. This Pope's only denied Christ twice, and so he'a already a leg up on his holy predecessor.


      In all seriousness, people need to chill out. God puts up with our sorry arses in the ministries and vocations that he has entrusted to us, and so we can endure the inevitable real or perceived disappointments with whoever is the present pope. This pope used to drive me crazy, but then I realized that I'm a poor vessel for the street ministry I've been given, and so who am I to judge? (I wish I could strike that phrase from the English language.)

    2. Ya -- God equips the called rather than calls the equipped, or something like that. I just find it hilarious that people are hanging on every word that falls out of his mouth whenever, wherever and via whatever number of permutations-via-translation, blahblahblah...

      Where's Christ in all this? This is exactly the kind of stuff that makes non-Catholic Christians claim we worship the Pope. He is hardly the worst Pope ever. Heck, for all that the traddies want to go back in time to the Middle Ages, those Popes were the ones who had mistresses and tons of illegitimate children (and legitimacy really mattered then, too...).

      People with that much time on their hands are better off cracking open a Bible or hauling their butts to a soup kitchen. And if they are stay at home, homeschooling moms with large broods who still have that much time to spend having hissy fits all over the internet over some comment, CPS needs to step in. Just sayin'.

  3. The correct approach to interpreting Vatican II is the "hermeneutic of continuity" over the "hermeneutic of rupture." So to with how we interpret Francis.

    1. To borrow a line from the intelligent "Boniface," "But this means we must confess that the orientation is currently not aligned. In calling for a hermeneutic, we are implicitly acknowledging that there is a discontinuity that needs to be addressed."

      Unfortunately, that is precisely what many Catholics refuse to do.

    2. I think Boniface would not call this post a red herring then. He would see the gaffes of former popes very much in line with what the current pope says and does. That is a problem for those who do not accept Vatican II and the Ordinary Form of Mass.

      I'm not getting involved in that discussion - it has been a point of contention and division since the Council - I know because I'm that old - I know because I have put up with the 'remnant' all my adult life.

    3. I think the deeper question, though, is what accepting Vatican II means in light of the Church's tradition prior to that, for many see a contradiction in places. Many see something like ecumenism and can find in the history of the Church the exact opposite occurring, and it has left the faithful in a bind to understand if the Church was wrong then, and right now, or right now, or wrong then.

      I think some Catholics are not trying to defy Vatican II, but they sense something is off when compared to the rest of the tradition. They are confused.

  4. I came online tonight to check email, and while doing so I couldn't remember why I ever thought this discussion was important. I think I'll post that.


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