Monday, January 27, 2014

"Lies! I've been robbed!"


A few weeks ago, there was a kerfuffle among Traditionalists over something the pope said about Our Lady.

I won't repeat it, because it's awful. But I think I may have an answer as to why a man like Francis might say the kinds of things he says, and why it's only the Trads who noticed how awful it was.

I think it's the same reason very few people outside the Traditionalist movement batted an eye. For fifty years, we have been taught that she, and Our Lord too, are really just regular folks. Just like you and me and apart from the special role she played in Christian history, there's really not much about her that would distinguish her from the rest of the world.

If that were actually the case, the Pope's description of her "likely" reaction would be fairly understandable. It's what any mother might say, if she were a modern, secularised western woman with the normal, half-trained faith in God that is the standard for our post-Christian global culture.

It's just another indicator that this pope is a man trained in the intellectual milieu of his time, the post-Vatican II world of dumbed-down, halfassed and humanised, horizontal Catholicism that is virtually all that is left in the mainstream Church and his held by millions upon millions of Catholics around the world.

The problem is not that he said it, but that nearly all Catholics of the world shrugged it off. We have known for decades that one is taught anything about the Faith in the normal institutions of the Church, schools, parishes and seminaries. With the majority of Catholics in the western world not believing in the Real Presence or the reality of sin or Hell or whathaveyou, is it any surprise that they are no longer imbued with the Marian doctrines that once formed such a bedrock? Who today knows anything about the special prerogatives of our Lady? Of the effects on her of being preserved from conception from the effects of original sin? No one has the least idea what she is really like.

I am not a big Mary-person, on the whole, but I know two things about that. One, that this is a fault of mine, a failure of my personal faith that I am seeking to remedy through prayer. Second, that this is the normal condition of nearly all Catholics. I know enough to know that perhaps one of the most dangerous effects of the Conciliar Asteroid has been to rob the faithful of the benefits of closeness and familiarity with this great advocate and intercessor, one whom God cannot refuse. No one, from the top of the Church to the bottom, seems to have retained in a deep way these rock-bottom foundational beliefs.

Many people in the Church still cling to the more obvious moral teachings; they know that abortion and euthanasia are murder, they know (though in a kind of distant and foggy way) that fornication and sodomy (and all the rest of that stuff) is morally harmful. Indeed, these are considered the litmus test for "conservatism". But from the point of view of the Faith, "believing" that you shouldn't kill people is, to put it mildly, lowering the bar as low as it will go without actually digging a trench and burying it.

I submit that this is mainly because the men in the Church have refused, en masse, to teach anyone the faith. And this has now been going on so long that the men in the Church no longer know it any better than the rest of us schmoes.

Francis, like everyone else of his generation, trusted that the schools and seminaries would be teaching him all he needed to know. And this was the correct way to proceed! Of course you should be able to trust your superiors in the Church, your teachers in Catholic schools, your professors in seminary.

It was not until many, many years later, after the effects of this bad education had already devastated the vineyard, that parents and seminarians wised up and steered clear.

Another thing about this is that Francis is talking the way almost every public figure talks. A great deal of the time, I think the pope talks without giving any consideration whatever to the actual meaning of what he says - and this is only surprising to us in the Church because until now, we've had popes who were not of that generation, and who had received a very different intellectual training. He's using words the same way everyone else does who has the kind of half-assed "education" that is normal and expected in his time and in ours - not to describe objective reality, but the same way you and I use Christmas tree decorations; to produce an emotional effect.

Is it any wonder that he talks like everyone else? Particularly like every other politician? He is not only a son of the Church, he's a child of his times, who, like nearly everyone in the Church of his generation, never figured out that he was being led astray.

In that, he is the perfect representative of the vast majority of the Catholics who are in exactly the same condition.



Lynne said...

John Vennari has an amazing 12-CD set on Mary,

It covers the following topics;

This unique, inspiring and informative series includes:
• Blessed Abbot Marmion on Our Lady
• The History of the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception
• Her Fullness of Grace
• Our Lady Prefigured in the Old Testament
• Accounts of Miraculous Conversions
• Mary, Conqueror of All Heresies
• Our Lady of Revelation
• The Miracles at Lourdes
• How The Glories of Mary Came to be Written
• Her Title of Co-Redemptrix • Mediatrix of All Graces
• The Twenty Mysteries of the Rosary: A Break with Tradition
• Answering Protestant Objections to Marian Doctrine and Devotion
• The Story of Guadalupe
• Our Lady of Fatima
• The Immaculate Heart

More Glorious than the Seraphim

SPC said...

Francis was formed in the seminary during the time that the Novus Ordo Church was descending on the world.

Francis is the first Novusordist Pope.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I had drifted away from the church, in a very severe way, yet in a manner that was gradual, and never really included rebellion, though certainly included very grave sins.

The first step that brought me back was a youtube of a priest interviewed about the Eucharist.

He was asked if It was really the body & blood of Our Lord. I expected the typical politician answer: Well we catholics believe that when you recieve with the rest of the church, blah, blah, not literally, blah blah, uniting with Jesus, blah blah, the whole people, blah blah blah.

What he actually said is that: "The Eucharist is the actual body and blood of the Living Christ, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, actually and physically present under the appearance of bread and wine."

It was a shock to hear such clear teaching of what I had been taught, and really had known, but had been so clouded by what had been tossed around.

I hope that that priest will be highly glorified in heaven, because he put me back on the path.


thetimman said...

Great, great post.

Santa said...

I'm violating my self-imposed moratorium on saying anything negative or positive about Pope Francis until one year of his pontificate has elapsed to say this: Pope Benedict was always a modernist but too intelligant to be a liberal, Pope Francis is too stupid to be anything else.

Anonymous said...

I always get the impression that pope Francis has to send out his PR crew to correct what he said.
the fact that he is on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine shows how he is capturing the secularists for all the wrong reasons

John said...

I do take issue with one bit of the commentary here: I'm inclined toward agreeing that SSPX IS in a state of de facto schism.
I don't see how one can competently argue otherwise. It's true the excommunications have been lifted, sure. It's ALSO true that the membership of the Society have refused efforts that Rome has made toward public reconciliation. A few years ago, you'll remember Benedict having brought about talks between the two sides; membership of the Society would not even agree to a Preamble to an agreement. If we are to be one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church, I fail to comprehend how we can have an order of the Church publicly refusing to admit the Pope's authority, but not call them schismatic. Those two ideas don't work logically for me.

Granted, that's not to say that all the bishops who're--in theory -- in communion with Rome seem to me to be determined and stubborn practitioners of the faith. They don't. I'd say that NUMEROUS bishops on both sides could be construed as "schismatic" in one way or another.
But insisting that SSPX isn't de facto schismatic merely because Rome hasn't acted against anyone else (well, actually they HAVE, just not many times)? That doesn't seem sensible to me.

Anonymous said...

Without including the comment about Mary you have an issue with discredits all thinking people from thinking

Catholic in Brooklyn said...

I had a very different take on the Holy Father's words. I think they showed a very beautiful truth about Our Blessed Lady. You can read my reaction here.

Anonymous said...

It is true that Francis was poorly formed in his seminary days and as a middle age priest plus the Jesuit training he got there is no doubt. But when I hear things like Benedict was a Modernist to make that smacks of schism. He may be a moderate but calling him a Modernist puts you outside the Church. When the Pope calls names he is talking about none other than you Integrals.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...


not "integrals"