Below is a “Remnant Forum” for the Remnant Newspaper, with Michael Matt and Christopher Ferrara. This is a more critical look at Pope Francis, some of his “off the cuff” remarks, and how the seems to be confusion between his statements and what the head of the CDF (Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith), Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, is saying.
The episode is well worth watching, especially about the anti-traditional direction the Vatican seems to be taking under the current Holy Father, Pope Francis.
The only contribution I wish to make is this – sometimes I feel that those of a particular school of thought envision the Catholic Church completely cutting itself from the past, and that Vatican II and the years that followed plot a whole new course. I think this is dangerous. It is very dangerous to separate yourself from the past, especially when it is the traditions of the Catholic Church. The traditions of the Catholic Church are good and holy and full of wisdom. To quote Pope Benedict XVI –
What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.
There is a change in tone coming from the Vatican right now. The past in the Catholic Church is not like a straight-jacket, but like a bullet-proof vest. There can be “tweaks”, but they should be slow, small, natural, and in line with Tradition.
This is paragraph 94 from the recent Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.
This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings. The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.
As an average Catholic (thus my blog name), I don’t claim to be a theological expert. But I am a traditional Catholic. I find great love and reverence in the older forms of Catholic worship, the Traditional Latin Mass, the older forms of the sacraments. There are obnoxious traditionalists out there. But then again, there are some obnoxious “conservatives”, obnoxious “liberals”, etc. I think Pope Benedict XVI’s love and kindness to those who love the older forms of Catholic worship is a lot more constructive than just criticisms or attacks.
Also, I tend to think “doctrinal security” is a good thing. And yet Pope Francis criticized an “exaggerated doctrinal security” in his interview with La Civilta Cattolica (English translation HERE). Pope Francis states:
Those who today always look for disciplinarian solutions, those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal ‘security,’ those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists—they have a static and inward-directed view of things.
I will pray for Pope Francis, as well as all of the leaders of the Church. It is a tough position, being the head of the universal Church. The last thing he needs are criticisms from random bloggers like myself 🙂 Yet, I feel uneasy. I hope and pray that the Holy Ghost enlightens Pope Francis, and helps him to direct the Church, to maximize the salvation of souls.