Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

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jserraglio
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Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:39 am

Reuters

Pope Francis's predecessor has rejected the "stupid prejudice" of conservatives who say the Argentinian is destroying the Church with liberal theology, in a strongly worded letter issued on the eve of Tuesday's fifth anniversary of his election.
Five years after former Pope Benedict resigned, some traditionalists say he is still their pope, and they lambast Francis for being too lenient on divorced Catholics and homosexuals and too defensive of migrants.
"I applaud this initiative that seeks to oppose and react to the stupid prejudice according to which Pope Francis is only a practical man devoid of specific theological or philosophical formation, while I was only a theoretician of theology who understood little of the concrete life of a Christian today," Benedict wrote in a letter read at the presentation of volumes on the theology of Pope Francis.
Benedict, 90, has lived in near-isolation in the Vatican since he became the first pope in 600 years to resign and he rarely makes public statements.
Many conservatives have given the 81-year-old Francis a failing grade in his first five years, saying his policies have sown confusion and accentuated a feeling of crisis.
"This is a very elegant but clear way of Benedict distancing himself from those who exploit him in their battle against Francis," said Father Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit close to the pope who has written several books on him.
"Benedict is saying 'I won't allow you to do this in my name'," Spadaro told Reuters.
Conservatives say that in his attempt to make the Church more inclusive and less condemning, the pope is weakening attention to moral issues while focusing on social problems such as climate change, economic inequality and migration.
In 2016, four cardinals issued a rare public challenge to the pope over some of his teachings on the family, particularly the possibility of letting Catholics who have divorced and remarried in civil ceremonies receive communion. The pope did not respond, and one of the cardinals has threatened to "correct" him publicly.
Last year, several dozen conservative Catholic academics and lay people issued a 25-page letter accusing Francis of heresy.
One problem most conservatives and liberals alike believe Francis has failed to stem is sexual abuse, which has rocked the church for decades - and since well before the current pope's election.
Francis has been under fire for initially defending a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse and then days later doing an about-face, sending an investigator to look into the allegations.
In his letter, former Pope Benedict disputed suggestions by conservatives that Francis' academic qualities were lacking, praising his successor as a "man of deep philosophical and theological formation" and praising an "interior continuity between the two pontificates".
But the conservative blog Rorate Caeli, which is highly critical of Francis, tweeted on Tuesday: "The only continuity is that both are baptised men."
(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:32 pm

Forget about the difference between Bergoglia and Ratzinger. There is a schismatic movement that calls itself Traditional Catholic. They are not sedevacantists; they think the last six popes are the real popes. However, they think the last one who was not false in his teaching if not downright heretical was Pius XII, and some doubt him because he made changes in the Calendar of Saints and the liturgy of Holy Week.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by Belle » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:52 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:32 pm
Forget about the difference between Bergoglia and Ratzinger. There is a schismatic movement that calls itself Traditional Catholic. They are not sedevacantists; they think the last six popes are the real popes. However, they think the last one who was not false in his teaching if not downright heretical was Pius XII, and some doubt him because he made changes in the Calendar of Saints and the liturgy of Holy Week.
This is very interesting and you've given me a new word to pursue, "sedevacantist". I have done so and am surprised by its meaning. It seems I know nothing of the historic machinations of the Catholic church, nor do the local parishioners who attend to the quotidian business of the church.

I've heard plenty of criticism of Pius XII, particularly his role in looking away from the holocaust. This present Pope is unattractive with many of meddling pronouncements in politics, IMO. I preferred Ratzinger but since he abandoned the job this disqualifies him from any further engagement. I'm not interested in hearing anything from him at all, to be honest.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:59 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:32 pm
There is a schismatic movement that calls itself Traditional Catholic . . . the last [pope] who was not false in his teaching if not downright heretical was Pius XII, and some doubt him.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:12 pm

Belle wrote:I preferred Ratzinger but since he abandoned the job this disqualifies him from any further engagement
An ex-pope weighs in as Pope Francis's surrogate and attacks his enemies. And that unprecedented for two millennia event elicits a yawn? Incroyable!
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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by Belle » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:18 pm

Not a yawn, a comment. He's excluded himself from the job. A bit like the abdicated British King in the 1930s commenting on the affairs of the Palace. Go away please. You're done.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:23 pm

Monarchs who abdicate are fascinating phenoms. Benedict is no Celestine V, looking to stick his head into a prayer book and forsake the world. I think I just found something I admire about him.
Last edited by jserraglio on Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by RebLem » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:39 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:32 pm
Forget about the difference between Bergoglia and Ratzinger. There is a schismatic movement that calls itself Traditional Catholic. They are not sedevacantists; they think the last six popes are the real popes. However, they think the last one who was not false in his teaching if not downright heretical was Pius XII, and some doubt him because he made changes in the Calendar of Saints and the liturgy of Holy Week.
Another distinction Pius XII has is that he was the last pope to make an "ex cathedra" proclamation of a doctrine, the Doctrine of the Assumption, the doctrine that Mary, the mother of Christ, was assumed bodily as well as in soul, to Heaven. He proclaimed this doctrine 15 AUG 1950. It had always been part of Catholic teaching, but until 15 AUG 1950, it had never been a doctrine Catholics were required to accept as a condition of being Catholic.

Protestants and other heathens may not know that before anything is proclaimed as a doctrine of the Church, various theologians are consulted about it. It is generally known to people who study these things closely, which does not include most Catholic laity, that the preponderance of the advice given to Pius XII about this was that the Church NOT proclaim the Assumption as an official doctrine of the Church. But Pius XII did it anyway because it was what he wanted to do all along.
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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by Belle » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:09 pm

Protestants are 'heathens'? Does that include JS Bach?

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by RebLem » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:38 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:09 pm
Protestants are 'heathens'? Does that include JS Bach?
Its a joke.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by Belle » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:49 pm

RebLem wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:38 pm
Belle wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:09 pm
Protestants are 'heathens'? Does that include JS Bach?
Its a joke.
Oh, sorry; I wasn't sure because my husband said "that's what the Catholics used to say about the Protestants". (I don't ever remember doing that myself, BTW.)

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by RebLem » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:19 am

Belle wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:49 pm
RebLem wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:38 pm
Belle wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:09 pm
Protestants are 'heathens'? Does that include JS Bach?
Its a joke.
Oh, sorry; I wasn't sure because my husband said "that's what the Catholics used to say about the Protestants". (I don't ever remember doing that myself, BTW.)
I was satirizing that view. I am an atheist now. I haven't been to any church in many, many years, except for funerals and few family events and I've had a few masses said for the intentions of a few deceased relatives from time to time. But that's it. Whenever I go to the hospital and they ask me about religion wanting to know if they should send clergy around to visit me, I tell them no.

Nevertheless, I do feel that much of the criticism of the Church by outside forces is unfounded, and I often defend it against what I feel are unjust attacks, as I did in this forum about Benedict's speech on Islam a number of years ago. And the response I chose to make against the accusations, which were based on inaccurate journalistic characterizations of what he had said, was to publish here in this forum the entire unexpurgated speech. People here read it and seemed to understand I had been right and the critics floated away.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:24 am

Belle wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:52 pm
I've heard plenty of criticism of Pius XII, particularly his role in looking away from the holocaust. This present Pope is unattractive with many of meddling pronouncements in politics, IMO. I preferred Ratzinger but since he abandoned the job this disqualifies him from any further engagement. I'm not interested in hearing anything from him at all, to be honest.
Traditionalist Catholics of the extreme kind (so extreme as to be willing to endure schism) are, alas slightly antisemitic in tendency still and would not make much of the controversy over Pius XII. They think that one of their favorite bishops should not be criticized for being a Holocaust denier just because he expressed his "opinion in a matter of secular controversy" or words to that effect. What does drive them crazy is that the church no longer supports the death penalty, which brings us to a classic case of changing a moral teaching without claiming it has actually been changed. The teaching is that the death penalty may be used in extreme circumstances when no other form of punishment would do the trick (my wording of course). Now the death penalty is no longer needed because there is always something else that will do the trick.

It is extremely unfair to criticize Benedict XVI for resigning. He knew that old age and infirmity would keep him from properly running the church (to the extent that the pope does actually run it). It took some courage to do the right thing, and it was not without precedent, though it had been many centuries since a pope had resigned. Incidentally, he read his resignation speech in Latin, being probably the last pope we will ever have with a true mastery of that language.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:41 am

RebLem wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:19 am
Belle wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:49 pm
RebLem wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:38 pm
Belle wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:09 pm
Protestants are 'heathens'? Does that include JS Bach?
Its a joke.
Oh, sorry; I wasn't sure because my husband said "that's what the Catholics used to say about the Protestants". (I don't ever remember doing that myself, BTW.)
I was satirizing that view. I am an atheist now. I haven't been to any church in many, many years, except for funerals and few family events and I've had a few masses said for the intentions of a few deceased relatives from time to time. But that's it. Whenever I go to the hospital and they ask me about religion wanting to know if they should send clergy around to visit me, I tell them no.

Nevertheless, I do feel that much of the criticism of the Church by outside forces is unfounded, and I often defend it against what I feel are unjust attacks, as I did in this forum about Benedict's speech on Islam a number of years ago. And the response I chose to make against the accusations, which were based on inaccurate journalistic characterizations of what he had said, was to publish here in this forum the entire unexpurgated speech. People here read it and seemed to understand I had been right and the critics floated away.
I say I am an Episcopalian, because my rector (at the church where I am organist) would drop over dead if I seemed to be refusing a pastoral visit. The Protestant chaplain at Glens Falls hospital, where I have been admitted all too many times, is also Episcopalian and my rector's friend, so ditto her. They were both disappointed when I was there on Ash Wednesday and refused the ashes. I've always felt icky about having my forehead smudged that way, but you would have thought that like Beethoven I had refused the viaticum.

Didn't you all know that J.S. Bach is an adoptive or at least honorary Catholic? Even the traditionalists I've been referring to accept him, Lutheranism and all.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:08 pm

Dante notwithstanding, I agree that criticizing Benedict for abdicating is unfair. Nothing became his office more than the manner in which he look leave of it.

As for traditionalist Catholics, who else but these reactionaries have kept Christianity at bay in the Church for a half century and counting?

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by Belle » Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:31 pm

The Pope gave up the gig; fair enough. But don't bother coming back into the game once you've done that. As Father of the Church he abandoned the flock!! Age and infirmity come with the territory and when he took on the job he bought into that 100%. For some people age and infirmity also confirm wisdom. Some cultures really get that.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by John F » Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:04 pm

Since there hasn't been a living former pope for more than half a millennium, no role has been established in the church or out of it that Benedict is expected or required to play. It's up to him to define his role, then, and apart from the current pope, nobody can authoritatively claim to know better than he what it should be.
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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:19 pm

The last pope who resigned was Celestine V in the late 13th century. Celestine had wanted to disengage himself from the world and lead a life of prayer. As a reward for his piety, Celestine was promptly imprisoned for the rest of his life by his successor Pope Boniface VIII who feared his enemies would set up Celestine as an anti-pope. For abdicating, Pope Celestine V wound up in Dante's Hell; Pope Clement V (also damned by Dante) later declared Celestine a saint. Go figure.

Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), in his wisdom, surely knew that backstory and was not about to let "stupid" and "prejudiced" (his words) retro-Catholics attack Francis in Benedict's name or invoke Benedict as an anti-pope in opposition to Francis. Ratzinger, understandably, may also be plenty pissed off that these ninnies were banking on him as retired pope to remain silent while they advanced an agenda that bordered on schism. So, much to the surprise of these bigots, he put a spoke in their wheel, got back in the game, and spoke out loud and clear in opposition to their shenanigans.

Saints like Pope John Paul II exhibit heroic virtue, so when in the grip of Parkinson's J-P was asked whether he planned to step down from the papacy, his retort was saintly: "Did Jesus come down from the cross?"

Ratzinger isn't a saint in the John-Paul mold, and as de facto regent during John Paul's long, incapacitating illness, he was able to observe firsthand how the pope's decline negatively impacted day-to-day governance. Church law gives popes the right to resign the papacy, though I know of only 4 out of 266 popes who have ever done so: Benedict XVI in 2013, Celestine V in 1294, Benedict IX in 1045, selling the papacy to Pope Gregory VI who himself resigned in 1046 (source: the Washington Post).

So when his turn came to decide whether he was fit to continue in office, Ratzinger was at liberty not only to give up his so-called "gig" for the good of the Church but to conduct himself as he saw fit afterwards. That includes making clear the other day in a public statement that he intends to honor the solemn promise of submission he made to the new pope after he resigned.

I respect and admire the former Pope Benedict's "Here I stand!" engagement with the world. Far from abandoning his flock, Benedict then and now has consistently conducted himself like a good, if humanly flawed, shepherd.


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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:03 pm

Providing clarity and avoiding confusion are the word-for-word justification used in official Roman pronouncements against many ideas involving the changing of teaching. Just as there are greater evils than the relentlessly condemned lack of unity in Christendom and good reasons for it, there are greater evils than lack of clarity and avoiding confusion in RC teaching. The difference is that unity is not a loaded word, while clarity and confusion are clear cover words for doctrinal purity and changelessness.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by Belle » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:23 pm

You mean the explicit use of rhetoric? Yes, exactly. All sides can play that game.

But the point made clear by the discussion is that there remain divergent views among the faithful and I suspect this was always the case. But if you believe in papal infallibility then I think a reasonable point is made about that in this discussion.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:08 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:03 pm
... clarity and confusion are clear cover words for doctrinal purity and changelessness.
I agree completely. And will just add that the video discussion struck me as a hodge-podge of theologo mumbo jumbo. In contrast, whatever faults Pope Francis may have, empty rhetoric doesn't happen to be one of them. To accuse this kind, accepting man of lacking moral clarity reeks of (well, Pope Benedict nailed it) "stupid prejudice", and a clear instance of the presumptuous beam sitting in judgment on the mote.
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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by Belle » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:39 am

An unseemly comment from the abdicated head of the Catholic church, to say the least of it. Sounds like a very judgmental comment and the place for that is....where, in the Catholic church? Judge not, lest ye be judged.

I'm on Patrick Coffin's side on this one. There will be many millions who feel the same, I dare say.

And a 'change' doesn't necessarily mean an improvement.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:49 am

Belle wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:39 am
Judge not, lest ye be judged.
Doctrinaire Benedict, like it not not, is a judgmental sorta guy. The retro-Catholic gaggle loved that in him when he was pope. Not so much now that he calls out their pusillanimous bigotry.

Francis the Kind is his foil ("Who am I to judge?" said he when asked about homosexuality), precisely why these latter-day devotees of a metaphorical auto de fe are piling up kindling wood at the feet of the poor man.

Change can signify real improvement when one is stuck in the 13th century like so many Catholic neo-revanchists. And I think Francis represents a huge improvement, who knows, maybe in time he will embody, as is his charge, a credible stand-in for his Savior.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by Belle » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:15 am

It's all so full of anger, though, isn't it. My Catholic friends are certainly not 13th century and they don't want their Pope waxing about economics, politics and climate change when there are huge problems within the institution itself. Not unless he's prepared to dispense with the notion of Papal infallibility, that is.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:42 am

Belle wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:15 am
they don't want their Pope waxing about economics, politics and climate change when there are huge problems within the institution itself.
I can't believe that I of all people am defending the Pope, let alone two of that species (what has got into me lately?); but I like guys that do their job and it is Francis's job to speak to the world about the moral dimensions of economics, politics and climate change, and while he's at it, also to resolve the significant internal contradictions within the Church. That's why the job is such a man-killer (ask Benedict).

Whether I agree or disagree with the pope is for me an entirely separate issue from his moral authority. I disagreed with almost every damn thing John Paul II said (especially when he told my wonderful Congressman Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J. to resign). But I still highly respected and admired the man. Especially the way he repeatedly gave the equivalent of a double-eagle salute to the old Soviet Union.

Papal infallibility? Why on earth should anybody today care about that dinosaur? For those that insist on taking it seriously, could it be that papal infallibility, like the nuclear option, is best exercised when never invoked?
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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by John F » Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:49 am

According to the Wikipedia article "Papal Infallibility," there has been only one papal pronouncement claimed to be infallible under church dogma: it "took place in 1950, when Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary as an article of faith." It was only in 1870 when the church formally declared the pope's ex cathedra statements to be infallible. And of all the popes in my lifetime, Pope Francis is surely by far the least likely to claim infallibility for anything he says and does. It's a non-issue.
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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:06 pm

What did Obama say about the MAGA deplorables—they cling to guns or religion? So too with the Catholic sedevacantists—they cling to Latin masses and papal infallibility. Anyone like Francis, pointing out the ambiguities inherent in certain moral questions, they see as sowing confusion and fostering a lack of clarity.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by Belle » Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:21 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:42 am
Belle wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:15 am
they don't want their Pope waxing about economics, politics and climate change when there are huge problems within the institution itself.
I can't believe that I of all people am defending the Pope, let alone two of that species (what has got into me lately?); but I like guys that do their job and it is Francis's job to speak to the world about the moral dimensions of economics, politics and climate change, and while he's at it, also to resolve the significant internal contradictions within the Church. That's why the job is such a man-killer (ask Benedict).

Whether I agree or disagree with the pope is for me an entirely separate issue from his moral authority. I disagreed with almost every damn thing John Paul II said (especially when he told my wonderful Congressman Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J. to resign). But I still highly respected and admired the man. Especially the way he repeatedly gave the equivalent of a double-eagle salute to the old Soviet Union.

Papal infallibility? Why on earth should anybody today care about that dinosaur? For those that insist on taking it seriously, could it be that papal infallibility, like the nuclear option, is best exercised when never invoked?
So you've decided Papal Infallibility is a non-issue!! (I never was interested in it, but the church has tenaciously clung onto it.) It's probably a dinosaur belief from the millions living in third world countries who worship the Pope who could have been 'kind and caring' and told them to take the Pill. That would have really been an act of leadership. Instead he has meddled in politics and on subjects about which he knows nothing. It's worse than infallibility - it's inconsistency and working beyond your brief. And if you think the Vatican defying tyranny and murder is the same as discussing complex political issues then, Houston, we have a problem.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:26 pm

Infallibility? In a recent survey nearly 2/3 of US Catholics say they either reject or doubt that relic from the 19th century. In my view, an unquestioning belief in papal infallibility borders on superstition.

I don't criticize Francis for not having cookie-cutter solutions to thorny moral problems. Nor for speaking out on moral issues in politics given that his job has had a political dimension for centuries.

As for the papacy being accountable for contributing to the population explosion via Paul VI's anti-contraception decree, let's face it, no way did the Pope ever exercise such sway then or now. I believe that if Latin American Catholics had been affluent enough to obtain ready access to the pill, the pope's decree would have been resoundingly ignored there, as it was in North America.

Bottom line—most Catholics I know struggle to worship God. Extending that to the pope is not on their bucket list.
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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:38 pm

John F wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:49 am
According to the Wikipedia article "Papal Infallibility," there has been only one papal pronouncement claimed to be infallible under church dogma: it "took place in 1950, when Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary as an article of faith." It was only in 1870 when the church formally declared the pope's ex cathedra statements to be infallible. And of all the popes in my lifetime, Pope Francis is surely by far the least likely to claim infallibility for anything he says and does. It's a non-issue.
For once Wikipedia is wrong. Once papal infallibility was "agreed on" (in fact there was a great deal of disagreement in the the deabting), Pope Pius IX made a mad dash to declare the Immaculate Conception a doctrine ex cathedra.

Both the Immaculate Conception (Mary the mother of Jesus was conceived without original sin) and the Assumption (Mary was taken into heaven at the moment when she would have died, it not being clear whether she actually died first or not). These obscure Marian doctrines were already in place for centuries. There are many depictions in great art of the Assumption of the Virgin, and the feasts of the doctrines have long been on the calendar. The Assumption (Mariae Himmelfahrt, La Fête de Quinze Aôut) is celebrated on August 15 and in Bavarian is a secular holiday. Mary if the Immaculate Conception is the patron of the United States (hence Bascilia of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC) and is celebrated on December 8. Both days are still Holy Days of Obligation in the US, meaning that they carry the same obligation to attend Mass as any Sunday.

The problem is that these are entirely devotional doctrines, along with most of the basic Catholic ones Nobody gives a sample of Mary's excrement about these obscure and meaningless features or her persona any more than anyone cares about the supposed Resurrection of Jesus.The churches might still be filled with congregants in spite of such useless notions because they can harmlessly be given lip service and make no difference to people's lives. Practical teachings involving abortion, contraception, the role of women, the status of gay people, divorce, and so forth are what drive people away, and they have absolutely nothing to do with irrelevant "high" doctrine.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by John F » Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:02 am

That's interesting to know. I'd have thought the doctrine of the "immaculate conception" (no sex act involved) was so ancient and implicit that there would have been no need for the pope to declare it so recently. The RC church, like God, works in a mysterious way... However, I believe the article is correct that actual claims of infallibility for what the pope may say are highly selective and extremely rare. Or is that not so?
John Francis

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by lennygoran » Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:09 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:24 am
It is extremely unfair to criticize Benedict XVI for resigning. He knew that old age and infirmity would keep him from properly running the church (to the extent that the pope does actually run it).
John this has been shown on a CNN series The Pope we've gotten into-in episode 2 they cover this topic along with the history of the pope's who resigned in the period around the 13th and 14th centuries-one pope resigned 3 times! Regards, Len

https://www.cnn.com/shows/pope

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:10 am

John F wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:02 am
the doctrine of the "immaculate conception" (no sex act involved)
You may be confusing the belief in the conception of Mary free from original sin (the Immaculate Conception) with the "no-sex-involved" virgin birth of Jesus (the Incarnation).

The Incarnation has been so embedded in the faith since the 4th century that it has needed no "infallible" papal reiteration. Roman Catholics reaffirm their belief in the virgin birth of Jesus every time they attend Mass when they recite their Creed (the 4th-century Nicene Creed): I believe in . . . one Lord Jesus Christ . . . who . . was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man."

As jbuck pointed out, the Virgin Mary cult which includes a belief in her conception free from sin, is very ancient. But according to Wikipedia, belief in Mary's Immaculate Conception, though generally accepted by Catholics, was by no means universal. It had been a subject of debate in the Middle Ages: great theologians like Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure denied it while others, notably Duns Scotus, defended it. Pius IX settled the matter in 1854 by declaring it an article of faith.
We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful.— Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854
Maybe it was no coincidence that right in the middle of the Risorgimento movement which undercut the pope's secular authority, the First Vatican Council in 1870 decided to enhance the authority of the pope by defining awarding him a kind of limited infallibility (infallibility applies only when he speaks with the full authority of his Apostolic authority on issues of faith and morals). I think the Wiki article on papal infallibility is right in pointing out that the number of papal infallible decrees is very limited, that there is no definitive list of them, and that some are debatable.
Last edited by jserraglio on Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by John F » Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:37 am

jserraglio wrote:You may be confusing the belief in the conception of Mary free from original sin (the Immaculate Conception) with the "no-sex-involved" virgin birth of Jesus (the Incarnation).
Say what? In the real world, conception occurs at the time the female's egg is fertilized by the male's sperm, not many months later when their product is born fully formed into the outside world. But maybe we're talking about artificial insemination here? :mrgreen: Nobody today accuses the RC Church of living in the real world - to the contrary. And I don't really care; I spoke up only to try to remove the question of papal infallibility from this particular discussion, to which it doesn't apply. For the rest, I leave it to those who do care.
John Francis

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:56 am

John F wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:37 am
... conception occurs at the time the female's egg is fertilized by the male's sperm, not many months later . . . .
I fear this may mean that some folks failed the immaculate-conception test, in addition to already failing the white-glove test for staying on topic.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:41 pm

Allow me to continue the off-topic drift by pointing out that "faith and morals" lends itself to ambiguity. The Catholic Church has some notorious moral teachings in addition to those against murder, theft, and the things every religion is against. None of these teachings are "faith" doctrines like the Trinity, but when they have been affirmed as as contraception was by Pope Paul VI in 1968 in the encyclical Humanae Vitae, they have never been raised explicitly to the level of an ex-cathedra infallible statement. To add to the confusion, of which apparently Rome creates more than it tolerates, throw in matters of church discipline such as who can be ordained. A celibate clergy is definitely not an inviolable practice since priests of the Easter rites in full communion with Rome are frequently married. (The problem there is that a married man is permitted ordination but if he is single when he is ordained, he may not then marry.) Women priests are another matter, John Paul II affirmed the teaching against the in wording that strongly indicates that he considered what is, no matter what he thought, a question of church discipline to be an infallible ex cathedra pronunciation. (His obvious motive for this was to tie the hands of his successors.)

Maybe we should just go back to the days when the nuns taught the kiddies that all violations are on an equal moral footing. Though they knew they were wrong, they found it useful to inform us either explicitly or by strong implication that walking into a Protestant church or eating meat on Fridays was the same level of moral violation as burning the house down with one's family inside. Saying anything else, they thought, would be what is now termed enabling.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jserraglio » Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:18 pm

jbuck919 wrote:Allow me to continue the off-topic drift by pointing out that "faith and morals" lends itself to ambiguity...etc
Totally agree with these topical and resonant remarks, thanks. Why anybody would try to enforce topic discipline in the Corner Pub beats me.

Problems and internal contradictions in Church teaching are inevitable in an institution that claims 1.2 billion followers, many of whom demand a voice. But the broad notion broadly advanced by some here that the Catholic Church is broadly out of touch with reality is, in its turn, broadly self-incriminating.
Last edited by jserraglio on Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Resigned Pope Benedict defends Francis, delivers blistering rebuke to Catholic reactionaries

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:25 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:41 pm
Allow me to continue the off-topic drift by pointing out that "faith and morals" lends itself to ambiguity. The Catholic Church has some notorious moral teachings in addition to those against murder, theft, and the things every religion is against. None of these teachings are "faith" doctrines like the Trinity, but when they have been affirmed as contraception was by Pope Paul VI in 1968 in the encyclical Humanae Vitae, they have never been raised explicitly to the level of an ex-cathedra infallible statement. To add to the confusion, of which apparently Rome creates more than it tolerates, throw in matters of church discipline such as who can be ordained. A celibate clergy is definitely not an inviolable practice since priests of the Eastern rites in full communion with Rome are frequently married. (The problem there is that a married man is permitted ordination but if he is single when he is ordained, he may not then marry.) Women priests are another matter, John Paul II affirmed the teaching against them in wording that strongly indicates that he considered what is, no matter what he thought, a question of church discipline to be an infallible ex cathedra pronunciation. (His obvious motive for this was to tie the hands of his successors.)

Maybe we should just go back to the days when the nuns taught the kiddies that all violations are on an equal moral footing. Though they knew they were wrong, they found it useful to inform us either explicitly or by strong implication that walking into a Protestant church or eating meat on Fridays was the same level of moral violation as burning the house down with one's family inside. Saying anything else, they thought, would be what is now termed enabling.
Edited to correct an unusual number of slips of the fingers. There are no "Easter rite" churches. My mind is probably on the coming, when I have to play four days in a row including the uniquely long Easter Vigil on Saturday night, but that really is a topic for another thread.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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