Decoding the Jesuits

Mundabor has a great post on it here.  Excerpt:

Francis very often has a way of expressing himself that, no doubt with premeditation and malice, achieves his objective in a refined way. He does so by using a double subject that I will call, for the purposes of this post, the major and the minor one. The major subject is the one meant to make the worldwide headlines, the minor one is there to feed the pigeons. I have noticed this trick several times already. If you have paid attention to Francis’ utterances you will immediately recognise the style.

Imagine a phrase like this:

Gays, those who love God and do good, are the crown of Christ.

The major subject is “Gays”, the word Francis and other Modernists uses for “Homosexuals” and/or “Sodomites”. This is what makes the worldwide headlines.

The minor subject, “those who love God and do good”, is the pigeon food. The Pollyannas will immediately clutch on this straw to interpret “gays” as “those homosexuals who accept in its entirety the teaching of the Church, live a chaste life and pray unceasingly that God’s may give them the necessary graces so that they may get rid of their horrible perversion”.

After the phrase has been printed into the atheist and anti-clerical newspaper of your choice, Bergoglio’s Jesuitical Spiel begins: liberal newspapers the world over will run headlines on the lines of “Gays Are The Crown Of Christ, Says Pope”. Meanwhile, the “reading Hitler through Snow White” party will publish countless blog post, all more or less titled “did Francis really say that Gays are the crown of Christ?”, trying to explain to us the baddies of the press of the entire planet – yes, pretty much all of them – really do not get the humble, saintly man. You see, they will explain, he did say “Gays” (which is unfortunate, they will admit obtorto collo under the pressure of their smarter commenters) but hold on, he meant a certain particular very rare type of “gay”, who never even calls himself “gay”, and not your usual sodomite.

Yes, I’ve noticed this, too, although I’ve never described it so well.  And, of course, Pope Francis is by no means the only, or even the most egregious, one I hear it from.  It irritates me even more than outright heresy would, because heresy at least is honest in its aggression.  When I hear from various prelates that “proselytism” is evil, that “homophobia” is a sin, or that one shouldn’t “obsess” over doctrine, I know perfectly well that orthodox Catholicism is being attacked.  But when I, as an orthodox Catholic, defend my beliefs, someone will always tell me that I am being “uncharitable” in not giving these statements a Catholic meaning (rather than the meaning suggested by the statement’s context or the meaning its audience would be expected to take, and without any evidence that the orthodox reading was the speaker’s intended one), and that in showing myself so unkind and impious to my spiritual shepherds, I no doubt deserve to be further harangued by our non-judgemental pope.  Yes, one can define “proselytism” to mean something other than “evangelism”; one can define “homophobia” to mean something other than “disapproval of sodomy”; one can imagine a purely hypothetical situation of someone too obsessed with arguing the filioque for his own spiritual good.  But to speak this way is not to use the language as its current speakers do.  It is, at the very least, unpastoral.  It objectively promotes heresy, whether or not this was subjectively intended.  And, confound it, I wasn’t born yesterday–it certainly was intended.

14 Responses

  1. If he’s not going to say clearly orthodox things, what good is a pope for?

  2. Would Hitler like it if you read Hitler through Snow White? Would this be helpful to Hitler? How would Hitler interpret what you were doing? Would obeying Hitler’s commands as if they had the meanings and intents Snow White would have given them make Hitler feel well-served?

    Most ConservaCaths mean, in an uncomplicated way, what they say when they apologize for Francis, other recent Bishops of Rome, and the Council. This is because they are not very bright—a fact which just jumps out at you when you interact with them. Having an M.Div. degree from Steubenville or hanging out at CAF is strong evidence of mediocre intelligence.

    But that can’t be all that is going on. Some of them are not stupid. The priest who reads Hitler through Snow White is clearly not stupid. The higher-ups in ConservaCath land are clearly not stupid. Are they, in Bonald’s and Mundabor’s readings, monstrously evil, then? Intentionally leading their charges down the primrose path to heresy and the eternal fire?

    There is an image I can’t get out of my head. It is of a certain Fr Trigilio, an EWTN personality and fairly creepy though obviously not stupid ConservaCath, grinning like the Cheshire Cat, dressed in his cassock and biretta at EWTN’s first televised Extraordinary Form Mass. What’s up with that?

    If these guys actually believed the superficial meanings of what they say, then why were they so happy about the EF being freed? Why did they like B XVI so much? Why were they turning backflips at the idea of the SSPX coming back into canonical regularity? I mean, if the ConservaCaths believe what they say, that Protestants and Eastern Orthodox and Jews and everybody are going to Heaven, that they are “fine where they are,” then what’s the big whoop?

    More generally, what the ConservaCaths say makes superficial sense only if you are incapable of critical thinking. This is a broad property of their schtick. Since some of them are capable of critical thinking, they know this. From which we conclude what?

    You and Mundabor seem to want them to stand up and forthrightly rebuke the Pope. Why? Are you saying that it is an intrinsic evil to fail to do so? Presumably not. Are you saying, then, that prudence demands that they do so? I think if you turned your mind to that argument and considered it concretely, you would find it much harder to make than you suppose. Especially in light of the fact that there is the SSPX, whose raison d’etre these days is forthrightly rebuking the Pope.

    Personally, I am baffled by the workings of the Catholic world. I feel like Father forgot to issue me my decoder ring at my Confirmation, and my squirmings are too amusing to my fellow Catholics for any of them to lend me theirs.

  3. My impression is that Mundabor regards these people as stupid or deluded rather than evil.

    Why do I think people give implausibly orthodox readings of Pope Francis’ comments? I think there are three reasons.

    1) A few of them are evil. They support the deconstruction of orthodoxy, and like it that the defense never actually gets a chance to speak. We’re always crazy to be worried about X, so shut up, until X is an accomplished fact, so shut up.

    2) Most of them are deluded. Not realizing how heresy-ridden the clergy have become, they grant such a high a priori probability of the pope’s orthodoxy that even outlandish orthodox readings of the pope’s statements are accepted as plausible. Bayesian analysis with faulty priors.

    3) A few of them are engaging in the noble lie. They realize that the pope is probably not orthodox, but they think that the damage can be minimized if people are kept from realizing it. I think this is a miscalculation, because spinning the pope’s words for him prevents us from applying pressure, which is more important.

  4. OK, it seems likely to me that roughly all of the relevant people (not the ones at CAF or with M.Div.s from Steubenville) are doing 3. Tell me what would happen if EWTN, CAF, and the maybe 20 or so orthodox Cardinals started saying “the Pope is a big heretic” all the time? What good would come of it?

  5. And, confound it, I wasn’t born yesterday–it certainly was intended.

    I think you seriously underestimate the human capacity for self delusion. People can convince themselves of all sorts of things. Genuinely orthodox people often want to fit in, so they do all sorts of mental ju jitsu to come up with ways to (they think) both remain orthodox yet not offend their neighbours.

    For example, I think Jody Bottom genuinely wants to be both an orthodox Catholic and a good American, so he comes up with an essay that veers wildly between Catholic orthodoxy and total capitulation to the spirit of the age.

  6. At the least, there would be some pressure on the pope to avoid heretical statements. Each time he decides to play look-how-tolerant-I-am, he would have to ask if it’s really worth the headache.

    At best, an increase in in-fighting may initiate a process of sorting orthodox from liberal Catholics. We’ve seen this have an excellent effect on the Anglican communion, which now has a number of conservative, thriving diocese. Without an analogous sorting of Catholic parishes, the orthodox 0.1% will be completely submerged.

  7. I just read your post entitled “In Defense of Regional Cultures” and I wanted to ask a question relevant to it but the comments are closed, so I am asking here, if you don’t mind.

    Where do missionaries fit in with that concept? All over the world missionaries are trying to convert various and diverse regional cultures over to their particular religious cultures, which more often than not, are completely foreign, completely alien, to those indigenous cultures.

    So do you envision a world without missionaries?

  8. The ideal world would not have missionaries only in the sense that in the ideal world everyone would be Christian. My ideal world would be entirely Catholic, but with a multitude of regional cultures, each one informed by the Gospel. This was, more or less, the arrangement of Christendom. It is true that right now I regard the Church’s primary challenge to be survival rather than expansion, and I would support a state of affairs, at least as an improvement on the the current situation, in which propagation of the faith to unbelievers is impeded if the propagation of godlessness to Christians is also impeded.

  9. ” My ideal world would be entirely Catholic, but with a multitude of regional cultures, each one informed by the Gospel. This was, more or less, the arrangement of Christendom. ”

    But that presupposes undermining regional cultures and attempting to establish one world culture (Christendom), which has always been the mission of missionaries.

  10. It depends on how one defines “culture”. One can have self-consciously distinct peoples, each with their own customs and memory, sharing some beliefs. Only sinful customs need be dropped on conversion. In matters of truth–religious, philosophical, mathematical, or scientific–plurality is bad, because it means someone is wrong. However, a culture is not individuated by a distinct set of universal principles. Nor, of course, is any culture unconnected to universal truths. However, each culture can have its unique particular appropriation of the truth. So, for instance, each people may honor the dead–a universal moral command–in its own way. Each Christian people will have its distinct saints and its own sense of being distinctly called by God. And each of these peoples can legitimately treasure their own way of life without thereby hating anyone else. It makes sense to wish to convert everybody to Christianity, but, for example, an American southerner feels no need to convert the world to American southernness. That’s the place for legitimate cultural plurality.

  11. “Only sinful customs need be dropped on conversion. In matters of truth–religious, philosophical, mathematical, or scientific–plurality is bad, because it means someone is wrong.”

    Math and science represent the finite, that which can be measured and falsified. Religious beliefs and philosophical musings represent the subtle, the infinite, and that which cannot be measured or falsified.

    Someone can be proven “wrong” about an incorrectly calculated math equation. Someone cannot be proven wrong about a belief in a deity.

  12. This is a very disputable statement. The whole field of natural theology purports to be about things that can be definitely proven about the nature of God.

    In any case, it doesn’t relate to my point that cultures can remain distinct while sharing a set of beliefs about God. If anything, you’re now the one presenting an argument against missionary activity. If we cannot convince people that our religion is true, is not missionary work necessarily futile?

  13. “If anything, you’re now the one presenting an argument against missionary activity.”

    I am 100% against missionary activity.

    I am not however against people from various wisdom traditions sharing the jewels of their traditions with others and comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences, so as to create awareness of, and appreciation for, each other.

    “If we cannot convince people that our religion is true…”

    Impossible to prove.

    Religion is about belief. Belief in narratives that cannot be falsified using the scientific method.

    However, what can be measured is the effects of PRACTICES. Much is being scientifically tested about meditation these days. Particularly using Buddhist meditators.

    That’s one of the reasons why Buddhism is the fastest growing “religion” in the US. Its rational practicality appeals to Americans. The effects of its practices are being proven.

    I’m willing to bet that regular metta (loving kindness) meditation in public schools could cut the bullying problem down by at least 70%.

    Unfortunately some parents and even teachers in our school system would cry “separation of religion and state!!!!” in protest.

    But metta is not a religion. It is a PRACTICE. And one that has been scientifically proven to be effective.

  14. I think Islam and Buddhism grows where they believe their faith is the true one and they want all to share in their happiness and/or salvation or they just want to please God by preventing, by evangelization or the sword, what they find to be false worship.

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