Ours is an age of decisive leadership

I speak, of course, of Pope Francis.  I’ve been marveling at how he just decided to go all Unum Sanctum on the Knights of Malta like that.  If you don’t like condom peddling, you’re out on your ass, just like that!  For decades, we’ve been watching as priests and religious orders openly defied Paul, John Paul II, and Benedict and got away with it.  Then we’d say “Well, the Pope isn’t a dictator” or “Just wait–the Church thinks in centuries”.  But you know what?  Francis doesn’t think in centuries.  He didn’t like the FFI, so he didn’t wait a hundred years to murder it.  When he sensed resistance in the CDW and the Pontifical John Paul II Institute, he didn’t dialogue; he purged them.  Not one at a time, either.  All at once.  Then he promises to closely monitor the JPII Institute to make sure they’re teaching his new depraved doctrine.  Priests who don’t like it are suspended.  See the decree suspending Father Medina.  It strongly suggests that anyone who disagrees with Francis’ newfangled teachings is a schismatic and incurs latae sententiae excommunication.  Expect to see that idea percolate up to the top.  How new is the new normal?  The pope’s own newspaper reprints a letter saying, basically, that it’s okay  to have sex with a woman other than one’s wife as long as one feels at peace with God.  “I am the tradition!” declared Pius IX, but can anyone imagine him thinking he could rewrite Catholicism like this?  On the books, Pius IX was all-powerful, but the Church was never thought to be his to do with as he pleased.

I am struck by how insubstantial the past has come to feel.  One used to have a sense that beliefs and practices that had existed for millennia, or even just centuries, were very solid, and if subject to change at all, only in a gradual, organic way.  We would mock the ignorance and hubris of American politicians who would demand the Catholic Church change teachings as old as humanity to satisfy some ideological craze of the moment.  Now, the past has lost its weight, while ideological crazes seem unstoppable.  Those in power can overturn anything and everything with the stroke of a pen, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

5 Responses

  1. And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8

    Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-19

    These words of scripture are pregnant with meaning: “Now, the past has lost its weight, while ideological crazes seem unstoppable. Those in power can overturn anything and everything with the stroke of a pen, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

  2. The past is insubstantial. Ho hum. Even Zippy doesn’t know the half of it.

    What if the Nicene Creed has been misunderstood, and thus deliberately mistranslated, to read “conceived by *the* Holy Spirit”, instead of “Holy Spirit” (without the article), which is the original Greek? It’s not a mistake by omission: in distinct contrast, the definite article, “I believe in *the* Holy Spirit…” etc., does appear in the original Greek later on.

    Which is to say, the words of the annunciation to Mary, quoted by Tertullian in the form “Spiritus dei superveniet in te”, were taken by Tertullian to mean that God the Word came upon the blessed virgin and was the agent of his own Incarnation. “The” Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, is given by the Son at his Death and Eucharist, and is not the agent of the Incarnation.

    “Kelly notes (Doctrines, 148) Irenaeus’ insistence that the Christ is the agent of his own Incarnation: this interpretation of Lk. 1:35 was universal from Justin Martyr to the first decades of the fourth century; and with Athanasius survived to its last quarter, as Ernest Evans has shown.”

    Thus, ‘Christ’ as the eternal Son, sensu negante, whose relation to anything at all is at best problematic, was not professed and proclaimed as Jesus the Lord by the first four centuries of Catholics, Rather, his Incarnation is not ‘into’ his humanity, which is primordial.

    That is, we share in his humanity, not he in ours.

    His Incarnation is into ‘flesh’, which is a very different matter. Which is to say, Jesus the Lord ‘became Man’ (in the Creed) in the exact same sense that he ‘became sin’ (in Paul) – the Incarnation was the entry of his divinity AND pre-existent, primordial humanity into ‘flesh’.

    We today, profess a different Christ than professed by those closest in time to him, and write our theology, and translate our Creed, accordingly.

    So: as a result of an attempt to adjust the profession of faith to the ‘obvious’ assumptions of Greek philosophy, we didn’t achieve a ‘development’ of the faith of the Church in the nature of Jesus the Lord: we ‘achieved’ a kind of degradation of our understanding of Him. And it is that degradation which is now millennia-old, venerable, ‘organic’ ‘solid’, ‘handed on’.

    So: ho hum. Bishop of Rome and bishops ‘in union’ with him corrupt the faith; film at 11.

  3. Bonald, I don’t think you should give so much credit to internet rumor. Trials may come, but we have God’s assurance that the Church will not fall into positive error. It’s not as if the devil is somehow going to defeat God.

  4. And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat (Luke 22:31)

  5. […] being right, and, properly speaking, rightist. First Things, of course, is not at all right. Also: Ours is an age of decisive leadership… in the person of Pope Francis that […]

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