PopeWatch: Rabbi Skorka

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VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

The Washington Post has an interesting interview with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, an Argentinian Conservative, that is a religious not a political designation, Rabbi.   Lots of background on his relations with the Pope in Argentina.  PopeWatch found this passage especially intriguing:

Skorka said the pope’s study was filled with papers on chairs and books on the floor. (”Don’t imagine everything is ordered,” the rabbi said, laughing.) One of the books had been sent and inscribed by the dissident theologian Hans Kung. “Both of us stood one very close to the other trying to read the German dedication,” Skorka said. “Something like, ‘You already did a lot, but the world expects from you to continue doing very important things.’”

The rabbi said the pope is aware that some religious conservatives, inside and outside the church, are unsettled by his approach. Francis has said Catholic leaders have been driving people away by talking too much about divisive social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. The pope has dropped some of the more regal trappings of the papacy. He uses a Ford Focus instead of fancier cars in the Vatican fleet and wears only the most basic clothes.

“He is receiving very, very harsh criticism from people who don’t like a pope without red shoes, and a pope who speaks to people in a very simple and direct language, and a pope who will transmit to people that he is close to them, that he in some way hugs them through jokes and through simple words and through simple expressions,” Skorka said. “The criticism he is suffering from is not new for him. He already had this kind of pressures and other kind of pressures during his serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, so he knows exactly how to handle these pressures. He’s a very strong man and he will go ahead.”

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch believes that Pope Francis might very well be called Pope Rorschach from his effect on many people who interact with him.  The Pope has a winning personality and like so many people with such personalities those who have a friendly relationship with him tend to assume he shares their views.  At least PopeWatch hopes that the Rabbi is not reflecting the Pope’s views in that the criticism that is directed towards him has anything to do with his simplicity of life.  That is a grave misunderstanding of the concerns raised as to some of the remarks of the Pope.  As for the book from Kung, PopeWatch hopes that serves as humor reading for the Pope.

 

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13 Comments

  1. Yes, It is a little concerning to think that the pope’s good friend would be under the impression that the concern is about the trappings, red shoes and friendliness. Give us more credit than that! The concerns are not “worldly”.
    In contrast the message from Kung does not refer to God but to the world. . “Something like, ‘You already did a lot, but the world expects from you to continue doing very important things.’”

  2. It’s not the red shoes, per se, that I think some find troubling. It is what they represent. I can understand wanting to set the example of being a more simple soul, and living in a more simple way, but to some extent, that is not possible with certain offices. Recall Jimmy Carter tried to take that same approach to the presidency (drove some chevy impala or something rather than the pres limo, etc.). While the gesture can be sincere and have merit, it also has the unintended consequence of somewhat cheapening the office. Much like using non-precious materials for the chalice. We use gold to show respect for what is contained in the chalice not so much because God needs it, but because WE do to remind us of the inestimable value of what it holds. Kings wear crowns not just for themselves but also to remind others who is king.

  3. Anzlyne.
    Absolutely!
    The world expects vs. Our Lords expectations.
    To an unchanging God might our hearts and minds be focused.
    I pray the lenses are crisp for Holy Father.

  4. It seems to me that there is a great to do about small things. We must always keep in mind that it was the Holy Spirit who placed Archbishop Bergoglio on the Seat of Peter. He is showing a loving face to the world and I truly believe he is exactly the Pope we need in this time. He is a blessing to the Church and the world.

  5. If, and I emphasize ” if” red shoes and other “trappings” of a Medieval and Renaissance papacy are an issue among some Catholics, then it is time to readjust our sights. Instead, we need to see the profound need for intellectual, moral and affective ongoing, lifelong conversion within the Church.

    “This is the time of fulfillment, the Reign (Rule, Kingdom) of God is at hand, repent and believe the Gospel.” (Mark 1.15-16). The first and fundamental conversion is for each person to come to a deep, existential. Encounter with the Risen Christ in the Church. In turn this deep encounter begins to transform the individual in mind ( intellectual conversion), will ( moral conversion) and heart (affective conversion). This deep conversion away from existential ignorance (intellect), sin ( will) and the false self ( heart) turns toward the Lord and brings us to what Fr Robert Barron describes as the ecstasy of the intellect (faith), will ( hope) and heart ( charity).

    This will come when, without compromise or equivocation we clearly proclaim Jesus Christ, the Way (will), the Truth (intellect) and the Life ( heart), in Whom the Righteousness ( Justice, Holiness) of God has been revealed apart from (distinct from yet fulfilling) the Law ( see Romans 3)

    Pope Francis has his work cut out for him. The issue at hand is not red shoes, but the total renewal of the Church. Our habitual approach has been to ” confront” our culture with the teachings of the Church on such issues as abortion. However, the culture cannot grasp such teachings if the culture has not yet been evangelized, encountering Christ in the Gospel. In the meantime, those within the Church are languishing because ‘we’ are not continually turning to Christ and unpacking (catechizing) what faith in Him means at a deep, existential level, where the Faithful (clergy, laity, religious) really live.

  6. Botolph-
    Great synopsis.
    Lifelong relationship with the Risen Christ is ongoing conversion, love of neighbor, gratitude in all phases of life (sorrows & joys).
    My question is; if the culture has not yet been evangelized and persecution of Catholics becomes the norm, then one might assume that it will be OUR martyrdom that is required to remove the scales from the eyes of the indifferent?

    Fr. John Hardon (d.2000) predicted this event if men didn’t place Relationship with God first in their hearts.

  7. Philip,

    In Acts 1 the Risen Lord states, “You will Ben My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria ( ancient Israel restored) even to the ends of the world (fullness of New Covenant Israel of God-the Church)”. The key is the word ” witnesses”. When living the fullness of the Christian life, our lives themselves are the witness a nd fundamental level of evangelization. Each and everyone of us are called ” to be able to give reason for our hope”(1 Peter 3). At this level, we are able to say in some form: “I was…..”, “Jesus did ( in some way acting on my behalf at an extremely deep-existential-level of my life), and finally, ” Now,……”

    Our living of the Gospel and how Christ has ” mercy-ed” me are the first levels of witness. A more involved proclamation of the Kerygma is the next level of witness: God has loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son so that we might be reconciled through Christ’s death and resurrection and living in communion with the Blessed Trinity (vertical dimension) and with one another in the communion of the Church ( horizontal dimension)-now come into ( or return to) this new life in Christ and share in our love and joy.

    Now, Philip, to your point: because of the existential ignorance, habitual sin, and hardened hearts within the larger culture, thos simply being witnesses by living the Gospel will find themselves more and.more marginalized. We already see the gross exaggerations of our faith and morals, our young are brainwashed into a secularist mind set ( living and acting as if God does not exist). This “spirit of the age” is gaining power and influence. We are all but in the age of confessors: witnesses who do not suffer death, but are persecuted in many other ways. At certain points and in certain places, the “spirit of the age” will rise up and create martyrs.

    The spirit of the age will also attack within the Church. We are already weakened by the schism between Catholic and Orthodox; we are further weakened by the fragmentation within Protestant Christianity. In many ways the divisions already reveal ” the spirit of the world” within the Church. However, there will be those who seek and in some cases teach that the Church needs to get with the times, conform with the age and cease being a “sign of contradiction”. On the other hand, this spirit of the age will reveal itself in those who are rigid, as if the Christian life is nothing more than firmness of will (pelagius), purists, who see the Church as more of a sect, for the few, rather than what it is, a community ( hospital) of mercy for sinners.

    The question is: are we ready? Am I ready?

  8. We must always keep in mind that it was the Holy Spirit who placed Archbishop Bergoglio on the Seat of Peter.

    For the last time, as a matter of theology, this is simply incorrect. The selection process is guided by the Holy Spirit, but that doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit selects the Pontiff.

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