PopeWatch: Perpetual Innovation

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Steve Skojec at One Peter Five has some interesting thoughts on Pope Francis and the hermeneutic of perpetual innovation:

Yesterday, I can’t count the number of people who sent me the story about the female deacon issue and asked me what I thought. I’ve read a the whole transcript of that part of his address. Francis treats of the problem fairly accurately as I understand it, describing the non-ordained role of “deaconnesses” in the early Church, which dealt with propriety and modesty in cases like full immersion baptism rather than any sacramental or preaching role. It does appear that the question was pre-planned — not many people would have a fairly obscure reference to the Council of Chalcedon ready to go off the top of their head, not even a pope — so that’s a consideration. Why include that question if you don’t want to open a door?

In that respect, I would suggest to you that it’s yet another thing thrown at the wall. And the things being thrown at the wall seem to be coming in increasingly rapid succession. Here, a quote of Apb. Fernandez strikes me as having greater relevance:

“You have to realize that [Francis] is aiming at reform that is irreversible. If one day he should sense that he’s running out of time and doesn’t have enough time to do what the Spirit is asking him, you can be sure he will speed up.”

Ultimately, I don’t expect much movement on female deacons. They’ll dredge it up and look at it all over again, and very little will come of it, despite the excitement of Fr. James Martin and company.

What will happen, though, is the continued battering down of any certainty that the Catholic faith is divinely revealed and immutable. The sense of constant change, perpetual flux, in something that is supposed to be unyieldingly stable is a huge problem. Cardinal Kasper may be “always open to and ready for innovation”; he may like to think that “anything is possible” — but most of the faithful are not and do not. 

There is a curious unmaking of some of the more important accomplishments in the pontificate of John Paul II happening here. First, the synods on family which then produce an exhortation that snubs and all but replaces his Familiaris Consortio. Now, a commision to revisit what was so well established in JPII’s  Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that it is referred to as “infallible.” You’ll see a particular syntax around the Catholic web about this “not being a question of opening a door; there is no door.”

Go here to read the rest.  Popes have always had to deal with events of their time and place, but they did not attempt to alter Church teaching when doing so.  The problem in regard to Pope Francis is that his prime concern seems to be the typical concerns of a left of center member of the international chattering classes.  The concerns of this group simply do not coincide with the issues that concern faithful Catholics, and their preferred solutions would be poison if implemented within the Church.  Thus we have the Pope embracing various leftist nostrums including socialism, global warming, a radical expansion of the welfare state, etc.  PopeWatch could find this tolerable, albeit unpleasant, if Pope Francis confined his leftism to secular matters.  The Church has experience with Popes who are fools in secular political matters.  However, the Pope’s leftism tends to bleed over into Church practice and teaching.  Why else engage in such contortions as are set forth in Amoris Laetitia to allow Catholics in adulterous marriages to receive Communion, surely a non-issue for most such Catholics firmly ensconced in non-practicing their religion?  Likewise his raising of the issue of female deacons.  Is there any outcry from practicing Catholics for such an innovation?  No, the Pope’s leftist view of the world is not limited to the purely secular, and that is what makes this Pontificate so dangerous and so unlike the pontificates of prior bad popes.

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4 Comments

  1. Pope Francis is the answer to the question of why the left has clamoured for a pope from Latin America.

  2. “No, the Pope’s Leftist view of the world is not limited to the purely secular, and that is what makes this Pontificate so dangerous and so unlike the pontificates of prior bad popes.”
    This problem is compounded by a rather tyrannical Catholic celebritariat that circles the Pope’s wagon like the Indy 500 on PEDs.

  3. If we would have had a Pope from Chile or Colombia we would not be subject to such garbage. This is a Caudillo Pontiff, a thin skinned platitude pushing mean individual. He will back down when enough people stand up to him.

    I want him to try his Kasper inspired garbage in Poland. The Polish episcopate has already stated that the latest encyclical is dead in the water there.

  4. …the continued battering down of any certainty that the Catholic faith is divinely revealed and immutable. The sense of constant change, perpetual flux, in something that is supposed to be unyieldingly stable is a huge problem.
    –Donald R. McClarey

    If the Faith is to be made up as we go along, we could join one of the many denominations of Non-denominalationism or start one of our own. Jesuits and former Jesuits like our current Pope, who once were tasked with opposing the Protestant heresy, ought to know that.

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