PopeWatch: Que?

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Another papal mess to clean up:


Pope Francis again sparked calls for clarification today as he stated before the crowds in St. Peter’s Square: “God cannot be God without man.”

The pope was speaking from a written text at his Wednesday general audience.

According to theologians who spoke with LifeSite, there is a danger the phrase by itself could be taken in an erroneous way.

In context, the Pope said:

Dear brothers and sisters, we are never alone. We can be far, hostile; we can even say we are ‘without God.’ But Jesus Christ’s Gospel reveals to us that God cannot be without us: He will never be a God ‘without man’; it is He who cannot be without us, and this is a great mystery! God cannot be God without man: this is a great mystery!

John Paul Meenan, professor of theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, a Catholic college in Eastern Ontario, told LifeSiteNews that while the second phrase (God cannot be God without man) is open to misinterpretation, the Pope’s first wording (He will never be a God ‘without man’) is less problematic since it is in the future tense, “since God is now in an eternal covenant with man.” Professor Meenan said it is not true that ‘God cannot be God without man’ in a universal sense.


Go here to read the rest.  In this Pontificate, the best advice for faithful Catholics is to perhaps ignore what the Pope says and writes.

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  1. Listen, analyze, judge against what the Church has taught always and everywhere, if in error- under necessity ignore.

  2. Penguins Fan is correct. I read the statement that Pope made and immediately thought heretic. God doesn’t need man to be God. God doesn’t need anybody or anything to be God. He is God, omniscient, omnipresent and eternal, existing before man was ever made and continuing to exist long after man has passed from this universe, outside of space and time, not subject to the laws of matter and energy, but having created all those things by His very word. However, in charity maybe the best we can really say is this is the ravings of a geriatric senile imbecile who for the sake of the Church must be deposed and anathematized.

    God, please save your Church from this Marxist Peronist Argentinian.

  3. What the Holy Father meant to say was

    Father all-powerful and ever-living God,
    we do well always and everywhere to give thanks.

    You have no need of our praise,
    yet our desire to thank You is itself Your gift.
    Our prayer of thanksgiving adds nothing to Your greatness,
    but makes us grow in Your grace,
    through Jesus Christ our Lord…

    –From the Preface of the Mass in Weekdays of Ordinary Time, IV

  4. It seems Papa Foxtrot is a liberal. Orwell wrote (in Reflections on Gandhi) that a liberal cannot be, is not, a spiritual.

    “. . .Gandhi’s teachings cannot be squared with the belief that Man is the measure of all things and that our job is to make life worth living on this earth, which is the only earth we have.”

    “But it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is ‘higher.’ The point is that they are incompatible. One must choose between God and Man, and all ‘radicals’ and ‘progressives,’ from the mildest liberal to the most extreme anarchist, have in effect chosen Man.”

  5. Frank J. Attanucci

    He should of said that..your spot on.
    He would do well to follow the master…not share his throne. Less would most definitely be more in pf’s case.

  6. Infinite God. Only God is God. What Francis is saying is that God cannot contradict Himself. If God contradicts Himself, God ceases to be God. Francis’s text blames God for man sins and accuses God of going back on His Word, Who is Jesus Christ. Those of us who refuse to be brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ are going to hell with the fallen angels. Those of us who embrace Jesus Christ will spend eternity with our infinite God in the joy of heaven. Pray for me to get to heaven. I’m not going unless you get to heaven too.

  7. He was a Jesuit formed in the First Reign of Insanity following Vatican II. Most of them are drift nets who have scooped up all sorts of profound-sounding nonsense. There’s a reason that the Father John Hardon types stand out for their orthodoxy.
    At this point, I suspect the man can’t help but be a rotating sprinkler of heterdoxy with the hose cranked up to full.

  8. Dale Price:

    Not to pound the Process Theology angle too much, but I just keep going back to that. Especially because, IIRC, there is some connection between those in the Latin American liberation theology movements and process thought. And it’s my strong feeling that Pope Francis is, above all things, a child of LA Liberation Theology.

  9. Dave Griffey, I think you are half-right. A lot of Pope Francis’ career in Argentina can be explained if he accepted the descriptive side of liberation theology but not the prescriptive side.

  10. “And it’s my strong feeling that Pope Francis is, above all things, a child of LA Liberation Theology.”
    A half-child. Pope Francis appears to accept the descriptive side of Liberation Theology but not the prescriptive side. His thinking appears to be an attempt to reconcile Liberation Theology with Peronism.

  11. Apologies for the partial double post. The first post took 30 minuted to appear on my browser.

  12. I don’t think it’s process theology. I read the full text, and he’s saying something different, that God is limited by His mercy. He needs man, and His love makes Him incapable of being anything but man’s Servant. Utterly heretical, but different from process theology.

  13. One should be suspicious of anyone who wears black slacks under a white see-through cassock.

  14. “At this point, I suspect the man can’t help but be a rotating sprinkler of heterdoxy with the hose cranked up to full.”


    Can I use that line? With attribution of course. 🙂

  15. Pinky,

    Possibly not bona fide Whitehead, as I said, didn’t want to push it too far. But it’s worth noting that I can’t remember hearing the last two popes at any time and thinking ‘gee, was that Process theology’? To me, that speaks volumes.

    But then I just read that Bernie Sanders has been joined by CAIR and the ACLU in saying traditional Christian beliefs about salvation and hell are racism and bigotry and could preclude someone from holding office, so there you go. These times, as they say, are a changin’.

  16. Pope Frank’s steadfast propensity for making ungodly-stupid statements is now so legendary that he is surefire material for a Geico commercial:

    “If you are Pope Frank, today you would say something that shocks and confuses both Catholics and non-Catholics alike worldwide. That’s what he does: He’s Pope Frank.”

    “If you want to save you up to 15% or more in 15 minutes, you call Geico. That’s what we do.”

  17. “God cannot be God without man.”
    Threatening Almighty God with extinction is in poor taste and uncharitable. Threatening The Supreme Sovereign Being with annihilation is disingenuous.
    God is Existence and God exists. God is Love and God loves. God is Justice and God is just. All existence extinguished, starting with Satan, is a lie. The vows of the Sacrament of Matrimony bound in heaven will not be unbound on earth.

  18. “God cannot be God without man.”
    Mary, I think I understand what Pope Francis meant. You write that “God is Love”. True. So we can state in a narrow sense that God ‘needed’ to create Man so that He would have more to love, and of course the greatest expression of love by Man is to turn to God. There is a faint echo here of a popular explanation of the mystery of the Trinity.

    Of course, God REALLY did not ‘need’ to create Man, the infinite Love within the Trinity is sufficient for God. This ‘need’ is really just a metaphor.

    Regarding process theology, as far as I can see the only problems arise with the variants that deny God’s omnipotence, omniscience, etc (which admittedly is most of them). The mathematician Georg Cantor demonstrated more than a century ago that it is not illogical to think that an infinity can be increased.

  19. One qualification to my last post: God is unchanging, per the Creed. My feeling is that process theology can only be true if the process result(s) are ALREADY ‘accepted’ by God before they happen. Personally I don’t think most process theologians really thought about such matters, they were too ‘worldly’ in their scope.

  20. Yeah, I can guess what he meant. I’m sure he wasn’t trying to promote a heretical idea. But, as Chesterton notes, orthodoxy is a balancing act. If you’re not careful, and you put too much emphasis on one idea over another, you can lose the balance. The mystery of God’s love for us doesn’t change the fact that He is pure existence. It’s such an odd thing: for most of us, love is something that disrupts us, binds us, changes us all the time. But God is pure love, and remains unchanged by the object of His love.

  21. How about interpreting what Pope Francis said through a Christological lens? God and man are united in the person of Jesus therefore it would be to deny his very existence without his full and complete possession of his humanity. That’s the way I understood what he said.

  22. If God cannot be God without man, then man cannot be man without God. The Word of God made flesh in the Hypostatic Union is infinite, making man immortal. Even so, The Word of God in the Hypostatic Union is infinite, man is finite.

  23. The Hypostatic Union of God and man by the Word of God depends upon the creation of the Mother of God, Mary. The Son of God chose to be the Son of Man. The Hypostatic Union and the Crucifixion are before all ages. The Hypostatic Union and the Crucifixion before all ages are eternal. God is infinite. The Son of God is infinite. The Son of Man is eternal and depends upon Mary, whose immortal soul was created in original innocence before the fall of Adam. Mary chose to remain in original innocence and obedience to God, offering herself to God in eternity.
    In the Hypostatic Union, the Son of God chose to be Jesus Christ, the Son of Man with Mary as His human Mother. The Word of God as the Son of God is infinite. The Word of God and the Son of God as the Son of Man is dependent upon the human being Mary, who is created in original innocence, as all human being’s souls are created. Mary chose to remain in original innocence as Immaculate Conception.
    Therefore, God is God without or until the creation of the image of God in mankind.

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