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February 23rd, 2017

Jesuit Head Does a Fan-Dance

Fr John Zuhlsdorf, aka Fr Zed on this side of the Atlantic and Fr Zee on the other side, runs one of the most popular orthodox Catholic blogs. Some of this best posts consist of  caustic comments, in red, on passages from other blogs, usually either neo-Catholic or Modernist.  Here is his offering for yesterday, upon which it would be hard to improve:

“Here is something disturbing from Catholic Culture, which I shall simply reproduce with my emphases and comments.

The superior general of the Society of Jesus [aka Jesuits] has said that all Church doctrine must be subject to discernment.  [aka “If you don’t like it, you can eventually do enough intellectual fan-dances until even 2+2=5.”]

In an interview with a Swiss journalist, Father Arturo Sosa Abascal [head of the Jesuits] said that the words of Jesus, too, must be weighed in their “historical context,” taking into account the culture in which Jesus lived and the human limitations of the men who wrote the Gospels. [In other words he may have said: “Whoever does X is a Y”, but he really didn’t mean that to be taken serious, say, thirty some years after he said it. Neither did John Paul II mean that Familiaris consortio should be be adhered to 30 year after he issued it.  This is the Kasperite position: philosophy and theology are replaced with politics.   The bottom line: There is no secure and unchanging doctrine.]

In an exchange about Church teaching on marriage and divorce, when questioned about Christ’s condemnation of adultery, Father Sosa said that “there would have to be a lot of reflection on what Jesus really said.” [Ummm… what does he think the Church has been doing for all these centuries?!?  I would suggest that a lot of really smart people have reflected on precisely this point and they consistently came to the same conclusions.  Until now!  Suddenly these guys are smarter than our forebears.] He continued:

At that time, no one had a recorder to take down his words. What is known is that the words of Jesus must be contextualized, they are expressed in a language, in a specific setting, they are addressed to someone in particular. [Another way of saying, “We don’t have to pay any attention to the words of the Lord in Scripture.”]

Father Sosa explained that he did not meant to question the words of Jesus, [Even though that is exactly was he did.] but to suggest further examination of “the word of Jesus as we have interpreted it.” He said that his new process of discernment should be guided by the Holy Spirit.  [he has a new process.  Because the Holy Spirit was no where to be found in the previous 20 centuries.]

When the interviewer remarked that an individual’s discernment might lead him to a conclusion at odds with Catholic doctrine, the Jesuit superior replied: “That is so, because doctrine does not replace discernment, nor does it [replace the] Holy Spirit.

Fr  Zed concludes: “Good grief.   Ladies and gentlemen, behold.  The head of the Jesuits!  How the Left will coo over this, to the tinkling of ice in their high ball glasses: ‘Isn’t he nuanced?’  What this seems to mean is: Doctrine – pfwwwwt – out the window.  Am I wrong?  Please show me how this reportage and my inferences are all wrong.”

February 14th, 2017

When the Rock Splits the Flock…

In all armies, conscript soldiers approaching demobilisation like to boast  about the length of time they have been in the military. They dismiss more recent recruits (known as red-arses in Britain, and I suspect in Ireland too) with “Get some more service in!”

While I was a 20-year-old national service soldier, the film star Dean Martin made the Top Twenty with That’s Amore. Those like myself who were getting near demobilisation, adapted it as follows:

“Only two  [or three or four, as the case might be] months to do, That’s a lot less  than you, Get some more in!”

Now the song has been cleverly updated to That’s Amoris. I got it from the Brighton-based blog “That the Bones You have Crushed May Thrill”.

Austen Ivereigh is an ultra-progressive Catholic journalist. He is author of The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, and a former deputy editor of The Tablet.











February 7th, 2017

Where’s Your Mercy, Holy Father?

Image result for Francis anonymous posters

This poster has appeared in lots of places all over Rome. It says , in Roman working-class patois: “Hey, Frankie, you’ve  policed congregations, removed priests, beheaded the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate,  ignored Cardinals … but where is your mercy?” Progressive bloggers say the posters are the work of “conservatives”; Cardinal Ouellet,  (usually regarded as a “conservative”) says they are the work of the devil and show that the pope is doing right. The city authorities are pasting them  over with notices saying the posters are “illegal”.

I met a young man after Mass on Sunday who told me that the atmosphere in Rome is such that supporters of one traditional priestly society are wondering whether, like the Israelites of old, they should  smear blood on the lintels of their doors, so that the angel of death—or in this case Mercy—will pass them by. When this priestly society organised a pilgrimage to Rome last year, they were given the smallest possible church the authorities could find. But this turned out very well for them because the church was crammed with Trads; and this was duly noted by the media. If they’d been allowed the use of some vast basilica, the attendance would have looked rather sparse, and any publicity would have far less favourable.

Interestingly, criticism of this pontificate has now spread far beyond Trad organs like The Remnant.  The broadly conservative New Oxford Review goes so far as to describe Pope Francis’s style of Church governance as vindictive, and says some observers are comparing the mood in and around Rome to that of post-revolutionary Bolshevik Russia.    The NOR has become quite militant in its alliterative reaction to our beloved Holy Father’s refusal to clear up the ambiguity and confusion over Amoris Laetitia.  Requests  for clarity, it says, have been met with “rage, reprimands, and threats of repression. Welcome to Francis’s Vatican, where fury, fear and fractionalisation rule the day.”

I think you’ll agree that this is pretty strong stuff.