Francis sure is blunt

Francis, Bishop of Rome, gave a speech to the leadership of the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean today as World Youth Day 2013 draws to a close. He spoke of four temptations which turn the Gospel into an ideology and which the Church must resist – sociological reductionism, psychologizing, the Gnostic solution, and the Pelagian solution.

He sure is blunt. Look at what he says to those in the last two categories, the elitist progressives and the restorationist traditionalists, whom he labels Gnostic and Pelagian respectively:

c) The Gnostic solution. … is ordinarily found in elite groups offering a higher spirituality, generally disembodied, which ends up in a preoccupation with certain pastoral “quaestiones disputatae.” It was the first deviation in the early community and it reappears throughout the Church’s history in ever new and revised versions. Generally its adherents are known as “enlightened Catholics” (since they are in fact rooted in the culture of the Enlightenment).

d. The Pelagian solution. This basically appears as a form of restorationism. In dealing with the Church’s problems, a purely disciplinary solution is sought, through the restoration of outdated manners and forms which, even on the cultural level, are no longer meaningful. In Latin America it is usually to be found in small groups, in some new religious congregations, in (exaggerated) tendencies to doctrinal or disciplinary “safety.” Basically it is static, although it is capable of inversion, in a process of regression. It seeks to “recover” the lost past.

Wow. Just wow.


  1. Fr. Ruff – just curious but why do you connect gnostic to elitist progressives?

    Would suggest that you can find gnostic tendencies in many different groups (think some charismatic groups, Marian groups, religious communities; groups around one specific saint; various movements (e.g. LC/RC; Opus Dei); etc.)

    Just saying.

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #1:
      Very good point. That was my impression of who he meant, but maybe I was trying to hard to have this symmetry between right and left that he didn’t intend. As usual, we’re just not sure what Francis means. It seems very possible that he could mean “gnostic” in the wider sense you indicate.

    1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #3:
      Deacon Fritz, you are absolutely correct. The following is from Wikipedia and links Modernism condemned by Pope Pius X in 1907 to the Enlightenment and as one can read to modern “spirit of Vatican II” gnosticism of the last 50 years still rearing its ugly head today. I was schooled in much of this in the 70’s in your home town:

      “… A rationalistic approach to the Bible. The rationalism that was characteristic of the Enlightenment took a protomaterialistic view of miracles and of the historicity of biblical narratives. This approach sought to interpret the Bible by focusing on the text itself as a prelude to considering what the Church Fathers had traditionally taught about it. This method was readily accepted by Protestants and Anglicans. It was the natural consequence of Martin Luther’s sola scriptura doctrine, which asserts that Scripture is the highest authority, and that it can be relied on alone in all things pertaining to salvation and the Christian life.

      Secularism and other Enlightenment ideals. The ideal of secularism can be briefly stated as follows: the best course of action in politics and other civic fields is that which flows from a common understanding of the Good by various groups and religions. By implication, Church and State should be separated and the laws of the latter, for example that forbidding murder, should cover only the common ground of thought systems held by various religious groups. From the secularists’ point of view it was possible to distinguish between political ideas and structures that were religious and those that were not, but Catholic theologians in the mainstream argued, following St. Thomas Aquinas, that such a distinction was not possible, inasmuch as all aspects of society were to be organized with the final goal of Heaven in mind. The humanist model which had been in the forefront of intellectual thought since the Renaissance and the scientific revolution was however directly opposed to this view.

      Modern philosophical systems. Philosophers such as Kant and Bergson inspired the mainstream of Modernist thought. One of the latter’s main currents attempted to synthesize the vocabularies, epistemologies, metaphysics and other features of certain modern systems of philosophy with Catholicism in much the same way as the Scholastic order had earlier attempted to synthesize Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy with the Church’s teaching.

      Theological rebellion in contradistinction or opposition to the Church’s official policies, notably among Jesuits and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious….”

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #14:
        Allan – question? You post from Wikipedia but obviously either do not understand or reject that historical facts that the anti-Modernism of Pius X was changed by successive popes and dramatically by Vatican II. Doubt that the majority of council fathers saw Pius X’s anti-modernism as something to be continued – it was overturned at multiple levels from biblical research (historical critical) to liturgical renewal/ressourcement to the decree on religious liberty. (the Index is gone; etc.)

        You edited your own statements, tho……this is how you phrased it: That should make traditionalists feel good as these Modernists are in our Catholic academic institutions pushing for reforms that go way beyond Vatican II. They want to undo how the Church teaches as it concerns Natural Law, Scripture and Tradition. They want to change these things like the Episcopal Church has and is doing. They want women’s ordination, same sex marriage, Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried and those living in sin, and they want the Church to be pro-choice, pro-artificial contraception and all the other things that go with the culture of death and functionality. Many traditionalists feel that much of post-Vatican II interpretation in rupture, not continuity is pure Modernism and they are correct. Pope Benedict called for Vatican II “reform in continuity” that avoided the gnostic rupture of the early post-Vatican II period. The Holy Father Francis though, calls it Gnosticism. Do not think that Pope Francis is referring to the FSSP or traditional Catholics who love Vatican II as it is meant to be interpreted but prefer a more traditional Ordinary Form of the Mass and now the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. (know you are clairvoyant but now you read the pope’s mind!)

        (so, do you just make it up as you go along? Interesting interpretation that has to be uniquely Allanesque with no connection to what Francis actually said or meant. Why you even called what Francis said modern day heresies – did he say that? Must have missed it)

        Might want to go back and review from Francis’ words:

        The Gnostic solution. … is ordinarily found in elite groups offering a higher spirituality, generally disembodied, which ends up in a preoccupation with certain pastoral “quaestiones disputatae.” It was the first deviation in the early community and it reappears throughout the Church’s history in ever new and revised versions

        Sounds like much of what you have written fits Francis’ Gnostic Solution – *…how the church teaches concerning natural law, scripture, and tradition* (feels very *disembodied*) and you go on to say: *….women’s ordination, same sex marriage, communion for divorced and remarried, pro-choice, pro-birth control* (seems to fit his definition of certain pastoral *disputed questions)? But, Francis is correct – these kerfuffles reappear throughout the church’s history in ever new and revised versions (your blog)

        Some added follow up questions:
        – You earlier lauded John Allen as a Vatican expert but now you say – *Go to John Allen’s national Chismatic reporter spin* (just wondering, who is really *spinning* here?)
        – You state: “no nuns becoming priests, only someone superficial in understanding the Catholic Faith would propose such a thing! (These are off-the-cuff remarks,that Vatican Radio will shortly include in their post). No one seems to have confirmed this *off the cuff* remark. He did say this in a more direct manner in his interview on the plane – Argued for the importance of women in the church, yet said John Paul II “definitively … closed the door” to women priests. He called for a deeper “theology of women” beyond disputed questions such as whether they can be lectors at Mass or head Vatican agencies such as Caritas Internationalis; also his earlier statements to the bishops/priests that a church without women is *sterile*.
        – You state: “We’ve allowed the intellectual elitists of the Church for the past 50 years to rule the roost–meaning the bishops of Rome and other bishops have done this. They have redesigned the Church and its structures leading us in the most self-reverential way possible, making Vatican II into a super dogma spoken by name more than the Holy Name of Jesus and our His Most Blessed Mother, Mary Most Holy! This pope, this current Bishop of Rome is saying no more!” (really? And how do you know this?)
        – Why, you have posted so many *bombshells* that you must be out of ammo. Let’s see…..”I can only imagine what the bishops and cardinals of the Church are to make of his push for simplicity implying they should follow his lead when he hasn’t really sent a discreet memo to them about what he expects. He places them on a tenuous and divisive track where they work either at the Vatican or in world dioceses” OR Should all priests and bishops live in a Motel 6? Should we all drive compact cars? None of these things are matters of faith or morals within reason and there is flexibility built into how priests and bishops live. Why raise this to a super dogma?”

        “The pope talks too much. He needs to be more circumspect and he needs to be unambiguous about what he expects and what he teaches. Faith and morals and canonical legislation are the domain of the pope. We don’t really need his opinions. Many will take these opinions as dogma and these of course are not.” (talk about moral relativism – you’ve got it down pat)

        – finally, you appear to be confused about Francis and clericalism. Sorry, he didn’t define it solely as priests being priests and lay being lay. Rather, here is what he said on numerous occasions:

        Clericalism refers to the idea that the answers to all the church’s problems have to come from the clergy, which Francis describes as “a very current temptation” in Latin America. The pope said there’s often a “sinful complicity” involved in that a pastor will succumb to clericalism and the laity encourage him to do so “because in the end, it’s more comfortable.”
        Clericalism, the pope said, “explains in large part the lack of maturity and Christian freedom among a good part of the Latin American laity.”
        On the other hand, Francis said, there’s also a healthy form of lay liberty in Latin America’s tradition of popular piety as well as “Bible study groups, ecclesial base communities and pastoral councils.” (ah yes, you have often described pastoral councils as the overreach of VII)

      2. I find Bill’s rebuttals persuasive and his highlighting of inconsistencies, if not downright contradictions between Fr Allan’s two sets of contributions useful.

  2. Certain forms, yes. Most likely the opposite ideologues from Republican Catholics. But I also read his remarks and I didn’t detect all liberal Catholics in it. Likewise there are many traditionalists who are most definitely not pelagians. Though there are some.

    That said, if the Holy Father wants to challenge me in particulars, I’m willing to listen and receive it. More likely such challenge will remain at the level where it should be: people and their direct pastors.

  3. Making the Gospel message an ideology. This is a temptation which has been present in the Church from the beginning: the attempt to interpret the Gospel apart from the Gospel itself and apart from the Church. The way we “see” is always affected by the way we direct our gaze. There is no such thing as an “antiseptic” hermeneutics. The question was, rather: How are we going to look at reality in order to see it? Aparecida replied: With the eyes of discipleship.

    The problem with Francis critique of the misuse of psychology and sociology is that every person’s notions of discipleship are full of many different assumptions about sociology and psychology that have varied from person to person, society to society, and age to age and have little to do with the Gospel, the Church or discipleship.

    Rahner said many years ago in discussing the social sciences that in fact almost all theological thinking is based on the humanities which are a very mixed bag of assumptions. Remember he had to become an amateur philosopher to do theology. He recognized the social sciences were slowly developing a more systematic understanding of humanity and theology would ultimately have to be rethought.

    Particularly in regard to religion, both psychology and sociology have cast aside the anti-religious beliefs of many of their founders and taken a humbler attitude toward religion in the last several decades, one that does not attempt to interpret religion, and is coming to appreciate more and more in terms of its own body of knowledge the importance of religion.

    On the other hand I have encountered a great deal of prejudice even among liberal theologians about psychology and sociology. People like Gregory Baum and Sandra Schneiders tend to choose psychologiy, sociology, and anthropology that they find agreeable and reject the rest.

    I think Francis is making a great mistake with his ideological critique. What will happen with it is the same thing that happened with Benedict’s “relativism.” Some people will use these categories to beat other people over the head; most people will dismiss them as just another irrelevant self-satisfying critique.

    I value Francis for his spirituality, both the spirituality of the poor and his Ignatian spirituality. The church and the world has much to learn from both of them.

    But his critique of the Gnostic and the Pelagians is just as dumb and unhelpful as Benedict’s critique of “relativism” and JP2 critique of the “culture of death.” Those critiques just lead some people to the sin of spiritual pride, cause many people to see the church as irrelevant, and lead few if any to discipleship.

  4. Jack – appreciate your careful analysis but find your conclusion to be too harsh.

    Let’s step back a bit…..don’t those two definitions above fit into the overall context of all that Francis has said since becoming the bishop of Rome. Allow me to expand:
    – mission to all especially those on the periphery (and he sees the periphery as those in need in terms of the basics for life – food, water, shelter, healthcare, jobs, stable families and communities.
    – his call for this specific group of bishops, etc. to *get out among the people*
    Just to name a couple of points.

    And he has consistently reinforced and repeated:
    – no group is *special*; we are all blessed and all called (there is no Jew, Greek, male, female, slave, free). (thus, gnostic)
    – self-referential (he most especially directs this to clerics, bishops, etc……not exclusively but it is there) (it continues his theme that when you solely navel-gaze; you have lost any sense of the gospel message….and remaining frozen in any one historical period, for him, means that you are not walking with the sheep.)

    Suggest that this is different from *culture of death*…….that unfortunate phrase was used by bishops to cover a multitude of cultural issues….it allowed them to *label* rather than *listen* and *persuade*. It too often was a judgmental phrase that ignored scientific advances; human development; etc. (e.g. simplistic appeals using *natural law*) Same with Benedict’s *relativism*…..too often it seemed like he doubted both creation as good and the incarnation.

    Yes, both gnostism and pelagianism could reach a point of *overuse*; endless repetition could dilute its current impact but is it ever a mistake to *recognize*, *identify*, and *name* patterns that do not build up the community of Christ?

    Unlike JPII/Benedict, he is not judging humankind, cultures, societies, churches….he is, rather, speaking out how this list can lose its way because it is not *poor* in mission; it is not *going out* to witness God’s mercy and love.

    One final example – too often, our former bishop had a canned sermon in which you repeated the culture of death more than 20 times. Unfortunately and depending upon whatever was happeing currently in politics, he would *judge* birth control, abortion, same sex marriage as the culture of death and ignore, skip over the death penalty, high unemployment; housing troubles, failed marriages, lack of healthcare, immigration reform. etc. Thus, it became an ideology because it failed to deal with realities; it was the usual, narrow, tired episcopal mantra without ever *persuading* – if the bishop said it was the culture of death, then, Roma locuta est!

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #6:

      We need to get away from the “halo effect” i.e. evaluating Popes as good or bad in general rather that looking at the specifics of what they say and do.

      It remains to be seen whether Francis will do anything about the sexual abuse issue. Sooner or later a major case will land on his doorstep, and if he does not do anything people in the US at least are going to become skeptical of him.

      It remains to be seen whether Francis will really reform the Curia. Both JP2 and Benedict became so involved in their projects that they ignored the Curia. Maybe Francis will use all this good PR to enable him to do real reform; however JP2 did not.

      Francis may be a very visible exemplar of the spirituality of the poor, and of Ignatian spirituality, but so are perhaps half the women religious in this country. We are only applauding Francis because he is a very atypical Pope, Cardinal and Bishop.

      People inside and outside Catholicism moved ahead a great deal for a long time on the brief memory of John 23. My hopeful view of Francis is that 50 years later he will be a booster shot to get everyone through another 50 years, and we can continue to say “Yes, Virginia, there are good Popes.” But I have my doubts he will reform the Curia and/or the Bishops. The bishops are basically politicians and managers and should be given the same skepticism as secular politicians and business leaders.

      1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #8:
        Perhaps if bishops were elected locally instead of being appointed centrally, much of the problem you outline would disappear.

  5. Pope Francis: In dealing with the Church’s problems, a purely disciplinary solution is sought, through the restoration of outdated manners and forms which, even on the cultural level, are no longer meaningful.

    I disagree with both characterizations. Not surprisingly I am most angered by Pope Francis’s characterization of traditionalism.

    To his tragic peril, Pope Francis must have conveniently forgotten that there are many Benedicts, clergy and lay, still in his church. I am extremely introverted to ASD and beyond. I know that Pope Francis possesses a virtuoso affective and emotional extroversion. I, like his predecessor, have a very limited ability to pray and live as he does.

    Many on PTB exalt an exaggerated extroversion as the pinnacle of worship. “Turn and say hi to your neighbor!”, “how can we make the Pax more ‘relevant’ “, “the assembly doesn’t sing loud enough!” etc. Perhaps this is more relevant: “let’s dwell in contemplation and meditate on the profound metaphysical, theurgical, and theological salvation event-gift before us.” Amity and charity are symbiotic and not consequential. Charity cannot be effected by a nearly infinite series of saccharine grins and handshakes.

    At Mass the Cross is easily visible even with the slightest aspirations and signs. No garish megastar Mass, politician-like glad-handling, or screaming cantor is necessary to re-present what is absolutely essential for our salvation. The Cross is always encountered when we are at our most vulnerable point, and moreover often in a resounding silence. This point is inestimably amplified when we turn towards the dreadful intellectual enormity of sacrifice and paschal mystery, and not when we drown ourselves in pathos to block out the beautiful but challenging contemplation which pierces mind and soul.

    Perhaps Pope Francis has never heard, seen, and felt this profound plane. What is disciplinary and anachronistic for him is the very Christian sustenance for others.

    1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #7:

      I should explain what I have written in a clearer and more charitable way.

      What Pope Francis has implicitly written about traditionalism is possible. It’s important to remember that as a cardinal Pope Francis was in frequent contact with the SSPX. If my primary experience with traditionalism were through encounters with Lefebvrists, I would likely arrive at Pope Francis’s conclusion as well. Traditionalism can appear “heartless”, or without much faith and the charity which sincere faith engenders.

      What deeply frightens me about Pope Francis is his extreme extroversion and the example it might give to parish leaders. Liturgists and music ministers must understand that highly introverted persons and persons on the autistic spectrum often do not value, and indeed are often frightened by, what extroverts might consider “hospitality” and “participation”. I realize that the majority of human beings are extroverts, and that the relentless emphasis on participation in the reformed rite is perhaps a response to the alienation of many who were unable to fruitfully worship at preconciliar Tridentine liturgy. I have noticed throughout the years that indeed what I consider to be insincere is often necessary for extroverted people who are hurting in some way. What scares me validates others. What I view as the wordless and worldless nature of holy Calvary another person sees as a robed man mumbling towards a sideboard.

      Could Pope Francis say Mass for an autistic assembly? I don’t know if he could turn off the mic, quell the organ, and speak quietly and moderately. Then again, could pope emeritus Benedict ever walk through a favela and leave each person as if he or she were the express reason for his visit? I must choose my heroes wisely.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #9:

        I’m scratching my head over your characterization of H.H.’s demeanor as “extreme extroversion.” You impose this on him then give vent to what you call your “anger.” I suggest you slow down and learn about Jesuit spirituality — contemplation in action — which lays duties upon the acting contemplative that may not be indicative of his native personality (leaving aside the question of whether or not you even understand the concept of introversion and extroversion).

      2. @Roger Evans – comment #36:
        Learning a little more about Ignatian spirituality would help many of us gain insights as to what is going on with the Holy Father. A 76-year-old Jesuit in active ministry as a superior, a bishop, and now a pope is not going to be so easily characterized or dismissed by pundit sound bytes.

        Someone asked me early on if I thought Pope Francis was a liberal or a conservative. I replied he was something better. A Jesuit. Now strap in for the ride.

    2. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #7:
      Jordan, there are two things I would say in response.

      First, Pope Francis was characterizing negative tendencies within groups, not the groups themselves. So, on his read, the negative tendency within traditionalists is a kind of pelagianism that focuses on the correct performance of rites and devotions and on moral rigor but forgets about God’s grace freely and abundantly given; the negative tendency among progressives is a kind of gnosticism that presumes that they are the enlightened ones who have figured everything out and that more traditional Catholics “just don’t get it.” Now he might be wrong in characterizing those negative tendencies (they sort of ring true for me), but what he is clearly not doing is saying that everyone who identifies as a traditionalist or a progressive falls prey to these.

      Second, regarding his “extroversion” — I have been struck in the few videos I’ve watched of him celebrating Mass by how recollected and low key his liturgical style is. Before and after Mass he’s kissing babies and all of that, but during Mass it seems as if his eyes are usually cast down and he is deep in prayer. I suspect he could celebrate Mass just fine for a group of autistic persons.

  6. As an introvert, may I caution against assuming that Pope Francis is an extreme extrovert? Acing in an extrovert manner does not mean someone is an extrovert. An introvert can learn to behave in such a way but afterwards feels drained. A true extrovert would feel energised. None of us know how the Pope feels.

    1. @Maria Evans – comment #10:
      He sure looked energized after a long week. I think he is a classical extrovert according to the likes of John Paul II. But you are correct, introverts can be very extroverted, but they have to work at it and thus would become extremely drained after a stint like Pope Francis just went through.

  7. I listened to the talk live and he departed from the written text several times with off the cuff remarks. it was either concerning the Gnostics or functionalism that he derided those who think nuns should be ordained priests or the divorced and remarried given Holy Communion. He said it showed a serious lack of understanding of the Catholic faith which is a serious problem today even with the intellectuals or academics.

  8. “Many on PTB exalt an exaggerated extroversion as the pinnacle of worship.”

    This is a caricature.

    The pinnacle of worship is the encounter with Christ, although one might describe the incarnation and/or the real presence as an “exaggerated extroversion” of God. The basic mission of the Christian (see Matt 28:19, Mark 16:15) seems to be extroverted. Is there any way to get around that?

    Maria’s point is well-taken: the true difference between extroverts and introverts is not their public preference for or even their skill in working alone or in groups, but where they draw their energy.

    Aside from a consideration of serious illness, even introverts are called to evangelize. The Mass does not appear to be an exception. That said, most of the classical examples of missionary sanctity are extroverts. Perhaps it bears introverted reflection to consider that only 11% of declared saints are women. That, in comparison to females taking up close to 60% of active believers. Perhaps, Jordan, you and others are just victims of another “ism.”

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #15:
      Extroverts can drive people away too. I know lots of people who can’t stand overly extroverted Christians.

      Introverts can evangelize by showing others a humble quiet faith that breeds love and charity. They preach the Gospel without words.

      1. @Jack Wayne – comment #19:
        I think the key is not to place one’s personal psychology center stage. Many apologists for introversion seem to do this, perhaps annoying others as much as Father Talk Show Host. But in a quiet way, of course.

        In the Ignatian tradition, it would seem that Pope Francis might urge a believer to emphasize her or his own personal gifts and abilities, and occasionally, when the Spirit calls, to go outside the zone of comfort.

        Discernment is critical. And continuing discernment when one encounters resistance to one’s old ways–this is a difficult discipline for extros and intros alike.

    2. @Todd Flowerday – comment #15:

      I haven’t a clue why you would imply that introversion is specific to any one group of people. Persons of any sex, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity are introverts.

      Aside from a consideration of serious illness, even introverts are called to evangelize. The Mass does not appear to be an exception.

      I am an evangelist. Instead of love carpet bombing, I prefer to engage persons in thoughtful conversation about liturgy, theology, and the practical Christian life. I often take agnostics to Mass with me. Later, we discuss the various angles of the ritual just experienced. My friends are also academics, and often offer insights from other faith traditions. Are academics not worthy of evangelization? Are we, because of our trade and interests thoroughly mired in se orabat, the consistently self-referential prayer of the conceited?

      The only answer to the orgiastic and humanistic worship of latter years which passes as Mass, Eucharist, or Gottesdienst is a fresh bloom of pietism. This is an earnest, sober, austere, and deeply reflective belief and faith which values a charity born of contemplated loving and kindness, not a vain hope that “more, faster, and louder” will strengthen a personal and corporate spirituality and sacramentality.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #22:
        “I haven’t a clue why you would imply …”

        Makes sense to me. I didn’t.

        I found your fourth paragraph to be full of caricature, and deeply insulting. Associating the celebration of Mass, or really any sincere Christian worship with an orgy is incompatible with the public life of a Christian. There’s really no better way to put it.

        On your part, no worries. I refuse to engage with you or to respond to your writings any further.

      2. @Todd Flowerday – comment #30:

        I respect that you do not wish to correspond with me further. Forgiveness is the prerogative of the aggreived and not of the aggressor.

        Yes “orgiastic” literally refers to an orgy. In philosophy, “orgiastic” may also refer to a state of mind or affairs where persons focus on the satiation of their physical, but not necessarily sexual, instincts at the expense of morality or reason. Neither definition is either fair or charitable. “Orgiastic” is downright vicious when used to denigrate the life’s work of another person.

        I lashed out because I have long sensed that some on this board denigrate a pietistic understanding of the sacraments. I should never have imputed all of my frustrations onto you or another person who is aggrieved. Indeed others may be angry but have not voiced anger.

        Judas Iscariot’s “thirty pieces of silver” in Matthew 26:15 is worth about $450 / £300 today. No man or woman should commit calumny against another person for the price of a monthly train ticket in the suburbs of NYC.

      3. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #34:
        Self-imposed rules are made to be broken, I suppose.

        I appreciate the follow-up comment.

        But I will note that a refusal to engage a person does not mean a lack of forgiveness. I can certainly forgive a brother, especially one who comes to me with good will. But I can also make a choice to … change how things used to be, especially if I believe the encounter is an occasion of sin for me.

        Lashing out in anger: this I can understand and appreciate, as I am far from immune. And in some instances, anger can be a constructive emotion. But it is a difficult one, especially when a long-suffered tolerance is poked.

        Good day.

  9. John Allen writing for CNN has some balanced things to say about Francis and extraversion:

    A sedate charisma

    Francis was elected at 76, so he doesn’t exude the animal magnetism of the early John Paul II, the last pope to command this kind of popular affection.

    Elected at 58, John Paul delivered dramatic gestures like the actor he once was. For instance, he would kiss the ground of whatever country he was visiting, something Francis didn’t do. John Paul would clap and stomp his feet during musical numbers, and at night he would pop out the window of his residence to tell jokes and boom out one-liners.

    Francis has a more sedate charisma, allowing his smile, his genuine delight in meeting people, and his homespun wisdom to do the work.

    Energizer Bunny of a Pope

    Finally, we learned that despite his advanced age, Francis has a seemingly boundless reserve of energy.

    In his talk to CELAM, Francis had some things to say about “clericalism” which are also true about “papism.” Clergy as well as laity participate in the immaturity of “papism.”

    3. Clericalism is also a temptation very present in Latin America. Curiously, in the majority of cases, it has to do with a sinful complicity: the priest clericalizes the lay person and the lay person kindly asks to be clericalized, because deep down it is easier. The phenomenon of clericalism explains, in great part, the lack of maturity and Christian freedom in a good part of the Latin American laity. Either they simply do not grow (the majority), or else they take refuge in forms of ideology like those we have just seen, or in partial and limited ways of belonging.

    Francis as a religious is bearer of two spiritual charisms: the spirituality of poor and the spirituality of Ignatius. Hopefully the Church and the World can grew in appreciation of those charisms without demanding that everybody should have them.

    Unfortunately, “papism” leads many clergy and laity to try to remake the Church and World into the image of the Pope, and forget about all the balancing charisms in the both the Church and World.

  10. +1 On your analysis and remedy for the Event Mass Syndrome (apt acronym, that), Mr. Zarembo.
    Off topic- Mr. de Haas, with due respect, why don’t you just publicly challenge Fr. McDonald, or Father Allen as he prefers, to a duel at thirty paces, weapon of choice. Your myopic fixation on busting his chops is getting old and does no service to PTB.

  11. Don’t often agree with Charles, but on this topic I do. Bill, your anti-Allan screeds are really out of place here. I have no problem with giving opinions on subjects he may raise, but leave him out of it. Please.

    1. @Fr. Jack Feehily – comment #24:
      I’m hearing complaints from several PT readers – here on the blog and through emails to me – that they do not like the sniping that goes on between Fr. Allan McDonald and Bill DeHaas. I’m stepping in to call for a cease fire. Please, do not reply to each other on this blog. You two are both free to comment on this blog, but about posts in general and not about each other.

      I’d also ask that we not drag contact from Fr. Allan’s blog over to Pray Tell. Those who want it can go get it there.


  12. So, on his read, the negative tendency within traditionalists

    Except the Holy Father didn’t say “traditionalists,” Fr. Ruff did.

    There are plenty of groups that could be characterized in this “restorationist” way in South America that aren’t traditionalists (in the Latin Mass/liturgy way.)

  13. I also believe Bill provides a valuable service to us PTL posters in monitoring the Southern Orders blog and reporting back to us about it so that we do not have to spend our time reading it for ourselves. Without Bill’s reporting, I would not have known that Fr. Allan recently disparaged me and my fellow staff-members at the BCL in the early 1990’s. (I want to add one of those cute little yellow smiley faces, but I don’t know how to do that.)

    1. @Fr. Ron Krisman – comment #28:

      Father Ron, ye knows I love ya, but what Bill is posting is not reportage, but editing with a profound bias that over time has been perceived by some (not Gerard, understandably) as having morphed into personal bias if not animus.
      If one has the sand, like you demonstrate over at MSF with your participation and speaking your mind openly, then go to FRAJM’s blog and confront him there. Please re-read what AWR articulated with precision.
      Ironic that we’re negotiating manners in a thread about being “blunt.”

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