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I Donít Care Much About the Pope
Unequally Yoked ^ | May 9, 2014 | Leah Libresco

Posted on 05/11/2014 3:28:06 AM PDT by NYer

Pope Benedict stepped down from the papacy during my first year as a Catholic, and, all during the conclave, my friends wanted to know if I was excited or overwhelmed. Was I watching the livestream of the Vatican chimney? Did I have a favorite candidate? Which of the cardinals would disappoint me?

Except for taking a look at some of the twitter jokes about @ConclaveSeagull, the bird that was photographed on the conclave chimney, I mostly ignored the whole thing. Catholicism isn’t like Washington D.C., where a new administration brings in a wave of new political appointments (and unleashes a swarm of ousted job seekers). The new pope didn’t seem that relevant to my day-to-day experience of the faith because, ultimately, he wouldn’t have much to do with it. Although some questions in Catholicism are still live issues (what would we make of extraterrestrials? how should Mass be translated into American Sign Language?), it’s not as though the Pope is going to reopen the question of transubstantiation or the divinity of Christ.

Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing a picture of the Pope kissing a baby as much as the next gal, but I don’t feel that invested in knowing everything he thinks and does, and examining it for portents. In fact, Michael Brendan Dougherty points out that it’s novel for Catholics be able to think this much about the pope. It’s only recently that we became be exposed to all the minutia of his phone calls and personal experiences:

Between Pentecost and the launch of Vatican.va, most Catholics did not have access to the day-to-day musings of their pope. The Roman pontiff’s theological speculations have been of almost no interest to Catholics throughout history, and never became so unless he was a great theologian already, or there was a great controversy which the authority of the Roman Church might settle. To the average Catholic living hundreds of miles from Rome the Faith was the Faith, whether the pope was zealously orthodox like St. Benedict II or a sex criminal like Pope John XII.

Doran Speed saw a relationship between the intense, possessive curiosity about the life and character of our current pope and the very quick canonizations of two of his predecessors this year.

I think we should not canonize popes until a big chunk of time has passed since their death – say, 200 years…

So I understand why we canonize some people very quickly – if there is abundant evidence of the person’s virtuous life, etc., and a profound call for this person to be recognized as a saint, the Church responds to that call and does not make people wait for no good reason.

But with popes – gosh, I just feel like this has the potential to go very much awry, becoming a near-instant referendum on What Pope Such-and-Such Represented and Whether That Was Good.

My parents are historians, so, when I was little, I had a slight misunderstanding/wish about how history was done. I knew that historians did not investigate the very recent past, since not enough time had passed to be able to analyze it in a useful way (though, by all means, start preserving primary source documents for later). So, I imagined that there could be a formal (sort of ribbon cutting) party to celebrate when a new decade was now open for investigation. I imagined historians gathering in departments all over the world to clink champagne at the stroke of midnight, and then hit the books.

If that were the case, we might have hit the appropriate lag for the Vatican II party (though we should still expect not all of our judgments will stick. but we’re definitely not there yet for Francis, Benedict, or John Paul II. As an ordinary layperson, I just don’t need to do much scrutiny or tea-reading on a day to day basis. I’m pretty sure that, if there’s an actual problem, I’ll notice, without having to turn myself into a theological seismograph in the meantime.

The whole thing reminds me of a part of the Acts of the Apostles that recently turned up in the Mass readings.

When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill [the disciples]. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. Then he said to them, “Fellow Israelites,[ consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared. After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!”

I’ll worry most about things and people that exist closer to me, where I don’t need quite so much discernment and telepathy to work out what would be useful for me to do.


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1 posted on 05/11/2014 3:28:06 AM PDT by NYer
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To: Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; Ronaldus Magnus; tiki; ...
Modern media, especially the modern Catholic media, has brought the pope into our homes, across the radio, in television, and into our niche media world. He's in the browser of many Catholics every day. And conservative Catholic media relies heavily on the inflated imaginative role of the papacy, just like British tabloids rely on the royals. The pageantry, mystery, and fame attached to the office are a great way of selling magazines, getting clicks, or raising funds. He is the worldwide celebrity that represents "us." He's the reason the Faith gets talked about by others.
From Michael Brendan Dougherty's article link

Good point. Up until recently, few followed the pope. Now, every move and word is analyzed.

2 posted on 05/11/2014 3:30:58 AM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
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To: NYer
"Now, every move and word is analyzed."

Yes - every word - because the crazy cacophony of individual interests are looking for any opening, any possibility to gain a foothold against the traditional stand of the Catholic Church.

We have crazed and militant homosexuals, we have diehard abortionists, we have arch-feminists and all sorts of other outliers staring at every word to see if they can make inroads against one of the last bastions of Christian religious normalcy remaining.

Look what happened to the Lutherans, the Anglicans, the Methodists and so many others when they allowed even a toehold by these groups. This world is hurtling towards the toilet at supersonic speed and there are only a few faiths holding on by their fingertips.

3 posted on 05/11/2014 3:42:59 AM PDT by Chainmail (A simple rule of life: if you can be blamed, you're responsible.)
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To: Chainmail

Ironic that one Pope was canonized and known for standing up to communism and the current one is an advocate of it.

The Jesuits should have been dissolved a long time ago. A bunch of stinking liberals. The whole order.

Before the Catholic bashers start pouncing, mind your own business or get baptized.


4 posted on 05/11/2014 3:49:39 AM PDT by mindburglar (When Superman and Batman fight, the only winner is crime.)
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To: NYer

Really excellent point. As a kid, the Pope barely registered in Catholic school.


5 posted on 05/11/2014 3:55:46 AM PDT by miss marmelstein (Richard Lives Yet!)
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To: mindburglar

The Jesuits should have been dissolved a long time ago. A bunch of stinking liberals. The whole order.


They were. It just didn’t stick, thanks, to of all peoples, the Russians (and Catherine the Great specifically. Unquestioning obedience to all the Pope says, does, and wants apparently applies only when convenient.


6 posted on 05/11/2014 3:56:15 AM PDT by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Chainmail; NYer
I saw this good comment by Arthur MccGowan on a different thread, and I'm taking the liberty of posting this here, as my (borrowed) contribution to good Catholic sense:

"Popes do not issue marching orders daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. No person who is well-instructed in the Catholic Faith, and is sincerely practicing it, needs to follow the Pope’s doings and sayings. A Catholic is at liberty to like or dislike any Pope.

"If he dislikes a Pope, he should try to remain unaware of the day-to-day news about the Pope. The notion that all Catholics must “heed the call” of the Pope to conversion, or spiritual renewal or growth, etc., and must therefore read all of the Pope’s interviews and daily homilies, is silly. The call to all those good things is in Scripture and the constant teaching of the Church."


7 posted on 05/11/2014 3:58:58 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("The Holy Catholic Church: the more Holy she is, the more Catholic she is.")
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To: NYer

Interesting article. However, I think she confuses the processes of evaluating historical impact and determining personal holiness. The former definitely requires the passage of time, and it never really reaches a resolution. Historians are still debating Alexander the Great.

On the other hand, the Church is uniquely qualified to rule on individual sanctity, and her criteria are very different from those used in analyzing a historical figure.


8 posted on 05/11/2014 3:59:58 AM PDT by Tax-chick (If I offended you, you needed it.)
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To: NYer

Up until recently, few followed the pope. Now, every move and word is analyzed.


And those who did follow the Pope were generally capable of making theological distinctions. Basic rule of thumb: if it doesn’t eventually end up in the AAS (Acts of the Apostolic See—Rome’s official monthly publications http://www.vatican.va/archive/aas/index_sp.htm ) or is something too large for this but promulgated with great solemnity (like the Code of Canon Law or the Catechism), one can in good conscience ignore it. Even if it does end up in the AAS, not everything has equal weight (Vatican II—Lumen Gentium 23 or 25, I forget which).


9 posted on 05/11/2014 4:12:57 AM PDT by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: NYer
When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill [the disciples]. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. Then he said to them, “Fellow Israelites,[ consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared. After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!”

More good advice to those who go bonkers about everything that attacks their sensibilities. We don't need to try to fight every front that seems unholy/immoral to us. As a departed, but prescient old friend used to to say (probably a paraphrase of the paragraph from Acts, "If God ain't in it, it cannot stand; If God is in it, it cannot fail."

What a nice reminder of Who is really in charge and in control.

10 posted on 05/11/2014 4:21:15 AM PDT by trebb (Where in the the hell has my country gone?)
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To: Tax-chick

On the other hand, the Church is uniquely qualified to rule on individual sanctity, and her criteria are very different from those used in analyzing a historical figure.


The old rules laid down by Urban VIII after Trent were very thorough. Paul VI reduced the rigor of some parts of the process, and Pope Francis, by opting for frequent use of equivalent canonization, is doing so further. The process is important, as it is not merely assuring that the person is in heaven, but that the person is an outstanding example to follow.


11 posted on 05/11/2014 4:27:44 AM PDT by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Mrs. Don-o
The notion that all Catholics must “heed the call” of the Pope to conversion, or spiritual renewal or growth, etc., and must therefore read all of the Pope’s interviews and daily homilies, is silly. The call to all those good things is in Scripture and the constant teaching of the Church."

That's something I needed to understand. Thanks for posting...

12 posted on 05/11/2014 4:32:47 AM PDT by Albion Wilde ("The commenters are plenty but the thinkers are few." -- Walid Shoebat)
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To: Hieronymus
The process is important, as it is not merely assuring that the person is in heaven, but that the person is an outstanding example to follow.

That's true.

However (to elaborate my original point, rather than disagree with yours), we may with confidence recognize that a person is in heaven, and that he lived an exemplary life, without reaching a conclusion regarding the prudence of his every act or every impact of his life.

These are the kinds of questions always open to re-examination. Policies of President George Washington are still debated, for example, and there's no reason they shouldn't be.

13 posted on 05/11/2014 4:39:20 AM PDT by Tax-chick (If I offended you, you needed it.)
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To: mindburglar; Chainmail
Ironic that one Pope was canonized and known for standing up to communism and the current one is an advocate of it.

That is quite an accusation. Please cite and source documentation to justify it.

14 posted on 05/11/2014 4:46:26 AM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
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To: NYer

You guys sound like jihadists.

When’s the meeting?


15 posted on 05/11/2014 4:51:03 AM PDT by Vermont Lt (If you want to keep your dignity, you can keep it. Period........ Just kidding, you can't keep it.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Kudos to Arthur McGowan for the initial comment and to you for sharing it on this particular thread. It is most relevant. Happy Mother’s Day!


16 posted on 05/11/2014 5:26:35 AM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
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To: Tax-chick

I agree with your point that canonization does not in fact endorse all aspects of the policies, but rapid papal canonization tends in that direction. No popes have been elevated this rapidly in at least the past 1400 years, and it seems to me the rush is more a self-administered pat on the back to assure ourselves that things are ok rather than because the ones being canonized stand head and shoulders above all their predecessors—and pseudo-equivalent canonization in the case of John XXIII (waiving the requirement of a miracle after beatification), makes this seem even more the case.

The rush to canonize made feasible through the easing of the traditional standards makes it so that the quite good and truly outstanding get lumped together and makes it more likely that the person will not be seen in historical perspective. Four miracles, or three miracles and martyrdom, was a much taller standard.

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350746?eng=y


17 posted on 05/11/2014 5:29:31 AM PDT by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: NYer

Well here’s one for starters. I know the LSM is going to spin it however they want, but what is the Pope doing talking to the UN about wealth redistribution?

He’s guilty of being economically and politically ignorant for opening his mouth about things he doesn’t fully comprehend.

Wealth redistribution from the business end of a gun is not charity.

http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/3154218/posts


18 posted on 05/11/2014 5:51:47 AM PDT by mindburglar (When Superman and Batman fight, the only winner is crime.)
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To: mindburglar

Nothing prevents the mistranslated and misunderstood Pope from unambiguously clarifying EXACTLY what he means.


19 posted on 05/11/2014 5:54:15 AM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: mindburglar

“Ironic that one Pope was canonized and known for standing up to communism and the current one is an advocate of it.”

It amazes me how people make things up out of thin air - like claiming the pope advocates communism.


20 posted on 05/11/2014 5:59:11 AM PDT by vladimir998
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