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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.


TOPICS: Catholic; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
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To: vladimir998

You are correct. I misspoke.

I still don’t like the fine line he walks with this kind of speech.

The UN is the biggest sinkhole of charitable donations in history. Appealing to them is a lost cause at best. They’d love nothing better than to enrich themselves and further their own Marxist agenda with more donations.

I’m sorry I over reacted, but legitimizing that cesspool irritates me.


41 posted on 05/11/2014 7:42:57 AM PDT by mindburglar (When Superman and Batman fight, the only winner is crime.)
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To: mindburglar
What do you know about subsidiarity? That's what the Pope is talking about.

Repeat After Me: Subsidiarity & Solidarity
Subsidiarity and Human Dignity
Does the USCCB Understand Subsidiarity?
[CATHOLIC CAUCUS] The Principle of Subsidiarity
[CATHOLIC/ORTHODOX CAUCUS] Subsidiarity Over Social Justice
What is the USCCB’s problem with subsidiarity?
Subsidiarity: Where Justice and Freedom Coexist
Health reform still full of thorny problems for Catholics (Vasa comes out for subsidiarity)
What You [Catholics] Need to Know: Subsidiarity, [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Catholic Word of the Day: SUBSIDIARITY, 06-11-09

42 posted on 05/11/2014 7:43:36 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: mindburglar

This pope seems to tend to speak first and think later - or perhaps he simply does not yet understand how his words will get twisted. I’m not sure. I also think he - like the previous three or four popes - doesn’t know too much about how economics actually works. I also think he tends to assume too much goodness on the part of governments. I would agree with you on all of that without any hesitation.


43 posted on 05/11/2014 8:09:09 AM PDT by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998; mindburglar

Indeed. Particularly demonstrating how much they fail to grasp what communism was.


44 posted on 05/11/2014 8:22:37 AM PDT by wonkowasright (Wonko from outside the asylum)
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To: mindburglar

Please provide substantive proof that Pope Francis advocates communism....and I AM baptized. ;-)

PS. The media/present-day press is not considered “substantive.”


45 posted on 05/11/2014 11:48:02 AM PDT by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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To: mindburglar

Still waiting for your source for this statement.


46 posted on 05/11/2014 11:52:32 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: vladimir998
This pope seems to tend to speak first and think later - or perhaps he simply does not yet understand how his words will get twisted.

What concerns me most of all is that, after some interview or comments from the pope, I can never really be sure just what he really did mean us to understand from his words. It seems that no matter how simple the question or situation he manages to issue a statement that can always be understood as meaning any number of usually quite contradictory things, and among which there is never a particularly good reason to assume one over the other. What teaching value is there in that? Don't get me wrong, I am sure he is sincere and all that, but that doesn't really make the situation any better.

47 posted on 05/11/2014 1:23:37 PM PDT by cothrige
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To: Salvation

I think if you look up a couple of posts you will see where he admitted his error and apologised for it.


48 posted on 05/11/2014 1:25:56 PM PDT by cothrige
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To: mindburglar; vladimir998

I agree with both of you. I think Pope Francis is actually quite orthodox but he’s naïve, trusting, and there are serious problems not only with what his casual statements but with what he allows to be said about him or “quoted” by people who claim that he told them such and such in a private conversation. Since these things always agree with what the media wants, they are picked up and broadcast, and I hope he gets more savvy very soon!

Also, I think he needs a better press secretary. The current one did no favors for BXVI and is doing none for Francis, who kept him on. I don’t think he’s ill-intentioned, just an incompetent Italian.

JPII had a Spaniard, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who was smart (and an Opus Dei member) and managed to keep things in hand. I don’t think the current one is up to it, and he embarrassed BXVI on a number of occasions and is obviously doing the same with Francis.

That said, I think Francis is more leftwing and VII than I would like, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near what the press and the German bishops would like him to be.

Also, I think all popes should stick to religion and stop talking about economics, about which they know nothing. And few to none of their advisors know anything about it either, and 80 year old cardinals (apparently among his “advisors”) are surely totally clueless on the subject.


49 posted on 05/11/2014 2:47:11 PM PDT by livius
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