Skip to comments.Indifference: The Reformation Of Pope Francis – Part III
Posted on 08/10/2014 12:36:35 PM PDT by ebb tide
This ongoing series on the Reformation of Pope Francis began in September of 2013 with a thesis and a prophecy. The thesis was that Pope Francis means to remake the Catholic Church in his image; a feat that no previous Pope has dared to exercise to this extent. The prophecy was that the Papacy and Reformation of Pope Francis will be exercised through three personal ideologies of his that I called windows; those three being (1) Rejectionism; (2) Indifferentism, and (3) Inclusivism. For those new to this series, should know that these are not slam pieces. While it is true that I am often vexed by the lack of precision in Pope Francis non-magisterial statements that have to do with theology or Church history, I greatly admire him as a pastor of Catholic Church. If God had blessed me with the degree of empathy that Pope Francis seems to have, Id be a better person.
Nevertheless, I am not ashamed to say that Ive been correct from the beginning about the Reformation of Pope Francis. I told you exactly what was going to happen and why it was going to happen. I gave you specific details back in 2013 and all Im doing now for the rest of this series is highlighting examples of the three windows. These are my I told you so pieces. In this installment, Im going to highlight the second window, which concerns his (non-heretical) indifferentism.
Does Pope Francis Tend Towards Indifferentism or Not?
In a recent article by staunch Francis defender Fr. Dwight Longenecker, entitled, Is Proselytism Solemn Nonsense? he defends Pope Francis against charges of indifferentism, for his comments about proselytism being solemn nonsense and the worse thing you can do if you want to be happy. Fr. Longeneckers overall defense was tendering Pope Benedict XVIs comments against proselytism (as to say that Francis isnt saying anything that the great theologian of our time didnt also say), and suggesting that what Pope Francis meant by the word proselytize was forced conversion.
A couple things can be said about Fr. Longeneckers apologia. The first is that he raises an argument of indifferentism between Francis and Benedict to prove that Francis doesnt tend towards indifferentism, when it was Pope Francis himself who, since at least 2013, has repeated (sometimes paraphrasing) a 2007 Easter Sunday statement from Pope Benedict XVI at the Shrine of Aparecida in which he said:
The Church does not engage in proselytism. Instead, she grows by attraction: just as Christ draws all to himself by the power of his love, culminating in the sacrifice of the Cross, so the Church fulfills her mission to the extent that, in union with Christ, she accomplishes every one of her works in spiritual and practical imitation of the love of her Lord. While defending Pope Francis against indifferentism by saying that he is not any different from Pope Benedict by using a quote that Francis himself attributes to Benedict is a bit loopy, it is fine to concede to the fact that Pope Francis would rather attract people to the Church, rather than proselytize them into the Church. What we cannot concede to is Fr. Longenecker though is his second argument; that what Pope Francis means by proselytism is forcing the faith on people, because all the evidence we have, from his time as Cardinal in Argentina to now, suggests that what the Pope means by proselytism is evangelization to non-Catholics.
For Francis, any form of evangelization/preaching/apologetics that is offered directly to non-Catholics with the intent to proclaim to them the wholeness and fullness of the Catholic faith for the purpose of inviting them to consider the validity of our claim against theirs is what he calls proselytism. The irony is that it is because Catholics in Argentina and elsewhere in South America failed to boldly and loudly proclaim the wholeness and fullness of the Catholic faith is why millions of Catholics there have been lost to the dim-light of Protestantism; even during the watch of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio.
It may very well be the case that what we have to look forward to from the current Papacy is more of what we got from him in Argentina, which was absolutely no reason why Protestants should become Catholic. That lack of reason had nothing to do with Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio not being a great pastor that reached out to them, but it had everything to do with his affirming them in their beliefs and a lack of evangelizing to them the clear and distinct light of Catholicism.
Indifferentism Towards the Dim-Light of Protestantism
Pope Francis has said more than enough publicly to leave us secure with the fact that he believes in a unified Christian faith. In fact, Paragraphs 244 through 246 of his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium represents a beautiful expression of that eventuality that the Holy Spirit is leading us towards. He has also said more than enough publicly and privately to leave us insecure with the impression that he doesnt believe that the eventual unity of all Christians will be in the Catholic Church. He has sounded quite indifferent at times, and that indifference has affirmed and validated Protestants in their dim-light.
For example, when a Pope apologizes to Protestants for obstructing the growth of their communities, what they actually hear from him is affirmation in their beliefs that run contrary to Catholicism. Thats indifferentism. When Protestants hear reports of the Pope telling someone who they dont need to physically be in Church, because they are port of Gods family, what Protestants hear is affirmation in their beliefs that run contrary to Catholicism. Thats indifferentism. When his comments resurface from when he was a Cardinal talking about how the Church needs Anglicans and how the Ordinate that Pope Benedict XVI established was unnecessary, what Anglicans hear is affirmation in their beliefs that run contrary to Catholicism. Thats indifferentism. When Protestants hear the Pope say, Im not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. I want people to find Jesus in their own community. There are so many doctrines we will never agree on, what they ingest from that is that the Pope has affirmed them in their beliefs that run contrary to Catholicism. Thats indifferentism, and it doesnt stop them from trying to convert Catholics. When Protestants read the Popes 10 Secrets to Happiness and see Him say NOTHING about Jesus, Prayer, or the Bible, they are instantly affirmed in the prejudices against Catholics and affirmed in their beliefs that run contrary to Catholicism. Thats indifferentism. When Protestant hear the Pope misspeak and say that priestly celibacy is just a modern innovation, what they actually hear is validation of their false claims against Catholic teaching. When Protestants read that Tony Palmer told his close friend Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio that he wanted to became a Catholic, but Bergoglio told him to remain a Protestant, what they take from that is affirmation in their beliefs that run contrary to Catholicism. Thats indifferentism.
This list goes on and on. The point here is not to be exhaustive, but, rather, to merely debunk the claim that Pope Francis isnt indifferent towards the Divine uniqueness of Catholicism. Now, that doesnt make him bad, or a heretic, or evil, or a reason for someone to become a Sedevacantist. It only means what I said about Pope Francis from the beginning. That due to his life experience, he has come to have a slight disdain for the old-fashioned recipe he saw being cooked in the Vatican decade after decade after decade. He believes that the Church has been too exclusive for far too long and he wants to tear down lots of pillars that kept many things in place for a very long time. His tearing down and rebuilding the temple goes far beyond just the Roman Curia! Pope Francis is man who is completely dominated by his personal life experience and thinks we would all be better off living according to his worldview.
Like Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis also has come to love a number of Protestants and people of other religions. His love for them as human persons has weakened his concern for the lies that they believe. Now, dont go off and judge him for that. Almost all of us have people who we love that we fail to give the hard medicine to. Pope Francis is just like the rest of us weak and suspect to disordered love; that is, love that doesnt always tell the truth to those who we claim to love those who we claim to desire the best for.
As interesting as the reforms of Francis will be, the thing to remember is that they are only a blip on the screen of what the Holy Spirit is doing, and we have to continue to distinguish between reforms of substance (i.e. suppression of the Latin Mass and assignment of like-minded Bishops) versus reforms of style (big tent ecumenism and no red shoes). The reforms of style wont last past his papacy, but the reforms of substance may.
_____________________________________________ ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES ON THE REFORMATION OF POPE FRANCIS: Introduction: The Reformation of Pope Francis Part I A Church in His Image: The Reformation of Pope Francis Part II Indifference: The Reformation of Pope Francis Part III
“The thesis was that Pope Francis means to remake the Catholic Church in his image; a feat that no previous Pope has dared to exercise to this extent. “
What a ridiculous statement. The’re have been Popes that have lead armies, toppled Kings and slaughtered “Heretics”.
None of those topics you mentioned were attempts to remake the Catholic Church.
If only we had a Pope to call a Crusade to save the Catholics in Iraq. Instead we have one babbling about “dialogue” and his predecessor invoking St. John the Baptist to protect Islam.
I’m not a fan of this Pope, but it still stands as a ridiculous comment.
Why do you capitalize “Kings” and “Heretics”?
Are you a fan of any pope?
Because I’m using them as proper nouns?
— and it’s been a bad habit I started some years back that’s becoming progressively worse. I think of it as Tourette syndrome but while writing. I just automatically do it. Sometimes I go back and check and correct, sometimes I just go oh well as I notice it while hitting the Post button.
I would have to say ... Pope Peter I. The rest I’m pretty ambivalent about since I’m Lutheran by denomination and Christian-Buddhist by nature. I feel the same way about the Dahli Lama too.
Here’s a Koan I’ve written:
A student of the Dao excitedly told his master of his new found technique of meditation. I get in my car and start driving. The hum of the road, the wishing of the trees going by. When it rains, the rhythm of the rain drops on the roof of the car, the ever distant horizon all bring me the peace and tranquility I need to contemplate the Dao.
The master replied, And with this you contemplate the Dao? Yes came the reply.
The master snatches the keys from the student, Ill drive he says.
If there was a Pope Peter I, who were his subsequent namesakes?
I am afraid that if someone asked this Pope “is Jesus Christ the ONLY way to the Father”?, he would answer no.
he is ashamed of the Gospel.
Sorry, you’ve used up all your pointless questions.
Francis just keeps on poking the bear, lol!
Francis just keeps on poking the bear, lol!
By “bear”, I assume you mean God.
No, I meant “Catholics”!
No more questions from me.
Buddhist-Lutherans don’t interest me.
The Catholic Church?
The Immaculate Bride of Christ?
He's already said that indirectly...
Those that are Christian, with the Bible, and those that are Muslim, with the Quran. The faith that your parents instilled in you will always help you move on.