When the Holy See Press Office is doing a bad job: watch out! In this, there may be several options: incompetence, malfeasance or some combination. You be the judge - as, you guessed it: who am I to judge.
Fr. Thomas Rosica - infamous for lauding the ex-priest Gregory Baum with the words:"you have been for me, and continue to be a great model of hope" - continues his deconstruction of the recent papacies, and the present papacy according to his personal whims. He is no longer - perhaps has never been - a true "spokesman", but more an editorialist, an opinionist.
|His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI|
Consider these words from that bizarre address given at Windsor, Ontario:
One of the things I felt very badly about (and I loved Pope Benedict), is the way that they dressed him up in these past years, and put vestments and things on him. And looking at some of the pictures; saying: this is not Pope Benedict. This is not this great theologian...
Though in 2008, Rosica was not averse to wearing a pre-conciliar cope when it suited him: or did "they" force him to? This time, possibly stung by the criticism he rightly received, Rosica trotted out a more subtle attack on the papacy of Pope Benedict. Rosica pushed the envelope, but more delicately, but it is all here. e.,g. wrongly labelled "conservative" he was.... yes, you guessed it, "progressive".
By his bold and courageous decision to resign from his Petrine Ministry, Benedict told us that we must be painfully honest with the human condition, that we cannot be enchained by history. A man who had been the champion of tradition and labeled "conservative" left us with one of the most progressive gestures made by any pope.
Having disposed of Joseph Ratzinger, or rather re-fashioned him - and by extension those who incline toward Tradition - Rosica proceeded to enlighten us about Jorge Bergoglio:
Francis rejects the reduction of Catholicism to hot-topic moral issues. He does not want to reduce the church to discussions of abortion, gay marriage, contraception and homosexuality. In his comments, he makes a distinction between dogmatic and moral teachings, reminding us that they do not hold the same weight. With Pope Francis, the church must re-enter public discourse with a full-throated defense of the common good that rises above bitter partisan divisions.
We're read all this before. It was culled from an article published in the Windsor Star, dated December 26th, 2013:
Pope Francis rejects an elitist church. He also rejects the reduction of Catholicism to hot-topic moral issues. He does not want to reduce the church to discussions of abortion, gay marriage, contraception and homosexuality. In his comments, he makes a distinction between dogmatic and moral teachings, reminding us that they do not hold the same weight. With Pope Francis, the church must re-enter public discourse with a full-throated defense of the common good that rises above bitter partisan divisions.
Rehashed nonsense. Are we to believe that abortion, "gay marriage", contraception and homosexuality are now to be dismissed as "bitter partisan issues"? Given the moral climate of society, indeed some moral stances of the Church may evoke strong partisan reactions from the advocates of immorality; does that mean the Church is to cease, or mute Her voice? There have been many "bitter partisan divisions" in history - Christ himself warned of creating division - slavery in ancient and modern times, apartheid, segregation in America, the gassing of Jews, etc.
Moral teachings are derived from dogma, or they collapse. Consider - as an example - the authority of the Magisterium on the issue of contraception.
The Venerable Pope Paul VI - soon to be beatified - wrote in Humanae Vitae:
No believer will wish to deny that the teaching authority of the Church is competent to interpret even the natural moral law. It is, in fact, indisputable, as our predecessors have many times declared, that Jesus Christ, when communicating to Peter and to the Apostles His divine authority and sending them to teach all nations His commandments, constituted them as guardians and authentic interpreters of all the moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel, but also of the natural law, which is also an expression of the will of God, the faithful fulfillment of which is equally necessary for salvation.
The Pope laid out the dogmatic justification for the Church's opposition to the intrinsic evil of contraception (which applies equally to the other grave sins listed by Rosica). But no matter; a shift in pastoral practice will de facto change doctrine, without officially changing it.
And so it goes. Is it any wonder that the English language press assistant to the Holy See utterly failed to note and inform Catholics of the very strong pro-life words of the Pope's address to the Bishops of South Africa not a month ago, and brought to your attention by this blog? Is it any wonder that Salt and Light Media Foundation failed miserably and did not cover the National March for Life in Ottawa recently; that act of the new evangelization went to EWTN, an American network. Meanwhile, Canada's so-called Catholic voice of hope remained silent?
Rosica also did not fail to twist Pope Francis with a distorted interpretation of the "who am I to judge" comment. He conveniently failed to mention to the students that the Pope was referring to a priest known to have committed the grave sin of homosexual activity; Rosica failed to mention the Pope's detailed preface on sin, sacramental confession etc. But why bother: we don't want to engage in "bitter partisan issues".
We are getting a false view of the Papacy of Pope Francis, because the Pope's vision seemingly does not coincide with the narrative of far too many careerists in the Church. Rosica even endorsed via a tweet a shameful article from the New York Times that tried to pit Francis against Benedict. Sadly, until these men go, we can expect no change.
One final thought: Rosica also spoke of participating in Pope Francis' "revolution of mercy and tenderness. One can only wonder if this "revolution" will be extended to the Fountain of Life and Love; or, will the Salt and Light lawsuit continue against this wonderful Catholic apostolate?
Recommended reading: The full transcript of the Papal inflight press conference
("who am I to judge")
Paul VI: Humanae Vitae